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Brief Published: 4 Apr 2016

Zoe: Smart & Safe Home Assistant


German software start-up Protonet has designed a smart home device that can understand voice commands, monitor security, and adapt temperature and lighting – all while protecting privacy by storing information away from the cloud.

The assistant, called Zoe, is able to learn behavioural patterns and will coordinate connected home devices accordingly. Users can teach it actions specific to certain conditions – for example, turning on a light after unlocking the front door. The device also has advanced speech-recognition technology, allowing commands to be spoken.

Privacy is guaranteed, as all the data collected is stored directly on the hub. The device does not charge monthly fees and functions independently of any cloud, meaning it can work without an internet or wi-fi connection.

Zoe's design is sleek and simple, and can be personalised with different backlit colours or graphics printed onto switchable magnetic front plates. We discuss this shift towards more integrated and subtle home-tech design in Seamless Tech: Home & Away.

"With the Protonet Zoe, we will bring one of the smartest and most aesthetic smart home hubs to the market in 2016. Our clear goal is 'the home of the free made smart', because people should be able to choose how to live with modern technology, even at home," said co-founder Ali Jelveh.

Zoe is available on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo from $149 and is set to ship in December 2016.

For more on how ubiquitous connectivity is dramatically shifting the way people live, see The Streamlined Self: DLD 2016.