Showing posts from May, 2015

How smart homes put a price on data

As dusk falls, the lights in my flat start to come on, with those in the darkest rooms triggered first. When I walk into my bedroom, one of the lamps illuminates. At sunset, the garden light glows. If I get up during the night, my kitchen lights come on — but low, at 10 per cent of their full brightness, giving just enough light to save me from falling over the cat. They switch themselves off again once I have got back into bed. My smart-home set-up is minimalist by some people’s standards: the central heating is not hooked up to it, nor is the burglar alarm, although I can turn on the kettle from the sofa. But even this arrangement collects plentiful data about me: the front and back door sensors record when I enter and leave the house, and the app tracks the energy use of every device to which it is connected — which is most, though not all, of my lights. Read more:

Try before you buy will be key to unlocking smart homes

The home of tomorrow may already be here, but few are laying out the welcome mat. After decades of hype, the home of today continues to look a lot like the home of yesterday. When we think of the future, we usually summon up visions akin to something out of a Ray Bradbury novel or The Jetsons. Yet it is certain to be something far more prosaic. The fact is our homes are filled with technology we rarely think about but could not live without, such as microwaves, washing machines and flatscreen televisions. There are few domestic robot maids and flying cars. Read more:

‘Smart homes’ on the rise

As consumers have an increasingly bewildering number of choices of “smart” devices for the home, they are faced with a fundamental decision- install them on a do-it-yourself basis and deal with the challenges of integrating them, or hire an installer offering a holistic system like Control4, Crestron, Savant or AMX, the latter owned by Stamford-based Harman International Industries. “The smartphone opened up the whole gamut,” said de Terlizzi, director of marketing and sales at County TV & Appliance, which in 2014 won an award from the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Fairfield County for its “smart home” showroom in Stamford. “We have a lot of people who we educate that have been longtime customers of ours. As their homes and needs evolve, they come in here.” Internet-enabled devices are flooding onto the shelves of home goods retailers and contractors faster than even devotees of Popular Mechanics or Wired can keep up. Upstarts like Nest Labs and DropCam (both now

Nest: If appliances don't talk, homes aren't smart

The smart home isn’t here yet — and won’t be — until devices in homes can talk to each other, said Nest Labs' Mike Soucie. Soucie co-founded Revolv, a company that looked to act as a hub for controlling lights, locks and speakers in the home. Nest acquired Revolv, and he now acts as Nest's head of consumer product partnerships. Tech giant Google Inc. acquired Nest in 2014. Soucie sat down with the Business Journal recently at the Parks Associates’ CONNECTIONS conference in Burlingame to talk about what the connected home will look like in the future. Read more:

IKEA's Building a Super Cheap and Versatile Smart Home System

Smart lighting systems like Philips Hue are futuristic and awesome and, typically, expensive. But IKEA wants to offer this type of technology to the masses. The Swedish flatpack furniture empire is developing an entire smart home system, and it looks futuristic and awesome and, you guessed it, cheap. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. IKEA’s been inching into the home electronics business very deliberately, and it’s only natural that it would want to upend the burgeoning smart home market. Creating with a connected lightbulb system makes good sense. We already saw IKEA’s affordable, motorized sit/stand desk last fall. Then, came IKEA’s versatile and customizable wireless charging system that hit stores this spring. But next fall, the so-called Home Smart II Lighting Collection will take things to a new level. Read more:

Tips to Set Up a Great Home Theater Room

These days, home theaters are particularly popular rooms in many houses, and are even viewed as selling points. In fact, this trend has become so popular that eight in ten builders now offer home theater pre-wire, according to a study from the Consumer Electronics Association. By following some tricks of the trade, you can add excitement to your living room or create a superior home theater space. Read more: