Let me take you back to the first decade of the 21st century which is often regarded as the decade of innovation, the one that witnessed many revolutionary technological inventions. During that time, the consumer home was changing in many exciting ways with an influx of new and improved entertainment devices, home theater systems, home automation products and more.
Since launch, Nevo line of products have been changing what an ultimate home control solution should look like, and has been constantly finding new ways to put consumers in charge of their devices and services at home, all through elegantly designed products and experiences.
This post is dedicated to each and every member of Nevo Labs who have contributed in building these great products that are still an inspiration for one and all.
Nevo - New Evolution in Home Control, symbolizes our vision and journey of building an extensible smart home platform, beginning at a time when even the idea of a connected home was in its infancy.
Nevo, at its core, is focused on the consumer experience of interaction with devices, content, and services within the home. Identifying and solving friction points in upcoming technology and industry trends, starting from digital media streaming even before it was a common use case, or addressing smart home fragmentation before it was identified as a major friction point in market adoption.
Nevo was designed in all its embodiments for simplicity where users, ranging from CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design And Installation Association) experts to novices could set up, control and interact with all their devices.
Evolution of Nevo Products
The Nevo line of products have evolved in many different forms for both retail as well as CEDIA professional installer market, offering a range of features through different products such as Nevo iPAQ, NevoConnect, Nevo S70, Nevo SL, NevoStudio, Nevo Home and recently previewed Nevo.AI
In this post, we will discuss a few Nevo products. More detailed Nevo story can be found here.
2001: Nevo on iPAQ
In the year 2001, the very first embodiment of Nevo was released. A Personal Digital Assitant (PDA) built by HP (Compaq at that time). This consumer-facing retail product targeting busy professionals came embedded with Nevo application and offered full touchscreen capabilities. UEI's blaster chip inside made this device a full-blown universal control device, and the intuitive graphical user interface enabled simple gesture control of almost any system in the home.
Predicting the expansion of digital media and personal content in the home (although a bit too early!), Nevo allowed the users to browse digital media content across devices. In order to complete the experience, Nevo also included a complete bundle of media server & player that could make users' content on personal computers accessible across home networks.
As the next natural step, Nevo was integrated on Viewsonic Smart Displays (the predecessor to what we call Tablets now, what Steve Jobs is said to have initially questioned as a viable product and yet he created the best version of!). These devices offered a much larger surface for home control, and we could always see how they could benefit the experience as a second screen in the Home. However, these products were limited to a small segment of the market, and never made it into the mainstream, partly due to price points as well as other technological gaps that still existed in the home. Team Nevo had already started working on the next set of products.
2005: Nevo SL
Numbers suggest that in 2005, about over 25 million homes in the US had an installed network of over 200 million music tracks and 80 Billion digital photos in a year and consumers were looking for new means and solutions to control their devices as well as the digital media.
Launched in 2005, the first generation product of this family, Nevo SL was the universal controller that intuitively delivered a complete A/V (Audio/Video) and digital media control for a networked home. This phenomenal product was extremely popular among the professional installers that enabled customized solutions in many high-end consumer homes.
Nevo SL was the universal controller that intuitively delivered a complete A/V and digital media control for a networked home.
The final sketch of Nevo SL proudly signed off by the design team as they continued to work on the next designs can be found below.
Nevo SL came with a complete suite of tools and services, including configuration software and cloud services- NevoStudio Pro, designed with a simple drag and drop interface to customize and program the Nevo controllers.
Nevo SL, an intuitive Windows CE based computing device capable of running a range of applications, and powered with infrared for A/V control and Wi-Fi for digital media control. It incorporated the Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP) protocol to discover and interact with any new digital media content and devices. It also had an optional NevoLink, an IP-addressable networked infrared (IR) blaster that enabled multi-room control of devices.
Nevo SL could be completely customized in order to match the home theater systems. It offered state of the art technology that came with capabilities that were beyond regular device control as it enabled the users to interact with their devices. Read More
"Nevo SL, with its hybrid or multiprotocol (IR and Wi-Fi) support and UEI's connectivity software, is cool, useful, and certainly a contender to win the hearts and minds of consumers," said Tricia Parks in 2005 in an interview to Business Insider. Read More
"Nevo SL, with its hybrid or multiprotocol (IR and Wi-Fi) support and UEI's connectivity software, is cool, useful, and certainly a contender to win the hearts and minds of consumers"
Let us start with a simple example where a consumer bought an installation service and made a request that the lights and TV in the house should turn off every Monday at 10 PM. In another request, a consumer wanted to set up some kind of vacation mode that gets activated when the family was away. How would installers achieve something like this back in the day?
