The new Brilliant Control enables easier in-home operation of smart home technology.
By Jim Harris
Smartphones and mobile apps have revolutionized the way people do just about anything, from shopping and ordering food to getting a ride home. In the eyes of Brilliant’s founders, however, there’s one thing existing apps can’t do well.
“We feel the user experience of the smart home right now is broken,” says Aaron Emigh, CEO and co-founder of Brilliant.
Emigh, who launched the company in November 2016 with partners Steven Stanek and Jeremy Hiatt, experienced first-hand the disadvantage of smart home apps and devices while remodeling his home a few years ago. “Smart devices are no longer just gadgets for geeks – they’re adding significant value to the home,” he says. “However, as I was adding devices into my home, I found that I was enjoying the experience of the house less and less.
“I found it strange that, in order to use a device inside my home, I had to get my smartphone, authenticate it, open an app and then get to an area in my home where I had a strong signal,” Emigh adds. “A smartphone is good for remote control, but not good at giving you capabilities for a place when you are in that place.”
A Brilliant Solution
To solve this problem, Brilliant developed The Brilliant Control, a smart home control panel that replaces an existing light switch to give user touch and voice access to all of your smart home products. It gives users smart lighting and control over smart devices such as the Nest thermostat or Sonos sound system, as well as locks, garage doors and other systems. The Briliant Control – which will be available in early 2018 – can be be installed in minutes.
“Our approach makes the smart home experience easy and delightful for homeowners, families and show homes,” Emigh says. “We allow anybody in a house to control the house from any room they’re in with touch, voice, or motion control. This is a great option for family homes, luxury homes, remodels, 55+ housing, and more.”
A light switch-like device is the ideal controller for a smart home, in part because of its ubiquity. “There’s one in every room, and it’s something people use all the time,” he adds. “You can place the [Brilliant Control] anywhere in the house that you want people to have control. Our early customers have shown a 28 percent increase in the use of smart home products, and 96 percent learn to use it in less than three seconds.”
The Brilliant Control requires no special wiring or construction. “It is a great solution for new construction and also easy to retrofit,” Emigh says. “From a homebuilding perspective, it gives you a late decision point – because you don’t have to run custom wiring to install it, you can build a home and later decide to put smart technology in without having to rip your walls open. It’s significantly faster and simpler than highly customized systems like Control4, Crestron and Savant that can takes weeks and tens of thousands of dollars in custom work.”
The Control can also ease the demonstration process for spec homebuilders. “Homebuilders have a problem when it comes to showing owners what options they have and how smart technology will work within a home,” Emigh says. “It’s not appealing if you go to a model home and are shown two smartphones and an iPad and have to launch different apps. However, if you’re in a model home and can access smart capabilities from every room with touch or voice, the home will show really well.”
The Next Step
Brilliant’s founders are experienced in the technology world, as they previously developed shopkick, the No. 1 retail mobile app that was acquired by SK Planet in 2014. The company’s team also includes former employees of tech giants including Apple, Sonos, Philips, Cisco, PayPal and Epiphany software.
The company is applying its team’s experience not only to the Brilliant Control, but other technologies now under development.
Emigh believes the Brilliant Control will be a staple in smart homes for years to come. “[The Control] is the next stage in the evolution of smart home control,” he says. “Seamless touch, voice, and motion control in every room, all with a product that can be installed in minutes – there is nothing else like it on the market.”
For more information about the Brilliant Control, sign up for the company’s mailing list at brilliant.tech.