As the number of IoT (Internet of Things) devices continues to grow at an exponential rate, the smartphone is increasingly becoming the control center for our connected world. When it comes to everyday carry, we tend to go back and forth between the physical items we carry like our keys, multi-tool, wallet, etc., and our phone for digital access.
In addition to direct access through the phone, there are other options for controlling smart functionality such as smart watches, voice control, smart buttons, and automations, and each of them has a viable place in the world of IoT. We are confident that our smart remote, OmniFob, deserves a place as well and can play a valuable role whether you are just getting started with smart home tech or an avid user.
I love my Apple watch, and it plays a critical role in my daily life... time, weather, keeping track of runs, starting/stopping my music and podcasts. But for me, it does not make accessing smart functions all that more efficient than my smartphone. It still requires two hands... one to face the watch towards me, and my other to navigate the controls. When pressed, I have not found it much more efficient to identify an app on my watch, select it, and then select an action than simply pulling out my phone and doing the same thing. That is not to say that it is not an awesome addition to my everyday carry... it certainly is. Rather my watch is simply not the end all, be all solution.
Alexa, Google Voice, and Siri are all good options. Natural language recognition has improved dramatically over the years, but voice doesn't work for everything. Sometimes it takes a couple of times to get the action right, sometimes it takes a few seconds to initiate a command (and I have become that impatient), and sometimes I simply prefer not to speak my commands in public. Plus, there is always this potential issue... :)
For some, setting up automations for waking up, going to bed, leaving home, arriving home at a certain time or under certain circumstances like proximity is the ultimate solution. But because my life is unpredictable and because I prefer a certain amount of control, I tend to be more comfortable initiating those actions each time I need them. I just want to have an efficient way to do so.
A smart button like Flic, Logitech Pop, Samsung SmartThings button, or even an Amazon Dash Button is an easy way to setup a particular function or set of functions at a particular location. They can be placed anywhere within the home or work and are similar in concept to custom wall switches. If you have a smart function or functions that you tend to do often from a particular spot (like turn off all the lights from your bedside before going to bed), then a smart button is an excellent option. It is true that smart buttons can also be mobile, but because they are almost all click based and do not include a screen, they are limited to a few functions (typically click, double-click, and long press). So, mobile buttons tend to be focused upon a single application like a panic button with a couple of variations based upon the number of clicks.
Left to Right - Samsung SmartThings Button - OmniFob - Logitech POP
OmniFob All-In-One Remote
We designed OmniFob to be the ultimate shortcut to your smartphone's apps by combining:
- the utility of a smart button,
- a more robust interface with an OLED screen which gives you access to a broader range of functions for home, auto, and personal security, and
- the convenience of a unique set of Quick Controls that make it fast and easy to initiate your favorite functions.
In addition, we added a built-in Bluetooth Low Energy locator powered by Chipolo, selfie remote, and mini-flashlight to give you everything you need to control your... everything.
In creating OmniFob, our team has four objectives in mind:
1. Make Smart Functionality Easy to Integrate into Your Daily Life
OmniFob Simplifies the everyday recurring functions you do by giving you quick and easy shortcut controls without having to:
- extricate that rather large smartphone out of a tight pocket or buried at the bottom of a purse,
- face your phone directly to unlock it,
- navigate awkwardly with one hand to find the right app (most smartphones are not easy to manage with just one hand),
- tap to open it,
- search for and select the specific action you want.
It is true that aggregation apps like Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Yonomi, Gideon, Wink, and others simplify this process by consolidating functions into a single app. A number of them also introduce scenes / automations which into the equation which is the ability to initiate a series of actions like turning on all the lights at night with one click. And we are very excited to partner with a number of them. Yet, even with these, accessing your phone on the go can be a bit clunky. Many of current smartphones are just large enough that you tend to operate them with two hands which means you need to have both hands available and not full of stuff. You also need to be looking at your phone... which can be an issue at times...
