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  Technology   Gadgets  18 Nov 2016  Oakter Smart Home review: Make your home smart, starting Rs 2,800

Oakter Smart Home review: Make your home smart, starting Rs 2,800

Published : Nov 18, 2016, 10:41 am IST
Updated : Nov 18, 2016, 4:49 pm IST

Oakter is an IoT kit for your home using which, you can control your existing appliances, even if they are not smart.

Oakter includes three main components — a central controller hub, and two smart switches or leaves (6A and 16A). You can purchase additional hubs, switches and devices such as thermostats and door locks that latch up to the existing setup to form and control a larger home.
 Oakter includes three main components — a central controller hub, and two smart switches or leaves (6A and 16A). You can purchase additional hubs, switches and devices such as thermostats and door locks that latch up to the existing setup to form and control a larger home.

Many of you out there could still be wondering about the word ‘IoT’. Well, IoT, or Internet of Things, is a term used for inter-networking of physical devices, which could include anything from basic household appliances to smartphones and vehicles. Basically, and IoT device needs the appliance or gadget to be smart and have network connectivity options where they can share data over the network, wired or wirelessly. Devices such as security cameras, door bells, door locks, air conditioners, air purifiers, lights, fans, and pretty much anything electronic that can (or needs to) be controlled. Interconnecting these devices into single network(s) is what forms an IoT setup. With a few too many devices today being compatible with IoT, we are looking at a future where smart homes, smart vehicles, smart offices and smart cities are no longer a fiction. Imagine a scenario where you can automatically turn on your air conditioner, water heater, lights and music in your house the moment you reach your parking lot, open your main door with the touch of a button on your smartphone, and enter into your home without the worry about switching on stuff around your house each time. Or for that matter, imagine you rushing out of your city and later remember that you left your air conditioner running in your bedroom — you simply turn it off with your smartphone from another city or country. Well, interconnected automation is the word here. While these were only seen in fiction flicks like James bond a decade ago, they are already here in reality, and you should know that they won’t cost you a kidney.

Oakter Smart Home

In order to bring the luxury of smart homes to the common man, Oakter, an Indian startup founded Shishir K Gupta, Nithin K David and Varun Gupta based out of Noida, wants to make your existing home smarter. Oakter is an IoT kit that can be installed in your home and control your existing appliances, even if they are not smart.

Oakter is available for a starting price of Rs 2,800 and includes two main components — a central controller hub, and one smart switches or leaves (6 amp Smart Plug). You can purchase additional hubs, switches and devices such as 16 amp  Smart Plug, 25 amp Smart Box, Smart thermostats(Temperature  sensor), Touch Leaf(Wireless Remote) and Smart Door Locks that latch up to the existing setup to form and control a larger home.

Oakter Smart Home

The hub: This little device is the heart of the entire IoT implementation. It connects to your existing home Wi-Fi network and provides internet connectivity to the connected smart Oakter devices in its network. You can connect up to 50 such Oakter devices to a single hub and alternatively, connect multiple hubs and have more devices thereon. While a single hub can be sufficient for a regular home, multiple hubs can be deployed for setups in offices, buildings and alike. Each Oakter device can connect to the hub within a radius of 90 — 40 metres, depending on line of sight and obstacles in between.

The hub has a pretty small footprint — the size of a regular wallet, albeit a tad thicker. While in colour, the hub is all plastic with just a simple brand name printed on it and power/status indicator LED up front. The bottom houses the power socket which connects to an external power brick. Sadly, the hub is not wall mountable, not has any rubber stands or legs. Hence one has to keep it lying on a table, or a glass shelf, somewhere in the middle of the home where all the Oakter devices connected to it are well in range. Oakter should look into this little feature which can help users keep the device out of sight, especially with homes that have interiors that won’t allow the hub to blend into the surroundings.

Oakter Smart HomeOakter Smart Home

The leaves: With the starter kit, you get two smart switches bundled along. These look like converter plugs, are fairly larger than conventional plugs. Each smart plug or leaf houses a built-in power supply, a circuit and an electronic switch. The circuit has a built-in RF radio-controller that connects to the hub and the trigger is a relay that switches on or off the power. The leaf needs to be inserted into a regular wall power socket and the device that needs to be operated will be connected through the leaf using the power socket on the front. Each leaf has an LED indicator to notify about the status and connectivity with the hub. The two smart switches or leaves are 6A and 16A, each can control regular devices to air conditioners and water heaters depending on the power rating of the appliance.


Other smart Oakter devices: These need to be bought separately. You can purchase them as and when you need or buy them together. Other Oakter smart devices include additional smart switches or leaves, a smart lock and a thermostat. More Oakter smart devices will be added to the line, but no information has been updated from Oakter. While some are regular smart switches, others are touch-enabled smart boxes, which don’t have a physical switch and can only be controlled via the app. These can be mounted directly into the walls for concealed wiring setups by replacing existing switchboards. 

Below are the prices for the different devices and kits presently available by Oakter:


  • K1: Smart Home Kit, MSP Rs 10,000
  • K2: Basic Smart Home Kit, MSP Rs 4,750
  • K3: Smart Lock with Hub, MSP Rs 7,400

Individual smart devices:

  • P1: Hub, MSP Rs 1,450
  • P3: 6A smart plug, MSP Rs 1,350
  • P4: 16A smart plug, MSP Rs 1,950
  • P5: 25A smart box: MSP Rs 1,950
  • P6: Touch leaf, MSP Rs 1,950
  • P8: Smart Lock, MSP Rs 5,950

Oakter Smart Home

The kits are available online on Amazon and Flipkart, while Oakter is working to get them available to local brick and mortar shops as well. The Oakter app itself can help you purchase additional smart Oakter devices. When adding on a new device, it will be pre-paired with your existing hub and then sent across to you. In case you have problems with the device, Oakter’s customer care department can help you on phone, and for warranty, you can get replacements over the counter (in metros) or they can be shipped to the service centre directly.

The setup: Setting up the Oakter Smart Home kit is fairly simple and one can install it within their homes in a matter of a few minutes. If you are using the startup kit, installing the kit, switches, etc can be done yourself. If you are using the touch leaf, smart lock or the smart box, you would need to deploy an electrician for the same.

Oakter Smart Home

Every kit comes with a simple, easy-to-follow user manual. Each kit is pre-paired with the hub and they will operate with each other only. Adding additional hubs, leafs and devices will be a little more complicated than usual as they would need to be paired with your existing hub. This can be done with help from the Oakter support team. Every kit comes with a user account, with a username and password mentioned in the manual. This is a temporary account which needs to be signed up with additional details for registration.

Oakter Smart Home Oakter Smart Home

One needs to download the Oakter app (available on Android and iOS), register for an account using the temporary credentials in the manual, and then proceed further. Each hub has a unique ID (or number, similar to an IMEI number on a smartphone or a Mac address on every wireless-enabled device). On the app, you will be able to link your smartphone to the hub, which has all the information about the number of devices and hubs within your home.

Oakter Smart Home Oakter Smart Home

Next, plug in your hub to a power socket and turn it on. Within a few seconds, your app will be able to detect the hub. Pair up with the hub’s beaming wireless network, and proceed with the installation setup. Here you will need to give in details of your existing Wi-Fi SSID and passphrase. Once done, the Oakter hub then connects to the wireless router and you are almost set. Plug in your smart plugs to the required equipment that needs to be controlled. For example, you can connect your 6A plug to your entertainment system and the 16A plug to your air conditioner or room heater. Turn on each of the smart plugs and within a few seconds, they should be automatically paired up and ready to operate with the hub. All done!

Oakter Smart Home

On the app, you will now see each of your ‘smart’ devices on air. Each device can be named according to the equipment it is meant to control. You will be able to see a switch next to each device on the app. touching these switches will switch on or off each appliance accordingly. Congratulations, your home now smart. To further use the features on the Oakter smart Home kit, you can assign each switch with a scheduled time on or off too. Each switch can be scheduled to operate automatically within set timers — for example, you can schedule your room heater to turn on during the night only, or youe water heater to prepare your bath at a set morning time. Additionally, if you purchase a smart Oakter thermostat, you can have your heater or air conditioner controlled by the thermostat automatically. With the thermostat, you can save on power, preventing the appliance from running without manual intervention.

Oakter Smart Home Oakter Smart Home

Each smart switch or device also sends back information about its status. When you switch it on, it sends back information to the hub, which in turn sends back information to the app to notify you whether it was successfully turned on or off. With this information, you can be relieved that the device is operating or shut down for sure. If there was an error, or if any of the devices are out of range, you will be alerted on the app, as well as via the LED indicator on each device.

Oakter Smart Home

The sad part: The Oakter Smart Home kit needs an active internet connection to work. Without an internet connection, you will not be able to use the kit, which we think should not be the case completely. For example, if you want to control your air conditioner from your car, your app will control it from the internet using its mobile data plan and the hub’s home internet connection. But when you are at home, your phone is connected to the same wireless network as the hub, but still relies on the internet for operation. This is because the hub connects to a central server at Oakter, which is connected to the app. it would have been nice if the app could control the devices within the same network, even if the internet connection is dead or exhausted. We spoke to the Oakter team on this suggestion and they were welcome with our feedback. Hope to see the new software update with this feature soon.

Oakter Smart Home  Oakter Smart Home

The best part: You can give access to the smart home controls to a total of 5 members in your family (or colleagues if you are living in). With access, you can be an admin on the group, give access to more members and they can operate the appliances too. On the app, simply add more members and give them access. You can also set rules for each member — give them access to only certain devices, while restricting other devices. You certainly don’t want your wife turning off the air conditioner in your mother’s bedroom, right?

Oakter Smart Home

Now since you are the admin in your family group for Oakter control, you also have the advantage to get notifications and alerts on who turned on or off each of the appliance in your home. So if your wife did turn off the air conditioner in your mom’s room, you will be notified who turned it off, and when.

Performance and other difficulties: Since the Oakter is a well-designed smart home kit, it is one of the first move you can make towards implementing IoT into your homes for cheap. The kit is easy to install, deploy and operate. However, one should know that the operation of each of the switches is not as fast as you would see when doing it manually. For example, to turn on a particular device, you would need to pull out your smartphone, unlock it, hit the app, wait for it to connect to the hub via the internet and get the status updated for each switch and then hit the required switch to turn on or off. When you turn on or off each switch, there is a little delay 3 around a second or two. This is because the information from your phone reaches the hub via the internet, sends the command to the device, receives a confirmation on its status and then sends the information back to your handset. So if your internet connection is slow, or if the smart device is at the extreme threshold of the hub’s network, you could find errors and delays. So it’s best to make sure that your switches are well within the range of your hub, but since there is no indicator about the networking signal strength, finding that exact length could be a little challenging. Oakter support team can help you with stuff like that.

Oakter Smart Home

What again is good is that the hub communicates with the switches using RF radio, which will not interfere with existing wireless networks in your home, such as routers, Bluetooth and alike. So there is almost no interference from other radio emitting devices around the house. Also, communicating over a wireless router has extreme limitations, such as bandwidth and range issues. Hence RF is the best for use here. 

What we would like to add here is some more information about the smart box and the touch leaf. If you are using a smart box (this one has no switches, just a power socket and you need to replace your existing power socket with this one), you can only control the appliance using the app. So if you want to restrict your kids from turning on the room heater, geyser, entertainment system or air conditioner, this one is the best as it has no physical controls. The touch leaf on the other hand has touch-enabled switches allows you to control the appliance by simply touching on it. This is a great add on to your elegant home interiors to give it a sophisticated touch.

Oakter Smart Home

Verdict: Trying out the Oakter Smart Home kit was a wonderful experience. It is easy to use, needs practically zero installation, and helps save on time, energy and electricity. However, the need for an internet connection for its operation is a slight put off. If you compare the cost of implementation, this one is a winner. We definitely recommend Oakter if you want to convert your home or business into a smart home. Oakter can be best use in homes, offices, buildings, large organisations, hospitals, schools, libraries, and many such places where automation can be a boon, as well as restrictions to using certain equipment is a requirement.

Tags: oakter, smart home, iot, review