Showing posts from April, 2016

Smart Window Shades need to develop, but show potential

Other exciting possibilities for Wazombi will come with further updates. The ability to automate shades based on the intensity of the sunlight entering the window -- as measured by the solar panel -- will be a big addition. And it should be active through a firmware update within the next few months. After working with Smart Shades for a couple days, though, it seems like a clever product that lacks polish and flexibility. Read more:

Smart homes need to treat their inhabitants better

We might still be some way from coming home to robots doing the cooking and cleaning for us, but the age of widespread home automation has arrived. More and more people now have "intelligent" versions of devices like thermostats and lighting in their home, that either run automatically or can be controlled from a smartphone. But the home automation market is very much still in its infancy. There are many newly developed products from a wide range of companies and few of them are compatible with one another. This lack of standards signals a tough time ahead for both manufacturers and consumers. Read more:

"Smart Homes?" Not Until They're Less Dependent

Cost is a major reason so many current smart home devices rely on the Internet for basic functions. Like a cheap laptop that runs web apps instead of locally stored programs, a smart thermostat or hub can keep costs down by shifting processor- and memory-intensive tasks to the cloud. "If you want to serve up information in a local context, you need the storage to do that," says Bob Sharp, executive vice president of Emerson, whose Sensi thermostats rely on the Internet for everything but basic on-device controls. Read more:

Smart homes keep getting smarter

In the luxury market, smart home technology has become expected. However, as affordability, consumer demand and advances in technology continue to converge, new opportunities and market segments open. It’s fascinating to see how rapidly people are adopting technology, and from all demographics. The typical smart-home consumer used to be young and affluent. Read more:

VIDEO: Singapore’s ‘Smart Homes’

The Singapore government is testing a range of “smart city” technologies in one of the most extensive plans to collect data on daily living ever attempted in a city. Watch Video:

Smart homes demand smart consumers

Smart home technology is offering homeowners some compelling capabilities to make life easier. From smart appliances that speak to smart meters and schedule themselves to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates to smart lights that adjust their colouring for different needs throughout the day, there’s almost no limit to what smart homes can do. But, as with any technology purchase, consumers need to do their homework... Read more:

New Home construction tumbles in March

Construction of new homes fell in March by the largest amount in five months, with weakness in all regions of the country except the Northeast. Home construction dropped 8.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million units, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. It was the third decline in the past four months and left construction at its slowest point since October. Read more:

Want to control your lights? Lutron launches system for commercial buildings

Lutron Electronics Inc. has launched its latest lighting-control product, called Vive, that provides what the company calls a "scalable solution" to commercial buildings' lighting requirements. Lutron's Eric Lind said Vive has Lutron's previous technology, with one difference. "It is what I would consider to be an all-wireless system," Lind said Wednesday. Read more:

Sonos: How Chromecast Audio breathes new life into old speakers

What surprised me was that my brother wasn't planning on buying a Sonos system. Around Christmas, he'd taken the Chromecast plunge by putting cheap streaming dongles into his home's guest rooms, and that's when he heard about Chromecast Audio's Sonos-like functionality. The idea being, you can stick Chromecast Audio dongles wherever you want in your home and connect each one to a 3.5mm speaker. Once they're all powered on and connected to your wireless network, you can play synced audio on all of them by simply hitting "play" on any supported app (and there are a lot of apps). Read more:

Sonos: one of the best wireless speakers money can buy

The new Play:5 is Sonos’s latest speaker – a revamp of its biggest and most powerful wireless system – and it hopes to be all the Hi-Fi you need in one powerful box. The touch-sensitive buttons on the top or side of the Play:5 allow instant control of music playback and volume, and control on a room-by-room basis. Swipe for track skip, press for pause, play or volume. Read more:

These Extra-Smart Remotes Control Everything

Savant Remote + Host | $499 Even with fewer buttons than most smart remotes, Savant’s sleek clicker herds your many boxes—Sonos, TiVo, Xbox, Apple TV—into one easy interface. Use voice commands to change channels, switch sources, or (with the optional Lamp Control) ... Read more:

Samsung sees emotional robots, voice-activated light switches

A light switch that you can talk to and that responds to your questions. A robot that shows emotions. A home security system that tells the difference between people and animals. Sounds pretty cool, right? Too bad those smart devices aren't hitting store shelves anytime soon. The three products are so-called reference designs that Samsung created to show what kind of devices are possible with its Artik line of chips. Read more:

Buying a Home Security Camera? Mistakes to Avoid

Buying a home security camera is a big decision. After all, there are very few things more important than safety. Unfortunately, the industry is also a bit untamed. Here are 8 common mistakes you should try to avoid. Going cheap: Making a decision based upon price isn’t always advisable when it comes to home security. While the less expensive cameras may look the same as their more expensive brethren, they are often more difficult to set up, use, and include inferior software. Read more:

Things Your Home Security Technician Wishes You Knew

Selecting an alarm system can feel overwhelming: There are so many options, and the stakes seem huge. After all, choosing the wrong one might just mean the difference between keeping your family safe and letting an intruder into their midst. Face it: You’ll do just about anything to keep the bad guys out. Right? Home security technicians are there to help transform your Home Sweet Home into Home Sweet Fortress. But you need to be involved in this process, too: By doing a little prep work beforehand, you can sleep soundly sooner (say that five times, fast. We’ll wait.). Read more:

Why Smart Homes Will Be Better Than 'The Jetsons'

A smart, or connected, home is defined as one where the lights, heating/ventilation/air-conditioning (HVAC), security alarm and other household devices can be automated and remotely controlled by a smartphone, tablet or computer. The key drivers in smart home adoption are home security, energy efficiency, entertainment, convenience/productivity, connectivity and health monitoring. Read more:

How to set up your smart home now — if you're tenacious

A fully automated home is still years away, but the building blocks are already here: the phone that turns on the coffee maker from the bedroom, the thermostat that controls the lights when you're away, the window shades that lift when you say "good morning." Although these still aren't items most people seek out, they're catching on. Research firm Strategy Analytics estimates that the number of U.S. households with some form of smart-home system grew 30 percent in 2015 to 27 million, or about 1 in 5. With the backing of big names such as Samsung, Apple and Nest, a sister company of Google's, smart-home functionality is slowly creeping into everyday homes. Read more:

Vivint Smart Home announces investment

Vivint offers a custom platform with integrated smart home products, including smart door locks, thermostat, cameras, doorbell camera, cloud storage and an array of sensors. The company pairs its technology with in-home consultation, professional installation and support delivered by its Smart Home Pros, as well as 24-7 customer care and monitoring. In addition to its rapidly expanding product suite, Vivint has integrated leading smart home products into its Vivint Sky platform, including the Amazon Echo and the Nest Learning Thermostat. Read more:

Smart Home Cameras that Detect Intruders

Many homes today are fitted with security cameras and sensors to alert the owners if someone is moving on their property, be it a family member, a mail carrier or an intruder. French company Netatmo has designed a smart home camera that recognizes familiar faces and alerts owners if a stranger has entered their home. The face-recognition camera has helped at least one man catch a thief. The smart camera can let parents at work know that their children have returned home from school, or that a package has been delivered at their door. Read more:

Want a 'smart home'? There's a store for that

John Lewis said it decided to create the interactive connected area after sales of smart home products surged by 81% in 2015. Since the new area was launched in early April, sales of connected home devices in the store have risen by 4% compared to earlier in the year. Read more:

Savant's Simple Approach to Home Automation

Savant’s new home automation system is wonderfully simple. It’s a hub, a touchscreen remote, and a lamp control device, all of which communicate over wifi. (The remote works via Bluetooth so there’s no need to point it in any specific direction.) As you might’ve guessed, the remote serves as a physical interface not only for your TV and entertainment system but also for whatever’s plugged into the lamp control devices—namely lamps. Read more:

Installed Home Technology Boosts Home Builders’ Bottom Line

One-third of U.S. home builders (36%) say they have experienced revenue increases due to home technology installations, according to the Consumer Technology Association’s 14th Annual State of the Builder Technology Market Study. Since 2009, the number of builders reporting revenue increases rose more than 10 percentage points, demonstrating that installed home technology has helped the home builder industry bounce back from the recession. Read more:

Smart Home Market To Double

Today, August Home and Xfinity Home released the results of a new survey that indicates growing enthusiasm for and interest in smart security and smart home technology. The study, of nearly 1,300 U.S. consumers, sheds new light on what motivates adoption, what features are most compelling, as well as how consumers plan to use smart home technology. The findings are detailed in The Safe & Smart Home: Security in the Smart Home Era. Read more:

Perks of having a smart home security system

Smart home camera security systems are smart enough to know what’s normal and only alert you to anything out of the ordinary, no matter where you might be in the world as long as you have your smartphone with you. Through your mobile device you’re able to see and hear what’s happening in your home when you’re not around. Surveillance is done through indoor and outdoor cameras, and you can use multiple cameras to suit the size of your property. Unlike traditional monitoring systems, live views and recorded video clips from these security cameras let you know everything is safe and sound. Read more:

New home construction tanks

The construction of privately-owned homes took a hit last month, tumbling 8.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,089,000. The decline, according to the Commerce Department, was punctuated by a slide of 9.2% in single-family housing starts to a rate of 764,000. The rate in March for units in buildings with five units or more was 312,000, down 8.5% from February. Read more:

Smart switch buying guide

So you've decided a smart switch or plug really is what you need. Now the question is, which one should you get? In-wall switches, like Belkin WeMo Light Switches or Lutron Switches, are convenient because toggling them is as natural as hitting a normal light switch. Plus, you get the added smarts of remote control, scheduling and automation. That means if you have light fixtures you want to automate, but you want to keep their normal wall-switch control too, then in-wall smart switches are what you need. Smart plugs, like the iDevices Switch, offer many of the same features, but also increased flexibility, as you can plug in whatever device you want. Read more:

Home Automation the new frontier in convenience?

Imagine an intuitive home that seemingly senses what its owner needs where everything from your home entertainment system, to your lighting, to your security can be easily controlled and monitored on one system. For example the act of closing blinds, switching on lights and heating and settling down to a surround sound movie can now all be done with a push of a few buttons. Home Automation or the “smart home” creates one centralised system in which your property can easily be controlled electronically. Read more:

Comparing home automation systems

We’re in the midst of building a house and now that the beams are all nailed and the windows mounted, we’ve come to the point of having to make the million decisions that come with building your own home. Some of those choices revolve around putting in automated systems. This is the right time to think about it. Now is the time when the heating system will be going in and also the thermostats — we’re going with Nests because they are the most advanced, user-friendly and can easily handle a six-zone system. Read more:

Home automation chips in to save energy

It wasn’t long ago that contractors had to build automation controls into a house. Homeowners could switch indoor and outdoor lights on or off, adjust their home’s temperature, lock the doors, open the garage door, check the nanny cam and set the house alarm. Such a monolithic approach provided convenience, but it was spendy. Also, it tied homeowners to one vendor and when things went awry, they called a technician. This solution used its own computer, proprietary protocols and controllers so you could summon them from a remote, or sometimes a smartphone. Read more:

Meet our new favorite home security camera

We covered the Yi Home Camera a while back and at $50 shipped, it’s still without question one of the best gadget purchases you can make for your home. The company recently launched a new version of its home camera though. While it is a bit more expensive than the old model, it adds in a tremendous amount of new functionality and after testing it, we can safely say that it’s our favorite new home security cam by far. Read more:

Security Benefits of Smart Lighting and Window Shade Control

As you pack up your car for a great vacation, are you also worrying about how well-protected you home is? Going away for a trip is stressful enough without having to think about what’s happening at your house. A smart home system that includes automated lighting and shade control can make your home more secure and let you focus on your fun instead. Read more:

Smart buildings are not only about saving energy

"Building owners are having to adapt to technology that wasn't available just five years ago," says Jim Sinopoli, architect and founder of Smart Buildings, a Texas-based leading practice in this new field. "And that's going to change the way we approach building. The question will be how design engineers and architects respond. Making buildings smart will be disruptive. But it's inevitable." Indeed, while smart or intelligent buildings have yet to settle on one definition - it encompasses using technology to improve control and communications Read more:

Hero receives smart home

Marine Cpl. Christian Brown lost both his legs and suffered injuries to his arms serving in Afghanistan. The Gary Sinise Foundation and individuals and businesses from all across the area decided to build him a smart house, giving him the freedom to live independently. Back in November 2013, actor Gary Sinise held a fundraising concert in Memphis for the Munford veteran. And today, WREG's Katie Rufener was there as all that hard work was unveiled and Brown moved in. Read more:

Sonos on the Importance of Music

Earlier this year, Sonos teamed up with Apple Music and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin to find out just how important music is in people's lives. Hint: It has a major impact. The project included a survey of 30,000 music listeners, along with an experiment involving 30 families across eight countries, who agreed to listen to no music for seven days and then permitted their reactions to be recorded when they listened to music the following week. Read more:

Sonos not building a Universal app

Sonos - best known for its popular wireless audio systems - is one company that doesn't see the appeal of creating a UWP app. Sonos offers apps on iOS and Android to allow users to easily play their music via its wireless speakers across their home networks - but while it supports Microsoft's Groove music platform, Sonos says it has no intention of offering a UWP app for Windows 10. In a post on its community support site, Sonos said Read more:

Best Smart Home Products

An array of Smart Home products are trickling into homes, making life a little more convenient. Smart Home products are still on the pricey side, but some are well worth the investment, especially for homeowners looking to solve specific headaches around their homes. While Smart Home products are getting better and less frustrating to use, they are still much more expensive than the dumb (standard) products they replace. While there are countless cheap smart home products, the best way to turn your house into a Smart Home is to invest in high-quality products that you’re confident will be supported for years to come. An amazing Smart Home product isn’t so smart if you’re not sure the company you’re buying it from will be around in a year or two. Read more:

How to set up Surround Sound for Home Theater

Klipsch Reference Premiere HD Wireless Speaker placement only gets you halfway there; you have to connect it all, too. Ditch the snaky cables with this new cord-free system. Each speaker has its own amp, and a wireless base station keeps the channels in sync. The sound, you ask? Clear your calendar—you’ll be watching every movie you love all over again. Read more:

Projectors vs. TVs for Home Theater

If you want to go big in your home theater, you’re probably arguing with yourself over whether to go with a really big TV, or a projector and screen. On one hand, projectors have gotten a lot brighter and more affordable over the past few years, but on the other hand, TVs are bigger than ever before, and now 4K Ultra HD resolution is a consideration. Indeed, both options have their pros and cons, and there are specific scenarios where one would be a better option over the other. To help you decide which will work best in your own home theater setup, we’ve put together this guide comparing projectors and TVs. Read more:

Lutron and Amazon's Alexa give another smart lighting kit

Lutron, a company that sells DIY dimmers, as well as shades and blinds, announced today that its home lighting-control devices will now work with Amazon's Echo, Echo Dot, Tap and Fire TV via an Alexa Skill. Read more:

Sonos’ New Products Are A Win

As far as consumer electronics companies goes, Sonos is a strange beast. The gadget world is notorious for an unending train of forced obsolescence. Whether it’s an operating system update that slows or freezes an aging gadget or the addition of a must-have new feature, your year-old devices never quite seem good enough. Sonos largely ditches that playbook, opting instead to keep its products on shelves for years, while releasing new ones on a blue-moon basis. To put some numbers behind this, the last major Sonos release was way back in 2012, when the company released the bookshelf-and-bathroom-sized Play:1. Read more:

The real price of smart homes

To control every connected device, you might also like a home automation system. That adds another $200 to your expenses list. It will let you manage all your connected devices and appliances to adjust the temperature to match the climate and give you the music and lighting to match your preferences. Add the smart watch, laptop and smart TV you already own and the investment totals several thousand dollars. And these devices represent a very small fraction of the smart gadgets now available on the ever-expanding IoT market. Read more:

Smart homes need right details for security

What are some of the obstacles still facing the smart-home industry today? There is a gap between the expectations and the realities of the smart home today. Every smart-home product is not created equal. People have these expectations that a lot of companies don't deliver on. Read more:

Lutron to control the lights with your voice

Caseta, when paired with Amazon voice-control systems Echo, Echo Dot or Amazon Fire TV, gives homeowners the ability to control lights from anywhere inside or outside the home using the free Lutron app, its remote control and select third-party devices, the company said in a news release. Consumers already using voice control know it is rapidly becoming the next big thing in connected-home technology. But Lutron's Matt Swatsky said such smart-home products are not just about the wow factor anymore. Read more:

Home Automation With Smart Phone Apps

A lot of luxury homes jumped at the first opportunity of automation — remote controls to draw and close blinds, set up mood lighting. They even had stairwell lights and night lamps turning on or off with movement sensors. But is this what a smart home is really about? Not really. A smart home by today’s definition is one that can observe, record a behavior pattern and also automate it. In other words, the data become the knowledge for automation. Read more:

4-year-old meets home automation

My wife and I bought two lamps for our bedroom last year. They are nice, but they are not easy to turn on from the bed. I bought wireless remotes for the lamps, but they misfired too much (I would turn on the lamp on my wife’s side instead of mine). I learned about Philips Hue. They seemed like a perfect solution for us. You can control the lights with your phone, no more misfires. Eventually, I realized you need to open an app every time you want to turn a light on (I know it is a stupid problem, let me have this). I discovered that Amazon’s Echo home assistant worked with my lighting system. Read more:

Cost a Critical Factor for Those Slow to Adopt Home Automation

A new survey finds that almost half of people hesitant to adopt connected home devices are wary because of cost. The International Data Corporation (IDC) found that 46% of respondents who have no interest in home automation say the devices are too expensive. Read more:

Talking to your light bulbs - future of you home

Now you can control many elements of your home through your mobile, including watching live video, central heating and smoke alarms The ways in which all this simple tech can be made to work together is mind-boggling, but here's a few scenarios. It's the middle of the night and your Nest cam sends you a message and a picture of something in the back garden. After that your bedroom light, then hall light followed by a downstairs light turn on in a delayed sequence mimicking you coming down to investigate. Read more:

K3OPS Home Automation

By definition, home automation systems are all connected devices, automated and remotely controlled in our homes in order to improve our comfort, our safety while controlling our energy expenditure. Recent studies estimate that between 2016 and 2022, our homes will be equipped with about fifty connected devices all connected to your Internet. K3OPS Home AutomationIf this seems insignificant, the hidden face is much less and this is for your safety. Read more:

Life in an Automated Home

Was it the convenience of having the lights and motorized shades operate automatically that convinced Santa Fe homeowners Rick and Cynthia Torcasso to invest in a home automation system? Or maybe they took the plunge because they would be able to heat and cool their new 5,000-square-foot home more efficiently. But then again, being able to access a huge library of music from any room with just a few taps of a button and play it over nearly invisible speakers is definitely appealing as well. Read more:

Smart Portable Theater review: Hands-on with a gorgeous portable 3D projector

We’re big fans of JmGo’s G1 Smart Home Theater, a gorgeous home projector that’s oozing with style and functionality, so we couldn’t wait to get our hands on JmGo’s latest project: the View. JmGo View is a smart portable DLP projector that has everything you need to project presentations, movies, games and more from absolutely anywhere you like, and it looks great. Read more:

Epson Home Cinema EH-TW5300 projector review

For home cinema and entertainment, there aren't many substitutes for screen size. A good quality projector can bring a little bit of the cinema magic into your home for immersive movies, TV and gaming. We have reviewed a number of Epson home cinema projectors before and they seem to hit the right spot between performance and price. This is all the more important in a market where there is sometimes a huge (and unnecessary) price gap between US and India prices. Read more:

Sony 4K Projector – The Perfect Home Theater

Have you been dreaming about building the perfect home theater for years? Are you finally ready to make it happen? Most likely you are just missing the perfect element. Well check out the Sony VPL-VW665ES 4K Home Theater Projector. If you are looking for beautiful, vivid imagery this exactly what you need. We know that shopping for the perfect projector is hard, and if you’ve done it before, you may have found one that provided an alright experience, but eventually you ended up watching movies on your old equipment. Read more:

Samsung's Dolby Atmos sound bar will dazzle your ears

Don’t have room for a hulking pile of incredible-sounding Dolby Atmos speakers from Pioneer? Samsung has a tidier solution. After announcing its HW-K950 and HW-K850 Atmos sound bar surround systems at CES 2016, Samsung showed off the final versions — and rather shocking prices — at a launch event in New York City. We had a chance to give the HW-K950 a prolonged audition, speak with some of the engineers responsible for designing and voicing the home theater rig, and learn a little about how this is a departure from Samsung’s earlier audio efforts. Read more:

Creating the home theater experience

Looking onto the sales floor, he said customers continue to be enamored by high definition televisions while waiting for the next big thing to drop. "The biggest thing on the horizon are the 4K televisions, which boasts better-than-lifelike-images," Knowlton said, testing out the technology on the flat-screen Vizio receiver. "The picture quality is just unbelievable." Read more:

Home burglary protection easier than you think

Need more security? Install a basic security system that detects breaches to entry doors and senses interior movement, dials the alarm company and sets off a siren. Installation is often free, and the monthly monitoring fee runs between $20 and $40. Opt for the digital dialer. It adds a few dollars per month to the cost but it eliminates the possibility of someone severing your phone line and disabling the system. The alarm company signs are also proven deterrents. Read more:

Home Security Device Creates A Sound Fingerprint To Protect Your Home

If you’re looking for home security you’re generally faced with two options: line of sight camera-based solutions that require you to connect multiple devices around your home or customized and serviced security systems installed in your home activated or deactivated by a code. What if you had one device that was able to learn your habits as you move around your home and then build a digital sound signature of your movements of what’s considered normal and send you a notification when that sound was different? Read more:

Take home security to a new level

Various products are on the market to help keep homeowners and renters safe. Motion-sensing and Wireless Security Lights A poorly lit property allows burglars to go unseen, and motion-sensing or automatic lights are meant to combat that. The lights become activated when motion is detected, which not only provides a visual alert but also scares burglars away. Read more:

A smart home that's really smart

Homes are currently designed and built with no expectation of home automation support. One reason for that is the old chicken-and-egg problem. Home-automation devices are designed with the assumption that homes provide only outlets, so homes are designed with the assumption that only outlets are required in order to support home automation devices. I think all of that will change as smart-home appliances go more mainstream -- a process that's happening quickly. Read more:

Smart home tech offers convenience, poor security

Smart home technology is all around us. From wireless thermostats to automatic lights, everyday objects are going online and app-enabled. Consumers can buy these devices in nearly any home-improvement store, but unfortunately many don’t realize smart technology often comes with poor security. The computer industry is abuzz with concern smart home tech is putting consumers at risk of data and privacy theft. Companies are slapping Internet connectivity onto products as fast as they can, but they’re not necessarily making customer privacy a priority. Data breaches involving smart home tech are rampant. Read more:

Home network video cameras continue to impress

A few months ago I wrote how some new networked video cameras were “raising the bar for home security” with better video quality, app integration and audio features. These new features are now considered “table stakes” for any device maker that wants to get into this space. Since then, I’ve been able to try out two more cameras – from Samsung and NETGEAR – that include these features and a couple of other interesting ones that help shape future table stakes for this market. Read more:

Advantages of Buying a New Build Home

Perhaps one of the main reasons for choosing to buy a new build home is the promise of increased energy efficiency, particularly as we’re continually seeing the price of gas and electricity rising. Why choose a house with an outdated boiler and heating system, old single glazed windows and poorly insulated loft spaces, when you can have a brand new property with all the latest technologies? Read more:

Security risks of smart homes

Possibly one of the biggest IoT risks for consumers lies in home automation systems that control every aspect of the home from the temperature and lighting to the home security system. With access to one’s security system, hackers can gain entry into a house to steal valuable items without the alarm systems reacting. Criminals can also try to access an individual’s home automation system in order to harass them, as they have full access to security cameras, door functioning or temperature control. The usual misconception is that due to home automation systems using Wi-Fi connections, the system can only be controlled by the remote which is connected on the same network as the devices. Read more:

Smart Home Making Life Easier

A growing number of families are using smart home technology to help their children who struggle with autism. Some, like the Baker family, say their security system helps relieve everyday stress. Baker said things started to change a few years ago when the family had Vivint Smart Home security system installed. With alerts on the exits and cameras around the house, she doesn't have to be everywhere. Read more:

Improving your home security

Security lights: Criminals are much more likely to target homes where they can pass unnoticed, so having lights connected to your security system can be a great deterrent. Outside security lights can be tied to motion detectors, lighting up an area when the sensor is tripped. If you’re planning to go on a trip or vacation, you can even set security lights to turn on and off at random intervals, making it seem like you’re home when you really aren’t. In case of an emergency, it also provides a safe path for responders to travel on if it is dark out. Read more:

Contractors Can Lead the 'Smart Home' Revolution

Who better to guide consumers into this new and multifaceted arena than the technicians they already rely on for one of their most expensive and complex home-related purchases? HVAC systems are a natural fit with smart home technology, and dealers have the necessary HVAC expertise. Integrated diagnostics allow technicians to proactively alert homeowners to maintenance issues that could be compromising efficiency, wasting energy, and may lead to costly future repairs. Read more:

Smart Homes Can Unlock the Mainstream Market

Amazon’s popular Echo device powered by an artificial intelligence personal assistant called Alexa has rekindled hopes that the smart home—where everything from entertainment and appliances to security, heating and lighting systems are all interconnected—is just around the corner. Not so fast, warn experts at Wharton. “The popular press is enamored with the connected home, but we’re only seeing a glimmer of what’s ultimately possible,” says Wharton Management Professor David Hsu. “It’s very early, and we have to see tighter integration between all of the players.” Read more:

Smart homes are now officially a big deal

The smart home revolution is in full swing and retailer John Lewis has jumped firmly on the bandwagon with its new connected home experience. Made up of four interactive zones - kitchen, entertainment, sleep and home monitoring - the 1,000 sq. ft consumer-friendly space is acting as the UK's first experience dedicated to connected home tech. Read more:

Are smart homes the key to unlocking relationship woes?

Less stress and more time are obvious benefits of smart home technology, but will these changes really improve relationship quality? Professors at Carnegie Mellon University predict it will, saying: "We believe a smart home should provide families with a feeling of control over their lives: being relieved from breakdowns in daily routines, and getting emotional satisfaction from the things they value - identity, time, and relationships." Read more:

Home sellers turn to smart technology

It is a myth that retrofitting an older home with smart technology is too difficult or too expensive. When it comes to selling a home, more than half of current homeowners said they would install smart home technology because they thought it would sell the home faster. More extensive smart products, such as Crestron's Pyng Home Automation System, can be more expensive, but the return on investment may be worth it. Read more:

What role will security play in the smart home?

It’s said so often now that it has almost become cliché but the rise of the connected home, more commonly known today as the smart home, has forever altered the landscape of the alarm industry. For most dealers, long gone are the days of installing simple burg and fire panels, replaced instead by a new wave of technology that enables people to interact with their homes in ways that were once thought impossible. Read more:

Marine receives smart home

Thomas McRae, a retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant, received a smart home Thursday in Maple Hill as the latest step on his road to recovery from an IED explosion in Afghanistan of 2012. Hundreds of people attended an unveiling ceremony Thursday with nearly a dozen speakers, including a congratulatory video from NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Read more:

Consumers would Share Smart Home Habits

Information from smart devices in the home could be valuable and it looks like many consumers would be willing to trade some of that information for a fee. The majority (54%) of consumers who live in a smart home would give a company access to their connected home habits if they were paid, based on a new large and detailed study. Read more:

Make Your Smart Home More Secure

Security is set to become the hot button issue in the smart home this year, as more connected devices come online and more hackers attempt to infiltrate corporate and consumer networks through connected gadgets. The FBI even issued a warning about connected home products. The concerns about security and the smart home are well-founded. Several devices from connected cameras to smart home hubs have been hacked. Even light bulbs aren't immune. Read more:

Google is paying off its angry smart home customers

Nest has decided to shut down Revolv, a company that it bought in 2014. Though the Revolv Hub smart home gadget wasn't a big seller, its customers are furious. Next month, anyone who bought the Revolv Hub will basically have a dead device on their hands. The Revolv Hub is like a central control unit for household gadgets that can be controlled through Wi-Fi and other wireless technologies. Read more:

Samsung Advances Home Automation by Stepping into the Kitchen

"Fridges are not just for storing food anymore. They now have features that allow consumers to order groceries online, watch TV shows and listen to music. Samsung Electronics released Wednesday a top-of-the-line refrigerator, called Family Hub, which has features that include voice control, screen mirroring and digital payment for online shopping. Read more:

Six surround speakers, zero speaker wires

biggest complaints about 5.1-channel speaker systems, beyond, you know, all those speakers, is the necessity of running speaker wire everywhere. With Klipsch's latest system, no speaker wires are required. The RP-440WF surround set -- or to give its official name of the Klipsch Reference Premiere HD Wireless 5.1 Speaker System -- is a tidy all-in-one which offers ridiculously easy setup, and the cohesive home-theater surround sound only a matched multispeaker system can provide. No, it's not completely wireless, because you'll still have to plug each of the individual speakers into power outlets, and connect your gear to the base station via HDMI or whatever, but it's a heck of a lot closer. Read more:

Raumfeld SoundDeck Home Theater Speaker System

recently got my hands on a selection of audio gear from Raumfeld, a German maker of high-end audio systems who recently made their entry into the U.S. market. I’m a big fan of their Stereo Cubes bookshelf speakers, and now I’m checking out their Sounddeck home theater speaker system to see if it lives up to the same quality. The Sounddeck sits somewhere between a soundbar and a full-size home theater system, containing its entire system inside a pedestal for your TV. Read more:

JAM Builds Solid Wireless Audio Products

When I searched for Bluetooth headphones with strong reviews for a decent price on Amazon, I noticed a brand called JAM Wireless Audio. Immediately, I ordered a couple of their JAM Transit wireless headphones. And I have been happy with these headphones since then. JAM Wireless Audio also sells a line of wireless earbuds, home audio speakers, pocket speakers, etc. Read more: