Alfred Poor: BeeWi Bluetooth and the Internet of Things (analysis, video)

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, our Alfred Poor checks out a fresh new take on smart home devices. Meet BeeWi and its various hip Bluetooth gadgets …

aNewDomain.net — In this age of the Internet of Things and smart homes, the French firm BeeWi is taking a different approach to controlling and monitoring devices in your home. Instead of using Wi-Fi to make a wireless connection, its devices employ low-power Bluetooth.

Check out details in my deep dive aNewDomainTV interview and demo with BeeWi below. And scroll below the video for more specs and analysis on this intriguing new tech.


Video: Alfred Poor for aNewDomain/shooter Al Green, exec producer Justin Webb for aNewDomainTV

The BeeWi approach lets you pair your smartphone or other Bluetooth devices to the various products it is offering in the BeeWi line. They’re all pretty unusual. And they work together via BeeWi’s network, so you can control them wirelessly and remotely.

First, there’s the BeeWi Smart Plug, which lets you remotely control all your electrical devices from your mobile device. You’re able to switch them off and on — and even program every plug in your house depending on your usage and power savings need. There’s an integrated motion sensor — it switches off and on, too — and an embedded thermometer.

Speaking of the thermometer, the stand-alone BeeWi Smart Weather Station will gauge the temperature and humidity of any room in house, is also programmable via the BeeWi Smartpad app and features the Bluetooth connectivity and remote control capabilities of all these gadgets.

And then there’s the key fob …

BeeWi also offers a key fob that lets you monitor when the key fob holder enters or leaves the house. Called the BeeWi  Smart Proximity Sensor, the wireless device and its accompanying app lets you locate your things and your people within 30 meters. There are light and sound alerts to help you find your keys — or spot the scum that stole your luggage.

But in my view, the most-unusual device BeeWi offers is an LED light bulb that communicates by Bluetooth. Not only can you adjust the brightness, you can also change the color from white to just about any color in the rainbow. 

That light bulb is called the Smart Color Light. Execs advise you replace your regular disposable lightbulb with the LED light — and amp up with its “sunrise” and “disco party” modes. The Bluetooth LED light is programmable via the BeeWi SmartPad app — and it’s green, too. It’s rated at 850 lumens with 9W, the equivalent to a 60W bulb, they say. And it’ll work up to 15,000 hours.

BeeWi also showed us a simple device that bridged its Bluetooth devices to your local network using a wired ethernet connection. There’s no SIM card or wireless service required.

EDITOR: BeeWi issued a press release saying that it has a transceiver that gives you the ability to monitor and control all the smart devices over the Internet. That’s the BeeWi Smart Gateway Mobile, a device that uses a 3GB SIM card to connect to the Internet and send real-time information about your home. No DSL or cable router is required, execs said, adding that its built-in intrusion detection and power monitoring system make it ideal for a second home or office. Our Alfred Poor was not shown that device at MWC 2014. 

The reason that BeeWi decided to use Bluetooth, execs told me, is that the power requirements are a small fraction of what Wi-Fi consumes. As a result, you can run some of their devices for a year on a battery. A similar Wi-Fi device might not last a week, they said.

We’ll be updating this story with the video interview I conducted with BeeWi execs at the ShowStoppers press event here at MWC 2014 in Barcelona. Watch this space for that.

For aNewDomain.net, I’m Alfred Poor.

Based in bucolic Bucks County PA, Alfred Poor is a senior technologist here at aNewDomain.net. A 30-year tech journalism vet, he’s internationally renowned for his coverage of displays. He is easily distracted by shiny, sparkly gadgets and that’s why he is covering consumer tech for us, too. Contact Alfred at Alfred@aNewDomain.net, follow him @AlfredPoor and find the +Alfred Poor Google+ stream here. Alfred also is a professional speaker, a bluegrass musician and a sailor. Check out his LinkedIn profile for more.

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