A major focus at CES this year was the smart home, with more and more devices being connected to the Internet.
As connected gadgets slowly invade our homes, however, we're going to need easy ways to control them all, and according to some reports, a smartphone just isn't going to cut it. That's where the Neeo Universal Remote comes in.
The universal remote itself has been around for a while, but it has largely stayed within the entertainment realm, not used for things like controlling your fans or lights.
Neeo itself isn't totally new, as it was launched on Kickstarter around a year ago and raised a pretty hefty $1.5 million. In the end, the remote that was developed was half screen, half buttons. It has an easy-to-use user interface, and better yet, it can control certain aspects of your home with a simple point and click. What is new, however, is the remote being shown off at CES, in addition to the fact that you can order it from the Neeo website.
The remote itself features a brain that is able to use Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, infrared and a number of other sensors that might be used to connect things to your home. It has an extremely simple design and looks absolutely beautiful as well, which is important if its going to be on display in a house. As mentioned, the interface of the remote is extremely easy to use. Buttons like "TV" and "Lights" are obvious in what they do, and for every complex action, the remote will show a button or a slider, and for the more simple stuff, users can use the buttons on the remote, including the arrows and the "OK" button. As mentioned in a report by Wired, "the screen makes the Neeo extensible and future-proof; the buttons make it work."
Since most smart home devices connect to the user's smartphone, Neeo also has to connect to the smartphone, however, after setup, users won't have to use their smartphone to control things at all.
It's a very classy solution to the problem of having too many apps and relies heavily on macros. If you decide you want to watch TV, Neeo will turn on the TV, dim the lights, close the blinds and so on. Only time will tell if this kind of thing ends up being how we control our smart home. Of course, that's before we finally get Iron Man's Jarvis.