Credit: Quirky


An onslaught of open APIs and crowd-sourced product development is driving a new wave of innovation that’s taking the home and its building systems online to improve efficiency. The Spotter, which lets users wirelessly track interior conditions such as lighting, temperature, humidity, motion, and sound using a sleek widget and a smart phone, derives from a partnership announced in April 2013 between General Electric and smart-products start-up Quirky. In November, the pair announced their first round of products, which includes a wireless egg-freshness monitor and a pivoting power strip that can be turned on and off remotely using a mobile device. In the case of the Spotter, users can customize the multipurpose sensor to set rules for determining which internal functions to track and how, and it can be installed on most surfaces in the home. quirky.com