Showing posts from February, 2016

Lightbulbs as the “Glue” of the Smart Home

When electricity was first introduced more than a century ago, it took more than 30 years to achieve true adoption — while tablets took only more than two years to achieve this same adoption. Consumers are adopting new technology faster than ever. Read more:

How Smart Can You Make Your Home

Matt McAdoo, a sales consultant for Keller Williams real estate in Buda, Texas, and also an installer, charges $95 an hour to set up home automation systems, with jobs ranging from a day to a week. McAdoo says many homebuilders are pre-wiring houses for easy installation of home security systems, doorbell webcams and automated light switches. Read more:

5 smart home gadgets

Every day, 5.5 million smart devices are being connected in homes around the world, according to research firm Gartner. It further estimates there will be 6.4 billion of these "Internet of Things" devices by the end of the year, and 20.8 billion by 2020. If you want to get in on the ground floor, here are some gadgets you can buy today. Read more:

Home Security Devices: How Good Are They?

One of the more interesting new categories of products at the recently concluded CES (Consumer Electronics Show) falls into the dubiously named “Internet of Things” (IoT)—products that connect to the Internet, usually through your home WiFi network, and use a phone app and its online connection to provide a service. There were devices of all kinds, some that turn on your lights and appliances remotely and others that monitor the health of your baby. Read more:

Popular home security system SimpliSafe can be easily disabled by burglars

It’s not unusual to hear of vulnerabilities in smart-home security systems these days, as security researchers turn their attention to the Internet of Things. It’s worrying, though, when a modern security system turns out to be vulnerable to a so-called replay attack, the kind of thing that worked against garage door openers back in the 1990s. The latest example is SimpliSafe, a wireless alarm system that’s marketed as cheaper and easier to install than traditional wired home security systems. Read more:

If You Want a Smart Home, You May Need to Start With Echo

Considering that the smart home relies on, well, smarts, conceding the brain part of the gadget to a third-party device like Amazon Echo is a slight surprise. Ambitious startups are normally keen to develop everything in-house to foster a brand of their own. But Amazon wooed over startups by providing Alexa’s simple but powerful technology at little cost. And considering the Echo was a best-selling product for Amazon this Black Friday (although Amazon won’t disclose sales numbers), startups were tapping into a very popular product. Read more:

Samsung's new remote could unify the smart home

Samsung has announced a Tizen-powered Smart Control remote, which it hopes will further streamline the Samsung entertainment experience. The company recently revealed that all of its 2016 SUHD TVs will include SmartThings hub functionality, which should ostensibly allow users to dim lights and start up Netflix from the comfort of their couch. Read more:

Apple Invents Siri for Home Automation

Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published 359 patent applications from Apple and that usually means that something interesting is buried, somewhere. Well it turns out that one of those interesting things happens to be an invention relating to an intelligent assistant for home automation – which of course translates to Siri for home automation. Technically Apple filed a recent trademark for their new Apple TV with Siri Remote and under its international class 9 verbiage 'home automation hubs' is listed. So that part of the invention has already been shown to be covered and in the works. Read more:

How smart can you make your home?

Carlos Espinosa, a design professional based in Boulder, Colorado, has a completely decked-out "smart" home - light switches he can control from his mobile phone, a security system, moisture detectors that alert him to leaks and integrated stereo speakers. The most life-changing aspect of this set-up? Espinosa says it is how the porch lights turn on when he rounds the corner to his home late at night, responding to a command from his phone. The front door also unlocks as he approaches. Read more:

Lutron Smart Lighting

Since its founding in 1961, when Lutron pioneered light dimmers for the home, the company has had an unwavering commitment to delighting customers and innovating top-quality products. This is evident in Lutron’s premium connected home solutions, which it has been selling through professional dealers since 1990. The solutions are a hit with high-end customers who want to remotely control lights and shades and require large-scale, complex installations. Reaching mass-market consumers, however, required a different approach. Read more:

Lutron 'Serena' and 'Sivoia QS Triathlon' Motorized Shades Now Support HomeKit

Lutron Electronics today at CES 2016 announced that its Serena and Sivoia QS Triathlon motorized window shades now support the HomeKit-enabled Caséta Wireless Smart Bridge. The home automation system enables users to remotely control their Lutron shades using Siri on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch. Read more:

Control4's new entertainment automation system is a smart-home gateway

Control4 is best known for its whole-home automation services, but its newest offering is a single box that promises to smarten up your home's entertainment capabilities. The new Control4 EA Series (that's "EA" for "entertainment and automation") line of connected home controllers will range from $600 for a single-room setup to $2,000 for a unit powerful enough to smarten up a large home. Read more:

What Makes Sonos So Great?

The name Sonos has nearly become a household word. You see ads for the whole-house music system during the SuperBowl, you probably have friends who have a system in their homes (maybe you do, too), and whoever uses the system instantly loves it. We decided to uncover the secret sauce that makes Sonos systems so great, with a candid interview with Eric Nielsen, a part of the company’s marketing team. Read more:

Smart Home Becomes a Zen Master with Savant Home Automation System

When people think about relieving stress, technology is usually not something that comes immediately to mind. In fact, if designed and installed poorly, living with home technology can be a real strain on the brain. But thanks to thoughtful engineering and conscientious design, Savant smart home systems turned out to be the stress-reducing antidote for anyone who stays at this 16,000-square-foot guesthouse in Palm Beach, Fla. Read more:

$200 Home theater

In my continued quest to save you as much cash as humanly possible, today a DIY Home Movie theater for under $200. I started to receive a lot of request for home projectors around The Big Game. While price drops were not common during that time, some are a complete steal today. For the price of a 37" TV, you could get up to 120" of HD display paired with a projector screen if you don't have a white wall or want to step up your screen game. Read more:

Who builds the best home theater in a box?

Modern high-end TVs look beautiful and can deliver awesome picture quality despite their wafer-thin designs. What they can’t do is deliver audio performances to match. There’s just no getting around the laws of physics: The thinner TVs become, the less space is available in their chassis to house quality speakers. The result? Muddy dialog. You need to crank up the volume just to hear what’s being said. Bass? Are you kidding me! What bass? Read more:

Half of Americans will have smart-home tech by end of year

About 45 percent of all Americans will either own smart-home technology or invest in it by the end of 2016, according to a survey by real estate brokerage firm Coldwell Banker. Coldwell Banker polled more than 4,000 Americans in advance of the 2016 International CES, the big tech trade show taking place in Las Vegas this week. The survey found that it’s not just the tech savvy who are adopting smart-home technology, with devices such as app-driven heaters. Read more:

Boost your smart home's IQ

"We're trying to make your house as smart as your smartphone," said Chief Executive Andreas Gal, who left his chief technology officer job at Firefox maker Mozilla in 2015 to co-found the company. San Mateo, California-based Silk Labs now is showing off its first product in the run-up to the Mobile World Congress tech show that begins next week in Barcelona, Spain. The Wi-Fi-connected Sense notices when you enter a room and initiates actions like turning on lights and music. It's designed to provide a smart-home network's central coordination. Read more:

Samsung's new TVs are sleek hubs for your smart home

It's another year, and Samsung is back with the second generation of its SUHD TV lineup. Yes, the curved screens remain, and Tizen is still the underlying platform powering Samsung's TV software. But there are a number of upgrades coming to the 2016 line; first, all of them will support HDR for brighter, bolder, and more vivid picture. (Like LG, Samsung is talking up its certification as "Ultra HD Premium," a new label the UHD Alliance is giving to TVs that meet its top standards for picture quality, standards support, and so on. Read more:

Taking Control Of A Security Alarm System From Far Away

It was coming up to 9am Saturday morning in London. In California, nearly 1am. I was sitting in front of some family-friendly sitcom with my Macbook open. On one tab was a login page for a security alarm carrying the logo for family-owned Martinez, CA provider Bay Alarm. Beyond that login page was the control panel for the security system for East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC), which works with kids from ages six to young adults aged up to 24. Based just over 5,000 miles away from my present location, it’s the kind of altruistic organization no one wants to see attacked. Read more: