KBIS was a whirlwind. Case in point: it has taken me nearly a month after its events to sit down and write this article. Let me make it clear, though, this is something I’ve been wanting to come back to because it’s simply one of the coolest products I had gotten to see at the show. And that something is Swidget. A modular wall outlet (and smart switch) Swidget is a versatile smart home solution with a carousel of wellness applications that are only continuing to grow.
The initial offering is simple enough, replacing any traditional wall outlet or switch in the home, but it’s what happens once that outlet is installed that many will fall for. The middle section of the outlet is completely removable, allowing users to switch between a variety of different functionalities. These include motion and environmental sensors, which, when paired with Swidget’s dimmer, timed or auxiliary control switches opens up some powerful combos for the creative-minded.
This is because, Swidget’s modules are capable of communicating and interacting with other devices over WiFi. For example, when plugged into a bathroom, the temperature and humidity sensor can interact with a ventilation fan to maintain humidity levels and prevent the development of mold in this area of the home. The company states that the associated app allows for easy programming, enabling integrators and users to adjust as needed.
Powerful Partnerships Open the Way for Integrators and Designers
Despite being relatively young in the grand ecosystem, Swidget already has big names in home systems on their side, such as Panasonic and Tresco Lighting. Being exclusive distributors of Swidget to their respective channels, this automatically unlocks access lighting and air quality control, two massively popular categories of integration and design in the home, with more partnerships and modules being planned in the future.
The aforementioned bathroom ventilator example paints a pretty complete picture as to how elements of this partnership can play out. However, Panasonic has also noted they are currently working with Swidget to add even more functionality by modulating fan speeds based on the severity of the situation. And given Kohler and CEDIA’s recent partnership introducing integrators onto more bathroom projects, the potential for technology to make a smarter, healthier space here is high.
Swidget also pairs with Panasonic’s energy recovery ventilator (ERV) units, vastly increasing the energy efficiency of residential HVAC systems, another powerful capability as sustainability and energy costs sit on the minds of many homeowners today.
Modular Design Helps Pave the Way for Wellness Applications Outside of the Home
Of course, this stands as what Swidget can currently do. Since the wall outlet/switch acts as the container for the actual brains of the operation, this means that once a Swidget outlet is installed in a home, it will always have the functionality of whatever module gets plugged in. New homeowners can shift focus where needed, and integrators have an ‘outlet’ to develop new opportunities based on available modules and integrations.
It’s worth noting, though, that the home environment isn’t the only one that stands to benefit from Swidget’s current and future plans. Already the company is working on an HD security-like camera, and its uses extend well beyond traditional home security, though that is still a core focus of the product.
Independent living and aging in place scenarios have become far more common as seniors seek greater freedom later into their lives. However, this brings up the concern of being able to respond to an event in case something does happen. In this scenario, Swidget’s camera provides an incredibly unobtrusive way for caregivers to react and respond to emergencies, should one arise.
While being one potential use case, it gives a good look into the possibilities, though. Other elements such as an aromatherapy module are being planned, while resiliency solutions, such as an emergency guidelight during power outages, are already available. The versatility of the product is where its considerable strength lies. Instead of providing a singular answer at the risk of becoming obsolete when the question is no longer being asked, Swidget can simply develop a new module and continue to stay relevant in the conversation of health and wellness in the home.