Does anybody remember 2006? George Bush was president, Pluto lost its planethood, Google bought YouTube, and Adam Sandler predicted the future.
Yes, that final statement, scary as it seems, is true.
2006 saw the tolerable movie Click premier in which Adam Sandler receives a universal remote from Christopher Walken. This remote not only controls his tv, stereo, and DVD player, but also his garage, lights, and presumably his thermostat. Then he paused life, let out a huge fart, and turned himself green with the tint control.
While we obviously cannot pause life or mute the dog (fun as that might be), the idea of a single device to control the TV, lights, and the plethora of other smart devices in our lives sounds awesome. If it fits in our pockets all the better.
Wait, isn’t that your smartphone with all the connected apps and widgets?
Well, yes, but what if I told you that it was all possible on one device without all the apps and widgets? Crazy, I know, but Atmos Home has done it.
In early 2021 Atmos Home will release their AtmosRemote, which is designed to seamlessly blend all your smart home functions into a single interface. This will allow you to switch on your lights, turn up the temp on your thermostat, and open the garage without changing apps three times. It’s also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. While notable it is unsurprising to see Apple HomeKit missing from their compatible assistants, as Apple tends to be the hardest on developers.
This is the first real jump into the market of whole-home remotes. While the Logitech Harmony Elite Remote is an introduction, it’s functions still primarily focus on the tv and entertainment aspects of life, whereas the AtmosRemote broadens out to control all aspects of life.
Control functions include gestures, IR, Zigbee, and Z-wave, along with the expected app, touch controls, and of course, voice.
I have yet to get my hands on the product, so for now I’m wrapping my head around how this could be better than a smartphone. After all, I already carry it with me all the time and is it really that inconvenient to switch between apps? Many of them come with widgets anyways so it’s more a matter of home screen settings than anything else (at least with IOS).
Ultimately, the success or failure of the AtmosRemote will hinge on compatibility and ease of use. If it cannot control my smart home more efficiently than my iPhone, why have two devices doing the same thing? I talk a lot about how smart homes need to work for us. When it takes more effort to use the smart device than just doing it the “old fashioned way” (i.e. unlocking my door by voice takes longer than walking over and flipping the deadbolt) the device has failed.
So, will the AtmosRemote succeed or fail? Who knows, from what I’ve read it has a lot of potential.