Currently attempting to hit a $150,000 funding goal on Kickstarter, a group of engineers have developed a new type of smartplug that attempts to simplify the process of automating your home. Called the Zuli Smartplug, the device utilizes low-power Bluetooth in order to interact with your smartphone. Very similar to how the Kivo Kwikset front door lock will unlock based of the proximity of the homeowner’ssmartphone, the Zuli Smartplugs will activate and deactivate based on the proximity of a smartphone owner moving within a home. By simply adding the smartplug to lights within each room, a homeowner won’t have to fumble to find a light switch in a dark room. This is accomplished by purchasing a minimum of three Zuli Smartplugs and setting them up within multiple rooms of a home. The smartplugs start communicating and form a “Bluetooth mesh network” in order to detect someone’s presence. Of course, increasing the total number of plugs used in a home will improve the accuracy of the detection algorithm. Users can set up specific preferences for each room, ideal for personalizing the activation process. Interestingly, the iOS mobile app also switches automatically based on the room you are currently located in, thus providing a quick way to tweak settings for that room.
Like many other products for an Interne t of Things at home, Mother and its Motion Cookies are controlled with various app functions, but they present data in an illustrated storybook format on your tab let screen. What else would you expect from a mom? The Cookies can be attached to toothbrushes, cups, doors, pill bottles, fridge doors, and nearly everything else. They can detect motion and temperature, and continuously ping the Mother unit, so you know if they are in or out of your home. They have batteries that last about a year, and a range comparable to home Wi-Fi. They can report on the temperature of a child's room, whether you're walking enough every day, or when someone tampers with your stuff. It all depends where and how you deploy the sensors, which use a 915-MHz radio link in North America. It's up to you to decide if you need a sensor on your toothbrush.
Pritzker Group Private Capital announced that it has acquired Milestone for an undisclosed price from The Duchossois Group, which will retain a significant interest in the business and continue to have representatives serve on the board of directors. Milestone designs, markets and distributes mounting equipment and display solutions for the audiovisual and digital signage markets. Its consumer and commercial products are sold principally under the Chief, Da-Lite and Sanus brands. Milestone serves more than 5,000 global customers, including professional AV dealers, regional home theater dealers, consumer electronics retailers, mass merchants and original equipment manufacturers. The company maintains global operations with offices in the U.S., Europe and China. "Our acquisition of Milestone demonstrates Pritzker Group Private Capital's strategy of investing in clear market leaders with excellent management teams. We are well aligned with the Duchossois family in the view that our permanent, proprietary capital base allows our management teams to build great businesses over the long term" said Tony Pritzker, managing partner of Pritzker Group Private Capital, Chicago. "Together with the Milestone management team, we have a clear path forward that continues the company's long history of new product innovation, international growth and add-on acquisitions."
Shipments of devices capable of playing over-the-top (OTT) content -- including set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, connected TVs, gaming consoles, and even tablets, smartphones, and desktop computers -- will grow 20 percent in 2013, says business analysis company IHS. Manufacturers shipped 1.43 billion OTT-capable devices in 2012, and will ship 1.7 billion this year. IHS notes that those are enough OTT devices to equip nearly one-quarter of the people on the planet. IHS says that the OTT device market should grow by another 20 percent next year, as well, heading for 2.67 billion devices shipped in 2017. While this sounds like a boom for set-top boxes, IHS notes that most of this growth is coming from computers and smartphones. Those two categories account for 836 million of the 1.43 billion OTT-capable devices shipped in 2012. Excluding computers and smartphones shows that 480 million devices will ship this year, which is an increase of 30 percent from 2012. “Content owners, operators, and consumers all are driving the proliferation of the OTT model,” says Jordan Selburn, senior principal analyst for consumer platforms at IHS.
