36 million homes in Europe and North America will be smart by 2017

Berg Insight's definition of a smart home system requires that it has a smartphone app or a web portal as a user interface.

The Potential of Holographic Displays

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.

Largest Content Provider in Dubai Closes the Gap Between 4K Content Generation and Distribution

The 4K trends we're seeing are a clear significant push for 4K from the TV manufacturers; we need content for them and everyone else involved in the 4K industry.

Amazon set to battle Apple TV, Roku with new box

Amazon’s long-rumored plans to develop a “TV box,” to compete with Apple’s Apple TV, Google’s Chromecast and Roku’s family of products, are set for fruition with a rollout as soon as next month, Recode reported Friday.    According to the report by Peter Kafka, which cited “industry sources,” Amazon had originally planned to unveil the product for the holidays but will instead aim for March:   That won’t be a huge shock, since Amazon has been working on a box for much of last year. The company had planned on launching one in time for the Christmas shopping season, then shelved those plans.   A box is also a logical move for Amazon, which is investing heavily to build up a Web video catalog, and is starting to produce its own shows as well. An Amazon box will allow its customers to easily watch that stuff on their TVs; it should also give other content providers a chance to serve up their stuff via apps, in the way that Roku and Apple TV boxes do.

Game-Changing Bluetooth(R) Smart Solution Enables Whole Home Control from the Smartphone for the First Time

Technology pioneer CSR plc today announces the launch of a technically disruptive new Bluetooth(R) Smart solution designed to place the smartphone at the center of the Internet of Things (IoT). CSR Mesh allows for an almost unlimited number of Bluetooth Smart enabled devices to be simply networked together and controlled directly from a single smartphone, tablet or PC for the first time.   The solution, which is optimized for smart home and IoT applications, combines a configuration and control protocol with CSR's proven Bluetooth Smart devices, including CSR101x(TM) and CSR8811(TM). It will allow consumers to control any Bluetooth Smart enabled device in the home from wherever they are, including lighting, heating, appliances and security systems. Crucially for the consumer experience, solutions based on the protocol don't require the complex setup, pairing, or use of an access device such as a router.   "Unlike other home automation connectivity solutions, such as Zigbee or Z-Wave, CSR Mesh ensures direct control from mobile devices anywhere in the home, because it doesn't have a limited range or require a hub," says Anthony Murray, Senior Vice President, Business Group at CSR. "CSR is committed to driving Internet of Things innovation. We believe this Bluetooth Smart solution will be a real game changer for developers because it means they don't have to turn to proprietary solutions or add anything else to create products that give consumers what they want -- complete home automation they can control from anywhere that 'just works'."

Belkin Patches WeMo Home Automation Vulnerabilities

Belkin has an intriguing suite of WeMo-branded smart devices for home automation, including light switches, motion detectors, integration with appliances, and more, but security firm IOActive recently discovered multiple vulnerabilities in WeMo--vulnerabilities that Belkin says it has now patched.   Belkin’s statement on the subject reads in part: Belkin has corrected the list of five potential vulnerabilities affecting the WeMo line of home automation solutions that was published in a CERT advisory on February 18. Belkin was in contact with the security researchers prior to the publication of the advisory, and, as of February 18, had already issued fixes for each of the noted potential vulnerabilities via in-app notifications and updates.    The most recent firmware update resolves the issues, which included the ability for a hacker to snag cryptographic keys and passwords, the ability to hack one WeMo device from another, an XML injection vulnerability, and a lack of SSL integrity.  

Canary is simple, affordable home security

Crowdfunding has been a boon for connected home technology gadgets. Canary was quite the hit on IndieGoGo, exceeding its $100,000 goal by about 1,860,000  to fund its development. Now, the $199 box is almost ready to start protecting homes around the world.  Canary is a sensor you can place anywhere in the room that combines  video, heat, humidity, and motion-sensing capabilities into one box that’s connected to your home network. An app on your smartphone or tablet alerts you to changes in your home.   One of the big advantages of Canary is that the device learns  habits, such as your comings and goings.    Automatically adjusting for times it knows you’re not at home, it won’t set off the alarm for that 2AM baby feeding like it would if it was 2PM and everyone is at school or work. In all cases, Canary sings only to you, no fire departments called or some guy from the alarm company calling when you leave the water boiling too long on the stove. The wide-angle lens in Canary also features IR night vision, and the video can be streamed to anywhere you are for total piece of mind. So if you get an alert and are worried your house is on fire, just check the security feed to see the true state of your home. At $199 per unit, Canary is great for people without a lot of area to cover, like an apartment. Those looking to cover a large house with dozens of rooms might want to build up a system slowly to spread the cost out over time.

Comcast deal a blow to Apple TV and Netflix

Apple investors and Netflix fans better start writing to their elected officials in Washington to oppose Comcast's $45 billion acquisition offer for rival Time Warner Cable.   The reason?   If the giant cable merger announced today is approved by regulators without any conditions to protect consumers, the deal will be a disaster both for users who want access to low-cost, Web-based entertainment and for the companies that want to deliver it.   The acquisition could put a major hurt on Apple CEO Tim Cook and the company's shareholders, who've been hoping for more than a year that a digital entertainment device might help revive the company's fading revenue growth.   The Comcast offer came amid reports this week that Apple was once again negotiating with Time Warner to license movies and TV programs for the long-rumored Apple TV platform.   Without that type of premium content, any future Apple device will likely be a poorly-selling box that consumers can't watch much with.   But in the wake of the Comcast's announcement, any leverage Apple may have gained in those talks by playing America's two largest cable rivals against each other has evaporated.   It's as if Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has told the Apple CEO, "Here's what I think of your latest proposal to Time Warner, Mr. Cook!"   Roberts is no fool. He and others in the cable industry have seen how Apple's iTunes store has eviscerated the profit margins of the music business.

Google comes to the digital signage side

Intel dropped a Google-sized rock in the digital signage pond in the middle of today's opening keynote at the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas. Intel's Jose Avalos, the company's director of digital signage, embedded and communications group, announced that, on the heels of the release of Google's Chromeboxes last week, the search engine and Internet services behemoth would be turning at least some of its focus to digital signage. The Chromeboxes could become very inexpensive digital signage media players, and the Chrome platform itself could make the back end cheaper as well, Google's Rajen Sheth, director of product management, Chrome for business and education, told Digital Signage Today in an interview following the keynote. "So really what it is is the Chrome platform and a few things that we're doing with the Chrome platform," Sheth said. "First is to make the hardware itself lower and lower cost and affordable — for example the new Chromebox we released with ASUS last week is only $179, and it's coming down and down and down in price — but then the bigger thing is, even if the hardware is low cost, it's very tough to maintain this kind of a distributed network of hardware, and that's what we really make possible with the Chrome platform."

Professional Installer's Guide to IP Networking, Part I

This is the first in a 4 part series. In this segment we will discuss the basic components of an IP network and the functions of those components in the first segment. In segments 2-4, we will take a closer look at Routers, Switches and Wireless Networking.

An Uncertain Future for Quantum Computing?

Quantum computing is here to shake the existing mechanical, electrical and electronic systems. Modern electronics in particular will not be the same if quantum computing gains acceptance. There're voices of support as well as dissent. In this post, we'll analyze future trends in quantum computing. Keep reading!

Content is Definitely King since Google Changed Search Algorithms

The bottom line is that Google has reduced the importance of links to a site and has promoted the importance of the site's content.

Home Theater Furniture and Mounts by Sanus

As TVs continue to get bigger, and wall-mounting easier, the trend seems to be heading towards wall-mounting. However, with the combinations of AV furniture and mounts that we offer, a consumer could have their TV wall-mounted, but utilize a Cadenza or Trillium piece of furniture to store AV gear beneath.

URC launches ccGen2 whole-house automation system

From the entry-level DIY smart home products that seem to be flooding the marketplace to the more sophisticated and comprehensive (not to mention expensive) automation systems, the home automation business is experiencing a boom right now. Somewhere between the two ends of the spectrum is URC, which offers a mid-level automation with it’s Complete Control and Total Control systems. Today URC announced it’s ccGEN2, which means Complete Control Generation Two, a two-way, Internet-based automation system scheduled to roll out through select distributors starting early next month with distributor Volutone, located in California and Nevada. The ccGEN2  line will include 12 different products, including two wand-style remotes, two in-wall keypads (one is a touchscreen), mobile apps and network system controllers. Doug Cole, senior vice president and general manager of URC, says:  “… we’re excited to offer ccGEN2 through our distribution partners as a newfound opportunity to make the most of the growing awareness and marketing for home automation in a simplified, yet powerful way. We expect this next generation line to take the Complete Control brand into the whole house and the future.” ccGEN2 products, with few exceptions, are not compatible with URC’s one-way, RF/IR Complete Control system or with Total Control products. The base system starts at about $ 1,000 with the main controller and the top of the line remote control with video capability. For the main controller and an app it is about $800. You can scale from there to add keypads and other things.  

Verizon drops Home Monitoring and Control service

Verizon has stopped accepting orders for its Home Monitoring and Control product, and will only allow FiOS customers who already subscribe to the $9.99 monthly service to continue using it, a spokesman said Monday.   Verizon introduced Home Monitoring and Control, which lets FiOS subscribers control security cameras, lighting, door locks and thermostats with their FiOS TV remotes, and through a mobile application and website, in 2011. It stopped accepting new orders in October, spokesman John Columbus told FierceCable.   Rival AT&T launched a wireless-based home automation service last year called AT&T Digital Life, and Comcast and Time Warner Cable market their respective Xfinity Home and IntelligentHome products to broadband subscribers.   Verizon officials suggested that the telco may introduce a new home automation product, but wouldn't say if the company is considering adopting a wireless-based approach similar to AT&T Digital Life.   "We are revisiting the service to more accurately reflect our vision for the connected home. As technology and consumer expectations evolve so must our offerings,"  Columbus said.       

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