When people ask me for smart lighting advice, I'll often try to steer them toward smart switches. Yes, there are lots of good smart bulb options, but the big annoyance is that you have to leave the switch on in order for them to work. Smart switches don't have that problem because, unlike bulbs, they're hardwired, and stay powered even when the switch is in the off position.
That's why I'm always on the lookout for interesting new smart switch options, and the new Iotty Smart Light Switch Pro, which just launched on Kickstarter, certainly seems to fit the bill. With touch-sensitive controls, a built-in backlight and a variety of different-colored faceplates made of tempered Italian glass, it's one of the best-looking smart switches I've seen yet. And while the retail price of $70 reflects that luxury approach (standard WeMo Light Switches can be had for less than $50), Kickstarter backers can score an early-bird discount that knocks the price per switch down to $39.
Iotty's smart switch doesn't dim the lights -- it's strictly a binary, on/off controller -- but it still has a pretty compelling feature set by way of the software that powers it. Aside from turning your lights on and off, Iotty's app promises to let you schedule automated lighting changes, track energy consumption and activate an "away mode" that randomly cycles lights on and off to make it look like you're home when you aren't.
You can also program the lights to turn on automatically as soon as your phone rejoins your home's Wi-Fi network or whenever it enters a geofenced area around your home. As for platform compatibility, Iotty says that its switch will work with Amazon's Alexa for voice-activated lighting changes.
Another interesting feature: Iotty's switch comes in single-, double- or triple-switch builds, which sounds a lot easier than cramming multiple smart switches into the same gangbox.
All of that sounds great for a good-looking smart switch that you can get for less than $40 -- I really just wish that it worked as a dimmer, as well. That would have helped it compete better with the touch-sensitive WeMo Dimmer, though the Iotty switch has a nice edge of its own thanks to the fact that it supports three-way switch setups where more than one switch is wired to the same light. The WeMo doesn't.
Of course, you could enjoy both dimmability and three-way switch support by going with smart switches from Lutron Caseta -- those remain my smart switches of choice.
As with all crowdfunding campaigns, there's no guarantee that Iotty will hit its funding goal or be able to deliver the goods on time and as described once the campaign is over. As always, please note that CNET reporting on crowdfunding campaigns is not an endorsement of the project or its creators. Before contributing to any campaign, read the crowdfunding site's policies -- in this case, Kickstarter -- to find out your rights (and refund policies, or the lack thereof) before and after a campaign ends.
It's worth noting that Iotty already has one crowdfunding campaign under its belt, a highly successful run on Indiegogo that was aimed at the European market this past summer. Iotty tells me that those switches are set to start shipping out this December, about a month later than initially promised. As for the Pro model's US-aimed Kickstarter campaign, units are slated to ship to backers in March of 2018.