Flex to Bring the Intelligence of Things 'Home' with Wink Acquisition

Flex , the sketch-to-scale™ solutions company that designs and builds intelligent products for a connected world, has entered into an agreement to acquire Wink, the smart home platform that enables smart products to work together seamlessly, and connect and communicate globally. Upon completion of the acquisition, Flex will enhance its strategy of driving the Intelligence of Things™, and helping the world Live smarter™. Wink improves the functionality and usefulness of disparate devices in the home by allowing them to communicate with each other, while enhancing usability through a shared common interface in the Wink mobile app. Flex has been a strategic partner to Wink, serving as their primary supplier of hardware and firmware, including the Wink HUB and Wink Relay, which include core IP developed within Flex. After the acquisition, Wink will remain a separate entity and corporation, with its own management structure for day-to-day activities and operations. Flex will look to leverage Wink's platform and provide current and future Flex customers with improved connectivity in a rapidly expanding open ecosystem. Full Press Release:

Rent a smart home? Some multi-family buildings are going automated

By Jenny McGrath for Digital Trends:  When we put together our list of smart-home gadgets that are good for apartment dwellers and renters, a lot of light bulbs, locks, and switches made the list. Wiring and affixing things to the wall just isn’t worth the hassle when you’ll be moving out in a year or two — or when you risk the wrath of a landlord. But lots of tenants would like the option of smartening up their homes, even if they are just temporary homes. A few multi-family dwellings actually want in on making buildings more energy efficient or solving some common headaches that come with balancing security and convenience (think key fobs to enter a locked entrance). StratIS makes app-based tech for apartments, dorms, and hotels that helps property managers control energy, automation, and security. They can use special tablets to oversee a bunch of properties, while those living there can use a smart thermostat without having to buy it themselves and uninstall it when moving out.   Cont'd...

Could This Single Device Protect Your Smart Home?

Joseph Bernstein for BuzzFeed News:  Sense is a smart router combined with software that sits on top of and monitors all of the connected devices in your house. It reads all the traffic coming into those devices in real time and analyzes it using F-Secure’s cloud security network, “an analytics engine and information repository for malware and a variety of other digital threats.” When Sense detects unwanted or malicious traffic — say, a botnet trying to connect to your smart television — it simply blocks it. By drawing all of the IoT devices in the home into one protected network, Sense presents a remarkably elegant solution to a problem the cybersecurity world has been worrying about for a long time.   Cont'd...

China and India driving $3T consumer electronics boom, smart home devices growing fastest

MICHAEL DE WAAL-MONTGOMERY for VentureBeat:  Populous countries in Asia Pacific — most notably China and India — are leading a nearly $3 trillion boom in the consumer electronics market between now and 2020, with smart home devices growing the fastest of any segment, according to a new report by Future Market Insights that came out Thursday. Top players in the space include Apple (with its new Apple TV push), Samsung (with its SmartThings Hub announced earlier this year), HP (which just split into two companies this month), LG, Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, and Hitachi. Basically, we’re talking about any smart device (so most likely Internet-connected) that makes life easier for the average consumer in their home. Nest’s smart thermostat and smoke detector are probably classic examples of the segment, which the report says is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent.   Cont'd...

Sentri Home Security And Automation Hub Up For Pre-Order

Anthony Karcz for Forbes:  Quick, how many connected devices do you have in your house? Do you have a smart thermostat or LED bulbs? How do you control them, via various different apps on your phone? What about when you’re gone and your phone is with you? What do you do then? Sentri is a new company on the scene that has an answer to all of these questions. Coming off a successful Kickstarter campaign, they are offering a home-automation hub and security camera to help everyone in your household control your smart devices and keep them safe. Compatible with Nest, Philips Hue, and WeMo switches (for now, more partners will be announced in the future), Sentri provides easy access to your smart home via a 10-inch touchscreen.   Cont'd...

Utah Jazz home arena renamed to 'Vivint Smart Home Arena'

The name for the 19,911-seat facility, formerly known as Energy Solutions Arena, will be the Vivint Smart Home Arena. The arena hosts about 1.8 million guests and more than 100 sports and entertainment events each year. The basketball court is named for Larry H. Miller, who spearheaded the construction of the building 25 years ago. “The Utah Jazz and the arena are proud to have Vivint as our new naming rights partner,” said LHMSE President Steve Starks. “Vivint is a long-time supporter of the Jazz, is a Utah-based company, and has a deep commitment to the community and our fans. These were all qualities we looked for when we began this process. ” Headquartered in Provo, Utah, Vivint creates innovative smart home products and services. With Vivint, homeowners can automate, control and monitor their homes from any smart device. The company’s smart home platform includes door locks, lights, a thermostat and an intelligent doorbell camera, among others. Vivint has more than one million customers and 8,000 employees throughout the United States and Canada. Forbes recently named the company to its list of “America’s Best Employers.”   Full Press Release:

Linux's domination of home automation gizmos continues

Eric Brown for Linux Gizmos:  The Linux-dominated home automation business is still a fragmented free-for-all, but it’s also beginning to consolidate, with far fewer startups in 2015 compared to recent years. This month we saw several major product announcements from established players related to Linux. First, Google’s Nest Labs announced the first device partners for its Weave home automation protocol using the Thread networking standard. Now Samsung, which began shipping its first Linux-based SmartThings hub last month, released a $249 sensor kit built around the hub. Meanwhile, in the larger Internet of Things world that includes industrial, as well as home automation, the Linux Foundation’s AllSeen Alliance announced a new certification program and security stack. In addition, Amazon unveiled an AWS IoT cloud platform available with starter kits based on Linux hacker boards .  Cont'd...

Lowe's: Consumers Prefer Home Improvement Stores for Smart Home Products

Today, Iris by Lowe's released the results of its annual Smart Home Survey, revealing that when it comes to shopping for smart home products, home improvement stores (either in-store or online) were rated the No. 1 place Americans are most likely to buy. When asked why they would choose a home improvement store, most say it's because it is a retailer they can trust (55 percent) that has knowledgeable staff (40 percent) and a variety of available products (48 percent).  The 2015 Smart Home Survey, conducted online in August by Harris Poll on behalf of Iris, Lowe's Smart Home Business Unit, polled more than 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18+ and examined Americans' attitudes toward and experiences with smart home products, homing in on the driving factors behind their purchasing and use preferences. Results from this year's study indicate that when it comes to purchasing considerations, cost of equipment and monthly fees as a deciding factor has decreased (down from 56 percent in 2014), though it's still the most commonly cited (43 percent). Ease of use is the second most important deciding factor (19 percent, up from 13 percent in 2014), followed by energy and efficiency features (15 percent) such as home temperature control and automated lighting.   Full Press Release:  

August Unveils New Products and Services to Transform Home Access

August Home, Inc., today announced August Access, a first-of-its-kind platform that provides secure, trusted home access via the August Smart Lock for top service providers, including home repair, delivery, shipping, cleaning, elderly care, dog walking, among others. To enable this, the company unveiled a new line of products: the August Smart Lock - HomeKit enabled, the August Smart Keypad, and the August Doorbell Cam. August’s goal has always been to build products and services that enable people to monitor and manage entry into their homes from wherever they are, making life simpler and more secure. These new products, along with August Access, create a cohesive system that revolutionizes the way people interact with their homes, removing the barriers that currently exist with home delivery services and overall access, while providing total visibility, control, and increased security to the front door. Full Press Release:

Nortek Security & Control Ships Full Portfolio of Smart Home Devices

As security providers and custom installers expand their product lines to include home automation devices, Nortek Security & Control introduces the new GoControl smart home portfolio that brings added safety, security and convenience to the smart home with a full line of wireless home control products. GoControl devices work seamlessly with Nortek Security & Control's own 2GIG system and with many of the most popular professionally installed control platforms, security systems and DIY control hubs in the market today.  "These products are a great way for dealers and custom installers to create more sales opportunities with their customers," said Nortek Security & Control's Vice President of Security & Control, Avi Rosenthal. "GoControl makes it easier for these specialty providers to add additional layers of convenience and control to their customers' home and grow their businesses simultaneously."   Full Press Release...  

Logitech Harmony adds even more home automation control

By Alan Buckingham for BetaNews:  Home automation is a catch phrase these days, though some of it is not quite ready for prime time. But things are improving all the time with new products being released at a rapid rate. Logitech's Harmony brand of remote controls has been at the forefront of controlling these devices. Now, after adding things like the Nest thermostat, the company is announcing compatability with even more devices. This time around it's adding ZigBee and Z-Wave. "Harmony Hub Extender also allows your Harmony Hub to join as another controller to existing Z-Wave networks. Popular Z-Wave networks that have been tested" include Wink, Pulse, Vera and Nexia. The hub also works with Schlage and other door locks, among other devices.

'We must fight Amazon, Google, Apple and Samsung or they will dominate the smart home sector'

By Dominic Sacco for PCR:  The UK and Europe must come together to fight against the might of Amazon and other tech giants, or the smart home sector will be lost to them, says Deutsche Telekom. Jon Carter, the firm's UK head of business development for the connected home, was speaking to PCR at the Smart Home Summit today in London. "The danger of this event is that it's a wake," he said. "Everyone here is focused too much on competing with each other - and aren't focusing on the customer. "We need to start with the customer. Why do they want any of this?  "If we're not careful, Amazon, Google/Nest, Apple Homekit and Samsung will have 90 per cent of the smart home market in the future. "They will own this market, the customer and the value. What we're trying to do at Deutsche Telekom is saying Europe can fight back and drive growth from this market. But the approach has to be about all of us working together."   Cont'd...

Nest Gets Into the Smart-Lock Game by Going Old School

CADE METZ for Wired:  Today, Yale, the company, unveiled a digital lock that taps into the “smart home” system designed by Nest. The Google-owned Nest makes Internet-connected thermostats, security cameras, and smoke detectors that also handle carbon monoxide, but that’s not all. It also offers a variety of tools that let other companies connect their own devices with the various Nest gadgets. The idea is that you can control all these devices with a single smartphone app—and that each device can talk to the others. You can, say, set your security camera to start recording when someone opens your door lock—or program your door lock to say something when you step into a house full of carbon monoxide. But the new Yale lock, dubbed Linus, is a little different from other devices. It’s the first third-party device designed to communicate with Nest gadgets directly, via a wireless network set up inside your home. Previously, such devices could only reach Nest gear in a roundabout way, over the Internet. And this has its drawbacks.   Cont'd...

Consumer Satisfaction in Smart Home Automation Market Rising Slowly though Overall Demand Continues to Drop

Smart Home devices and technology are supposed to make life easier for consumers, but a new report from Argus Insights shows that satisfaction is only slowly rising while overall demand continues the decline as revealed in the Connected Home Demand Report from June. Connectivity has been accomplished, but future success of the market will depend on how smart the products can really be. According to the new data, distrust from consumers about the reliability of connected devices is obstructing growth in consumer adoption and that, along with a steady drop in demand, may lead to a challenging holiday sales season for home automation companies. Argus Insights Smart Home Delight report is available here:  http://www.argusinsights.com/smart-home-delight-2015/ Argus Insights proprietary analysis of 45,000 consumer reviews sourced from around the world from March through August 2015 shows that there is a slow improvement in satisfaction among home automation customers with smart light bulbs and security kits and hubs leading in ‘consumer delight' with the greatest disappointment in the category of security cameras. The report takes a deeper look at consumer response to security systems, in particular Canary and SimpliSafe, and security cameras and the Nest Cam market acceptance. "These devices are still designed more for the Internet of Things than the Internet of Humans. Mainstream consumers were burned last holiday season by installation and reliability issues and though the remaining consumers in the market overall like these products more, the issues that forced out mainstream adopters after Holiday 2014 remain," said John Feland, CEO, Argus Insights. "Our analysis suggests that 2015 may be less than robust for smart home devices."   Cont'd...

CliniCloud Raises $5M For Its Connected Home Medical Kit

Fitz Tepper for TechCrunch:  CliniCloud, a company that is building a connected home medical kit, has just announced a $5M seed funding round and a new retail partnership with Best Buy. The round was led byTencent and Ping An Ventures. Founded by Dr. Hon Weng Chong and Dr. Andrew Lin, Clinicloud is a device that digitally records respiratory and cardiovascular sounds. The devices records these biometrics by utilizing a stethoscope and non-contact infrared thermometer, both of which connect to your phone. Measurements recorded with these devices are then displayed inside the CliniCloud app, where the data can either be analyzed or sent directly to a doctor. The company also has a partnership with Doctor on Demand, which will let users video chat a doctor and allow them to use CliniCloud to access heart and lung sounds in real time, as if you were at the office in person. Additionally, CliniCloud is working on implementing machine learning to eventually automatically diagnose illnesses using the device. The company explained that respiratory and cardiovascular sounds alone can help identify a large number common conditions, including Asthma, Pneumonia, and Congestive Heart Failure. The device will be available online in October, and in over 500 Best Buy stores starting in November.  Cont'd...

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