Electronics retailer Best Buy is entering the crowded home automation market through a deal with startup Smart Home Ventures, which designed its offering around ease of use.
Called Peq (pronounced “peak”), the service costs $9.99 a month for an unlimited number of gadgets connected to a wireless hub, which are sold in kits ranging in cost from about $120 to $490. Best Buy will start selling the products at 250 stores at the end of the month. Peq will also be available online and through a telecom company that is yet to be announced, according to a company representative.
As with most smart home offerings, the makers of Peq assume the primary draw for consumers is home security. Over time, the company expects consumers to add other connected devices, such as lamp modules and thermostats. The monthly service charge covers the ability to watch live video on a smartphone and record twenty video clips and 40 images a day. It also sends text or email alerts in response to certain occurrences, such as when a door or window sensor is tripped at an unexpected time.
Parks Associates today announced Internet of Things (IoT) research showing nearly 4% of U.S. households will have a smart home controller by the end of 2014, with an estimated increase to nearly 6% by 2015. The firm's Evolution of Smart Home and the Internet of Things, which includes data from a 1Q 2014 survey of 10,000 U.S. broadband households, also reports 64% of all smart devices currently in households operate as part of a security or home controls system. Smart devices include motorized door controls, lighting controls, networked security camera, and programmable thermostats, among other devices.
Battle for the $18 Billion US Smart Home Heats Up as Apple and Google Posture for Position says Strategy Analytics
Spending on smart home systems and services in the US will hit $18 billion in 2014 and more than double to $39 billion by 2019 according to Strategy Analytics' Smart Home Strategies latest forecast. Apple, Google and Samsung are among the big consumer brands posturing for position in the market as ADT, Vivint, Comcast and AT&T drive growth in the interactive security market. The competitive dynamics shaping the market are described in "Handicapping the US Smart Home Horserace."
Key findings from the report:
- Security service providers will drive revenue growth in the US market as ADT and Vivint run neck and neck in front with each having more than 800,000 residential subscribers and FrontPoint, the online reseller Alarm.com's platform, not far behind.
- Comcast's Xfinity Home is likely to catch up with the frontrunners in 2014 with AT&T's Digital Life also in the chase.
- Lowe's Iris self-monitoring and control system currently has a big lead on Home Depot for the DIY customer, but Staples, Amazon and Smartlabs, with Microsoft now selling INSTEON devices in its stores, will intensify the battle for DIYers.
- Apple's HomeKit caused a stir when introduced in June. It has perked up iOS devotees to smart home applications, but it remains a dark horse in the race.
- Google's Nest acquiring Dropcam adds another cool product to their portfolio and another point of "learning" about what goes on in homes for future Google/Nest applications.
The all-new 55-inch class (54.6 inches measured diagonally) LG Curved OLED TV (Model 55EC9300), will be available beginning this month at various retailers nationwide at a suggested price of $3,499. Best Buy will be the first dealer to sell the new LG model starting on Aug. 24 and is taking pre-orders now on BestBuy.com.
This marks the third OLED TV that LG has released in 13 months, further cementing its market dominance in this new display category, while also making the technology more affordable than ever before to consumers. In fact, even with new features and design enhancements, the 55EC9300 priced more than 75 percent lower than LG's first-generation 55-inch class model, which first sold for$14,999 a year ago.
"LG is the only manufacturer to make big screen OLED TV a reality, and we're prepared to help them usher in a new era of TV technology," said Luke Mothschenbacher, Merchant Director of Televisions at Best Buy. "Best Buy is enthusiastic about this OLED TV because LG has combined incredible picture quality with an unparalleled cosmetic design that we know will appeal to our customers."
Mass-market home automation will come into its own in the fourth quarter, driven by widespread retail rollouts, a growing product selection, growing consumer awareness and falling prices, marketers and analysts told TWICE.
If Apple launches its HomeKit home-automation initiative as expected in the quarter, awareness and sales will grow to even higher levels, thanks to the company’s massive advertising and promotion budget.
Home automation will enjoy its largest retail/e-tail presence ever in the fourth quarter, said Z-Wave Alliance chairman Mark Walters. “We’ll see a lot more advertising this fourth quarter, including from Apple.”
A strong brick-and-mortar presence, he added, is a “brand new” phenomenon. “Up until the past month or two, the products were bundled with service from telcos and other service providers, or you bought at e-tail as an early adopter.”
Leviton announced the release of the 20A30-1 Omni Notifier, adding immediate e-mail notification to your smartphone or tablet.
As an added benefit, the Omni Notifier board connects to internet time synching. Now your Leviton keypads, Touchscreens, and thermostats can be the most accurate clocks in the home or business.
"The Omni Notifier provides a new way for you to stay in touch with your home or business 24/7," said Jay McLellan, President of Leviton Security & Automation. "Our powerful automation systems have long been controlled via mobile apps and even telephoned homeowners and business owners, but now without any monthly fees, they can receive e-mails and text messages as well."
Lowe's Companies, Inc. announced today the launch of new products for its Iris smart home solution that offer consumers added convenience, safety and efficiency this summer. The home improvement company continues to extend the breadth of connected devices with the addition of a smart garage door controller, electronic pet door, window blinds controller and hose faucet timer to make it easier to cut energy costs, reduce water usage and keep the home secure while consumers balance active summer schedules.
Right-Ear/Left-Ear Technologies selected Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized Linux computer, to add much-desired functionality to One Bar, its new home theater soundbar.
"We wanted to complement our soundbar's best-in-class 3D virtual sound performance with smart wireless and Internet connectivity," said Marty Zanfino, one of the founders. "Raspberry Pi provided a platform to do all that in a single, compact module. We had to write a lot of code, but Raspberry Pi had the necessary hardware and OS to support the functionality we required."
The list includes remote control via smart phones and tablets, Wi-Fi access point so phones and tablets can connect directly, and the ability to join a home Wi-Fi network to access Internet radio and music sites. Once connected, users enter a URL and One Bar's touchpad remote control keypad appears on their phone's and tablet's displays.
Google has Nest, Apple has HomeKit and Samsung has…SmartThings, we’re hearing. The deal was completed for around $200 million dollars, though it might have been less according to one source.
Samsung most likely bought the startup to get out ahead of Google’s Nest efforts. With this buy, Samsung obtains a mature home automation platform that just needs some marketing help. And Samsung has a hefty marketing budget.
The larger arena at work here is the millions of connected devices that will populate our world — commonly referred to as the internet of things. In a nearly inevitable future where every device in our home has a live connection to the web, and can be controlled by our devices, device manufacturers are the ones most uniquely poised to offer holistic solutions to consumers.
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