The average home now has 19 connected devices. This includes tablets, computers, printers, smart TVs, lightbulbs, smart speakers, and myriad other items that can range from the practical (cameras) to the ridiculous (egg-counting storage bins). But the more we bring into the home, the more we have to manage these devices and their security.
Ask most people what their video doorbell sends to the cloud or how much data their smart oven sends to its manufacturers, and they will have no idea. Most will probably wonder why their oven sends any data at all. But I’d argue that it’s essential for consumers to understand what data their devices gather and where they send it, and a startup called Everything Set wants to provide a way to do so.
David Knudsen, a co-founder of the company, is taking a page from products like Firewalla and the Circle Router which monitor the traffic from devices on home networks. They can identify device behavior, see where device traffic gets sent — even quarantine a device that’s behaving strangely. They’re useful both for people who want to ensure that their off-brand connected camera isn’t sending data to random entities or those simply wondering how devices behave on the network.
Everything Set seems fairly similar to the existing monitoring options such as Firewalla and Circle, except it has a different business model. When someone buys Everything Set, they’ll end up paying for a monthly subscription that costs $100 a year. The subscription gets consumers a device that sits on their home network to monitor traffic, and an app that helps the consumer track network activity.
Another product differentiator, according to Knudsen, is there’s a greater focus on using AI to identify trends and bad behavior. Users of Everything Set will get an overall security score between 1 and 10 based on how all of the devices on their network behave.
Everything Set launched Thursday and has a program for early adopters that will let a few thousand users sign up and get a year of the service, and the box, for $10. I signed up to test it out, as I already have a Firewalla and think this is a space where the industry could use some innovation. My hunch is that most people don’t want to pay extra or do anything different when it comes to managing their home networks. And yet, as those networks become more complex, consumers are being forced to become baby network engineers.
Roughly eight years ago, mesh routers started popping up on the scene in response to homes needing more comprehensive and consistent coverage throughout all of their nooks and crannies. And consumers were waking up to the risks that so many connected devices posed. More people were trying to see what was on their networks and began offering easy-to-access guest networks to keep kids and visitors off their primary networks.
Eero, Securifi, and others started adding mesh networking and easy-to-implement guest networks in response to the needs of home Wi-Fi devices. Now, as we continue adding products and security becomes more of a worry, it’s clear that consumers will need even more features.
Knudsen believes that Everything Set is easier for consumers to implement as compared to some of the other options. He also said that the AI the company plans to implement around device behavior is where Everything Set will differentiate itself. He may be right, but I think Everything Set will evolve to become just a feature as part of an overarching Wi-Fi service provided by a router maker or an ISP. We already see companies like Comcast and Eero providing hardware and additional services on top of their routers.
Knudsen acknowledged that this is an option, but for now he’s focused on getting early adopters to sign up. From there, it’s possible the technology ends up as a feature or that companies pay for aggregate data from thousands of customers. I know from my chats with device makers that they are always looking for data on how their products perform in the field, especially in conjunction with specific routers or other smart home devices.
So there’s an opportunity here. What I don’t know is if it’s something mainstream consumers will shell out for as they embrace the smart home. But I sure will.