This product from Shenzhen Landing gets five stars for concept–heck, I’ll give it eight stars for concept–but three stars for execution. The IvyPlug, the latest offering in the growing internet of things industry, gives the user a single-outlet plug that feeds off the home’s WiFi connection in order to make the plug accessible from anywhere. It’s controlled by the user’s iOS or Android device via a free app, allowing the user to turn the plug (and therefore, anything plugged into the plug) on and off via the smartphone or tablet. It even offers detailed data on usage so you can keep track of how much power you’re using.
Well, that’s the theory, anyway. After the first few hiccups in trying to get the app to work and to recognize the plug, it worked seamlessly.
I can sit and watch the indicator light go from green to yellow at the touch of a fingertip on my old iPhone, and I can even hear the audible click of the outlet powering on and off as I do so. Being away from home, though, isn’t quite as functional. I’ve tried using the app to activate the plug from even within my own town and while connected to not only cell towers with full coverage, I’ve even tried connecting my iPhone to a friend’s WiFi, but I get an error message each time I try. Moreover, even while sitting at home and staring directly at the plug, I get an error message informing me it can’t retrieve the data on my power usage.
The product itself has a ton of life-changing applications. Users can leave their window unit heating or cooling units turned off while they’re at work, then activate them as they start to head home. You can now leave a lamp plugged in and turned on at all times, then only activate the outlet itself if you arrived home well after dark. I already know one user who purchased one to install with his garden’s irrigation system so he doesn’t have to rely on an automatic timer; even when he’s at work or traveling for business, he can activate the plug only when weather forecasts call for it, instead of turning on the faucet via a timer and wasting precious clean water in the rain.
Once the bugs get worked out, this stands to be an amazing product (we’ll ignore the revenge tactics one user has already found for the device, and hope her outlet never functions properly). Kudos to Shenzhen Landing for producing the product, though, and I really hope the system functions properly very soon.