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 Samsung.com store or on Amazon.com. 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...

Here Comes Another Home-Automation Platform

Joseph Palenchar for Twice.com:  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...

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...

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...

Swann Enters the Connected Home Market with SwannOne

The SwannOne system begins with the SwannOne Smart Hub and iOS or Android app for easy control and endless applications. Then add on the SwannOne SoundView Camera to monitor and record what’s happening in your home. There is even a tamper detection feature which sends an alert to your phone if an intruder attempts to break or move the camera. Built-in microphones are smart enough to analyze certain sounds like breaking glass, baby cries, car alarms, and even gunshots. It will only send a notification for major noise disturbances, and not innocent ones like a dropped wine glass on your kitchen tile. SwannOne also listens and protects the home from smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide threats by hearing the alarms going off, and launching an alert. If the user is not reachable, SwannOne can even connect with emergency services via an optional professional security monitoring service.

The connected home needs HomeKit and Project Brillo as soon as possible

Nate Swanner for TNW News:  Google and Apple both have a solution for your connected home. Whether you’re interested in Project Brillo or HomeKit, the promise of a truly connected home is exciting, because let’s be honest — the connected home sucks right now. In fact, I bristle at even calling current solutions a connected home. While devices might connect to your phone, they don’t link to one another, and that’s potentially much more important. As an example, I’ll take my own “connected” home. I have some pretty great individual solutions in Simplicam, Scout Alarm, and August. I’ve also entertained other solutions to control things like a garage door or lawn sprinklers. But to what end? Adding more to the mix only creates more disparate parts to my “smart” home. If my camera can’t talk to my home security system, why would I think the door lock could trigger itself when my connected outdoor lights go on at night? It’s worth noting that some connected home security systems are all-encompassing (iSmartAlarm comes to mind), but those bundles don’t come close to bridging all the gaps. Project Brillo, still in its infancy, has a lot of upside. For manufacturers wanting to build devices specifically for Brillo, Google has specs they can follow. Brillo is also based on “the lower levels of Android,” which opens it up in a big way for hardware manufacturers who may want to create simple solutions.   Cont'd...

Target Opens Dedicated Store For Smart Home Gadgets

Aaron Tilley for Forbes:  At an event on Thursday afternoon, Target will unveil what it calls the Target Open House, a 3,500-square-foot retail space located in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center with a house inside made of transparent walls and furniture. The transparent house is packed full of smart home gadgets. More than 30 devices are placed around this demonstration house, including smart home gadgets like the August smart lock, the Nest learning thermostat and Sonos wireless speakers. But not all the devices are related to the home – Jawbone and Fitbit fitness trackers will also be present. The space is focused on showing consumers what all these products do and how they can work together. Target is using an app called Yonomi, which syncs up connected devices together in the cloud, to get them talking to each other. For example, a baby monitor could detect if a baby starts stirring in a crib and could tell the Sonos speakers to play ambient background noise to soothe the baby back to sleep.   Although it is a retail spot, Target wants the space to also be used for local smart home entrepreneurs to meet up, do product demos and give talks.   Cont'd...

Setting Up A Dual-WAN Router with a DSL and Cable Provider

Small Net Builder walks through setting up a Dual-WAN router. Dual-WAN routers allow you to setup your home network with service from two separate service providers (in the example a DSL and cable company): Failover vs. Load Balancing ...   Better failure detection methods include pinging your ISP's default gateway, pinging a host on your ISP's network, pinging a host elsewhere on the Internet, resolving and pinging an FQDN (fully qualified domain name) or making a TCP connection to an external server.   ...   With load balancing enabled, it is important to configure your router with the speeds of your Internet connections. Many dual WAN routers' default load balancing algorithm equally distribute traffic over both WAN connections. If your Internet connection speeds are not the same, your router needs to know both connection speeds to distribute the traffic load accordingly... The two routers Small Net Builder uses in their setup article are the Linksys LRT224 ($175) and the ZyWALL 110 ($369). Neither of these routers have wireless radios so you will need to bridge to a separate device for that. ... Bandwidth Management Let's say I want to ensure my Netflix streaming device has enough bandwidth for smooth playback. Netflix recommends 5 Mbps for HD quality streaming. I would start by giving my Netflix device a static IP address on my network. On the Linksys LRT224, the default LAN network uses the 192.168.1.0/24 subnet, and the DHCP range is 192.168.1.100-192.168.1.149. Thus, I could give my Netflix device a static IP address of 192.168.1.150. In the Linksys LRT224 rule shown below , I've configured both WAN interfaces to allow all traffic to 192.168.1.150 a minimum of 5 Mbps and a maximum of 6 Mbps. The goal in bandwidth management is to give the traffic-sensitive device(s) enough bandwidth, without limiting bandwidth for other devices and users too much. If my Netflix rule turns out to be too low, I can always increase the minimum and maximum values in 500 kbps increments until it works as desired. ... Rest of article (Small Net Builder) Linksys  LRT224 detailed review Zy WALL  110 detailed review

Alarm.com IPO a watershed moment for the connected home market

BY JOEL GRIFFIN:  There was a time in the residential security market when having home automation features to go along with window and door contacts and motion detectors was simply a “nice to have” rather than a “must have” offering. The industry has evolved to the point, however, where even the term “home automation” is passé, having given way to the more commonly used terminology of “connected home” or “smart home” space in which security is part of much bigger overall solution for today’s homeowners. The growing prevalence of this technology was further reinforced late last month when Alarm.com, one of the dominant players in the smart home space, launched an initial public offering on the NASDAQ. According to John Mack, executive vice president, co-head of investment banking and head of mergers & acquisitions at Imperial Capital, which acted as a co-manager on the offering, the IPO serves as a “strong validation” for this paradigm shift that has taken place with regards to the integration of home security with automation and where the market could eventually go. “I think it is very important for the overall security alarm industry to see what has really been the leading player in home automation software and has really played a key role in enabling the home automation side of this industry to be able to go public at a very attractive valuation and get a lot of very positive attention from the best of the investment community,” explained Mack. “A lot of the validation that came with a big valuation for Alarm.com is effectively a view of the potential for the whole industry.”   Cont'd...

Play with 100 smart home gadgets at new Sears showroom

By Benny Evangelista for SF Gate:  Sears is trying to connect with the Bay Area’s tech-savvy crowd with a smart home device showroom in its San Bruno store. The retail chain opened a 4,000-square-foot Connected Solutions showroom in its Tanforan mall outlet this week, giving customers an Apple Store-style experience with more than 100 smart home gadgets, from video doorbells to Internet-connected garage door openers and light bulbs. Sears is also building smaller showrooms with about half the number of products in 200 stores around the country. But Sears wanted to plant its flagship showroom near Silicon Valley.

One Quarter of Millennials Have Begun Building Smart Homes and Four-in-Ten Want One, According to The NPD Group

Millennials are on the road to building smarter homes. According to The NPD Group Connected Intelligence Home Automation Advisory Service, Millennials are twice as likely as the total population to have a smart home product installed in their residence. The array of smart home products evaluated include network connected security and monitoring devices, sensors, system controllers, smart lighting, power, and appliances. One-in-four Millennials (23 percent) already installed at least one of these products in their homes, compared to 12 percent of the total population. Millennials will continue to drive the growth in this market as four-in-ten (41 percent) of this age group are already aware of and interested in owning smart home products. A key factor that is driving this early growth is that the smart home market is no longer just for home owners. Renters are as likely as home owners to have smart home products installed, and are three times more likely to be part of the millennial age group. More than a third of renters are between the ages of 18-34. “Today’s smart home products no longer require professional installation and ongoing subscriptions, many are now plug-and-play options,” said John Buffone, executive director, Connected Intelligence. “The product mix such as smart cameras, lights, and plugs, fits the lifestyle of both home owners and renters which opens up a larger, younger and more tech-savvy consumer market.”

Nest Has Released a Better Dropcam Called Nest Cam

Nest, the prized home automation company acquired by Google, is showing off its own acquisitions. It’s another indication that the five-year-old company, led by its ambitious CEO Tony Fadell, is trying to cement itself as the leader of the emerging connected device industry and sell itself as autonomous from its big parent. At a press event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Nest announced its third product, Nest Cam, a wireless home camera retailing for $199, joining its digital thermostat and smoke detector. Along with the new camera, Nest announced its own cloud service called Nest Aware, a $10-per-month subscription service that lets you store footage captured with the camera. The new Nest Cam captures video in 1080p HD, is supposedly simpler to set up and boasts advanced low-light video-capture capabilities. Nest also unfurled several software and product flourishes for its Internet-connected flagship products, the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector. Full Article:

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Security & Communication - Featured Product

REPLACEMENT INTERCOM SYSTEM WITH BUILT-IN MP3 DISTRIBUTION

REPLACEMENT INTERCOM SYSTEM WITH BUILT-IN MP3 DISTRIBUTION

RETRO-M is designed to replace existing Home Intercom Systems and operate on existing 3 and 4 wire systems. BLUETOOTH you music by adding the BT-RECEIVER. No need to remove existing master wall housing, trim plates available to cover those large holes. The RETRO-M intercom unit has a built-in AM/FM radio. Plug in mp3 players such as iPod, iPhone, Zune or any other hand held player into the master and share your music with the entire family. Choose between two music sources; listen to the radio in one room and the mp3 in another room.