If you’ve been looking for a smart solution to make sure you don’t forget a thing when you leave the house, the MagHive system from PITAKA is what you’ve been waiting for. Key-holder, wireless charger, tracker, and heads up display all rolled into one, the MagHive is looking to transform your experience of leaving the house and coming home again – all while making sure you never forget your keys again.
Phone? Check. Keys? Check. Wallet? Check.
What happens when you cross your everyday carry (EDC) essentials with connected smart home tech?
The answer comes from smart tech startup PITAKA in the form of the awesome MagHive system, a smart reminder and centralized scheduler that keeps your ‘grab and go’ essentials (think keys, wallet, phone) in one place with a whole load of tech smarts built-in.
Beautifully combining a highly aesthetic design with practical functionality and usability is a key component of what makes the MagHive system work well as a usable and useful system.
By some ingenious placement of magnets and the integration of a few bits of core tech, the MagHive is designed to take the stress out of remembering the most critical parts of your day before you ever set foot out for the day. And the best part about it, is that it actually works well.
We spent a week putting the MagHive through its paces to see how much it helped or hindered our morning routine and while the days of being reminded by our moms to remember our keys and umbrella may be behind us, it was exciting to have found an automated assistant promising to be the next best thing.
Here’s how it went.
Introducing the MagHive
When it comes to smart and connected tech, one of the most often overlooked areas of the home is the entry hall and foyer.
Sure you’ve got your smart video doorbells and smart camera systems, but until now, nothing has really come along to handle the business of actually leaving and returning home everyday.
Pitaka are looking to change this with their ingenious modular MagHive system.
Effectively a connected (and magnetic) repository for your keys, wallet, phone and anything else of similar pocket-worthiness, the MagHive brings together a series of simple yet effective solutions, built around a reminder system to make sure you’re ready for the day ahead before you even open the front door.
Looks like rain?
MagHive will let you know.
Need to remember to pick up the dry cleaning?
MagHive’s got your back.
The MagHive achieves this in a couple of different ways, each revolving around the unique modular hex components that make up the full system and allow for a whole range of useful features from wireless phone charging, to magnetic storage, and a display for showing you what you need to know and when.
Smart Tracking and Reminder Service
MagHive is, at its core, a smart reminder system that looks to serve you with the most relevant information you need for the day ahead, at that time when you’re most likely to forget – for example, when you’re leaving the house or returning home – and with this in mind, a whole load of the system’s functionality is built around the idea of presenting this info to you when you need it most.
Whether you’re removing your keys or wallet from the dedicated magnetic hex on the system, the MagHive will let you know (via the display unit) any reminders that have been set against that item, thanks to the inclusion of RFID tech in the form of a keyfob and wallet-insert.
What this means in practice is you’re able to tie specific reminders to specific sets of keys or wallets, ensuring different people in your household get served the relevant information once they grab their keys, but before they actually leave the house.
On top of this though, the ability to create dedicated user profiles for individual members of your household and then tying these up to a key-fob or wallet insert sensor means you’re going to be able to track whenever someone leaves or arrives home.
This means knowing your kids have arrived home from school via a notification on your phone when the system detects that they’ve placed their keys back on the magnetic home-base.
Specifications, Features, and Design
When we unboxed, hung-up, and setup the MagHive system at For the Smart Home HQ, the first thing that struck us was the aesthetic qualities of the system and its interlocking wooden hex modules.
Taken alongside the usual tech design considerations, it’s crystal clear that Pitaka were looking to design and build a system that actually looks good when it’s set up and being used in your home.
On top of the visuals though, usability, features, and of course, usefulness under real-world conditions were crucial factors in our test, so we’ve outlined the essentials below.
The largest single elements of the MagHive system are the individual hexagonal modules which join together seamlessly (and satisfyingly) with the use of a magnet system to form the system as a whole.
Each hex unit measures around 5.6″ x 6.7 ” with a thickness of about 0.63″.
If you’re looking at the standard, out of the box system setup (display unit, wireless charger, RFID base unit), you’ve got a footprint that incorporates three individual hex tiles which can be laid out in multiple configurations to best fit the space constraints of your wall or chosen surface.
The great thing about the MagHive system though, is the ease with which it can be expanded to accommodate more hexes further down the line – for example if you want another wireless charger module for charging a second phone. If you’ve got the space on your wall, the system is designed to expand.
Construction and Design
As you’ve probably gathered, the main design of the MagHive system is focused around the six sided ‘hex modules’ which come in a couple of flavors in terms of functionality and allow for magnetic connection between any additional neighboring modules – what Pitaka calls ‘Magnetic Lock-and-Load’.
The build quality of the individual MagHive modules is robust, with each wooden hex offering up six connection points (one on each edge) which allow for seamless joining to the other modules in any configuration you want.
One of the great features of the MagHive design is the ability to connect the power cable (when recharging the system or running off the outlet) to any of 3 specific edges on any of the modules, maximizing the flexibility of the system and allowing it to adapt well to a variety of different locations around your home.
