Microsoft is planning to turn Windows 10 PCs into Amazon Echo competitors

Tom Warren for The Verge: Microsoft has been working on a new HomeHub feature for Windows 10 to better compete with devices like Amazon's Echo.

Future phones will ID devices by their electromagnetic fields

Richard Lai for enGadget: In another set of demos, the team showed how the phone could show contextual charms upon tapping various connected devices.

The only way to save the smart home hub is to kill it

David Priest for CNet: Commentary: Are smart home hubs the VCRs of a Blu-ray age?

There's a good chance Apple will introduce its Amazon Echo competitor in June, says analyst

Todd Haselton for CNBC: "There is an over 50 percent chance that Apple will announce its first home AI product at WWDC in June," KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors obtained by MacRumors on Monday.

Smart home assistants need assistance to catch on

Yahoo Tech: There's a lot of conversation around voice-activated home assistants, however, according to new data from GfK, there is currently very little conversation actually with devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home.

THE US SMART HOME MARKET REPORT: Systems, apps, and devices leading to home automation

Nicholas Shields for Business Insider: The same issues BI Intelligence first identified back in 2015 still plague the space - persistently high prices, technological fragmentation, and consumers' lack of a perceived benefit from the devices.

Disruptive Forces in the Home Security Market highlights trends in security industry ahead of ISC West

Parks Associates: Security research from Parks Associates shows that adoption of interactive services among U.S. households with professional security monitoring has experienced a 50% CAGR from 2011 to 2016, reaching more than 8.3 million U.S. households. Adoption of interactive security services, such as monitoring through an app and mobile control, will grow at an estimated 13% CAGR from 2016 to 2021, according to Parks Associates' forecasts from Home Security NUMBERS™.

Samsung's Bixby lays the groundwork for the company's smart home play

Brian Heater for TechCrunch: The Galaxy S8's main selling point still isn't fully formed. Announced the week leading up to today's main event, Bixby is as much a key building block for the company moving forward as it is a shiny new piece of a flagship phone. The company is finally ready to make its play for the smart home, and the new messenger is going to be a key component.

Ikea is getting into home automation with a new smart hub

Chaim Gartenberg for The Verge: The core of the Trådfri system is a gateway device that connects to the internet via an Ethernet connection and creates a local Trådfri network to connect local bulbs. Like most of Ikea's wares, the company is pursing an extremely aggressive pricing scheme, with a base set of the internet gateway, a remote, and two Trådfri bulbs running just 749 kr, or roughly $85.40.

3 Million European Homes Now Have Connected Heating Controls

Delta-ee's latest European State of the Market Report has found 3M homes in Europe are equipped with smart thermostats or connected room heating controls and that number is set to grow to 9M by the end of 2019.

Leviton Delivers New Wi-Fi Lighting Automation Solution with Voice Control, Scheduling and Remote Access

Leviton announced today the release of a ground-breaking "hubless" home automation solution, Decora Smart™ with Wi-Fi Technology, offering remote access, app-based scheduling and voice control. The new product family simplifies home lighting control from anywhere by automating interior and exterior lights using the free My Leviton app. The devices can also be connected to Amazon Echo, Dot, Tap or Alexa-embedded products, like the Nucleus touchscreen intercom, to provide voice control through commands such as "Alexa, turn living room lamp to 33%." The Decora Smart with Wi-Fi Technology product family includes both 600W and 1000W in-wall dimmers and 15 Amp switches that are all multi-way capable, as well as plug-in outlets and plug-in dimmers.  Leviton devices are connected to a home's Wi-Fi network as well as to Amazon Alexa-enabled products via the My Leviton app. In the app, users can easily add a new home, device, room, activity or schedule at any time from an iOS or Android device. Users can also create schedules and activities based on specific times or events.   Full Press Release:

iRobot Takes Next Step in the Connected Home with Clean Map™ Reports and Amazon Alexa Integration

iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in consumer home robotics, today announced updates to the iRobot HOME App that expand the value of connected Roomba vacuuming robots within the smart home. New Clean Map reports provide visual post-cleaning maps that display information about the robot's cleaning performance, such as the dirtiest floor areas and total space cleaned, while the integration of Amazon Alexa™ voice activated control will make communicating with a Roomba vacuuming robot a breeze.  "iRobot is aggressively pursuing opportunities within the connected home to improve our customers' experience with our cleaning robots," said Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot. "The latest updates for the iRobot HOME App make cleaning with an iRobot Roomba vacuuming robot even more user friendly, with voice-activated commands, enhanced mapping features and useful post-cleaning reports. These are exciting next steps towards our vision of an ecosystem of home robots that work collaboratively and further enable the smart home."   Full Press Release:

Nest is working on at least 3 new smart-home gadgets right now - here's what we know

Antonio Villas-Boas for Business Insider:  Nest, the struggling connected-smart-home company bought by Google's parent company, Alphabet, in 2014, will expand its range of smart-home products with new and updated devices you can control from apps on your mobile devices, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Those new products include a home-security alarm system with window and door sensors, a key fob for arming and disarming your alarm, and a smart doorbell with a camera. The news comes after a tumultuous period at Nest, during which the cofounder and CEO, Tony Fadell, resigned amid criticism of his management style and a lack of new products. The new products would give Nest a more complete presence in the smart-home ecosystem, instead of forcing users to mix devices from a variety of companies.   Cont'd...

Extra security for your Nest Account.

From Nest:  Here's how it works: the first time you sign into your Nest Account after activating two-factor authentication, you'll type in your email and password as always, but then you'll get a text with a verification code. Enter the code and you're set. To turn on two-factor authentication, go to the Nest app, tap the menu icon on the top left, then go to the category Account Security. You'll see an option there to activate "2-step verification." After you've turned it on, you'll need to sign in again. It takes a minute or two for our customers, but for hackers working from computers all over the world, things get a whole lot harder.

Sonos introduces PLAYBASE - an off the wall approach to TV sound

Sonos announced PLAYBASE, the latest addition to its wireless home sound system and the newest speaker in their home theater lineup. Inspired by the simple insight that up to 70% of all TVs stand on furniture and are not mounted to the wall, PLAYBASE is a thin, yet powerful speaker that sits discreetly under the TV. Priced at $699 US and available in both black and white, PLAYBASE will be available globally starting on April 4, 2017.  At just 58 mm in height and packing 10 drivers, PLAYBASE offers everything you'd expect from a Sonos speaker - great sound when the TV is on and music all the time when it's off. It was designed to disappear into the home. Appearing as if it was cut from a single piece of granite, it challenges conventional expectations of sound from a thin speaker. The construction comes together with no visible seams resulting in incredibly clean lines, an ultra-flat top surface, and more than 43,000 holes that make up an acoustically transparent grill.   Full Press Release:

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