How Amazon's Alexa Could Drive the Connected Car Revolution

Harsh Chauhan for The Motley Fool:  From pulling up location coordinates to finding a free parking spot or opening the garage door, virtual assistants in cars are going to play a key role in powering the connected-car revolution. The voice-enabled virtual assistant space is becoming hotly contested among tech giants.

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), however, seems to be taking the lead in this market with its Alexa Automotive platform, which is powered by the Echo voice assistant. The company has lined up deals with some of the biggest automakers, and is also receiving support from third-party accessory manufacturers such as Logitech (NASDAQ:LOGI) that could give Alexa a major push.

The Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas last month showed that Alexa is finding favor among carmakers, as Ford (NYSE:F) and Volkswagen (NASDAQOTH:VLKAY) both said they had signed up to use the platform for services including weather updates and navigation. This is a big deal for Amazon; it needs to sign up big automakers for Alexa to steal a march on rivals such as Microsoft's Cortana and Alphabet's Google Assistant.  Cont'd...

Could a Smart Water Heater Be Part of the Renewable Grid Equation?

Scientists are currently toying with compressed air tanks-but another idea would place energy storage squarely in the hands of residents, through the humble water heater.

In The Smart Home, Whoever Owns The Hub May Own Retail Too

Nikki Baird for Forbes:  According to our research at Retail Systems Research, retailers are very bullish on the future of the Internet of Things, or IoT. They are most excited about opportunities to interact with consumers via their mobile phones and even consumers’ own IoT devices (think wearables). For them, IoT is not about saving money. It’s about driving customer experience.

But what they are ignoring is how the IoT ecosystem looks set to evolve. Retailers will in no way be at the center of the IoT ecosystem. Just look at smart home technology: connected refrigerators, lights, ceiling fans, curtains, door locks – you name it – all increasingly connect to some management framework for all of those devices. Think “operating system for the smart home,” even though it’s a little more sophisticated than that.  Cont'd...

Gilbert apartment complex joins 'smart home' movement, experts question if trend will take off

Farai Bennett, Cronkite News via AZCentral:  The apartments at Vistara at San Tan Village look like many other “luxury” units available in the Valley, with their granite countertops and walk-in closets.

But step inside one of the Gilbert complex’s apartments, and you can control the thermostat, turn on the lights, lock the door and play music with just the press of a button.

The 366-unit complex has partnered with Clare Controls to make the apartments “smart.”

The complex is marketing its apartments as the first in Arizona to offer this kind of technology. It’s part of the “smart home” trend the public may recognize through consumer products such as Amazon’s Echo and Wink Hub 2.  Cont'd...

TrackNet Launches Tabs™ IoT Home and Family Monitoring Solution for Busy Families

The Tabs hub provides Wi-Fi coverage over an entire residence and Tabs sensor coverage over entire neighborhoods with significant benefits not only to consumers but also to operators and service providers deploying Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN). For operators and service providers, the Tabs hub installed within customers' homes accelerates and scales LPWAN deployments much faster than a solely tower-based approach, easily provides deep indoor coverage and significantly reduces the network deployment capital and operation expense. 
Each Tabs solution starts with a wireless hub, which provides the Tabs sensor coverage over an entire neighborhood or high-rise development, delivering immediate benefit to the consumer. Each solution further includes a Tabs extender, which is a Tabs sensor hub but not a full Wi-Fi router, to ensure coverage over the locations most frequented by families such as school, day-care, or a friend's house. 
As more users install Tabs hubs and extenders, they collaborate to build or improve network coverage over an entire city or region, giving the users additional benefit for locating children, pets, elderly or things.   Full Press Release:  

Top Must Have Automation Devices

The features to consider before settling on the device include its ability to function without internet connection if this then that (IFTT) and multiple network support.

Holy Grail: The Smart City Just Might Be an Engineer's Unfulfilled Dream

So we have projects being carried out in every technology area without a long-term plan as to what the silicon corridors are going to look like in 50 years (2068) or even 2042.

Smart Home Automation & Monitoring Devices to Exceed 770m by 2021, Realising 1000% Growth

A new report from Juniper Research forecasts that smart home automation and monitoring devices will grow to over 770 million globally by 2021, representing an eleven-fold rise from just 68 million estimated in 2016.

The new research, Smart Home Markets: Entertainment, Monitoring, Automation, Health, Metering, Appliances 2017-2021, found that increasing adoption of platform evangelism and openness to partnerships is boosting third party development of devices, especially in developed markets.

Indeed, North America, Far East & China and West Europe will account for almost 75% of all households adopting the technology in 2021.  Subscription Services Lose Traction,  Cont'd...

How technology could help you live in your home for longer

Starts at 60:  For many of us as we get older, our wish is to remain living independently in our own home for as long as possible.  As we live longer and healthier lives, staying in your home for longer is becoming a more and more realistic goal.  With the help of technology, tens of thousands of Australians over-60 can expect to live independently in their home much later in life.

Aged care and home care providers such as Feros Care are making investments in the sort of technology that will help you live in your home for as long as you can.  The technology, which includes smart home integration and wearable devices, is finding its way into the homes of more and more over-60s.   Feros Care’s LifeLink General Manager Anthony Bacon said assistive, smart technologies were improving the independence, safety and health of older Australians who want to live independently in their home for as long as possible.  Cont'd...

Voice calling could soon come to smart home speakers

Business Insider:  Smart home speakers like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home have been thus far positioned as novelty personal assistants, but this could soon change. The Wall Street Journal reports that both Amazon and Google are looking to integrate a voice-calling feature to the speakers, adding valuable functionality for users and giving the tech giants more insight into users' home lives.

If the companies manage to launch the feature, it would impact not just the smart home experience, but the mobile one as well.  Cont'd...

Post-Dubai VR Interview with Lewis Smithingham, President of 30ninjas

Shortly after his return from the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), we caught up with Lewis Smithingham, president of 30ninjas at CES in Las Vegas where he was busy shooting and producing VR (virtual reality) content for a number of the leading firms that were unveiling new VR products.

Dyson invests in AI-enabled smart home technology

Grace Bowden for Retail Week:  Dyson has launched a new research and development facility in Singapore dedicated to integrating artificial intelligence technology into its products.

The electricals brand, which opened its first UK retail store last July, has invested $412m (£331.7m) in the research facility, which opened this month.

The brand’s new facility, called the Technology Centre, features working labs where research and development teams will focus on expanding the use of Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices across the business’ product range, as well as developing its use of AI.

Speaking at the launch event, founder James Dyson said: “Almost every product can benefit from AI – lighting, purification, cleaning — everything that you see in a room needs artificial intelligence.”  Cont'd...

Can A Smart Home Replace Security Guards and Video Camera Surveillance?

Craig Bretzlaff for IoT Evolution:  All homeowners are concerned about protecting their property against burglars and break-ins, especially those in the luxury market. Home automation is quickly becoming a reality, allowing individuals to control certain aspects of their home through the simple click of a button on an internet-connected device. Since security guards and video camera surveillance can significantly increase security overhead, smart homes can offer a way to lower those costs while still maintaining a keen eye on one’s property.

What is a smart home? A smart home is a home that is equipped with devices that can transmit data. These devices can control lights, electricity, and locking systems - which can be accessed remotely from an internet connected device, like a cellphone or tablet. The home automation market is predicted to grow, with experts putting its market value well over $10 billion by 2020 (Source). The ability for technology to integrate naturally within a home may seem strange now - like an amenity only applicable to multi-million dollar mansions -  but in a decade the IoT technology will likely become standard in many middle-class homes.  Cont'd...

Get the Most Out of Your Center Channel

The center channel is often referred to as the most important speaker in a surround sound system. Considering the amount of work its asked to do, that kind of a statement is hard to argue.

Why Vivint Smart Home Is One Of The Most Innovative Companies Of 2017

Fast Company:  The company's device-subscription packages are opening the door to the connected home of the future.

"We’re taking what’s very complicated and simplifying it for the consumer," says Vivint Smart Home cofounder and CEO Todd Pedersen. The Provo, Utah–based company solves the most common problems with intelligent appliances—namely that they’re often difficult to set up and don’t play nice with any other internet-connected devices—by approaching smart-home technology as a subscription-based service.

A lot of companies develop a single product, Pedersen says, "but if you try to add additional services and products to your home, they’re completely uncoordinated." Instead, Vivint’s 1.2 million customers sign up for packages that include the installation of hardware (both its own and that of other companies, such as Nest); 24/7 tech support; repair services; and the seamless coordination of everything—from doorbell cameras to thermostats­­—via the Vivint app. Last year, this strategy increased annual revenue by roughly 15%, to more than $650 million.  Cont'd...

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