HomeToys Articles, Stories and Products http://www.hometoys.com AV and Automation Industry News and eMagazine - Recent Articles, Hot Stories and Products Russound Gets XStream http://www.hometoys.com/products/Russound-Gets-XStream-/22 The Russound XStream X5 wireless music streaming system delivers the perfect balance of popular music content, audio performance and optimal control. X5 is a streamer, amplifier and room controller designed for custom installation professionals. Engineered for flexible configuration and easy integration, X5 satisfies any design challenge. The XStream Technology inside enables popular streaming content from the cloud, home network, tablets and phones – all from a single component. Every X5 zone can be controlled by a keypad or the My Russound App to ensure integration and control of any digital AV source connected. Tue, 29 Jul 2014 05:50:05 -0700 Emberlight provides wireless smarts to regular bulbs http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/07/emberlight-provides-wireless-smarts-to-regular-bulbs/1118 <div> There&rsquo;s been a boom of wireless-enabled smart bulbs over the past year or so. Although many will recognize popular models such as LIFX and Philips Hue, you can search Amazon and find plenty of options for Bluetooth wireless light bulbs. Some of them even have built-in speakers so you can remotely control both lights and sound.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> But what about all of those old, non-smart bulbs you own? It feels like a shame to let them go to waste, especially if they happen to be favorites. Or, maybe you don&rsquo;t want to buy a smart bulb due to fear of it breaking or burning out too soon, costing so much more in the long-run.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <div> Discard those worries, since there exists a third option that brings the best of both worlds. Emberlight provides wireless features dimmable light bulbs. This compact device installs into sockets and acts like a middleman to the bulb screwed into it. Now, the light can be controlled from wall switches or remotely from a mobile device. You can even set it to turn on/off based on Bluetooth proximity from your smartphone.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Emberlight works with your existing wireless network, without the need of a hub. Once set up, you&rsquo;d really never have to touch a lightswitch again. Whether you&rsquo;re in or out of the home, you can receive notifications and have full control over every connected light bulb. Want the lights to turn on as soon as you come home? Done. Away on vacation and need the lights on at night to provide that lived-in look? Absolutely possible. Control any and lights that are hooked up to Emberlight.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Since Emberlight is more of an adapter and not a light bulb, there&rsquo;s little worry about it burning out over time. When a bulb is bad, just replace it with a new one and Emberlight keeps working for you. Best of all, it costs the same or less than many smart light bulbs available on the market.</div> </div> <div> &nbsp;</div> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:13:47 -0700 Lowe's Helps Consumers Outsmart Summer with New Home Automation Products for Iris http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/07/lowes-helps-consumers-outsmart-summer-with-new-home-automation-products-for-iris/1117 <p> Lowe&#39;s Companies, Inc. announced today the launch of new products for its Iris smart home solution that offer consumers added convenience, safety and efficiency this summer. The home improvement company continues to extend the breadth of connected devices with the addition of a smart garage door controller, electronic pet door, window blinds controller and hose faucet timer to make it easier to cut energy costs, reduce water usage and keep the home secure while consumers balance active summer schedules.&nbsp;</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Since its launch in 2012, Iris has delivered on its promise to make home automation simple, affordable and scalable by giving consumers a single user interface that lets them monitor, control and customize a wide range of devices in and around the home. This new wave of products joins the 50 existing devices currently available for Iris - including security cameras, smoke detectors, water leak detectors and more. Iris offers the ultimate smart home experience with brand name products consumers already know and trust, including General Electric, Kwikset, Schlage, Whirlpool, Orbit Irrigation Products and PetSafe. Iris&#39; open platform also supports dozens of other Zigbee and Z-Wave-enabled devices.&nbsp;</div> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:14:20 -0700 Gefen’s Wireless for HDMI 60 GHz Extender System http://www.hometoys.com/products/Gefen%E2%80%99s-Wireless-for-HDMI-60-GHz-Extender-System/22 Gefen’s Wireless for HDMI 60 GHz extender system sends high definition audio and video to any HDCP-compliant HDTV display up to 33 feet with near-zero latency. Designed to transmit within a room, its signal will not penetrate walls. Line-of-sight placement of transceivers is not necessary. It supports resolutions up to 1080p Full HD, 3DTV, CEC, and 7.1-channels of High Bit Rate (HBR) lossless digital audio such as Dolby® TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio™. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:16:52 -0700 Raspberry Pi Brings IoT (Internet of Things) to a Home Theater Soundbar http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/07/raspberry-pi-brings-iot-internet-of-things-to-a-home-theater-soundbar/1116 <p> Right-Ear/Left-Ear Technologies selected Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized Linux computer, to add much-desired functionality to One Bar, its new home theater soundbar.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> &quot;We wanted to complement our soundbar&#39;s best-in-class 3D virtual sound performance with smart wireless and Internet connectivity,&quot; said Marty Zanfino, one of the founders. &quot;Raspberry Pi provided a platform to do all that in a single, compact module. We had to write a lot of code, but Raspberry Pi had the necessary hardware and OS to support the functionality we required.&quot;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> The list includes remote control via smart phones and tablets, Wi-Fi access point so phones and tablets can connect directly, and the ability to join a home Wi-Fi network to access Internet radio and music sites. Once connected, users enter a URL and One Bar&#39;s touchpad remote control keypad appears on their phone&#39;s and tablet&#39;s displays.&nbsp;</p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:19:05 -0700 Microsoft’s Cortana Learns Some Home-Automation Tricks http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/07/microsoft%E2%80%99s-cortana-learns-some-home-automation-tricks/1115 <div> Cortana, Microsoft&rsquo;s vocal virtual assistant, is gaining the ability to control smart-home products like lights and thermostats.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Home-automation company Insteon, based in Irvine, California, is working on a Windows Phone 8.1 app slated for release later this year that aims to make it easier to do things such as turn on the lights or boost the temperature by issuing commands via Cortana like, &ldquo;Insteon, turn off all the lights&rdquo; or &ldquo;Insteon, adjust living room thermostat temperature down.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <div> Cortana, which was announced in April and is built into Microsoft&rsquo;s Windows Phone 8.1 (which began rolling out to Windows Phone 8 users on Tuesday), can answer spoken queries like &ldquo;What&rsquo;s the traffic like on my way to work?&rdquo; and respond to commands like &ldquo;Change my 10 a.m. meeting to 11&rdquo; or &ldquo;Remind me to feed the cat when I get home&rdquo; (see &ldquo;Say Hello to Microsoft&rsquo;s Answer to Siri&rdquo;).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In many respects, it&rsquo;s very similar to Google Now and Apple&rsquo;s Siri, but unlike these competitors, Microsoft is allowing third-party developers to create apps that can be controlled using Cortana&mdash;a move that could inspire app developers to dream up new uses for the voice interface.</div> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 06:10:57 -0700 Samsung In Talks To Scoop Up SmartThings For Around $200 Million http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/07/samsung-in-talks-to-scoop-up-smartthings-for-around-200-million/1114 <p> Google has&nbsp;Nest, Apple has HomeKit and Samsung has&hellip;SmartThings, we&rsquo;re hearing.&nbsp;The deal was completed for around $200 million dollars, though it might have been less according to one source.</p> <div> <span>SmartThin</span><span>gs</span><span>&nbsp;is in the&nbsp;home automati</span><span>on space</span><span>, and allows&nbsp;you to connect devices like lights and doorlocks to a system controlled by your mobile phone. It has&nbsp;raised over $1</span><span>5 million</span><span>from investors including Greylock, Highland Capital, First Round Capital, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, Yuri Milner&rsquo;s Start Fund, David Tisch, A-Grade Investments, CrunchFund* and Box Group.</span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <p> Samsung most likely bought the startup to get out ahead of Google&rsquo;s Nest efforts. With this buy, Samsung obtains&nbsp;a mature home automation platform that just needs some marketing help. And Samsung has a&nbsp;hefty marketing budget.</p> <p> The larger arena at work here is the millions&nbsp;of connected devices that will populate our world &mdash; commonly referred to as the internet of things. In a nearly inevitable&nbsp;future where&nbsp;every device in our home has a live connection to the web, and can be controlled by our devices, device manufacturers are the ones most uniquely poised to offer holistic solutions to consumers.</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 06:05:50 -0700 Introducing Thread: A New Wireless Networking Protocol for the Home http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/07/introducing-thread-a-new-wireless-networking-protocol-for-the-home/1113 <p> Recognizing the need for a new and better way to connect products in the home, seven companies today announced that they&#39;ve joined forces to form the Thread Group (www.threadgroup.org) and develop Thread, a new IP-based wireless networking protocol. The charter of the Thread Group is to guide the adoption of the Thread protocol. Thread Group founding members consist of industry-leading companies including Yale Security, Silicon Labs, Samsung Electronics, Nest Labs, Freescale&reg; Semiconductor, Big Ass Fans and ARM.&nbsp;</p> <div> While currently available 802.15.4 networking technologies have their own advantages, each also has critical issues that prevent the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) from being realized. These include lack of interoperability, inability to carry IPv6 communications, high power requirements that drain batteries quickly, and &quot;hub and spoke&quot; models dependent on one device (if that device fails, the whole network goes down). With Thread, product developers and consumers can easily and securely connect more than 250 devices into a low-power, wireless mesh network that also includes direct Internet and cloud access for every device.&nbsp;</div> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:05:22 -0700 Upcoming Tradeshow, Conference &amp; Exhibition Summary - September, October, November http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/07/upcoming-tradeshow-conference--exhibition-summary--september-october-november/2280 As Summer kicks into full gear we can sit back and enjoy a bit of a break from the Tradeshow schedule. August will see a bit of a lull but by that time CEDIA preparations are in full swing. Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:25:29 -0700 InfoComm 2014 is in the Books http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/07/infocomm-2014-is-in-the-books/2281 There were a lot of new, fresh and thought-provoking products at the show, which hopefully will help us stay ahead of the curve and make our work easier. Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:25:13 -0700 Developer Popularity for Raspberry Pi vs. Arduino http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/07/developer-popularity-for-raspberry-pi-vs-arduino/2282 Raspberry Pi began catching up to Arduino in Q4 of 2012 and stayed fairly close to each other after that. Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:24:55 -0700 Advantages of Using Lifts and Mounts for Your Touchscreen Monitor http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/07/advantages-of-using-lifts-and-mounts-for-your-touchscreen-monitor/2283 Choosing the right TV mount or lift for your flat screen TV should not be difficult once you have weighed the pros and cons of each type of mount. Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:24:39 -0700 Meet the smart hubs competing to control your home http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/07/meet-the-smart-hubs-competing-to-control-your-home/1112 <p> <a href="http://www.cnet.com/news/smart-hubs/" target="_blank"><em>From CNet.</em></a> Perhaps the most overwhelming thing about the smart home revolution is the fact that so many of these new gadgets come with their own separate apps and control hubs. If you buy more than one or two, you&#39;ll end up needing a whole bookcase to store all of the blinking control centers plugged into your router, not to mention the fact that your various automation rules and schedules will probably be scattered across several different apps and websites. Wasn&#39;t home automation supposed to make things easier?</p> <p> It&#39;s a reality that&#39;s created a bit of a jump ball in home automation: whichever hub can best consolidate all of these smart devices into a single, dependable system -- complete with a killer app -- is going to be positioned especially well as the connected home continues to move into the mainstream. With several multipurpose smart hubs already out there, and even more coming on the horizon, here are the ones we&#39;ve been keeping tabs on.&nbsp;</p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 06:18:10 -0700 Core Brands Debuts Next-Generation Niles Auriel Audio Controller That Simplifies Whole Home Audio http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/07/core-brands-debuts-next-generation-niles-auriel-audio-controller-that-simplifies-whole-home-audio/1111 <p> Powered by the new Niles Auriel software and app, the MRC-6430 is the first-in-its-class multi-room audio chassis that integrates multi-room audio and home theater control in a way that is both simple for the installer to set up and easy for the homeowner to enjoy.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> &quot;With Auriel and the MRC-6430 we are making multi-room audio simpler than ever to install and use,&quot; Yann Connan, Core Brands&#39; Director, Audio Segment, said today. &quot;The number one concern for buyers is that multi-room audio controllers are complicated, so we developed the Auriel software to show them just how accessible it can be. With any smartphone, tablet or Niles in-wall touch panel, users can now quickly select what source they want to play and in which rooms they want it to play. We had the system integrators in mind as well, with the flexibility to include both IP and IR controlled devices, complete GUI generation and six routable IR outputs for external component control. Auriel is wizard-based to reduce installation and set-up time to a fraction of other multi-room systems.&quot;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> The Niles MRC-6430 multi-room audio controller delivers its amazing sound throughout the home using an intuitive user interface with options that include a handheld remote, a seven-button keypad, a choice of touch panel devices and of course smartphones, tablets and personal computers. The MRC-6430 makes it possible to listen to any source, in any room, at any time - even if someone is already listening to something different in another room. This means mom and dad can relax with smooth jazz in the kitchen while guests enjoy classic rock in the living room and the kids sing along to top 40 hits in the backyard, and each group can change their own volume and skip tracks right from their smartphone.&nbsp;</p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 15:15:17 -0700 Clime Is A Tiny Device Packed With Sensors To Help Home Automation http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/07/clime-is-a-tiny-device-packed-with-sensors-to-help-home-automation/1110 <p dir="ltr"> Home automation and connected objects seem to be the rage these days. We&rsquo;ve seen efforts from companies like&nbsp;Philips,&nbsp;GE, and&nbsp;Nest, and now it looks like a&nbsp;device called Clime&nbsp;hopes to preside over that. As you can see in the image above, the device is tiny and looks a bit like a piece of candy.</p> <p dir="ltr"> However what&rsquo;s under the hood is an array of environmental sensors that will be able to measure things such as humidity, temperature, light, and even movement. The company claims that the device will have a battery life of 1.5 years, meaning that you will be able to deploy them in and out of your house without worrying about it running out of juice in the near future.</p> <p dir="ltr"> While the company has been a little vague about the potential use of Clime, its website hints at home automation. Like we said due to the device&rsquo;s range of sensors, you will be able to place it all over your house, so for example you could leave it outside and when its temperature sensor detects a rise in temperature, it will adjust your home&rsquo;s thermostat to make it colder.</p> <p dir="ltr"> Also with a light sensor, we can only imagine that when Clime detects that it is dark outside, it will turn on the lights in your house. This might come in handy during thunderstorms where it can get dark outside, or it can adjust itself to summer where it gets darker later, or winter where it gets darker earlier.</p> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 06:20:42 -0700 INSTEON Announces Availability of Popular Connected Home Products in Microsoft Retail Stores http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/07/insteon-announces-availability-of-popular-connected-home-products-in-microsoft-retail-stores/1109 <p> INSTEON, creators of the world&#39;s best-selling home automation and control technology, today announced that its connected home devices are now available in Microsoft retail stores. Previously, INSTEON announced its all-new apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 and product availability on MicrosoftStore.com.</p> <div> <div> In its continuing commitment to provide choice, value and service for its customers, Microsoft stores will offer three unique INSTEON kits -- a Starter Kit, Home Kit and Business Kit -- and five standalone devices, including the INSTEON Leak Sensor, Open/Close Sensor, LED Bulb, On/Off Module and Wireless Wi-Fi Camera. Prices will range from $29.99 to $79.99, with kits starting at $199. Microsoft employees will also be trained to help assist customers with questions regarding setup.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> &quot;Since launching INSTEON on MicrosoftStore.com, we have seen a lot of interest from Microsoft customers in our connected products,&quot; said Joe Dada, CEO, INSTEON. &quot;Now that we are making those same products available to Microsoft retail customers, we are confident that our products will be equally as popular in stores.&quot;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> The INSTEON family of devices turns any home into a connected home. INSTEON users are able to set up lighting scenes, schedule lights to automatically turn on and off, and monitor their homes via wireless cameras from any mobile device. INSTEON kits and modules allow users to receive instant notification alerts when doors and windows are opened or closed, or when there is a water leak in the home. INSTEON provides all of this and more via a free app with no monthly fees.&nbsp;</div> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 06:39:39 -0700 First look at the Wink Hub, tech’s latest dummy-proof home automation center http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/07/first-look-at-the-wink-hub-tech%E2%80%99s-latest-dummy-proof-home-automation-center/1108 <p> To make smart home products more accessible and less confusing for the mass market, Home Depot has teamed up with Quirky-owned&nbsp;Wink&nbsp;to create a line of connected devices that are centralized into one place: The Wink Hub.</p> <p> This $49 hub contains all the techy goodness that puts your &ldquo;dumb&rdquo; products on the Web with popular connection protocols: ZigBee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, to name a few. All the user has to do is set up the hub, purchase a Wink-certified product and scan the barcode of the item to connect it to your home network.</p> <p> The current Home Depot-Wink line works with a ton of popular home improvement brands, such as Chamberlain (garage door openers), Honeywell (thermostat), Rheem (water heater) and GE (lighting and kitchen appliances).</p> <p> Once connected, all the devices are controllable from within the Wink app. Users can set up timers, alerts, proximity settings and shortcuts. The app is available in both iOS and Android, with added compatibility for&nbsp;Android Wear.</p> <p> The Wink Hub connects to your home network without requiring Ethernet, so you can place it anywhere around the house.</p> <p> We stopped by the companies&rsquo; &ldquo;Wink House&rdquo; set up today and the app worked as advertised.&nbsp;The option to set up a one-click shortcut for various settings (such as Sleep to turn all the blinds and lights off and lock doors) is useful truly automating your home from a touch of a finger. It only takes about a second for the command&nbsp;to register from the app to seeing things in action, such as the lights changing colors or the garage door closing.</p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 06:00:07 -0700 News releases from InfoComm 2014 http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/07/news-releases-from-infocomm-2014/2279 This year HomeToys.com's Special InfoComm 2014 Newspage posted over 140 news releases. Here are some highlights. Tue, 01 Jul 2014 11:50:18 -0700 Sentrollers, and the World of Small Data http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/06/sentrollers-and-the-world-of-small-data/2277 After Big Data, it is now Small Data’s turn to change our world. Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:39:29 -0700 7 Raspberry Pi Projects for Home Security http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/06/7-raspberry-pi-projects-for-home-security/2274 For the uninitiated, the Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized single -board computer developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of introducing children to computer science. Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:39:09 -0700 Why do I Need a Subwoofer? http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/06/why-do-i-need-a-subwoofer/2278 This is the first of a series of articles all about subwoofers from our friends at Aperion Audio Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:38:57 -0700 Handling Digital Storage Growth The Media and Entertainment Industry http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/06/handling-digital-storage-growth-the-media-and-entertainment-industry/2276 M&E Runs on Creative Talent, Strict Time/Financial Budgets, Volumes of Storage Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:38:40 -0700 Content Variety: World Cup is the Global Test of 4K Streaming http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/06/content-variety-world-cup-is-the-global-test-of-4k-streaming/2275 Two things drive OTT/IPTV (Over the Top/Internet Protocol TV) streaming content and the demand for bigger, better TV screens. Sports is one of them. Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:38:20 -0700 Pioneer and Onkyo unite to bring their home audio into the internet era http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/pioneer-and-onkyo-unite-to-bring-their-home-audio-into-the-internet-era/1107 <p> Home audio isn&#39;t what it used to be -- for many people, it means internet-savvy speakers everywhere instead of a conventional stereo in the den. Pioneer and Onkyo are clearly aware that they need to adapt, as they&#39;ve just started the process of combining their home theater units with a mind toward modernization. The two will &quot;cope&quot; with the shift in music playback trends through the strengths of their brand names and &quot;superior technologies;&quot; a private equity firm is also taking a controlling stake in Pioneer&#39;s home electronics division, so there will be cash available to expand the business. It&#39;s still early going, so just what this alliance will do to embrace internet audio isn&#39;t clear. However, it&#39;s safe to say that they&#39;ll be doing more than rolling out the occasional wireless adapter or smartphone dock.