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Monday, 3 December 2012

MyStrom - App Review


If you live in a house or apartment where everything can be remotely controlled and timed, this App will not interest you. If you're still reading, you are very much in the majority. myStrom is a true game changer; I've been waiting for something like this for years. The App itself is designed to control three types of switch. The 'Red' switch connects directly to your Internet router and is the control centre for your installation; it should always be 'on', otherwise you lose the ability to remotely control. The ‘White’ switch, of which you can have up to 25, is the foot soldier; these are used to control any electrical appliance that is plugged into the mains and also to monitor electricity usage. The ‘Blue’ adaptor extends your network with an Ethernet socket, as well as acting as a switch.
The solution is marketed as a way of monitoring electrical consumption and switching off any device remotely. Obviously, it will reduce your electricity consumption (hence costs) by switching off unnecessary appliances. Moreover, there are massive savings to be made in addition to the electrical ones. I am using one switch to control an oil-fired boiler and the savings are substantial in reduced heating oil consumption. There are however applications where it will increase (!) consumption, and you will be only too pleased. I am, partially, using the system to control many different light switches which act as a burglar deterrent. Not only is each device individually programmed but it can also be overridden at any time with the App.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The main screen allows you to choose to display your individual switches in either matrix or line view. It cannot be ordered which is a bit of a shame but, there are plenty of positives. In matrix view you can easily switch any appliance on/off, and the background changes from grey (off) to green (on). Additionally, in list view, you are also clearly informed of the state of any timer(s). Any switching you do overrides the timer, until the preprogramed timer takes the switch to the opposite state (in exactly the same way as a mechanical timer).
It’s worth noting that you can only adjust a timer using the web interface.
You can easily also have access to overall usage and individual switch consumption, analysed by day, week, month, or year, and all this either in electrical units (Watt or KWh) or hard cash (you choose your electrical tariff by provider).
If you manually change the state of a switch, this is immediately reflected in the App; neat.

Cost
The App is free... the switches that are controlled are obviously not! In order to have access to your switches via the App you need to open an account with myStrom. There are two levels: the Basic account is absolutely free but limited to turning appliances on and off; the Premium account also allows the use of unlimited timers on each individual switch, as well as detailed consumption monitoring, and the ability to receive e-mail or SMS alerts if there is ‘excessive’0 consumption (you decide what this is per node). You might want to try the Basic one to convince yourself but, I’d be very surprised if you don’t upgrade to Premium; it’s well worth the small cost.

Indispensability
If you try it, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

Dependability
Once everything is properly set up, it has worked flawlessly. A word of caution though if you are installing many switches. You have the option of either following the manual and pairing every switch individually, running from sender to receiver and back again to your PC (which will almost certainly be at the sender end) for every switch; you could view this as an additional saving and cancel your gym membership. The alternative is to ignore the manual and use an extension lead to pair each additional receiver from the comfort of your desk, and then simply take your time to plug each one into whatever socket you wish to use. If you do encounter a problem, the customer support is extremely responsive.

Security
As far as the App is concerned, I think one can be fairly relaxed… in the sense that all you are doing is checking the information on myStrom’s servers and possibly altering the state of switches.

ACIDS Test Rating:
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Shangri-La... maybe not quite but certainly well on the way there.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.

You can get myStrom here and support for the App here.

4 comments:

  1. The developer advises that there has been an update to version 2.06 of the App.

    This includes the following enhancements and alterations:

    Bug fixes

    ReplyDelete
  2. The developer advises that there has been an update to version 2.11 of the App.

    This includes the following enhancements and alterations:

    Bug fixes

    ReplyDelete
  3. The developer advises that there has been an update to version 2.12 of the App.

    This includes the following enhancements and alterations:

    Bug fixes

    ReplyDelete
  4. The developer advises that there has been an update to version 2.13 of the App.

    This includes the following enhancements and alterations:

    Bug fixes.

    ReplyDelete

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