Rent a smart home? Some multi-family buildings are going automated

By Jenny McGrath for Digital Trends:  When we put together our list of smart-home gadgets that are good for apartment dwellers and renters, a lot of light bulbs, locks, and switches made the list. Wiring and affixing things to the wall just isn’t worth the hassle when you’ll be moving out in a year or two — or when you risk the wrath of a landlord.

But lots of tenants would like the option of smartening up their homes, even if they are just temporary homes. A few multi-family dwellings actually want in on making buildings more energy efficient or solving some common headaches that come with balancing security and convenience (think key fobs to enter a locked entrance).

StratIS makes app-based tech for apartments, dorms, and hotels that helps property managers control energy, automation, and security. They can use special tablets to oversee a bunch of properties, while those living there can use a smart thermostat without having to buy it themselves and uninstall it when moving out.  Cont'd...

Could This Single Device Protect Your Smart Home?

Joseph Bernstein for BuzzFeed News:  Sense is a smart router combined with software that sits on top of and monitors all of the connected devices in your house. It reads all the traffic coming into those devices in real time and analyzes it using F-Secure’s cloud security network, “an analytics engine and information repository for malware and a variety of other digital threats.”

When Sense detects unwanted or malicious traffic — say, a botnet trying to connect to your smart television — it simply blocks it.

By drawing all of the IoT devices in the home into one protected network, Sense presents a remarkably elegant solution to a problem the cybersecurity world has been worrying about for a long time.  Cont'd...

Study - Smart Home Technology Will Have Greater Impact Than Wearables

New GfK research shows that half of US consumers believe smart home technology will have a major impact on their lives – a higher level than wearables or cloud computing and equal to mobile payment systems.

The study, which covered seven countries, asked consumers to choose which of 11 leading-edge technologies – from 3D printing to augmented/virtual reality to Internet of Things -- would be important to their lives. (Respondents could choose as many technologies as they wished.)

In the US, 51 percent of consumers picked smart home, versus 50% for mobile payments – a statistical tie; these compare to global levels of 54% for mobile payments and 51% for smart home. (The global figures cited here represent five of the seven countries in the full survey – US, UK, Germany, Brazil, and South Korea; data for China and Japan will be released later.)

Four in ten (42%) US consumers cited wearables – significantly higher than the global score of 33% -- while cloud computing came in at 41%.

Full Press Release:

China and India driving $3T consumer electronics boom, smart home devices growing fastest

MICHAEL DE WAAL-MONTGOMERY for VentureBeat:  Populous countries in Asia Pacific — most notably China and India — are leading a nearly $3 trillion boom in the consumer electronics market between now and 2020, with smart home devices growing the fastest of any segment, according to a new report by Future Market Insights that came out Thursday.

Top players in the space include Apple (with its new Apple TV push), Samsung (with its SmartThings Hub announced earlier this year), HP (which just split into two companies this month), LG, Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, and Hitachi.

Basically, we’re talking about any smart device (so most likely Internet-connected) that makes life easier for the average consumer in their home.

Nest’s smart thermostat and smoke detector are probably classic examples of the segment, which the report says is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent.  Cont'd...

Sentri Home Security And Automation Hub Up For Pre-Order

Anthony Karcz for Forbes:  Quick, how many connected devices do you have in your house? Do you have a smart thermostat or LED bulbs? How do you control them, via various different apps on your phone? What about when you’re gone and your phone is with you? What do you do then?

Sentri is a new company on the scene that has an answer to all of these questions. Coming off a successful Kickstarter campaign, they are offering a home-automation hub and security camera to help everyone in your household control your smart devices and keep them safe. Compatible with Nest, Philips Hue, and WeMo switches (for now, more partners will be announced in the future), Sentri provides easy access to your smart home via a 10-inch touchscreen.  Cont'd...

UPDATE - Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

In this ongoing article we will take a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options that are available now. Updated 10/29/15

Utah Jazz home arena renamed to 'Vivint Smart Home Arena'

The name for the 19,911-seat facility, formerly known as Energy Solutions Arena, will be the Vivint Smart Home Arena. The arena hosts about 1.8 million guests and more than 100 sports and entertainment events each year. The basketball court is named for Larry H. Miller, who spearheaded the construction of the building 25 years ago.

“The Utah Jazz and the arena are proud to have Vivint as our new naming rights partner,” said LHMSE President Steve Starks. “Vivint is a long-time supporter of the Jazz, is a Utah-based company, and has a deep commitment to the community and our fans. These were all qualities we looked for when we began this process. ”

Headquartered in Provo, Utah, Vivint creates innovative smart home products and services. With Vivint, homeowners can automate, control and monitor their homes from any smart device. The company’s smart home platform includes door locks, lights, a thermostat and an intelligent doorbell camera, among others. Vivint has more than one million customers and 8,000 employees throughout the United States and Canada. Forbes recently named the company to its list of “America’s Best Employers.”  Full Press Release:

Linux's domination of home automation gizmos continues

Eric Brown for Linux Gizmos:  The Linux-dominated home automation business is still a fragmented free-for-all, but it’s also beginning to consolidate, with far fewer startups in 2015 compared to recent years.
This month we saw several major product announcements from established players related to Linux. First, Google’s Nest Labs announced the first device partners for its Weave home automation protocol using the Thread networking standard. Now Samsung, which began shipping its first Linux-based SmartThings hub last month, released a $249 sensor kit built around the hub. Meanwhile, in the larger Internet of Things world that includes industrial, as well as home automation, the Linux Foundation’s AllSeen Alliance announced a new certification program and security stack. In addition, Amazon unveiled an AWS IoT cloud platform available with starter kits based on Linux hacker boards .  Cont'd...

Lowe's: Consumers Prefer Home Improvement Stores for Smart Home Products

Today, Iris by Lowe's released the results of its annual Smart Home Survey, revealing that when it comes to shopping for smart home products, home improvement stores (either in-store or online) were rated the No. 1 place Americans are most likely to buy. When asked why they would choose a home improvement store, most say it's because it is a retailer they can trust (55 percent) that has knowledgeable staff (40 percent) and a variety of available products (48 percent). 
The 2015 Smart Home Survey, conducted online in August by Harris Poll on behalf of Iris, Lowe's Smart Home Business Unit, polled more than 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18+ and examined Americans' attitudes toward and experiences with smart home products, homing in on the driving factors behind their purchasing and use preferences. Results from this year's study indicate that when it comes to purchasing considerations, cost of equipment and monthly fees as a deciding factor has decreased (down from 56 percent in 2014), though it's still the most commonly cited (43 percent). Ease of use is the second most important deciding factor (19 percent, up from 13 percent in 2014), followed by energy and efficiency features (15 percent) such as home temperature control and automated lighting.   Full Press Release:

August Unveils New Products and Services to Transform Home Access

August Home, Inc., today announced August Access, a first-of-its-kind platform that provides secure, trusted home access via the August Smart Lock for top service providers, including home repair, delivery, shipping, cleaning, elderly care, dog walking, among others. To enable this, the company unveiled a new line of products: the August Smart Lock - HomeKit enabled, the August Smart Keypad, and the August Doorbell Cam.

August’s goal has always been to build products and services that enable people to monitor and manage entry into their homes from wherever they are, making life simpler and more secure. These new products, along with August Access, create a cohesive system that revolutionizes the way people interact with their homes, removing the barriers that currently exist with home delivery services and overall access, while providing total visibility, control, and increased security to the front door.

Full Press Release:

Savant unveils The Savant Remote, combining the convenience of a universal remote with the power of home automation

Users can control over 380,000 of today's most popular entertainment devices and switch easily between their favorites. The high-resolution touchscreen eliminates the need for extra buttons by elevating additional controls when necessary. Control happens wirelessly via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi without requiring any line of sight between the Remote and your entertainment system.

Homeowners can also use the Savant Remote to control their lights with the new Savant Lamp Control, creating instant ambiance in any room with a tap.

Voice commands offer another simple method of control. Users can simply say "FOOD NETWORK" to watch their favorite channels, or "APPLE TV" when they want to browse for a new movie. Homeowners can also use voice controls to activate their own Savant scenes, like "RELAX," which could cue up a mellow Sonos playlist and dim the lights, or "GOODNIGHT," which would turn everything off.

Personalized profiles give every family member their own remote experience, with all their favorite channels and scenes just a tap or voice command away—while limited-access profiles let guests enjoy the benefits of Savant when they're visiting.  Full Press Release:

Comcast's home automation app links with Nest, Lutron and more

By Dan Herscovici, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Xfinity Home in Home:  Xfinity Home customers are now able to control the August Smart Lock, Chamberlain MyQ garage controller, and the Lutron Caséta wireless light controller and dimmer directly through the Xfinity Home app on both iOS and Android devices. In addition, Xfinity Home now works with the Nest LearningThermostat.
Over the past few months, our team has been working on a Software Development Kit (SDK) that makes it easier than ever before for partners to integrate their smart devices into the Xfinity Home ecosystem. This includes a testing and certification program to ensure all hardware that integrates with Xfinity Home meets key levels of quality, compatibility and security. Smart devices that have gone through our process will be certified under the "Works with Xfinity Home" program and will eventually include branding that makes it easy for customers to identify compatible smart home devices when shopping online and in retail stores.  Cont'd...

Logitech Harmony adds even more home automation control

By Alan Buckingham for BetaNews:  Home automation is a catch phrase these days, though some of it is not quite ready for prime time. But things are improving all the time with new products being released at a rapid rate. Logitech's Harmony brand of remote controls has been at the forefront of controlling these devices.

Now, after adding things like the Nest thermostat, the company is announcing compatability with even more devices. This time around it's adding ZigBee and Z-Wave.

"Harmony Hub Extender also allows your Harmony Hub to join as another controller to existing Z-Wave networks. Popular Z-Wave networks that have been tested" include Wink, Pulse, Vera and Nexia. The hub also works with Schlage and other door locks, among other devices.

'We must fight Amazon, Google, Apple and Samsung or they will dominate the smart home sector'

By Dominic Sacco for PCR:  The UK and Europe must come together to fight against the might of Amazon and other tech giants, or the smart home sector will be lost to them, says Deutsche Telekom.

Jon Carter, the firm's UK head of business development for the connected home, was speaking to PCR at the Smart Home Summit today in London.

"The danger of this event is that it's a wake," he said. "Everyone here is focused too much on competing with each other - and aren't focusing on the customer.

"We need to start with the customer. Why do they want any of this?  "If we're not careful, Amazon, Google/Nest, Apple Homekit and Samsung will have 90 per cent of the smart home market in the future.

"They will own this market, the customer and the value. What we're trying to do at Deutsche Telekom is saying Europe can fight back and drive growth from this market. But the approach has to be about all of us working together."  Cont'd...

Nest Gets Into the Smart-Lock Game by Going Old School

CADE METZ for Wired:  Today, Yale, the company, unveiled a digital lock that taps into the “smart home” system designed by Nest. The Google-owned Nest makes Internet-connected thermostats, security cameras, and smoke detectors that also handle carbon monoxide, but that’s not all. It also offers a variety of tools that let other companies connect their own devices with the various Nest gadgets. The idea is that you can control all these devices with a single smartphone app—and that each device can talk to the others. You can, say, set your security camera to start recording when someone opens your door lock—or program your door lock to say something when you step into a house full of carbon monoxide.
But the new Yale lock, dubbed Linus, is a little different from other devices. It’s the first third-party device designed to communicate with Nest gadgets directly, via a wireless network set up inside your home. Previously, such devices could only reach Nest gear in a roundabout way, over the Internet. And this has its drawbacks.  Cont'd...

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