Bonjour is a Personal Assistant Hiding in an Alarm Clock

What do you get when you cross Amazon Echo with a smart alarm?

By Dave Johnson

Developers are racing to make our homes ever smarter and friendlier. Amazon Echo’s Alexa personality and Google Home are making conversational devices seem ordinary. Now, Bonjour wants your alarm clock to be just as smart.

Bonjour is a personal assistant disguised as an alarm clock – it understands plain English, responds to questions and commands, and replies aloud as well. Just like Alexa. The difference is that Bonjour is billed as a personal assistant that learns about your habits and preferences, and helps you navigate your day accordingly.

For example, if you try to hit the snooze button in the morning, Bonjour can warn you that you really need to get up right away because of a busy schedule. In another scenario in the demo video, Bonjour demonstrates an ability to understand certain kinds of if-then commands, like “Wake me up at 6AM if the weather is good, otherwise let me sleep.”

The clock also connects to other devices and services. You can control your thermostat by voice, for example, control smart lights, and look in on video from a smart security camera. It’ll even sync with your fitness band to warn you not to be quite so lazy tomorrow. (While the Kickstarter page lists Fitbit, Apple Health, and Withings, it’s not clear which devices might be compatible quite yet.) Bonjour can also tell you about weather, traffic, and news.

This is a really exciting device. It looks very pretty, and the designers claim it will constantly get better at what it does as it learns your routines and its language skills evolve.

Excited? We kind of are as well. It has earned several accolades from the tech industry and they’re on track to ship completed devices in May of 2017. Will it get funded? Absolutely–they’ve already accrued 10 times the backing needed to proceed. You can reserve your own Bonjour for a little over $100.

On the other hand, we are a little weary that this is Yet. Another. Smart. Device. Another personal assistant. Another hub for your Internet of Things. After all, what do you currently use as an alarm clock? If you’re like most people, you wake to either your phone or tablet. Which begs the question: Why couldn’t Bonjour just be an app for your existing iPad or Android tablet? Why can’t Google Home or Alexa do pretty much the same thing that Bonjour promises to deliver? If you’re ok buying a smart alarm clock in addition to the Echo and iPad you already probably have, then go for it–we think it’s going to be pretty awesome. But keep in mind that your Echo can, or soon will, be able to do most of this stuff as well.

Campaign: Bonjour

Pledges start at: $109

Campaign ends: 12/04/2016