Showing posts from October, 2015

Crestron Focuses On High-End Market

Crestron will keep its foot firmly planted in the luxury high end of the custom-install market even though competitors are moving into the mass market and launching products for over-the-counter sales, marketing director Jeff Singer said during the CEDIA Expo. To underscore the point, the company launched multiple new products for the luxury market, and it stressed that new setup tools such as Pyng, launched last year, and the Home Elements tool kit, due in about a month, speed the set-up time of luxury installs and make jobs more profitable. Read more:

Lutron’s new motorized rollup shades available in large sizes

If you’re fortunate enough to have very large windows in your home, Lutron’s new line of motorized roller shades can cover them. Sivoia QS Triathlon WIDR roller shades are available in sizes as large as 12 feet wide by 12 feet tall. Integrate them into a connected-home system, such as Lutron’s Caseta DIY product or its dealer-installed RadioRA 2 or HomeWorks QS lighting systems. Read more:

Savant’s Host Hub Aims at Offering the Most Promising Smart-Home Solution

Home automation is touted as the next big thing and the fact that companies are coming out with a slew of interconnected and smart devices is helping to foster the ecosystem. Not very long from now, we would be seeing entire house controlled by a single device tagged along with an app that could let you do virtually control the home, remotely. Read more:

Q&A with Savant

We caught up with CEO William Lynch to shed some more light on the new line extension and answer the question: Why a remote? PSFK: Savant is known for creating automated products for the 1%—why the transition from castles and yachts to a more “affordable and accessible” smart home product? We feel like there’s an opportunity to bring the incredible Savant Home experience to more and more people. Read more:

Nest's latest home automation products offer pricey protection

The Google-owned company recently updated all three of the products in its lineup: its thermostat, connected security camera and smart smoke detector. I've been using just the latter two, because the ventilation system in my house is so ancient it would be ridiculous to connect it to the thermostat. I've been impressed with both devices, although I'm much more sold on the Protect smoke detector than the camera. Read more:

Lutron Adds New Keypads, Remote Access To Custom Lighting Systems

Lutron is adding new features and new dimmer and keypad options to its RadioRA 2 and HomeWorks QS series of custom-installed lighting-control systems, including remote access from a smartphone or tablet. The company is also expanding the functionality of its iOS and Android control apps. Read more:

Smart Locks Could Be Key To Service Economy

What’s August Access? Basically it’s a new functionality built into August smart locks that enables third party home service providers – whether that’s a Sears repairman, a dog walker or house cleaner - to enter your home with a temporary digital key. August has struck deals with a variety of home service providers for the launch of August Access, including Postmates (delivery), Wag! (dogwalking), HelloAlfred (personal assistant), BloomNation (flower delivery), Sears Home Services (Sears…duh.) and seven more. Read more:

The high-tech smart locks of the future

A handful of high-tech smart locks have hit the market in recent years, aiming to eliminate clunky key rings while making homes safer. The latest, called the Linus Lock, is the product of a partnership between Yale Locks & Hardware and Google-owned Nest, the makers of a variety of connected appliances like the smart thermostat and smart smoke detector. Read more:

Is "Home Automation As A Service" The Future?

As I prepare to head to CEDIA this week to visit with companies such as Comcast, Control4 Corporation, Core Brands Nortek, Honeywell International, Insteon, and Napco Security Technologies, I’ll be excited to see what’s new in the Home Automation space. Tradeshows are a fountain of information, and as I try to determine who (and what) consumers are going to buy, I keep coming back to the same question: Will Home Automation as a Service (HAaaS) dominate the market? Read more:

Smart home pride: Vivint renames stadium with automation, security

The Utah Jazz will no longer call the EnergySolutions Arena as their home court, not because they have changed courts, but because the sports complex is now named the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Yes, the home automation, security and monitoring company Vivint, Inc., has struck a partnership with Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment (LHMSE) for the naming rights of the arena for the next 10 years, with the option to extend another five years. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Read more:

Put your home on autopilot to save money, time and energy

Every homeowner can remember a time when they wondered, "Did I lock the front door this morning?" Or, "Did I leave a light on?" Others can attest to that feeling of dread knowing their air conditioner is running full blast while they're away on a weekend trip. There's nothing worse than worrying about the security of your home — or your rising electric bill — while you're away. Fortunately, recent advancements in home technology offer peace of mind when it comes to energy efficiency, security and time savings. Read more:

Axis Gear promises to make your dumb window shades smart

A New York-based startup named Axis on Monday launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund the initial production run of Axis Gear, an app-controlled device that motorizes and automates window treatments. The company says the “smart” add-on—essentially a motor with a Bluetooth radio and some sensors—should work with any new or existing window shade that has a chain-drive system, regardless of which beaded chain or cord loop it uses. Read more:

Motorized Shades and Blinds Save Energy

Much of our daily lives revolves around light. We follow it, work under it, and then put it behind us when we’re done for the day. Motorized shades can be a tremendous aid to maximizing how you harvest, conserve and utilize light, especially when those shades or blinds are integrated into a smart home automation system. Read more:

Why Sonos thinks you're ready for a $500 speaker in your home

Sonos faces a unique challenge on the eve of launching the most important products it has developed in years. The company's mission statement is simple to sum up: It wants to make it easy to listen to high-quality music anywhere in your home. And it believes its new products, the flagship Play:5 speaker and new software called Trueplay, move that goal forward. But there's one part of that mission -- "in the home" -- that speaks to perhaps the toughest problem facing the company: How do you convince people who've grown up listening to music with their iconic iPod headphones to spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive home audio setup? Read more:

Projectors let you go bigger at home without the price, shortcomings of large OLED TVs

Maybe that large, pricey OLED TV isn't the only option for quality big-screen entertainment after all. Maybe you can build your dream home theater another way. Very quietly, the projector has closed the gap on the big-screen TV in 2015, emerging as a powerful — and surprisingly convenient — home theater option. The same cumbersome machine that you once watched your college professor fumble to use for some yawner of a PowerPoint presentation is now user-friendly, versatile and largely hassle-free, capable of handling movies, video games and sports events. Read more:

The smart home's problem

The smart home has a problem. While people are interested in the technology, they also aren’t ready to buy it. And I don’t blame them. A lack of standards, a disregard for usability, and an incoherent story about what a smart home can do for people all mean that anyone interested in buying a connected product quickly encounters a cautionary tale that makes them think twice about spending $200 on a connected door lock. Read more:

Someone just bought your smart home. Did they get your data, too?

It's move-in day, and you finally have the papers and the keys for your new home. But do you have the passwords? That's one of the questions homebuyers and renters should be asking themselves now that connected devices like locks, lights and thermostats are growing more common, according to the Online Trust Alliance. Read more:

Google’s smart home campaign lets the houses do the talking

If it wasn’t enough for Google to control your work life, the tech company now wants to rule your home life as well. And in case you needed convincing, a clever new campaign lets the houses do the talking. Nest, a home automation company bought by Google for $US3.2 billion ($4.5 billion) in 2014, has created several tongue-in-cheek videos to educate the public about its smart home technology. Read more:

Builders see rising profits with smart home features

Economists project that single-family home starts will reach 1.7 million by 2017, and more and more of those homes will come smart home-enabled. In fact, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), in its latest annual building survey, determined that nine out of 10 new homes come pre-equipped with a broadband connection, supporting the theory that Americans are living more of their work lives out of their homes and demanding more from their Internet connection in the course of their day. In the same study, approximately 30% of builders said they felt prewiring homes for home theater and monitored security would boost their profit potential. Read more:

Savant Showcases New Remote and Home Tech Products

The Savant Remote is part of Savant’s new family of wireless devices, which also includes the Savant Host, Blaster, and Lamp Controller—all designed in collaboration with award-winning design studio Ammunition, led by industrial designer Robert Brunner. Utilizing the same cutting-edge technology found in Savant’s Pro line of luxury products, these affordable new devices make premium home automation available to everyone for the first time. Read more:

Control4 Uses the Cloud to Automate Your Smart Home

In addition to providing security features for your home, Control4 also allows consumers to control their entertainment devices. With the new entertainment features of OS 2.8 baked into the platform, friends and family can now enjoy music streamed from cloud services such as Pandora directly into the entertainment systems found in thier homes. Read more:

Bose aims at Sonos with SoundTouch 10 speaker

Bose has announced a new update to its SoundTouch speaker range and others that will offer multi-room listening and more. It has also unveiled a new, entry-level SoundTouch 10 speaker. The new generation system allows for streaming via single speakers or multiple devices. That means the same music across different rooms or different content for each speaker. Read more:

Upgrading your living room

The living room is where you do most of your actual living, when you're not sleeping or eating, so make sure it's fitted out with the tech it deserves - from binge watching movies to entertaining guests, there's a lot of seriously impressive hardware out there to choose from. After several false starts, the biggest names in technology are now producing gadgets that you'd actually want to use in your living room, pulling in all kinds of audio and video content to enjoy on your big TV screen - so your options are as good as they've ever been. Read more:

Smart home training center opens

American Modern Insurance Group held a ribbon cutting and open house on Oct. 9 to celebrate the completion of the company’s LivingWise smart home. The 1,471 square foot, two-story house was built in AMIG’s 50,000 square foot claims training center, located in Amelia. The house, which features smart technology, sustainable building materials and increased security measures, will be used as part of the company’s hands-on claims training curriculum. Read more:

