Start-up lets users control 800,000 devices — on their smartphones

The Internet of Things comes to life with WiseSec’s universal, long-distance remote-control system

WiseSec's Genii system (Courtesy)
WiseSec's Genii system (Courtesy)

If the objective of the Internet of Things is to connect and control everything online, Israeli start-up WiseSec can perhaps be called the world’s biggest IoT company. That’s because its latest gadget — the Genii — allows users to control a whopping 800,000 devices from their smartphones.

Using a clever combination of web technology, infrared beams, and Bluetooth connections, WiseSec’s system lets users connect — to the Internet — all gadgets that can be controlled with a remote control. This allows users to turn on and off lights, televisions, air conditioners, ovens, or anything else, from a distance by using electronic signals.

According to Vadim Maor, founder and CEO of Yokne’am-based WiseSec, Genii is the first smartphone-based universal remote that’s truly universal. “It not only controls hundreds of thousands of devices, but it controls them no matter where you are on the planet.”

While there are plenty of smart home solutions that let users program the start and finish of appliance cycles, or to turn devices on and off remotely, nearly all of them require users to be near the device — with their smartphone using Bluetooth or infrared to control a device. Genii does the same thing — but adds another layer to the system, that of the Internet, which is used to control the Bluetooth and infrared connections that, in turn, control the devices.

Users deploy a Genii Hub in their home, which communicates via Bluetooth to Genii controllers that are attached to infrared-equipped devices. When a user wants to turn on an air conditioner remotely, for example, he opens up a WiseSec-provided app that communicates over the Internet with the hub and that lists all his infrared-controlled devices and appliances with attached controllers. The hub then sends a Bluetooth message to the air conditioner-attached controller, which then zaps the AC’s infrared panel with an “On” command — thus turning the appliance on.

The system works from anywhere in the world, according to WiseSec. This allows users to “increase home security by switching on your lights and TV when you’re out of town,” or “having your house give you a warm (or cool) welcome by turning up the thermostat during your commute home in winter, or turning on the AC remotely in summer.”

To raise money for the project, WiseSec has started an IndieGogo campaign. The device will be available in the fall; the price of a Genii hub and three controllers will be $145.

WiseSec, founded in 2011, is best known for its “indoor GPS” solution. Deployed at the Moscow Mall — home to some 5,000 stores and one of the largest malls in Europe — the system uses Bluetooth beacons protocol to communicate with smartphones carried by customers in the mall, allowing for the transmission of coupons, offers or messages to potential clients.

“Currently available solutions to manage devices in the home often require the user to invest in purchasing new devices, as well as to be within close proximity to exercise control,” explained Maor. “Genii’s innovative design enables the control of any existing infrared-controlled device — from any location — resulting in numerous practical applications and benefits.”

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