Target Opens Dedicated Store For Smart Home Gadgets

Aaron Tilley for Forbes:  At an event on Thursday afternoon, Target will unveil what it calls the Target Open House, a 3,500-square-foot retail space located in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center with a house inside made of transparent walls and furniture. The transparent house is packed full of smart home gadgets. More than 30 devices are placed around this demonstration house, including smart home gadgets like the August smart lock, the Nest learning thermostat and Sonos wireless speakers. But not all the devices are related to the home – Jawbone and Fitbit fitness trackers will also be present. The space is focused on showing consumers what all these products do and how they can work together. Target is using an app called Yonomi, which syncs up connected devices together in the cloud, to get them talking to each other. For example, a baby monitor could detect if a baby starts stirring in a crib and could tell the Sonos speakers to play ambient background noise to soothe the baby back to sleep.   Although it is a retail spot, Target wants the space to also be used for local smart home entrepreneurs to meet up, do product demos and give talks.   Cont'd...

Setting Up A Dual-WAN Router with a DSL and Cable Provider

Small Net Builder walks through setting up a Dual-WAN router. Dual-WAN routers allow you to setup your home network with service from two separate service providers (in the example a DSL and cable company): Failover vs. Load Balancing ...   Better failure detection methods include pinging your ISP's default gateway, pinging a host on your ISP's network, pinging a host elsewhere on the Internet, resolving and pinging an FQDN (fully qualified domain name) or making a TCP connection to an external server.   ...   With load balancing enabled, it is important to configure your router with the speeds of your Internet connections. Many dual WAN routers' default load balancing algorithm equally distribute traffic over both WAN connections. If your Internet connection speeds are not the same, your router needs to know both connection speeds to distribute the traffic load accordingly... The two routers Small Net Builder uses in their setup article are the Linksys LRT224 ($175) and the ZyWALL 110 ($369). Neither of these routers have wireless radios so you will need to bridge to a separate device for that. ... Bandwidth Management Let's say I want to ensure my Netflix streaming device has enough bandwidth for smooth playback. Netflix recommends 5 Mbps for HD quality streaming. I would start by giving my Netflix device a static IP address on my network. On the Linksys LRT224, the default LAN network uses the 192.168.1.0/24 subnet, and the DHCP range is 192.168.1.100-192.168.1.149. Thus, I could give my Netflix device a static IP address of 192.168.1.150. In the Linksys LRT224 rule shown below , I've configured both WAN interfaces to allow all traffic to 192.168.1.150 a minimum of 5 Mbps and a maximum of 6 Mbps. The goal in bandwidth management is to give the traffic-sensitive device(s) enough bandwidth, without limiting bandwidth for other devices and users too much. If my Netflix rule turns out to be too low, I can always increase the minimum and maximum values in 500 kbps increments until it works as desired. ... Rest of article (Small Net Builder) Linksys  LRT224 detailed review Zy WALL  110 detailed review

Alarm.com IPO a watershed moment for the connected home market

BY JOEL GRIFFIN:  There was a time in the residential security market when having home automation features to go along with window and door contacts and motion detectors was simply a “nice to have” rather than a “must have” offering. The industry has evolved to the point, however, where even the term “home automation” is passé, having given way to the more commonly used terminology of “connected home” or “smart home” space in which security is part of much bigger overall solution for today’s homeowners. The growing prevalence of this technology was further reinforced late last month when Alarm.com, one of the dominant players in the smart home space, launched an initial public offering on the NASDAQ. According to John Mack, executive vice president, co-head of investment banking and head of mergers & acquisitions at Imperial Capital, which acted as a co-manager on the offering, the IPO serves as a “strong validation” for this paradigm shift that has taken place with regards to the integration of home security with automation and where the market could eventually go. “I think it is very important for the overall security alarm industry to see what has really been the leading player in home automation software and has really played a key role in enabling the home automation side of this industry to be able to go public at a very attractive valuation and get a lot of very positive attention from the best of the investment community,” explained Mack. “A lot of the validation that came with a big valuation for Alarm.com is effectively a view of the potential for the whole industry.”   Cont'd...

Play with 100 smart home gadgets at new Sears showroom

By Benny Evangelista for SF Gate:  Sears is trying to connect with the Bay Area’s tech-savvy crowd with a smart home device showroom in its San Bruno store. The retail chain opened a 4,000-square-foot Connected Solutions showroom in its Tanforan mall outlet this week, giving customers an Apple Store-style experience with more than 100 smart home gadgets, from video doorbells to Internet-connected garage door openers and light bulbs. Sears is also building smaller showrooms with about half the number of products in 200 stores around the country. But Sears wanted to plant its flagship showroom near Silicon Valley.

One Quarter of Millennials Have Begun Building Smart Homes and Four-in-Ten Want One, According to The NPD Group

Millennials are on the road to building smarter homes. According to The NPD Group Connected Intelligence Home Automation Advisory Service, Millennials are twice as likely as the total population to have a smart home product installed in their residence. The array of smart home products evaluated include network connected security and monitoring devices, sensors, system controllers, smart lighting, power, and appliances. One-in-four Millennials (23 percent) already installed at least one of these products in their homes, compared to 12 percent of the total population. Millennials will continue to drive the growth in this market as four-in-ten (41 percent) of this age group are already aware of and interested in owning smart home products. A key factor that is driving this early growth is that the smart home market is no longer just for home owners. Renters are as likely as home owners to have smart home products installed, and are three times more likely to be part of the millennial age group. More than a third of renters are between the ages of 18-34. “Today’s smart home products no longer require professional installation and ongoing subscriptions, many are now plug-and-play options,” said John Buffone, executive director, Connected Intelligence. “The product mix such as smart cameras, lights, and plugs, fits the lifestyle of both home owners and renters which opens up a larger, younger and more tech-savvy consumer market.”

Nest Has Released a Better Dropcam Called Nest Cam

Nest, the prized home automation company acquired by Google, is showing off its own acquisitions. It’s another indication that the five-year-old company, led by its ambitious CEO Tony Fadell, is trying to cement itself as the leader of the emerging connected device industry and sell itself as autonomous from its big parent. At a press event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Nest announced its third product, Nest Cam, a wireless home camera retailing for $199, joining its digital thermostat and smoke detector. Along with the new camera, Nest announced its own cloud service called Nest Aware, a $10-per-month subscription service that lets you store footage captured with the camera. The new Nest Cam captures video in 1080p HD, is supposedly simpler to set up and boasts advanced low-light video-capture capabilities. Nest also unfurled several software and product flourishes for its Internet-connected flagship products, the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector. Full Article:

Alarm.com sets terms for $98 million IPO

Alarm.com Holdings, a cloud-connected home security and energy platform with 2.3 million subscribers, announced terms for its IPO on Monday.  The Vienna, VA-based company plans to raise $98 million by offering 7 million shares at a price range of $13 to $15. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Alarm.com would command a fully diluted market value of $669 million.  Alarm.com, which was founded in 2000 and booked $176 million in sales for the 12 months ended March 31, 2015, plans to list on the NASDAQ under the symbol ALRM. Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and BofA Merrill Lynch are the joint bookrunners on the deal. It is expected to price during the week of June 22, 2015.

Google Nest Labs' New Home Security Camera Revealed

Google Inc.’s GOOGL Nest Labs is gearing up to release a wireless home security camera to expand its range of "Internet of Things" (IoT) product lineup. The information became public through leaked images on U.S. website Droid-Life. The revelation comes a week before Nest’s press conference on Jun 17 in London and San Francisco, CA, where it is slated to unveil the next-generation of the wireless camera Dropcam, called the Nest Cam. Droid Life noted that Nest and Google have been testing the new camera for some months now. The images reveal that the camera looks similar to a Dropcam, which Nest Labs acquired in June last year for $555 million in cash. Dropcam is a video-monitoring and Internet home security camera maker. Nest Cam is the latest development of Google’s Nest brand since it acquired the home automation startup in Jan 2014 for $3.2 billion. Nest Labs focuses on offering simple and aesthetically pleasing hardware, software and services, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Energy Services and Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide.

Analyst: DIY systems a 'real threat' to traditional home security offerings

SOURCE: SECURITYINFOWATCH.COM:  Through managed smart home offerings from retailers such as Lowes and Staples as well as standalone devices such as video cameras from Dropcam, or smart locks from Kwikset, the research firm said consumers increasingly have the option to install and monitor their own security systems. Demand for such smart home systems are expected to outpace traditional professional monitored security subscriptions as consumers ditch the installation fees, monthly payments and long service contracts of the traditional offerings. At the same time, professionally monitored security service providers such as Frontpoint Security and NextAlarm offer solutions where users self-install their devices, or can integrate existing dormant installations into new IP based services. “Self-install and self-monitor home security solutions are real threats to the standard business models offered by traditional vendors,” said Dan Shey, practice Director at ABI Research. “While matching these solutions is one option, traditional vendors need to look for ways to better integrate their core services with partner smart home services. These can range from call-center monitoring as a plug-in service to bringing home video monitoring into the call center.”

Alarm.Com Files For IPO; Aims To Raise $75 Million

Alarm.com, a company providing security and home automation products, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) and is looking to raise up to $75 million through the offering, as per documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is trying to make headway in the market for smart homes before more established companies such as Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hit the home automation market. The S-1 filing lists Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as key underwriters. Alarm.com was founded in 2000, and for the last five years has been trying to penetrate the home automation sector, inking deals with other service providers to offer products to consumers to enable them to automate their homes. The automation entails controlling lights, appliances, door locks, and other things remotely.

ADT Announces Bold Vision to Lead Next Generation of Security and Automation Market

The ADT Corporation unveiled a series of innovative partnerships and new product and platform enhancements aimed at delivering advanced solutions to its residential and business customer base.   Driven by President and Chief Executive Officer Naren Gursahaney’s mission to “put the customer at the center of everything we do” and “secure the connected world,” these announcements include: A new alliance with global consumer electronics leader LG Electronics to deliver a groundbreaking “All-In-One” smart security product, coupled with ADT security services; and a partnership with Nest to integrate its acclaimed Nest Learning Thermostat into ADT’s Pulse® ecosystem. Both are made possible through ADT’s ongoing investments in its technology and innovation platforms.   As broadband adoption continues to grow, there is a greater push for leveraging home automation within both the consumer and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) segments. ADT’s market leadership in home and business security makes it an attractive and highly sought-after partner for a broad range of leading technology companies. With innovative new user experiences driven by its platform, ADT can now address traditional monitored security, while also adding new smart security solutions for residential and business customers - empowering users to be in greater control of that which they value most.

FIBARO Mount Everest Challenge Participant Survives Avalanche

FIBARO, a leading European manufacturer of wireless, intelligent home automation systems, announced that the main participant in the FIBARO Mount Everest Challenge Powered by Z-Wave, Mariusz Malkowski, has been rescued from the mountain and is now home with his family in New Jersey, USA.   Malkowski Helped People Trapped Under The Snow   Malkowski was about two weeks into his ascent when the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and ensuing avalanche hit. He miraculously survived the avalanche, uninjured, and was able to help people who were trapped under the snow and save lives. FIBARO arranged to have him airlifted off the mountain on Monday via helicopter. He was brought to New Delhi for a short stopover, after which he was able to catch a flight for the 15-hour trip back to the U.S.   “I feel so fortunate to have survived such a horrible tragedy,” Malkowski said. “Obviously, there were thousands of people that weren’t so lucky. The devastation there is overwhelming. Our hearts go out to the people of Nepal and their families.”

Wink's Outage Shows Us How Frustrating Smart Homes Could Be

THIS PAST SATURDAY, one in four people who had come to rely on Wink as the brains behind their smart home set-up found their connected devices suddenly lobotomized. Devices connected to the Wink Hub couldn’t access the internet, meaning that they could no longer be controlled via app, and wouldn’t execute their pre-programmed rituals. Simply put, nothing worked.   In an emailed statement, Wink confirmed that the cause of the outage was a “misconfiguration” of a security measure it had implemented previously. Several Wink Hub units couldn’t be fixed remotely, and those users will either have to try to repair their own using Wink-provided instructions, or mail them in for a replacement. Around 10 percent of Wink users are still without service, and the Hub has been pulled from shelves until further notice.  But Wink’s weekend failure reminds us that the smart home of the future won’t be immune from the testiness that plagues any technology. In fact, those common, unavoidable flailings will be even more frustrating. Nearly a year ago, Mat Honan wrote The Nightmare on Connected Home Street, a glimpse at the inevitable dystopia caused by hooking up our households and everything within them to the internet sewage pipe. We’re not nearly at the full-fledged horror stage, but incidents like the weekend Wink stink are the foundation on which our frustrating smart home future will be built.   Cont'd..

ISC West 2015 is underway in Las Vegas!

ISC West is the largest physical security show in North America featuring over 1,000 exhibitors in one place over a 3 day period.  ISC West is the security industry’s premier launching pad for new products, solutions and technologies.  26,000 security professionals attend the show to view the 10,000+ products featured on its show floor and attend business critical education sessions on the newest technologies in security.    As a media partner for ISC West 2015 HomeToys.com will be bringing all the industry news and exciting new products to our eMagazine to help our readers make sense of the massive event.     Check out our  Special ISC West Tradeshow Report  and our special  ISC West Newspage  for Exhibitor news and announcements.  

Internet of Things Relay For Home Automation Using Arduino

Makers, developers and hobbyists who enjoy making projects from home automation using different Arduino microcontrollers, Raspberry Pi mini PCs or anything else that can connect to the Internet of Things.   Maybe interested in a new IoT relay that has been created by Team IoT to allow you to easily connect devices and boards to mains voltages to create the perfect home automation systems.   The IoT relay project is currently over on the Kickstarter crowd funding website looking to raise $8,750 in pledges to make the jump from concept to production and is currently priced at just $20 per relay. Watch the video below to learn more about this new relay and how it may help you expand the functionality of your projects using Arduino microcontrollers.   “Imagine the applications:  A smart fish tank.  DIY home automation. Industrial control. Wireless remote lighting.  Home theater.  Security. This is the Internet of Things. You can build almost anything imaginable with an Arduino.  But how do you hook it up?  A $60 WiFi plug?  No thanks.     Enter the IoT relay.  It’s an easy, affordable way to control the Internet of Things from your DIY circuit.   Connect to any micro or WiFi adapter. It’s simple — only two wires. The high-voltage switching is done inside the box.  Just hook it up and plug in.

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Security & Communication - Featured Product

REPLACEMENT INTERCOM SYSTEM WITH BUILT-IN MP3 DISTRIBUTION

REPLACEMENT INTERCOM SYSTEM WITH BUILT-IN MP3 DISTRIBUTION

RETRO-M is designed to replace existing Home Intercom Systems and operate on existing 3 and 4 wire systems. BLUETOOTH you music by adding the BT-RECEIVER. No need to remove existing master wall housing, trim plates available to cover those large holes. The RETRO-M intercom unit has a built-in AM/FM radio. Plug in mp3 players such as iPod, iPhone, Zune or any other hand held player into the master and share your music with the entire family. Choose between two music sources; listen to the radio in one room and the mp3 in another room.