Home-automation company INSTEON and Microsoft have finally managed to get stock of their kits and accessories to Microsoft Stores, both online and physical. The deal is exclusive to Microsoft.
First announced in mid-May, INSTEON's products support Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 PCs and tablets, letting users control various devices like motion sensors, thermostats, Wi-Fi cameras and more when away from home. Microsoft Stores are stocking three kits, in addition to separate items including Wi-Fi cameras, leak detectors and INSTEON LED lightbulbs.
The three kits range from $199 up to $499, and consist of
- Starter kit ($199 – Link) – INSTEON hub, on/off module, motion sensor, Wi-Fi camera
- Home Kit ($299 – Link) - INSTEON hub, on/off module, motion sensor, Wi-Fi camera, plus thermostat and open/close sensor
- Business Kit ($499 – Link) - INSTEON hub, on/off module, 2 motion sensors, 2 Wi-Fi cameras, thermostat, 2 open/close sensors, 3 leak sensors
Customers can order the kits directly from the Microsoft Store online with free ground shipping in the US.
Home automation is considered to be the next big growth area as the "internet of things" (IoT) gains momentum. Letting people "see" their home through a Wi-Fi camera, remotely controlling their thermostat, or turning on the light bulb can now all be achieved from your phone when you hundreds of miles away. Alternatively, users can set individual appliances to go on or off at specific times. For instance, on a hot summer day, you could have an air conditioner turn on 30 minutes before you get home for work, or have the lights on waiting for you. Some other exclusive features include:
- Visitor Mode – provides restricted access to children or guests in your home
- Live Tiles – get status on multiple devices directly on your Windows 8.1 Start screen (not currently available on Windows Phone 8)
- Enhanced Camera Support – view multiple cameras at once, view full-screen, and camera support without the need of an INSTEON Hub
- Multi-House Support – enables you to control multiple homes or businesses from a single account
- Dashboard View – a quick and organized view of the status of your home
We've ordered up the Home Kit to test ourselves, so make sure to look out for our unboxing and breakdown in the coming days. Let us know in comments if wiring up your home is something you are interested in, and if INSTEON is your next purchase. While you wait, you can grab the Windows and Windows Phone apps below.