One of the greatest things about CES for me is being able to see a product before it hits the shelves. David Pogue made a great parody about CES a few days ago and he nailed it when he said that a majority of the things will never see the light of day, but Brio is one of the lucky few that I think will be a household name in the next few years.

Who Is Brio?

Brio, not to be confused with the wooden toy company, went ahead and reinvented the wheel because they decided that it wasn’t good enough. Well, more accurately, they reinvented something that’s even more commonplace, the household electrical outlet.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, 7 children per day, or around 2500 per year are hospitalized from tampering with an electrical outlet. With the technology presented by Brio, that number could come close to zero.

Brio has finally invented a “safe” outlet that knows whether the thing that is plugged into it is meant to be drawing power. When I met with them at CES they were confident enough to plug in a light bulb to show me that the outlet was live and then proceed to stick a copper wire into one of the prong sockets.

Brio’s Kickstarter was funded on December 18th but here is their video that ‘kicked’ things off:

After seeing the Brio in person, along with all of the extra features that are going to come with Brio Smart, the model that they are planning on releasing later this year, all I could think was “how has nobody thought of this already.”

Brio Smart

Brio Smart takes Brio more into the Smart Home category by providing the user additional sensors that will connect to the smart outlet and send alerts to the user if something is going awry at home. Put one in the attic to detect CO, and put another under the kitchen sink to detect a leak (they even thought of the kitchen sink). Brio Smart looks identical to the original “safe” outlet, only it’s a little smarter (and a little more expensive).

Set up is going to be a breeze with their mobile app, allowing you to connect it to your home network a lot like you do with a Chromecast. Installing the outlets themselves is just like installing a traditional outlet. If you’re not comfortable with it, I’d recommend hiring an electrician or finding a friend that is familiar with the task, but it’s not another cheap cover for your existing outlet, it’s a replacement.

What’s All This Going To Cost Me?

Retail for the Brio “Safe” Outlet is going to be $49 and they will begin selling from Brio’s website in the Spring of this year. Brio “Smart” outlet is going to be $99 and will be available in the Fall of this year. However, both are currently available for pre-order now, along with smoke, CO, and water sensors that will run you $29, $39, and $19, respectively. Plus, during the pre-0rder the Brio Smart and Safe outlets appear to be 20% off, so they will be $79 and $39, respectively.

If it were me and I were a parent, I’d buy up a good handful of the Brio Safe Outlets while they’re discounted and put them anywhere my children would be crawling around. You don’t need them behind the couch or on the kitchen counter, only the places where toddlers wander and it could very well save your child’s life.

It might sound like I’m a sale’s person for their product but that’s only because I’m so excited for what the potential is with this. Like I said at the beginning of this article, I really think Brio will be a name everyone will know in the next couple of years if they aren’t acquired by Nest/Google in the mean time.

Website: Brio Home
Twitter: Brio Home

About the author

Nick Schiwy

Nick is an tech enthusiast, programmer and general geek. He works full time in the IT field but still has plenty of time to keep up with all of the tech gossip that is going around!

  • Nikki

    This is a really cool product, I like that Brio can knock out not only electrical shock, but can also help protect against the other common hazards in your home. Here is their website for more information if anyone is interested! https://www.briohouse.com/

  • Jamie

    sorry, Nick. David Pogue was right and you were wrong. It now appears that they’ve walked off with the $50K from their kickstarter campaign (including my contribution). Seems that we tech enthusiasts were all to eager to drink their “safety first” kool-aid and throw down our cash to help Brio get off the ground. Even with all the press, awards and accolades Brio’s self proclaimed experts weren’t able to take this product from idea-to-market while others like ConnectSense (www.connectsense.com) launched at the same time and are now killing it.

    • This may have become a flop, but it wasn’t as though they ran off with your money. I saw working models in person at CES last year and met their CEO (a former GE executive, I believe). This was a real product with real people behind it that just got beat to market by someone who was wise enough to integrate it with Apple’s smart home offerings.

      • Jamie

        Nick – yes, I saw the working models at CES too, but that doesn’t explain away their failure to deliver on the Kickstarter campaign or them going into hiding in May when 1st product release was promised. You are probably correct, Brio’s former GE executives Jocelyn Painter and Roger Innes (source: Linkedin) didn’t walk/run off with the Kickstarter money for which they delivered nothing to their backers, I guess they just consumed it. And it seems like the $50K created a slick, possibly even deceptive (read: pending certifications) marketing and sales pitch. But, following your acquisition logic, if they couldn’t sell the idea to a Nest or Samsung who’d then fund it’s completion, maybe they don’t have enough cash to actually turn Paul Cruz’s (source: Google patent) ideas into a finished product. It will be interesting to hear the explanation they hopefully, eventually give their backers to avoid legal repercussions ala Kickstarter’s T&Cs.

        Now that they’ve seemingly gone off the same grid they used to promote themselves (no Facebook, Twitter, or even Kickstarter updates since May 2015), a year after their launch it’s hard to cut Brio’s execs any slack on product-features or time to market. Apple HomeKit, ZigBee, Z-Wave and all the other standards were well established before Brio made their decisions. I hope I’m wrong, but it appears to me that nothing they were promoting was new, innovative, or apparently viable… just repackaging of existing and unfinished ideas exploiting child safety as mommy-tech to try and turn a quick buck in the tech bubble.