Shouting at your smart home like it's the Starship Enterprise is one step closer, with the ivee Sleek internet connected hands-free digital assistant finally on sale. Born of a Kickstarter earlier this year, and headed to Staples this month, the $229.99 clock-radio-lookalike aims to be the Siri of the smart home with support for voice commands across 33 categories including wireless plugs and lighting, temperature control, weather reports, and alarms.
The box is woken with the "hello ivee" command, after which point it reacts to natural-language prompts and instructions. That can include environmental controls, like "set the thermostat to 68 degrees", through more general requests, such as "what time is it in New York?" or "what is the weather forecast for Saturday?"
It's also possible to set alarms by voice - "wake me up at 7am" for instance - and even complete more unusual tasks, like asking for sleep sound effects to be played or even a bedtime story to be read out loud. ivee will be adding more supported commands as time goes on, the company promises, with the cloud-based processing meaning that updates are as straightforward as a server-side tweak rather than demanding new hardware.
Of course, ivee Sleek only works with certain, compatible smart home hardware, and that list is a little short at launch. Initially, the box will work with iControl Networks installations - and any remote locks, lighting, and other hardware linked up to them - but ivee says there'll be support for Staples Connect and Lowe's Iris come January 2014.
However, there'll eventually be direct support for products from Nest, Lockitron, Belkin, Philips, SmartThings, and Zonoff, for those without a central hub setup at home. [Update: ivee tells us that in fact this direct support is in the pipeline, not available at launch] The Sleek is available to order through ivee's own site now, at $229.99, or up for preorder at Staples, where it's listed at $199.99.