Samsung's Bixby lays the groundwork for the company's smart home play

Brian Heater for TechCrunch: The Galaxy S8's main selling point still isn't fully formed. Announced the week leading up to today's main event, Bixby is as much a key building block for the company moving forward as it is a shiny new piece of a flagship phone. The company is finally ready to make its play for the smart home, and the new messenger is going to be a key component.

Drones and robots are headed to ISC West 2017

Spencer Ives for Security Systems News: The Unmanned Security Expo will have its own section of the show floor, marked by banners and different colored carpeting. The area will feature a "flying cage" that allows ground-based robots and aerial drones to display their movement capabilities. The expo currently has about 30 exhibitors, according to Sessa, with more still joining as of mid-March.

Ikea is getting into home automation with a new smart hub

Chaim Gartenberg for The Verge: The core of the Trådfri system is a gateway device that connects to the internet via an Ethernet connection and creates a local Trådfri network to connect local bulbs. Like most of Ikea's wares, the company is pursing an extremely aggressive pricing scheme, with a base set of the internet gateway, a remote, and two Trådfri bulbs running just 749 kr, or roughly $85.40.

3 Million European Homes Now Have Connected Heating Controls

Delta-ee's latest European State of the Market Report has found 3M homes in Europe are equipped with smart thermostats or connected room heating controls and that number is set to grow to 9M by the end of 2019.

New CTA Smart Home Security Checklist for Tech Installers Will Improve Consumers' IoT Security

"To better safeguard consumers' privacy and sensitive information, CTA created the first-ever tool designed by installers, for installers, that outlines existing best practices, standards and methods for today's smart home security challenges."

Choosing the Right Size Structured Media® Enclosure

Structured Media enclosures make it easy to manage your home network connectivity and hardware, but choosing the right size can be difficult.

Apple and Amazon take fight from smart home to hotel room

Caitlin McGarry for MacWorld: The high-end Wynn Las Vegas resort chose Alexa last December, adding Amazon Echo devices in its suites. Now Marriott International is trying to decide between Amazon and Apple, according to a Bloomberg report. The JW Marriott in San Antonio, Texas has been testing Amazon Alexa-integrated devices since October as an operator of sorts-the conduit to room service and housekeeping. Alexa can also control the lighting in a handful of the Marriott's rooms, though that isn't her primary role.

iSmartAlarm Unveils Major Updates and Innovative Features

iSmart Alarm, Inc., the leader in DIY smart home security, today announces the launch of iSmartAlarm App v2.0.1, the largest update to date to the award-winning iSmartAlarm Apps on iOS and Android devices. With this new update now available for download, fans will have a host of exciting new features, the ability to customize all system Modes, a cleaner UI experience, and significant upgrades in speed and stability.

Not trying to outdo Comcast, this Philly start-up finds its own home-automation niche

Diane Mastrull for Philly.com: Moorman and Buchert decided that multifamily residences represented a vast opportunity in the IoT -Internet of Things - and launched StratIS (for Strategic Implementation and Support), a software company in East Falls, in June 2015.

A look inside the 2017 HGTV Smart Home in Scottsdale

12 News Arizona: With an audio system wired into every room, a security system that can monitor for pipe leaks, and outlets with USB ports built in, the HGTV Smart Home 2017 is not your grandma's house. The fully wired, 3,300-square-foot home is located right in the Valley, in north Scottsdale. HGTV representatives say they chose Scottsdale -- "The West's Most Western Town" -- for its combination of tech and culture, as well as opportunities for year-round family fun. Designer Tiffany Brooks says she took her cues for the house from the desert landscape -- using natural materials like stone, wood, leather and glass, as well as incorporating antique tribal pieces and work from local artists. Full Article and Video:

Leviton Delivers New Wi-Fi Lighting Automation Solution with Voice Control, Scheduling and Remote Access

