2012 International Consumer Electronics Show Report

From Las Vegas, NV the 2012 International CES is expecting record attendees and exhibitors along with a host of Hollywood Stars, Sports Legends and Musical Icons.  With so much to see the HomeToys team has compiled a report of some of the interesting products in the Home Technology sector at this year's show. And HomeToys.com is a great place to post your company's CES news and keep up to date on what others are up to.

Classic Home Toys Installment # 27

The development of Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free and open source software collaboration; typically all the underlying source code can be used , freely modified,  and redistributed, both commercially and non-commercially, by anyone under licenses such as the GNU General Public License. Typically Linux us a format known as a Linux distribution for desktop and server use.

Cooling the Enclosed Video Projector

Many of the projectors on the market today (all fixed-matrix; R.I.P., CRT!) have been specifically designed for home use. Part of the redesign for this market has been to significantly reduce noise, both from the fan motors and the movement of air through cooling passages. Nevertheless, some projectors still produce more noise than is acceptable in quiet theaters in which projectors are located close to the audience. There is also a desire in many cases to hide the projector for aesthetic reasons. So the client needs only a bit of noise reduction and perhaps a bit of camouflage. This makes life much easier, as a partial enclosure can usually achieve both objectives.

Interview - What is WiGig (Wireless Gigabit Alliance)?

Founded in March 2007, by a core team of executives and engineers from Intel's Wi-Fi Centrino® group, Wilocity is developing next-generation 60 GHz multi-gigabit wireless chipsets for both the mobile computing platform and peripheral markets that will enable mobile device manufacturers to deliver the thin and light platforms that consumers want without sacrificing the performance and functionality that consumers need. Based on the Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig) specification, Wilocity's wPCIe TM technology will enable truly multi-gigabit wireless for a wide range of applications from I/O to networking to video.

Interview-Home Control in the Clouds

Our programming is simple drag and drop programming that is very intuitive for even the most basic installer. The best feature for the installers is the ability to log in off site and make simple changes to the system, like updating favorite channel buttons, adding custom family photo backgrounds or simply adding new/additional devices to the system from off site. A client can add a new iPhone, or update from original iPad's to new iPad 2's and the dealer never has to leave there office. Win for the dealer and for the client. If a client breaks there phone or looses there iPad, its a simple phone call to the dealer and the dealer can get them up and running from any where that they are at that time as long as they can get to any computer that has an internet connection.

Nature Could Make SSD the Storage Solution Everyone Will Enjoy Soon

Higher performance, higher reliability, light weight per capacity and lower power consumption are just a few of the many advantages that are making SSDs the drives of choice for power users, gamers and anyone who  wants high-speed and low latency-- including  businesses.

Project Showcase - iPad Controlled Mediterranean-Style Home in Arkansas

Featuring drag-and-drop functionality on a floor plan-based interface, the iPad app controls audio, HVAC, lighting, paging, intercom, security and surveillance. HomeSuite provides the client with similar look and feel across all control devices.

The 14,500 square foot Mediterranean-style home sits on a bluff overlooking the Arkansas River, and features 191 lighting loads, 33 audio zones, 19 video zones, 10 HVAC zones, 12 intercom zones, and 24 paging zones, all controlled by Crestron integrated home technology.

Residential Power Monitoring

Living with soaring fuel prices, a difficult economy, and the emerging Smart Grid, I decided I would start to monitor and manage my power consumption when I rehabbed my 1912 house. The monitoring has been running for several months now, so did it make me a more eco-friendly citizen and did it save me money?

The Data-driven Video Discovery Evolution

Expanded consumer choice and interaction are disruptive forces for providers, consumer electronics manufacturers, content owners, and advertisers. Time-shifted viewing via the DVR or video-on-demand in combination with video options via the Internet has created an increasingly fragmented consumer "television" experience. And although live television still dominates viewing in a typical U.S. TV household, viewers are supplementing this experience with additional options.

The Personal Cloud

The main driver for cloud-based services today is data safekeeping, but as content libraries grow, so will demand, both explicit and implicit, for solutions to organize, manage, and retrieve data, files, and media.

Using the Kindle Fire as a Home Automation Touchscreen

Ever since I saw the first homes with wall-mounted touchscreens, I've yearned for an affordable alternative. Was the Kindle Fire, the answer to my dreams. I ordered one in an attempt to find out.

Like a kid waiting for Santa, I looked out the window every 15 minutes on Saturday morning for the UPS driver. After what seemed like an eternity (it was after 10:30 am after all), it arrived. I excitedly unboxed it and got to work. Within 10 minutes, I had the tablet up and running and controlling devices and events (albeit with a sample skin). A few hours later, I had my custom iPad screens adapted to the size of the Fire and deployed on the device. I now had my $199 Home Automation touchscreen. One in every important room was within my grasp and my budget.

Visual Presentations for the Modern Sports Bar

The ideal sports fan experience includes views available from any seat in the bar with multiple, large high-definition TVs positioned for ease of view.  The size of the bar will determine how many TVs can be utilized and whether a large projection-screen would work.  Customers are drawn to the mega screen for sports action, such as NASCAR. 

The layout of the bar will determine the placement of the TVs.  Place as many TVs behind the bar as the space will allow.  There was a time when mirrors or paintings were mounted behind the bar because tube type televisions would not fit, but today these decorations are replaced by flat panel televisions, which need only inches from the wall for mounting. 

What can you expect in today's conference rooms?

To grow, a company has to spend money.  Many companies upgrade the technology for their employees, but they often forget the potential of their conference rooms.  Before the first piece of equipment is purchased, a company needs to evaluate how the room will be used, the esthetics of the room, and the layout. 

Control Protocol Design
A Guide for Controllable Hardware Manufacturers

This document is for developers of hardware devices which are intended for external control by automation systems, specialized control applications, or hardware controllers, via some sort of wired or wireless connection. Any such device must expose a 'control protocol' which defines the form and meaning of commands and information passing between the two involved parties. This document describes how to create a high quality control protocol, and the considerations thereof. The information in this document is intended to improve the quality of automation at the most fundamental level, because automation systems are no better than the extent to which they can reliably and conveniently provide control over the customer's devices, and long experience has shown that far too many devices have substandard control protocols. This document starts out fairly simply and generically, so if you already have some experience in this area, you may wish to skip forward a bit to the more detailed technical sections.

Control Protocol Design

This document is for developers of hardware devices which are intended for external control by automation systems, specialized control applications, or hardware controllers, via some sort of wired or wireless connection. Any such device must expose a 'control protocol' which defines the form and meaning of commands and information passing between the two involved parties. This document describes how to create a high quality control protocol, and the considerations thereof.

The information in this document is intended to improve the quality of automation at the most fundamental level, because automation systems are no better than the extent to which they can reliably and conveniently provide control over the customer's devices, and long experience has shown that far too many devices have substandard control protocols.

This document starts out fairly simply and generically, so if you already have some experience in this area, you may wish to skip forward a bit to the more detailed technical sections.

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Featured Product

Yale Real Living™ Assure Lock™ with Bluetooth

Yale Real Living™ Assure Lock™ with Bluetooth

The new Yale Real Living™ Assure Lock™ with Bluetooth replaces conventional keys with digital keys accessed through the Yale Digital Keys app for Android and iOS mobile devices, and through an app for the new Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch. The Yale app allows homeowners to unlock doors, send keys to others, control when others have access, get a message when someone enters, and revoke a digital key at any time. Unlocking the deadbolt couldn't be simpler, whether using the Samsung Gear S2 or a smartphone. With the new Samsung Gear S2, touch the watch app to activate the digital key, then touch the lock screen to unlock the deadbolt. With a smartphone, Yale's "Twist and Go" technology allows the user to hold the phone vertically when approaching the door, then twist it 90 degrees to unlock the deadbolt. Homeowners can also unlock the deadbolt using its capacitive touchscreen and a four- to eight-digit code.