Google's new Wi-Fi router sleek, but has a few hiccups

Most people don’t think about their home Wi-Fi router unless they are (A) installing it, or (B) undergoing severe digital withdrawal because the Internet is down and they need to hit reset.

But Google wants you to think about its new OnHub home Wi-Fi router all the time. The Mountain View tech giant designed OnHub to be proudly displayed out in the open next to your kid’s photos, not hidden in a dark, dusty spot under a desk.

Is that a reason to spend $199 on an OnHub, which goes on sale online Monday, if you don’t need a new router? Probably not. But if you are looking to upgrade a worn-out device, Google’s first entry into the router race is a compelling choice.

Not to be overlooked, the OnHub is also Google’s answer to Apple’s equally designer-friendly AirPort Extreme Base Station. With both companies battling for an early lead in the emerging market for smart-home devices, having a router that’s the center of it all could become a key beachhead.

Philips Just Made It Stupid Simple To Install Smarthome Lighting

Mark Wilson for FastCompany:  A lot of intelligent people believe that a platform like Apple’s HomeKitwill be the way we control the smart home of the future. But I'd bet on it looking a lot more like the new wireless dimming kit from the Philips Hue line—subtle technology that eliminates the need for electricians and apps at the same time.

Each kit runs $40, and it includes a white Hue bulb and a dimming remote. All you have to do is screw in the bulb to install it—and up to ten others can piggyback on this same network. The remote uses theZigBee radio protocol to control them in tandem, and it promises to last a minimum of three years, or 50,000 uses, before it needs its battery replaced.

Better still? This remote fits into a sticky base plate that adheres to your wall and looks like any standard light switch. In other words, rather than hiring an electrician to wire up the connection, or googling how to install dimmers without electrocuting yourself, Hue’s new kit allows you to install home lighting as easily as duct taping a switch to a wall.  Cont'd...

Nest Labs preparing to launch second generation smart thermostat

By David Curry, ITProPortal:  Arguments could be made for a new device, but Nest has been quickly approaching a second version of its smart thermostat. The company’s premiere product in many circles, it has won countless awards for its intelligent design and software tuning system.

Nest will enhance the wireless capabilities of the second smart thermostat, alongside updating the service to offer more potential savings. The design should stay around the same as it is now, no need to change what isn’t broken.

There have been rumours of an audio product and Google Glass in the pipeline. We do not think either of these products will be coming this year. Instead, Nest is focused on updating its product line to make everything fresh.

Tour of 1985 Home Automation System with Touchscreen

Avboden has a home automation system from 1985, and he recently created this video to show people how it worked. 

Samsung's new SmartThings hub will ship in September

Mikael Ricknäs:  Samsung-owned SmartThings’ new home automation hub is on the home stretch after problems with stability and performance caused a delay earlier this year.

SmartThings, which was acquired by Samsung in August last year, said in March it needed more time and had to push the launch of the hub from the second to the third quarter.  

The company said on Monday that the Samsung SmartThings Hub will be available for purchase in early September, and is available for pre-order for $99 on the SmartThings shop, on the store or on

The SmartThings Hub and connected sensors can be used to control the lights, thermostats and doors, and warn about things such as water leaks. It works with ZigBee and Z-Wave radios.  Cont'd...

Google Launches OnHub, A Souped-Up WiFi Router And Smart Home Hub

Aaron Tilley for Forbes:  Although many details about the product aren’t entirely clear yet, there are some other interesting things going on inside the router. In addition to the 13 WiFi antennas, OnHub will also come with Bluetooth and ZigBee radios to connect with smart home devices. The ZigBee radio is using the Weave communication protocol, which is designed by Google-owned Nest. Nest uses Weave to connect up its own smart home products. Essentially, OnHub could work as a smart home hub.

