Innovation That Matters

Affordable plug adapters make any appliance smartphone-controlled


Beijing-based Plugaway enables consumers to simply plug an adapter into each power socket to turn whatever's connected into a smart device.


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This is part of a new series of articles that looks at entrepreneurs hoping to get their ideas off the ground through crowdfunding. At the time of writing, each of these innovations is currently seeking funding.

Many new devices are now coming with smartphone connectivity as standard, but what about households who can’t afford to replace their existing appliances? While we’ve previously seen one option in the form of the engineer-installed digitalSTROM system, now Beijing-based Plugaway enables consumers to simply plug an adapter into each power socket to turn whatever’s connected into a smart device.

Seeking funding through Kickstarter for the next five days, the system is a highly affordable way to make any electronic element of the home connected to owners’ smartphones, regardless of when it was made. Each AUD 30 adapter is simply plugged into a socket and the desired device is plugged into the adapter. The Plugaway modules automatically sync with home wifi networks and can automatically be controlled or monitored through the companion app. Consumers can see how much energy they’re using, turn devices on or off on demand, schedule or time them to come on at particular points of the day, dim lights and receive notifications about whatever data they please. The app is open source, meaning businesses and homeowners can customize it to their own uses and aesthetic preferences. It works with If This Then That — the platform that lets users create ‘recipes’ by combining different social and web-based services with simple rules. The video below explains more about the project:

Plugaway is part of a growing trend of devices that help transform unconnected houses into web-enabled smart homes through retrofitting, bringing new technologies into use before they’re universally accessible or affordable. What other recent tech developments can be made available to consumers now, rather than having them wait?




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