In a world with a glut of options for data transmission, this guide will help you pick the best format to fill your home music, sans speaker wire or vacuum tubes. For all but the purist vinyl-owning audiophiles, speakers have become wireless extensions of our phones, tablets, and laptops. A few swipes of a glowing screen are typically all you need to link your music library to a speaker. Right now, playing music loudly is cheaper and simpler than ever, but it takes some know-how to identify the best way to spend those hundreds of dollars. There are several options for wireless formats, and, unfortunately, committing to one generally means eschewing the others. We have witnessed format battles before such as Blu-ray vs. HD DVD or VHS vs. Betamax, in which one emerges dominant. But for years now, wireless audio has yet to present a victor whose ubiquity will please shareholders and relieve confused consumers. Until that happens, it pays to understand the differences between formats such as Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Sonos. All of them have specific benefits and drawbacks that will determine which one is best for rigging your house for wireless music. Bluetooth: Reliable and Idiot-Proof AirPlay: Bring Patience and High Fidelity Files Sonos: Build It Full Article:
With CES 2014 just around the corner, latest reports have suggested both Samsung and LG will unveil flexible OLED TVs at the Las Vegas-based show. With both manufacturers having showcased curved OLED televisions during the 2013 rendition of CES, January’s showpiece convention will reportedly see the Korean rivals take things one step further. It has been suggested that the rumoured flexible screen OLED TVs will feature sizeable curved panels which can have the angle of curvature altered using the unit’s accompanying remote control . While there are sure to be many who question the necessity of this sort of feature on a television, it has been suggested that the ‘flexible’ and adjustable curve will allow users to angle their TVs to better suit the seating positions of multiple viewers. Although confirmed details on these futuristic, flexible OLED TVs are still few and far between, it is not believed that the angle of flex will extend beyond just a few degrees. Read more
The global smart thermostats market is expected to grow from 1.3 million in 2013 to 8 million unit shipments in 2018; a CAGR of 43%. Disruptive innovation in thermostats from new entrants such as Nest Labs, ecobee, and EcoFator has significantly raised the bar for product design and innovation in a device category that had seen little change over several decades. Smart thermostat global revenues are expected to see fivefold growth to reach $600 million by 2018. Currently, North America is the most lucrative market for smart thermostats, contributing more than half the worldwide total. Driving this region's dominant market share is a tech-savvy population adopting smart mobile devices packed with low-cost wireless sensors, an expanding install base of buildings connected with smart meters, home automation initiatives from Telco's and Cable companies, and a slowly recovering housing market.
Another contender for smart(en)ing up your home has taken to Kickstarter to raise funds. The Beijing-based startup behind Plugaway has put together Wi-Fi connected plugs and LED lightbulbs which, used in conjunction with its Android or iOS app, can remotely switch your appliances on or off, or dim or kill your lights. The system can also be used to monitor electricity consumption, schedule and time appliances, and set up device alerts and notifications. Or it will, assuming it hits its Kickstarter goal and transitions from the current prototype stage to commercial product (Plugaway is aiming to ship kit to backers next April). It's very close to making its funding goal at least, with more than $47,500AUD raised of a $50,000AUD target and still 34 days left on their crowdfunding campaign. Plugaway's aim is to reduce the costs of hooking your old school household appliances into the tap-happy convenience of apps. They're doing this by offering two pieces of kit: smart plugs, so you can plug any appliance in and remotely switch it on or off; and smart LEDs, so you can remotely control lights. Their Wi-Fi-enabled smart plugs cost $30 a pop - which means Plugaway is undercutting Belkin's WeMo plugs. And their LED lightbulbs are also priced cheaper than LIFX's similar kit (which starts at just under $90 a pop – or will when it goes on general sale in retail stores in January).
Smart-home technologies that control lights, thermostats, the locks on doors and more were sold as futuristic luxuries just a few years ago. Now, they are proliferating and entering the mainstream market at more affordable prices. A Boulder, Colo., startup called Revolv raised $4 million in seed financing to become the “universal remote,” or gateway, that homeowners can use to control them all. Foundry Group led the round, joined by American Family Insurance and other angel investors. The company is the third smart-home device maker to score institutional capital within the past two weeks: August Home Inc. raised $8 million led by Maveron for Bluetooth-controlled locks, and Quirky Inc. raised $79 million from investors including General Electric to make more “connected-home” gadgets. A spate of other smart home tech ventures–such as Ambient Devices, Doorbot, Dropcam, Nest Labs, Sonos and SmartThings– raised seed and venture capital earlier. Other smart home tech businesses have turned to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, IndieGogo and Dragon Innovation for nondilutive capital.
Home security and automation are rarely mentioned in the same sentence as the word cheap, but it's totally possible if you're willing to do a few things yourself. We checked out a $200 DIY kit called Ninja Blocks, and were able to get a home automation and security system up and running in about 10 minutes.P What You'll Get Ninja Blocks are an open-source home automation system that allow you to connect a variety of sensors to the internet. Ninja Blocks are essentially the brain behind that home automation system, and you can connect sensors and peripherals to it easily. Basically, Ninja Blocks are kind of an If This Then That for the physical world. In a way, they're similar to the Belkin W eMo , but Ninja Blocks have a lot more options for triggers, and support the WeMo if you already have one. Once everything is set up, all your gadgets and home monitors will be connected to the internet and visible from your smartphone or PC. You'll be able to monitor the temperature in your home, turn on lights, check out web cams, toggle motion sensors, and pretty much anything else you can think of in regards to home security or automation. If you have anything with a sensor, actuator, or gadget that uses RF signals or Wi-Fi, chances are that you can connect it to a Ninja Block. You can even add to it with your own Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or BeagleBone projects.P
Home automation startup August is getting ready to start shipping its first product to consumers early next year. But first, it’s raised a bit more cash to add personnel and ramp up production of its mobile-operated smart lock. August raised $8 million in a funding round led by Maveron, with participation from Cowboy Ventures, Industry Ventures, Rho Ventures, and SoftTech VC. The new round brings total funding raised to $10 million, and previous investors include Matt Mullenweg, Mark Pincus, David Dolby, and Scott Belsky, among others. Along with the funding, Maveron partner David Wu will be joining August’s board of directors. Bringing Maveron on board makes sense, as the VC firm focuses exclusively on consumer-facing companies, with other investments such as eBay, Zulily, Groupon, and Shutterfly. Wu, who joined Maveron in 2012, had personally invested in companies like Practice Fusion, Sociable Labs, Postmates, Beautylish, and Taulia, and sites on the board of Line2 and SeatMe. With the new funding, August is getting ready to start shipping its first product, the August Smart Lock. The lock, which was designed by Yves Behar, enables homeowners and renters to access their homes or send virtual keys to others via mobile app. The August smart lock uses Bluetooth technology to enable users to automatically unlock a door when they are nearby, and it also has a feature called Everlock that can automatically lock a door behind you.
Sometimes shopping during Black Friday can feel like betting on a prize fight. You plunk down all your money on a great pair of shoes on Black Friday, only to see their price get knocked down during a Cyber Monday blowout. But how can a shopper know what kinds of unadvertised, winning sales are just around the corner? On everyone's mind this season is the question of whetherThanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday — or the span of time in between these holidays — will be the best time to shop for the specific items they want. If you're tired of feeling like you've got long odds for finding the best Black Friday deals, then look no further. We studied the DealNews archives for the past two Black Friday seasons and found the best items to buy on each day throughout the shopping weekend. And while trends can always change, and "off" deals can still pop up at any given time, it's still wise for a shopper to be aware of these general rules of thumb while crafting the perfect personalized Black Friday shopping game plan. Full Article:
Apple has been granted a patent for a home automation system to connect the many devices found in the average household. Although this patent is aimed at the home market initially, much like the iPad, which was launched as a consumer device, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see this technology make its way into the pro AV world. With the adoption of the iPad into many pro-AV installations around the world, the consumer electronics giant has already made a significant move into the sphere of where traditional control systems products from the likes of AMX and Crestron already sit. This move would only increase Apple’s presence in the pro AV sector further. The patent uses data from an iPhone/iPad to determine the user's location and perform the actions of a normal control system i.e. turn on lights, turn off air conditioning. The technology works in a similar fashion to the Reminders iOS app, but will extend its usage to control the home or office environment, rather than provide location-based memos, as it does at present.
