Branto makes it possible to monitor and control your home in real-time by connecting with your smartphone and Google Glass

ANNA JOHANSSON for PSFK:  Branto is an orb that controls multiple aspects of your home through smart technology. Tired of seeing so many smart hubs that were unattractive and only worked if you bought all new gadgets and appliances, the Branto team set out to solve this problem. They created a sphere-shaped device with the power to monitor your home through a 360-degree camera and speaker. It connects to your devices to provide full-time telepresence, video conferencing, security, infrared control, audio streaming, and smart appliance control through your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ZigBee connection. However, you don't always need Wi-Fi in order to enjoy the perks of your smart orb. It works even if your Wi-Fi goes down, thanks to its ability to connect to your cellular data, meaning that your home will never be without security just because someone unplugged the Wi-Fi. It can also connect to third-party devices, such as Nest thermostats, Phillips LED televisions, and your lighting systems. Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of this technology is its ability to connect to Google Glass. This goes beyond the ability to control your home from your smartphone, opening the door to a future age that the world might not be quite ready for.  Cont'd...

Top 18 Home Automation Companies Who Will Run Your Home

Murray Newlands for Huffington Post:  The home automation space is poised to continue growing in 2015 and beyond. There are more companies and investors behind these companies that want entry into your home to make it smarter, more energy-efficient, safer, comfortable, and cost-effective. Here are the top 18 in-home automations across all segments, including hubs, security devices, energy-saving devices and monitors, appliance controls, and systems, which you should consider for your home: Apple and HomeKit:  From your phone and tablets to your television and computer, to your entire home, Apple plans to control just about everything in your life. Its HomeKit home automation system is a hub that will give connectivity to all automation in your home, including numerous home automation products from other companies. You can use Siri to give it voice commands, and it will include its AppleTV in the hub along with virtual rooms. Google and Nest : Google's acquisition of Nest and Dropcam provides it with a full feature hub and additional security and energy-efficiency features in addition to the overall smart home command center. Google also plans to add voice command to its overall solutions. The Nest thermostat has already been named as the best thermostat solution on many home automation technology lists. Samsung and SmartThings:  Named as the best smart home hub by CNet, Samsung's SmartThings provides a whole home solution that also is intended to eventually connect to all of Samsung's home appliances as well as tablets and smartphones. It is admired for its low-entry price point and user-friendly implementation and overall use.    Cont'd...

Samsung's new SmartThings hub will ship in September

Mikael Ricknäs:  Samsung-owned SmartThings’ new home automation hub is on the home stretch after problems with stability and performance caused a delay earlier this year. SmartThings, which was acquired by Samsung in August last year, said in March it needed more time and had to push the launch of the hub from the second to the third quarter.   The company said on Monday that the Samsung SmartThings Hub will be available for purchase in early September, and is available for pre-order for $99 on the SmartThings shop, on the Samsung.com store or on Amazon.com. The SmartThings Hub and connected sensors can be used to control the lights, thermostats and doors, and warn about things such as water leaks. It works with ZigBee and Z-Wave radios.   Cont'd...

Here Comes Another Home-Automation Platform

Joseph Palenchar for Twice.com:  Smart-house platform provider ROC-Connect has entered the North American market following last year’s launch in Europe and Latin America and has turned to the former VP/general manager of Lowe’s smart-home division to lead the rollout. The ex-Lowe’s executive is Kevin Meagher, tapped by ROC as senior VP of business development. He developed Iris, the smart-home platform exclusive to Lowe’s. ROC will offer turnkey solutions to manufacturers, retailers, service providers such as telcos and utilities, health-care facilities and insurance providers. The solutions will deliver “all your company needs to create a smart-home solution for your customers,” the company’s website says. ROC offers a multi-radio gateway/hub intended for DIY installation in the home along with Cloud services. System monitoring and control is available through an app for iOS and Android devices and from web browsers. Cont'd...

Tripwire Uncovers Significant Security Flaws in Popular Smart Home Automation Hubs

New research finds zero-day vulnerabilities in Amazon's top-selling smart home systems

CastleOS Announces the First Windows 10 Smart Home Hub

CastleOS announces the upcoming CastleHUB will be the first Windows 10 smart home hub, featuring voice control with Cortana and the Kinect. Using Cortana on Windows 10, or the Kinect for far-field control in a room, you can speak to your home! Actions as common as turning on lights, setting moods with color changing bulbs, controlling entertainment systems, adjusting heat and air conditioning, locking doors, monitoring security, watering the lawn, or even feeding the family pet are all possible by voice control and with the CastleOS app. The power of CastleOS with Windows 10 enables everyone to enjoy the highest level of true independent living in their own home, even if they are physically unable to use a mobile app or light switch!   Cont'd...

Quirky's Ben Kaufman steps down as CEO

Sarah Tew for CNET:  Ben Kaufman is stepping down as CEO of Quirky, the New York-based developer of crowd-sourced inventions Kaufman founded in 2009. The company announced the move via blog post on Friday, citing an "ongoing strategy to focus efforts and resources on Wink," its smart home-centric subsidiary. That strategy marks a shift from reports earlier this year that Quirky was looking to sell Wink off to the highest bidder. Those efforts were reportedly put on hold in April after a botched security update locked many customers out of their Wink Hubs, the central communications device in Wink's smart home platform. Kaufman, however, confirmed that selling Wink was still a possibility in an interview with Fortune last month.   Cont'd...

Amazon's Smart-Home Hub Has Been Here All Along

Wednesday, owners of the Amazon Echo—a voice-activated Bluetooth speaker still only available for purchase by invitation—received an email detailing their little black cylinder’s newfound powers. In addition to streaming music from the cloud, telling you the weather, and tapping into Wikipedia to help settle bets, Echo now supports products from WEMO and Philips Hue. In other words, you can now bark at your speaker to dim the lights.   The products Echo now plays nice with include the WeMo Switch and Insight Switch, which you plug into an outlet to give you limited control over your appliances; Light Switch, which does the same for, well, lights; and a stack of smart bulbs from Philips Hue.   Set-up seems fairly simple. As long as your smart home products are on the same Wi-Fi network as your Echo and you’ve identified them appropriately in their respective apps, you simply need to say “Alexa, discover my appliances.” (Alexa is the name of Echo’s AI personality.) Once discovered, they’re at your literal beck and call.

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