Start-up outfit Valta promises to not congest user’s home WiFi networks with its forthcoming smart home energy products.
The project, which is still in its infancy on Kickstarter, helps users save money on energy bills. The idea is that you can remotely turn off appliances in the home with an app which communicates with devices plugged into the mains.
Read Recombu Digital’s guides to WiFi and Smart Home TechnologyValta says that its products which communicate wirelessly on the 915MHz radio frequency. Many appliances in the homes like baby monitors and microwaves use the 2.4GHz frequency which is also used by WiFi routers. Valta therefore can promise that its wireless devices won’t congest people’s home wireless networks.
As well as this, Valta argues that the lower 915MHz frequency means that Valta’s devices can communicate over distances of 100 meters while typical WiFi modules have an effective radius of roughly half this.
Valta is based in Toronto, Canada and initially only plans to launch in North America, with UK and German launches planned in the future. They’ll have to redesign those sockets in order to fit British power sockets mind.
This week, Ofcom published a statement allowing the use of the 870-876 MHz and 915-921 MHz bands for use by short-range radio devices like Valta on a licence-exempt basis. Ofcom’s document includes a suggestions from industry figures including BT and Energy UK that would see things like Valta use the 870-876 MHz band instead so some more tinkering may be required before Valta sees the light of day over here.
Valta is an interesting proposition because it’s clever enough to recognise whether a device is completely turned off at the mains on simply on standby, and gives customers the chance to switch devices on and off at will. It’s very much a plug and play system that doesn’t care which energy provider you use and will let you control everything from a sharp-looking mobile app. An iOS app has been developed already and an Android equivalent is promised should the project get funded.
At the time of writing, Valta has accumulated $3,400 of the required $100,000 needed on Kickstarter.