You don't need new tech to have a smarter home.
By clicking one of our links you're supporting our labs and our independence, as we may earn a small share of revenue. Recommendations are separate from any business incentives.
The modern idea of the smart home has only been around for a few years, and already every major appliance manufacturer is vying to rule the new market.
IFA 2014 is full of smart appliances from the big names, so it was a little surprising to see another competitor enter the market from an entirely new direction. But D-Link, most famous for its networking switches and WiFi routers, is showing off its mydlink Home ecosystem at this year's show.
The concept is simple: Almost everyone already has the most important part of the smart home—the WiFi network that connects everything. Without it, even the smartest appliance can't interact with anything else or be remote controlled by a smartphone app.
WiFi is something D-Link knows well, and it aims to capitalize by helping people connect their existing devices and make them "smart." Initially, the company will focus on connecting the small electronics, like security cameras and sound systems, but it plans to move on to large appliances using the same approach.
At launch, D-Link is offering a motion sensor, two types of home security monitors (the DCS-935L and the DCS-5010L), and a Home Smart Plug, through which any other small electronic can be controlled.
Each of these devices will be affordable and easy to install, with no need for an installation service or maintenance contract. The accompanying smartphone app allows the user to create scenarios or directly control any mydlink Home device hooked into the ecosystem.
Here's how it's supposed to work:
You install a motion sensors and motion-activated cameras to cover your house. Once motion is detected, the sensor will activate the camera and turn on the smart plug your lamp is plugged into, or trigger an alarm on your smartphone.
You can design all kinds of scenarios to allow the devices you already own to interact with each other, including DIY security surveillance and baby monitoring.
Rounding out the launch line is the Music Everywhere plug, which lets you stream music from any DLNA-enabled device to any stereo that has an AUX input, so long as it's within WiFi range. D-Link did not mention streaming video, but it seems a likely next step for in-home media distribution.
If you are still holding out on smartening up your home, this may just be the system to push you over the edge. It is simple, does not require re-purchasing every small electronic you already own, and cross-compatibility is no longer an issue.