Tim Hornyak, IDG News Service: Struggling electronics maker Sony has moved further into the crowdfunding scene by starting its own platform to raise funds for internally generated business ideas, including a new universal remote control with an electronic paper interface.
Launched Wednesday, First Flight is a crowdfunding and e-commerce platform designed to take product proposals from the ideas to sales. It’s only available in Japanese and is limited to Sony’s in-house projects.
First Flight has three stages, a teaser stage, in which new ideas can be previewed and discussed, followed by crowdfunding and e-commerce.
“One of the strengths and aims of First Flight is to facilitate ongoing dialogue with customers from initial development through to market introduction, by seamlessly connecting each phase from previewing and crowd funding to e-commerce,” a Sony spokeswoman said. Cont'd...
Mari Silbey for LightReading: If the first phase of the smart home is about adding sensors to light bulbs and door locks, the second phase is about collecting and analyzing data to make the smart home even smarter. Icontrol is moving on to the second phase, announcing that it has teamed up with Canadian company mnubo to bring data analytics to its popular smart home platform.
There's been no question that analytics will play a large role in connected homes of the future. It's a short leap from telling your home to flip the lights when the front door opens to having the smart home system understand that a door opening means the lights should come on, or that at 6 p.m. the family is headed home and the lights and temperature should be adjusted accordingly. With data collected over time, a machine learning system for the smart home can start to predict user preferences.
Icontrol believes it has an advantage in this emerging phase of the market because its scale means it has more data to work with than many of its competitors. The company is the dominant platform provider in the US cable industry, and Icontrol says its software is already tracking more than 26 million sensors and devices. The platform is expected to manage more than 100 billion transactions worldwide in 2015. Cont'd...
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.
By Howard Whitman for Dealerscope: Electrical and digital building infrastructure specialist Legrand has unveiled Intuity, its new home automation platform specifically developed for homebuilders.
According to the company’s announcement, Intuity was created to give “production homebuilders and installers serving the mainstream housing market a cost-effective, modular and repeatable solution for controlling entertainment, security and comfort within a home.”
“Homeowners today expect connectivity and control in new homes,” stated Legrand VP & General Manager for its On-Q and NuVo lines Fritz Werder. “Most new homebuyers are making home automation a priority. Intuity gives builders a unique, easy-to-install platform that meets buyer expectations without delaying the building process.”
Werder said Intuity was created to provide homebuilders with a modular, easy-to-sell home ecosystem that would support homeowners’ most-requested home technologies. Cont'd...
One Quarter of Millennials Have Begun Building Smart Homes and Four-in-Ten Want One, According to The NPD Group
by Stacey Higginbotham for Fortune: Early adopters, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs have bought into the idea of a smart home, but mainstream consumers haven’t.
Leeo, a company that makes a connected nightlight that doubles as a smoke detector for the mobile era and has raised $37 million in funding, laid off about 30% of its staff Wednesday. Earlier this month, we reported that product manufacturing shop Quirky was unwilling to support its home hub software company Wink and it has put it up for sale, according to sources. Meanwhile, a home automation management device built by startup Ninja Blocks failed to raise funding and shut down.
Smart home startups like Goji and Plum are so late to market with their products that supporters who gave them money through their crowd-funding campaigns have given up on them. Goji’s smart lock was supposed to ship 18 months ago. Now the company is only shipping a small number of locks and plans to fulfill all other orders by August. Plum, a connected Wi-Fi light switch maker founded by the former head of CEDIA, the trade association for professional home automation installers, announced its product in early 2013 and plans to ship later this year. They were supposed to be ready in August 2013.
With $454 million invested in connected home companies last year, there is plenty of money riding on the smart home. According to CB Insights data, smart home startups took in a little over $1 billion in funding between 2012 and 2014. Cont'd...
Today, the team behind such technologies and products as the iPhone, Apple Watch, GoPro and FitBit have announced the June Intelligent Oven — a powerful and easy-to-use computer-based countertop oven designed to bring the kitchen into the smart home era and make everyone a better cook.
June has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Foundry Group, First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures, and Founders Fund Angel to accelerate product development, manufacturing, and recruiting.
- Ecobee’s $250 WiFi-connected thermostat.
- Elgato’s line of sensors that collect data on air quality, humidity, air pressure, temperature as well as energy and water consumption.
- iHOME’s smart plug that allows users to turn on and off appliances wirelessly.
- Lutron’s bridge device that connects the HomeKit standard with its connected lighting system.
- Insteon’s bridge device that connects its massive catalogue of existing home automation devices with HomeKit.
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