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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Insurance companies offering lower bills in exchange for smart home data

Smart homes can save their owners money by lowering a room’s temperature when it’s empty, or make them safer by locking doors and arming home security systems remotely.

Now a pair of insurance companies is offering some smart home owners a new way to save money – by turning over the data generated by their smart devices.

Read more: http://www.boston.com/real-estate/news/2015/06/30/insurance-companies-offering-lower-bills-exchange-for-smart-home-data

Smart electronic locks opening doors for home builders

In recent years, there have been revolutionary changes in homebuilding and home sales thanks to home automation technologies. In fact, these technologies have evolved into an effective sales tool for many of the nation's premier homebuilders, allowing them to "differentiate and distinguish" their offerings from those of their competitors.

This trend should come as no surprise, given the constantly growing increase in smart home technology; consumer interest in smart homes is growing dramatically every year.

Read more: http://www.securityinfowatch.com/press_release/12097028/smart-electronic-locks-opening-doors-for-home-builders

What It's Like to Live in This Smart, Energy-Efficient Home of the Future

At first glance, it looks like an ordinary home with a neat yard. Inside there is a wooden dining table and chairs, a taupe sectional sofa, a 65-inch built-in flat screen TV in one living room wall and a white kitchen with silver appliances. But the house, on the University of California campus in Davis, is a cradle of technology that foretells the future of home design.

The Honda Smart Home, completed last spring, is an experiment in efficiency. With 1,944 square feet of comfortable living space, the structure uses 75 percent less energy and three times less water than a typical home.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/what-its-like-to-live-smart-energy-efficient-home-future-180956001/

Is Apple using biometrics for smart home service?

It has long been rumored that Apple is entering the smart home business. From patents that include Siri for home control, to a device that controls “scenes” in your home, to the Apple Watch used for home automation. And, now, a patent application was unearthed that revealed Apple’s alleged plan for the Apple TV.
The patent application, Device Configuration for Multiple Users Using Remote User Biometrics, describes how biometrics, such as fingerprint, retinal scan, facial image and others, can be used to deliver a more personalized entertainment experience for different users without burdening the current user with too much configuration.

Read more: http://siliconangle.com/blog/2015/07/28/is-apple-using-biometrics-for-smart-home-service/

These engineers want to make Indian homes smarter

Inoho has three parts: a switchboard module, a home controller, and the app. The switchboard module is installed behind any light switch panel with four or more switches (which is common in India). Depending on the type, the module can control up to five switches. The home controller connects to the wifi router so that you can access the whole system remotely, and can also connect directly to a smartphone, laptop or tablet so you can control the system at home even without a wifi signal. The system of Inoho is modular and hence, users can install additional switchboard modules in more rooms to strengthen the signal. Each module acts as a repeater for the signal across all rooms in a house and can handle the addition of new rooms into the system without losing connectivity.

Read more: https://www.techinasia.com/home-automation-indian-startup-inoho/

What's Driving All The Home Automation Growth?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what exactly is driving the recent explosion of home automation applications and equipment. Over the past few years we have seen a great deal of change. The plethora of equipment includes (and this is a small sample, not an exhaustive list):

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/moorinsights/2015/07/15/whats-driving-home-automation/

WeMo home automation system easy to operate

It's not the broadest portfolio of home automation products, though Belkin does plan to release security motion sensors, keychain fobs that announce your presence to the house, door and window sensors, even siren detectors that relay fire and gas alerts to your mobile phone, that will help to make it much more complete

And nor is it the most sophisticated home automation system. You can set rules that combine, say, the motion sensor and the switch, that will turn on a light if movement is detected and if the sun has set but not yet risen, and then leave the light on for ten minutes after it detects the last movement, but that's the most sophisticated rule you can do.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/technology/wemo-home-automation-system-easy-to-operate-20150729-gigzta

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Smart Home Opportunities

Today’s smartest smart homes have your appliances talking to you through texts sent directly to your smartphone. We have thermostats that automatically adjust based not just on the temperature, but on your daily routine. Some smart homes allow the homeowner to control everything—from starting your coffee in the morning to locking your doors and arming your security system—right from your smartphone.

Read more: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/smart-home-opportunities-daniel-burrus

Fuhu’s Kid-Centric Smart Home Is a Helicopter Parent’s Dream

WHEN YOU THINK OF the connected home, your mind is immediately filled with images of gleaming white one-off boxes containing a Nest, or the yet-unrealized promise of Apple’s HomeKit and Google’s Brillo. You certainly don’t think of Fuhu, manufacturer of affordable children’s tablets. That may be about to change.

While important details like pricing and exact availability remain elusive, Fuhu today has planted a flag—or rather, a variety of sensors—in the smart home space.

Read more: http://www.wired.com/2015/07/fuhu-smart-home/

Apple patent shows TV remote with fingerprint scanner, smart home capabilities

Apple may have its sights set on a small TV remote with potentially big powers.

In a patent application posted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's website on Thursday (first spotted by Patently Apple), Apple detailed technology for a specialized TV remote control which could be used to access a person's TV preferences, bypass passcodes for services such as Netflix, enable child proofing and even control smart products in the home, such as garage doors and thermostats.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2015/07/23/apple-tv-remote-patent/

ADT and Nest team up to make the smart home more secure

ADT and Nest have just announced a partnership that will see the popular Nest Learning Thermostat integrated into ADT Pulse, the security company's smart home (and business) ecosystem.

This is only the latest effort by ADT to make its ecosystem more open. Back at CES, the company announced an ADT Pulse integration for IFTTT.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/07/23/adt-and-nest-team-up-make-smart-home-more-secure/30575575/

Today's smart home devices are too dumb to succeed

At the end of 2012, working hard on my own connected lighting startup, MooresCloud, I got very excited to find out that Philips planned to launch Hue, the company's own full-spectrum connected lights. I bought a ‘starter pack’ of three soon after release, and played with them for weeks.

It immediately became clear that Philips had put everything they understood about the psychological qualities of illumination into the Hue bulbs. Although they could produce a broad selection of reds, greens, blues and whites, almost all of the colours were highly desaturated pastels. Why, when equipped with the infinite variability of LEDs, would Philips limit their bulbs like this? Because fully saturated colours - particularly greens - make people look like zombies.

Read more: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/07/27/smart_devices_are_too_currently_dumb_to_succeed/

Security holes in the 3 most popular smart home hubs and Honeywell Tuxedo Touch

At the 2015 Intelligent Defense European Technical Research Conference in June, Tripwire security researcher Craig Young presented Smart Home Invasion and revealed zero-day flaws in the "brains" of Internet of Things platform hubs such as SmartThings hubs, Wink hubs, and MiOS Vera. The Wink and Vera products "contained critical remotely exploitable flaws." Young warned that "if not addressed, smart home flaws can give rise to a new type of 'smart criminal' able to case victims without being seen. Once a target is chosen, it is possible to unlock doors and disable security monitoring."

Read more: http://www.networkworld.com/article/2952718/microsoft-subnet/security-holes-in-the-3-most-popular-smart-home-hubs-and-honeywell-tuxedo-touch.html

Review: Belkin WeMo Home Automation

Home automation used to be the domain of rich home owners willing to spend thousands of dollars to have their blinds automatically open at certain times of the day, or a plethora of lights controllable via a touch screen. They’d need to enlist the services of a home automation specialist who knows the ins and outs of esoteric protocols like X10 and C-Bus and can find the obscure products to interface with them. But in 2015, thanks to buzzwords like the Internet of Things and the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, what was once niche and expensive is now widespread and (relatively) cheap. Belkin’s WeMo range of home automation products are more accessible and easy to use devices currently on the market.

Read more: http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Review/407030,review-belkin-wemo-home-automation.aspx

Integra Adds Three Home Theater Receivers For 2015/16

Integra (the custom install product division of Onkyo) has launched the first three receivers in its 0.7 product line, the DTR-20.7, DTR-30.7, and DTR 40.7.

What makes Integra home theater receivers a little different is that their entire product line is targeted to the custom home theater installation market as, in addition to the audio and video features found on most home theater receivers these days, they also incorporate several custom control options.

Read more: http://hometheater.about.com/od/hometheaternewsandtrends/fl/Integra-Adds-Three-Home-Theater-Receivers-For-201516.htm

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Projector: Home Cinema Under the Stars

For the outdoor theater, cheaper is actually better. Many of the less-expensive projectors out there — in the $600–$1,000 range — are what you call "home entertainment" projectors, designed for everyday use, as a replacement for your TV (as opposed to a high-end model designed for a designated "cinema room"). Home-entertainment projectors are often brighter so they can handle the ambient light of a typical family or living room, and usually also have built-in sound, eliminating the need for a separate system (audiophiles will want to connect an external speaker — anything from a simple Jambox to fully wired surround sound).

Read more: http://www.mensjournal.com/gear/electronics/the-projector-home-cinema-under-the-stars-20150721

Low-Cost Home Security Options to Keep Out Thieves

Technology has significantly brought down the cost of home security systems and home surveillance cameras, many of which you can install yourself. But there are also many low-tech solutions that cost little or nothing that will keep your home safer from intruders.

"Most burglars are just opportunists," says Martin Holloway, owner of Hollotec.com and a security expert in Louisiana who teaches lock-picking and specialized entry techniques to law enforcement and the military. "[Burglars are] going to find the easy house."

Read more: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/07/16/low-cost-home-security-options-to-keep-out-thieves

Smart home devices could put you in danger

Smart home products are supposed to help keep you safe, but some of these connected devices could put you in danger.

As home automation products flood the market, there’s growing concern that these internet connected devices — like smart cameras and thermostats — are an easy target for hackers because they lack basic security measures.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-smart-homes-can-be-hacked-2015-7

How To Build A Smart Home Sensor

Wearable technology does a fine job of keeping tabs on your personal fitness. But to measure the health of the place where you live, you need a different tool. This device monitors the temperature, humidity, noise, and light level for any room. It can even track the number of people who enter. Within the casing, a collection of sensors sends information to an Arduino, which interprets the input and displays the data on a small screen. Based on the device’s readings, you can turn on a dehumidifier, lower the thermostat, or crack open a window - whatever it takes to keep your home environment comfortable.

Read more: http://www.popsci.com/how-build-home-sensor

The smart home really is right around the corner

The smart home is at that pre-iPod stage right now, with devices using different formats for connection, terrible interface design (let me tell you about my smart TV) and complex setups. It’s still at the nerd level, and people are having trouble figuring out what it can do for them, let alone going through the process of setting everything up. Some systems had significant failures. Take Wink, for example, the connected home spinoff that almost brought down its parent company, Quirky.

As Geoffrey Fowler noted in the Wall Street Journal last year, “Hobbyists will enjoy tinkering with these systems, but for anybody else who cares about their marriages, children and sanity, my recommendation is to wait.”

Read more: http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/gadgets-electronics/stories/smart-home-really-right-around-corner

Apple's HomeKit Is Proving To Be Too Demanding For Bluetooth Smart Home Devices

So far, only five companies have launched HomeKit-certified smart home devices. What’s the hold up? Apple has thrown a plethora of challenges at hardware makers, and some developers say one of the biggest is complying with Apple’s strict security requirements on Bluetooth low energy devices.

Apple allows for either WiFi or Bluetooth low energy (LE)-enabled devices to get certified as a HomeKit accessory. Apple is requiring device makers using both WiFi and Bluetooth LE to use complicated encryption with 3072-bit keys, as well as the super secure Curve25519, which is an elliptic curve used for digital signatures and exchanging encrypted keys.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/aarontilley/2015/07/21/whats-the-hold-up-for-apples-homekit/

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Target's experimental smart home space is ready to blow your mind

The 3,500 square-foot transparent plastic house, filled with transparent plastic furniture, will provide an un-homely glimpse into life in the future. More than 30 devices will be on show from familiar smart home names: Nest thermostats, Sonos wireless speakers, August smart locks and fitness trackers from Fitbit and Jawbone.

Target is using an app called Yonomi (like IFTTT for smart home gadgets) to connect the devices and make them work together on awesome problem solving scenarios.

Read more: http://www.wareable.com/smart-home/targets-smart-home-space-is-ready-to-blow-your-mind-1367

Inside Target's All-Acrylic Connected Home

There's a rainstorm in the middle of the night, and water has begun leaking into the house. Activated by the incoming water, a smart device buzzes. Sensing the homeowners are awake, via a Jawbone fitness bracelet, the lights turn on. The homeowners receive a notification, alerting them that the leak is in the basement.
That's one scenario presented in Target's experimental Open House, the company's first connected home lab dedicated to illustrating the company's commitment to smart-home technology.

Read more: http://adage.com/article/digital/inside-target-s-connected-home-lab/299427/

Seven sensors and a smart home

Sensors are increasingly making a foray into our homes in order to furnish and bring to life the concept of an automated smart home. This concept was rallied by the onset of device certification programmes like Apple’s HomeKit.

A new smart home-focused hardware start-up called Notion is in the market and aims at putting an app in the pocket of people to send automated reports of your domestic happenings.

The makers of Notion, Loop Labs, have built a network of sensors that are compatible with HomeKit and can be placed around your home for you to detect events in your house, including opening of doors, lights being switched on/off , a fire alarm going off, washing machine developing a leak, the fridge losing its cool, and also, how much gas is left in your barbecue propane tank!

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/sensors-make-for-a-smart-home/article7421891.ece

Curb watches every circuit breaker in your home to see where you’re wasting watts

Smart-home technology has come a long way, giving us the tools we need to monitor everything from energy to water use. However, it can be a hassle to use multiple devices to collect all of this data. Now, Curb is here to simplify the process of going green.
Curb is a smart-home monitoring system that gives you real-time spending estimates, as well as recommendations to reduce your carbon footprint. Although Curb has been in the making since 2012, its Indiegogo campaign officially launched on June 22. Now, Curb is finally on its way to debuting in homes across the country.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/curb-a-smart-home-monitoring-system-has-launched-on-indiegogo

Screen mirroring: how to connect your laptop, phone or tablet to a TV

Once upon a time, home entertainment was all about broadcast television. Increasingly, though, we’re turning to PC-based services. According to the TV Licensing Authority, 29% of UK adults surveyed in 2012 were using catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer and 4oD – and this doesn’t even take into account PC-based services such as Netflix and YouTube.

Yet so-called “smart” TVs, with built-in internet connections, haven’t caught on. This may be because web-based services are typically accessed by typing, scrolling and navigating links, which translates poorly to a traditional remote-control interface. Proprietary systems such as Virgin Media TV On Demand use vastly simplified interfaces for this reason.

Read more: http://www.alphr.com/technology/6876/screen-mirroring-how-to-connect-your-laptop-phone-or-tablet-to-a-tv

Why OLED will decimate LCD screens and usher in a display revolution

Imagine a device about the size of a pen that can replace your smartphone, tablet, and even your wearable devices. Hidden inside this slender canister is a large, rollable touch screen with unparalleled resolution and contrast that will let you Skype, watch movies, or map out directions, and it’s all powered by a battery that lasts for days, not hours. That might seem far-fetched, but this isn’t some futuristic prop from the set of the next Star Trek film. It’s called the Universal Communications Device, and it’s coming to a store near you in as little as five years.
The device described above is the unofficial mascot of one of today’s top companies that’s hard at work to transform our future with the displays of tomorrow, Universal Display Corporation.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/the-future-of-seen-rollable-oled-displays

Can Samsung crack wireless audio with its dinosaur egg speakers?

Deep underground, inside Samsung's R&D centre is a typical modern living room. Dotted around the space, either on shelves next to curved-screen TVs or suspended from the ceiling, are a dozen egg-shaped Wireless Audio 360 speakers. The effect reminds me of a scene from Ridley Scott's "Alien," minus the facehuggers. The speaker's design is immediately striking, and according to Samsung at least, so is its sound quality.

"Sit down and relax," instructs Jurack Chae, senior vice president of Samsung's R&D Office, Visual Display, pointing to a sofa placed in the middle of the room. He wants to show me me that the speaker's non-directional sound will fill the entire room with music. "Now listen, and guess which one is being turned on."

Read more: http://www.cnet.com/news/can-samsung-crack-wireless-audio-with-its-dinosaur-egg-speakers/

HDD's Home Theater Gear Guide for Graduates' First Apartments

You're probably in for a nice upgrade in space and privacy, which for us home theater enthusiasts likely means more room for all that fancy HD video and audio gear you've been saving up for. With that said, even a spacious apartment still can't quite grant the home theater freedom that an actual house brings. With potential limitations in mind, we've put together a gear guide filled with budget-conscious and space-conscious A/V equipment that will allow grads to get the most out of their first apartments.

Read more: http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/4K/Ultra_HD/Vizio/Onkyo/Dolby/Atmos/Home_Audio/Speakers/Denon/Marantz/Sharp/Samsung/Onkyo/Pioneer/energy-dtsx/hdds-home-theater-gear-guide-for-graduates-first-apartments/23998

Retirees: These gadgets will help you stay in your home longer

Smart homes and home-based technologies: Our homes are about to become much smarter. Technologies are emerging that will enhance homes by controlling temperature and lighting, monitoring movement and activity, providing voice prompts, preventing injuries, and sending health information to loved ones and health providers. Smart homes of the future will have flooring that will help prevent fractures due to falls.

