Showing posts from March, 2016

Smart Window Blinds for Your Smart Home

FlipFlic is a device that connects to your existing window blinds and acts as an automatic tilting wand to open or close the blinds. The unit has an integrated battery and recharges through micro USB from a solar panel attached to the window. If the user doesn’t want the solar panel charging standard micro USB charging can be done at estimated thirty day intervals. An app controls the blinds being open or shut. Temperature can be set so that the blinds actuate if the room becomes too warm or too cool. Read more:

Smart Home Kit Relies on Sensors Rather Than Cameras

THERE ARE A slew of smart home products that will keep an eye on your house when you’re not home. However, almost all of them rely primarily on cameras. Rather than grounding a system in video monitoring, Samsung has designed a connected collection of simple, video-less sensors that monitor everyday home occurrences such as open doors and windows, or someone (or something’s) location. Read more:

Smart Speaker Adapts to User

The MoodBox app controls the speaker and the music, while keeping track of your moods and finding patterns in the user’s emotional intelligence. Time and weather can always be requested from the device, and alarms can be set to wake the user with music and ambient light. A software development kit is also available to allow developers to create new features for the box and drive future generations of the product. Read more:

Broadcaster Hijacks Listener's Smart Home

Smart homes can be hacked by malicious actors over the internet, but now it looks like radio hosts can hijack your smart home over the radio. In late February, National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition took a look at Amazon Echo, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant’s tube-shaped speaker. Embedded in Echo is Amazon’s intelligent voice assistant, Alexa. To activate the speaker, users simply have say “Alexa.” From there, users can command Alexa to play music, get the weather, or even control smart home gadgets like internet-connected lights and thermostats. Read more:

Get in on the start of ‘smart home’ tech

If you have a connected car, you might already be remotely turning it on or unlocking its doors without even touching your key ring. Cars are increasingly equipped with Internet-connected technology, so you can do things like unlock the doors when you have an armful of groceries. The same concept is at work in IoT homes. For instance, you can remotely lock and unlock your doors. Smart locks like Kwikset’s Kevo ($160) are Bluetooth-connected, too. Read more:

Wise up about smart homes

As for the smart home capabilities currently most in demand, security systems (voted most important by 46 percent), smart thermostats (45 percent), and lighting automation (36 percent) are the most desired features, per a recent study. The top five markets for smart home tech: Phoenix, Dallas, New York City, Miami and Los Angeles. Adding the right smart home technology to your home or insisting on such features in your next property is worth the expense and effort, especially from a real estate perspective. Read more:

Home security system learns your lighting patterns

While home buyers may be willing to spend thousands on home technology, the recently introduced BeON Home protection system, which retails for $199, provides safety lighting in emergency situations and during power outages as well as home security by making it look as if you’re home even when no one is there. The system uses smart modules with rechargeable batteries hidden inside LED light bulbs. Read more:

Control4: Insurmountable Competitive Pressure Leads To Large Price Cuts

January cut controller prices 40%. Amazon now making a huge home automation push with Echo platform. Just made a questionable acquisition that consumed half its cash. Challenges exacerbated by unfavorable mix shift and volume headwinds as fewer controller needed per job. Read more:

Sonos on on Voice Recognition

Perhaps the biggest challenge when creating a From the Desk Of feature on Sonos CEO John MacFarlane is the fact that he doesn't really have one. His "office" is anywhere in the company's 12 global offices he sets up his laptop. "I would go to our Amsterdam office for two weeks, work out of the kitchen and run into everybody," explains the 50-year-old married father of two. "I would do the same in Boston and realized I got to know everybody in those locations so much better than in Santa Barbara, where I'd sit in my office. So last year I just got rid of it." Read more:

Sonos loses its product officer

Sonos has lost its chief product officer, Marc Whitten, the company confirmed to Tech Insider. Whitten had been at the helm of product development at Sonos for the past two years, which included the release of the Play:5 and its new sound balancing feature Trueplay. Read more:

Savant - Home Automation System That You’ve Never Heard

It’s easy. It’s elegant. It’s simple. It’s the home automation system that you’ve never heard of. Why? There is one obvious answer to that: it’s price point makes it out of reach to the Average Joes. The luxury system, Savant, is basically for those that live in a world that will never exist for most of us. Read more:

Savant promises enhanced smart home control

It wants to control every element of your connected home experience; now, with a new version of its Pro system, Savant is becoming a more complete automation system for your residence. Able to be controlled from its all-in-one remote or using a tablet, phone or smart watch app, the latest update to Savant Pro furthers a homeowner’s ability to tailor their space to suit them. As well as allowing users to control lighting systems, optimise the building’s temperature and monitor security systems, Savant Pro is designed to collate all of your home entertainment management into a single point of interaction. Read more:

Entering the Smart Home Economy

Smart thermostats, along with connected motion sensors and smart cameras are two domains that are often described as the 'lowest hanging fruits’ of this fast evolving market. Consumers appreciate the benefit of improved comfort, reduced energy costs, enhanced peace of mind, and the ability to stay connected with the people and place that is most important to them. Analysts forecast that such connected devices will be followed by new, enhanced smart controls and sensors across a broad range of use cases, from heating and cooling to energy use, security, safety, comfort and convenience. Further, all of these devices will connect with each other, enabling homeowners to automate various mundane tasks, and can in turn connect to service providers, such as utilities or insurers, to offer new connected services. Read more:

Iris By Lowe's New Smart Home Monitoring Solution Warns Of Intrusion, Smoke, Carbon Monoxide And Water Leaks

When it comes to home security, it's smart to constantly stay one step ahead. On Monday, during the Unveiled event at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016, Lowe's announced an update to its do-it-yourself Iris smart home solution for home security and monitoring, which now alerts users of possible home intrusion, smoke, carbon monoxide and even water leaks via their smartphones. Read more:

New Surveillance Technology to catch Thieves

There's a warning to anyone hoping to protect their property by using home surveillance cameras. You may not be using them correctly. Chicago police say package thefts are a year-round problem. Package poachers know that more people than ever are getting items shipped. And home owners are arming themselves with new technology to try to catch people. But police say it's virtually useless if you don't know what you're doing. Read more:

Samsung's connected fridge is advancing the smart home

The tech industry has heralded the concept of a "smart home" as the next big thing, and in many ways it's already here. You can tell Siri to draw the blinds, open the garage door or even turn off the Christmas lights via products that work with Apple's HomeKit platform. And yes, you can see what's inside your fridge now, thanks to Samsung. But the issue, among many here, is that consumers aren't yet clamoring to bring these products into their home to replace what they already have. After all, the incentive to do so is relatively low: Blinds and refrigerators don't need replacing every few years like a smartphone. Read more:

Why smart locks make me uncomfortable

My goal was to choose a lock for the CNET Smart Home. We've been making our living lab in Kentucky smarter piece by piece for awhile now, and recently, we've centralized our efforts around the Amazon Echo -- a WiFi-enabled speaker that responds to voice commands -- with the hope of making many connected pieces work together. But our search for the right connected deadbolt fell short. Here's why: Reason No. 1: There isn't a standout You can find plenty of good smart locks out there. We've given positive reviews to models from August, Schlage and Yale. Read more:

73pc of smart home owners use voice control

Consumers who own smart home devices have quickly embraced voice recognition technology to enhance mobile applications designed to control these devices, driving further interest in the segment, according to new research from The NPD Group Connected Intelligence. The opportunities for devices and technologies to gain share in the smart home market are growing, with 64 percent of smart home product owners using a smartphone to control or monitor their home automation devices, per NPD Group’s Connected Home Automation Report. Additionally, 73 percent of smart home owners already use voice commands. Read more:

Smart Home Features That Have Caught On

The 2015 Houzz and Home survey found that 25 percent of homeowners doing renovations deemed smart technology very important to extremely important, and 23 percent installed home automation systems as part of a 2014 renovation. However, the survery found that 30 percent of homeowners considered smart home renovations as not at all important. When choosing smart features homeowners tend to gravitate toward products that are simple to use and less expensive, making remote control of temperature and lighting popular choices. "They don't value what they don't understand," says Danny Hertzberg, a sales associate with The Jills Team at Coldwell Banker in Miami Beach, Florida. Read more:

Reasons to Turn your Ordinary Home into a Smart Home

Today, smart homes are no longer an exception; many people are opting to turn their ordinary homes into a smart home. If you have been contemplating between whether you should or shouldn’t follow suit, take a look at these 5 reasons why you should seriously consider outfitting your home with some of the greatest technology: Your utility bills are through the roof- Utility bills are an unavoidable expense each month and somehow, no matter how much you try, you just can’t seem to rein them in. Read more:

New Smart Home Hub that Lets You Control Your Data

Currently in pre-order for $199 and up, the device offers voice recognition, compatibility with many of the leading smart home devices (via Bluetooth, W-Lan, and Z-Wave protocols), and customizable Art Covers, a bid to make the device part of the look of a room, instead of a plastic box hidden from sight. Along with a series of Drop speakers that can be placed around the home and link to the hub, Zoe promises voice-activated control without sending commands or data outside the home to be stored, analyzed, or monetized. Read more:

Yonomi CEO on smart home hubs

Internet of Things is a burgeoning industry that seemed like it was going to take off several years ago, but the hubbub has since died. That doesn't mean the interest is gone though - rather no one really knows what to do with all their smart devices. Take for example, Apple HomeKit or Nest, or Samsung's SmartThings platforms. They're all ready and available - but not quite. Most products still require you to download third party apps just to connect to HomeKit in order to use Siri. Physical hubs are available but that means you'll need yet another piece of hardware in your already crowded smart home. Essentially, there's no glue holding these products together - at least not one that's good enough to overcome the saturated market. Read more:

LG Announces Smart Security Home Automation

LG has announced a new home automation hub that it thinks will do better than its rivals. It's called Smart Security. The hub serves as both a hub for the smart home, with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave and Zigbee connectivity, and a security camera that is supported by security company ADT. Read more:

Smart home security camera can report suspicious events

If your neighborhood watch doesn’t offer you much peace of mind, or doesn’t exist at all, there are plenty of other ways to make sure that your house stays protected. One such solution comes from Netatmo. The company unveiled Presence at CES 2016. It’s a smart home security camera that not only monitors your home’s exterior, but is also capable of sending alerts about suspicious events. Presence is designed to be easy to set up and is meant to replace an outdoor light. Read more:

Philips Screeneo Smart LED Projector review

The Philips Screeneo Smart LED projector immediately sounds like all of the fun a projector has to offer with none of the hassle that comes with it. That’s why I was so excited to use it. Any projector that touts the ability to eliminate complicated mounting issues or the need for plentiful space to get a massive picture is a winner in my book. But like most good things in life, getting what you want often requires compromise, and the Screeneo is no exception to this claim. Read more:

Smart Home hardware automation growth to top 1000%

As the recent announcement that London’s Smart Home World event is moving to The Crystal indicates, it looks like the smart home is going to be a big theme in 2016. And now new data from Juniper Research has found that home automation hardware, sold as standalone units rather than as part of a subscription package, will exceed 300 million in 2020. Read more:

Linux-based home automation recognizes faces

The silky sleek-looking Sense device is a home surveillance camera with a self-learning AI engine that can “detect your presence, recognize your voice and gestures, learn your preferences, and choreograph your connected devices to respond to you appropriately,” according to Silk Labs. In addition to providing basic home surveillance services such as giving you a remote video feed of your pet, it studies a user’s preferences and routines to automatically adjust lights and temperature, and launch music based on time and context. To control Sense, you can use a smartphone app, as well as direct voice and gesture commands. As with most such products, Sense is touted for its quick and easy setup. Read more:

Get started with home automation

One of the most popular automation integration systems experts recommend is Control4, which starts around $1,000. “The great thing about products like Control4 Home Automation is that you can install the system to control one feature initially; whether it’s your lights, your entertainment system, your security, or more,” Travis says. “Then as your needs change, you can expand on the existing system with those additional features.” Read more:

Microsoft had a plan to automate your home

Microsoft's Research arm, which spends much of its time pursuing "moonshot" projects, created a home automation software product before both Apple and Google did, but never capitalised on the idea. The software, named HomeOS, was just that: an operating system for the home. Business Insider spoke to several of those involved with the project, which started in 2010, about why HomeOS was never turned into a real-life product. Read more:

For the ultimate home theater sound

If you are into home theater stuff, then you're likely familiar with Bang & Olufsen's offerings, but, you've never seen anything like the company's new BeoLab 90 speakers. In this video, Bloomberg Pursuits' Stephen Pulvirent gets a demonstration of the speaker system, which, all told will run you close to $80,000, because, well, you need two of them, of course. Read more:

Best devices for a perfect home theater

LG’s line of OLED TVs lead the pack when it comes to pure picture quality. The 55-inch LG EG9100 here could stand to be brighter, and its curved shape isn’t for everyone, but its pitch dark blacks, poppy colors, and excellent viewing angles just can’t be matched by any LED LCD panel. The TV itself is also wonderfully thin. It’s also very expensive, especially for a 55-inch set that isn’t in 4K and lacks HDR support, but it’s still hundreds cheaper than LG’s next step up. Read more:

Smart Home antes up for smart blinds

Good natural lighting can make or break a house. But for the proliferation of smart light bulbs, there seem to be comparatively few smart window treatments on the market. So coming into this week with the task of picking the CNET Smart Home's shades posed a particularly tough question: Which shades work well and have the most potential? Motorized or retrofit? Smart shade solutions generally fall into two categories: motorized shades and retrofit devices. Read more:

Defusing the hype in the smart home

Beginning with energy management technologies in the early 2000s, there has been an unprecedented amount of investment in smart home technologies – to the tune of $550 million. In fact, smart home was among the fastest growing venture segments, accounting for 21% of funding that flowed to startups in the building systems and energy efficiency space in the past decade. The “smart home” technologies have their roots in home energy management (HEM), a crowded space in both the U.S. and Europe. This space saw startups developing capabilities ranging from home energy dashboards, like eGauge, to intelligent and automated control systems – like Green Energy Options. Primarily these technologies were appealing to utilities, who continue to grapple with how to best acquire and engage with their residential customers – some, such as E.ON, have realized that customer services are the only viable path forward. Read more:

Smart home gadgets to create your home of the future

If you've got a connected car, you may already be remotely turning it on or unlocking your doors without even touching your key ring. Cars are increasingly equipped with Internet-connected technology, so you can do things like unlock the doors when you've got an armful of groceries. The same concept is at work in IoT homes. For instance, you can remotely lock and unlock your doors. Smart locks, like Kwikset's Kevo are Bluetooth-connected, too. With Kevo and its smartphone app, you can program your home locks, so only your family members can unlock the doors. You can set the times of day when they can unlock the doors, and you can give your house guests temporary access to your home. No keys required. Read more:

Amazon is Making the Smart Home Look Easy

Apple first showed off its HomeKit developer kit back in 2014, and its purpose was to let companies create smart home hardware that works with Siri's voice commands. The HomeKit framework was supposed to finally propel Apple in the smart home space. But here we are two years later and Apple barely makes any mention of HomeKit, and only 15 manufacturers make devices compatible with the framework. It's not that Apple couldn't do well in the smart home space, it's just that it's clearly not a top priority for the company. Read more:

Santa Barbara based Sonos Cuts Jobs

In a Wednesday blog post on his company’s website, Sonos CEO John MacFarlane announced the Santa Barbara-based wireless speaker company has begun laying off an undisclosed number of employees and shifting its focus to voice controls and music streaming. Read more:

Sonos shifts to voice control technology

Citing changes in the music industry, the head of home-audio maker Sonos announced on Thursday that the company is in the process of laying off an undisclosed number of employees as it shifts its focus toward voice control technology. It will be “doubling down” on music streaming, while “committing significant resources” toward voice controlled technology akin to Amazon Echo, “the first product to really showcase the power of voice control in the home,”. Read more:

New Home Audio Technology Launches

Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Sound will advise on development of technology to create immersive audio with any stereo speakers, Ambidio said in a statement. The technology works by tricking the listener into thinking they are hearing sound from multiple directions. Ambidio says its technology has been in development for more than two years and can be embedded directly in audio and movie files to works on any devices ranging from laptop computers and TVs to smartphones. Read more:

Experts Cite Home Theater’s Biggest Problems

For nearly 20 years Gerry Lemay, director, Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA), has trained the electronics industry in how to identify and correct the problems of acoustics in the home. Over time Lemay explains the curriculum has evolved to keep pace with the latest trends and technologies, and more importantly for many dealers, the organization has put a greater emphasis on a hands-on learning approach for participants. Read more:

Gadgets for the smart home

Netgear's Arlo security camera system is a perfect example of how user-friendly the smart home category has become. The newest addition to the system is the Arlo Q, an AC-powered 1080p HD camera. Read more:

Control4’s Deal for Pakedge Creates a Home-Automation Powerhouse

In what may be the smartest acquisition ever in the home-technology channel, leading smart-home manufacturer Control4 has acquired Pakedge, the No. 1 brand of networking gear among CE Pro 100 home-technology integrators. The synergies are clear to anyone with the vaguest understanding of the home-technology integration market: Read more:

Savant & Sonos Join HAUS

Savant is a recognized leader in home control and automation, and one of the fastest-growing Smart Home companies in the luxury and mid-markets. The new Savant Remote combines the convenience of a universal remote with the power of home automation in a single device. “By offering controls for music, lighting, climate, and more in simple, beautiful interfaces, Savant home technology gives people the ability to have everything in their homes just the way they like it,” said Mark Samuel, EVP. Read more:

Samsung adding smart home controls to TV range

Samsung is to incorporate SmartThings control into its entire 2016 TV range. The promise of the smart home revolution hasn't quite come to fruition in 2015 as many people expected, but 2016 has a good shot at taking things further. One way in which this could happen is by placing smart home control front and centre in our living rooms. Read more:

When Will Smart Home Become Popular?

The future of the smart home doesn’t look so certain. While the Wi-Fi Alliance just announced a new type of Wi-Fi, called HaLow, that looks tailor-made for the Internet of Things, and dozens of manufacturers are developing connected devices aimed at making every part of your home smarter and more efficient, few regular consumers have really gotten on board the smart home train. And that might have you wondering: When will the smart home really catch on? Read more:

Smart Home Tools for a Smarter Office

Interestingly, smart home gadgets aren’t just for residential spaces – they have countless benefits in office settings as well. If you want to improve productivity and office functionality, it’s time to consider integrating smart home tools in your office. Here are three tools that can improve your work experience and boost your reputation for excellence. Read more:

Veteran got a custom smart home

The custom smart home, built by the Gary Sinise Foundation and its partners, was presented to Kimmel last week. He struggled to take it all in. "It's almost one of those speechless moments," he said to more than 100 supporters and members of the media. "I don't know what to say but thank you." Everything inside the 2,300-square-foot home is new. Read more:

Home security cameras pose snooping risk

Home video surveillance cameras are an extra set of eyes to watch your property, but the security systems also post a very serious risk. Since many home surveillance systems connect to smartphones through the Internet, someone else could be watching your home – and you would never know it. “They’re putting themselves out there for anyone to log into and view their activity online,” said John Sancenito, president of the Harrisburg-based security firm INA. Read more:

FlipFlic to Automate Your Window Blinds

The FlipFlic is an indie project that picked a part of the home you probably wouldn’t have guessed – your window blinds. Sure, there are fancy electronic blinds that you can install and hook up to buttons and probably even apps, but replacing all the blinds in your house is incredibly expensive. FlipFlic isn’t interested in doing that. Instead, this little device is designed to attach to your current blinds and their small string-punk motor setup that has you pulling, twisting, and angling the cords. Read more:

Beyond Home Security: Trends in Home Automation

Home security is taking the world, and the world’s tech conferences, by storm. All the big names are getting in on the game, or they are partnering with the prime players to make sure they get a foothold in the market. News about the latest software and hardware for home security is now commonplace on mainstream news channels, too. Home security, though, is just one part of a bigger movement. That movement is Home Automation, and it is exploding onto the scene right now. In addition to home security, here are the other home automation trends to watch if you’re looking to simplify your life: Read more:

Axis Gear Makes Motorized Window Shades

Having motorized window shades can save you time, energy, and money. However, installing a system of motorized window shades isn’t easy or cheap. There are a few companies out there looking to change that, though. The latest is Axis. The company just announced plans to launch Axis Gear, a product that can turn any shades into motorized window shades. Read more:

Smart Home Is a Mess

With every new smart device I add to my home, it gets a little dumber. The thermostats don’t talk to the lights. The security cameras don’t talk to the alarm system, which doesn’t talk to the garage door. The networked speakers talk to each other—but not to the TV sitting a few feet away. Just about every device has its own app for my smartphone, but since none of them work with each other, I’ve got 15 apps controlling 15 functions. Read more:

Adoption of Smart Home Devices Slowed by Complexity

Of potential smart home device buyers, 39 percent said they would rather install, connect and set up all the devices and services on their own. Despite the growing popularity of smart home devices, consumers are struggling with the complexity of the technology, according to a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. consumers. Read more: