I spent much of yesterday at the Microsoft Ventures campus in London chatting to tech startups. Having been a mentor on the Cognicity programme earlier this year, I've remained fascinated by any company that can help realise the dream of a fully 'smart' home, and so I was very excited to meet Marco Matera, Michele Galli, and Nicola Russo from Alfred Smart Home.
Named after the Butler in Batman, Alfred promises to be a solution for all smart home enthusiasts like myself by integrating all my devices into a single platform. No more will I have to search for the Philips Hue app to control my lights, the Belkin or Geo apps to control my power sockets, or the Nest app to control my heating - Alfred can control all of my smart devices from a single interface.
Alfred isn't the first platform to promise total integration, but what makes it special is that they have some more advanced features that make it much more practical to use. For instance, my Philips Hue account is registered in my name, and so while I can use the Philips app with no trouble - if I want to let my fiancé use her iPhone to control our lights then she has to log in through my account. With Alfred, we can have two separate accounts but each control the devices in our home. What's more, Alfred can handle multiple homes - a key feature missing from other platforms. Perhaps more importantly however, unlike EasyDom or SmartThings, with Alfred there is no additional hardware to install - it's just a simple app download.
The beta programme is now open and it strikes me that Marco, Michele, Nicola and the team are pretty open to feedback, so I'd encourage anyone who might be fed up with the complexity of their early smart home implementation to sign up to the beta programme which will be available imminently for Android and iOS devices on the Alfred Smart Home website.
I've seen the pre-release beta in action and it looks great, with a modern clean interface. I've signed up for the beta release due next week, so I'll report back on my experience - but what I can say now is that I'm pretty excited!