SHENANDOAH HOMES TO OFFER HOME AUTOMATION AS A STANDARD IN ALL NEW HOMES

Kayla Devon for BuilderOnline:  Another builder has stepped up to offer home automation features as standard assets in new homes, challenging other local builders to do the same. Raleigh, N.C.-based Shenandoah Homes announced a partnership with a local Raleigh provider, Anuva Automation, which manufactures the TiO line of home automation products. Shenandoah Homes, which has control of over 1,000 lots in the area, intends to offer customers a standard package that includes lighting, thermostat and security control, with the additional options for more lighting, smart door locks and garage door control, and audio features. “Home automation is an area of importance of what home buyers are looking for and would expect in any new home,” David Stallings, president and owner of Shenandoah Homes, said in a statement about the new offering.   Cont'd...

This connected clock will nag you to work out and tell you when your Uber's here

Victoria Ho for Mashable:  Plenty of personal gadgets these days, from smartwatches to fitness bands, are aimed at relieving you of having to fish your phone out of your pocket so often. If you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk or lying on the couch, why not mount a giant Apple Watch on the wall instead? Glance Clock is kind of like that, but it's just the start of a connected life, says its founder and CEO, Anton Zriashchev. Like a smartwatch, the clock connects to your phone to sync its time, and is able to display a host of notifications, including upcoming meetings, weather alerts and incoming calls. It'll also hurry you out the door if your Uber's arrived.   Cont'd...

Teens: Gen Z is More Prepared, More Savvy than You Think

They've grown up in the DIY (do-it-yourself) environment, focus on how things are made, seek peer recommendations/affirmation and are usually early adopters of products that are practical yet cool.

Goodbye, keys: The Ernest app lets you easily access your car, gate, and garage

Stephanie Topacio Long for DigitalTrends:  The only butler in the average person’s life is probably Geoffrey from reruns of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air but you can have one on your phone, too. A Kickstarter launched on Friday is funding a so-called “mobile butler” named Ernest, a unified app for car security and home control. The idea for Ernest came from tech entrepreneur Arturs Pumpurs, who wanted users to be able to use a single app to access their car, garage, and gate in a secure and convenient way. He and his team came up the app, which communicates via devices you can install in homes, vehicles, and gates. The three-tier security system ensures only authorized users’ smartphones will be granted access.   Cont'd...

Your smart home could help "bring the internet to its knees," expert says

Melanie Ehrenkranz for Tech.Mic:  Last week, a distributed denial of service attack took down Twitter, Reddit, Spotify and oh so much more. The hackers remain at large, but the root of the hack is clear: tens of millions of insecure IoT devices attacked by a massive botnet.  "This could mean everything from camera systems, to power company self-reading meters, to smart lightbulbs," Radware vice president of security solutions Carl Herberger said in an email Monday.  The devices that were vulnerable to hackers during last week's attack were mainly DVRs and security cameras, but any device connected to the internet is a potential target: lightbulbs, webcams, toasters, coffeemakers, thermostats, televisions, shower heads, connected locks — and the list goes on.   Cont'd...

Apple Wants to Get Inside Your House Before You Buy It

Prashant Gopal for Bloomberg:  In a darkened master bedroom, David Kaiserman stood in shirtsleeves next to a turned-down king bed. “Good morning, Siri,” he said to the iPad in his hand, and the lights went on while the blackout shades retracted.  “Your home is ready to rise and shine,” the virtual assistant replied.  Inside this four-bedroom stucco house in Alameda, California, Kaiserman, president of the technology division at construction company Lennar Corp., was pitching a vision of a home controlled via iPhone or iPad. Tap your phone, and AC/DC’s “Back in Black” blasts. Tap again, and the bath runs at a blissful 101 degrees. Sweet, right? Of course, your dad might view it as a bit over the top. All told, $30,000 worth of gadgets and gizmos were on display here, many run with Apple’s free HomeKit app.   Cont'd...

Beyond Thermostats: Ecobee Dreams Of Being A Billion-Dollar Smart Home Giant

Jared Newman for FastCompany:  For the last nine years, Ecobee hasn't strayed from being a maker of smart thermostats. Unlike rival Nest, Ecobee never built its own smart home platform, and hasn't expanded into new product categories. The $170 Ecobee3 Lite, announced last week, is the company's first new hardware in two years, and it's just a budget variant of the existing Ecobee3, ditching room sensor support while knocking down the price by $80. So far, the singular focus has served Toronto-based Ecobee well. Thermostats are the most popular type of self-installed smart home devices, according to The NPD Group, and Ecobee—whose revenues have been doubling every year—is not far behind Nest in sales. Ecobee hopes to reach first place in 2017.   Cont'd...

3,200 Connected Home Devices At Best Buy

Chuck Martin for IoTDaily:  Any consumers who go shopping specifically for a smart, connected home device this holiday season are going to face a bewildering assortment. The number of products ranging from smart appliances and home control systems to smart security systems and streaming media devices is now in the thousands at Best Buy alone, according to a new study. The study on consumer attitudes toward smart appliances is based on a nationally representative sample of 1,000 consumers each in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany, conducted by Futuresource Consulting. Researchers counted more than 3,000 connected home devices being sold at Best Buy. The tally provides a general idea of the largest and smallest categories.   Cont'd...

Smart Gardens

The internet of things is coming to make your yard smart. The market for systems that can connect your yard may be new, but it's already proving to be exciting.

7 ways to keep your smart home from being hacked

Kari Paul for MarketWatch:  As the recent announcement that 500 million Yahoo email accounts were hacked shows, emails and passwords are never fully safe. On a daily basis, hackers use strategies like phishing scams to steal usernames and passwords, posing as a bank or other legitimate establishment to trick users. Consumers should be wary of any email asking for personal information and always check the sender address to be sure it’s based at the website the sender claims to be (like an @paypal.com email address versus a deceptively similar location like @paypal.co or @paypalhelp.com). No measure will guarantee users won’t be hacked (email addresses can even be spoofed, and there are ways to check for this by tracing IP addresses). But a number of actions can be taken to lower the risk of hacking and secure your home.   Cont'd...

Smart Linux Home Hubs Mix IoT with AI

Eric Brown for Linux.com:  Industrial, rather than home, applications will likely dominate the Internet of Things (IoT) market in the years to come. Yet, in the early going, the home automation market has had the greatest visibility. And it hasn’t always been pretty. Despite steady growth, retail sales have yet to achieve inflated expectations. Too many companies promised and failed to deliver interoperability with a growing catalog of often buggy smart home products. The lack of essential applications, complex installation, and in many cases, high prices, have also conspired against the segment. Yet the smart home segment appears to be rebounding with the help of maturing technology and IoT interoperability standards. There is particular interest in connecting voice-enabled AI assistants with the smart home in products such as Amazon’s Echo.   Cont'd...

Why Insurance Companies Want to Subsidize Your Smart Home

Stacey Higginbotham for MIT Technology Review:  Insurers such USAA and American Family have lately begun offering to strike a high-tech bargain: wire your home with Internet-connected devices such as a new thermostat, and get a discount on your home insurance policy in return. Offers like that could speed up the adoption of smart gadgets, revamp the insurance business, and transform how we manage our homes. In the future, your insurer might call a plumber before a pipe bursts, for example. But the data needed to help prevent leaks or burglaries will also introduce new risks, such as vulnerabilities to data loss or ransomware.   Cont'd...

The UK Just Switched on Its Future Smart Home Power Grid

Mike Brown for Inverse:  The world’s first data transmission over a power grid has been successfully completed, paving the way for a decentralized future where smart houses tell each other how much energy they need. The tests, conducted by Reactive Technologies in the UK, sends data along the 50Hz electricity signal that passes through sub-station transformers that link up the country’s grid. The wires themselves have been used to send data before, but it’s getting through those transformers that’s never been done. “We are keen to support innovative products like this one that can bring a real benefit for customers,” Cordi O’Hara, director of systems operator at National Grid, told The Guardian on Tuesday. “It represents another step forward in the development of the smart grid technologies that are going to play an increasingly important role in the energy systems of the future.”   Cont'd...  

This Startup Wants To Smarten Up Your Smart Home Devices

Blake Montgomery for Buzzfeed:  Today, Thington launches. It’s a smart assistant app that aims to simplify smart home devices. Thington’s distinctive feature? Thington Concierge, a conversational bot that helps you set up and control the smart things you’ve already set up in your home. From weather stations to light switches to security cameras, it supports a range of devices. With its bot messenger interface, Concierge allows you to create rules for your house. You can set your lights to glow fluorescent during the day and incandescent during the night, or to turn on when you get home. Or, for example, you can program your Nest thermostat to lower the heat while you’re sleeping in your cozy bed, and then to raise the temperature before you wake up. And you can add people to a “Guest List” to give them access to your home’s controls when they’re visiting you. These kinds of combinations and features, Thington founders Tom Coates and Matt Biddulph believe, is their product’s competitive edge: It’s more like an assistant with a personality than a remote.   Cont'd...

9 things Google Home can do that Alexa can't

Taylor Martin for CNet:  Google announced its Amazon Echo competitor back at its I/O developer conference in May. Today, it made Google Home official with arelease date and price. It also gave us a closer look at how the company plans to compete with the more established household assistant today, Alexa. While Google has its work cut out in getting broad third-party support that includes other smart-home brands, there is already a healthy list of in-house features Google Home will be capable of out of the gate that Alexa could only hope to add in the future. Here are nine things Google Home can do that Alexa can't.   Cont'd...

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

This is Control4 Home Automation with Amazon Alexa.

This is Control4 Home Automation with Amazon Alexa.

INTRODUCING THE SIMPLEST WAY TO CONTROL YOUR ENTIRE HOUSE YOUR VOICE. Imagine this... We've all been there-walking through the door into a dark house, arms full. Wouldn't it be nice to tell your house to offer a helping hand? Now you can. A simple voice command-such as "Alexa, turn on Welcome"-lights up the hallway and kitchen, fires up your favorite Pandora station, while the door locks itself behind you. This is Control4 Home Automation with Amazon Alexa.