Revolv Inc. today announced it has begun shipping its highly anticipated Smart Home Solution to its pre-order customers. The Revolv Smart Home Solution unifies premium, off-the-shelf smart home automation devices such as the Sonos HiFi wireless speakers, Philips Hue wireless lighting, Yale automated locks, Insteon home control devices, Belkin WeMo and popular automated thermostats. Today, consumers can order the Revolv Hub for $299. With the Revolv Smart Home Solution, consumers have the freedom to mix and match wireless devices and appliances in their home to achieve a new level of lifestyle automation right from their smartphone. Revolv automates daily life routines around time, GPS proximity, sensor triggers such as motion in the home, and on-demand commands set by the user. Its proprietary GeoSense technology automatically activates connected devices when the user reaches a certain geo-radius to and from their home. The Revolv hub includes an unprecedented 7 wireless radios speaking 10 different languages, supporting many of the most popular connected home devices available today. Hundreds more devices will be compatible with the Revolv Solution in the coming months, eventually covering 95% of commercially available devices, making it the most universal solution on the market.
The Bluetooth SIG, along with several key analysts, predicts the Home Automation market will be the next to turn to Bluetooth Smart. ABI Research forecasts Bluetooth Smart technology will experience the highest growth in the smart home market, reaching over 133 million units shipped by 2018. Bluetooth Smart technology already has a significant foothold in the smart home, making it possible for locks, lights, thermostats and many more home products to connect to the Bluetooth ecosystem. Apple, Microsoft and Android offer native support for Bluetooth Smart at the operating system level, making tens of millions of phones, tablets and PCs ready to connect with these new home appcessory devices. Doors with locks from August, Goji, Lockitron and UniKey Kwikset Kevo can be locked and unlocked using a smartphone as the key. The dimming and color hues on light bulbs (Bluetooth Bulb and zSmart), temperature (Emerson Blue Wireless Easy Install from White-Rodgers) and even outlet plugs that estimate electricity cost (Stick-N-Find's MeterPlug) can be monitored and controlled via Bluetooth Smart. "The Smart Home has been the next big thing for years, but to take it from niche to mainstream you need a standardized wireless technology to connect locks, lights and thermostats to the phones, tablets and PCs that consumers already have - that technology is Bluetooth Smart," said Suke Jawanda, Bluetooth SIG CMO. "Not only does Bluetooth allow for integrated solutions from service providers like cable and mobile companies, but it also gives consumers the options to bring their device of choice into the Smart Home. We are still in the early stages of a truly connected living room, but Bluetooth Smart puts us all, OEMs, service providers and consumers, on the right path to Smart Home reality."
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The HCE III Tx/Rx HDBaseTâ„¢ extension system offers full HDMI 2.0 compliance supporting HDR (High Dynamic Range) and 4K@60Hz with 4:4:4 chroma sampling. Featuring PureLink's proprietary Pr©cis codec, a light compression technology, the HCE III can transport Ultra HD/4K, multi-channel audio, and High Dynamic Range (10 bits support) content over a single CATx cable. The HCE III provides HDMI extension up to 130 feet (40 meters) at Ultra HD/4K and up to 230 ft. (70 meters) at 1080p over category cable with embedded multi-channel audio, CEC pass-through, bi-directional RS-232 and IR control, and PoE - all with zero loss and zero noise. The HCE III Tx/Rx also supports Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD Master Audio plus LCPM (up to 192 kHz). Additionally, the low profile "slim box" enclosure design make the HCE III ideal for limited space installation environments, such as behind flat panel displays and video walls.