U.K. software company AlertMe is bringing its cloud-based smart energy management application to the United States through a partnership with home improvements retailer Lowe's Companies.
AlertMe's technology can be accessed through a Web browser or via smartphones that use the Apple iOS or Android operating systems.
AlertMe's hub, which supports multiple wireless communications protocols, coordinates the signals coming from devices throughout your home; devices need to be connected to a smartplug to be considered part of the network. The application can read signals from third-party manufacturers that support the same communications protocols. But generally speaking, most of the intelligence is within the AlertMe cloud.
"We have the view that the thermostat should be less complex and the processing power should be in the cloud," said David Bercovich, vice president of business development for AlertMe. "We are priced for the mass market."
Thus the relationship with Lowe's, which has simplicity at its core. The solution comes in three different configurations:
- Iris Comfort & Control ($179) - Along with the Iris hub, the kit includes a thermostat that allows you to set energy parameters remotely.
- Iris Safe & Secure ($179) - The kit includes an Iris Hub, a keypad, and door, window and cabinet sensors. The main focus is on security, as the name suggests.
- Iris Smart Kit ($299) - This configuration combines home energy management and security functions, so it includes all the items listed above.
The basic monitoring service once you get the system installed is free, offering alerts when certain settings are triggered, support for remote control of devices via a smartphone or Web browser, and access to remote streaming for any cameras that are installed in the home. A Premium version of that service is necessary in order to program schedules that happen when you're away; that service costs $9.99 per month, although there is no long-term contract attached.
The Iris solution should be available in about 500 stores by the end of August. When I spoke with Bercovich this spring, he said the initial focus would be on markets that are especially receptive to smart home applications, such as California.
AlertMe also has a relationship with British Gas. Under that deal, AlertMe provides an application that works with smart meters that are being piloted in about 10,000 homes this summer and that are supposed to be rolled out more widely starting in the fall. British Gas is the U.K.'s biggest domestic energy provider, with more than 15.9 million energy accounts.
Discussing that relationship, AlertMe CEO Mary Turner said:
"This is a great opportunity to ensure that customers beneift from smart meters above and beyond just getting an accurate bill. We can take the smart meter information, put it in context and make the most relevant recommendations to help customers market simple decisions that can save them a lot of money."
AlertMe's backers include Index, VantagePoint, Good Energies, Crysalixset and British Gas.