OnHub also has a speaker built into it. No details on what kind of quality these speakers are. At this time, the speaker is mostly intended to aid in the setup process, said a TP-Link spokeswomen. But a speaker just for assisting in the setup process seems unlikely. Google could potentially integrate OnHub with its voice-enabled intelligent personal assistant Google Now.  Full Article:

Build a simple home security system using Raspberry Pi

By Lory Gil for Liliputing:  Want to set up a home security system, but don’t want to pay a monthly fee to a security company? Techradar has a detailed do-it-yourself project for a connected alert system using Raspberry Pi.

While it might not have all the bells and whistles you’d get with a professional system, with some basic parts and a little coding, you can set it up an infrared sensor that will send you a text message when movement is detected. Plus, you can include a camera to take a snapshot and 10-second video so that you’ll know if your cat or a cat burglar tripped the sensor.

The project requires a few special items, in addition to the Raspberry Pi. You will need a passive infrared sensor (PIR) and the Pi Camera. You will also be installing Python and creating a few codes of text to activate the system.  Cont'd...

Apple Said to Delay Live TV Service to 2016 as Negotiations Stall

By  Peter Burrows, Lucas Shaw and Gerry Smith for Bloomberg:  Apple Inc. customers waiting for the company to revolutionize live television as it did for music and phone service will have to keep waiting, at least until next year.

The company wanted to introduce this year a live TV service delivered via the Internet, but is now aiming for 2016, said people familiar with Apple’s plans. Talks to license programming from TV networks such as those owned by CBS Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc. are progressing slowly, some of the people said. Apple also doesn’t have the computer network capacity in place to ensure a good viewing experience, said some of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Without enough content deals in place, Apple has scrapped plans to announce the service at a Sept. 9 event in San Francisco, which would have coincided with the beginning of the new network TV season, the people said. The Cupertino, California-based company still plans to introduce a more powerful version of its Apple TV set-top box at the event, said the people, but customers -- for now, at least -- will need a cable or satellite TV subscription or an antenna to watch live network television.  Cont'd...

Here Comes Another Home-Automation Platform

Joseph Palenchar for  Smart-house platform provider ROC-Connect has entered the North American market following last year’s launch in Europe and Latin America and has turned to the former VP/general manager of Lowe’s smart-home division to lead the rollout. The ex-Lowe’s executive is Kevin Meagher, tapped by ROC as senior VP of business development. He developed Iris, the smart-home platform exclusive to Lowe’s. ROC will offer turnkey solutions to manufacturers, retailers, service providers such as telcos and utilities, health-care facilities and insurance providers. The solutions will deliver “all your company needs to create a smart-home solution for your customers,” the company’s website says. ROC offers a multi-radio gateway/hub intended for DIY installation in the home along with Cloud services. System monitoring and control is available through an app for iOS and Android devices and from web browsers. Cont'd...

Will future homes feature built-in recycled water systems?

Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter:  A small group gathered on a recent afternoon outside a $1 million model home on Cloudbreak Lane here. The five-bedroom house offered a Mediterranean tile roof, teal-green shutters and arched entryway. Designer touches inside included a walk-in pantry, motion-sensing faucets and optional oversized wine cabinet.

But it was a plain, gray metal box on the side of the house that grabbed the most attention. Avery Kintner, a green building consultant, brought a group of students from University of California, San Diego, to see the box's secrets.

The 5-foot-wide container held pipes, filters, a tub and other mechanics. It's a system designed to help the future residents of this house survive the ongoing drought and any future ones.

The structure takes leftover water from the house's showers, sinks and laundry and filters it, then returns it to irrigate the front landscaping. The complex under construction, a development from KB Home called "Sea Cliff" is the first in the state built with so-called graywater piping in all houses.  Cont'd...

Universal Electronics makes smart home bid with Ecolink acquisition

By Ben Munson for CEDMagazine:  Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI) is strengthening its position in the smart home market by acquiring Ecolink Intelligent Technology, a wireless home security and automation specialist.

UEI is spending about $12.4 million in cash and incentive-based considerations over the next five years to acquire Ecolink’s assets.

Those assets include over 25 issued and pending patents, related intellectual property and Ecolink’s smart home, wireless security and home automation business.

Ecolink will become a wholly owned subsidiary of UEI and continue being operated and marketed under the Ecolink name.

For Ecolink, the acquisition likely means a significant boost in market penetration.

For UEI, the purchase means a stronger foothold in the smart home/home automation market that’s becoming part of many cable companies’ and telco’ businesses.  Cont'd...

CastleOS Announces the First Windows 10 Smart Home Hub

CastleOS announces the upcoming CastleHUB will be the first Windows 10 smart home hub, featuring voice control with Cortana and the Kinect.

Using Cortana on Windows 10, or the Kinect for far-field control in a room, you can speak to your home! Actions as common as turning on lights, setting moods with color changing bulbs, controlling entertainment systems, adjusting heat and air conditioning, locking doors, monitoring security, watering the lawn, or even feeding the family pet are all possible by voice control and with the CastleOS app. The power of CastleOS with Windows 10 enables everyone to enjoy the highest level of true independent living in their own home, even if they are physically unable to use a mobile app or light switch!  Cont'd...

Quirky's Ben Kaufman steps down as CEO

Sarah Tew for CNET:  Ben Kaufman is stepping down as CEO of Quirky, the New York-based developer of crowd-sourced inventions Kaufman founded in 2009. The company announced the move via blog post on Friday, citing an "ongoing strategy to focus efforts and resources on Wink," its smart home-centric subsidiary.

That strategy marks a shift from reports earlier this year that Quirky was looking to sell Wink off to the highest bidder. Those efforts were reportedly put on hold in April after a botched security update locked many customers out of their Wink Hubs, the central communications device in Wink's smart home platform. Kaufman, however, confirmed that selling Wink was still a possibility in an interview with Fortune last month.  Cont'd...

Ecovent Closes $6.9 Million in Funding to Bring Room-by-Room Temperature Control and Comfort to Homeowners

Ecovent, the maker of the only intelligent home zoning system that delivers complete room-by-room climate control, today announced that it has closed a $6.9 million Series A funding round led by Emerson Climate Technologies, a business segment of Emerson (NYSE:EMR). The round includes participation from Tamarisc and Blue Fog Capital. 
Ecovent started the year being named Automation Product of the Year at CES 2015, and has struck a chord with consumers, bringing in more than $1 million in pre-orders. Ecovent is transforming the home by giving consumers control over their comfort in every room. Ecovent's advanced system of wireless vents and sensors intelligently diagnose the factors impacting room temperature and automatically adjust airflow into each room to achieve the perfectly desired temperature. With Ecovent, homeowners have the ability to control the temperature of each room individually through an app, saving energy and money by heating and cooling only the rooms that need conditioning instead of the entire home. 
"Today's cars allow passengers and drivers to set individual temperatures, yet most homes have only one adjustable zone, and it's time to change that," said Dipul Patel, CEO and co-founder of Ecovent. "We developed the Ecovent system to give people room-by-room temperature control in any home - automatically. It's incredibly exciting to have the support of an industry titan like Emerson to help us bring Ecovent to a larger audience as we change the way homeowners experience comfort in their homes."   Full Press Release:

Silicon Valley will soon become a massive player in home security

 Bob Bryan for BusinessInsider:  Currently, there are three types of home security on the market. The industry giants run traditional professionally installed and monitored systems, like what ADT offers and telecoms such as Comcast and AT&T have begun to roll out. These represent 93% of the home-security market, says Citi.

The next is self-installed and professionally monitored in which a customer installs the hardware and then pays a subscriber fee to have the house monitored by professionals. This category includes companies like SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, and Protect America. These companies have 4.7% market share.

Finally, self-installed and monitored systems such as Google's Nest and Dropcam or Apple's HomeKit-enabled devices leave it up to the user to set up their home security and use notifications to enabled devices to alert people. For these services there is no human monitoring the home security. They control 2.3% of the market, but not for long says Citi.

Based on research projections, Citi estimates that self-installed and monitored systems will control 34% of the market in five years, with professional system slipping to 61.6%. In the longer term, 20 years from now, these numbers are projected to basically switch with self-monitored systems holding 62.5% of the market and professional services making up 31.3%.  Cont'd...

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