ANGELA MOSCARITOLO for PCMag: From Amazon Echo and the Nest Learning Thermostat to Philips Hue light bulbs and the August Smart Lock, there are already loads of gadgets on the market that can make your home a little smarter. Now, two tech giants — Amazon and Intel — are coming together to "advance the Smart Home ecosystem and extend natural language capabilities to consumers everywhere."
The companies on Thursday unveiled two new technology initiatives to further that mission. For starters, they're working together on Intel-based smart speaker reference designs that will feature Amazon Alexa. The new designs are meant to "help hardware manufacturers accelerate their development of voice-enabled devices with the Intel platform and Alexa Voice Services," Intel and Amazon said. Developers and manufacturers should be able to check out the designs at some point in the first quarter of 2017. Cont'd...
Claims Journal: Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, wireless doorbell cameras, and keyless entry are among the top 10 smart home technologies for homeowners age 50 and older, according to new research from The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab.
“Smart home technology can make life easier for people of all ages, but it can be especially beneficial to those ages 50 and older as their lifestyles change,” said Jodi Olshevski, gerontologist and executive director of The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence. “Keyless entry is convenient for active households, especially if there are multiple generations living under one roof. Wireless doorbell cameras can provide safety and peace of mind to families who travel or to individuals who live alone.” Cont'd...
BBC News: A Chinese firm has unveiled the country's first voice-activated smart home speaker - its answer to Amazon's Echo and Google's Home.
The DingDong, by technology company Beijing LingLong, uses voice interaction to do tasks such as playing music and switching on home appliances.
The device is said to understand Mandarin, Cantonese and basic English.
A study by Juniper Research suggests China's smart home market could be worth $22.8bn (£18.3bn) by 2018.
Beijing LingLong is owned by Chinese online retailer JD.com - which is selling the DingDong for 698 yuan ($100, £81). Cont'd...
Matthew Lynley for TechCrunch: Robots — and the smart home in general — are a hot topic, and it’s one where an enormous amount of investment is happening right now. There are many companies like Nest and Ring that are trying to target segments of the home in the hopes of making everything smarter.
But it’s easy to forget that the home is still a physical space, and in order for everything to work together, it has to understand what that looks like. And iRobot, the makers of a robot vacuum cleaner, have been trying to crack that problem for more than 20 years. Until robots can figure that out, and talk to each other, it’s going to be an uphill battle to build a truly smart home, iRobot CEO Colin Angle said at TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing 2016.
“In the virtual world, it’s very easy to understand everything about the environment because it’s inside the computer,” Angle said. “If you have a simulated room you’re inside the computer. You know precisely where things are. In the robot industry, we almost dislike simulations because they are doomed to succeed. Cont'd...
Victoria Ho for Mashable: Plenty of personal gadgets these days, from smartwatches to fitness bands, are aimed at relieving you of having to fish your phone out of your pocket so often.
If you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk or lying on the couch, why not mount a giant Apple Watch on the wall instead?
Glance Clock is kind of like that, but it's just the start of a connected life, says its founder and CEO, Anton Zriashchev.
Like a smartwatch, the clock connects to your phone to sync its time, and is able to display a host of notifications, including upcoming meetings, weather alerts and incoming calls. It'll also hurry you out the door if your Uber's arrived. Cont'd...
Stephanie Topacio Long for DigitalTrends: The only butler in the average person’s life is probably Geoffrey from reruns of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air but you can have one on your phone, too. A Kickstarter launched on Friday is funding a so-called “mobile butler” named Ernest, a unified app for car security and home control.
The idea for Ernest came from tech entrepreneur Arturs Pumpurs, who wanted users to be able to use a single app to access their car, garage, and gate in a secure and convenient way. He and his team came up the app, which communicates via devices you can install in homes, vehicles, and gates. The three-tier security system ensures only authorized users’ smartphones will be granted access. Cont'd...
Jared Newman for FastCompany: For the last nine years, Ecobee hasn't strayed from being a maker of smart thermostats.
Unlike rival Nest, Ecobee never built its own smart home platform, and hasn't expanded into new product categories. The $170 Ecobee3 Lite, announced last week, is the company's first new hardware in two years, and it's just a budget variant of the existing Ecobee3, ditching room sensor support while knocking down the price by $80.
So far, the singular focus has served Toronto-based Ecobee well. Thermostats are the most popular type of self-installed smart home devices, according to The NPD Group, and Ecobee—whose revenues have been doubling every year—is not far behind Nest in sales. Ecobee hopes to reach first place in 2017. Cont'd...
Beth Kotz for Hypebot: The steady march of progress through technology has radically altered the way many industries operate, and perhaps nowhere is that effect more evident than in the music industry. The movement toward digital media has changed everything from the way music is produced to the way it is discovered, purchased and consumed by listeners.
Now, the Internet of Things, and in particular the rise of interconnected “smart” home technology, promises to once again revolutionize the way the music industry operates and engages with consumers. Rather than being tethered to a PC or laptop, listeners equipped with smart tech can now discover and stream music seamlessly throughout their homes.