If any modules can be considered the ‘center’ of the whole system though, then it’s probably the hexes which contain the 1280 x 720p display unit and the magnetic Near Field Communication (NFC) module. It’s from these two modules where you’re going to be providing input (in the form of removing keys, devices, or leaving voice memos) and receiving all visual and audio notifications from the device itself.
Surrounding this, the supporting act comes in the form of an additional magnetic QI wireless charging module which can be used to charge a QI-compatible device such as a phone or smartwatch.
The end result is a seamless design and connectivity solution which MagHive ties together in a way which makes for a clean, modern, and functional user experience.
The display module of the MagHive is the main visual interface of the system and focuses around a 1280 x 720p touchscreen display.
From the MagHive’s screen the standard dashboard displays a variety of useful information right off the bat – things like the current time, temperature, and where you live.
As well as providing the visual interfacing for the system, the display hex also contains the power switch for the device as well as an in-built mic and speaker for recording and listening to memos.
The companion app for the MagHive allows you to create user profiles, set message reminders, and activate automation schedules for message notifications based on things like weather changes. These show up on the front-end of the system directly through the visual display unit when you grab your keys or wallet, or replace them when you come back home.
The idea of this is that the system will serve you with a visual notification if, for example, you’ve set the appropriate automation parameters for weather thresholds. This means you’re going to be made aware of rain or sun before you leave the house and dress appropriately without any unexpected surprises.
At the simplest level, the MagHive is ultimately a coordinated smart reminder system that utilizes NFC pairing tags to help you track your everyday carry items.
The most natural application of this is for the pocket staples – keys, wallet, and phone – and it’s with these in mind that the system has been designed.
A magnetic keyring fob and magnetic wallet insert allow you to hook up these items to the system and to ‘associate’ them with a user profile in the back-end via the companion app.
The idea here is that when you grab your gear before leaving the house, or put it back when you come home, the system will know what (and who – based on the paired profile) has just interacted with it, and depending on whether you’re removing or returning an item from the system, can then display a user appropriate notification such as a reminder or automated response.
This same logic allows the system to send a notification to your phone, alerting you, for example, when someone has arrived home or has just left.
Unboxing and Setup
As already mentioned, the default configuration of MagHive provides three Hex Modules for your various QI device charging, visual notification, and magnetic key-fob sensor needs. As well as this, the version of the device we tested included a magnetic RFID key fob and a (powerful) magnetic wallet insert. You’re also going to get a power outlet cable which is of a pretty good length, although depending on the layout in your home, you may want to invest in a longer version for practicality.
The great thing about the MagHive system is that on the hardware side of things, it really is just plug and play.
Out of the box, you just snap the system together using the powerful magnet connections on each of the three hex modules (a system appropriately called ‘Magnetic Lock-and-Load’ by the brand) allow you to effortlessly clip the hexes into the configuration that works best for your situation.
There are a couple of ways to mount the system, with the most common and practical being the wall-mounted option utilzing the hanging bracket on the back of each hex – this is what we did.
Alternatively, you can of course lay the system flat on a desk, side table, or other surface and you’re going to get the same end result.
With the system setup, keys attached to fob, and wallet insert tucked away, the next job is to install the companion app for the device on your phone before setting up the details in the back-end (location, temperature preferences etc), as well as assigning users to the system and pairing up your sensor connected items.
Again this was a pretty painless affair with a simple to follow user interface and good instructions from app installation through to initial setup steps.
The final stage of phone pairing is achieved via a QR code reader in the app which you use alongside your phone’s camera to scan a QR code on the display hex of the system to complete the pairing process.
The MagHive shows a lot of promise as a smart home entryway monitor and looks to bring together a couple of areas which haven’t really been covered by companies to date.
While smart tracking is certainly not a new innovation in the connected home space, bringing elements of this functionality together with a solution that also offers wireless charging, interactive notifications, voice control, is a welcome innovation, and it’s here that MagHive is looking to corner the market.
One of the features that the MagHive platform is currently lacking is any form of voice control functionality, however, PITAKA inform us that this is in the works and will be integrated into the system in the near future.
The ability to tell Alexa to turn the lights and music on while we’re taking off our shoes and jackets would represent a serious improvement on the system, so this is definitely one to watch out for.
The MagHive is also design conscious. Unlike a lot of tech out there, where the focus is on function over form, how a device looks often becomes an afterthought. It’s refreshing that this isn’t the case with the MagHive, which just looks good.
When we tested the system, we initially thought it was going to be a case of ‘cool, but not necessarily useful’, however after a week of hanging by the door, we actually found we had started using MagHive without even knowing we were doing so – it had become second nature and part of the standard workflow of coming and going.
It’s ultimately this combination of usefulness and sympathetic design that makes the system a win for us, offering the ability to integrate into your home and daily life in a way which actually delivers a practical benefit and if worked into your everyday activity, makes life easier.
The PITAKA MagHive is available for backing on their Kickstarter page now with initial shipping dates estimated for September 2018.
MagHive system kindly provided for review from the awesome guys at PITAKA. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support For the Smart Home.