Where is the $100 wifi/bluetooth speaker/remote display for home automation?

It really looks like someone could make some 100ish dollar device that look like a nest, you could hang on wall, set on coffee table that let you hear alerts/music, functioned as an ir sender/receiver, to remotely control equipment all over your house, report temperature to help regulate ac, detect motion, display information, provide basic emergency lighting, let you control almost everything through a nest like turn and push/pull interface. It looks like you could make a device for under $100 that could do all this and encourage the selling of more automation, because once you put one of these in the room, it could detect motion and control any controllable lights, detect light levels and adjust blinds and lights, detect you turned on your tv and adjust lighting for that, etc.

Go for it. Kickstarter and IndieGogo is open to anyone.

Yes… I’m being facetious. There have been several projects on crowdfunding platforms that come close to your requirements and most were “funded”.

But where are they now??

Fact is that the smart home market is extremely fickle and:

  1. Large companies either don’t want to take the risk or have too much baggage to do it right (e.g. Wink Relay panel).

  2. Crowdfunded startups are ethically dubious, flakes, or outright scams. Oomi Home projrct includes a control touch screen, but they are 9 months behind schedule with still failing software and hardware issues.

So there’s an opportunity here. Most likely an opportunity to fail big and fail hard.

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Almost all the crowd funded projects fail, unless some rich donor takes them over, very few actual produce working products. It seems to me there would be much more of a market for a speaker/display/control/sensor that sold for $100 could make a $50 wifi thermostat work/look act like a nest, with the added advantage of you being able to put them all over the house. Nests seem to be selling fairly well, they sure haven’t dropped in price. My thermostat is in a hall, where you never see it, 99.9% of the time when I change temp, it’s through a cell phone. I’ll never be in the market for a nest unless it’s cheap, cheap, cheap. I would love a dial I could put in my kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, den where I could change the temp with out having to get out my cell phone, where my guests could. If it could play music, change stations, etc. I think it might could even get the home automation market off the ground.

The capital to launch custom hardware is way out of our league, but please keep your eyes on SmartTiles (browser based SmartThings control often used in cheap tablets…) as we are relaunching soon with a completely new code base and ease of configuration.

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That’s a lot to ask for $100. Nest is just a thermostat and it’s $200 +. To get certification alone would be a killer. I don’t even see it at $500 range. I am using Smarttiles and loving it. It’s as close as you can get to the device you described. I would love to get that $100 device as well but probably won’t trust it due to reliability.


I think you’re right on here. The only one of these unicorn “products” to actually show up in the wild (to my knowledge) is the Wink Relay. And even that didn’t do all of the things on this wish list.
I still think that a very impressive device could come in around the $100 range using a cheap tablet, SmartTiles, with maybe some sensors (Temp/Motion/light/etc). The problem is, the user would still need to do a fair bit of configuration/setup on it (login, set up your dashboard, connecting it to ST, etc.) which would make it feel more hacky than an actual product like Wink Relay or better.
If somebody makes one, I’ll definitely buy it.

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If there was a market at $500 (crowdfunded), then I’d make it … well, maybe a little cheaper.

At $100, it’s not worth the risk and effort.

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If it were easy, it would have been done.

If it hasn’t been done, there’s something hard about it.

And physics matters.

For one thing, IR requires clear line of sight, which generally needs one in each room. You can’t control IR all over the house from a single unit.

In the US, any radiofrequency device has to have an FCC license. That’s likely to add at least $8 to the price.

If you want to sell it in any retail outlet, from Best Buy and Home Depot, it will need to be UL listed. That’s an additional cost.

You could start with a $20 WiFi phone and see how far you get. But you’re not going to get whole house IR from it.

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You could potentially “roll your own” with a Amazon Fire 7, SmartTiles, VLC and cheap BT speaker. That’s if VLC for Android works with VLC Thing DH/Smartapp.


Just cause something hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it isn’t easy/practical. A $2 smartwatch display/touch screen, and a $7 UNO board, a half a dozen $1 sensors for it, a $10 speaker/amp so it could sound really good, a few hours of coding, you have one the expensive part would be making a nice looking case for it where it looked good on the coffee table/wall. Finished cost made in China shipped here should be under $25.

That setup is missing this piece from the first post:

to remotely control equipment all over your house

You can already buy an inexpensive android phone that does all the rest of it. Some for as low as $10 and some with lots of features for $20 -$30.


There are already community members using those, no reason to build your own.

And you can do a nice looking tablet for just a little more.

@beckwith has a project report on a very nice one, but there are others described in the forums as well.

So there are quite a few options, but once you drop the direct device control and just go to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interaction, I think I’d personally start with a phone. You get a lot more options at a similar or maybe even lower price than trying to build it yourself from parts.

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