Tech DeKoded — Universal remotes for smart homes

NEEO Remote

The universal remote is a hardcore couch potato’s most loyal sidekick, always there by her side — except for those rare occasions when it disappears down the gaps in the sofa, or the owner is unable to locate it because she is sitting right on top of it. But otherwise, you will find this hard-working device tirelessly carrying out commands at the press of a button — whether it is turning things on or off, switching channels on the TV, adjusting the room temperature, or any sundry task that would otherwise require the owner to actually get up and walk across the room.
And as smart devices gradually enter your home, you will increasingly feel the need to have a simple, unified way to control most or, hopefully, all of your home electronics. No, a smartphone will not do the trick — most phones lack an infrared sensor and won’t be able to control lot of your existing gear.
NEEO RemoteBut an interesting example of future universal remotes is Neeo, a “thinking remote” which was on display at CES 2016, after raising over $1.5 million on the crowd-funding platform, Kickstarter. It claims to be tailormade for smart homes and promises to be the “most instant interface to control your AV devices and smart home gadgets”. Neeo includes a touchscreen, gesture recognition, and can control devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or good old infrared. Besides, it has an aluminium body, and should be able to take a few knocks without falling apart.
Savant RemoteAlso in the fray is the Savant remote which claims to be “the only remote you need”. It currently works with over 380,000 devices, and has voice recognition baked in — for example, if you press the microphone button on it and say, “Goodnight”, it will tuck all your electronics into their digital beds before turning itself off.
Elsewhere at CES 2016, Samsung announced the Smart Control Remote which can serve “as a single control unit for nearly all devices connected to a Samsung Smart TV”. The company is leveraging its purchase of SmartThings, to create better synergy between TVs, remotes and IoT devices in your home.