Mattel's Aristotle Connects Wired Child, Smart Home

Elaine Low for Investors.com:  Alexa, play digger, digger," the redheaded, still-learning-to-speak toddler in the video appears to tell a small electronic device on a bedside stand.

The family's new Amazon.com (AMZN) Echo Dot, one of the more popular voice recognition personal assistant devices, replies:

"You want to hear a station from porn detected, porno ring tone, hot chick amateur girl …" Frantic relatives scramble to shut off the device as it veers into some highly NSFW (not safe for work) language.

The now-viral video is a prime example of how cutting-edge language recognition tools fail when faced with kid-speak. Toy maker Mattel (MAT) recognized the failure as an opportunity: a market niche for a kid-focused, parent-controlled smart speaker amid a growing connected-home market.  Cont'd...

5 Top Home Automation Investments

Danny Vena for Fox Business:  If you're considering an investment in the home automation segment, there are a mind-boggling number of choices. You can invest in individual component manufacturers, professional systems installation companies, or managed services. We will look at some of the best in each category.  Home automation falls into three very broad categories. Let's look at a few potential investments in each:

Professionally installed systems.
Managed service systems.
Do-it-yourself (DIY).

Home automation is reaching into every aspect of our lives.   Cont'd...

Study: Insurers adopting smart home policies

Will Koblensky for Insurance Business:  A combination of consumer demand and industry interest could create a wave of smart home technology and IoT disruption for home insurers in the near future.
According to an NTT Data report, 59% of surveyed home carriers say they’re making “strong progress” adding smart home technology to their coverage while 77% of those carriers are ramping up IoT initiatives.
“We know that there aren’t that many products already out there, so these are initiatives designed to get them into the game,” Normand Lepine, insurance data and analytics lead for NTT DATA said.
“We believe a lot of what’s going on right now is around strategy, potentially infrastructure. There are still a lot of challenges and they (carriers) know that. Until they really understand how this is going to be beneficial, they’re still going to go slowly.”  Cont'd...

Powerful home automation app Stringify comes to Android and adds IFTTT integration

Rita El Khoury for AndroidPolice:  Ever since I got my Wink Hub 2, one of the services I kept seeing in conversations when trying to bridge together different smart appliances and services was Stringify. The app was limited to iOS though, so I never got to use it because I wasn't going to carry my iPad around all the time to toggle a light bulb. But at CES, Stringify made a few announcements that we just came across (excuse the delay, we had tons of emails and releases to sift through) and that are sure to please Android users.

Before going further, here's a quick rundown of what Stringify is for those of you who'd never heard of it. Think of it as a more powerful IFTTT. You're not limited to linking one trigger to one action, instead you can build flows that involve many services, conditional circumstances, and successive triggers and actions, like so: turn X on and Y off when I am home and only if it is night time. This kind of flow is impossible with IFTTT now. And for those of us who are Wink users, Stringify has a much better integration than IFTTT with Wink, letting you use your connected Wink things as triggers too, not just as actions, so you can have Stringify trigger a flow based on a door sensor being open in Wink, something that Wink's IFTTT collaboration doesn't do at all. However, the downfall of Stringify is that while it supports a lot of services and gadgets, it doesn't have as many partners as IFTTT.   Cont'd...

Smart Home Hardware and Services Revenue Set for a Steep Growth

Pratibha Nanduri for ReadITQuick:  Market research company Juniper Research, has released its latest report titled “Smart Home Markets: Entertainment, Monitoring, Automation, Health, Metering, Appliances 2017-2021.” The report on the research predicts that the market is slated for a steep growth from $83 billion in 2017 to $195 billion by 2021. The smart home market is a fast-moving one driven by Internet of Things (IoT) technologies like monitoring, smart automation and energy management services, required in consumer homes.

Segment Evaluation

The main segments driving this growth will be healthcare, automation, entertainment and connected devices.

The smart appliances and home automation segment would be the fastest growing one during the forecast period with big companies like Samsung, Bosch and GE Appliances driving the growth.

The revenue from the entertainment segment is expected to slow down due to increased use of home automation and smart appliances in emerging markets.

In the connected services segment, the market share of Amazon and Netflix would fall from 70% in 2017 to 50% in 2021.  Cont'd...

Eaton Demonstrates Electrical Advancements in Residential Home Construction and Automation

Eaton News Release:  Power management company Eaton supplied the automation-rich and aesthetically designed electrical solutions from the service entrance to the wall plate for The New American Home® 2017 and The New American Remodeled Home® 2017 located in Orlando, Florida. Through its participation in the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) showcase homes, Eaton is demonstrating the solutions advancing home automation in new construction and improving the design and livability of existing homes. 
Both homes will be showcased during the 2017 NAHB International Builders' Show® in Orlando, from January 10 to 12. Builders can see and learn more about the Eaton residential solutions incorporated at the showcase homes at Eaton's booth W3490 at the 2017 NAHB International Builders' Show.   Full Press Release:

It's a year of integrations at CES 2017

Jenny McGrath for DigitalTrends:  This year, at CES 2017, companies already have their door locks or cameras on the market — and if they don’t, they’re just partnering with other companies who already make those things.
It’s a year of integrations at CES 2017. Airmega, a smart air purifier that debuted last year, announced its integration with Amazon’s Alexa. Users can now turn on or off the device with their voice, or ask their Echo or Dot for an update on the air quality. Lutron’s big announcement wasn’t a new dimmer or shades but its integration with SmartThings and expanded capabilities with Nest via the Alphabet-owned company’s camera. Garage-door-opener maker Chamberlain used CES to tell customers it will make products that work with Apple’s HomeKit starting in July of this year.  Cont'd...
 

A smart home scoreboard for CES 2017

Rich Brown for CNet:  How about a good, old-fashioned technology arms race?

You could just buy a smart light bulb set, but for a lot of consumers (reportedly more than 5 million of you, as of November 2016), it's Amazon's voice-activated Alexa that will be the entry point for controlling devices around your home.

Along with Amazon, Apple continues to grow its Siri-powered HomeKit smart home system. Google has also entered the fray with its own blandly named smart home AI, Google Assistant, which featured prominently in Google's Echo-imitating Google Home speaker in November 2016.

That's a lot of industry power competing to put a virtual assistant in charge of your home, and that's why our scoreboard for tracking new smart home devices announced at CES 2017 is focusing on voice control.  Full Article:

LG ROBOTS TO TAKE CENTER STAGE AT CES 2017

By leveraging powerful analytical processing power, LG’s robotic lineup will be able to navigate complex environments and decipher the most efficient and effective path to accomplish tasks, making people’s lives easier at every touch-point.

Innovating beyond LG technologies already found in the LG HOM-BOT automated vacuum cleaner, LG’s first non-cleaning robots are equipped with AI technologies enabling them to be employed in the home, in tandem with other smart appliances, outdoors, as well as in public spaces:

LG’s “Hub Robot” designed for home use will double as a smart home gateway and a personal assistant for consumers.
Another robot previewed at CES 2017 will demonstrate new capabilities for tending to one’s yard and garden.
LG’s robot lineup will also include models designed for commercial use in public spaces such as airports and hotels to help improve the traveler’s experience.

LG’s new robot collection will be unveiled at LG’s CES press conference on January 4 at 8:00AM PST at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and on display at LG’s booth (Central Hall #11100) in the Las Vegas Convention Center from Jan. 5-8.

The Weird and Wonderful Smart Home Tech of 2016

John Elliot for Mansion Global:  Next week entrepreneurs, developers and enthusiasts will descend on Las Vegas for a first look at the latest smart home technology at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, which begins on Jan. 3.

But before we fully embrace 2017 and the endless smart home product possibilities it will present, we’re taking a look back at a few of the more under-celebrated (some might say “strange”) devices of the past year.

These products all purport to solve a problem plaguing the masses, and while they may miss that mark, they are still intriguing and entertaining, if not entirely applicable to everyday life.  Full article:

With smart home security the defining factor, Zmodo adds devices and features

Bruce Brown for DigitalTrends:  Zmodo has added more devices and tighter integration and control to its smart home monitoring product lineup. Called Total Smart Home Vision, the company stresses the priority of bank-level security while adding more devices and making it easier for customers to design and control their own smart home configurations.

Zmodo started by adding more devices to its existing lineup of Wi-Fi-connected monitoring devices that include the Torch camera-equipped smart door light, Pivot temperature, and humidity sensing 360-degree panning camera, Greet smart doorbell and camera, Replay multiple camera recording system, and the Beam combination Wi-Fi range extender, night light, and smart home hub. The comprehensive list of new devices will include smart thermostats and vents, curtain controls, gas and carbon monoxide sensors, garage door openers, irrigation systems, and wireless cameras.  

Reflecting its roots as a monitoring company, the Total Smart Home Vision is secured from home devices to cloud storage by AES 256-bit bank-level encryption accessible only by your personal account.  Cont'd...

LG Pushes Smart Home Appliances To Another Dimension With 'Deep Learning' Technology

Press Release:   To advance the functionality of today's home appliances to a whole new level, LG Electronics (LG) is set to deliver an unparalleled level of performance and convenience to the home with deep learning technology to be unveiled at CES® 2017. LG deep learning technology will allow home appliances to better understand their users by gathering and studying customers' lifestyle patterns over time. This process never ends and improves over time to provide customers with new solutions to everyday problems. 
"Deep learning technology is the next phase in the evolution of smart appliances, and as an industry leader, we have the responsibility of being an early mover," said Song Dae-hyun, president of LG Electronics and Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. "But even more important than what appliances are capable of will be how companies behave when entrusted with data. At LG, we believe performance and convenience do not mean having to sacrifice security and privacy. They can and should exist simultaneously." Full Press Release:
 

This Small Device Detects Cyber Threats In Your Smart Home Devices

Jennifer Hicks for Forbes:  By 2025, IDC says that 80 billion devices will be connected to the internet. In the near future, Gartner predicts that by 2020 there will be approximately 25 billion IoT-enabled devices. If you need more proof of rapid consumer adoption in practical terms, Amazon Echo has sold 5.1 million smart speakers in just the first two years of being on the market. 

Now, let's look at the data from all this connectivity. Planet Technology gathered some Internet of Things (IoT) statistics and came up with an infographic that puts the upsurge in connectivity and the data it generates into perspective. If a byte of data was a gallon of water, today in 2016, it would only take 10 seconds to fill the average house with data. By 2020, it will only take two seconds. That's a lot of data being collected by your smart home devices from your intelligent fridge to your connected washing machine, baby monitor and thermostat.  Cont'd...

Comcast wants in on your smart home. Here's how it'll get there

Roger Cheng & David Priest for CNet:  When Fraser Stirling was 16, his father asked him what he wanted to study in school. His answer: industrial design.

His father, who's been an assistant principal and a soccer coach, wasn't pleased. "[He] said that was not a proper job for a man in his house," Stirling recalled in a thick Scottish accent. "He wanted me to get a job where I could actually make some money."

Twenty years later, Stirling is in charge of designing products for the unlikeliest of companies: Comcast.

Yes, the nation's largest cable company, known for delivering "The Walking Dead" to your TV and making you wait hours for a repair technician, is (kinda) entering the hardware business. Comcast has unveiled its first family of products specifically designed by the company to serve its Xfinity Home business.  Cont'd...

iOS 10.2 improves Apple HomeKit with expanded smart home notifications

Neil Hughes for Apple Insider:  Monday's release of iOS 10.2 brought meaningful changes to Apple's HomeKit platform, giving users the ability to receive instant alerts for a variety of new connected device types in their home.
iOS 10.2 adds support for notifications from a variety of HomeKit accessories, including window coverings, occupancy, motion, door and window detectors, smoke, carbon monoxide, and water leak sensors.  By default, upon updating to iOS 10.2, users will begin receiving notifications from devices that now support the feature.  These can be enabled or disabled by opening Apple's Home app and selecting the appropriate device via firm press on 3D Touch devices, or long press on non-3D Touch devices. Tap the "Details" button at the bottom, and then scroll down to "Status and Notifications."
Here, users can decide whether the accessory will send notifications every time a sensor is triggered. This can allow the user to receive alerts no matter where they are, such as if a HomeKit smoke detector or motion sensor were triggered.  Cont'd...
 

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