Turning your home into a smart home can seem like a daunting task. There are so many things to consider before starting, like what would you enjoy having access to, where can you hide the wires(if any), and how do you want to control everything. In an attempt to make this task a bit easier, Archos has created the Smart Home Starter Pack, and it’s now available on store shelves. In December of 2013, Archos announced the project and gave us our first look at what’s included. Archos said they were working to improve the automated home experience and connectivity of everything in your home. Centered around the included tablet, you can control up to 13 devices, whereas before you could only connect up to 4 devices. The entire system operates on a Bluetooth Smart ecosystem with a range of 20m. There is also a 433MHz radio inside the tablet which Archos says can be used to control other smart home devices. The Bluetooth Smart system will work out of the box with everything included in the Starter Pack.
The Archos Smart Home Starter Pack has everything you will need to start the process of home automation. As we mentioned the Tablet that will control everything that is included and comes with a 7-inch screen. The display on the tablet is a 1024x600p display and inside is a dual core 1.2 GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, and a 5MP front facing camera. The tablet included will be running Android Jelly Bean, however Archos says the software will be updatable through their website. The tablet will control 6 other devices surely after a quick setup out of the box. You’ll get 2x weather tags, 2x movement tags, and 2x mini cams.
The weather tags are small, waterproof squares that are to be placed just outside your home. They will use the sensors to keep track of temperature and humidity outside and keep you informed through the tablet or mobile app. The example of use that Archos has posted for the weather tags is to “Know if you need leave home earlier to de-ice your car.” Could come in handy for those living in colder climates, however this is only one component. The movement tag is also a square patch, however this one is meant to be placed inside. These are similar to older devices that come with two parts that communicate with each other. When they can tell when they are separated, so these are for doors or windows. Besides letting you know that the door or window is open (just in case you left and couldn’t remember if you shut the window) these movement tags can communicate with other devices in your home. The example that Archos gives for this function is “Switch the hall light on when you open the hallway door at night, automatically switch off after 5 min.” These are the two square components of the Starter Pack, however the Mini Cams are little round devices about the size of ping pong balls.
The Mini Cams are VGA cameras with 640×480 clarity, they have a 110 degree viewing angle and are even waterproof. The mini cams have a range of 20m “indoors” and will be viewable through the Archos Smart Home App from just about anywhere. The camera can take pictures or short videos that keep you informed on what’s going on inside your home while you’re away. Though the camera can’t move on its own, the stand holds the camera with a magnet, so you can position it any way you’d like after mounting the stand. Archos currently also has a Smart Plug available. However, the Smart Plug is only available in France and Germany. They are also working on a Siren alarm system, pet tracker, and a motion detector. All of which will be available later on this year. In the meantime, one of the biggest things Archos wanted to tackle-ease of set-up.
All of the devices included in the starter pack are powered by batteries, so absolutely no wires. Archos also says there is no need for screws or bolts or any sort of holes in the walls to mount any of the devices. Simply open the Starter Pack, place the devices where you want them, and download the Archos Smart Home app, and you’re set. The total price of the Starter Pack is $249.99, with the option to purchase more devices separately at $24.99/ea.