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Why this clever smart home remote is my favourite gadget of CES 2017

OPINION: Deputy Editor Andy Vandervell finds something useful among all the connected hairbrushes and smart water bottles.

The TV is king at CES 2017. From OLEDs to QLEDs, with a fresh dollop of quantum dots as an appetiser, it’s the show where I stare in wonder at pretty TVs I can’t afford.

But there’s another side to the show, a side I could politely call ‘connected crap’ or (less politely) ‘The Internet of S**t’, as one popular Twitter account dubs it.

These are the smart hairbrushes that “empower you to improve your hair health” and connected water bottles that “optimise your hydration”. The products that slap a big price tag on simple things and add no value whatsoever.

Worst of all, these products generate lots of noise through sheer novelty, while more worthy products languish in relative obscurity.


The Smart Remote from Sevenhugs is a nice antidote to these solutions-in-search-of-a-problem. Here’s a product that tackles a genuinely annoying problem – how to control all your random smart home gadgets – in a way that even a Luddite can understand.

The remote itself is nothing remarkable; it’s just a small, albeit elegant, touchscreen device. But there’s something far smarter going on here – smarter even than my beloved Logitech Harmony Elite.

Sevenhugs has developed a unique system for identifying what you’re pointing at. Point it at your Nest Thermostat and the Nest controls appear on the remote. Point it at your TV and the TV controls appear. It can control a huge range of smart devices, has IFTTT support and can even order an Uber.

It’s a modern twist on a gadget everyone understands, the humble TV remote. This is important because smart home products, clever as they often are, add complexity that puts people off. And the more gadgets you add to your home, the more apps and interfaces people have to learn.

That’s fine if you love your tech and don’t mind dealing with the occasional problem, but chances are the people you live with don’t agree. And do you really want to spend 10 minutes explaining everything to your parents when they come to visit? Probably not.

So well done, Sevenhugs, for coming up with an innovative, simple solution to a real problem. Sadly, most people will remember CES 2017 for the flashy TVs and stupid connected crap, but I’ll remember it for this innovative and elegant gadget.

The Smart Remote from Sevenhugs is available to pre-order on Kickstarter

Will you be buying one? Let us know in the comments below.

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