</p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 05:57:29 -0700 Google's Nest to open smart home platform, share data with developers including Google http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/googles-nest-to-open-smart-home-platform-share-data-with-developers-including-google/1106 <p> Nest Labs, makers of the Nest Learning Thermostat and Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector, announced on Tuesday that it will be opening its smart home platform to third-party developers and partners, which includes parent company Google.</p> <div> In a post to Nest&#39;s official blog, cofounder Matt Rogers said the&nbsp;Nest Developer Program&nbsp;will allow other smart home product makers and app developers to connect with the Nest smart thermostat to make whole-home automation a reality.&nbsp;</div> <div> <br /> Instead of sifting through proprietary apps and settings panels, the open API should allow for personalized, automated experiences. For example, a connected Jawbone UP24 band can sense when its user wakes up, signaling Nest to turn on the lights and warm the house.<br /> <br /> As noted by&nbsp;<em>The Wall Street Journal</em>, parent company Google has&nbsp;already integrated&nbsp;with Nest to expand Google Now&#39;s functionality to support temperature adjustments.<br /> <br /> Of course, with the opening of Nest&#39;s platform, the firm must share a certain amount of information gathered by its devices, something that doesn&#39;t sit well with privacy advocates. More specifically, Google&#39;s views on user data harvesting as applied to the company&#39;s huge targeted ad business made critics uneasy when Nest Labs was purchased by the search giant&nbsp;for $3.2 billion&nbsp;in January.</div> Thu, 26 Jun 2014 15:50:27 -0700 Quirky, Mophie Founder Launches Wink for Smart Home Automation http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/quirky-mophie-founder-launches-wink-for-smart-home-automation/1105 <div> Serial tech entrepreneur Ben Kaufman &mdash; the founder of Quirky, a New York-based startup that helps turn tech ideas into real products, and the popular Mophie iPhone case &mdash; is getting into the smart home space.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Kaufman is launching a separate standalone operation called Wink that will bring smart household items &mdash; think web-connected lights, refrigerators, thermostats and so on &mdash; onto a small network that can be controlled and monitored with just one app. This means you can lock the front door, close the blinds and lower the temperature all within the Wink app. The move was first reported by the New York Times.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <div> &quot;Quirky is an invention company that&#39;s powered by the community, so we&#39;ve been following the trends they uncover for us,&quot; Kaufman told Mashable. &quot;We started to recognize that about 20% of idea submissions had to do with the connected world, and that&#39;s when we started to take this really seriously.&quot;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Quirky originally built Wink for the company&#39;s collaboration with General Electric, but after prototyping the concept and showing it to retail partners, the company realized it could be a powerful tool in the connected world. In November, Quirky quietly created Wink as a standalone business with its own office and leadership team. While about five employees moved over to Wink from Quirky, it also hired about 30 additional staffers.</div> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 15:49:38 -0700 Microsoft just launched an accelerator program for home automation startups http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/microsoft-just-launched-an-accelerator-program-for-home-automation-startups/1104 <p> Earlier this week, the company launched&nbsp;new tech accelerator in Seattle&nbsp;through a partnership with American Family Insurance for startups related to the connected home. Oddly enough, this is the first U.S. accelerator program Microsoft has announced since it launched its Ventures program last year. Applications to join the program are open from now until July 21, and the accelerator will run from August to December of this year.</p> <p> Unlike other accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, Techstars, and others, Microsoft doesn&rsquo;t&nbsp;demand equity stakes in firms that join the program &mdash; but it does reserve the right to become early investors should they see potential in a given startup. That being said, however, American Family Insurance is offering a $25,000 equity investment to participating startups looking for extra funding.</p> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 05:19:49 -0700 InfoComm 2014 Underway in Las Vegas, NV. http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/infocomm-2014-underway-in-las-vegas-nv/1103 <div> InfoComm 2014 is the largest professional AV show in the world, with more than 950 exhibitors and 35,000+ attendees from over 110 countries. This is your once-a-year opportunity to see the latest audiovisual technology, learn the skills that will advance your career, and grow your professional network.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> As a media partner for InfoComm 2014 HomeToys.com will be bringing all the industry news and exciting new products to our eMagazine to help our readers make sense of the massive event.</div> <div> <p> <a href="http://www.hometoys.com/news.php?show=infocomm14" target="_blank">Click here for our Special InfoComm 2014 Newspage.</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/06/infocomm-2014--tradeshow-report/2270" target="_blank">Check out our InfoComm 2014 tradeshow report here.</a></p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 15:29:49 -0700 InfoComm 2014 - Tradeshow Report http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/06/infocomm-2014--tradeshow-report/2270 For well over a decade HomeToys.com has been covering InfoComm and bringing all the industry news and exciting new products to our eMagazine to help our readers make sense of the massive event. Here we have compiled a list of some new product releases from this years show. Tue, 17 Jun 2014 08:36:38 -0700 It's June, Therefore It's InfoComm http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/06/its-june-therefore-its-infocomm/2272 With over 10,000 products, you will need to plan each and every day to target the products that fall into your specialty or interest Tue, 17 Jun 2014 08:36:25 -0700 CABA's Connected Consumer Roadmap Study http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/06/cabas-connected-consumer-roadmap-study/2273 This unique roadmap research will use an "Internet of Things" perspective; taking into account a consumer focused view, from both inside and outside of the home that includes health and wellness, entertainment, mobility, transportation, and security. Tue, 17 Jun 2014 08:36:08 -0700 Every “New” Idea Has its Foundation Somewhere in the Past http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/06/every-%E2%80%9Cnew%E2%80%9D-idea-has-its-foundation-somewhere-in-the-past/2271 The challenge for companies today is to maintain control of the wide-ranging opportunities and siloed usage in the cloud. Tue, 17 Jun 2014 08:35:50 -0700 Honeywell challenges Google’s Nest with Lyric smart thermostat http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/honeywell-challenges-google%E2%80%99s-nest-with-lyric-smart-thermostat/1101 <p> Let the battle rage on! In this corner, the seasoned smart thermostat veteran, Google&rsquo;s Nest, is ready to take on a new competitor. And seeing as this smart thermostat is coming from Honeywell, this is sure to be a good brawl. Plus, this battle goes back to 2012 when Honeywell claimed Nest infringed on several patents. Check mate.</p> <div> <span>Honeywell has decided to release its own smart thermostat, the $279 Lyric, as part of its Lyric home automation device line. It will be available in August from Lowe&rsquo;s.</span></div> <div> <p> So what makes Honeywell&rsquo;s Lyric smart thermostat so special? It uses geofencing technology to sense when users are home or away and will adjust the temperature. This is all via the user&rsquo;s smartphone. Say you&rsquo;re on your crowded, sweaty train back home from work and you&rsquo;re counting down the minutes until you walk into your cool home. Thanks to the Lyric smart thermostat, your home will adjust a couple degrees when the thermostat senses you&rsquo;re nearby. Talk about efficient!</p> <p> Nest does not possess this feature. Yet. The Lyric also costs about $50 more than the Nest, but this might be a worthy price to pay for such a feature.</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:48:40 -0700 oort Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Create a True Smart Home by Connecting All Intelligent Devices http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/oort-launches-kickstarter-campaign-to-create-a-true-smart-home-by-connecting-all-intelligent-devices/1100 <p> oort, the smart home solution that lets users create their own Internet of Things system to make life more comfortable, today launched a Kickstarter campaign for the first complete universal Bluetooth Smart system. In just seconds, oort can be paired with any compatible Bluetooth device, regardless of the manufacturer, and controlled from a single app on iOS or Android.&nbsp;</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &quot;Consumers are reluctant to create a smart home because current technology doesn&#39;t let them control a whole Internet of Things from just one app on devices they already own&quot;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Gartner has estimated that there are more than 2.5 billion connected devices today, with more than 30 billion expected by 2020. The challenge is that there are currently several competing wireless communications protocols for the Internet of Things that are not interoperable with end user devices out-of-the-box. To create a simple and easy experience for consumers, oort&#39;s solution uses wireless communications that are based on Bluetooth low energy. As the standard is now supported by all iOS 7+ and Android 4.3+ devices, oort can be controlled by smartphones and tablets owned by the majority of consumers and will be interoperable with a wide range of beacons and sensors.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> oort&#39;s technology will let users interact with any Bluetooth low energy device with a standard GATT profile, regardless of manufacturer, to enable consumers to create custom Internet of Things ecosystems. Examples of oort compatible devices include a wide range of connected devices, including beacons, wall sockets, light bulbs, power strips, lamps and smart sensors that measure air quality, temperature, soil humidity, noise and more.&nbsp;</div> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 06:37:06 -0700 Vivint Humanizes the Smart Home with Vivint Sky http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/vivint-humanizes-the-smart-home-with-vivint-sky/1099 <p> Vivint&trade; unveiled Vivint Sky, the next generation of Vivint&#39;s intelligent home experience. Vivint Sky introduces powerful cloud technology and smart learning capabilities that take the home to the next level of intelligence.&nbsp;</p> <div> <br /> <div> <div> &quot;Vivint Sky transforms the home automation experience by providing an unprecedented level of control over the home&quot;&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Vivint sky enables customers to control their lights, thermostat and door locks, as well as monitor high-definition video feeds and more from any smartphone, laptop or tablet. At the center of the new system is the Vivint SkyControl panel, which features proprietary cloud technology that learns from homeowners&#39; behaviors and makes intelligent suggestions to add new levels of convenience and control over the home.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> <p> For instance, Vivint&#39;s automatic HVAC control will take cues from homeowners&#39; daily patterns and make guided decisions to help increase the home&#39;s energy efficiency. The Vivint SkyControl panel serves as the hub of the experience, orchestrating a variety of home automation products, such as door locks, window and door sensors, motion detectors, connected power outlets and more. Using data from its sensors and communication from its powerful cloud technology, Vivint Sky is able to learn from homeowners&#39; behaviors and make intelligent suggestions in a conversational, helpful tone. These suggestions add new levels of convenience and control over the home, helping provide improved protection and monitoring.&nbsp;</p> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 13:18:16 -0700 AngelBlocks Could Take Home Automation to the Next Level http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/angelblocks-could-take-home-automation-to-the-next-level/1098 <div> AngelBlocks can be customized into what seems to be nearly limitless uses. For example, they could remind you when to water the plants if moisture levels in the dirt are low, warn you if your dog gets into the trash or even automatically lock the door when you leave the house. Each use can be sorted into one of three categories &mdash; notify, monitor or control.