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littleBits Smart Home Kit Review by TechSpot

Submitted on 01/30/15, 05:24 AM | Click Here for the full article: TechSpot

littleBits Smart Home Kit Review by TechSpotlittleBits Smart Home Kit Review by TechSpot

Read Full review by Shawn Knight of TechSpot:  Amenities like being able to remotely adjust the temperature inside your home or receiving a text when the laundry is done certainly sound appealing, but are they really all they’re cracked up to be? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just try these features out for a week or two before committing to shelling out hundreds or thousands on a standalone IoT-enabled device?
 
With littleBits’ new Smart Home Kit, you can do just that.
 
For the uninitiated among us, littleBits is an ever-growing open source library of small electronic modules that easily connect together. Created by Ayah Bdeir, it started as a tool to help designers incorporate electronics into the prototyping process. Today, it’s much more than that. Think of them as Lego bricks for the iPad generation.
 
The Smart Home Kit we’ll be looking at today is tailor-made for home automation projects. It includes 14 modules and 11 accessories, enabling a vast array of creations that can add smart functionality to all sorts of appliances and gadgets you already own, or create entirely new ones.
 
 

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Troubled Lockitron turns the corner with the introduction of its new smart lock, Bolt

Submitted on 01/27/15, 03:10 PM | Click Here for the full article: AppAdvice.com

Troubled Lockitron turns the corner with the introduction of its new smart lock, BoltTroubled Lockitron turns the corner with the introduction of its new smart lock, Bolt

From AppAdvice.com:  While the crowdfunding craze has helped to create a number of successful iOS accessory companies, there have also been more than a few spectacular failures. But Lockitron falls somewhere in between.
 
The company arrived on the scene all the way back in 2012 with its unique (at the time) smart and app-enabled deadbolt that cost $179. Flooded by a more-than-expected number of preorders, the company was unable to keep up with demand as the original Lockitron was plagued with hardware and software issues.
 
But the company has just introduced a new lock version named Bolt. There are some major differences compared to the original model.
 
Most importantly, the new version is retailing for just $99, which is significantly less than other competitors like the Kwikset Kevo and August Smart Lock. Purchasing the optional $77 bridge will allow users to control the lock from anywhere.
 
And instead of a fitting on top of your current deadbolt, the Bolt replaces it completely.

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Building an Apple-powered smart home? Here's how non-HomeKit devices could work

Submitted on 01/26/15, 05:42 AM | Click Here for the full article: MacWorld

Building an Apple-powered smart home? Here's how non-HomeKit devices could workBuilding an Apple-powered smart home? Here's how non-HomeKit devices could work

From Jared Newman, MacWorld:  Your Apple-powered smart home of the future needn't be limited to the HomeKit ecosystem, but venturing outside will bring some restrictions.
 
HomeKit is Apple's upcoming framework for smart home devices such as lightbulbs, door locks, garage door openers, and thermostats. Many of these devices will connect directly to users' iPhones via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi—no separate hub device required—for unified voice control through Siri. They'll also be able to connect with an Apple TV, allowing for Siri voice controls when users are away from home.
 
Apple will also let users connect devices that aren't approved under the the Made for iPhone (MFi) program, using a separate bridge device that hooks them into HomeKit. This will allow companies like Insteon to make their existing range of smart home devices compatible with Apple's framework, even if they use alternative networking protocols such as ZigBee or Z-Wave.
 
But according to 9to5Mac's sources, these non-MFi devices won't have the same capabilities as products built with HomeKit in mind.  Cont'd...

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URC to Combine Total Control and ccGEN2

Submitted on 01/22/15, 03:24 PM | Click Here for the full article: Residential Systems

URC to Combine Total Control and ccGEN2URC to Combine Total Control and ccGEN2

From Residential Systems:  

URC made a surprising announcement today in response to dealer and distributor requests and discussions. The Harrison, NY, manufacturer is combining its two control systems lines, Total Control and ccGEN2, converging the software in the next two weeks. The move is intended to “make things easier on products, purchasing, training, programming, and marketing,” according to Cat Toomey, URC director of marketing.
 
“On our recent fall tour of a few thousand dealers, we realized clearly we are making things harder than they need to be and we should course correct some things,” Toomey stated. “It’s a significant change but one that is a good one for the business and the dealers to get, sell, and program URC product, better, faster, and easier.”
 
Regarding the ccGEN2 and Total Control announcement, Toomey explained that because ccGEN2 and Total Control have had different programming software, new drivers get added at different times and ccGEN2 dealers lose access to URC music and amp sources.

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Are Retailers Eyeing The Market For Smart Home Installation Services?

Submitted on 01/21/15, 05:47 AM | Click Here for the full article: Forbes.com

Are Retailers Eyeing The Market For Smart Home Installation Services?Are Retailers Eyeing The Market For Smart Home Installation Services?

From Michael Wolf for Forbes.com:

Today, Forbes and others reported on a massive new funding round for a Lowe’s-backed startup Porch.com to the tune of $65 million.  While Porch.com founder says he still controls the company, there is no doubt Lowe’s sees Porch.com as an important weapon in its expansion into the local installer services economy.
 
But the most interesting part about the Porch.com deal for me was thinking about how this nationwide network of local installers could help another Lowe’s strategic initiative – Lowe’s Iris – get traction.  Iris is the company’s smart home platform, which is the centerpiece of Lowe’s effort to put itself in control of a growing market that we at NextMarket forecast to be worth $7.8 billion in the US alone by 2019.
 
Smart home savvy readers are probably asking, “isn’t Lowe’s Iris a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) product?” It’s intended to be, but let’s be honest: DIY is the smart home industry’s big lie, since getting mass-market adoption will likely require a light-service channel to help Grandpa, Mom or even me install that new intelligent wall switch or smart water valve without electrocuting myself or flooding the house. Cont'd...

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Xiaomi Unveils Smart Home Suite With Security Features

Submitted on 01/19/15, 06:51 AM | Click Here for the full article: Bloomberg

Xiaomi Unveils Smart Home Suite With Security FeaturesXiaomi Unveils Smart Home Suite With Security Features

Xiaomi Corp. unveiled a new product called the Smart Home Suite with a group of four components that offer security features as it broadens its range of devices that can be controlled by mobile phone.

The suite includes a human motion sensor, and a pair of door and window sensors that can be used for home security, Xiaomi President Bin Lin said today at the GeekPark Innovation Festival in Beijing. The company will start a consumer test of the product Jan. 26, he said.

“In the past, motion sensors were very complicated and large in size, so that if you wanted a system you needed professional installation,” Lin told the conference. “For this suite, there is not a single nail or wire. These components are all very simple.”

Xiaomi in less than five years has grown to become the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor and, at $45 billion, the most-valuable technology startup. Now, Chief Executive Officer Lei Jun is pushing into Web-enabled devices for the home even as it challenges Samsung Electronics Corp. and Apple Inc. (AAPL) at the higher end of the mobile-device market.

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It is CES week in LThe Smart Home Nudges Manufacturers Toward Sustainability

Submitted on 01/16/15, 05:39 AM | Click Here for the full article: The Triple Pundit

It is CES week in LThe Smart Home Nudges Manufacturers Toward SustainabilityIt is CES week in LThe Smart Home Nudges Manufacturers Toward Sustainability

From Jennifer Tuohy for The Triple Pundit:

From lock manufacturers to heating and air conditioning companies, the smart home space is disrupting legacy industries. Big names in consumer products with decades of experience behind them have been caught off-guard by Kickstarter-powered startups and Silicon Valley CEOs.
 
The Nest Learning Thermostat, which debuted in 2011, was the first product to show what a nimble young company with high-tech brainpower behind it (in this case, two of Apple’s bright minds) could do to a space that many thought was set in stone. It took a little under five years, but the legacy companies are catching up — Honeywell launched its Nest alternative, the Lyric, late last year.
 
Is it too little, too late? Not at all. Don’t discount benefit of the decades of experience that legacy companies like Honeywell bring to the table. Bear in mind, Honeywell actually had a round thermostat first, in 1953.

 

As I discussed in my last article for Triple Pundit, this type of disruption drives development by forcing the big companies back to the drawing board to hopefully come up with even better products — ones that will save consumers even more money, use even less energy and lead us toward greater sustainability. Nowhere is this more relevant right now than in the smart home space.

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NEEO, the Thinking Remote That Controls All Your Devices, Launches on Kickstarter

Submitted on 01/14/15, 05:26 AM | Click Here for the full article: HomeToys Crowdfunding Newspage

NEEO, the Thinking Remote That Controls All Your Devices, Launches on KickstarterNEEO, the Thinking Remote That Controls All Your Devices, Launches on Kickstarter

NEEO is a smart system that enables you to take control of all the devices in your home from one place. No more switching from one remote to another or from one app to another. There are two parts to NEEO, the brain and remote. The brain communicates with your devices and the remote recognises your touch and instantly displays your favourite media and settings. 

Unlike other smart home systems, the NEEO brain features antennae to support the seven major home automation standards. There are tens of thousands of devices in the unique database that NEEO has built from scratch. This allows full control for Apple TV, Sonos, Nest, HUE and many other devices, dating back over the past 10 years, right out of the box. 
 
Raphael Oberholzer, CEO and Co-founder of NEEO, explains: "Average remotes are inconvenient especially when you have one for every device and we have seen little innovation in that field in the past decades. We created NEEO so you can control all your devices instantly and with minimum effort so you're not jumping from remote to remote or app to app. To make it even more effortless we have designed NEEO so it recognizes you when you pick it up to give the ultimate personal experience. " 

 

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