Line

To shut down the lights in my apartment, I either have to bother a not-always-attentive (but privacy-averse) Alexa or open a specific app on my phone and go through 2-3 screens to get to the “off” button. (Or, you know, flip a light switch. But that’s so 2016.)

And managing the myriad other Internet of Things-related tasks in my so-called smart home requires a similar process — every device has its own app, every app its own quirks and errors.

Fortunately, Line, a free messaging app/AI assistant/cryptocurrency/gaming service popular in the Eastern Hemisphere, is close to debuting Line Things, a one-stop platform that consolidates all your IoT apps into one central controller.

During a demonstration at consumer electronics show IFA 2018, Line Things was paired with both a plant-watering monitor (which controlled volume, temperature and light) and a connected microwave (which received cooking instructions). Line Things managed everything quickly and effectively, without the need to “voice” your commands (although the brand does have its own smart speakers, so voice commands could be a potential add-on).

Line Things is scheduled to launch in early 2019.