Editor's note: Updated 1/21/2015 to include packages and pricing information announced with the launch of Oomi's Indiegogo campaign.
LAS VEGAS -- Among rows of smart home startups at CES, the Oomi Cube caught my eye. It's the central piece of a complete system that can monitor your home, control your TV, manipulate your lights and your electronics, and act as a central hub for a variety of third-party devices. Oomi's system is well rounded, and it uses near-field communication (NFC) to make adding pieces to it as simple as a tap.
The Oomi Indiegogo campaign launches today to help them fund final development and manufacturing. Contributors can get a big discount off of the retail price of Oomi with a $229 kit including the Oomi Cube, the Oomi Touch, and the Oomi Plug. The same package will be $449 at retail. At CES, especially for a product shown before its crowdfunding campaign, the hardware looked complete and functional, and it all revolves around that Oomi Cube.
Solving the Cube
The Oomi Cube has an HD lens so it can act as a connected security camera. Via Oomi's app, you'll be able to view live streaming footage and set up alerts based on motion and sound. It detects vibration as well, so if everything works seamlessly, you can rest easily knowing the Oomi Cube can keep an eye on what you can't.
Like Piper , it goes beyond just being a camera, and has antennas to help it receive signals from smaller sensors. It's a built in Z-wave hub, and you'll be able to expand it to receive ZigBee as well.
Expanding the system
Thus, Oomi's well set up for interoperability. They mention Nest , Dropcam , and Philips Hue in the marketing material. Oomi wants to unify and simplify scattered third-party pieces. Again, that's a common goal, one that bigger companies like Insteon still adamantly strive to complete. But Oomi at least has the specs to keep up as a viable new hub.
Finally, the impressively versatile Cube detects temperature, humidity, and light so you can use it to track the internal conditions of your home while it keeps watch. And the Cube acts as an IR remote control so it can send a signal to your TV or other compatible devices. It's not just limited to receiving data.
If you have an established smart home, the Oomi Cube positions itself with antennas and camera specs to fit right in and help you simplify. If you're just getting started with home automation, Oomi offers a number of other first-party products to get you up and running in earnest.
The many faces of Oomi
The Oomi Plug goes into an outlet and lets you remotely control any electronic you power with it. Similar to the Belkin WeMo Switch and any number of smart switches, it monitors energy usage while expanding your connectivity to an otherwise isolated machine.
Oomi also offers a connected color-changing bulb and an air sensor, all of which have customizable widgets in their app.
Finally, the Oomi Touch is a dedicated Android tablet that helps you get everything up and running quickly. It uses NFC so you can expand your Oomi system with a simple touch.
With a camera and a hub, a light bulb, a plug, and a dedicated tablet, Oomi's dipping their toes into a lot right at launch. So far, the specs check out. If the pieces all work together as well as they did in the demonstration, and include third-party devices as part of a larger smart home, Oomi might just become an important player in connected technology when the devices are ready in August. At the very least, they have enough ambition to be one to watch.