There are countless hubs to control smart home features, such as Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit and many others, but Kirio says it stands out because it is tied into the most important aspects of a home. Kirio’s Smart Hub is wired into a house during construction or renovation so that it can connect with and control core systems such as heat, water, electrical and central air. It can interact with both wired and wireless devices to do everything from turning on a faucet to adjusting heat and lighting to working with a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo.
Kirio’s CEO Rob Green told GeekWire that today’s smart home market has so many different products and devices, but there is nothing that brings them together while also giving users the ability to control core functions of the home.
“With the devices on the market today, you’ve got this collection of apps that a lot of people have,” Green said. “That’s not really smart, it’s just a different interface. Instead of a switch you have something on your phone, and they are all discreet, they don’t work together. This is partly what the solution is we are solving.”
Another difference is that Kirio is marketing its product directly to homebuilders rather than homeowners at a price of $1,799. Right now, Kirio has its system in 12 pilot homes, and Seattle homebuilder buildSound has committed to installing the Kirio system in the next 50 homes it plans to build.
Kirio’s technology has an artificial intelligence aspect to it. The system takes data from both conditions inside the house — temperature, light settings and more — as well as outside information like sunrise and sunset times and temperature. It uses this information as well as the habits of the homeowner to automatically adjust settings in the house.
Kirio’s goal is to connect and automate control of the home. Kirio’s app gives users the ability to choose between “scenarios” to help do that. For example, a vacation scenario would shutoff all the lights and not use a lot of energy on heating and cooling.
“Eventually what will happen, the homeowner will have less and less physical input, and eventually the home will just know what they want to do, and that’s what we are trying to aim for,” Green said.
Kirio was founded in 2015 by tech executive Franck Rougier. He had recently finished building a passive house, which is an ultra energy efficient home that heats and cools the house using recycled energy, but found the temperature hard to control. He searched for an off-the-shelf system that he could use to control the house, but there wasn’t one. So, he decided to build one himself.
Rougier is the company’s chief technology officer. Kirio is still a small company, with only four people on staff working out of an office in the Seattle suburb of Lynnwood.
When asked about funding and investment, Green demurred, saying only that the company has received an “enthusiastic response” to what it is doing.
Green, a former Microsoft employee and veteran of the startup scene, joined the company full-time as CEO in March. He has spent years focused on digital media, and one thing he learned is that it can take a long time for a trend to make it into the mainstream. Green, who wired his own home 20 years ago for smart functions, sees the trend starting to catch on.
“I think we are coming to the end of the DIY point and getting to the main stream adoption point,” Green said of home automation.