The Year Ahead: 2016 -A year of Technology Cloud Bursts, El Nino-Like Changes

2016 will see the cloud provider leaders play an increasing role in the business of business and the business of consumers. Not because it's a good thing, but because we'll relax a lot of our requirements (privacy, security).

Home Automation Protocols: What Technology is Right for You?

From ElectronicHouse:  There are a wide variety of technology platforms, or protocols, on which a smart home can be built. Each one is, essentially, its own language. Each language speaks to the various connected devices and instructs them to perform a function. Choosing a smart home protocol can be tricky business. Obviously, you want one that will support a large number of devices, as well as one that offers the best possible device interoperability (the ability for devices to talk to each other). But there are also other factors to consider, such as power consumption, bandwidth and, of course, cost. Following is an overview of some of the most popular home technology platforms on the market. While not intended to be the “be-all, end-all” treatise on which protocol is best for your smart home project, it’s a great place to start.   Cont'd...

Honda Smart Home Opens Up Breakthrough Data Streams

Kyle Field for CleanTechnica:  When I first heard of the Honda Smart Home (HSH), my first question was, “Wait, why is Honda playing with Smart Homes?” Digging deeper reveals that this new endeavor aims to build on some of the core principles of Honda while, at the same time, stretching the company into new areas, such as tapping into the benefits of home automation when paired with an EV that carries around a large battery everywhere it goes. One of the key tenets of this exploratory initiative is open-source data sharing, and Honda just took a very large step in this direction by opening up a ton of new data streams (200!) at 1-minute intervals. I really enjoy the type of data being gathered by the integrated Honda Energy Management System and can appreciate just how impactful this data can be, as it allows anyone to go in, download the data, and play with it to their heart’s content. Summarize, roll up, drill down, average, min/max… the excel geek in me is tingling with the possibilities. I am especially interested in how this type of a central “energy brain” in a home essentially allows users to see exactly what parts of their home are performing well or not.   Cont'd...  

Leviton Launches Snap-Link Mobile for Windows 10 Devices

The overall benefit of using Snap-Link is the ability to control your home, vacation home and business all from one app with zero fees or contracts.

The Smart Home Library - Who, What, Where and How!
Part 2 - The Summary Table

Here is a summary of the info compiled for some of the companies, systems and products vying for dominance in your smart home. Latest update 12/15/15

The Smart Home Library - Who, What, Where and How!

A compilation of some of the companies, systems and products vying for dominance in your smart home. Latest update 12/15/15

Smart Home Interview - Qolsys

The IQ Panel security and smarthome solution includes support for more than 200 (and growing) life safety, security and home control devices.

Open source HomeBridge links 3rd-party smart home devices like Nest to Apple's HomeKit

By Blair MacGregor for AppleInsider:  Homebridge is currently available on GitHub,and works by emulating the iOS HomeKit API through user-contributed modules called Plugins. Each plugin corresponds with a different manufacturer, with the list including smart home titans Nest and Sonos, as well as lesser known manufacturers like Indigo Domotics, Netatmo and Wemo. Both the Homebridge database as well as the Plugins can be installed through a command line prompt as global NPM modules and are compatible with Linux-based systems as well as the Raspberry Pi.  The most obvious use case for using Homebridge to connect with HomeKit is integration with Siri, allowing a user to use voice commands (e.g. "Siri, unlock the front door") for a variety of tasks.  While third-party apps like Home or MyTouchHome have been available for some time, Apple has yet to release an app that functions as a central hub to control multiple HomeKit-connected smart devices, which makes a project like this necessary for those who don't want to wait for Apple. However, some smart home manufacturers like Phillips have introduced devices like the Hue Bridge, which enables users of Phillips' own line of smart light bulbs and accessories to connect their system to HomeKit.    Cont'd.. .

Consumers Aren't Buying the Smart Home, But Insurers Are

By Stacey Higginbotham for Fortune:  The industry has stalled. But while consumers are scratching their heads, property and casualty insurers have been testing connected doorbells, water sensors, smoke detectors and dozens of other devices. On the life insurance side, wearables and other devices are also in the R&D labs, although that’s less of a focus for this story, since consumers have tended to adopt wearables more readily than the connected home concept. On the P&C side, State Farm is launching a program that will give an all-in one connected security device called the Canary to first responders soon. Last month, American Family created an innovative program with connected doorbell provider Ring, that offered customers a discount if they bought the device, but also would reimburse your deductible if someone managed to break in. American Family also subsidizes the cost of a Nest Protect smoke alarm. USAA has backed a connected car startup called Automatic, while Progressive  PGR 0.10%  has already teamed up with Zubie, another connected car device maker, to deliver discounts on auto insurance for drivers who share data. For insurance firms, the decision to back these startups can range from helping to prevent losses, which can boost profits, and helping make the insurer a more positive and proactive presence in people’s lives. Ryan Ryst, director of innovation at American Family, says that in creating programs around connected devices, an insurance company has a chance to remind people that insurers are acting to protect policy holders.   Cont'd...

Tradeshow Whys: Marketing is Marketing, Tradeshows are… Something Else

By starting with a comprehensive event marketing plan, a trade show will no longer be viewed as an expense. It will be an investment.

Home Automation Market Poised to Grow to US$ 21.0 Bn Globally by 2020

Zion Research has published a new report titled “Home Automation (Luxury, Mainstream, DIY (Do It Yourself) and Managed) Market by Networking Technology (Wired, Power-line, Computing Network and Wireless) for Lighting, Safety and security, HVAC, Entertainment and Other (Robotics and Heath care) Applications – Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis, and Forecast, 2014 – 2020”. According to the report, global home automation market was valued at around USD 5.0 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach USD 21.0 billion in 2020, growing at a CAGR of around 25% between 2015 and 2020. Home automation is the residential extension of building automation. Home automation is all about automation of the home and household activity. Key aspects involved in home automation includes centralized control of lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), appliances, security locks of gates and doors and other systems, to provide improved convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security. Home automation for the elderly and disabled can provide increased quality of life for persons who might otherwise depends upon someone else for their day to day activity.  Cont'd...

Target Updates Smart Home Store

By: Christopher Caen, Theory Associates for Twice:  When Target opened its Open House in San Francisco earlier this year, it signaled that the world of smart homes and the Internet of Things (IoT) was finally exiting the hobbyist stage. As these products are entering the consumer mainstream, Target realized that it needed a different retail presence and a higher touch to explain the benefits of these innovative new products. The Open House was the result, a retail destination that was part consumer experiment and part mad laboratory for these new devices, with interactive tables, a mock home installed in the middle of the store with connected products in place, and a data-driven tracking system to watch where people went within the house and which items caught their attention. That data has led to the latest reset of the store, with Christmas right around the corner. As Target has figured out more of what is pulling in consumers, and what they are interested in, the store and the product selection has shifted. For instance, with the importance of common platforms that allow different devices to talk to one another, there is now a lab area where visitors can get a better understanding of the ecosystems that tie these products together.   Cont'd...

Another Year, Another Great CES Coming!

There are twenty Marketplaces at the show, covering all aspects of our lives. If a product or service makes our lives more fun, more comfortable or safer, it can be found at CES.

HomeToys.com - Special Tradeshow Coverage of CES 2016.

CES 2016 will be held from January 6th - 9th in Las Vegas, Nevada . This HomeToys.com Special Tradeshow report aims to bring you news, articles and products from this years event.

Bosch launches smart home subsidiary

John Greenough for Business Insider:  German appliance maker Bosch announced it will launch Robert Bosch Smart Home GmbH, a smart home subsidiary, in the first quarter of 2016, according to evertiq. The company will create a single mobile application that can connect to and control the smart home appliances and sensors Bosch offers. It will also be able to connect to compatible devices from other smart home device manufacturers. The move by Bosch highlights how many appliance makers and retailers are attempting to build the software applications necessary to connect to and control the smart home appliances they make.   Cont'd...

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

Advanced UPB Lighting Packages from Simply Automated

Advanced UPB Lighting Packages from Simply Automated

Custom scenes (connecting up to 250 switches) in your living, family or great room, kitchen, study, master bedroom/bathroom, and office. Turn off all lights in your home at the touch of a button. Automatically (Timer Scheduler) turn on/off outdoor security lights, heating and AC, or provide night light convenience anywhere in your home. From creating a virtual 3 way switch anywhere in your home, to turning a group of lights when your garage door is opened, door bell or phone rings.