If nothing else, Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest earlier this year was expected to light a fire under the competition in the home automation space. It would appear those expectations have been met as Microsoft recently announced a partnership with home automation and control specialist Insteon that will result in an enhanced version of the company’s app for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 devices.
As outlined in a press release on the matter, the app will include exclusive new features like visitor mode, live tiles, enhanced camera support, multi-house support and a dashboard view.
The app is only half of the equation as Microsoft will also directly sell Insteon connected home products through its online store and in many of its retail locations. Specifically, three kits – a starter kit, a home kit and a business kit – will be offered in addition to five standalone devices: the Insteon leak sensor, open/close sensor, LED bulb, on/off module and a wireless Wi-Fi camera.
Complete kits will start at $199 while individual components range in price from $29.99 to $79.99.
For those unfamiliar with the name, Insteon has been a serious player in the home automation space for many years. Their systems use both the existing wires (power line) in the home and radio-frequency (RF) communication instead of relying on Wi-Fi connections and routers that may not always work. Insteon’s product catalog currently consists of more than 200 different devices.
The Insteon app for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 will arrive on June 1, the same day Insteon’s wares will hit Microsoft’s store shelves.