70% of Smart Home developers are hobbyists

By Stijn Schuermans for Vision Mobile:   While today’s Smart Home developers are plentiful, the vast majority of them are not pushing to develop the market. Out of all Smart Home developers, 70% are involved in the Internet of Things as a hobby or a side project. Only 30% are doing IoT in a professional capacity. When we look at the goals and motivations of Smart Home developers, this picture becomes even clearer. More than a third of Smart Home developers (36%) are Hobbyists, primarily interested in building solutions for themselves. Another third (32%) are Explorers who are learning the ins and outs of IoT. For Hobbyists in particular, Smart Home is an attractive choice: 57% of Hobbyists choose Smart Home, versus only 37% of non-Hobbyist IoT developers, a 20 percentage point (pp) difference. On the other hand, professional Guns for Hire working on commission (-10 pp), Gold Seekers hoping to strike VC money (-11 pp), Optimizers aiming for efficiency gains (-18pp) and Data Brokers selling repackaged data (-18 pp) seem to shun the Smart Home. In short, 7 in 10 developers, significantly more than in other IoT verticals, are building solutions for their own benefit first, not yours or mine.   Cont'd...

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...

Connected home centre stage at IFA

Ciara O'Brien for The Irish Times:  The connected home may be nothing new, but at this year’s IFA consumer electronics exhibition, it seemed as if every manufacturer was keen to push its smart home credentials. From Samsung and Intel to Panasonic and Sony, the big electronics companies joined smaller startups in jumping firmly on board the smart home band wagon. Smart locks that keep out intruders but can be opened with your smartphone, smart cameras that watch your every move, and smart appliances that can be activated via your home network could all be part of your future home. Smart kettles and coffee makers that can be programmed through your phone, ovens where you can monitor the contents on a livestream and fridges that you can peek inside with cameras when you’re out of the house were just some of the inventions that are hoping to make our lives easier on display at IFA in Berlin. Samsung announced that it would be getting into the connected home, with a starter kit dubbed Smart Things. The line includes a central hub that connects everything from electrical sockets and sensors, and links in with your home router to put your home online.   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...

Google's new Wi-Fi router sleek, but has a few hiccups

Most people don’t think about their home Wi-Fi router unless they are (A) installing it, or (B) undergoing severe digital withdrawal because the Internet is down and they need to hit reset. But Google wants you to think about its new OnHub home Wi-Fi router all the time. The Mountain View tech giant designed OnHub to be proudly displayed out in the open next to your kid’s photos, not hidden in a dark, dusty spot under a desk. Is that a reason to spend $199 on an OnHub, which goes on sale online Monday, if you don’t need a new router? Probably not. But if you are looking to upgrade a worn-out device, Google’s first entry into the router race is a compelling choice. Not to be overlooked, the OnHub is also Google’s answer to Apple’s equally designer-friendly AirPort Extreme Base Station. With both companies battling for an early lead in the emerging market for smart-home devices, having a router that’s the center of it all could become a key beachhead.

Tour of 1985 Home Automation System with Touchscreen

Avboden has a home automation system from 1985, and he recently created this video to show people how it worked. 

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...

Google Launches OnHub, A Souped-Up WiFi Router And Smart Home Hub

Aaron Tilley for Forbes:  Although many details about the product aren’t entirely clear yet, there are some other interesting things going on inside the router. In addition to the 13 WiFi antennas, OnHub will also come with Bluetooth and ZigBee radios to connect with smart home devices. The ZigBee radio is using the Weave communication protocol, which is designed by Google-owned Nest. Nest uses Weave to connect up its own smart home products. Essentially, OnHub could work as a smart home hub. OnHub also has a speaker built into it. No details on what kind of quality these speakers are. At this time, the speaker is mostly intended to aid in the setup process, said a TP-Link spokeswomen. But a speaker just for assisting in the setup process seems unlikely. Google could potentially integrate OnHub with its voice-enabled intelligent personal assistant Google Now.   Full Article:

Build a simple home security system using Raspberry Pi

By Lory Gil for Liliputing:  Want to set up a home security system, but don’t want to pay a monthly fee to a security company? Techradar has a  detailed do-it-yourself project  for a connected alert system using Raspberry Pi. While it might not have all the bells and whistles you’d get with a professional system, with some basic parts and a little coding, you can set it up an infrared sensor that will send you a text message when movement is detected. Plus, you can include a camera to take a snapshot and 10-second video so that you’ll know if your cat or a cat burglar tripped the sensor. The project requires a few special items, in addition to the Raspberry Pi. You will need a passive infrared sensor (PIR) and the Pi Camera. You will also be installing Python and creating a few codes of text to activate the system.   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...

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...

Silicon Valley will soon become a massive player in home security

  Bob Bryan for BusinessInsider:  Currently, there are three types of home security on the market. The industry giants run traditional professionally installed and monitored systems, like what ADT offers and telecoms such as Comcast and AT&T have begun to roll out. These represent 93% of the home-security market, says Citi. The next is self-installed and professionally monitored in which a customer installs the hardware and then pays a subscriber fee to have the house monitored by professionals. This category includes companies like SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, and Protect America. These companies have 4.7% market share. Finally, self-installed and monitored systems such as Google's Nest and Dropcam or Apple's HomeKit-enabled devices leave it up to the user to set up their home security and use notifications to enabled devices to alert people. For these services there is no human monitoring the home security. They control 2.3% of the market, but not for long says Citi. Based on research projections, Citi estimates that self-installed and monitored systems will control 34% of the market in five years, with professional system slipping to 61.6%. In the longer term, 20 years from now, these numbers are projected to basically switch with self-monitored systems holding 62.5% of the market and professional services making up 31.3%.   Cont'd...

Swann Enters the Connected Home Market with SwannOne

The SwannOne system begins with the SwannOne Smart Hub and iOS or Android app for easy control and endless applications. Then add on the SwannOne SoundView Camera to monitor and record what’s happening in your home. There is even a tamper detection feature which sends an alert to your phone if an intruder attempts to break or move the camera. Built-in microphones are smart enough to analyze certain sounds like breaking glass, baby cries, car alarms, and even gunshots. It will only send a notification for major noise disturbances, and not innocent ones like a dropped wine glass on your kitchen tile. SwannOne also listens and protects the home from smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide threats by hearing the alarms going off, and launching an alert. If the user is not reachable, SwannOne can even connect with emergency services via an optional professional security monitoring service.

The connected home needs HomeKit and Project Brillo as soon as possible

Nate Swanner for TNW News:  Google and Apple both have a solution for your connected home. Whether you’re interested in Project Brillo or HomeKit, the promise of a truly connected home is exciting, because let’s be honest — the connected home sucks right now. In fact, I bristle at even calling current solutions a connected home. While devices might connect to your phone, they don’t link to one another, and that’s potentially much more important. As an example, I’ll take my own “connected” home. I have some pretty great individual solutions in Simplicam, Scout Alarm, and August. I’ve also entertained other solutions to control things like a garage door or lawn sprinklers. But to what end? Adding more to the mix only creates more disparate parts to my “smart” home. If my camera can’t talk to my home security system, why would I think the door lock could trigger itself when my connected outdoor lights go on at night? It’s worth noting that some connected home security systems are all-encompassing (iSmartAlarm comes to mind), but those bundles don’t come close to bridging all the gaps. Project Brillo, still in its infancy, has a lot of upside. For manufacturers wanting to build devices specifically for Brillo, Google has specs they can follow. Brillo is also based on “the lower levels of Android,” which opens it up in a big way for hardware manufacturers who may want to create simple solutions.   Cont'd...

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Security & Communication - Featured Product

Luxul - Not just a router, it's EPIC

Luxul - Not just a router, it's EPIC

The network is the foundation on which modern entertainment, security, control and automation systems are built. The new Epic series of routers from Luxul are designed to help integration professionals build that foundation and deliver a great customer experience. The router is a critical piece of every network-connecting a local network to the Internet, controlling traffic and providing security. With the release of its new Epic series, Luxul has redefined the router, adding capabilities that make it far more than just a traditional router. In addition to being high-performing commercial grade routers, the Epic series offers a platform for optimizing the user experience in smart homes, workplaces, retail establishments and more. This experience is delivered through Luxul and third-party applications running on the Epic platform.