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &quot;This kind of technology can save you a lot of time and effort,&quot; Steve Montgomery, who created AngelBlocks, told Mashable. &quot;Being able to have the things in your life cooperate with you instead of be a hindrance to you is important.&quot;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Each system comes with one AngelGate &mdash; the brains of the operation that plugs into an Internet connection. This component wirelessly communicates with the AngelBlocks themselves, which are attached to different household objects (lighter than a computer mouse, they can either be screwed on or affixed with adhesive strips or magnets). Users register each AngelBlock on a web application and program it with a built-in system to do specific things at specific times based on what it senses in its environment, such as movement or temperature. As an added bonus, AngelTags can monitor your location (if they&#39;re attached to a keychain, for example) and activate AngelBlocks as you move through certain areas of the house. For instance, you could turn the lights on simply by walking into a room.</div> Mon, 09 Jun 2014 06:31:11 -0700 Philips Demonstrates Connected Lighting Systems at LIGHTFAIR International 2014 http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/philips-demonstrates-connected-lighting-systems-at-lightfair-international-2014/1097 <p> <span>Royal Philips announced that at LIGHTFAIR International 2014 it will highlight state-of-the art Connected Lighting systems available for the home and outdoor applications, as well as preview the company&#39;s breakthrough Connected Lighting systems for offices and retail. In a Connected Lighting system, light points merge with a building&#39;s or city&#39;s IT network, allowing the lighting system to act as an information pathway. Comprehensive lighting management software can deliver targeted, intelligent illumination, reducing cost by providing the right light at the right place at the right time, as well as enabling users to tailor the lighting system to their preferences via mobile apps. Lighting points can also transmit their location information to smart devices so that downloaded apps can provide location-based services.&nbsp;</span></p> <p> Philips Connected Lighting systems allow actionable data collected from sensors in intelligent luminaires to be made available to facility or city managers, who can then use the data for informed business decisions and greater customer insight. For indoor systems, an integrated view of a building&#39;s occupancy patterns and energy usage optimizes the distribution of resources, resulting in unprecedented levels of energy and operational efficiency. Moreover, the Philips systems demonstrate the company&#39;s commitment to delivering hybrid, customer-centric solutions that encompass both Philips and non-Philips products, non-LED luminaires, a range of power and data options, including Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), wireless communications, standard and digital dimmers and lighting controls.&nbsp;</p> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 11:53:33 -0700 Apple’s new HomeKit home automation can control your appliances and more http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/apple%E2%80%99s-new-homekit-home-automation-can-control-your-appliances-and-more/1096 <div> Confirming rumors that began circulating last week, Apple unveiled the Homekit home automation project at today&#39;s Worldwide Developers Conference as a way to connect iPhones and iPads to smart home devices like light bulbs and appliances.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &quot;We thought we could bring rationality into the home automation space,&quot; Craig Federighi said from the WWDC stage on Monday morning. He announced that Homekit will employ a &quot;common network protocol that has secure pairing so only your iPhone can unlock your garage door.&quot;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Possibly built on the Reminders app&#39;s geofencing capabilities, Homekit will allow users to trigger any compatible device when their iPhone enters or leaves a specific location. Additionally, Siri integration will allow users to say things like &quot;get ready for bed&quot; to enable a suite of smarthome functions at the same time, like making sure a garage door is closed, thermostat is lowered, and lights are dimmed.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> This usability was hinted at when Haier debuted the Tianzun air conditioner, the first MFi-approved home appliance, at this year&#39;s CES, but that presentation didn&#39;t mention any &quot;made for iOS&quot; requirements for devices. The WWDC presentation mentioned that Apple is working with &quot;leaders in home automation to give HomeKit a consistent network protocol,&quot; and a giant screen listed names such as Haier, Honeywell, Texas Instruments, and more.</div> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 15:19:32 -0700 Apple’s home-automation system may be pretty underwhelming http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/06/apple%E2%80%99s-home-automation-system-may-be-pretty-underwhelming/1095 <div> Rumors of Apple&rsquo;s upcoming &ldquo;Made for iHome&rdquo; API in iOS 8 sent fanboys rocketing with excitement that Cupertino might be launching a makeover in the living room, but expectations are about to get dashed when Apple presents a much simpler system on Monday.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The move to home automation will be more about fighting fragmentation, reports GigaOm, than creating an entire home experience. Apple&rsquo;s home efforts will just focus on easily connecting devices to Wifi and tossing in voice control over Bluetooth.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> There will be no central control center. No asking Siri to turn off your Hues and lock the door. But the report does have some interesting details on what Apple will announce:</div> <div> &ldquo;What we&rsquo;re likely to see next week is a roll out of participating partners, devices and chips that support the MFi standard, all set to assure people who purchase those devices that they will work with their iPhones and iPads, with the promise of a few special features.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> If GigaOm&rsquo;s report is accurate it will be an underwhelming experience compared to the dream of Apple offering a clean, robust control center that can manage everything from your thermostat to your crockpot without switching to individual apps.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Apple could eventually overlay software controls directly into iOS 8 but it&rsquo;s not looking to make its full home automation just yet. For now it looks like it&rsquo;s simply laying the groundwork.</div> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 07:54:36 -0700 Myths: On-the-Go Video Viewing is Still in Front of the TV http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/05/myths-on-the-go-video-viewing-is-still-in-front-of-the-tv/2267 Mobile devices aren’t about turning a blind-eye to the TV set but about getting more out of the show’s you watch or multitasking by checking out something else. Fri, 30 May 2014 10:26:21 -0700 InfoComm 2014 Special News Report http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/05/infocomm-2014-special-news-report/2269 News and announcements from the show. Exhibitors welcome to publish new here. Fri, 30 May 2014 10:26:09 -0700 CEA Announces New Working Group on Home Automation Device Interoperability http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/05/cea-announces-new-working-group-on-home-automation-device-interoperability/2268 The new working group is called the Device Interoperability Working Group, also known as R7 WG17. Fri, 30 May 2014 10:25:54 -0700 Channel Vision - Bluetooth for A-Bus Home Audio System – AB-303 http://www.hometoys.com/products/Channel-Vision---Bluetooth-for-A-Bus-Home-Audio-System-%E2%80%93-AB-303/9 The Channel Vision® AB-303 A-BUS® Bluetooth® local input module provides a local wireless audio connection for the purpose of streaming music from smart-phones, tablets, etc with Bluetooth capability to individual rooms, or as a main source module. When the AB-303 is paired in a local zone, it will switch the music source from the main audio source to the local Bluetooth source. When used as a main source, the audio can be heard in all zones. The AB-303 is compatible with all A-Bus Systems. Thu, 29 May 2014 06:19:50 -0700 Core Brands Announces Next-Generation ELAN Control Platform with Two New System Controllers http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/05/core-brands-announces-next-generation-elan-control-platform-with-two-new-system-controllers/1094 <p> Leading home automation, entertainment and control technology manufacturer, Core Brands, LLC, a Nortek company (NSDQ: NTK) today announced a major upgrade of its award-winning ELAN&reg; Control Platform for residential and commercial markets. This new Linux-based platform delivers better performance, easier installation, broader device compatibility, and greater scalability. The ELAN Control Platform provides a foundation for Core Brands&rsquo; highly competitive connected home ecosystem and continues to build its single source solution for customers in its dealer network.</p> <div> <p> &ldquo;This is the most significant engineering effort in ELAN&rsquo;s 25 year history<em>.</em>&nbsp;Our team has invested heavily to re-architect the ELAN Control Platform and make it the preeminent platform for the next-generation connected home,&rdquo; said Joe Roberts, Vice President of Products and Marketing, Core Brands. &ldquo;The ELAN Control Platform is a cornerstone in our strategy to delight our dealers and their clients with innovative and integrated products backed by best-in-class service and support.&rdquo;</p> <p> This platform provides expansion of ELAN&reg; products and applications in the market, from new entry-level consumer solutions to large customer and commercial installations. It also expands the range of opportunities for Core Brands&rsquo; portfolio of smart &ldquo;Internet of Things&rdquo; products that can be attached to the platform and be controlled, automated and monitored by ELAN. Attached categories include speakers, multi-room audio, power conditioners, smart-plugs, cameras, access products like gates and garage door openers and more, including from Core Brands&rsquo; own market leading brands such as SpeakerCraft&reg;, Niles&reg;, Sunfire&reg;, Panamax&reg;, Furman&reg; and Xantech&reg;, and others.</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Wed, 28 May 2014 14:24:50 -0700 Report: Apple to Take on Home Automation with “Smart Home” Platform at WWDC http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/05/report-apple-to-take-on-home-automation-with-%E2%80%9Csmart-home%E2%80%9D-platform-at-wwdc/1093 <p> We are now hearing word from Financial Times that Apple is looking to enter the home automation space with a &ldquo;Smart Home&rdquo; initiative that will kick off next month at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The details of Apple&rsquo;s system were first revealed in a patent filing last year, but the time is now for Apple to introduce the functionality according to Financial Times.</p> <div> <div> <div> The earlier filing (Patent No. 8,577,392) described how an iPhone or iPad could be used to control &ldquo;lighting systems, security systems, garage-door openers, music controllers, climate controllers, or kitchen appliances&rdquo; &ndash; in fact it could be similar in scope to AirPlay and iBeacon, but geared towards home automation products and appliances.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Apple sees its Smart Home system as being superior to other &ldquo;automatic operations&rdquo; that are currently on the market:</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Automatic operations are frequently sub-optimal due to variations in a person&#39;s daily routines. A person can leave work at different times each day, can encounter different traffic patterns, or can exhibit different hunger levels. Thus, unpredictable events and emotions can make it difficult to establish automatic operations that consistently produce desired results.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The Financial Times gives the example of how a homeowner&rsquo;s lights could be turned simply by entering the home with an iPhone in his or her pocket.&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Tue, 27 May 2014 06:48:35 -0700 HARMAN to Acquire AMX - Technology Leader in Video Switching and Enterprise Control and Automation Solutions http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/05/harman-to-acquire-amx--technology-leader-in-video-switching-and-enterprise-control-and-automation-solutions/1092 <p> Harman International Industries, Incorporated (NYSE:HAR), the premier infotainment and audio group, today announced it has signed an agreement with The Duchossois Group, Inc. and its affiliates to acquire AMX LLC for US$365 million. AMX is the leading provider of enterprise control and automation systems and audio and video switching and distributing solutions. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals.</p> <div> <span>&quot;HARMAN is the leader in smart connectivity. Our vision is to extend our reach beyond the car into the enterprise, where we already have a substantial audio presence,&rdquo; said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Chairman, President and CEO of HARMAN. &ldquo;AMX is the global technology leader in enterprise control and automation as well as audio and video switching and distribution. With the addition of AMX, HARMAN will be uniquely positioned to provide complete audio, video, lighting and automation solutions to our customers globally.&rdquo;</span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <p> Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Richardson, Texas, AMX&rsquo;s hardware and proprietary software solutions simplify the way people interact with technology and are implemented worldwide throughout a variety of enterprises and venues such as conference rooms, hotels, classrooms, network operation / command centers, entertainment venues and broadcast facilities. AMX employs more than 600 people across its operations in 19 locations worldwide.</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Thu, 22 May 2014 13:14:25 -0700 Brick And Bullet Kickstarter Aims To Deliver Home Network Audio Streaming For Live Music http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/05/brick-and-bullet-kickstarter-aims-to-deliver-home-network-audio-streaming-for-live-music/1091 <p> If you have AirPlay or any other kind of wireless home network audio setup, you&rsquo;ll no doubt be aware there&rsquo;s a delay. You click play, there&rsquo;s a few seconds of silence, and then the music starts. This is ordinarily fine, because we don&rsquo;t usually need things to be real-time, but that&rsquo;s not the case when you&rsquo;re trying to broadcast live music within a home or building, or when you&rsquo;re trying to watch a movie and the audio isn&rsquo;t syncing correctly.</p> <p> New Kickstarter project&nbsp;Brick &amp; Bullet&nbsp;wants to offer no-latency audio streaming to consumers, using the Ethernet AVB standard and its new hardware to provide instant playback. The project is the creation of John Gildred, founder of AVB.io, and it&rsquo;s making its debut at SF&rsquo;s Maker Faire this weekend.</p> <p> Brick &amp; Bullet compares to a traditional AirPlay setup using an Airport Express router. It&rsquo;s a much better system, and one that could solve a lot of the annoying issues that come up when you try to extend AirPlay beyond its intended purposes using aftermarket software like Airfoil. OS X has support for AVB out of the box, too, so it works instantly with Mac computers running Mavericks.</p> Tue, 20 May 2014 15:17:20 -0700 Microsoft gets into the home automation game with Insteon partnership http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/05/microsoft-gets-into-the-home-automation-game-with-insteon-partnership/1090 <p> Microsoft announced a partnership with Insteon today, along with some big plans to fully incorporate the popular home automation network into its ecosystem. Starting June 1, an enhanced version of the Insteon app with exclusive features will be made available for Windows Phone 8 devices, along with any tablet, laptop, or desktop running Windows 8.1.</p> <div> In addition, it won&#39;t be long after that before you start seeing Insteon products lining Microsoft Store shelves. These include individual products like the Insteon LED Bulb, as well as complete smart-home packages consisting of the Insteon Hub and select peripheral devices, similar to the Insteon Starter Kit we reviewed last year. Devices will range in price from $30 to $80, with kits starting at $199.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <div> Windows-exclusive features in the new version of Insteon&#39;s app will include complete Live Tile integration capable of offering status updates for multiple devices at once on the start screen of devices running Windows 8.1.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Insteon is also promising enhanced camera support that will allow users to view full-screen feeds, view multiple feeds at once, or use a camera without needing to install an Insteon Hub.</div> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Mon, 19 May 2014 05:48:44 -0700 Is A Wireless Home Security System Right For You? http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/05/is-a-wireless-home-security-system-right-for-you/2262 Using artificial intelligence, future systems will automatically learn a family's behavior patterns and adjust itself accordingly, without the requirement for programming. Thu, 15 May 2014 08:42:32 -0700 Next Generation Smart Miniature Wi-Fi Modules Accelerate IoT and M2M http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/05/next-generation-smart-miniature-wi-fi-modules-accelerate-iot-and-m2m-/2265 Low-power, low-cost Wi-Fi modules enable nearly any device to connect with smart phones, tablets and cloud-based applications across The Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M). Thu, 15 May 2014 08:42:15 -0700 Freedomotic - Open Source Building Automation http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/05/-freedomotic--open-source-building-automation/2264 You can develop your own module, attach it to Freedomotic and leverage all the features provided by the other modules in the system, regardless of the implementation language. Thu, 15 May 2014 08:42:00 -0700 Power Words: Net Neutrality… A New Way to Hold Ideas, Innovation Ransom http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/05/power-words-net-neutrality%E2%80%A6-a-new-way-to-hold-ideas-innovation-ransom/2261 Net neutrality and open Internet are more than just power words. They’re a vision that Vint, Push, Manny and all of the others set out to build. Thu, 15 May 2014 08:41:48 -0700 Home and Care Management by Essence http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/05/home-and-care-management-by-essence-/2263 We believe that service providers will offer “one play” connected home solutions as part of an integrated approach towards connected life (From triple/quad play to One Play). Thu, 15 May 2014 08:41:29 -0700 Home automation named one of the most influential IoT techs in 2014 http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/05/home-automation-named-one-of-the-most-influential-iot-techs-in-2014/1089 <p dir="ltr"> The Indus Entrepreneurs (<a href="http://tiecon.org/">TiE</a>)&nbsp;is a nonprofit trade group dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and sponsor to TiECON, the annual conference for entrepreneurs from technology companies, venture capital firms, and service providers, released an infographic that highlights industry insights and predictions on the Top 5 Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for 2014 (full infographic below).</p> <p dir="ltr"> According to the infographic, the Top 5 most influential IoT technologies this year are smartwatches, health and fitness tracking, connected retail, virtual and augmented reality, and the automated home.</p> <p dir="ltr"> The automated home market is expected to reach revenues of $35.6 million by 2016, reports TiE, as more consumers leverage technology to help them save on utility bills. A homeowner can expect to save up to 20 percent in their home costs per year, an average of about $1,154 annually.</p> <p dir="ltr"> One of the most widely adopted home automation systems available today is temperature control, with popular products including the Nest smart learning thermostat and Belkin&rsquo;s WeMo line of home automation solutions.</p> Wed, 14 May 2014 06:15:05 -0700 CEA Study Finds Almost all Home Technology Installations Increased in 2013 http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/05/cea-study-finds-almost-all-home-technology-installations-increased-in-2013/1088 <p> Almost all installations of home technologies in new homes increased or held constant in 2013, indicating the built-in home technology market has a strong, stable foothold in the U.S. The 12th Annual State of the Builder Technology Market Study, was released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)&reg;.&nbsp;</p> <div> Installations of almost every home technology increased or held constant from 2012 to 2013. Structured wiring was the most common technology installed in 2013 (78 percent, an eight percent increase from 2012), followed by monitored security (47 percent, up three percent) and home theaters (32 percent, up five percent). Multi-room audio (21 percent), energy management (13 percent) and home automation (12 percent) all saw increases. A new addition to this year&#39;s study are stand-alone video surveillance systems (including pre-wire),which were installed in eight percent of new homes in 2013.&nbsp;</div> <div> <br /> The U.S. housing market continued to recover in 2013 and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) predicts there will be 1.3 million new home starts in 2014. In parallel with the housing recovery, built-in home technologies are expected to reach $2.3 billion in revenue in 2014, according to CEA&#39;s U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecast report.&nbsp;</div> Mon, 12 May 2014 08:02:06 -0700 Home Automation - TinkerForge brings home automation to the masses with its DIY kit http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/05/home-automation--tinkerforge-brings-home-automation-to-the-masses-with-its-diy-kit/1087 <p> Do you have some old 433MHz home automation gear lying around and fancy making your home a little smarter? TinkerForge is releasing a new internet of things controller designed to let you run power sockets, light fittings and even electric blinds from the comfort of your smartphone. The platform markets itself as a coding-free alternative to Arduino and Raspberry Pi, so building the control scheme online promises to be entirely safe for novices. If you snag the hardware before May 24th, then it&#39;ll only set you back &euro;50 ($70), after which the price will go up to &euro;65 ($90), but that&#39;s a small price to pay to really freak out your housekeeper.</p> <p> </p> Thu, 08 May 2014 15:20:54 -0700 Home Automation - D-Link Introduces the Wi-Fi Smart Plug http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/05/home-automation--d-link-introduces-the-wi-fi-smart-plug/1086 <div> D-Link today announced the Wi-Fi Smart Plug (DSP-W215), the company&rsquo;s first product in a new line of Connected Home solutions designed to bring the convenience and flexibility of mydlink to everyday household electronic devices. The compact and easy-to-use Wi-Fi Smart Plug allows users to monitor and control their home&rsquo;s electronic devices from anywhere. Using the free mydlink&trade; app for iOS&reg; and Android&trade; smartphones or tablets, users can set power on/off schedules, turn devices on and off remotely and monitor energy usage at home or on-the-go. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;The launch of the Wi-Fi Smart Plug represents a key moment for D-Link as we look to expand our offering of connected home solutions designed for consumers looking for a convenient way to automate their home and control their devices from their smartphones and tablets,&rdquo; said Daniel Kelley, vice president of marketing, D-Link Systems, Inc. &ldquo;The Wi-Fi Smart Plug offers that convenience at an affordable price so customers can automate any range of devices in their home.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> With advanced power scheduling features, the mydlink app can be used to create on/off schedules for home appliances and devices, a useful feature for increasing home security with automated lights. For even more peace-of-mind, the Wi-Fi Smart Plug comes with a built-in thermal sensor that will automatically shut off connected devices if they overheat. In addition, the mydlink Wi-Fi Smart Plug features a simple one-button installation &ndash; users press the WPS button on their existing router and on the Smart Plug, and then download the mydlink Smart Plug mobile app to start setup.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> Tue, 06 May 2014 15:11:11 -0700 Home Automation - Revolv Bundles Compatible Products With Its Home-Automation Hub http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/05/home-automation--revolv-bundles-compatible-products-with-its-home-automation-hub/1085 <p> Home-automation start-up Revolv is trying to make it easier for consumers to select products compatible with its $299 hub, which incorporates multiple wireless technologies to control home-automation products made by other companies.</p> <p> The products can be controlled through the hub via an iOS app.</p> <p> On its website,&nbsp;Revolv&nbsp;created four product packages consisting of its hub and such products as a Yale Z-Wave deadbolt, Honeywell Z-Wave thermostat, Nest thermostat, Insteon wireless motion sensor, Belkin and Insteon plug-in appliance-control modules, Philips Hue and Insteon LED light bulbs, and the Sonos Play:1 networked wireless speaker.</p> <p> The bundles are fulfilled by Amazon.</p> <p> Revolv sells its hub on its web site and through Amazon, the Smarthome catalog, Smarthome.com, and Build.com. Revolv is also testing sales through 72 Home Depot stores and Home Depot&rsquo;s web site.</p> Mon, 05 May 2014 07:08:40 -0700 Home Audio - Everything you need to know about High-Resolution Audio, the future of music http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/05/home-audio--everything-you-need-to-know-about-high-resolution-audio-the-future-of-music/1084 <div> Although high-res audio has been around for a while now, the public really knows very little about it. Until recently, talk of high-res audio has been relegated mostly to audiophile mags and enthusiast forums. But with the recent success of Neil Young&rsquo;s Pono projector on Kickstarter, Sony&rsquo;s declaration of war against the MP3, and a surprising move toward high-end audio by Samsung, the topic has been making headlines and generating interest &hellip; and a lot of questions.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> So we decided to answer them. Here is everything you need to get up to speed on high-res audio, in plain English, so that you can really wrap your head around what may be be the next big development in consumer audio.</div> <div> What does the term &ldquo;high-res audio&rdquo; mean?</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The consumer electronics industry and news media only recently embraced the term &ldquo;high-res audio.&rdquo; Before now, it was often called HD audio (which we would argue makes a lot more sense). But, now that the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has gotten involved, standards are being formed and it looks like &ldquo;high-resolution audio&rdquo; is the way we&rsquo;re going to go.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> While high-res audio is really a very broad term that could apply to any kind of high-quality sound, it has become popular to use it to refer specifically to high-quality digital music files. For many, &ldquo;high-res&rdquo; means anything better than CD quality, but there are some measurements and formats we get into a little bit later that help us identify some of the most common kinds of high-res audio. &nbsp;<a href="http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/high-resolution-audio-everything-you-need-to-know/#!G6UJE" target="_blank">Full Article:</a></div> Thu, 01 May 2014 15:46:16 -0700 HDMI 2.0 - Ready or Not, Here it Comes http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/hdmi-20--ready-or-not-here-it-comes/2256 What You Should Know Before Taking a Step Too Far, Too Soon Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:15:56 -0700 Fast, Furious, 4K: More Intense the Content, the More Important the Storage http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/fast-furious-4k-more-intense-the-content-the-more-important-the-storage/2255 Content was king at this year’s NAB (National Association of Broadcasters), especially 4K content. Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:15:42 -0700 Five Ways to Make Time for Customer Outreach http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/five-ways-to-make-time-for-customer-outreach/2254 Inattention to long-term marketing will only make your daily problems worse. Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:15:27 -0700 Lock Your Android Up Like Fort Knox http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/lock-your-android-up-like-fort-knox/2257 Unlike iTunes, the Android marketplace is an open store. That means any developer can put up any application for download. Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:15:02 -0700 Home Audio - Gibson Brands Announces Agreement to Acquire Philips' Audio and Home Entertainment Business http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/home-audio--gibson-brands-announces-agreement-to-acquire-philips-audio-and-home-entertainment-business/1083 <p> As part of its continued growth and diversification in the music and audio lifestyle arena, Gibson Brands, Inc. ( www.gibson.com ) today announced that it has signed an agreement with Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) to acquire WOOX Innovations, the audio, video, multimedia and accessories business of Philips. Under the terms of the agreement, Gibson Brands will pay $135 million and a brand license fee, relating to a license agreement for an initial period of 7 years. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2014, subject to customary conditions, including regulatory filings and works council procedures.&nbsp;</p> <div> Gibson Brands, based in Nashville, USA, has in recent years invested in audio brands including Onkyo and TEAC as part of its ambition to become a global leader in music and sound. This transaction will leverage Gibson Brands&#39; strong market presence in the U.S. and Japan, and WOOX Innovations&#39; market strength with Philips-branded audio and home entertainment products in Europe, China, Latin America and other growth geographies.&nbsp;</div> Tue, 29 Apr 2014 15:38:14 -0700 Home Automation - Bosch HomeConnect platform will offer one app to control your home appliances, regardless of brand http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/home-automation--bosch-homeconnect-platform-will-offer-one-app-to-control-your-home-appliances-regardless-of-brand/1082 <p> BSH (Bosch Siemens Hausgerate) is launching a unifying platform called HomeConnect designed to connect all your home appliances, regardless of the brand.</p> <p> Talking at the IFA Global Press Conference 2014 in Belek, Turkey, Dr Claudia Happ, digital transition project leader for HomeConnect, introduced the new platform, saying that BSH research revealed that 90 per cent of customers had different home appliance brands in the home, but 66 per cent want one app to connect to them all.</p> <p> Outside the core needs of flexibility, usability and efficiency, customers revealed through BSH research that connectivity was high on the list of desired features, allowing remote control and service functions.</p> <p> HomeConnect will be an open platform, designed so that a range of domestic appliance manufacturers will be able to use it, not just Bosch and Siemens.</p> <p> Aiming for interoperability, BSH wants to deliver one app, saving customers from needing to use a different app for each different device. Currently there is no set standard for appliance connectivity, but BSH confirmed today that the aim would be to have HomeConnect work with other domestic control systems, so in the future it could be integrated into a larger home control service.</p> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 07:59:56 -0700 Home Security - Korner home security is simple, affordable, versatile http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/home-security--korner-home-security-is-simple-affordable-versatile/1081 <p dir="ltr"> When someone mentions &ldquo;home security,&rdquo; it evokes images of cameras, wires, sensors, and a little warning sign posted in the yard. If you agree, you wouldn&rsquo;t be wrong. That&rsquo;s how the common security system is perceived. But things have been changing over the years. Advances in technology have transformed home security products, making them more accessible and easier to use.</p> <p dir="ltr"> If you&rsquo;re interested in easy &ndash; like, really easy &ndash; you couldn&rsquo;t do any better than Korner. Korner, which is&nbsp;currently funding on Indiegogo, is a simple yet genius home security product. There&rsquo;s only three parts to set up: wireless router fob, the tag, and the mobile app for Android or iOS. The single-piece tag is as easy to &ldquo;install&rdquo; as putting a sticker, well, anywhere.</p> <p dir="ltr"> Korner works by detecting motion of the object its attached to, such as a door or window. The sensors in the tags can determine when there has been an entry. The sensors are smart enough to know the difference between an entry and vibration, so false alarms are kept to a minimum. What happens when there is an actual entry? The tag communicates to fob, which in turn sends an alert to your mobile device. From there, you can notify authorities, friends, or neighbors.</p> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:42:46 -0700 Home Audio - This Trick To Improving Home Audio Involves Zero Electronics http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/home-audio--this-trick-to-improving-home-audio-involves-zero-electronics/1080 <p> Our ongoing investigation into&nbsp;how home audio is changing in 2014&nbsp;has unearthed a surprising nugget of sonic wisdom, for those of us who are trying to take home audio just a little more seriously. Now that legitimate digital music services sound so good, fans no longer have to put up with dodgily-encoded MP3s from Napster and the like &mdash; and so it&rsquo;s worth it, for many of us, to give our music the sonic respect it deserves, whether we want to spring for&nbsp;new player hardware&nbsp;or not.</p> <p> The single most important thing you can do to improve your sound is to improve the physical mechanics of its reproduction &mdash; mainly,&nbsp;your headphones&nbsp;or speakers. It&rsquo;s always worth paying more for either of these than you think you really should, because nothing else can make your tunes sound better (i.e. stirring, soul-restoring, inspirational, mind-blowing, empathetic, mournful, joyful, and everything else it can make us feel) than making the conversion of ones and zeros into vibrating air as clean as possible.</p> <p> We asked renowned audiophile and author of&nbsp;<em>The Audio&nbsp;Expert</em>&nbsp;Ethan Winer for some advice to share with our readers on the best thing they can do to improve their audio quality in the home. According to him, the answer has nothing to do with electronics:</p> <p> &ldquo;The single best way to improve audio clarity is to add some acoustic treatment to the room,&rdquo; said Winer. &ldquo;Even one 2&times;4 foot acoustic absorber panel placed at the key place on each side wall will improve the clarity of music enormously. Most &lsquo;average&rsquo; people have no idea about this, and most probably wouldn&rsquo;t consider adding panels in their living room or bedroom anyway. But it&rsquo;s the correct answer. Serious audiophiles and home theater owners do understand the importance of room acoustics, and some have extensive treatment.&rdquo;&nbsp;<a href="http://evolver.fm/2014/04/02/secret-trick-to-improving-home-audio-involves-zero-electronics/" target="_blank">Full Article:</a></p> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:09:23 -0700 Home Automation - Lightpad: The intelligent light switch that wants to control your home http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/home-automation--lightpad-the-intelligent-light-switch-that-wants-to-control-your-home/1079 <p> There are lots of companies trying to crack intelligent lighting in the home. Philips has its Hue lighting system with intelligent bulbs, while others like Belkin&#39;s WeMo system let you control everything via smart plugs.</p> <p> Plum, a relatively new and unheard of company based in Austin, Texas, is tackling the problem from a different perspective.</p> <p> It has designed an intelligent light switch that will not only control the current lights in the house, but also have the potential to control internet-connected devices like Sonos in the future.</p> <p> &quot;The long term goal is an app that will control everything in your home, from your lights to your sonos,&quot; explains Utz Baldwin, CEO at Plum, to Pocket-lint over a coffee at Capital Factory, a startup hub in Austin, Texas.</p> <p> Called the Lightpad, the light switch promises to fit into a standard American light switch fitting (a UK version is due in 2015), and then allow you to control your lights either via the switch or an accompanying iPhone or Android app.