A Rosy View of Smart Buildings

Smart buildings are often moving the wrong way, with more central "cloud-based" decision making, and less autonomy.

ADT Announces Bold Vision to Lead Next Generation of Security and Automation Market

The ADT Corporation unveiled a series of innovative partnerships and new product and platform enhancements aimed at delivering advanced solutions to its residential and business customer base.   Driven by President and Chief Executive Officer Naren Gursahaney’s mission to “put the customer at the center of everything we do” and “secure the connected world,” these announcements include: A new alliance with global consumer electronics leader LG Electronics to deliver a groundbreaking “All-In-One” smart security product, coupled with ADT security services; and a partnership with Nest to integrate its acclaimed Nest Learning Thermostat into ADT’s Pulse® ecosystem. Both are made possible through ADT’s ongoing investments in its technology and innovation platforms.   As broadband adoption continues to grow, there is a greater push for leveraging home automation within both the consumer and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) segments. ADT’s market leadership in home and business security makes it an attractive and highly sought-after partner for a broad range of leading technology companies. With innovative new user experiences driven by its platform, ADT can now address traditional monitored security, while also adding new smart security solutions for residential and business customers - empowering users to be in greater control of that which they value most.

CEDIA Launches Video Guide to Smart Home Wiring

CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association) has produced a new video Guide to Smart Home Wiring which introduces consumers, builders and design professionals to the benefits that a properly designed and installed cabling infrastructure can provide in homes today.  "We all dream of living in a comfortable, secure and energy efficient home," says Matt Nimmons, CEDIA EMEA's Operations Director. "The reality is that technology can now be seamlessly integrated and controlled to deliver these benefits to us all. By following the Best Practice advice within CEDIA's Smart Home Recommended Wiring Guidelines, this video shows how the right cabling infrastructure is an essential requirement for the internet-connected smart home."  CEDIA's Guide to Smart Home Wiring looks at how technology is an integral part of a typical family's lifestyle in today's home. It then explains how the right wiring infrastructure can manage and distribute audio-visual, lighting, heating, security and other data hungry services effectively within a property whilst, at the same time, helping to minimise electronic box and cable clutter in the home. 

Z-Wave Labs Applications Open In First Ever Global Z-Wave IoT Competition

Z-Wave is the IoT leader in both the smart home and lifestyle security markets with 1300+ certified products that are fully interoperable as well as backwards- and forwards-compatible across the Z-Wave ecosystem.

What's the difference between your car and your home?

Upon purchase, the car is already equipped with lots of functionalities and possibilities. We seldom have the choice of individualized options anymore. When a house is concerned, things are quite different.

Samsung wants everyone to build smart home gadgets on its new platform

From Josh Lowensohn for The Verge: If you plan on building or buying a connected gadget in the immediate future, Samsung wants to be inside of it. Today the company announced Artik, a collection of small system-on-chips designed to power everything from wearable devices to home appliances. The Artik line is made up three different sizes, what Samsung is calling the Artik 1, 5, and 10. The one is the tiniest of the bunch, measuring at 12mm by 12mm, and runs off a coin cell battery for what Samsung says is "several weeks." It has Bluetooth LE, an accelerometer, a 9-axis motion sensor, a gyroscope, a magnetometer, and a cost of less than $10. Samsung envisions companies using it for Bluetooth tags (like Tile), location beacons, and wearables. The larger Artik 5 (which is a little larger than a quarter) is like a small computer, and adds Wi-Fi, ZigBee wireless, and onboard 720p video decoding. Samsung says a good use case of the Artik 5 would be something like on-board chips for drones. Lastly, the Artik 10 — which is the most like a small computer and will run about $100 — adds more storage, 1080p video decoding, and a 1.3GHz Octa Core processor, all things Samsung says will be useful for media hubs, home servers, and personal cloud storage devices.

Cybersecurity

To protect your company, rethink what you reveal on social media, as it is all fodder for social engineers. Develop policies for handling sensitive requests like password resets over the phone. Have a security audit done.

CSR and Avi-on Labs Add Simple, Seamless Whole-Home Control to GE Branded Lighting

  CSR plc announced that it has worked with Avi-on Labs to provide Bluetooth® Smart mesh connectivity in a new GE branded line of smart lighting from Jasco Products. These lighting and home control products, which are expected to appear in major retail stores this year, use CSR’s Bluetooth® Smart solution - CSRmesh™ - to allow an almost unlimited number of Bluetooth Smart enabled devices to be simply networked together and controlled directly from a “smart” switch or dimmer, a smartphone or a tablet.   “CSRmesh has the potential to disrupt the smart lighting market by eliminating the complex setup, pairing, and use of an access device, such as a router, needed with other connectivity solutions available today,” said Cameron Trice, CEO of Jasco Products. “By combining CSRmesh with Avi-on Labs’ software and support we are able to offer a lighting product line that offers an unrivalled user experience and secure connectivity to customers through our major retail partners. Working with CSR and Avi-on allowed us to get to market fast to meet growing consumer demand for these types of smart devices.”   The GE branded Jasco Products range will include “smart” switches, dimmers, an outdoor timer and a smart plug which will give consumers on/off control of virtually any standard home device or appliance.

When will ZigBee RF4CE land in Europe?

In the US, almost all operators are using RF4CE for new set-top boxes and their remotes. It is only a matter of time before other markets follow the US mass adoption.

Comcast Home Automation System Opens Up

Joseph Palenchar for TWICE:  Comcast is opening up its monitored-security/home-automation system to operate with devices from a wide variety of home-automation brands. The company’s Xfinity Home system has been available with a variety of unbranded devices such as smart plugs, smoke detectors, security cameras, light switches, door/window detectors, motion detectors and a water-leak detector, a spokesperson said. An Xfinity thermostat and a smart door lock from Kwikset have also been available. Consumers will be able to buy the products from Comcast or from CE retailers, a spokesperson said. Later this year, Comcast will release a software development kit (SDK) and a certification program so home-automation suppliers can offer products that work with Xfinity Home.

Weird Stuff: The Fantasy World of the Billion Dollar Club

Of course the dot.com bubble could never happen again and we couldn't experience another boom/bust cycle because these things just don't happen to cute unicorns. Or maybe too much money is chasing too few valuable ideas.

Marvell Unveils Industry-Leading ZigBee Wireless Microcontroller SoC to Advance Smart Home and IoT Innovations

Marvell announced its next-generation industry-leading 88MZ300 802.15.4/ZigBee wireless microcontroller system-on-chip (SoC), the newest member of Marvell's wireless microcontroller family of Internet of Things solutions. The high-performance, low-power, cost-effective SoC offers superior radio frequency (RF) performance that more than doubles the transmission range and reduces power consumption by 50 percent over Marvell's previous generation 88MZ100 SoC, while maintaining the least amount of external components due to the high integration in silicon. Together with its support for open standards, including the upcoming ZigBee 3.0 and Thread protocols, the 88MZ300 SoC, along with a ZigBee to Wi-Fi bridge reference design and an ecosystem of hardware manufacturers and system integration partners, it enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to rapidly bring new, innovative IoT applications to market. The 88MZ300 SoC is sampling now. "Marvell continues to demonstrate innovation in home automation, connected lighting and IoT with its 88MZ300 ZigBee wireless microcontroller which leads 802.15.4 technology in both performance and cost," said Philip Poulidis, Vice President and General Manager, Mobile and Internet of Things Business Units at Marvell. "Along with Kinoma and Marvell's recently announced Smart Home Cloud Center™, the 88MZ300 delivers a total solution for home automation and IoT markets. We look forward to the range of exciting new product opportunities that will be possible with the deployment of the 88MZ300."

4K Distribution - The Good, the Bad, and the Distant Truth

Since the beginning of 2013, the biggest buzz in the A/V industry was and still is surrounding the future of 4K. To address the rapid oncoming of this new era of immersive visual experiences, manufacturers have developed and marketed not-so-ready 4K products and solutions as the only answers to 4K connectivity.

Sony announces 2015 home and portable audio ranges

Sony has announced an extensive line-up of new audio products for both in the home and on the go.   The home audio products — new sound bars, wireless speakers, and audio/video receivers  —  have prioritised high-resolution audio, multiroom connectivity and expanded music streaming capabilities. For example the range will offer Google Cast and Spotify Connect. The new Google Cast platform allows you to control music directly from music streaming apps like Deezer, Rdio, Pandora and Google Play Music. To cater to growing consumer demand for multiroom audio, a complete home sound system can be set up and controlled throughout multiple rooms with the Sony app SongPal.   “Imagine stepping into your home and being greeted by your favourite music being streamed seamlessly throughout every room. With a touch of a button, you can access a world of music options and control all the connected speakers within in your home,” said Abel Makhraz, head of video, sound & tablet, Sony Australia & New Zealand.   For inside or outside the home Sony has announced a range of portable wireless speakers. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours with Bluetooth and NFC to stream music from your smartphone or tablet.

Company DNA: Understand Who You Are, Not Just What You Make

There is something terribly wrong with the consumer electronics industry because we never have a product category - real category - until Apple comes on the scene.

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Energy & Other Home Systems - Featured Product

WaterCop + Z-Wave Technology = Complete water control

WaterCop + Z-Wave Technology = Complete water control

The WaterCop family of products continues to grow! We now offer Z-wave technology that allows remote control of a home's main water supply via phone or internet. It's perfect for people who want peace of mind that they can shut off water in homes from nearly anywhere using Z-wave protocol. Z-wave joins systems WaterCop Pro, LeakStop, WaterCop Classic, Outdoor, and Large Valve (1 ½"-4") Integration. Visit www.watercop.com to learn more.