Leviton announced today the release of a ground-breaking "hubless" home automation solution, Decora Smart™ with Wi-Fi Technology, offering remote access, app-based scheduling and voice control. The new product family simplifies home lighting control from anywhere by automating interior and exterior lights using the free My Leviton app. The devices can also be connected to Amazon Echo, Dot, Tap or Alexa-embedded products, like the Nucleus touchscreen intercom, to provide voice control through commands such as "Alexa, turn living room lamp to 33%." The Decora Smart with Wi-Fi Technology product family includes both 600W and 1000W in-wall dimmers and 15 Amp switches that are all multi-way capable, as well as plug-in outlets and plug-in dimmers. Leviton devices are connected to a home's Wi-Fi network as well as to Amazon Alexa-enabled products via the My Leviton app. In the app, users can easily add a new home, device, room, activity or schedule at any time from an iOS or Android device. Users can also create schedules and activities based on specific times or events. Full Press Release:

Toys for Tots: Toys are Getting Smarter, More Educational but Riskier

All of the great "toys" are simply logical extensions of technology you're begging to use yourself and will help your kids be light years ahead of you when they're your age!

iRobot Takes Next Step in the Connected Home with Clean Map™ Reports and Amazon Alexa Integration

iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in consumer home robotics, today announced updates to the iRobot HOME App that expand the value of connected Roomba vacuuming robots within the smart home. New Clean Map reports provide visual post-cleaning maps that display information about the robot's cleaning performance, such as the dirtiest floor areas and total space cleaned, while the integration of Amazon Alexa™ voice activated control will make communicating with a Roomba vacuuming robot a breeze. "iRobot is aggressively pursuing opportunities within the connected home to improve our customers' experience with our cleaning robots," said Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot. "The latest updates for the iRobot HOME App make cleaning with an iRobot Roomba vacuuming robot even more user friendly, with voice-activated commands, enhanced mapping features and useful post-cleaning reports. These are exciting next steps towards our vision of an ecosystem of home robots that work collaboratively and further enable the smart home." Full Press Release:

Celebrity Cruises brings smart home automation to its latest ship class

Julian Chokkattu for DigitalTrends: Celebrity Cruises has unveiled a new ship that was completely designed in 3D. The Celebrity Edge won't be operational for some time, but the company offered a sneak peak at how technology will improve a guest's experience on the ship. At 1,004 feet long and 128 feet wide, the Celebrity Edge can carry 3,373 guests in total, as well as 1,320 members of the crew. It features 1,467 staterooms, 14 passenger decks, 12 passenger elevators, and more. As Carnival highlighted in its announcement earlier this year, Celebrity Edge will feature "friction-less arrival," meaning guests won't have to wait in long lines for a check-in process. This will work through a combination of facial recognition software and geo-fenced beacons. Cont'd...

Can your smart home be used against you in court?

Brian Heater for TechCrunch:  On a November, 2015 morning in Bentonville, Arkansas, first responders discovered a corpse floating in a hot tub. The home’s resident, James Andrew Bates, told authorities he’d found the body of Victor Collins dead that morning. He’d gone to bed at 1 AM, while Collins and another friend stayed up drinking. This past December, The Information reported that authorities had subpoenaed Amazon over the case. The police were considering Bates a suspect in what they suspected was a murder after signs of a struggle were found at the scene. They hoped his Echo might hold some insights into what happened the night before. Amazon initially pushed back against the request, citing First Amendment protections, but ultimately conceded when Bates agreed to allow the information to be handed over to police. While Amazon’s fight has been rendered moot, this case lays groundwork for some tough and important conversations to come, raising a slew of fascinating questions around the technologies.   Cont'd...

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Smart Bulbs are out there and they can do far more then just provide light. Speakers, projectors, wi-fi extenders and more. The standard light socket that is wired up and ready to go in nearly every home in North America is now providing an easy and affordable option for home owners and renters alike to enter into the world of the "Smart Home". Here is a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options out there, and this list is just the beginning. In this ongoing article we hope to continue to add to and grow this list, so stay tuned!