LAS VEGAS — How about replacing your light switch with something a little smarter? At its very basic level, the NuBryte console replaces your in-wall light switch with a touchscreen panel, through which you can control your lights. However, each NuBryte has several other features that, when connected wirelessly with additional consoles, create a whole-home smart network designed not only for comfort, but to keep family members connected.
In each console (currently available for preorder at $149 each) is a small camera with a 120-degree field of vision that can be used for security and communication (you can video conference with other consoles, or through NuBryte's smartphone app). Using this camera, the console will detect when someone enters a room, and will adjust the lighting in that room based on your behavior.
The NuBryte is preconfigured with several lighting modes (morning, welcome home, night light and vacation) that can be customized by the homeowner. I found night light and vacation to be two of the more intriguing modes: The former will turn the lights on just enough so that you can find your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and the latter will turn the lights on and off in your home to make it look like you're still there.
If the console is in vacation mode and it detects movement, it will turn on the lights in that room, and start recording video of the intruder, which will then be stored in the cloud and sent to your smartphone. You can adjust its sensitivity for pets, too.
Cleverly, an individual can send a message via the smartphone app that will appear on the NuBryte console in the house. So, for example, if you're running late, you can send a note telling your spouse to hold off on dinner for another 30 minutes. He or she, in turn, can send you a message telling you to pick up a quart of milk on your way home. The camera and consoles can also be used as an intercom.
Although it's still being finalized, I found the NuBryte's interface to be friendly and easy to navigate. Four panels on the home screen let you control the lights, see the weather conditions, set an alarm and view your power consumption. There's also a screen for a family calendar, so you can see what everyone's doing at a glance, and the console can send you an alert if the weather changes rapidly. As a nice perk, you can set the console's screensaver to show photos. The smartphone app, which mimics that of the NuBryte, was equally intuitive.
The NuBryte is roughly square, at 5.23 x 4.75 x 0.42 inches, and can fit either a one or two-switch panel. As it requires tinkering with your home electrical system, I imagine many customers — except early adopters and the intrepid — to have an electrician install the consoles. Currently, the NuBryte doesn't link to any other smart home devices, but the company is releasing its API, so there's a chance it could by the time it ships in June.