3 Benefits of Turning Your Ordinary Home into a Smart Home

With all the gizmos and hi-tech gadgets around, you might have heard the words smartphones and smart watches. They are indeed the latest craze in today's generation. But aside from a phone and a watch, a simple home could likewise be transformed into a smart home. You heard it correctly; ordinary homes could now become a smart home. For a start, a smart home is a fancy name which is given to a home that is essentially governed by one or two computers in order to control some functions and home features. Read more:

The smart home is too clever for its own good

After two years of tinkering with complicated, ugly, frustrating and often pointless gadgets, I have experienced a connected-home system that actually works. Pairing Philips Hue’s new hub with Apple’s Homekit software means I can turn off all my lights by simply speaking into my iPhone: “Hey Siri, turn off everything.” Off they all go, as if I had flipped a switch. This may seem a trivial feat but, believe me, this is huge progress. No fiddling around with poorly-designed apps, no anxious waiting to see if the lights do turn off, no forgotten passwords locking me out of my own network. Read more:

Sonos To Simplify Integration With Smart Home Systems

Wireless multiroom-audio pioneer Sonos will open up its API to make it easier for home-automation suppliers to integrate with Sonos speakers and soundbars without having to reverse-engineer Sonos software. But Sonos isn’t saying when. Read more:

2015 Smart-Home Survey Results

The second greatest determiner is ease of use, which earned 19% of the votes, up from 13% last year. Energy efficiency features—such as home temperature control and automated lighting—are the next most commonly cited factors. In all, 66% of Americans reported they plan to purchase smart home products someday, while 17% plan to do so within the next year. Consumers rated stores like Lowe's and the Home Depot as the their top destination for purchasing smart-home products, citing reliability, knowledgeable staff, and an abundance of available products. Read more:

Technology is Changing Home Security

Technology has radically changed the way we protect our homes. What was previously only possible in Sci-Fi movies is now gradually becoming reality. The digital revolution has made its way into our homes. 1. Remote Monitoring: Remote monitoring is a great way to keep an eye on the home when you are at school or work, or on your second home. Even if you are vacationing on a beach miles away, you can still receive real time videos and photos of what is going on at home. Read more:

Sony’s Ultimate 4K Projector

It seems like only yesterday, we were wondering when the 4K projector would be available for home theater use. (Okay, technically it was 2013.) Now, we’re starting to see options trickle in, but Sony’s VPL-W5000ES 4K projector definitely isn’t something that’s for everyone. Of course, you need to have the room for this 4K projector—as well as the bankroll to bring it home. Read more:

Benefits of soundbars for home sound systems

Around two decades ago, I bought my first Dolby Digital 5.1 channel surround sound home theater sound system. The 5.1 number includes both left and right front speakers, a center channel, two rear surround speakers, and a subwoofer. Nowadays there is an option for 7.1 surround that adds two more side speakers, and options exist beyond 7.1, so be sure to research it. With the 5.1 system, I loved demonstrating to my friends how sound could travel around you in a circle like the sound of a helicopter. Especially for movies, the sound can immerse you within the setting and truly make you feel like you are part of the action. Read more:

The Pitfalls of the D.I.Y. Connected Home

The idea is that all the gadgets and devices in our home — including light bulbs, security cameras, door locks, smoke alarms and thermostats — will be connected online and can be controlled wherever there is the Internet, such as on our smartphones. Did the babysitter lock herself out of the house? Did you leave the lights on? Forgot to lower the thermostat? No worries. The solution is a few screen taps away. So to join the future, I picked up dozens of so-called smart products with the mission to install them myself. Read more:

Control4 Delivers Enhanced Smart Home Security and Entertainment

Control4 Corporation released OS 2.8, the latest version of its smart home operating system. With OS 2.8, Control4 rolls out a reimagined smart home security experience that easily integrates with today’s leading security systems, smart locks and cameras; offers native streaming of music services from Pandora, Deezer, and TIDAL; and updates other capabilities to make it easy for Control4 homeowners to search, browse, listen and watch their favorite media. Additionally, OS 2.8 delivers a number of enhanced dealer tools, most notably the ability to back up Control4 projects to the cloud and all-new “experience” drivers that simplify the creation of personalized smart home experiences. Read more:

Savant rolls out affordable home technology products

Smart home technology manufacturer Savant debuted a new line of smart home products that it said will let homeowners start enjoying their entertainment in minutes, while also being among the most affordable available at present. The new line of products is headlined by the Savant Remote, which the company said combines the convenience of a universal remote with the power of home automation. The device lets users control a multitude of devices (more than 380,000, according to Savant) including Sonos, Apple TV, cable boxes, and Roku, as well as their lights, from a single device. Read more:

Home Automation Company Savant Launches A Remote For Controlling Everything In Your Home

For the past decade, Savant Systems has built a business selling home automation systems for the super rich. The late Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, even used Savant to automate his super yacht, the Venus. Now the Hyannis, Mass.-based company wants to make something a bit more accessible for the hoi polloi with its new product, the Savant Remote. “For the 1% of the 1%, we are the home automation company of choice,” said William Lynch, Savant’s new CEO, who joined the company last year after serving as Barnes & Noble’s CEO. “It’s only been available for the uber wealthy. Now we want to make the Savant experience available to everyone.” Read more:

Home Automation System Reviews

Have you ever left home for work and wished you had turned the temperature down to save money and energy? Or leaving for vacation and wanted to set up a lighting schedule to mimic your normal light usage so it appears you are in the house? Well, now you can. Technology around the home is changing at a rapid pace, homeowners are now able to control everything from their thermostat to the bathroom lights without actually being there. There are many home automation products on the market, ranging in costs and features that will leave anyone’s head spinning. We reviewed some of the most popular systems and are pleased to bring you our findings. With home security, lighting and HVAC controls, as well as home entertainment all at your fingertips, upgrading your home to a state of the art “Smart Home” is a great way to control all aspects of your domestic life from home or anywhere in the world. Read more:

CNET Buys House to Test Smart-Home Gadgets of the Future

The popular product-review site bought a four-bedroom, four-bathroom house with a swimming pool and a three-car garage for the endeavor. There, CNET's staff can tinker with the various gadgets home owners are expected to buy over the next three to five years, like smart kitchen and laundry appliances that could help reduce water and energy consumption. As part of the project, it launched a hub for all of its smart-home reviews. "Today people have a piece or two of smart technology," said Eric Johnson, evp and general manager for CNET Media Group, CBS Interactive. Read more:

Get Ready for Explosive 'Smart' Home Growth

About 100 million households will be “smart” worldwide by the end of the year, and the number will grow to 300 million over the next 10 years, according to a new report released by Deutsche Telekom, a German telecommunications company. More consumers are embracing “smart” home technology for its promises of home efficiency, convenience, and savings. In the next five years alone, the smart home industry could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars and Deutsche Telekom predicts that it will be one of the next major markets to take off globally. Entrepreneurs and start-ups are taking note. They’re focusing on niches like home automation, insurance services, ambient assisted living, and data analytics. Read more:

Your Smart Home Knows Way Too Much About You

How much does your smart home know about you? That was the question that Charles Givre, a data scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton, set out to answer in a recent experiment. Givre has an account on Wink, a platform designed to control, from a single screen, his Internet-connected home devices, such as door locks, window shades and LED lights. He wanted to learn what could be learned from his usage behavior. It turned out it was a little too much. Last week, at a big data conference in New York, Givre presented his results. By accessing his Wink account, he (or anyone with his login information) could identify his social media accounts, the names of his devices (like “Charles’s iPad) and his network information. Read more:

Savant's $500 Smart-Home Hub Reinvents the Remote

There are plenty of easy-to-install smart-home systems available, things like WeMo and SmartThings and the Wink Hub. But long before any of those products could be found for a couple hundred bucks at Home Depot, and long before the “Internet of Things” was a buzzword, such integrated systems could only be obtained via a pricey home installation specialist. A leader in this field is Savant, a decade-old company that sells professional (and super expensive) custom installations to control thermostats, lights, blinds, music, and security systems in mansions, castles, and yachts the world over. Read more:

Smart home technology offers buyers an increasingly popular incentive

Features include smart security, thermostats and lighting that can be remotely controlled, fire and freeze protection, geo-services meaning your home can anticipate and optimize for your arrival, and text and e-mail updates, including alerts to let you know when the kids are home from school. It also replaced its incumbent sustainability features incentive with a free six-month subscription to smart home services. It’s a sweetener the builder feels holds more appeal with millennials; a generation starting in the early eighties who are currently graduating into the single family home market. Read more:

Bluetooth Smart Connectivity to HVAC

CSR plc has announced the latest version of its Bluetooth® Smart solution for the smart home, CSRmesh® Home Automation. The new software release adds sensor and actuator models to build on the original protocol that was designed for lighting control. This makes it possible for developers to deliver a wider range of home automation solutions including control of HVAC, door locks, and window sensors. The new flood mesh solution combines a configuration and control protocol based on CSR’s Bluetooth Smart devices, including the CSR101x™ family, which the company said allows for an almost unlimited number of devices to be networked together and directly controlled from a smartphone, tablet PC, or wearable device. Read more:

Apple is running into problems with its big smart home plans

You're going to have to wait a little longer before an Apple-powered smart home becomes a reality. That's because home automation devices that are compatible with HomeKit, which is the system that enables smart gadgets to be easily controlled using one app or via Siri voice command, are in short supply. Read more:

Make your business thrive with Internet of Things

According to McKinsey Global Institute, the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to create an economic impact of $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion annually by 2025. In this context, the market is ready for a very large-scale disruption in terms of transaction and economic models. This will open up the possibility for small and nimble businesses to carve out novel opportunities to create new value through innovative offerings predicated on highly connected and data driven future. The IoT is not a futuristic technology trend. According to a Microsoft report, IoT was actually coined nearly 20 years ago by professors at MIT to describe a world where ‘things’, which can be devices or sensors, are both smart and connected with the ability to collect and share data without human intervention. Read more:

Sears Buys WallyHome Water-Leak Sensor Technology

Sears Holdings has acquired the technology behind WallyHome, a smart device that senses changes in moisture, temperature and humidity, and can alert homeowners to possible leaks via a powerline network. Sears purchased the technology, and will license related know-how, from Seattle startup SNUPI Technologies (Sensor Network Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure), which will also provide consulting services for the development of future Sears Connected Solutions products. Read more:

Venture capital fund aims to spur Central Coast tech

A new Central Coast tech venture capital fund will give entrepreneurs in the Highway 101 corridor another avenue for funding. Santa Barbara Technology Ventures seeks to invest primarily in tech startups by having a close affiliation with companies coming out of UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, according to a Sept. 1 fund summary obtained by the Business Times. Managers of the fund said in the document that the region is underserved and that no venture capital funds exist in the region specifically to fund early-stage tech companies. “While the Santa Barbara region has a wealth of engineering and technology (and) innovation resources, experienced early-stage company leadership has historically been scarce,” the document said. Read more:

Sonos Introduces Trueplay Tuning Software and New Flagship PLAY:5 Smart Speaker

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Sept. 29, 2015 -- Sonos, the leader in smart sound for the home, today ushers in the next great era of home audio innovation with the introduction of new speaker-tuning software called Trueplaytm and an all-new flagship SONOS PLAY:5 smart speaker. With Trueplay, millions of listeners can easily tune their existing Sonos speakers to optimize the sound no matter where the speaker is placed. The new SONOS PLAY:5, elegantly designed from the inside out, delivers the purest, deepest, most vibrant sound yet from Sonos. Both Trueplay and the new SONOS PLAY:5 will be available later this year. Read more:

Security Devices for Connected Home Markets is Forecast to Grow

Next generation home security devices achieve a complete replacement of existing security systems, 3D video cameras, automated connected thermostats, access sensors, and intrusion detection devices can al alert a person on the smart phone. Devices are wireless, are more energy efficient, last longer and have a significantly lower cost of operation. The study has 366 pages and 116 table and figures. With successful strategies for increased market presence, product leadership and cost-efficiency, apps are well positioned for continued long-term profitable growth driven by the major economic trends: urbanization, rapid technological development and increased security requirements. Read more:

MyFox Smart Home Security Review

The Myfox Home Security System comes with four circles and a rectangle: a Wi-Fi hub that plugs into the wall, a 110-decibel siren, a key fob for arming and disarming the system, a 720p HD camera, and one “IntelliTag” sensor for your door or window — the rectangle. Everything is white and silver, and while the hub and camera are small enough, the siren is a big, honking thing that looks sort of like a fat Frisbee. I’ve also seen smaller door/window tags, but most of those are contact sensors. The Myfox IntelliTag actually senses vibrations to tell the difference between someone knocking on the door and someone trying to pry it open. Read more:

Comcast's home automation app links Lutron and more

Xfinity Home customers are now able to control the August Smart Lock, Chamberlain MyQ garage controller, and the Lutron Caséta wireless light controller and dimmer directly through the Xfinity Home app on both iOS and Android devices. In addition, Xfinity Home now works with the Nest Learning Thermostat. Read more:

Savant Kills LiteTouch, Lutron to the Rescue

Savant, a new leader in professionally installed home automation systems, has killed off LiteTouch, the hardwired lighting-control business it acquired from Nortek . Because one-time leader LiteTouch is more than 30 years old, and its hardwired products are quite reliable, there are probably tens of thousands of working systems in homes and buildings today – many of which were sold in the last couple of years. Read more:

Nest v Honeywell: Which smart thermostat system is the one for you?

Smart thermostats are the no-brainer smart home system. Of all the connected devices making their ways into our lives, these are the ones that make the most sense right now. They save you money, they make your central heating system hassle free and, most importantly of all, they work. So, is Nest the best or does Honeywell have it all? Here's a little something to help you decide which is the right one. Read more:

10 incredible home theaters that you can buy right now

Forget swimming pools. Today's high net worth home buyers would rather have a tricked-out home theater. According to a recent survey by Coldwell Banker, home theaters outrank pools, wine cellars, and tennis courts as one of the most desirable real estate amenities that the super rich look for. With the help of Zillow, the largest real estate network on the web, we've found 10 of the most elaborate home theaters that you can buy right now. Keep scrolling to see their swanky concession stands, plush leather seats, and more. Read more:

How to make your home smart

Panasonic announced its Smart Home system earlier this month featuring a range of components that all link to a central hub using DECT ULE, rather than Wi-Fi. This was previously the standard technology used for home phones and it is said to be more secure than Wi-Fi as it won't be detected when scanned for with any Wi-Fi device. The system includes cameras, sensors, plugs, motion detectors and sirens and they are available in a number of kits. You can control all the devices from a smartphone or tablet, giving you remote access to cameras (with two-way communication), the ability to turn lights on and off, set home and away profiles, or have alerts when someone opens the front door, for example. Read more:

Voice-controlled home security

Recently, Siri's corporate parent, Apple Inc., unveiled the first wave of home automation products sporting a "Works with Apple HomeKit" logo. Among them are light dimmers from Lutron, Elgato air and security monitors, an Ecobee thermostat, iHome SmartPlugs, and an Insteon smart home hub. Apple HomeKit features product compatibility with a new Apple-tuned communications and control platform built on the iOS 8 operating system for tablets and phones, plus a special chip in each HomeKit-branded device. "But voice control is what really sets HomeKit apart," said Matt Swatsky, product development manager for Lutron, the global giant in lighting control based in Coopersburg, and a participant in the HomeKit product launch. Read more:

Consumer demands on smart home technology

How has the consumer demand for smart home technology changed in recent times? A few years ago, going back to 2012 and 2013, there was more scepticism from consumers with trying or investing in smart home technology. Before, consumers would commit to a single, simple device such as a smart plug or home monitor, giving them control over a certain aspect of their home, rather than setting up a complete smart home system with devices that talk to each other. Read more:

Philips Hue adds Siri voice control with new hub

Philips is finally ready to let Hue customers control their lighting through Siri. It's announcing a new Hue bridge today that adds in support for HomeKit, Apple's smart home platform, allowing customers who buy one to start controlling all Hue lights — new and old — through voice commands on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. Because Apple requires HomeKit devices to include specific hardware, existing Hue customers will have to purchase a new hub to get started. Existing customers will be able to get a discount through Hue's website so that they can buy it for $40. New customers will have to pay $60 or get it through a starter bundle. Read more:

Samsung-Owned SmartThings Launches New Smart Home Hub And Monitoring Service

The big picture goal for SmartThings has always been about making the most open and accessible platform for the emerging smart home market. The company’s hardware hub connects to the hundreds of smart home gadgets out there with their confusing array of radios and protocols, and then centralizes how these devices work together in a single app. And even after being acquired by South Korean electronics colossus Samsung in 2014, the company is still grasping onto that vision with its new hub that it launched on Thursday. SmartThings’ second generation hub tries to keep that all that openness and package it with some beefed up performance. The biggest feature in the new hub is an built-in processor (a 1GHz single-core ARM chip made by Freescale). Read more:

Voice Control Devices for Hands-Free Living

“When is the world going to end?” is a popular question for iPhone’s Siri, if only for the humorous (and decidedly nonserious) responses. But as voice-control apps and home technology become more prevalent in daily life, the questions might become less philosophical and more practical, like “Do I need a jacket today?” Voice-control technology might still be in its early stages, but these five devices and systems that are available now offer a glimpse of what’s to come. Read more:

Why your smart home is Samsung's next big thing

Samsung is gunning for your wrist and your home -- and those aren't mutually exclusive. The South Korean consumer electronics giant on Thursday showed off the Gear S2, its seventh smartwatch in two years but first since late 2014. Earlier that day, it unveiled its AddWash Internet-connected washing machine that includes a small door to let you add forgotten items like socks, a SleepSense sleep tracker you slip under your mattress to track your rest and the second-generation SmartThings home automation hub and sensors. Read more:

Easy start to home automation

Over the past couple of months we have been testing and writing about several devices that fit together well for simple home automation and allow for a lot of expansion should you desire it. The key to getting started in home automation is picking vendors and communication systems that are robust and unlikely to disappear in the next couple of years. Anyone who got into the X-10 devices can attest to the sadness and frustration that can come when something just doesn't work consistently and then gets completely left behind when something better comes along. We were very cognizant of finding vendors that would provide great support and products that were exciting but also very dependable. Read more:

Logitech Harmony remote gains new home automation integration

If you haven't used a Harmony remote then you're missing out. The device can control almost any object in your home theater. Lately it's been adding more home automation features as well, and the latest update enhances that aspect of the universal remote. "We’re proud to celebrate the continued expansion of our smart home compatibilities with the integration of four great new partners into the Harmony ecosystem, and we hope you’re excited about the new possibilities coming your way. Read more:

Smart Home Automation Products Fail to Impress Consumers

According to the new data, distrust from consumers about the reliability of connected devices is obstructing growth in consumer adoption. Smart home devices and technology are supposed to make life easier for consumers, but a new report from Argus Insights shows that satisfaction is only slowly rising while overall demand continues to decline. According to the new data, distrust from consumers about the reliability of connected devices is obstructing growth in consumer adoption. Read more:

Samsung launches next-gen SmartThings smart home hub

Samsung-owned SmartThings has finally launched its new home hub along with new sensors and a new video monitoring capability. The Samsung SmartThings Hub is available now in the U.S. and on Sept. 10 in the U.K. The hub costs $99 with sensors ranging from $30 to $55. There are now more than 200 compatible devices. The hub and connected sensors can be used to control the lights, thermostats and doors, and warn about things such as water leaks. It works with ZigBee and Z-Wave radios. Read more:

LG Compact Pebble Design Smart Minibeam Projector PW800

The obvious way to think of the LG Compact Pebble Design Smart Minibeam Projector PW800 ($599.99) is as a projector with a built-in TV tuner. But that would be missing the point. Think of it instead as a big-screen 720p HDTV that uses a projector as its display and is small and light enough to carry around. If you like that idea—having a big-screen HDTV you can set up at a moment's notice anywhere you can get a signal—you'll love the PW800. Compared with the LG LED Smart Projector PF85U$1,099.99 at Adorama that I reviewed last year, the PW800 is a lesser, but arguably more interesting, model. The LG PF85U offers 1080p resolution rather than 720p, it's brighter than the PW800, and it adds built-in smart TV functions. Read more:,2817,2491525,00.asp

Apple TV drops optical audio-out

The TV part of the Apple TV name properly evokes that it’s built as a device to play video. It also has a screen-based interface for navigation. The new Apple TV goes a step further by adding support for richly rendered, smooth-motion games, and opening it up with an App Store. But the Apple TV, past and future, is full of music and spoken words, too—many people also stream audio from OS X and iOS using the Apple TV as an AirPlay target. Which is why some owners of current models and potential new buyers were dismayed that Apple dropped the optical-audio port in the content box’s new design. Read more:

Google plans to make your living room devices smarter

Chromecast Audio -- assuming that's the name -- is said to plug into a sound system's headphone jack and lets you stream music from your phone by way of a wireless signal. The device is part of Google's two-pronged strategy for getting its technology into your home. Some of Google's gear, such as its Nest thermostat, are on the cutting edge of connected home devices. Others, like Chromecast, turn devices like the television already in your living room or bedroom into smart gadgets. Read more:

Lighting Control Up 50 Percent in New Homes

Across the board, installed technologies play a key role in new construction, but some technologies—like lighting controls—are playing an even more important role than others these days. According to the 13th Annual State of Builder Technology Market Study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), eight in 10 builders report they offer structured wiring (84 percent), home theater (80 percent) and monitored security (80 percent) in their new homes offerings. Read more:

Smart home meets smartwatch: Apple Watch automation apps

During Apple’s Spring Forward event for the Apple Watch, apps that work with the device were also introduced. At the time, the selection was limited and only three home automation companies had apps for the Apple Watch which included Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.’s Caséta Wireless, Honeywell Lyric, and, Inc. But now that consumer interest is growing, more smart home apps have been added to the list. Read more:

Smart homes are not just about fancy gadgets, says Lutron

Smart homes are still an alien concept to many home users in Singapore, despite the country being one of the most wired up in the world. The reason – home owners often find the technology unfamiliar and deem the costs too high. That is about to change, say a new wave of smart home vendors using technologies that will bring costs down through the same mass market mechanics as PCs and smartphones. One of them, lighting control company Lutron Electronics, has been developing automated lights, sensor-based dimming and remote controlled window shades which don’t require an electrician to install. Read more:

How to Integrate Subsystems With a Home Automation System

On its own, a home automation system has the dexterity to juggle a variety of different tasks. Meticulously engineered and designed by the manufacturer and installed by a home systems integrator, it’s able to dim and brighten light fixtures, adjust the settings of thermostats, provide status reports of household electricity usage, and choreograph the operation of complex home entertainment systems. These, and a wide assortment of other tasks completed by controllable devices, are what the home automation industry refers to as “subsystems.” Without subsystems, a home automation processor’s many talents can go sorely underutilized. Read more:

What is Trueplay? The big new Sonos feature you need to know about

Got a Sonos multiroom speaker setup at home? You're going to want to know about the company's new Trueplay calibration technology. Here's the lowdown. Sonos recently announced the new Play: 5 multi-room speaker, providing another sleek way to pump music throughout our homes. The new speaker was also announced alongside a clever piece of software called Trueplay that could really shake things up in the home audio space. It's called Trueplay and it's going to work with existing Sonos systems. But how does it work and what are the benefits? Let's take a look. Read more at

Crestron highlights RL2

Crestron will show meeting space technologies including Crestron RL2: a Lync based system that enables video, voice and interactive content sharing at InfoComm MEA. The company will demonstrate how Crestron Fusion can be used to personalise a meeting space and enable organisations to monitor and manage AV equipment, room scheduling, lighting, shades, climate, and energy consumption as well as access remote help desk assistance from one platform. Read more:

New Sonos Trueplay Software is EQ for Dummies; A Crestron Driver for CEDIA?

We knew something was coming from Sonos for CEDIA Expo 2015, but the money seemed to be on either outdoor speakers or “Playbase,” a trademark filed by Sonos in 2013 and believed to refer to a sound base like Zvox’s. I had also heard that Sonos might finally reveal an open API for home automation integration. While most of the major home-control systems have developed their own unsanctioned two-way drivers for Sonos, they could sure use support from the source. Read more:

Selecting a hub for the CNET Smart Home

You might also consider your local custom home automation installer. These service providers are often staffed by technicians certified to install home automation tech from providers like Control4, Crestron, or Vivant. They offer extensive customization options, high-end components, and often integrate with your home entertainment system as well. The benefits are similar to the options from ADT; someone else does the install for you, you might have a service contract included in case something goes wrong, but they can also be even more expensive both in the initial installation and via ongoing fees. Read more:

Logitech Debuts New 'Logi Circle' Home Monitoring Camera

Logitech today announced its entry into the home security and monitoring market with the Circle Portable Home Connection Camera, which is debuting under its new Logi brand. The palm-sized Circle is a connected camera that's designed to let users monitor and interact with pets, children, and people at home while away. Through a companion app, the Logi Circle streams HD video to an iPhone or iPad. It includes a two-way talk and listen feature that works using Wi-Fi, letting it go beyond simple monitoring. According to Logitech, the Circle includes "Scene Intuition" technology that sets it apart from other similar home camera systems. Read more:

Construction of new homes hits eight-year high

New-home construction in the United States climbed in July to the highest level in almost eight years, indicating the industry will pick up in the second half of the year. Residential starts rose 0.2 percent to a 1.21 million annualized rate, the most since October 2007, from a 1.2 million pace in the prior month that was higher than previously estimated, a Commerce Department report showed Tuesday. Read more:

I Used the Best Home Security Camera Available—and It Freaked Me Out

My surveillance tool of choice? The Nest Cam, a new home security camera from the company best-known for the Nest smart home thermostat. Nest, a division of Google, acquired home security camera company Dropcam last summer. The Nest Cam is essentially a revamped version of that firm’s Dropcam Pro. If you’re in the market for a home security camera, the Nest Cam is a great option. For $199, you get a well-designed device that records high-definition, wide-angle video and offers solid night-time performance. It also allows you to check in on your homestead from your work computer or phone. Read more:

Home Security Apps Bring Real-Time View of Break-Ins, Burglaries

Canary is one of a rapidly growing number of less-expensive security options, with the security systems selling in the $250 range. If an intruder breaks into a user’s home, an alert gets sent to their connected smartphone – and users can try to scare intruders away by triggering a loud alarm. Robert Siciliano, a home security expert, said, "With security, as in life, you do get what you pay for. But these small systems definitely have their value and I would suggest anyone who’s interested in home security system, they do take a look at them, because they definitely offer a layer of protection." Read more:

Smart Homes Appeal to Young and Old

It isn’t safe to assume smart-home devices only appeal to always-connected millennials. Early adopters of devices may commonly be young (and frequently male), but the wide variety of items that can make up a smart home mean senior internet users are just as likely to have them as their younger counterparts. The Harris Poll found in May that while any given smart-home device had low ownership, a significant minority of respondents were interested in many of them. Read more: