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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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WeMo’s CES 2015 Lineup Prefaces Big Advances For Home Automation

Submitted on 01/12/15, 06:26 AM | Click Here for the full article: TechCrunch

WeMo’s CES 2015 Lineup Prefaces Big Advances For Home AutomationWeMo’s CES 2015 Lineup Prefaces Big Advances For Home Automation

Belkin’s WeMo home automation gadgets started off pretty modest in scope, but over the past few years they’ve launched more and more WeMo devices, first on their own and later with partners who have far more experience in specific verticals. This year at CES, WeMo expanded its LED smart lighting lineup with bulbs from OSRAM Sylvania and TCP. It also debuted new home sensors, which can help homeowners setup their system to better automate their smart connected appliances and accessories.
 
The WeMo lineup includes a keychain sensor, window and door open/shut sensors, alarm, motion and water flow sensors. Altogether they can help do anything from triggering different activities when specific individuals arrive or leave the home, enhance home security, or even monitor your entire home’s water usage with an easy-to-install flow sensor that can detect usage by different faucets, toilets and taps throughout your house.
 
WeMo’s model is smart: partner with the experts, and focus on the connected elements that make everything smart. Compared to others who work on the device with a more holistic approach in-house, however, the connected features of some of these partner appliances, like the Belkin WeMo-enabled Crockpot, can feel somewhat limited. But the new sensor suite should help coordinate things and build in a whole lot more genuine automation.

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Shipments of Lighting Controls for Residential Applications Are Expected to Total Nearly 1.1 Billion through 2023

Submitted on 01/09/15, 05:59 AM | Click Here for the full article: Navigant Research

Shipments of Lighting Controls for Residential Applications Are Expected to Total Nearly 1.1 Billion through 2023Shipments of Lighting Controls for Residential Applications Are Expected to Total Nearly 1.1 Billion through 2023

A recent report from Navigant Research analyzes the global market for residential energy-efficient lighting and lighting controls, including global market forecasts for light-emitting diodes (LEDs), incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent lighting through 2023. 

The market for residential energy-efficient lighting is in the midst of a transformation, particularly as prices for LEDs decrease and new lighting technologies emerge. Many residential applications center on LEDs that are connected, allowing for the remote control of and interaction between devices. Click to tweet: According to a recent report from Navigant Research, worldwide shipments of residential lighting controls are expected to total nearly 1.1 billion worldwide from 2014 through 2023. 
 
"The home energy management and home automation movements are ramping up, and smart lighting plays an important role in both," says Jesse Foote, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. "Residential consumers are finding that connected lighting is a convenient way to manage energy and to also tie in elements of safety, security, and functionality - sometimes with just a couple swipes of a smartphone." 

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