Fibaro smart home eyes US market with distinctive sci-fi looks

Fibaro smart home solution sets its sights on the US market with distinctive eye-like looks.

Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett

Senior writer

Brian Bennett is a senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET. He reviews a wide range of household and smart-home products. These include everything from cordless and robot vacuum cleaners to fire pits, grills and coffee makers. An NYC native, Brian now resides in bucolic Louisville, Kentucky where he rides longboards downhill in his free time.

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The Fibaro motion sensor looks suspiciously like the Eye of Sauron. Fibaro

Make way for another smart home kit. This time it's a solution from Fibaro that has its eye on the burgeoning connected-home market. Complete with sensors for motion, lighting, temperature, even water, the Fibaro system not only looks distinctive, it promises quite a bit of sophistication for your household as well.

To be clear, the folks behind the Fibaro connected home products, Poland-based Fibar group, didn't offer a lot of specifics outside of glossy brochures and an equally vague website. Even so, that didn't stop Fibaro representatives from extolling the smart-home virtues of its creation at the CEDIA 2014 tradeshow in Denver, Colo. While availability outside of the US might happen by the end of 2014, pricing for Fibaro in other markets wasn't outlined.

The most striking attribute of Fibaro is an ocular-shaped motion sensor for $60 (converts to about £40, or AU$67) which has a distinctly feline, almost alien look to it. In fact, the thing could almost be a stand-in for the Eye of Sauron from "The Lord of the Rings" films. And this gadget does promise to see a great deal. According to Fibaro the device packs sensors to detect light, temperature, plus has an accelerometer for good measure. Users, say Fibaro, can also configure the motion sensor's eye to glow in different colors depending on changes in environment it notices.

Other parts of Fibaro puzzle include a wall plug to hook up lamps and similar electrical appliances. Also nice are the adapter's USB charger and power-monitoring function to get a handle on what attached appliances are really costing in terms of your utility bill. A fire and smoke detector add-on, plus a flood sensor (all set to cost $60; converted about £40 or AU$67) are also planned, along with door and window sensors (both to be priced at $50; converted about £30 or AU$55) targeted at the security-minded.

Fibaro plans to sell a cheaper Home Center Lite for $280. Fibaro

At the heart of Fibaro is a $750 Home Center 2 hub (converts to about £460 or AU$830) which leans on the Z-Wave protocol to speak to Fibaro's numerous wireless parts. This is a steep price to be sure, but Fibaro says the device is robust enough to command every smart product in your home, including lights, blinds, cameras, thermostats, and HVAC equipment. If this is too rich for your blood, Fibaro also plans to sell a Home Center Lite hub for $280 (about £300 or AU$530 converted), though it's not clear how its functionality differs from its more expensive sibling other than it handles "multimedia systems."

Other details remain murky for the moment, but check back for pricing and release information as it becomes available.