Fresh off participating in the TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield at the 2015 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Branto aims to be ‘the’ device capable of controlling the security and entertainment systems in the house.
The orb under development by the Ukrainian team behind Branto is designed to be a device that users can make use of, whether or not they are at home. While at home, the device allows users to stream music through Google Play, Rdio, Rhapsody, GrooveShark, and other services (or turn on an audiobook, if that is more your thing). But this orb perhaps demonstrates its greatest value when users are away from home, as apps for Android and iOS allow smartphone owners to remotely adjust the temperature, talk to those who may be at home, or monitor pets or children through a camera capable of rotating 360 degrees and delivering HD-quality images (with night vision capabilities, so darkness is not a problem). The security aspect is not necessarily conspicuous, either, as the company claims that the camera can be set to offer a “stealthly” way to keep track of the home and to set smartphone notifications. The device is billed as being extremely easy to set-up, requiring users only to install the app, enter their WiFi password, and to scan a QR code on the device.
Branto set an ambitious goal for their crowdfunding campaign, seeking $500,000. They are off to a solid start with more than $75,000 from 234, but they are obviously not close to reaching their ultimate goal. With 48 days left in their campaign, they have plenty time to hit or surpass their target. However, it will be difficult and it remains to be seen how they will proceed if they come up short in the end. The company has already shown off a working prototype at the WebSummit in Dublin in November 2014 and at CES, but has yet to begin mass production. At the moment, they are shooting for September 2015 as the date when they will begin to ship out the device to their Kickstarter backers.
We have already seen a couple of contenders in the race to create the most popular home-management hub in the Homey and the Cozify. One of the primary differences is in the price, as the Homey is expected to go on sale in summer 2015 for 299 Euro, while the Cozify is expected later and will be on sale for 50-100 Euro upfront and 10-20 Euro per month after that. While the Branto orb is being made available to early backers for $349, a representative from the startup tells me that they are planning to sell it for $449.