Brilliant uses voice and touch commands to control your smart home

Dean Takahashi for VentureBeat:  Is the smartphone on its way out?

San Mateo, Calif.-based Brilliant Home Technology announced that it has created the Brilliant Control, a smart lighting solution that gives anyone in the house the ability to access music, climate control, and other common smart home devices with just a simple touch or voice command. No smartphone is required.

The Brilliant Control aims to replace existing light switches with a device that responds to both touchscreen and voice commands. Brilliant Control is available for preorder starting at under $200 at www.brilliant.tech. The device has a 5-inch touchscreen with 1080p resolution.  Cont'd...

Electrolux to Acquire Fast-growing Smart Kitchen Appliance Company Anova

Electrolux today announced it has agreed to acquire Anova, the U.S. based provider of the Anova Precision Cooker, an innovative connected device for sous vide cooking that enables restaurant-quality results in the home. The acquisition provides a significant opportunity for profitable growth in this emerging product category. Anova's direct-to-consumer business model and digital focus are also of strong strategic interest to Electrolux. 
Anova was founded in 2013 and is growing rapidly amid popular acclaim for its innovative product, which was rated best cooking gadget of 2016 by reviewed.com.   Full Press Release:

Powerley Unveils Energy-Driven Smart Home Experience

Powerley, the utility-led smart home technology pioneer, today introduced the next generation of its platform at DistribuTECH. Initially launched in 2015, Powerley’s new platform is the first and only smart home solution to provide real-time energy usage data while offering the full functionality of an automated home in one interface.

“With our new introduction, Powerley is realizing the vision of connecting the smart grid to the smart home – addressing utility needs for energy efficiency, peak load management and customer loyalty while unlocking revenue streams from the smart home,” said Manoj Kumar, CEO of Powerley. “We believe that utilities are best positioned as the trusted channel to proliferate the smart home and with our new release we have put them in the driver’s seat.”

Working with leading energy companies DTE Energy, AEP Ohio and BC Hydro among others, Powerley is now available to over 5 million households. This latest evolution of Powerley’s platform builds upon the company’s leadership in energy management – enabling energy utilities to drive energy efficiency and customer engagement while also building new connected revenue streams.  Full Press Release:

Sears parlays brand reputation and service network with connected home line

Bruce Brown from DigitalTrends:  Meet the new brand, same as the old brands. Sears Holdings, the U.S. holding company that owns the Sears and Kmart retail chains, has repurposed and combined three of its best-known product names - Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard - into the new KCD brand for connected products, according to Twice.

KCD president Tom Park pushed the focus on smart homes as a way to not only participate in the connected space market but bring to the relatively new market two elements he sees as missing: trust and reliability. Kenmore appliances bring a full century of history. Craftsman tools are known for their guaranteed durability and lifetime warranties. DieHard batteries have helped start automotive products for more than 50 years.  Cont'd...

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...

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...

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...
 

Sony's New High Definition TV Has a Screen That's Also a Speaker

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg:  It's been a while since a new TV raised any eyebrows, but Sony Corp. has just unveiled a new product that's creating a bit of buzz at the annual CES industry gathering in Las Vegas.   Sony's XBR-A1E Bravia 4K is the electronics maker's first commercial foray into the niche market for televisions that use OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, technology. While the vivid, power-sipping screens have found their way onto smartphones, the cost of making them has so far limited their appeal for TVs. Only LG Electronics Inc. has made a serious effort to sell OLED TVs. Panasonic Corp. also unveiled an OLED TV at this year's CES.

What's different about Sony's new A1E TV, however, is that the screen doubles as a speaker. By vibrating the display itself, Sony said it will be able to offer the "perfect unification of picture and sound unattainable by conventional TVs." This is possible because OLED screens don't require a backlight, according to the Tokyo-based company.   Cont'd...

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.

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:
 

How to upgrade your home audio system without spending too much

David Nield for T3.com:  If you're looking to get better sound for your music, movies and podcasts around the home, then there are a dizzying number of options to sort through - no matter what you're looking to do, chances are there's a smart bit of kit out there to help you do it.

For this particular feature we're going to look at reasonably-priced but top notch audio hardware - you really can break the bank with a home audio system, but if your budget's more towards the lower end of the scale, these are some of the devices worth a look.  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...
 

Google now lets developers write apps for the Assistant on Google Home

Frederic Lardinois for TechCrunch:  Google today announced that all developers (and not just those in its private preview program), can start bringing their applications and services to the Google Assistant, starting with what the company calls “conversation actions” on Google Home. This allows developers to create back-and-forth conversations with users through the Assistant and users can simply start these conversations by using a phrase like “OK Google, talk to Eliza.”

While the Assistant also runs on the Pixel phones and inside the Allo chat app, Google says it plans to bring actions to these other “Assistant surfaces” in the future, but it’s unclear when exactly this will happen.  Cont'd...

Microsoft takes aim at Amazon's Echo with Windows 10 HomeHub feature

Tom Warren for The Verge:  Microsoft is planning to build a HomeHub feature into future Windows 10 updates to better compete against devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Echo. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the feature is currently in the planning stages, and the software maker is expected to introduce a “HomeHub” in updates due in 2017 and 2018, and not the upcoming Creators Update.

Windows Central reports that the feature will “crush” Google Home and Amazon Echo, but The Verge understands that HomeHub is designed to be a service and feature that will run on any Windows 10 PC and turn it into a machine where Cortana can be summoned from the lockscreen to provide useful information. Windows Central previously reported that the HomeHub was a voice-activated speaker that was supposed to be unveiled at Microsoft’s Surface hardware event back in October. Those reports were inaccurate, but Microsoft is planning a software feature with the same name.  Cont'd...

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Energy & Other Home Systems - Featured Product

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