</p> <p> Created by Baldwin, who in a previous life was the Chairman of CEDIA, a global home technology trade association that offers home automation, audio video, home network training and certification, Baldwin has used his numerous years in the field to invent something he believes will be the answer to controlling your home without always having to reach for your phone.</p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 05:53:37 -0700 DIY - Top 10 Ways to Turn Your Retired Gadgetry into the Technology of the Future http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/diy--top-10-ways-to-turn-your-retired-gadgetry-into-the-technology-of-the-future/1078 <p> With the rapid progression of technology each year, it&#39;s easy to accumulate a pile of obsolete gadgets that you just can&#39;t bear to get rid of. So don&#39;t! Here are our top 10 ways you can take the retired gadgets you&#39;ve already got and turn them into something that has a solid place in the future.</p> <p> <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5841196/top-10-ways-to-turn-your-retired-gadgetry-into-the-technology-of-the-future" target="_blank">Full Artice with Instructions and video on LifeHacker:</a></p> <div> <em>1. Turn an Old Computer Into an Internet PVR, Downloader, and NAS</em></div> <div> <em>2. Automate Your Home with an Old Router</em></div> <div> <em>3. Turn an Old Computer into an XBMC Home Theater PC</em></div> <div> <em>4. Build a Cellphone-Powered Robot</em></div> <div> <em>5. Make a Touchscreen Tablet Out of an Old Netbook</em></div> <div> <em>6. Turn an Old Projector into a Book Scanner</em></div> <div> <em>7. Use an Old PC Fan to Create a Battery-Charging Wind Turbine</em></div> <div> <em>8. Create a Home Security System with a Webcam</em></div> <div> <em>9. Create a Wireless Internet Radio from an Old Router</em></div> <div> <em>10. Turn an Old Mobile Device into a Dedicated VOIP Handset</em></div> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:32:59 -0700 Google Glass targeted as symbol by anti-tech crowd http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/google-glass-targeted-as-symbol-by-anti-tech-crowd/1077 <p> (CNN) - Glass, Google&#39;s high-profile entry into the world of wearable tech, may help launch a revolution if it&#39;s released later this year as expected. But test models already on the street have begun playing a more unlikely role -- as symbols in a simmering fight over Silicon Valley&#39;s impact on the city of San Francisco.</p> <p> It&#39;s a local story, but one with ramifications everywhere. While our smartphones drop easily into pockets and tablets get zipped up in cases or backpacks, wearables such as Glass are, quite literally, in your face all the time.</p> <p> The $1,500 device, which displays Web content on a tiny screen, signals its wearer as a likely member of an affluent tech elite. And Glass also can discreetly shoot photos or video, which some people view as invasive.</p> <p> That&#39;s caused unease for some folks and, in some cases has led to arguments, altercations and even attacks against people wearing the technology.<a href="http://www.wfmz.com/news/technology/google-glass-targeted-as-symbol-by-antitech-crowd/25481946" target="_blank"> (cont&#39;d)</a></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:11:31 -0700 Graphene – The New Magical Material http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/graphene-%E2%80%93-the-new-magical-material/2250 Graphene may possibly be the future replacement for silicone. It’s a two-dimensional material that measures just one atom thick and has a breaking strength 300 times greater than steel. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:13:51 -0700 Power Of Choice: Breaking Content Barriers Can Be Good, Then Again… http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/power-of-choice-breaking-content-barriers-can-be-good-then-again%E2%80%A6/2253 The beginning of the end for cable’s linear, scheduled TV approach comes when the Internet players have too many subscribers for the content rights holders to ignore. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:12:43 -0700 Synching Mobile &amp; Desktop Devices http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/synching-mobile--desktop-devices/2252 Andy is an Android Operating System that runs on your computer - essentially making your Android device and all of your apps available on your PC or Mac! Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:12:27 -0700 Brands That Communicate Win http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/brands-that-communicate-win/2251 To combat this onslaught of mediocrity, we all need to remind our customers how much enjoyment quality AV gear can provide. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:12:14 -0700 Video Consistency: Entertainment Flexibility … Viewing Becomes Personal http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/video-consistency-entertainment-flexibility-%E2%80%A6-viewing-becomes-personal/2248 The good thing is, every network/station is getting their shows up to 4K as quickly as possible to capture even more eyeballs (ad dollars), so when you get your UHD TV set, you’ll have plenty of content. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:12:01 -0700 Installing Central Vacuum Systems http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/installing-central-vacuum-systems/2249 For both the consumer and builder, the central vacuum system adds value to the home, which means a builder has a high margin upgrade that he can build into the price of a home. The builder also has a competitive advantage over other builders who don’t install central vacs. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:11:48 -0700 Piper packs security cam, home automation hub into one slick package http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/piper-packs-security-cam-home-automation-hub-into-one-slick-package/1076 <p> Webcams were one of the forerunners of the current Internet of Things boom, allowing smartphone-toting geeks to keep an eye on the office or homestead while out and about.&nbsp;Piper&nbsp;(starting at US$239), powered by iControl Networks, is targeted at the homeowner who wants a solution that provides both visually- and physically-based security by combining a security camera, Z-Wave home automation hub, and an iOS app into one nice-looking package. Let&#39;s take a look.</p> <p> <strong>Design Highlights</strong></p> <p> My first thought when I pulled the Piper out of the box was that it should come in yellow so it could look like one of the minions in&nbsp;<em>Despicable Me</em>. There&#39;s a big &quot;eye&quot; on the upper front of the unit, which has a curvaceous eye-shaped cross section as well. The unit is about 6.25 inches (15.88 cm) tall, about 2 inches (5.08 cm) thick and about 3.5 inches (8.89 cm) wide. It comes in either white or black, with a perforated gray plastic piece on top.</p> <p> <a href="http://www.tuaw.com/2014/04/10/piper-packs-security-cam-home-automation-hub-into-one-slick-pac/" target="_blank">Full Review:</a></p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 07:48:28 -0700 ISC West Largest Security Trade Show of the Year http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/isc-west-largest-security-trade-show-of-the-year/1075 <p> <span>SC West 2014, produced by ISC Events and sponsored by the Security Industry Association (SIA), attracted record attendance this year with more than 26,000 industry professionals attending the three-day exposition, which was held at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas April 2-4.&nbsp;</span><br style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" /> <br style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" /> <span>Attendees enjoyed direct access to tens of thousands of products from more than 1,000 exhibiting companies and brands while maintaining its intimate, friendly approach with small industry and association gatherings, receptions and a show floor designed to group products and technologies together. A strong sense of community prevailed within the 2014 edition of ISC West, which was the largest since 2007 and the second largest in the history of the show.&nbsp;</span><br style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" /> <br style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" /> <span>&quot;Exhibitors and attendees alike told us that ISC West 2014 was the best show they have seen in many years,&quot; said Ed Several, senior vice president at ISC Events. &quot;ISC Events witnessed record attendance, even more show floor area and, most importantly, a valuable view of all that the industry offers. Our exhibitors indicated their appreciation with higher renewals for next year. This year&#39;s event was a great balance between seeing all the latest technologies and products in one place while being able to network at all of the many industry and association events. As always, we thank the security industry for showing such confidence in ISC West, and we thank the Security Industry Association for their hard work and support.&quot;&nbsp;</span></p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 15:12:16 -0700 Prodea Systems Enters Home-Automation Fray http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/prodea-systems-enters-home-automation-fray/1074 <p> &nbsp;Family-owned Prodea Systems has developed a white-label mass-market home-automation system that, unlike competing systems, integrates control of home systems, networked A/V content, and third-party streaming and download services in one hub.</p> <p> The systems, content and services are controlled from a single app running on iOS and Android devices or from a computer.</p> <p> The company&rsquo;s Residential Operating System (ROS) &ldquo;protocol-agnostic&rdquo; platform also connects to home health-care devices and telemedicine services, and it offers low-cost home VoIP phone service.</p> <p> In the U.S., the Richardson, Texas-based company is targeting what it called &ldquo;emerging&rdquo; service providers and retailers, which could market their own private-label systems with recurring subscription revenues shared with Prodea. &ldquo;Recurring services are an extremely high-margin business,&rdquo; said Andrew Tauhert, marketing and business development executive VP.</p> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:38:45 -0700 CEA Reports Continued Growth in Wireless, Multi-Room Audio System Sales http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/cea-reports-continued-growth-in-wireless-multi-room-audio-system-sales/1073 <p> Nearly one in five (16 percent) consumers owns a portable wireless speaker, according to research released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)&reg;. The study, Consumer Perspectives on Wireless Multi-Room and Portable Audio Solutions, explores the satisfaction levels among current owners of wireless multi-room audio (MRA) and portable audio solutions; which features are most important to consumers; and the future purchase intent for non-owners.&nbsp;</p> <div> Currently, one in ten consumers own a wireless MRA product, but nearly half of non-owners (44 percent) indicate interest in owning one. Portable wireless speakers, such as Bluetooth speakers, are also poised for growth, as 28 percent of consumers plan to purchase a related product in the next two years.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Overall, nearly all owners of both wireless MRA products and portable wireless speakers report that they are happy with their products. Additionally, 91 percent of wireless MRA product owners and 85 percent of portable wireless speaker owners would recommend their products to someone else.&nbsp;</div> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 13:52:58 -0700 ISC West 2014 Tradeshow Report http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/isc-west-2014-tradeshow-report/2245 ISC West is the security industry’s premier launching pad for new products, solutions and technologies. 26,000 security professionals attend the show to view the 10,000+ products featured on its show floor and attend business critical education sessions on the newest technologies in security. Thu, 03 Apr 2014 09:12:04 -0700 ISC West News Report http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/isc-west-news-report/2247 News and product announcements from ISC West 2014 Thu, 03 Apr 2014 09:11:48 -0700 ISC West 2014 Underway in Las Vegas, NV. http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/04/isc-west-2014-underway-in-las-vegas-nv/1072 <p> Taking place April 2nd - 4th in Las Vegas, Nevada ISC West is the largest physical security show in North America featuring over 1,000 exhibitors in one place over a 3 day period. &nbsp;ISC West is the security industry&rsquo;s premier launching pad for new products, solutions and technologies. &nbsp;26,000 security professionals attend the show to view the 10,000+ products featured on its show floor and attend business critical education sessions on the newest technologies in security.&nbsp;</p> <p> As a media partner for ISC West 2014 HomeToys.com will be bringing all the industry news and exciting new products to our eMagazine to help our readers make sense of the massive event.</p> <p> <a href="http://www.hometoys.com/news.php?show=ISCWEST14" target="_blank">Click here for our Special ISC West 2014 Newspage.</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/04/isc-west-2014-tradeshow-report/2245" target="_blank">Check out our ISC West tradeshow report here.</a></p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 14:14:41 -0700 Launched On Kickstarter, Musaic Promises Hi-Fi Music And Home Automation http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/03/launched-on-kickstarter-musaic-promises-hi-fi-music-and-home-automation/1071 <div> Compact wireless HiFi systems are pretty common these days, but what is less common is startups thinking more deeply about how the same systems could move into home automation and the Internet of Things. That&rsquo;s the implication behind a new system launched by device startup Musaic, recently launched on Kickstarter.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> It now plans to go up against much bigger audio-based companies, such as Bose. It&rsquo;s speakers system is, to some extend, a Trojan Horse for it&rsquo;s IoT platform.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Musaic is a new kind of HiFi system made up of wireless speakers, which also cleverly extends into home automation, and is able to deliver high quality 24 Bit content over not just Bluetooth but also Wifi.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <p> But it&rsquo;s the IoT realm that Musaic has its eyes on, with its system able to be associated with connect e lighting systems and other home automation devices.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s already joined the industry association called the AllSeen Alliance, run by the Linux Foundation, alongside others such as Qualcomm, HTC, AT&amp;T and many others. It can already control dimmers, bulbs and switches from the lighting brand LightwaveRF. And it&rsquo;s working closely with&nbsp;LIFX&nbsp;and&nbsp;WigWag&nbsp;(both Kickstarter successes) on integrating their products.</p> <p> The company was started in May 2013 by a team comprising of experienced audio industry people draw from the Cambridge UK high tech cluster.</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 06:14:49 -0700 Why Nest’s valuation is higher than Opower’s: Hardware, consumers, the home http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/03/why-nest%E2%80%99s-valuation-is-higher-than-opower%E2%80%99s-hardware-consumers-the-home/1070 <p> Opower and Nest might not be direct competitors, but over the years they have quietly competed in key areas, namely building software for connected energy-efficient thermostats and focusing on energy data and algorithms. Opower even lists Nest as a &ldquo;key competitor&rdquo; in its latest filing. But now that Opower is going public and Nest has been bought by Google, it&rsquo;s interesting to see the two companies&rsquo; disparate valuations.</p> <p> <span>Nest was sold to Google for $3.2 billion. According to Opower&rsquo;s latest filing, at the midpoint of Opower&rsquo;s price range at $18 per share, the company has a market value of $854 million. Earlier in the month (before pricing their range) they had an enterprise valuation of $775.8 million. So, roughly speaking, Nest was valued at over three times (and almost four times) what Opower will be worth when it starts trading. &nbsp;<a href="http://gigaom.com/2014/03/26/why-nests-valuation-is-higher-than-opowers-hardware-consumers-the-home/" target="_blank">Full Article:</a></span></p> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 15:10:23 -0700 ExtremeUSB®: An overview of this patented USB extension technology. http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/03/extremeusb%C2%AE-an-overview-of-this-patented-usb-extension-technology/2244 As versatile as USB may be, it is restricted to an operational distance limitation of 5 meters for USB 1.1/2.0 and approximately 3 meters for USB 3.0. This persistent drawback to USB functionality was resolved by the introduction of ExtremeUSB®. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 08:06:54 -0700 Professional Installer’s Guide to IP Networking, Part 4 http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/03/professional-installer%E2%80%99s-guide-to-ip-networking-part-4/2243 While this is a far from comprehensive list, hopefully it provides a good overview of how to go about selecting which wireless technologies are best for your various client applications. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 08:06:39 -0700 Pairing Access Control and Video http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/03/pairing-access-control-and-video/2246 In a commercial setting, users need to keep track of who’s coming, who’s going, and where they go. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 08:06:22 -0700 JIT Data: It’s Not How Much Data You Have, It’s Data When You Need It http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/03/jit-data-it%E2%80%99s-not-how-much-data-you-have-it%E2%80%99s-data-when-you-need-it/2242 There are people who refer to the post-storage era; but frankly, I can’t figure out what in the heck they’re talking about. It can’t simply exist … somewhere. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 08:06:07 -0700 Samsung Delivers a Complete Home Entertainment Ecosystem with Its 2014 Product Lineup http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/03/samsung-delivers-a-complete-home-entertainment-ecosystem-with-its-2014-product-lineup/1069 <p> Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the leader in TV technology for 8 years, today announced the availability and pricing of its full 2014 Home Entertainment product lineup, including the immersive U9000 Series of Curved Ultra High Definition (UHD) TVs and its expansive portfolio of home audio products.&nbsp;</p> <div> &quot;In 2014, we&#39;ve once again asserted our leadership in the home entertainment space by delivering the next big thing across our product categories,&quot; said Joe Stinziano, Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics America. &quot;From our full lineup of UHD and curved TVs to our Shape Wireless Audio-Multiroom Systems and content partnerships, we pride ourselves on offering consumers the ecosystem of choice, with beautifully designed premium home entertainment products that best suit their lifestyles.&quot;&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.hometoys.com/news/2014/03/25/samsung-delivers-a-complete-home-entertainment-ecosystem-with-its-2014-product-lineup/20004502" target="_blank">Full Press Release:</a></div> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:19:24 -0700 Smart Watches, Home Control Converge http://www.hometoys.com/stories/2014/03/smart-watches-home-control-converge/1068 <div> <p> Home-control capabilities are coming to smart watches.</p> <p> iControl Networks&nbsp;plans to offer an app for Samsung&rsquo;s Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smart watches to control thermostats, lighting systems, alarms and door locks connected to its connected-home solutions.</p> <p> iControl&rsquo;s products and services are offered by Comcast and Time Warner Cable.</p> <p> The app will be available for the watches when they become available in April.</p> <p> The Samsung Gear 2 Neo and Gear 2 become available April 11 at $199 and $299, respectively.</p> <p> For now, iControl continues to focus on sales through service providers and security companies, but &ldquo;iControl feels that retail will play a greater role in connected home solution distribution in the near future,&rdquo; a spokesperson said. The company&rsquo;s focus for now, however, &ldquo;is to continue to provide solutions through service providers and security companies that may choose to leverage this channel.&rdquo;</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> </div> </div> <div> &nbsp;</div> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 07:10:57 -0700 ELK Products -M1 GOLD with Two-Way Wireless http://www.hometoys.com/products/ELK-Products--M1-GOLD-with-Two-Way-Wireless/5 The M1 Gold Security & Automation Control combines security, energy management, lighting, and access control with the accessibility to over 50 integration partners offering a flexible and integration friendly approach to home and business management. With remote access capabilities and simple, user-friendly interfaces, M1 keeps homeowners informed and in control, anytime, anywhere! ELK’s Two-Way Wireless family of products for the M1 Cross Platform Control revolutionizes the reliability and functionality of wireless peripherals for homes and businesses. Designed with true, two-way signal acknowledgement, ELK’s two-way wireless technology assures installation confidence through signal quality and status LED indicators. RF power levels are constantly monitored and adjusted to deliver clear signal while maximizing battery life. ELK’s Two-Way Wireless products utilize 900 MHz frequency-hopping spread spectrum to increase signal diversity and agility to ensure signals get through. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 14:51:18 -0700 Understanding MPEG-DASH http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/03/understanding-mpeg-dash/2239 MPEG-DASH works on any HTTP server and most mainstream media servers, which means that service providers are not required to invest in specialized MPEG-DASH-specific infrastructure. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 09:12:38 -0700 Professional Installer’s Guide to IP Networking, Part 3 http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/03/professional-installer%E2%80%99s-guide-to-ip-networking-part-3/2238 In this segment we will focus on Ethernet Switches—the backbone of your local network. When selecting a switch or a combination of switches for your network, there are several issues to consider. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 09:12:26 -0700 The Importance of Cabling for A/V Installations http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/03/the-importance-of-cabling-for-av-installations/2240 HDMI can be transmitted using senders and receivers over a single cat 5e/6 data cable. With the introduction of HDBaseT transmitters and senders power and control was incorporated into the single 5E/6 cable solution. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 09:12:06 -0700 Wilson Electronics - Boost your weak Cell signal at home http://www.hometoys.com/products/Wilson-Electronics---Boost-your-weak-Cell-signal-at-home/13 We deliver cell phone booster solutions for mobile, building, and machine-to-machine (M2M) data transfer situations. As provider of North America's top-selling line of cell phone signal boosters, Wilson designs and manufactures a wide variety of amplifiers, antennas and related components to improve communications for cell phones and cellular data devices. Tue, 11 Mar 2014 06:12:16 -0700 Middle Atlantic Products http://www.hometoys.com/products/Middle-Atlantic-Products/22 Middle Atlantic Products manufactures Exceptional Support & Protection Products for the Commercial AV, Security, Data/Structured Cabling, Residential Entertainment, Broadcast, Recording Studio and Music Performance markets. Our end-to-end solutions maximize the operation and lifespan of many critical systems. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 15:28:22 -0800 Professional Installer’s Guide to IP Networking, Part 2 http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/02/-professional-installer%E2%80%99s-guide-to-ip-networking-part-2/2237 In this article we will focus on Routers, a key element that can make or break your installation. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 01:14:50 -0800 36 million homes in Europe and North America will be smart by 2017 http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/02/36-million-homes-in-europe-and-north-america-will-be-smart-by-2017/2235 Berg Insight’s definition of a smart home system requires that it has a smartphone app or a web portal as a user interface. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 01:14:38 -0800 The Potential of Holographic Displays http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2014/02/the-potential-of-holographic-displays/2236 The future of holography is very promising with the next generation of holographic images that will be startling in their realism. Using these astonishing images, we will see holographic displays expanding into many different technologies. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 01:14:24 -0800