updated 06:43 pm EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
Manageable mFi devices include power outlet, light switch replacement
Ubiquiti, a company known for commercial connectivity solutions, slyly announced two new products yesterday as part of its re-launched site. The company expanded upon its mFi offerings, bringing in-wall management devices to the line to give consumers greater control over the power used in either home or commercial settings.
The two devices include the mFi Switch/Dimmer and the mFi Outlet. Both units were developed for use in building interiors. For consumers to install the devices indoors, wiring in the building needs to have a neutral wire as the install point. The in-wall devices use 802.11 b/g/n for wireless connections, allowing each to be controlled remotely.
Ubiquiti's new management devices can be used with or without the mFi Controller. Users without the controller can access a webpage for control and power monitoring. Those that pick up the mFi controller can set rules for automatic control, monitor historical usage and use scenes for control of multiple devices.
The mFi Switch/Dimmer is meant as a replacement for existing light switches. When first installed, the mode is defaulted to a switch, requiring users to change to a dimmer in the mFi Controller GUI or webpage. As a dimmer, it uses a TRIAC for current conduction, allowing several types of lights to be adjusted up to five amps. It's also touch-capacitive, but takes up more space than many standard switches. Ubiquiti says the switch works with existing gang plates with rectangular openings. Currently, it doesn't support multi-way switching.
Based on the same idea as the mFi mPower, the mFi Outlet gives consumers a direct replacement for power outlets. The design of the unit keeps it close to the wall, leaving minimal protrusion for those than want energy management and automation capabilities without a bulky box or turning to a power strip.
Currently the devices are only available in black, with white versions coming in the future. The mFi in-wall devices don't yet work with the iOS app. The company says that the units can be used with any Wi-Fi network. Pricing for the mFi additions start at $60. Mass production is seeing models completed and listed at some retailers now. According to the community boards, the company is working on a European version for a future release.