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Smart Home

Ubi wants to bring Siri-style automation to your smart home

Ubi is a $299 voice-control gadget designed to integrate seamlessly into your SmartThings- and Belkin WeMo-connected smart home.

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United Computer Intelligence Corporation

Toronto-based startup United Computer Intelligence Corporation (UCIC) has been kicking around the concept of Ubi, "the ubiquitous computer," for quite some time. Like Ivee Sleek, Ubi is a voice-activated smart home gadget that's supposed to help you automate your life hands-free. And starting today, you can buy one for $299 on Theubi.com.

Ubi has that same square-with-rounded-edges shape as the Nest Protect and the Rachio Iro . It's powered by a wall adapter and connects to your local Wi-Fi so you can interact with your smart home whenever you want, Siri-style. Ivee Sleek and other voice-control smart-home products like the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat with Voice Control haven't blown us away, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't welcome one that works well, offers more than a few commands and keeps to a reasonable price point.

On that note, $299 definitely seems steep, but UCIC has secured partnerships with some pretty major smart-home players, including SmartThings and Belkin WeMo. Since Ubi integrates with these brands, you should be able to lock your front door, adjust your thermostat, turn on your lights and even get security-related alerts, depending on the specific connected devices you have at home. These third-party integrations might just make Ubi marketable, even with its hefty price tag.

The Ubi CC app, currently only available on Android devices, acts as an extension of this voice-controlled functionality. According to UCIC, you will be able to ask Ubi to send a text, set a calendar reminder, read an email or play your favorite song -- all on the go. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, given Apple's plan to bring Siri (the real Siri) to its iOS 8 HomeKit platform.

We've asked for a review unit and hope to be back soon with more details on UCIC's "ubiquitous computer."

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