Meet Peq, The Next Smart Home Hub

Dave Zatz —  August 14, 2014 — 9 Comments

peq-box

As if we didn’t have enough smart home hub entrants, Peq appears poised to launched. Pronounced “peek”, we believe this newcomer is Best Buy’s answer to Lowe’s Iris and Staples Connect – a home automation solution we’ve been tracking since January. While sources originally indicated we’d see both a fee-free tier and subscription options, Peq marketing materials refer only to a monthly fee… which immediately puts it at a retail disadvantage compared to Staples, Wink, and SmartThings.

USE PĒQ FOR JUST $9.99 A MONTH. NO CONTRACT.

  • Make your own custom rules to personalize your service
  • Receive alerts via e-mail or text message
  • Add additional devices anytime, no additional monthly fee
  • Get ongoing updates to your apps and devices
  • Stream live video and record & store videos and pictures
  • Access pēq’s dedicated customer care team seven days a week

Unlike Revolv‘s extreme $299 hardware pricing, Peq has bundles starting at $120, that include a Netgear hub housing the requisite radios and likely local logic. And, taking a page from SmartThings book, Peq will offer up a variety of branded sensors… which is what a source indicates Best Buy is banking on.

 

Of course, if you’re home control curious, there’s really no need to wait on an unproven solution (saddled with ongoing fees)… as Wink, SmartThings, and Staples Connect all currently offer solutions under a hundred bucks. While we can’t actually recommend the unreliable, buggy Wink (which was temporarily suspended by Amazon), both SmartThings and Staples Connect are compelling, economical options… and we’re partial to Staples Connect, which strikes an admirable balance between functionality and usability.

9 responses to Meet Peq, The Next Smart Home Hub

  1. Some notes… I’d been planning to sit on this for awhile, but I’m recording a home automation podcast tonight with Richard Gunther of the Digital Media Zone, figured I better get the details out there if I want to discuss. Related, I received some unsolicited press outreach which indicates a new solution is coming, with retail and wireless partners. Assuming this is it, which I do, SmartHome Ventures, the company behind Peq, mentions their execs have ties to Sprint

    One benefit associated with Peq’s fees is video archiving. That’s a nice-to-have feature. Assuming you have a camera that’s supported and assuming you don’t get similar via other means.

  2. CePro has done some additional digging to determine the Peq sensors are white labeled Visonic and SMC — and Zigbee-based, as originally suggested to us in January.

    http://www.cepro.com/article/introducing_peq_best_buys_new_home_automation_system/

    No mention of support for Z-wave, which right now represents the largest selection in home automation gadegtry.

  3. Dave, another interesting project you might want to look (though I suspect you already know about it as you are on top of this things ) at is Almond+. It’s a 802.11ac router + z-wave controller + touchscreen. No fees. I backed it on Kickstarter awhile ago (it was really late) but mine shipped yesterday. Other backers who have received theirs seem quite happy with it.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2037429657/almond-80211ac-touchscreen-wifi-router-smart-home

  4. Yah, I’m aware of. Haven’t looked closely given limited distribution at this point. Wonder if replacing a core router limits their opportunity in some way, as the uber geeks probably already have something they like all tricked out. Kinda related, Nest has some Z stuff built-in – wonder if they’ve ever pull the trigger and use the thermostat as some sort of hub and in relation to their developer program. (And that’s what their newly acquired Dropcam is doing to power door/window sensors.)

  5. The Dropcam Tabs were put on hold after the Nest acquisition. I was looking forward to the launch.

  6. GigaOm has confirmed Peq is powered by iControl, who are also the folks behind Comcast’s home automation stuff and who had recently acquired the Piper, which had some decent buzz. Not sure why iControl didn’t pitch Best Buy and the like directly, versus an intermediary (SmartHome Ventures) licensing their tech for resale.

    http://gigaom.com/2014/08/14/look-best-buy-outed-its-peq-home-automation-hub-on-youtube/

    Also interesting to see Zigbee-only support. While Zigbee is gaining traction, it currently limits accessory options – and they sure are launching with quite a few branded sensors and such. Presumably for more control, simpler support, and to lock up the revenue stream? SmartHome Ventures has offered to hop on a call with us. Adam or I will take a closer look and possibly take them up on their offer once we get our hands on some hardware. Not that I discussed this plan with Adam. :)

  7. Anyone have any experience with MiCasaVerde? These recent articles reminded me that I had bought one a few years ago and had left it in a box in my basement due to a lack of time. I have yet to dig it out… Waiting for a good weekend to play with it.

  8. I go on vacation for a week…and Dave is already giving me more work to do… ;-)

  9. ZigBee actually beats Z-Wave for the number of and types of devices. They’re available on Amazon, and availability will grow with the big MSOs and Best Buy providing a viable market. Who shops for electronics at Home Depot?

    ZB has a number of advantages: OTA upgradability (ZW 500-series chipsets supports OTA, but they’re not widely available), low power enough for security sensors (e.g., door/window sensors, motion sensors can last 5+ years on a single (or single set of) battery/ies), and more chip suppliers (component prices are starting to come down quickly).

    You’re also starting to see “gen 2″ devices that are being designed from the beginning around wireless instead of being bolted on to an existing SKU as an afterthought. The designs I’m seeing are really attractive and are finally overcoming the ugly white plastics problem that has plagued home automation for a long time. None of these are being made in ZW flavors.

    It’s been interesting as someone in this space for 5+ years to see the notable momentum shift in favor of ZB in the past 6 months. I used to hear a lot of interest in our partners for both flavors but hear very little around ZW these days.

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