The Streaming Revolution
In the not-too-distant past, listeners needed to venture out to the store and purchase a CD in order to enjoy their favorite music. Word-of-mouth recommendations, television and radio were the most common ways to discover new music. With the explosion of streaming, however, a vast universe of music is now placed at users' fingertips for instant, affordable listening. Cont'd...
Chuck Martin for IoTDaily: Any consumers who go shopping specifically for a smart, connected home device this holiday season are going to face a bewildering assortment.
The number of products ranging from smart appliances and home control systems to smart security systems and streaming media devices is now in the thousands at Best Buy alone, according to a new study.
The study on consumer attitudes toward smart appliances is based on a nationally representative sample of 1,000 consumers each in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany, conducted by Futuresource Consulting.
Researchers counted more than 3,000 connected home devices being sold at Best Buy. The tally provides a general idea of the largest and smallest categories. Cont'd...
Mike Brown for Inverse: The world’s first data transmission over a power grid has been successfully completed, paving the way for a decentralized future where smart houses tell each other how much energy they need. The tests, conducted by Reactive Technologies in the UK, sends data along the 50Hz electricity signal that passes through sub-station transformers that link up the country’s grid. The wires themselves have been used to send data before, but it’s getting through those transformers that’s never been done.
“We are keen to support innovative products like this one that can bring a real benefit for customers,” Cordi O’Hara, director of systems operator at National Grid, told The Guardian on Tuesday. “It represents another step forward in the development of the smart grid technologies that are going to play an increasingly important role in the energy systems of the future.” Cont'd...
Blake Montgomery for Buzzfeed: Today, Thington launches. It’s a smart assistant app that aims to simplify smart home devices.
Thington’s distinctive feature? Thington Concierge, a conversational bot that helps you set up and control the smart things you’ve already set up in your home. From weather stations to light switches to security cameras, it supports a range of devices.
With its bot messenger interface, Concierge allows you to create rules for your house. You can set your lights to glow fluorescent during the day and incandescent during the night, or to turn on when you get home. Or, for example, you can program your Nest thermostat to lower the heat while you’re sleeping in your cozy bed, and then to raise the temperature before you wake up. And you can add people to a “Guest List” to give them access to your home’s controls when they’re visiting you. These kinds of combinations and features, Thington founders Tom Coates and Matt Biddulph believe, is their product’s competitive edge: It’s more like an assistant with a personality than a remote. Cont'd...
Taylor Martin for CNet: Google announced its Amazon Echo competitor back at its I/O developer conference in May. Today, it made Google Home official with arelease date and price.
It also gave us a closer look at how the company plans to compete with the more established household assistant today, Alexa.
While Google has its work cut out in getting broad third-party support that includes other smart-home brands, there is already a healthy list of in-house features Google Home will be capable of out of the gate that Alexa could only hope to add in the future.
Here are nine things Google Home can do that Alexa can't. Cont'd...
Todd Shields for Bloomberg: Imagine watching TV without paying the cable company for the blinking set-top box, using a gadget of your choice that makes it easy to switch between cable channels, streaming programs and online shows.
The idea, simple in concept, is proving difficult in execution.
U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is pushing a plan to force cable companies to give up their control over set-top boxes, "unlocking" the marketplace as he puts it.
But he’s drawn opposition from lawmakers in both parties, not to mention some of the most active corporate lobbyists in Washington. Comcast Corp. and the cable industry -- which stands to lose $20 billion a year in box rentals -- say it’s unnecessary and are fighting it. So are Hollywood studios, DirecTV owner AT&T Inc., and CBS Corp. Even a fellow commission Democrat said Wheeler’s plan set for a Sept. 29 vote is flawed. Cont'd...
Mark Gurman & Ian King for Bloomberg: Apple Inc. is pressing ahead with the development of an Echo-like smart-home device based on the Siri voice assistant, according to people familiar with the matter.
Started more than two years ago, the project has exited the research and development lab and is now in prototype testing, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unannounced Apple projects. Like Amazon Inc.’s Echo, the device is designed to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation, the people said. Apple hasn’t finalized plans for the device and could still scrap the project.
If a product reaches the market, it would be Apple’s most significant piece of new hardware since the company announced the Apple Watch in 2014. Cont'd...
Julian Horsey for GeekyGadgets: Zip The Fish has created a new Raspberry Pi adapter which has been specifically designed to enable a wide variety of home automation features allowing you to transform any property from a single small room to a large hotel smarter, say its developers.
Watch the promotional video linked below to learn more about the Zip The Fish Pi home automation system which has been specifically designed for the Raspberry Pi.
Main Features of the Zip The Fish Pi include :
– More power for PI – Three different power supplies up to 3A each.
– Micro USB power supply input
– Uninterruptible power supply: Seamless switching between three power sources. There is the possibility to connect small or large batteries – a special chip takes care of battery health, including charge and protection.
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