Showing posts from November, 2015

Smart-home upgrades

You may be fascinated by thermostats that seem to intuit your favorite temperature or front doors that automatically lock and unlock themselves but hesitated to buy them because you fear the potential cost. But smart-home technology doesn’t have to break the bank. There are several home upgrades that you can make yourself. Here are a few: Thermostats: Smart-home technologies were largely inspired by new-age thermostats, which promised to go above and beyond the traditional “set and hold” options found in most homes today. Read more:

Gifts for Smart Homes

Smart home technology has yet to rise to the level of sophistication depicted in the Jetsons, but it’s getting closer every day. And the hardware needed to reach that goal is becoming more affordable every day, too. We’ve selected a broad range of solutions for this gift guide that will make life at home easier, more secure, and—most importantly—more fun. The Harmony Elite, $350, is truly the one remote to rule them all. It can control every device in your entertainment center and also manage an unlimited number of connected-home devices. Read more:

Security System Monitors Home Without Cameras

When it comes to home security systems, installing cameras around the house is pretty much the standard. However if you have seen movies involving spies and heists, you know that the first thing they do is take out the cameras which will pretty much render your home security system useless. This is where Xandem comes in. This is a security system for your home that does not rely on cameras, thus making your security system inconspicuous so that people don’t even know that it is there. Read more:

SimpliSafe Home Security

Like many new homeowners, I like the idea of securing my family and my house, but I don't like the idea of locking myself into a multi-year service contract during which I have to pay a high monthly monitoring fee. Also, drilling into my newly painted walls to install a complicated wired system isn't terribly appealing. As its name implies, SimpliSafe is a wireless security system that's truly simple to set up and use, and keeps your home safe from intruders and environmental threats like fires and floods. It's a seamless DIY system that succeeds quite well at what it sets out to do—secure your home easily and flexibly, letting you monitor everything remotely with an affordable monthly monitoring plan. But its focus is limited to just that. If you want to integrate a surveillance camera or other home automation devices with your security system, you'll need to look elsewhere. Read more:,2817,2495173,00.asp

Smarter Bulb For Home Security

You may already be stocking up on timers and lights for the holiday season, if not for decorations, for home security. After decades of wall socket timers and manually figuring out when the lights should be on, aren’t we all ready for the intelligent house of the future to be here already? The tech industry is abuzz with the Internet of Things (IoT) vision of how devices, appliances and electronics might better communicate with to better improve power efficiency, improve security or simply make our lives easier. I wrote about some of the possibilities of IoT and smart technologies in There is More Value in the IoT Economy than Big Data Analytics. But how about starting with something simple as the light bulb? BeON Home’s new smart bulb might just put a shine on it. While light bulbs have evolved with better halogen, fluorescent and LED bulbs, they focused on improving energy efficiency one bulb at a time. They are still slaves to the light switch. Read more:

Nest Camera- “Smart Home” security

Ah yes…the smart home. It’s something I’ve been wanting to dive into for a while. So when Verizon sent me a Nest Camera…heck yeah man. First of all, what is a Nest Camera? Well…it’s a surveillance camera that connects to the wi-fi in your home or business and lets you watch the feed from your cell phone or tablet. Nest cam in box This camera is going to set you back $199. So, is this worth the price? Read more:

Sonos 5: Best Wireless Speaker I’ve Ever Heard

For years, home audio companies have been trying to design speakers that are physically smaller, while somehow making their sound almost magically bigger. Can it be done? Sure. Can it be done well? Probably not to the liking of a finely-tuned ear. But wireless audio company Sonos is trying to reverse the trend of ever-shrinking speakers with its Play:5, a new, bigger piece of equipment. And the difference it makes isn’t just big — it’s huge. Read more:

Construction drops amid restrictions on home building

Cities and towns, frequently citing added school costs, continue to either oppose new housing or accept it only reluctantly, allowing just enough to meet state affordable housing mandates and imposing restrictions that limit the types of homes that can be built. Perhaps more troubling, the lagging construction is part of a long-term trend that has seen housing production diminish through each economic cycle. During the tech boom of the 1980s, the state was adding an average of about 30,000 units a year, according to the US Census; through the tech boom of this decade, the state has built an average of just 10,000 homes a year. Read more:

Home Security with BeOn, SimpliSafe, and Canary

I haven’t found a security system yet that gives me everything I want: automated lighting when I’m away, a video camera to see what’s happening at my house, and just good ol’ monitored alarms. But I think I’ve finally found a combo that works. The newest product in my security trifecta is the BeON Home Protection System. It consists of three smart LED bulbs with built-in rechargeable “smart modules.” These network the bulbs together via Bluetooth through an app on your phone. Read more:

Smartphones, smart cars and now smart homes

Many people grew up with the idea that one day we would all be living in homes like the Jetsons, the 1960s cartoon family living in the future, with a closet that showers and dresses you and a robot that makes your breakfast. While homes aren’t yet quite there, smart home technology has advanced in recent years, becoming more popular than ever. Technology has changed the way we live in and interact with our homes. Smart homes can be programmed to react to their owner and tailored to fit with a person’s lifestyle. Read more:

Angee Home Security System

Described as the world’s first truly autonomous home security system, Angee is an advanced security and communication system that moves with you, talks to you, and best of all, adapts to your daily routine. Think of it as a security TiVo of sorts, with the capacity to “learn” its environment and the people it’s meant to protect. To use Angee, simply download the app, pair it with the sleek, black console, and then place security tags at entry points or at points around your home you’d like Angee to look after. Arming and disarming the device is fully automated through a two-step authentication process of phone and voice recognition. Read more:

Telus Shows Home of the Future

Imagine a completely automated home that anticipated your every move -- that’s what Telus is presenting in their Future Home located at Aberdeen Mall. The miniature home showcases an automated security system, intelligent software that will tell you when your plants are thirsty, a meal planner and digital cookbook that will simultaneously update your digital grocery list, an indoor greenhouse, and a digital stove that practically cooks for you. Read more:

KEAS – Beautiful Sound for Your Home

We all know that electronics are a fantastic and a necessary part of our lives. But in the age of technology there are endless amounts of electronics filling our homes. The solution is to make electronics blend. KEAS is leading the way and creating an entirely new market called Ceramictronics. KEAsBy creating electronics that are specifically tailored to fit the home environment as an art piece, meaning long-lasting and complimentary to the room, we solve the problem of “too many electronics. Read more:

JmGo G1: home cinema projector with awesome sound

'Gorgeous' and 'projector' don't often sit well together in a sentence, but that's exactly what you get with the JmGO G1 Smart Home Theater. We've never seen a home projector oozing with so much style - this is something you want to keep on show, not mount out of the way. But this isn't just any home projector. Capable of projecting a full-HD picture (upscaled from 720p), the JmGO G1 also supports Active 3D (glasses are not supplied). It's an Android TV and a Bluetooth speaker, with HDMI, USB and AV inputs that could potentially accommodate a digital TV tuner, a games console, a portable hard drive and more. And it's entirely silent in use, making it the perfect fit for any bedroom or living room. Read more:

ZTE Releases Spro 2 Portable Wi-Fi Smart Projector w/ Sling TV Support

ZTE has detailed the latest addition to its portable projector lineup. The new Spro 2 is a Wi-Fi only Android mobile projector. The device now joins the previously released Spro 2 with LTE and Wi-Fi. Read more:

Yamaha CIS system routes audio at multipurpose gaming

The National Videogame Arcade (NVA) has upgraded its technical infrastructure with a solution utilising a range of Yamaha Commercial Installation Solutions (CIS) products to route audio to any of the rooms within the facility. The NVA is an educational and entertainment resource designed to encourage young people into programming and game design. Read more:

Lumoid Listen letx you rent audio equipment

Like style, sound can be subjective. A pair of headphones won’t appeal to everyone, and that home theater system in your home may not work at a friend’s house. that’s why Lumoid’s new audio rental program, Listen, is kind of genius. With Listen, you can try out home audio equipment, portable speakers or headphones. Portable audio speakers are packaged in bundles of three, with a rental fee of $30 per package. If you like what you hear, $25 of that rental fee can be applied towards the final purchase price of the speakers. Read more:

Creatinb Entertainment Space In Your Apartment

Visuals are a significant element of constructing a home theater entertainment space. How do you want your home theater/entertainment center to look? If you have more than just a portion of a room to outfit in entertainment and for example you want to mount a TV to the wall, you may want to think about what you’ll post on the wall around it. You want to be able to focus on the screen in order to maximize your relaxation (i.e. your entertainment space may not feel totally relaxing if you’ve got a bunch of molecular geometry posters hanging around in sight, or if you’ve taped five different to-do lists around on the edges of your TV screen). Read more:

Ideal Smart Home?

Big names like Apple, Google, and Amazon are making moves to push the smart home into the mainstream, and a steady march of would-be startups hope to deliver the next big breakthrough device. With gadgets like the Nest Cam and Amazon Echo getting pitched as must-have holiday tech gifts, it's about as tempting a time to buy in to the connected home as we've seen. But where should you start? After all, the smart home has never been broader, covering categories ranging from DIY security and smart lighting to intelligent energy-monitoring and cloud-connected cooking. Read more:

Mobile phones as authentication hubs for smart homes

Together, the companies are working to help users to log in to the IoT management console installed in their apartments without a password. Tozny is providing cryptographic authentication that is based on mobile phones. “This is actually a really good idea because people who have tried to deploy authentication devices for smart homes have had a lot of trouble getting them to work, and they’re kind of expensive,” said Isaac Potoczny-Jones, computer security research lead at Galois.“Since a mobile phone can do cryptography, and because we can build beautiful and easy-to-use interfaces on mobile phones, we decided that that would be a much better way to log into a lot of systems -- and it’s easier to use than passwords,” Potoczny-Jones said. Read more:

Switches and sockets for a smart home

The good: The WeMo Switch + Motion’s relatively low price, lack of a subscription fee, and plug-and-play simplicity will appeal to many budding home automators. The bad: IFTTT automations weren’t quite as reliable as we’d like, and it was a challenge to find ones that we’d actually use regularly. Read more:

Home Automation Technologies to turn your Smart Home Green

Thanks to these companies, home automation has just become a whole lot easier Home automation has always been a hot topic among the tech savvy people, but for the past few years, it has also gained interest among the mainstream homeowners. There are also many Hobbyists and Tinkerers who are working to automate things on their own using microcontrollers. However, when we think about home automation, we can never be contented, no matter how much advancements it has made. The main reason for it is because we’re lazy when it comes to household chores or maybe it’s because we grew up watching The Jetsons and Star Trek. Read more:

Impact Of Smart Video Surveillance On Home Automation Systems

Home automation is not as new as most people would imagine. It has been around for several decades in luxury homes, but the industry as a whole took some time before gaining popularity. A ‘connected home’ system was seen as hard-to-use, high maintenance and expensive, and the need for professional installation didn’t help with its image. But times have changed. Now the home automation industry is estimated to surpass $21 billion by 2020. With leading companies and retailers getting interested in the opportunity it presents, home automation has captured everyone’s attention. But in all the chatter about its potential, the impact of smart video surveillance solutions for the connected home has been largely ignored. Read more:

Home Access System Allows Users to Control Door Locks Remotely

Smartlock is a device that is integrated with Apple’s Siri, allowing voice control to lock, unlock, and check the status of the door at anytime you would like. Smart Keypad works by generating unique door-entry codes for one-time guests, as well as repeating codes for friends and relatives; guests enter the codes into a slim device located next to the doorway. The Doorbell Cam allows customers to both see and speak with visitors standing in front of the doorway. Read more:

RevoluSun Smart Home Introduces Solar Energy Storage

RevoluSun, Hawaii's premier solar company, is now offering high-capacity battery storage as one of its Smart Home products, allowing rooftop solar customers to get the maximum value of their investment in renewable energy. The Sunverge Solar Integration System (SIS) is an intelligent, distributed energy storage system that captures solar power and automatically delivers it when homeowners need it the most. Read more:

Technology and Smart Homes expansion puts lawyers on alert

About 67 percent of consumers who learn about the concept of everyday devices being smarter and interconnected like the idea, said panel moderator Christin McMeley, partner at Davis Wright Tremaine. Today, about 4.9 billon devices have this connected capability, she said. “Advances in technologies, battery life, the availability of more Internet addresses are all driving this growth,” she said. Read more:

California researchers use robots and smart homes for the aging

Other technologies developed to help people age in place show promise, said Stephen Johnston, co-founder of Aging 2.0, a global network that brings start-ups and innovations to senior care. For example, home sensors placed in "smart homes" are currently used to monitor eating habits, sleep and wake times. Often, they relay information back to a hub, and notices can be sent to loved ones by smartphone applications. "For me, the smart home has the advantage that you don't have to be wearing things, especially for older people with delicate skin or who are forgetful," Johnston said. Read more:

Builders add Home Security and Automation System to New Homes

Just like car companies update their models every year with new standard features that were once an upgrade option, builders are being forced to do the same to engage prospective buyers beyond just offering them a beautiful home. In Opelika, Ala., Stone Martin Builders is staying ahead of the curve by making the competition’s upgrades standard features. Its most recent addition is a new home security and automation system. Read more:

New home construction slumps

Home construction has climbed 10 percent year-to-date as solid levels of hiring have improved consumer confidence and encouraged more people to buy houses or move to new apartment complexes. Yet the market's upward trajectory now shows some signs of possibly stalling as rising prices, tight inventories and the economic uncertainty reflected in the stock market have sidelined many would-be buyers and renters. Read more:

Smart Home Technology to Make International Impact

The areas of smart home technology applications that have the greatest appeal are ‘security and control’ (55%) and ‘energy or lighting’ (53%). ‘Entertainment and connectivity’ was third at 48%, while ‘health’ and ‘smart appliances’ tied for fourth at 43% each. National variations exist in answers to the study, with ‘security and control’ receiving only 38% in the UK but 54% in the U.S. and South Korea. Read more:

Smart projector brings the big screen home wirelessly

There's nothing better than a projector in your living room for movie fans. But for many people, setting one up isn't exactly easy (though it's doable if you put in the effort). There's complicated wiring to deal with, and they're also pretty bulky. French startup AV Concept Products is hoping to solve these issues with the All in One HC (AIO), its new Android-powered smart projector. It's fairly slim, it can spit out a decent 720p image (yes, a 1080p version is in the works) with 1,000 lumens in a brightly lit event space, and it supports AirHDMI, which lets you transmit video from any device with an HDMI port. Read more:

Big trend in Home Theater

Home theater systems have increased in popularity over the past couple decades. From surround sound to flat screen TVs, home theater seating and everything in between, consumer’s love for all things bigger, better, and louder isn’t going away anytime soon. So what is the new trend in home theater systems? In a study done by research firm GfK in the first half of 2015, the one trend that stood out is that TVs are getting bigger and cheaper. The home theater market in general is still booming, with the ultra high definition TV sector growing the most rapidly. Read more:

Home Theater Mistakes to Avoid

Even the best home theaters can have problems. We asked custom electronics (CE) pros about the blunders they encounter when DIYers or inexperienced pros can’t get their systems to work. Looking to create one of the best home theaters? Here are some of the rookie mistakes you should avoid: Buying the least expensive gear and finding out it doesn’t have the features you need, like discrete control codes (on and off, for example) or enough inputs and outputs. Read more:

Interest in Hi-Res Audio Is Growing

The Consumer Technology Association's most recent audio-oriented study, called Consumers Journey to Purchase: Audio--which explores audio purchasing trends by consumers who are shopping for either need or desire--found that more than 53 percent of consumers who purchased an audio product online or in-store in the past year were interested in high-resolution audio. Read more:

Best smart home gadgets

This year has seen an explosion of 'smart home' technology that enables us to control aspects of our home from a smartphone or tablet, using the so-called "internet of things". According to a recent report by Econsultancy, there are 40m devices currently connected via the "internet of things" in the UK alone, and this is forecast to grow more than eight fold by 2022, reaching mass adoption even faster than the smartphone. Read more:

The future of smart homes

Shortly after Hawkinson's realisation, SmartThings — a platform that allows hundreds of smart devices (ranging from lighting, to door locks, to cameras, entertainment systems and everything in between) to be connected through one hub and easily controlled by just one smartphone app — was born. In the ensuing years, Samsung SmartThings has made innumerable innovations in smart home living — producing benefits that range from peace of mind to home security to convenience and entertainment. Read more:

The best streaming speakers

Sonos is the biggie in wireless sound streaming, owning 85 percent of the market. Sonos, which just passed its first decade, was out early with smart, integrated receiver-speakers, also early to make deals with subscription services, and then to shift control of smart speakers from remotes to a free touchscreen app on smartphones and tablets. A new upgrade, Trueplay, lets you fine-tune the performance of most Sonos speakers. Trueplay uses the mike on a smartphone or tablet to measure sound in your room and then EQs - equalizer adjusts - its output. Read more:

Realtors Want to Sell Smart Home

Connected homes tend to end up as improved homes. The National Association of Realtors is eyeing the smart home. Technologists inside the Chicago-based trade organization are establishing a lab to test out gear to help homeowners make the quality of their living environments healthier and more energy efficient. Chad Curry, managing director at the Center for Realtor Technology, explained that the organization is concerned with the quality of housing stock on the market and is considering how to help improve and modernize existing homes. Read more:

How to smarten up your home

Last time I talked about my experience with a Vivint home automation system, including an advanced doorbell and control from a tablet or smartphone. This time I’ll continue with my experience and share some insight into these type of systems. In addition to providing home security and a carbon monoxide and smoke detector, this home automation system also provides remote access to door locks, a garage door opener, a lamp module and, of course, temperature control. I never thought that being able to open my garage door remotely would be of any real use but, as with many things, the sum of the equation is much bigger than the individual parts. Read more:

Home Automation Market to Top $100 Billion

Consumer spending on smart home services, including entertainment, health, energy and home automation will reach $100 billion by 2020, well over twice the estimated spending for this year, at $43 billion, according to a Juniper Research report. The report noted the market will continue to be characterized by high prices and a low value in connectivity, and consequently, while Samsung expects 100 percent of its portfolio to be connectable by 2020, consumers actually using these features are forecast to remain relatively low. Read more:

Lowe’s redesigned smart-home system

There’s a redesigned app that displays photos of the appliances, thermostats or other components that it controls. That app uses Microsoft Azure Internet of Things technology, Koster says. “It looks and feels like the customers’ homes,” he says. “We focused on make it more simple and initiative.” The Iris products were launched in 2012. The line has components for home security and control systems along with an interface with products that are compatible. Those products, which aren’t manufactured by Iris or Lowe’s, include water heaters, heating and cooling systems, and water softeners. Read more:

Boost Security with Home Automation

This is a great time of year to be thinking of home automation. As the holidays approach, people start plugging in more devices, from Christmas lights to electric blankets. Like my space heater, these should generally be turned off before you leave home, but it's also the season when harried families rush off to visit relatives in distant cities. That leaves lots of opportunities for appliances to remain on and unattended longer than they should. And it makes home automation gear a worthy investment for yourself, or a smart gift for both homeowners and renters. One thing to remember: Like other connected devices, all of these home automation products send data across the Internet. Here's where you can learn more about the potential privacy and security concerns. Read more:

Vizio Smart TV

When you watch your Smart TV, it could also be watching you. A new report from Julia Angwin at ProPublica reveals that Vizio, a top television maker, automatically tracks the viewing habits of Smart TV owners and shares that information with advertisers in a way that could connect those preferences to what those customers do on their phones or other mobile devices. Read more:

Samsung SmartThings

When we reviewed the original SmartThings Hub last year, we were impressed by its ability to work with multiple wireless protocols, as well as its support for user-created Smart Apps and If This Then That (IFTTT) recipes. We griped about its lack of camera support, but that didn't prevent it from earning our Editors' Choice award for home automation hubs. Samsung acquired SmartThings last year, and the new Samsung SmartThings Hub ($99) offers several improvements over the original model, including a more powerful processor with video camera support, a battery backup, and USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Read more:,2817,2494589,00.asp

Newest smart home cameras with IFTTT

There are two new smart security cameras that have recently debuted on Kickstarter PBC, and both are getting a lot of attention for very different reasons. One is touted as a truly autonomous smart home security system while the other one looks like a cute little critter, both offering formidable security measures. Read more:

Adding an IP camera to your home security system

I’ll have to admit, we’re big fans of IP (Internet protocol) digital video cameras, which are used for surveillance and home security. Ever since I started spending most of my time in my basement office, we’ve had cameras on the outside and the inside of the house. We started with two — one on the front of the house and one in the kitchen. Read more:

Home Construction Rebounds

U.S. home building rebounded in September after two straight months of declines, largely because of a sharp increase in construction of apartments and other multifamily housing. Housing starts rose 6.5% from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.21 million in September, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. An 18.3% surge in multifamily units, which include apartments and condominiums, led the increase. Read more:

Smart Home Trends

When it comes to smart home products, there are always lots of bells and whistles, but streamlined devices that consumers can look at on a shelf and have no idea what they do are hurting the connected home market —particularly when it comes to DIY solutions. According to a Juniper Research whitepaper: “In a physical retail store, merely placing Smart Home products on the shelves — even in their own aisle — presents a problem for consumers (and therefore retailers): What does the product do? How does it work? What is a Smart Home?” Read more:

Veteran gets new smart home

The foundation has built more than three dozen smart homes for injured war veterans such as Tejeda. "Smart homes are just designed to make their life a lot easier," said Schaeperkoetter. "From widened doorways to fit wheelchairs through to advanced electronics that can be controlled through smart phones or iPads. Smart homes give injured veterans some of their freedom back." Read more:

Greener, smarter homes continue growth

Ultra-high-net-worth individuals are buying second and third homes in markets outside of traditional global cities, according to a new report by Wealth-X and Sotheby’s. In addition to looking in cities beyond London, New York, Hong Kong and other longtime market leaders, multi-home consumers are also concentrating on homes that fit specific lifestyle needs. Although UHNWs tend to be older, the younger members are making lasting impacts on the real estate market. Read more:

Today's smart homes

New products allow homeowners to monitor their homes from a distance—even internationally. Owners can lock doors and windows from their portable computers, or access security camera recordings from a mobile device. “It’s not just about keeping the property safe, it’s about keeping you and your family safe, too,” said Moore. “Fire, carbon monoxide and gas leak alarms that connect to your smartphone can give you peace of mind that everything is all right in your home even when you aren’t physically there.” Read more:

Smart Homes need to get Security

Smart homes are not so smart when the wrong people use the devices for access. This happens, and it's become a show-stopper issue, particularly for production home builders who're trying to establish home tech offering as a value-add. Read more:

US consumers believe smart home technology will have a major impact on their lives

The study, which covered seven countries, asked consumers to choose which of 11 leading-edge technologies – from 3D printing to augmented/virtual reality to Internet of Things -- would be important to their lives. (Respondents could choose as many technologies as they wished.) In the US, 51 percent of consumers picked smart home, versus 50% for mobile payments – a statistical tie; these compare to global levels of 54% for mobile payments and 51% for smart home. Read more:

Smart home technology could make your house more valuable

More than a quarter of property buyers would find a home more appealing if it was equipped with the latest “smart home” technology, a new report claims. Research by Barclays Mortgages found that 28% of buyers would be willing to pay more – on average over £3,000 extra – if the property in question was equipped with the latest in digital home technology; from smart thermostats that can be controlled via a smartphone, to fibre optic broadband and solar panels. Read more:

Smart home technology may increase property value

Smart technology including smart alarms, thermostats and doors and windows with sensors could make properties more attractive for buyers, according to a survey. Smart-home technology placed after solar panels and fibre optic broadband connections in a survey by Barclays Mortgages, which questioned participants on how much more they would be willing to pay for a house equipped with such technological systems. Read more:

Affordable ways to turn your home into a smart home

Owning a smart home is no longer just a luxury for the wealthy. Anyone can have one by using a smart phone and any of the growing number of gadgets available at area stores. Wireless motion-censored cameras connect to an app on smart phones and alerts users whenever movement is detected. They can be installed inside or outside the home. Read more:

Smart home technology will have mind of its own

Smart home technology is still relatively new, but it’s already changing pretty quickly, with big developments that could benefit both the environment and your bank account. Experts say in the future smart home technology will blend into the background, doing things without homeowners even thinking about it. Read more:

Audible Differences in Home Theater

If I’ve discovered one thing in my quest for Perfect Sound, it’s that there are way too many variables; some we can control, and others we cannot. There is no Silver Bullet or Holy Grail. There is no single Magic Component Thing you can add to a system that will make it The Bestest in the World. All we can do is be honest with ourselves, be as well-informed and open-minded as possible, and be secure enough that we can admit when we’re wrong. Pardon the protracted preamble (and subsequent alliteration.) Read more:

4K Ultra HD Blu-rays for home theater

"Coming soon" - it should be the motto of 4K Ultra HD. Just three months after the Blu-ray Disc Association forecast a December launch of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, Sony has officially declared that the format won't be home for the holidays. It's unfortunate given that this will be the Black Friday that 4K TVs finally see an affordable price tag, but the situation does have some silver lining. Read more:

Wake up with Lutron automated shades

Blackout blinds come with a conundrum: While the pitch dark may let you sleep like a baby, it can make rolling out of bed come daybreak much harder. The reason: Light suppresses the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Without those morning rays, it’s simply harder to get up. One solution is to invest in programmable shades, like the Lutron Serena shades, which can be scheduled to open automatically at the waking hour of your choosing. Read more:

Meeting management system

But the conference room is already crowded with similar solutions. EventBoard’s competition includes established companies such as Crestron and Steelcase, both of which sell similar, but proprietary products. What makes EventBoard’s approach unique is its ability to offer insights that are centralized in a cloud service, so they can be seen by managers across the entire company not just one location. Read more:

Third Party Control Systems

The proliferation of AV technology in commercial and domestic environments brought with it an increase in the number of individual remote control handsets needed to access and control devices – leading to coffee-table and desktop clutter and user confusion. Independent companies such as AMX, Crestron and Control4 evolved by developing third-party control systems that were able to integrate devices from different vendors and provide a single, coherent and largely intuitive user interface for each complete system. These companies grew and were successful in providing a simple solution to a widespread problem. Read more:

Control4 is a CES 2016 Innovation Awards Honoree

Control4 Corporation, a leading global provider of smart home solutions, today announced that it has been named a CES 2016 Innovation Awards Honoree for its 10 source, 10 zone 4K UHD Video Distribution Switch featuring HDCP 2.2 compliance. Products entered in this prestigious program are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products across 27 product categories. Entries are evaluated on their engineering, aesthetic and design qualities, intended use/function, user value, and comparison to other products in the marketplace. Read more:

Sentri Home Security And Automation

Quick, how many connected devices do you have in your house? Do you have a smart thermostat or LED bulbs? How do you control them, via various different apps on your phone? What about when you’re gone and your phone is with you? What do you do then? Sentri is a new company on the scene that has an answer to all of these questions. Coming off a successful Kickstarter campaign, they are offering a home-automation hub and security camera to help everyone in your household control your smart devices and keep them safe. Read more:

Savant Remote: $499 DIY Home Automation Controller

Savant, maker of higher-end home automation systems dropped a bomb on the eve of CEDIA Expo 2015: The company was launching Savant Remote, a single-room DIY solution that would be sold through, as well as specialty A/V retailers and integrators. Predictably, many dealers initially panned Savant’s decision to sell direct to consumers. Read more:

Smart homes to monitor aging adults

The smart homes coming out of Washington State University have a higher IQ than your average cyber-enhanced abode. Their homes can learn. WSU’s Center for Advanced Studies in Adaptive Systems (CASAS) is developing smart home technology that harnesses machine learning in an effort to help older people live with greater independence and remain in their homes longer. Read more:

Smart Homes: 74% Want Devices to Be Simpler

The smart home may be just around the corner but consumers are somewhat leery of what they’ll have to do to make it work. While most (68%) consumers think smart homes will be common as smartphones within 10 years, they don’t necessarily want to personally do the work to make them possible, based on a new study. Read more:

Smart Homes Skew Young

Younger households adopt smart-home devices at a higher rate than older households, but older households with smart-home devices own more devices on average, Parks Associates found in a survey. Smart-home adoption also increases with house size, Parks said. Among U.S. broadband households with a head of household ages 25 to 34, the adoption rate of smart-home products is almost 30 percent, the highest of any age group. Read more:

Smart TVs: Add Voice to Your Remote Control

In this age of the Internet of Things (IoT), connected devices are getting smarter. We have smart phones, smart homes, smart cars, smart appliances, and even smart TVs. But this last example begs the question: If my TV is so smart, why is my remote control so dumb? Anyone who has tried to use a remote control with a smart TV for more than simply watching their favorite program has probably been frustrated with the experience. Even setting up an Internet connection can be daunting. And forget about trying to enter a URL in the browser. Some TVs allow you to use a keyboard or even a smartphone, but none of these connections are simple or convenient. Read more:

Smart Home Obstacles

Though they probably aren’t aware of it quite yet, consumers are certainly beginning to embrace smart home technology, according to a recent Harris Poll study. These smart devices, which can range from automated vacuum cleaners to wireless speaker systems to home security devices, aim to make life simpler. But the poll did find that the industry faces two major hurdles as it looks for an even wider and faster rate of adoption: consumer awareness and cost. Read more:

Inside luxurious smart homes

A Control4 audio-video distribution system was installed, with remote controls at every TV and touch panels at high-traffic areas in the kitchen and main bedroom for control at a single location. Approximately 70 blinds were integrated into the home automation system, with custom programming to suit each individual member of the family’s needs. “The project incorporated numerous subsystems and was completed in phases that were not planned with no impact on the client’s home, no visible cables, and in an economical time frame,” said BNC. Read more:

Intel wants you to feel secure in your 'smart' home

In decades to come, homes will get considerably "smarter," with control of more of today's common functions being outsourced to the Internet and often managed remotely — the promise of the so-called Internet of Things. But, like almost everything in today's hyperconnected world, there will be trade-offs — the biggest one the potential threat from hackers and other malicious actors. Read more:

Smart Homes Soon to be Commonplace

A survey commissioned by Intel Corporation and conducted by TNS reveals we are headed for a smart home explosion. Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (68 percent) are confident smart homes will be as commonplace as smartphones within 10 years. Industry source BI Intelligence echoes consumer sentiment, predicting connected-home device shipments will grow at a compound annual rate of 67 percent over the next five years, which is faster than smartphone growth. But is the industry poised to deliver on this promise? Read more:

Automated smart home in California

"This is how millenials are starting to live. This is how we're all starting to live. Cities are getting more populated and so people are choosing tiny over big," Schuneman said. "We have an office, we have a bedroom, we have a living room, we have a kitchen, all in this tiny little space." But there's one thing it doesn't have, a doorbell. With facial and voice recognition, everything in the home is automated through a tiny central computer. Read more:

Architecting smart homes' future

Intel Corp. released the results of its Architecting the Future of the Smart Home 2025 survey and it revealed that 78 percent of Americans believe that smart homes will be as commonplace as smartphones within 10 years. But for smart homes to become a reality, the industry needs to focus on future-proofing the infrastructure supporting the smart home ecosystem, simplifying connectivity, moving towards a consensus on industry standards, and realizing that the leap from a connected home to a smart home requires data insights from multiple devices to deliver value to the homeowner. According to the report, security is still the top concern for providers and consumers alike. Read more:

Grove is a smart indoor garden

Technology is increasingly becoming a major part of agriculture. LED bulbs are now being used to grow food on a larger scale and could revolutionize urban farming. Farmers around the world are installing smart irrigation systems that can be controlled with smartphones. Technology has also popped up in our home gardens with plenty of smartphone-based systems that tell you when to water your plants and more. Throughout the years, we've seen a lot of smart gardening products, some useful and some not so much. Read more:

SimpliSafe Home Security System Review

The DIY and home security market is one which is booming of late. Right now, there a ton of options to choose, from a variety of manufacturers. Not to mention, most of them seem to come with various customization options as well. So not only can you choose the type of hardware you want, but you can choose the level of coverage too. While these systems all come ‘connected’ the other surge of activity we are seeing, is their compatibility with Android smartphones and mobile devices. By offering the ability to connect to an Android device, your smartphone or tablet can essentially become the brains of your home security system. Read more:

BenQ Makes the Home Theater Projector Affordable

BenQ just introduced a trio of home theater projectors that can put a big picture into almost any space. Perfect for the living room, the media room, or the home theater, the HT2050, HT3050, and HT4050 are flexible and affordable. The new home theater projector lineup is shipping now. As part of BenQ’s Colorific collection, these projectors were designed to meet the Rec. 709 HDTV Standard (the HT3050 and HT4050 only). Read more:

Intel Builds a Smart Home

For now, the Tiny Home doesn’t stray too far from the familiar. Intel showcased their True Key technology, which uses facial recognition to automatically unlock doors, along with smart home basics like smart lighting, a smart thermostat, and connected appliances. The kicker, and something we hope to see more of, is that all of the home’s functions can be controlled from a single tablet app. The door can be unlocked (even remotely) for visitors, while with a few taps, homeowners can change the color of their lights, turn them on or off, or dim them. Same goes for thermostat controls, appliance controls, and the like — everything in one place, on a proper smart home dashboard. Read more:

Buying smart-home devices with no regrets

Having a home that's connected to the Internet can make life a lot easier. You can connect practically anything in your home -- your front door, garage, kitchen, lights, and more -- and control it from just about anywhere in the world. But there are some things to consider before diving in and creating your own smart home. When you start connecting appliances and other products to the internet and adding new features to them, basic functions can become more complicated. Read more: