The Mess at Nest Echoes the Mess in the Smart Home

Stacey Higginbotham for Fortune:  In January 2014, Google (now under the parent umbrella corporation Alphabet) said it would purchase Nest for $3.2 billion, which validated the hopes and dreams of hundreds of startups that were also building connected products for the consumer home.

After the deal was announced, the VC world went mad searching for investments, while larger companies searched for potential acquisition targets. At industry events that year, everyone I ran into with a connected product or a KickStarter was in talks to sell out or score more funds.

But two years later, the reality has set in as entrepreneurs in the space are dealing with a skeptical customer base and the challenges of seeing their grand vision for a connected home get mired in rival standards. Meanwhile, economic concerns are leading tech companies to prepare for everything from a nuclear winter to a mild recession.  Cont'd...

Report: Google builds an Amazon Echo alternative while Nest turns to security

Jared Newman for TechHive:  Google and Nest reportedly have a bunch of new smart home products in the works, but there may not be much collaboration happening between the two Alphabet subsidiaries.

On the Google side, the search giant may be working on a competitor to Amazon’s Echo connected speaker, according to The Information (via The Verge). The story reveals no details about the product, but it seems like an obvious fit for Google, which has already made voice controls a centerpiece of its Android Wear smartwatch platform. A device that answers Internet queries and controls other smart home products could very well tie into Google’s broader efforts to create a new platform for the Internet of Things.

Earlier this month, Recode reported that Nest had explored its own Echo-like product. But Nest ultimately abandoned the plans, partly out of concerns that an always-listening virtual assistant with ties to Google might freak people out. The Information now reports that Nest wanted to be involved with Google’s connected-speaker efforts, but was rebuffed.

Where does that leave Nest? The company may now be turning its attention to home security, with three projects in development. Cont'd...

Kramer Selected by rAVe Publications for Three Best of ISE Awards

More ISE 2016 Awards for Kramer Network and K-Touch Control Solutions Following Their Award-Winning Performance Last Month in Amsterdam

URC to Launch HomeSet at ISC 2016, Targeting Security Dealers with Home Automation

From CEPro:  Popular provider of custom-oriented audio, video and smart home technology, URC will launch new system at ISC West 2016 ‘specifically for the home security channel.' Is Vera by MiOS the new partner?

URC is a longtime provider of universal remote controls for the masses, and in the past decade has become a major force in the custom home automation market. But the company’s audio, video and smart-home control systems have been marketed almost exclusively to A/V and automation specialists.

That’s about to change at ISC West 2016 next month, when the company will introduce HomeSet, “an exciting product line specifically for the home security channel,” according to URC’s exhibitor profile.

The description reads in full:  URC, leader in smart home automation, introduces the HomeSet control system. Leveraging a rich heritage in control technology, URC has developed this exciting product line specifically for the home security channel. It’s complete and provides the conveniences your customers demand including integration with Sonos and Nest products.  Full article:

Qolsys Software Update Captures and Sends Home Security Disarm Photos to Smartphone App

Dual Path Cellular and Wi-Fi Cloud Upgrade Services Automatically Deliver Routine Enhancements and New Feature Set to End Users

Icontrol Networks Announces Five New Deployment Customers in Japan

Intelligent HOME partnership expected to expand Icontrol's presence in Japan significantly by the end of 2016

AE Ventures' TecHomeX Trade Show Launches

First-of-its-kind trade show gathers builders, contractors of all kinds, integrators, developers, remodelers, architects and more to talk smart home. Today, all those responsible for delivering homes to U.S. consumers get smarter and more connected on the smart, connected home.

Smartphones and Voice Commands Vie for Control over the Rapidly Growing Smart Home Market, According to The NPD Group

Home Automation Sales Up 41 Percent Year-over-Year in 2015

D-Tools System Integrator 2016 Now Available

Latest version of D-Tools' award-winning solution adds over 50 productivity improvements, including SupplyStream and QuickBooks Online integration as well as enhancements to proposals, purchasing, scheduling and installation management

AVnu Alliance Sponsors Second Annual Conference on Time Sensitive Networks and Applications (TSNA)

The 2016 conference features two days of technical content and keynotes from experts at Cisco, Intel, and TTTech

Got an old phone? Make it into a home security camera.

Valentina Palladino for Ars Technica:  Smart security cameras are one of the easiest ways to start transforming your normal home into a connected home. Everyone knows about Alphabet's Nest cam, but there are plenty of other cameras to consider from companies including Samsung, D-Link, and Canary. However, you don't have to drop $200 on a bulbous eye-looking camera if you don't want to—there are apps for that. Numerous Android and iOS apps claim to use your old smartphone's cameras to replicate the features of these dedicated cams, letting you check in from your current smartphone whenever you want.

These security apps have nearly the same features as regular smart cameras but are free to download and require no extra hardware. Even older phones are powerful enough to be repurposed. That doesn't mean the apps are quite as good as purpose-built security cameras, though. We looked into the differences between home security cameras and their smartphone equivalents (specifically the apps Manything and Alfred) to see if one method of monitoring your home is better than the other.  Cont'd...

Luxul to Showcase New Product Lines at San Diego's LIGHTFAIR® International 2016

Luxul Technology will showcase it's new Match 2.0 IoT Metered Smart Switch from April 26th to 28th at this year's LIGHTFAIR® International expo in San Diego California. With a full "Experience Center," users will get a hands on feel for the features of the lighting system, including App control, dimming, and occupancy sensors.

Luxul Launches MATCH 2.0 IoT Lighting Control

Luxul Technology has announced the launch of their new MATCH 2.0 IoT product line. The newest offering from Luxul Technology, MATCH 2.0 is fully CA Title 24 compliant, making it a comprehensive lighting solution for commercial or residential property owners, managers and contractors. The product will be on display at several trade shows this spring, including a full debut at this April's LIGHTFAIR® International (LFI) convention in San Diego.

Garrett-Walker Homes to Install Clare Controls Smart Home System in New Development

For Garrett-Walker Homes, a prominent builder in Arizona, a new home should provide friendly floor plans, value, and quality construction. The builder is accomplishing this by utilizing local craftsman and key manufacturer partners to create high caliber homes. To provide the smart home technology in the Del Rio Ranch community in Avondale, AZ, Garrett-Walker Homes has turned to Clare Controls to install a range of products in 130 homes as part of its standard base package.

Clare Controls Introduces Smart Home Display for Design Centers

To help builders take control of the home technology sales process and create more predictable outcomes, Clare Controls created a home technology kiosk for builders that prompts the design center staff through the lifestyle benefits of smart home technology. The Smart Home Display Center is an interactive demo kiosk that provides an all-in-one sales tool for smart home technology upgrades by focusing on benefit sets instead of individual products. The kiosk eliminates the large investment previously required for smart home product installation, maintenance, and sales training in show homes. The builder kiosk is on display at the Clare Controls booth #C2766 during the NAHB International Builders' Show this week at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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