Several smart home technology projects are under development at the University of Maine, including a home sensor project that will allow the monitoring of a loved one’s safety from a distance without use of invasive video cameras.

Read more: http://bangordailynews.com/2015/06/26/next/a-tech-friendly-future-for-seniors-from-smart-homes-to-an-app-that-lets-you-read-to-grandchildren-remotely/

Smart homes require devices to be compatible

Thanks to increasingly accessible and affordable home-automation systems, your house will soon be able to do a lot of neat tricks.

But before you turn your dwelling into the home of the future, you’ll have to make sure you have a well-matched set of devices.

Recently released or soon-to-hit-the-market devices and services will allow you to configure your air conditioner so that it starts cooling your house as you return from work, no matter what time that is. They’ll also turn off all your lights and lock all your doors as soon as your head hits the pillow at night.

Read more: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2015/06/29/troy-wolverton-smart-homes-require-devices-to-be-compatible.html

Apple's Siri gets lead role in new 'smart' home systems

The first “smart” home gadgets that can be controlled by Apple’s voice-activated digital assistant are going on sale this week, just days after rival tech giant Google announced it’s building its own software for Internet-connected home appliances and other gadgets.

The new products could be an important step forward for the emerging industry of “smart” or “connected” homes, where appliances, thermostats and even door locks contain computer chips that communicate wirelessly. While a number of companies are working on similar products, analysts say Apple could persuade more consumers to try them by making it easy to control different products from a familiar device, such as the iPhone.

Read more: http://www.sfltimes.com/soflo-live/apples-siri-gets-lead-role-in-new-smart-home-systems

Smart homes to become standard in a decade: report

Several property developers recently formed partnerships with tech companies on building smart homes in China, a concept that has been circulated since the late 1990s but has yet to take off, according to Guangzhou's Time Weekly.

Property developers have borrowed the smart home concept unveiled by Microsoft when Bill Gates was in charge but it has been mostly used as a marketing tactic, the report said.

The latest smart home trend is also being pushed by tech companies, with Google and Apple recently introducing "Project Brillo" and "HomeKit," respectively, as products aimed at this segment of the market.

Read more: http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20150623000143&cid=1204

Creating smart buildings a clever move

One of the major developments in Ireland in recent years has been the size and scale of the many commercial buildings that now form part of our modern architecture and way of life. From large open-plan offices and factories to multi-storey hospitals, universities and shopping centres, these buildings now require complex mechanical and electrical systems to effectively manage how they are heated in the winter and cooled throughout the summer.

Given, too, the magnitude of many of these buildings it is now no longer practical to use simple on and off switches to control all of the lights at the one time. Many use low-consumption LED-type lights, which are automatically controlled by sensors that operate only when activity is detected in an area.

Read more: http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/creating-smart-buildings-a-clever-move-31369056.html

Sonos Play:3 review, still relevant in 2015

I have reviewed many earphones, headphones and wireless speakers over the years, but for some reason have never managed to review a Sonos device. I thought I would rectify this my reaching out to them, and was given the PLAY:3 to review. Now I know what you might be thinking, why review something that is almost 4 years old, and in most cases you would be right to ask such a question, but not this time.

In most cases a wireless speaker will always sound good, but only until a new model comes along to make it obsolete, but this is not the case with the Sonos Play:3 because it is still a firm favorite to this date because of its understated design, with rich, clear sound – or this is what I have been told by friends and family members that own one.

Read more: http://www.product-reviews.net/2015/06/21/sonos-play3-review-still-relevant-in-2015/

Hacklet 55 – Home Automation Projects

Home automation – the idea of a smart home that monitors and controls the inside environment, takes commands from occupants, and generally makes living easier. Hackers, makers, and engineers have been building their own vision of the smart home for decades. Thanks to cell phones and the revolution of the “internet of things”, home automation is now in the public eye. The hackers haven’t stopped though. They’re still building dreams, one circuit and one line of code at a time. This week’s Hacklet is dedicated to some of the best home automation projects on Hackaday.io!

Read more: http://hackaday.com/2015/07/10/hacklet-55-home-automation-projects/

5 Ways to Start Your DIY Home Automation System for Under $50

I’m a gadget geek by day and by night. I love anything that can make my life easier and more entertaining. Unfortunately, a lot of people assume that convenience isn’t cheap or easy. However, there are a slew of DIY home automation devices that can smarten up your home, without siphoning your bank account.

Of course, you aren’t going to get a fancy-schmacy professionally installed system without spending some money. Well, sometimes you don’t need one. If you’re looking to go the DIY route but aren’t sure about your skills, there are plenty of easy-to-install devices that are perfect for the budding Electronic House on a budget.

Read more: http://www.electronichouse.com/daily/smart-home/5-ways-to-start-your-diy-home-automation-system-for-under-50/

When will smart home automation products hit the mainstream?

After Apple announced the release of its HomeKit earlier this year, the vendor has since started to roll out its line-up of smart accessories for homes.

Now that one of the largest tech vendors has jumped on board, could this mean that the smart home will hit the mainstream this year? More and more companies are tapping into the up and coming market.

Read more: http://www.pcr-online.biz/news/read/when-will-smart-home-automation-products-hit-the-mainstream/036551

Play with 100 smart home gadgets at new Sears showroom

In the San Bruno Sears store, the Connected Solutions area is designed as a typical home, including a kitchen, living room, nursery, gym, garage and bathroom.
There’s a mock front door, for example, with a wireless Ring video doorbell that synchronizes with a tablet. And a D-Link networked video camera on a shelf in a nursery vignette shows how parents can monitor their infants.
The showcase also displays Internet-connected TV monitors, streaming media players, security cameras, treadmills, scales, fitness tracking wrist straps and sensor-packed basketballs. With enough wired devices, many parts of a home can function together. A thermostat tied to window sensors, for example, could be programmed to turn the air conditioner down if a window is open for more than 30 minutes.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Play-with-100-smart-home-gadgets-at-new-Sears-6352356.php

With layoffs at Leeo and Wink for sale, is the smart home crumbling?

