How a smart remote is helping even the tech unsavvy control their connected devices. Let’s meet Sevenhugs.

For those all at sea with technology, the modern world is an increasingly complex place. Whereas once it was simple to turn on the TV, now identifying the correct remote control can be daunting for some.

In uber-connected households, simple tasks such as turning off the lights can prove too much for the technology un-astute, such as young children. It was this observation, combined with a plethora of controls for their connected devices (thermostats, bulbs, speakers, cameras, blinds, fans, locks, etc.) that prompted three Dads with a background in telecommunications to form Sevenhugs (a hug for each of their combined seven children).

The Smart Remote, the magical device

They imagined a single remote for all connected devices that every member of the family would find easy to use. Several years of R&D later – and with backing from investors including France’s public investment bank Bpifrance, Xerys and a successful Kickstarter campaign – the Smart Remote was born. Using patent-pending point and control technology, the Smart Remote can adapt automatically to any device. A mobile application detects all connected devices in a house and asks permission to associate them. It is compatible with more than 25,000 products, including Samsung Smart TVs, Philips Hue and LIFX smart bulbs, Sonos speakers, Nest Learning Thermostat, and many more.

Once connected, the user has only to point the Smart Remote at a light bulb and a request to dim or brighten will appear. The Smart Remote is also designed to work for services. It can be configured, for example, to order sushi when pointed at a goldfish, or to order a taxi when pointed at the door.

Crucially for families, it’s easy to find no matter where in the house it gets lost. A little button on the base station makes the remote control ring loud enough to be heard, no matter how many cushions it is buried under.

All data are secure and encrypted, meaning you can’t influence the connected devices of your neighbor – or they yours.

The Smart Remote has attracted rave reviews. TechCrunch said it has the “potential to radically change how devices are controlled in the home.” CNET was even more impressed: “It kinda sounds like dark magic.”

At the Consumer Electronics Show 2017, the Smart Remote won three awards, including most innovative product in the Smart Home category.

A setup in the United States

Selected for the Ubi i/o accelerator program to help French startups in the United States, Sevenhugs set up shop in San Francisco in 2016. American ambition has rubbed off on them, and their aim now is to stock every home with a Sevenhugs remote.

The next step is also to investigate the big data possibilities of how to help families even further once they have feedback on how they use their connected devices.

Sevenhugs has already proved itself with a successful connected device – the hugOne, a SmartHome sleep system to track the slumber of all family members.

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