It isn't often that we write about products seeking crowd funding. We had written about ioSafe's Indiegogo campaign for the N2 NAS back in September 2012, and the review of that product went out yesterday. Unless a product has already been demonstrated in its full working state and is guaranteed to ship, we are hesitant to provide dedicated publicity and hype to ideas and concepts that may never reach the consumer.

We have also recently ramped up our coverage of home automation technologies. In one of the initial pieces, we were bullish on the upcoming 802.11ah Wi-Fi standard for the Internet of Things revolution happening right now. 802.11ah standardization and devices are a good 2 to 3 years away, and in the meanwhile, Z-Wave and ZigBee will extend their reach further into the home.

One of the primary roadblocks to adoption of home automation technologies is the need for consumers to invest in a dedicated controller (very much similar to investing in a wireless router for Wi-Fi, but only much costlier). Securifi, a consumer networking startup, aims to solve this problem by launching a Wi-Fi router with both Z-Wave and ZigBee radios. Securifi is no stranger to the router world. They launched the Almond touchscreen router last year and it has proved to be very popular on Amazon.

Securifi's Almond+ boasts of 802.11ac speeds with two spatial streams (867 Mbps of theoretical throughput). It will also have concurrent dual band 802.11n support (again, two spatial streams for 300 Mbps of theoretical throughput). The WAN port and four LAN ports are all gigabit. The unit is based on the Realtek 802.11ac reference platform (with the RTL8812 802.11ac + an radio). For Z-Wave, Sigma Designs ZM3102 is being used. The prototypes demonstrated at CES 2013 had Atmel ZigBee ICs, but Securifi expects to use ICs from Silicon Labs for this radio in production units. The beauty of the design is that all three radios are under the control of a single SoC running at 620 MHz with 128 MB of RAM.

Home automation components sold by companies like Comcast, Verizon and ADT bring with them monthly subscription fees. For tech-savvy folks, this is an irritant, as they want more control of the home automation services from outside without paying monthly fees. The Almond+ aims to cater to those types of users too by releasing the SDK for the router to the public. This should allow the open-source community as well as device vendors to quickly add support for various ZigBee / Z-Wave sensors in the Almond+. Securifi recently indicated that control of the Philips Hue using the Almond+ is already in the works.

A touchscreen on a router such as the Almond didn't get us excited. However, when bundled with a controller for home automation sensors, it begins to make a lot of sense. For $99, the set of features seems like a steal (given that  802.11ac routers have struggled to break the sub-$100 barrier). The Almond+ project has already reached its funding goals on Kickstarter. Our only minor quibble is that Securifi could have upped the price a bit in exchange for a larger touchscreen (2.8in touchscreens are definitely not $200). In any case, we are really excited about the Almond+ and can't wait to get it in our hands for evaluation in real-world scenarios. Availability is slated for mid-Q3 2013. Economical devices like these are encouraging signs for the IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystem.

Source: Kickstarter

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  • Ninhalem - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    The reason for September is because they have yet to send the final designs to manufacturing. Plus as the Kickstarter page states, the manufacturer is a company known (doesn't give a name) for producing other well known routers and WIFI devices, so they need to wait a little bit till they can get a good slice of the pie. Plans stated that a big ramp up in production should occur in August. Reply
  • Rocket321 - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    My first thought upon seeing the product image :what is a router doing running Windows Phone O/S? Reply
  • kenyee - Wednesday, March 06, 2013 - link

    That was my main problem with it...it's home automation, but you have to use their API.
    If they provided web services or something off it that an Android phone or PC can talk to it, I would have been in for one :-)

    Wish it had four 802.11ac streams too, but they did two for cost reasons. Hope the next version has four...
    Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Saturday, March 09, 2013 - link

    I haven't looked too much into it, but they were talking about Hue and Ube integration. Reply
  • RouterGuy - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - link

    Securifi hasn't even filed for FCC approval yet. And that's a 3-6 month process. So the September ship date is suspect. I think 2014 H1 is more likely. Much of this seems like vaporware. By the time it hits the market you will be able to get 4x4 MIMO instead of just 2x2 for the same price or less, which means double the wireless speed. Also, home automation protocol gear on USB sticks is like $50 right now. Seems the only "cool" thing on the router is the touchscreen and at least to me that is just a gizmo. Reply
  • perpetualdark - Wednesday, April 02, 2014 - link

    I think the point is to have an "all in one" device. Think of it this way: So you get a wifi router, a zwave controller, a zigbee controller, then find software that can tie it all together (only a few out there and usually in standalone controllers with their own web interface and limited 3rd party programming, and darn expensive in some cases), THEN you have to know enough to set up DDNS and port forwarding so you can access it from outside the network.. At best you have pieced together 3 or 4 different brands of equipment and have no central contact for tech support, leaving this firmly in the realm of the enthusiast. A product that can tie all that together and make it easy for a consumer with no real technical ability to use AND one that is below $200 would be great for a number of people. And take it a step further, adding the ability for the enthusiasts to openly write software for this platform, in a couple years you could have a complete package with good support and extreme ease of use while maintaining the flexibility that the enthusiast market desires. This company is on the right path. HA will explode as soon as it is more affordable for the COMPLETE package, including a good way to control it all that is easily operated by any average Joe. Reply
  • VagabondSteve - Monday, April 21, 2014 - link

    I know this is an old article, and an old thread, but does anyone know if the company is still around? That release date of 3Q or even 4Q 2013 has come and gone, so has 1Q 2014 and still no product. Have they folded their tents and gone elsewhere? Anyone know? Reply

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