Leeo, a company that makes a connected nightlight that doubles as a smoke detector for the mobile era and has raised $37 million in funding, laid off about 30% of its staff Wednesday. Earlier this month, we reported that product manufacturing shop Quirky was unwilling to support its home hub software company Wink and it has put it up for sale, according to sources. Meanwhile, a home automation management device built by startup Ninja Blocks failed to raise funding and shut down.

Smart home startups like Goji and Plum are so late to market with their products that supporters who gave them money through their crowd-funding campaigns have given up on them. Goji’s smart lock was supposed to ship 18 months ago.

Read more: http://fortune.com/2015/06/19/smart-home-layoffs-leeo-wink/

A wiring primer for your new smart home

From the smartphones that are permanently affixed to our hands to Bluetooth-enabled everything, we've learned to rely on the latest technologies in all aspects of our lives -- including at home. That's why more and more people building new homes are having them wired for connectivity and convenience.

With options like multipurpose outlets with built-in USB ports, home automation and security, homebuilders approach wiring a new home much differently than they did only 10 years ago. If you're building a new home, it's absolutely worth the time, effort and expense to plan for that wiring before you get started. These tips will help you talk to your contractor about building the smart home of your dreams.

Read more: http://www.twincities.com/homeandgarden/ci_28459183/wiring-primer-your-new-smart-home

A hitch on the way to a smart home

Thanks to increasingly accessible and affordable home automation systems, your house will soon be able to do a lot of neat tricks.

But before you turn your dwelling into the home of the future, you’ll have to make sure you have a well-matched set of devices.

Recently released or soon-to-hit-the-market devices and services will allow you to configure your air conditioner so that it starts cooling your house as you return from work, no matter what time that may be. They’ll also turn off all your lights and lock all your doors as soon as your head hits your pillow at night. While at work, you’ll be able to unlock the door for a child who forgot her key by simply telling your phone to let her in.

Read more: http://www.buffalonews.com/business/technology/a-hitch-on-the-way-to-a-smart-home-20150713

Archt One all-in-one speaker review: Call it the anti-stereo

The Archt One can play music from an Android or other device via Bluetooth, from an iOS device or Mac via AirPlay, or from any DLNA-compatible device on your Wi-Fi network. Finally, you can also connect any analog source to its 1/8-inch aux input. The speaker has a USB port for charging portable devices, too. I auditioned it using an HTC One smartphone with Bluetooth first, and then with and an iPod touch via AirPlay. I found sound quality to be superior with the latter, but connectivity more reliable with the former. I’ll go into more detail on its audio performance later.

Read more: http://www.techhive.com/article/2947685/speakers/archt-one-all-in-one-speaker-review-call-it-the-anti-stereo.html

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Installation: A Core Smart-Home Advantage

The smart-home concept is one that’s been around for quite a while but has never really taken off. There are a variety of reasons for that, some of which I wrote about in an earlier piece about why we hardly made use of any smart-home features when we built a new house a year ago.

However, one thing that’s becoming increasingly apparent to me is that professional installation and on-site support (when needed) is going to be a vital component for mainstreaming this technology. And, therefore, the companies that have that capability will have an edge. Here are three examples of companies doing this, and the implications for others.

Read more: http://recode.net/2015/06/30/installation-a-core-smart-home-advantage/

6 Best Smart Home Technology 2015

How would you like to come home with a voice-controlled oven in your kitchen, a Bluetooth-connected flowerpot in your dining space, a smart TV in your living room, and an app controlled-heating and cooling system in your master's bedroom? It would sound like The Jetsons, right? Well, if you are one techie family who's pretty much updated about everything then you certainly would want these six best (latest) gadgets for your home right this instant:

Netatmo Welcome

Through facial recognition, this amazing device is actually a camera that can recognize who's home. It will send notifications to your phone once someone enters your door. It will also broadcast a live footage. The recorded video and the identification data are stored in an SD card.

Read more: http://www.realtytoday.com/articles/19342/20150708/smart-home-tips-6-top-2015-gadgets-techie-family-home.htm

Look into this Crystal Ball, It’ll Be Your Smart Home Servant

Now that we have all these smart home devices, we need more products that tie everything together — we’re supposed to be all about cutting down on clutter these days, right? All-in-one is just the kind of device Branto is, a glowing sphere that wants to be your house’s smart hub.

Branto combines home security, a webcam, and a sound system into one device. It does each of those things about as well as your average smart home device, and the combination of security system and webcam is presumed, but for people who really want to save space, the prospect of getting a Bluetooth speaker compatible with internet radio streaming in there could tip the scales.

Read more: http://www.chipchick.com/2015/07/look-crystal-ball-itll-smart-home-servant.html

Panasonic Smart Home system wants to keep your house and shed safe

Panasonic's system offers a range of components that all link to a central hub using DECT ULE.

Panasonic claims this is more secure than Wi-Fi, as it won't be detected when scanned for with any Wi-Fi device you might have. It also has a range of 300m, so can cover outbuildings too, like your shed.

The system consists of cameras, sensors, plugs, motion detectors and sirens and will be available in a number of kits.

Read more: http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/134524-panasonic-smart-home-system-wants-to-keep-your-house-and-shed-safe

The Simple Truth About Smart-Home Technology

When we imagine the future of smart homes, it’s hard not to get caught up in Jetsons fantasies of telepathic robot helpers and self-cooking meals—the fully automated, self-living life.