NevoStudio software suite provided a complete visual programming interface to enable the professional installers to customize and program the Nevo controllers with simple drag and drop operations. No coding required unless they really wanted to! It was flexible and easy to configure software that could meet the requirements of the customers.
At the simplest form, imagine a series of “if-this-then-that” rules, to more complex configurations handling complete home automation scenarios controlling a wide array of smart home devices.
With the NevoStudio Pro software, installers could use the Nevo widgets to create smart graphical elements and target-specific rules, add actions to assign them to a widget for a dynamic graphical user interface. Imagine a configurable thermostat widget (that actually looks like a thermostat, maybe a circular one!) that you can really interact with, which also provides a real-time feedback so that you can turn the knob and see it adjust.
People simply loved the power that these widgets gave them through simple visual programming. We basically empowered every single installer to really take over a strong home gateway such as Nevo.
With Smart home devices still in their infancy, we did see fragmentation and interoperability as a key factor in consumer experience. With the introduction of .Nevo plug-ins, Nevo offered a complete application framework for developing and running plug-ins for a wide range of smart devices and use cases. Installers could generate their own programs, simulate and debug their plug-ins within NevoStudio, and finally distribute and run them on Nevo hardware.
The NevoXpress wireless download feature also enabled an over the air update of devices, remotely! It enabled simple programming updates as long as the user had Wi-Fi network without any additional cables or special instructions, or better yet, it allowed a professional installer to remotely push updates to the Nevo controller devices so everything keeps working just as expected.
NevoStudio software suite provided a complete visual programming interface to build custom home control configurations by simple drag and drop operations.
This technology can be considered as the trendsetter for today's whole home solutions that are trying to build similar solutions to simplify the experience of the end users. The key here is to deliver this level of experience, originally offered to professional markets to a much larger and mainstream audience.
2008: Nevo S70
Next in line was the elegantly designed Nevo S70 released in 2008, that added simplicity of one-touch control across AV and Home Automation (the roots of our OTV feature) to the digital home. Once again a popular universal controller that had the power to deliver a new control experience across A/V, digital media, and home control. In addition to infrared (IR), the Nevo S70 came with Z-Wave and Wi-Fi technologies, to attain the best in class operations for reliable A/V (Audio/Video) control as well as advanced home automation and control.
Through Wi-Fi connectivity, Nevo S70 offered integration capabilities with IP cameras for home security, control over a wide range of home automation systems, as well as control over digital media streaming. It allowed the users to instantly browse web content from sites such as weather.com, ESPN.com, and TVGuide.com. The Nevo Q50 was a similar touch screen product offering both infrared and Z-wave technology.
As the single control point for all aspects of the Smart Home, the Nevo S70 came with Z-Wave, Wi-Fi and infrared (IR) technologies, to attain the best in class operations for reliable A/V control and home automation.
Z-Wave connectivity and NevoStudio Pro capabilities offered a complete framework for building home automation systems, ranging from lighting control, smart thermostat integration, and much more. NevoConnect accessory added the extra layers of sensing and remote control needed to complete the picture.
This family of products delivered a brand new experience of what could (and should) be possible in a smarter home. It also helped us learn a lot, and see the value of what these capabilities would bring to a larger audience. This also coincided with the rise of smartphones, iPhone to be specific!
In order to deliver the benefits of Nevo to a wider audience, we took a detour and started integrating the underlying capabilities of our technology (QuickSet) into everyday products that consumers use (Smart TVs, Set-top-boxes, Audio Receivers and more). That has been a fun journey with success stories to be proud of!
2017: Nevo Home
In 2017 we released Nevo Home (Beta), a consumer app that discovers networked devices within the home and enables the users to control and interact with them through a live dashboard. We released this application as a preview of our vision and what we believe is possible.
Nevo Home live dashboard enables the users to navigate through the usage history across devices, capture and share favorite moments and receive proactive notifications. With Nevo Home, users can also achieve one-touch control of their devices and the associated content.
The App is free and you can download the latest version of Nevo Home from Google Play Store .
Since its launch, Nevo has helped evolve the smart home experience. We are living in interesting times where the connected home is evolving faster than ever and many great products and services can really benefit the consumers, as long as they can respect the consumers' desire for interoperability with other services in the home. This is possible with an even playing field for all innovators, avoiding a future of duopoly that may risk innovation in the long run.
This year at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Las Vegas, we presented the preview of Nevo AI. Nevo as a personal assistant will leverage all functions and capabilities of QuickSet and add a layer of intelligence to make the device setup, control and interaction even simpler than before. Stay tuned for more updates on this one!
Nevo Labs is our innovation hub where we are constantly identifying the needs of a connected home and building elegant and forward-thinking whole home solutions that simplify the consumer experience. Follow us on our social media handles (Twitter, Instagram) and be a part of our everyday lives.