Looking at your phone can be an issue at times :)
Instead, we designed an alternative... pull out your OmniFob or simply clip it to your collar or pocket as it is about the size of your index finger, toggle through the list of actions you have setup, and click on the one you want. Quick Controls will make this especially easy as you won't even need to look at the screen.
For those who have not incorporated the benefits of smart home yet, we hope that OmniFob is a helpful starting point. Purchasing a smart plug or smart light bulbs is a great starting point, and once you get them up and running, they are very easy to set up to work with your OmniFob.
2. Give Your Smartphone a Wingman
There are also a few things that OmniFob can do that the smartphone cannot do as well. We believe that this makes OmniFob a valuable complement to your phone.
Here are a couple of examples:
Having a device separate from the phone that doesn't attract as much attention is a valuable thing when it comes to personal security. In the case of an assault for example, the assailant's first order of business will be to get your phone away from you so that you cannot contact anyone. Having access to a panic button that is separate and that can trigger an event on your phone like texting or calling emergency services, a friend, or family, or even all of them can be critical at such a time. These are very popular on college campuses, for exercising by yourself, for late night walks, and for jobs that can take you to out-of-the way locations and in contact with strangers like a real estate agent.
For less severe circumstances, what would you think about clicking your OmniFob to initiate a fake phone call or text as the perfect excuse to help extricate you from a less than enjoyable situation?
If only I had a way to get out of this...
Trying to take the perfect selfie is not exactly the suavest of moves. Now you can use OmniFob as a remote camera trigger so that you can do it without looking like a tourist everywhere you go.
Avoid selfie neck strain with OmniFob's remote camera trigger
Who hasn't misplaced their phone and had several mini-heart attacks looking for it. With OmniFob, you can ring your phone with the click of button.
In short, we think that there is room in your everyday carry for both the smartphone and OmniFob, and we often describe OmniFob as an easy access (multi-functional) hot-button for your smartphone.
3. Combine Smart Home and Connected Car Functionality
Those of you who have followed Keyport for while know that we have researched every universal auto remote out there to find a cost-effective solution that is more compact and that can control multiple vehicles with a single fob. Today, OmniFob brings us much closer to that goal.
As a start, we are partnering with an early stage company (to be revealed prior to our upcoming Kickstarter campaign) in the aftermarket auto space which has developed a remote start / keyless entry system. Accessing it directly, we will be able to initiate remote start and keyless entry for those vehicles that have their system installed.
We are also working closely with another startup on a solution that does not require any third party installation. You will be able to setup your own keyless entry on virtually any car in a matter of minutes. We will have more information about this one after our Kickstarter.
From here with your help, we hope to garner the attention of other aftermarket keyless entry solutions (like Directed Electronics, Compustar, Audiovox, and others) so that we can integrate with their Bluetooth keyless entry solutions as well... If you want that to happen faster, by all means let them know on social media. Something like, "Hey @ViperSmartStart, I would really like your system to work with @OmniFob." or "Hey @ViperSmartStart, I would buy it if it worked with @OmniFob!" Hopefully, that would get their attention :)
With a little luck, OEMs won't be too far behind.
4. Transform Your Bulky, Antiquated Keychain into a Modern Day Multi-Tool
While IoT is gaining ground, the vast majority of us still carry some form of a keychain. Keys are not going away anytime soon, and our key rings are chock-full of other everyday carry items as well - pocket tools (e.g. mini-flashlight, bottle opener, pocketknife), auto and access fobs, security tokens, contactless payment options, loyalty cards, etc. At Keyport, our mission is to add some organization to the chaos and to transform your keychain from an unwieldy collections of physical items into a fully customizable, modern day multi-tool that is convenient to access. A part of the Keyport modular everyday carry system, OmniFob is compatible with the Keyport's Anywhere Pocket Clip™ (comes standard and can connect to virtually any keychain), the Keyport Pivot™, and the Keyport Slide™.
OmniFob Carry Options