The "Internet of Things" is just kicking off, turning many items in the home into so-called connected devices. Replacing everything with connected devices isn't, however, cheap.
Enter companies like Roost — which just released its first device: a smart battery designed to make battery-powered devices like a smoke alarm "smart" without having to replace them.
"Instead of purchasing costly new devices and paying even more to have them installed, Roost empowers easy and inexpensive do it yourself upgrades to existing smoke alarms," reads the company's homepage. "There are no new smoke/CO alarms to purchase. No unnecessary control panels. No bulky hubs to hide."
The Roost battery looks and plugs into devices like any other 9-volt battery. While it does power the smoke alarm, it also does much more — being a complete lithium-ion battery system that can be controlled via app and can connect to an Android or iOS smartphone. Users will be able to check their phone to see which home alarm is sounding, even turning it off straight from their device. That means no more suffering through the annoying 3 a.m. chirp of the smoke alarm warning you that it's running out of juice.
The battery itself is available on the company's website or on Amazon for $35 each or in a pack of two for $65, ready to ship in September.
There are around 350 million smoke alarms in the U.S. Roost says 20 percent of those don't work — because their batteries haven't been replaced. This is one of the reasons why people are moving away from traditional smoke alarms toward more intuitive connected devices.
Roost has a major competitor in Nest, the Google-owned company that released a smart smoke alarm in 2011. The average home has three smoke alarms and Nest's offering costs $99 apiece — making smart smoke alarms for the entire house somewhat of an investment. But with Roost's offering, customers can make all of their smoke alarms smart for the cost of one.
Of course, Roost doesn't change what a smoke alarm looks like — and part of Nest's popularity has to do with its sleek and classy look. Nevertheless, Roost believes that customers are more concerned about price than appearance.
While the Roost battery will last five years, there's certainly no guarantee that Roost itself will be around in five years — especially considering that 90 percent of startups in Silicon Valley fail pretty quickly. While Roost does quietly think that it will be part of the 10 percent – especially with the rise of the Internet of Things – it is also selling replacement packs for only $15, for those who want to plan ahead.
Head over to the Roost website to order your own smart battery.