Z-Wave smart-home gadgets announce new IoT security standards

Ry Crist for CNet:  Less than a month ago, hackers took control of an ocean of unsecured connected home devices, then essentially crashed the entire internet by using them to flood the web's largest internet management company with bogus traffic. Now, the makers of smart gadgets that communicate using Z-Wave are ratcheting up their security standards to help reassure consumers that their products don't come with glaring vulnerabilities.

"No one can afford to sit on their hands and wait," says Mitchell Klein, executive director of the Z-Wave Alliance. "Consumers deserve IoT devices in their home to have the strongest levels of security possible. IoT smart home technologies that don't act will be left behind."

The new standards are called the "Security 2" framework, or S2 for short. Aside from shoring up encryption standards for transmissions between sensors, cameras, and thermostats that broadcast using Z-Wave, S2 also mandates new pairing procedures for each device -- namely, unique PIN or QR codes on the devices themselves.  Cont'd...

IU leads $1 million NSF-funded smart-home effort to advance health and independence in older adults

Indiana University Bloomington:  As part of a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Indiana University has received over $670,000 to establish "HomeSHARE," the first networked system of smart homes designed to advance research on older adults.

The funds from the NSF's Computing Research Infrastructure Program will support the installation of high-tech sensors and other equipment in the homes of 15 elderly volunteers throughout the city of Bloomington. The project is an effort to improve the quality of life of elders through the unobtrusive collection of high-quality research data.

"As far as we're aware, this is the first large-scale research infrastructure project focused on smart homes," said Kay Connelly, an associate professor in the IU School of Informatics and Computing, who is the leader on the grant. "Typically, research infrastructure awards help maintain complex systems like supercomputers, or the purchase of advanced equipment. In this case, we’re looking to generate research data from people who enroll in a long-term study."  Cont'd...

Researchers' Belkin Home Automation Hacks Show IoT Risks

Mathew J. Schwartz for BankInfoSecurity:  As if the internet of things didn't seem secure enough, now we have to worry about apps on our smartphones posing a risk too.

That's just one of the takeaways from the discovery of two zero-day vulnerabilities and one hardware-bypass flaw - now patched - in Belkin's WeMo line of home automation products. The flaws, and how to exploit them, were demonstrated Nov. 4 at Black Hat Europe by two researchers from endpoint security software firm Invincea, in a presentation titled: Breaking Bhad: Abusing Belkin Home Automation Devices.

Belkin bills its WeMo apps as being "designed to address simple automation needs without the hassle or expense of whole home automation." Compatible products include everything from "smart" LED light bulbs, power switches and baby video monitors to coffeemakers, slow cookers and heating controls. In November 2015, Belkin reported that 2.5 million devices using their technology were in the market.  Cont'd...

The smart home could soon be running on its own.

Alfred Ng for CNet:  Legrand sees a future where your smart home learns based on your habits and behaviors -- even knowing when to turn on the lights for your 3 a.m. bathroom run.

The French-based electrical equipment company hopes to make smart homes autonomous, where shades open and the coffee maker gets started before you wake up. Like iOS's automated traffic helper, that uses your frequent locations and tells you how long your commute will be, Legrand wants to use the same data, but apply it to your alarms.  Cont'd...

Wirebutter Advanced Home Automation Powerboard

Julian Horsey for GeekyGadgets:  Anyone looking to add a little more advanced home automation to their living quarters might be interested in a new advanced piece of hardware called the Wirebutter, which has been specifically designed for Internet of things applications and home automation.

Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the new system which has been designed by Anthony Salerno based in Melbourne Australia.

Wirebutter has this week been launched by a Kickstarter to raise the funds it requires to go into production. The project has pledges starting from as little as AUD $65 for earlybird backers. Article:

 

Why iRobot's Colin Angle thinks the smart home starts with a robot vacuum

Matthew Lynley for TechCrunch:  Robots — and the smart home in general — are a hot topic, and it’s one where an enormous amount of investment is happening right now. There are many companies like Nest and Ring that are trying to target segments of the home in the hopes of making everything smarter.

But it’s easy to forget that the home is still a physical space, and in order for everything to work together, it has to understand what that looks like. And iRobot, the makers of a robot vacuum cleaner, have been trying to crack that problem for more than 20 years. Until robots can figure that out, and talk to each other, it’s going to be an uphill battle to build a truly smart home, iRobot CEO Colin Angle said at TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing 2016.

“In the virtual world, it’s very easy to understand everything about the environment because it’s inside the computer,” Angle said. “If you have a simulated room you’re inside the computer. You know precisely where things are. In the robot industry, we almost dislike simulations because they are doomed to succeed.  Cont'd...

SHENANDOAH HOMES TO OFFER HOME AUTOMATION AS A STANDARD IN ALL NEW HOMES

Kayla Devon for BuilderOnline:  Another builder has stepped up to offer home automation features as standard assets in new homes, challenging other local builders to do the same.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Shenandoah Homes announced a partnership with a local Raleigh provider, Anuva Automation, which manufactures the TiO line of home automation products. Shenandoah Homes, which has control of over 1,000 lots in the area, intends to offer customers a standard package that includes lighting, thermostat and security control, with the additional options for more lighting, smart door locks and garage door control, and audio features.

“Home automation is an area of importance of what home buyers are looking for and would expect in any new home,” David Stallings, president and owner of Shenandoah Homes, said in a statement about the new offering.  Cont'd...

This connected clock will nag you to work out and tell you when your Uber's here

Victoria Ho for Mashable:  Plenty of personal gadgets these days, from smartwatches to fitness bands, are aimed at relieving you of having to fish your phone out of your pocket so often.

If you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk or lying on the couch, why not mount a giant Apple Watch on the wall instead?

Glance Clock is kind of like that, but it's just the start of a connected life, says its founder and CEO, Anton Zriashchev.

Like a smartwatch, the clock connects to your phone to sync its time, and is able to display a host of notifications, including upcoming meetings, weather alerts and incoming calls. It'll also hurry you out the door if your Uber's arrived.  Cont'd...

Goodbye, keys: The Ernest app lets you easily access your car, gate, and garage

Stephanie Topacio Long for DigitalTrends:  The only butler in the average person’s life is probably Geoffrey from reruns of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air but you can have one on your phone, too. A Kickstarter launched on Friday is funding a so-called “mobile butler” named Ernest, a unified app for car security and home control.

The idea for Ernest came from tech entrepreneur Arturs Pumpurs, who wanted users to be able to use a single app to access their car, garage, and gate in a secure and convenient way. He and his team came up the app, which communicates via devices you can install in homes, vehicles, and gates. The three-tier security system ensures only authorized users’ smartphones will be granted access.  Cont'd...

Your smart home could help "bring the internet to its knees," expert says

Melanie Ehrenkranz for Tech.Mic:  Last week, a distributed denial of service attack took down Twitter, Reddit, Spotify and oh so much more. The hackers remain at large, but the root of the hack is clear: tens of millions of insecure IoT devices attacked by a massive botnet. 

"This could mean everything from camera systems, to power company self-reading meters, to smart lightbulbs," Radware vice president of security solutions Carl Herberger said in an email Monday. 

The devices that were vulnerable to hackers during last week's attack were mainly DVRs and security cameras, but any device connected to the internet is a potential target: lightbulbs, webcams, toasters, coffeemakers, thermostats, televisions, shower heads, connected locks — and the list goes on.   Cont'd...

Apple Wants to Get Inside Your House Before You Buy It

Prashant Gopal for Bloomberg:  In a darkened master bedroom, David Kaiserman stood in shirtsleeves next to a turned-down king bed. “Good morning, Siri,” he said to the iPad in his hand, and the lights went on while the blackout shades retracted. 

“Your home is ready to rise and shine,” the virtual assistant replied.  Inside this four-bedroom stucco house in Alameda, California, Kaiserman, president of the technology division at construction company Lennar Corp., was pitching a vision of a home controlled via iPhone or iPad.

Tap your phone, and AC/DC’s “Back in Black” blasts. Tap again, and the bath runs at a blissful 101 degrees. Sweet, right? Of course, your dad might view it as a bit over the top. All told, $30,000 worth of gadgets and gizmos were on display here, many run with Apple’s free HomeKit app.   Cont'd...

Beyond Thermostats: Ecobee Dreams Of Being A Billion-Dollar Smart Home Giant

Jared Newman for FastCompany:  For the last nine years, Ecobee hasn't strayed from being a maker of smart thermostats.

Unlike rival Nest, Ecobee never built its own smart home platform, and hasn't expanded into new product categories. The $170 Ecobee3 Lite, announced last week, is the company's first new hardware in two years, and it's just a budget variant of the existing Ecobee3, ditching room sensor support while knocking down the price by $80.

So far, the singular focus has served Toronto-based Ecobee well. Thermostats are the most popular type of self-installed smart home devices, according to The NPD Group, and Ecobee—whose revenues have been doubling every year—is not far behind Nest in sales. Ecobee hopes to reach first place in 2017.  Cont'd...

3,200 Connected Home Devices At Best Buy

Chuck Martin for IoTDaily:  Any consumers who go shopping specifically for a smart, connected home device this holiday season are going to face a bewildering assortment.

The number of products ranging from smart appliances and home control systems to smart security systems and streaming media devices is now in the thousands at Best Buy alone, according to a new study.

The study on consumer attitudes toward smart appliances is based on a nationally representative sample of 1,000 consumers each in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany, conducted by Futuresource Consulting.

Researchers counted more than 3,000 connected home devices being sold at Best Buy. The tally provides a general idea of the largest and smallest categories.  Cont'd...

7 ways to keep your smart home from being hacked

Kari Paul for MarketWatch:  As the recent announcement that 500 million Yahoo email accounts were hacked shows, emails and passwords are never fully safe. On a daily basis, hackers use strategies like phishing scams to steal usernames and passwords, posing as a bank or other legitimate establishment to trick users. Consumers should be wary of any email asking for personal information and always check the sender address to be sure it’s based at the website the sender claims to be (like an @paypal.com email address versus a deceptively similar location like @paypal.co or @paypalhelp.com). No measure will guarantee users won’t be hacked (email addresses can even be spoofed, and there are ways to check for this by tracing IP addresses). But a number of actions can be taken to lower the risk of hacking and secure your home.  Cont'd...

Smart Linux Home Hubs Mix IoT with AI

Eric Brown for Linux.com:  Industrial, rather than home, applications will likely dominate the Internet of Things (IoT) market in the years to come. Yet, in the early going, the home automation market has had the greatest visibility. And it hasn’t always been pretty.

Despite steady growth, retail sales have yet to achieve inflated expectations. Too many companies promised and failed to deliver interoperability with a growing catalog of often buggy smart home products. The lack of essential applications, complex installation, and in many cases, high prices, have also conspired against the segment.

Yet the smart home segment appears to be rebounding with the help of maturing technology and IoT interoperability standards. There is particular interest in connecting voice-enabled AI assistants with the smart home in products such as Amazon’s Echo.  Cont'd...

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