Smart outlets aren't a new thing. We've seen everything from plug-in models like the Belkin Wemo Insight Switch to Insteon's in-wall On/Off Outlet. These simple, functional devices give you remote access to whatever you plug into them via your phone and voice commands.
Startup Swidget took the Insteon approach with its hardwired Swidget Outlet, available for preorder now on Kickstarter starting at $38 (roughly £30 and AU$50 converted). But instead of basic on-off outlet control, Swidget plans to offer modular inserts. A lot of modular inserts.
Here are some of the insert options Swidget has in the works:
- Outlet control
- Motion sensor
- Carbon monoxide sensor
- Temperature/humidity sensor
- USB charger
- Aromatherapy insert
The idea is that you'll be able to quickly and easily swap in one accessory for another with minimal effort. And, bonus: They'll be offered in both Wi-Fi and Z-Wave versions. The Wi-Fi attachments are designed to work directly with the related Swidget app, whereas you'll need a compatible hub for Z-Wave integration, such as SmartThings.
While this is a unique approach to a smart outlet, I'm not sold on Swidget. When the device is scheduled to ship to backers worldwide in June 2018, it will only come with the "outlet control" insert. The other inserts are expected to be sold separately after the campaign period ends. Swidget is also offering a developer kit for anyone interested in designing their own accessories.
But since outlet control is the bare minimum requirement for any smart outlet, it seems strange to not offer it natively as part of Swidget. In other words, if you decide to buy and use any other insert, you'd immediately lose the remote access feature. Swidget has 31 days remaining on its Kickstarter campaign and has raised over $50,000. Its original funding goal was $40,000.