Sure enough, there are people trying to prepare that future for you. You’ll be able to wake up to a realistic replica of sunrise in your bedroom, with a cup of hot coffee already at your bedside. From work you’ll be able to feed the fish remotely or call up a new pair of shoes on the 3D printer at home. At the end of the workday, an app that knows you by your heartbeat will open the door for you, turn on the lights, pour you a drink, and put your favorite show on the TV. If you want, your smart home will even greet you with your chosen theme song—“We Are the Champions,” say.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/emerson/2015/07/07/the-simple-truth-about-smart-home-technology/

Target Opens Dedicated Store For Smart Home Gadgets

More than 30 devices are placed around this demonstration house, including smart home gadgets like the August smart lock, the Nest learning thermostat and Sonos wireless speakers. But not all the devices are related to the home – Jawbone and Fitbit fitness trackers will also be present.

The space is focused on showing consumers what all these products do and how they can work together. Target is using an app called Yonomi, which syncs up connected devices together in the cloud, to get them talking to each other. For example, a Belkin WeMo Baby Monitor could detect if a baby starts stirring in a crib and could tell the Sonos speakers to play ambient background noise to soothe the baby back to sleep.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/aarontilley/2015/07/09/target-opens-dedicated-store-for-smart-home-gadgets/

5 Reasons To Install a Home Webcam

Web security cameras are similarly divisive. Some people feel the devices’ cloud-connected features have the potential to spill their private moments all over the web. Meanwhile, countless others who’ve been victimized by burglars, stalkers, or abusive caretakers have found these to be lifesaving devices.

But you don’t need to record your every movement within your home to be safe. Here are five ways to use web security cameras around your property to keep your home and family members safe and sound:

Read more: http://time.com/3945063/webcam-nest-dropcam/

Meet the Home Security Camera That Burglars Totally Ignore

Able to detect motion, light, temperature, and humidity, the $249 Canary is more than just a camera. Through the app, Canary can notify users of movement, loud sounds, and changes in air quality when they’re away from home. A built-in microphone lets users talk to the room when they’re away, and an embedded 90-plus decibel siren can scare off intruders at the push of a button.

Read more: http://time.com/3933589/canary-nest-home-security/

Nest Cam review: Quality home-spying for the price, but Aware is costly

The fine new Nest Cam home-security video camera, introduced recently by Google-owned Nest Labs for $199, is a 4.5-inch inch tall eyeball on a pedestal that's connected to Wi-Fi and can send you alerts on your phone.

If you're not fussed by the idea that Google is vacuuming up even more of your personal data, and I guess I'm not, the results are satisfying and an improvement over the Dropcam Pro camera that it is modeled after. Alas, you must pay for certain advanced options.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/baig/2015/07/07/nestcam-camera-review-edbaig/29810787/

HDTV and Home Theater Podcast - High Resolution Audio vs CD

Over the past few months you have heard us mention high resolution audio on the show. There are audiophiles out there that swear that if you want the best quality audio then you must listen to high resolution audio. Others out there will tell you that CD quality is just as good. Then there are some that say mp3 or AAC files will suffice for the kind of listening most of us do.

On today’s show we will take both an objective and subjective look at the subject. But this will be a different type of show this week. We’ll discuss the subject on the podcast but there is a companion video that will greatly help in the understanding of the topics discussed.

Read more: http://www.hdtvmagazine.com/podcast/2015/07/hdtv-and-home-theater-podcast-podcast-694-high-resolution-audio-vs-cd.php

Free Home Theaters for the U.S. Government

Last year, the film industry staked out another zone of influence: United States embassies. Its lobbying arm paid to renovate screening rooms in at least four overseas outposts, hoping the new theaters would help ambassadors and their foreign guests “keep U.S. cultural interests top of mind,” according to an internal email.

That was the same year that the Motion Picture Association of America, which represents the six biggest studios, reported it was lobbying the State Department on issues including piracy and online content distribution. Hollywood’s interests—including its push for tougher copyright rules in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact—often put the industry at odds with Silicon Valley.

Read more: http://www.psmag.com/politics-and-law/free-home-theaters-for-the-us-government

Here’s what everyone’s getting wrong about Apple Music on Sonos

Some people, including me, freaked out upon learning that Apple Music wouldn't work natively with Sonos wireless speakers — despite every other major music service having a Sonos integration — and we chalked it up to cold-hearted competitive machinations by Apple. We were somewhat relieved but still frustrated on learning that Apple would be adding an integration by year-end.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-music-works-on-sonos-2015-7

How to control Sonos from your Apple Watch

If you own an Apple Watch you've likely at least experimented with controlling music playback from your wrist, with the built-in Music app. The convenience is immediately apparent, with the ability to pause or skip songs and control volume.

It's only natural if you own a Sonos speaker to begin looking for control it from your wrist. But you'll soon be disappointed as the Sonos app doesn't offer an Apple Watch app.

Read more: http://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-control-sonos-from-your-apple-watch/

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Endless Benefits of a Smart Home

It may have seemed like ages ago that our phones and cars became “smart”, and now it is time for our homes to do the same. The benefits are just too many to ignore. Nowadays, smart homes are being built from scratch, often with automation being a key design goal, but that’s not the only way to achieve a fully automated house. Smart homes are also constructed in existing homes during renovations. And not to worry if you don’t think of yourself as tech-savvy. The features are simple enough for any homeowner to use and enjoy. Here are several of the main benefits of turning your home into a smart home:

Read more: http://www.lajollalight.com/news/2015/jun/08/endless-benefits-of-a-smart-home/

Sony home automation hub unveiled

Sony is planning to unveil its first product backed by its own internal seed acceleration programme that was started in 2014.

The new product is expected to be a smart home automation device that will be able to control temperature and appliances remotely.

The company is planning to start an online campaign, seeking pre-orders and financing, Bloomberg cited a person familiar with the matter as saying.

Read more: http://www.cbronline.com/news/internet-of-things/smart-technology/sony-home-automation-hub-unveiled-4597637

Stick Your Future TV On Like Wallpaper

A television thinner than your finger is the future of screens according to LG Display, the screen-making subsidiary of LG. At a press conference in Seoul, LG unveiled a 55-inch screen that was just 0.97 mm thick and could be stuck to the wall by a magnet.

The screen, which is not going to be available commercially any time soon, is a proof-of-concept and a statement of intent by LG of their investment into OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology. OLED screens promise the possibility of thinner screens because the organic compound used in the display also emits its own light, eliminating the need for any backlighting. However, as The Verge asserts, an actual television set would be thicker because it would have to house other electronics and circuitry.

Read more: http://www.psfk.com/2015/05/lg-display-wallpaper-thin-tv-oled.html

Smart Homes Save Time and Money

Currently available technology allows homeowners to further personalize the environments in their homes and to monitor their homes remotely. Consider the increasing popularity of smart appliances such as motion-sensor lights, programmable thermostats and sound-control surround systems. Such technologies will likely expand as ways to make homes not only more comfortable, but also safer and more efficient. Smart home technology is becoming increasingly affordable and will become increasingly common in new homes. For example, in 2013, approximately half of all new homes built in the United States included structured wiring, which is needed for the transmission of high-speed video.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/06/29/smart-homes-save-time-and-money-7/

Smart homes thank you

New York firefighters and other first responders to 9/11 are visiting Carpet One stores to present a piece of the fallen towers of the World Trade Center as a thank you to Carpet One stores throughout the country for partnering with Mohawk Industries to help support the building of smart houses for military veterans returning home with catastrophic injuries.

Read more: http://www.lenconnect.com/photogallery/MI/20150701/PHOTOGALLERY/701009999/PH/1

Awair Is A Smart Home Air Quality Checker That Connects With Smart Thermostats, Purifiers, And Humidifiers

Awair is an Internet-linked device that has the capability to examine house elements such as indoor humidity and temperature, carbon dioxide level, volatile organic compounds and fine dust. With the data on air quality, the product offers individual suggestions, taking into consideration the health, routine and lifestyle of the owner through the Awair smartphone app.

Ronald Ro, CEO of Bitfinder, stated the smart product can assist people in improving sleep habits, increasing one's productivity and managing one's allergies.

Read more: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/56185/20150529/awair-is-a-smart-home-air-quality-checker-that-connects-with-smart-thermostats-purifiers-and-humidifiers.htm

This chart shows why Google’s smart home bet may be a flop at first

Google just made a big push to own the smart home. But its efforts may be in vain.

Nest, which is owned by the search giant, rolled out its new line of smart home products on Wednesday, and while the update to the devices were impressive, the company still has one big problem. Nobody seems to want a connected home.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/this-chart-shows-why-googles-smart-home-bet-may-be-a-flop-at-first-2015-6

Home Security Solutions Market by Product , Solutions , Home Type, & Geography

Security is the major concern for industry verticals such as commercial areas, residential areas, and public places. The major reasons behind this are the alarming crime rates on global basis and unethical practices. With regards to this, electronic security equipment is expected to find potential opportunities in this market. The entry level of security solutions in the residential sector has been witnessing a rapid growth since the last few years. There are several factors that can be attributed to this growth, such as increase in home burglary rates, attractive insurance policies to residents for installation of security solutions, and growing number of smart phone and tablet users.

Read more: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-security-solutions-market-by-product-solutions-home-type-geography---global-forecast-to-2020-2015-06-11

Piper.nv: An impressive night vision home security system

Home security is getting ever smarter, and Piper.nv (the more expensive night vision version of Piper) is an excellent example of this. It’s a smart camera that you access and control via your smartphone (iOS or Android). It displays 180-degree 1080p HD live video, and automatically switches to night vision when the room gets dark.

There’s much more to Piper than just a camera though. It comes packed with features to ensure your home stays safe when you’re asleep or away, and it’s very easy to set up and use.

Read more: http://betanews.com/2015/05/27/piper-nv-an-impressive-night-vision-home-security-system-review/

Consumers want to control lights from smartphone apps

"A new survey from Lutron shows that consumers are looking for their homes to get 'street smart,' " said Melissa Andresko, communications director for Lutron Electronics Co. Inc., based in Coopersburg, Pa. "The ability to control lights and shades from their smartphones when they are away provides peace of mind and a greater feeling of security."

Founded in 1961, Lutron says its products save an estimated 10 billion kWh of electricity, or approximately $1 billion annually, in utility costs. The (Street) Smart Home at Lutron includes products for all budgets: Cas├ęta Wireless for the general home owner and, for luxury homes, the RadioRA2 and Homeworks QS from Lutron.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/real-estate/2015/05/20/consumers-want-control-smartphone-apps-cbt/27660859/

Street Smart Home, Lutron Maestro Is The Upgrade That Pays

If you’re looking to save money every month, your family’s home electric bill is one place to start. Smart, green tech updates will save a lot of electricity — and money — over the course of a year. Even small changes add up quick. Lutron has a line of home electronics that deliver “The (Street) Smart Home” that puts money back into your pocket with ingenious designs and “smart” sensor technology.

Consumers are looking for the ability to control lights and shades from their smartphones when they are away. The added access to their home lighting systems provides peace of mind and a greater feeling of security.

Read more: http://www.monstersandcritics.com/street-smart-home-lutron-maestro-is-the-upgrade-that-pays/

Lutron launches myRoom for guestroom management

Lutron has launched myRoom for the Middle East hotel industry to facilitate lighting, shading and temperature control, while saving costs.

Hotelier attended the launch of the lighting supplier's new in-room technology at the Four Seasons resort.

The Pennsylvania, USA-based company was founded by the inventor of the template for the modern dimmer switch and has over 2,000 patents.

Read more: http://www.hoteliermiddleeast.com/23804-lutron-launches-myroom-for-guestroom-management/

Lutron’s Caseta lighting controls are now (mostly) compatible with Apple's HomeKit

Lutron Director of Product Management Matt Swatsky told me in a briefing last week that HomeKit also allows you to define “Rooms” (all the controlled lights in a given room) and “Zones” (all the controlled lights in groups of Rooms). This enables the Caseta system to turn the lights in the living room on or off without impacting the lights in the rest of the house.

If you’d like to know the status of an individual light, you can ask Siri that as well. Or you can ask Siri to set any of your lights controlled by Caseta dimmers to a certain percentage of brightness. Finally, Caseta can also be integrated with smart thermostats from Honeywell and Nest, and Lutron has a Caseta channel on IFTTT.

Read more: http://www.techhive.com/article/2929733/lutrons-caseta-lighting-controls-are-now-mostly-compatible-with-apples-homekit.html

LG minibeam nano brings home theatre to the mobile generation

younger generation of viewers often have trouble justifying buying large televisions for an apartment because they’ll probably be moving out in a year or so. not to mention, media is mainly consumed from the internet for mobile viewing through smartphones and tablets. but what if young people want to share a viewing experience with a group during a party, or traveling? huddling around a tablet or laptop is uncomfortable and a problematic event. LG electronics understands mobile displays shouldn’t cut back on shared group experiences, so they’ve decide to create the relatively tiny LG ‘minibeam nano’, which delivers high mobility and versatility to consumers who want an enjoyable cinematic experience without the trouble of wires and weight.

Read more: http://www.designboom.com/technology/lg-minibeam-nano-06-17-2015/

Work anywhere with a wall, with a keyboard that's also a projector

The KiBoJet's pico projector offers 150 lumens of brightness, which should be visible under most indoor lighting. It has a full-HD resolution, and is capable of projecting an image of 21 inches wide up to 33 inches, though this spec is not yet finalized. I found the quality of the projection to be passable, but bear in mind this was a working prototype that Sho U rushed to get ready for the show, so the final product may be a lot better.

http://www.cnet.com/news/work-anywhere-with-a-wall-with-the-sho-u-kibojet-keyboard-projector/

LG unveils four new LED projectors for 2015

Projectors have a bunch of uses from allowing the user to show presentations at the office to a large group of people, to allowing you to watch movies and TV shows on a huge screen at home. One downside to projectors with traditional light bulbs inside is that the bulbs are expensive and have a shorter lifespan than you might think. LED projectors on the other hand have very long bulb life.

Read more: http://www.slashgear.com/lg-unveils-four-new-led-projectors-for-2015-17388839/

Lighting and home automation giant Lutron sets up shop in Kendall Square

Lutron is best known for introducing the dimmer switch into American homes; the company also makes products like window shades that open or close based on the brightness outside.

The company leased a 5,000-square foot office at One Main Street, which could house 50 or more employees, depending on how the space is used. (The company declined to comment on the number of employees already there, but Lutron employs more than 1,000 people worldwide.) Job listings show that privately-held Lutron is still trying to staff up.

Read more: http://www.betaboston.com/news/2015/05/22/lighting-and-home-automation-giant-lutron-sets-up-shop-in-kendall-square/

The Connected Home: Reaching Critical Mass for the Grid?

After a decade or more of false starts and unrealistic expectations, “connected home” technology is finally gaining enough market share for vendors to start bragging about the numbers.

And that means that the energy management side of the business, while still low on the list of consumers’ reasons for buying into the technology, could start to reach the critical mass required to make it a true grid-scale asset.

Read more: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-connected-home-reaching-critical-mass-for-the-grid

Expanding Market For Home Automation Sector

Just how big is the home automation industry? One way to tell is by looking at the sheer number of companies – large and small—that have rushed to enter this fast-growing space. They include some of the world’s largest corporations – Apple and Google – along with the nation’s biggest cable and telecom companies – Comcast and AT&T. It includes big names in security like Honeywell and ADT. Then there are less known, but fast growing, contenders such as Control4, Vivint, and Interlogix.

Also trying to muscle their way into this space are the big cable and telecom companies who are attempting to build upon previous gains made through their alarm monitoring business.

Read more: http://us.sourcesecurity.com/news/articles/co-74-ga-co-6591-ga-co-9561-ga-co-6586-ga-co-12086-ga-co-2173-ga-co-737-ga-co-12085-ga-co-11565-ga-co-10901-ga.17998.html

Amazon's Echo Home-Automation Device Signals Emerging Opportunities, And Serious Threats, For Solution Providers

Amazon's decision to open the technology that enables the voice-recognition capabilities of Echo, the smart-home device that hit the wider market this week, to outside developers signals both emerging opportunities and potential threats for the channel, according to several AWS partners.

The brain of Amazon's new Internet-of-Things device is called Alexa, a cloud-based artificial intelligence that responds to voice commands. Amazon said Thursday that it not only will make available a kit that partners can use to take advantage of Alexa's advanced speech recognition capabilities and link to its backend cloud services, but that it also has dedicated $100 million to invest in companies that are developing such devices.

Read more: http://www.crn.com/news/cloud/300077289/amazons-echo-home-automation-device-signals-emerging-opportunities-and-serious-threats-for-solution-providers.htm

Why attempt home automation yourself when you can have a pro do it for you?

We know the standard answer to the question in the headline: Because it’s cheaper. But is it really?

Now, if you’re an endless tinkerer and do-it-yourselfer, more power to you. If you like to fix your own plumbing and electrical, do your own landscaping, install your own cabinetry, pave your own driveway, or do your own taxes, we respect and appreciate that. Heck, you can buy a titanium replacement hip online if you’d like to install one yourself.

Read more: http://www.technologytell.com/gadgets/160718/attempt-home-automation-can-pro-post-sponsored-urc/