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:

Installer Tips: Understanding Wireless AP Placement

Educate yourself on how Wi-Fi works, make sure your site surveys are thorough, use tools and testing to help you design, and ask your vendor for help. Do all of these things, and you'll be much more likely to install great Wi-Fi networks for satisfied, happy customers.

CEDIA Interview with Clark Roundy, VP of Marketing at Luxul

Our expectation is that we come out of the show with marching orders and priorities for the coming year, while also having demonstrated to our installers that we have been listening as confirmed by the new products now or soon to be available.

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.

For Your Eyes Only: Privacy and Security are Personal, Very Personal

If you're uncomfortable with the idea that the social media sites you regularly visit or your apps could be sold and your "private" information could be a key part of the deal, you're never going to get any sleep when IoT (Internet of Things) and IoE (Internet of Everything) take hold.

'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...

Quirky Files For Bankruptcy, Selling Off Smart Home Platform Wink To Highest Bidder

Abigail Tracy for Forbes:  Launched in 2009, the New York-based Quirky quickly grabbed the attention of investors with its unique business model of connecting inventors with manufacturers to bring products to market. Based on votes sourced from its online community, Quirky would pick pitched products on a weekly basis to manufacture and distribute. In eight rounds, the startup managed to raise an impressive $185 million in funding before it encountered a series of setbacks and flops—the most notable of which was a failed update to Quirky’s smart home system, Wink. Quirky’s problems came to a head when its founder Ben Kaufman stepped down as CEO at the end of July after six years at the helm. According to the company’s bankruptcy announcement, Quirky has entered into an agreement with Flextronics International USA Inc., to sell off its Wink smart home brand at a purchase price of $15 million—unless it is presented with a higher offer. The bankruptcy filing will not affect the day-to-day operations of the Wink brand.   Cont'd...

Scientists develop brainwave-scanning smart home system that's controlled with thoughts

By Kelly Hodgkins for DigitalTrends:  Eda Akman Aydin at Gazi University in Turkey wants to make it easier for people with movement disabilities to get around their home and has a novel idea. Her team is combining EEG (brainwave scanning) technology with current smart home products to create a thought-controlled home, reports New Scientist. It sounds like a script from a science fiction movie, but the technology to build a prototype thought control system is here, and researchers like Akman Aydin are working to develop it. Akman Aydin’s system uses an EEG cap that can detect a specific brain pattern, known as P300, that appears when a person intends to do something. The cap works in conjunction with a display that shows pictures of items, such as a TV or phone, which a person might want to use. When the person sees the image they want, the brain will send out a P300 wave that is detected by the EEG cap. This signal then can trigger the smart home appliance and be used to turn on the TV, prepare the phone to dial, and more.   Cont'd...

Installer Tips: Enhance Wireless Media Streaming with 802.11ac

With media streaming and other demanding mobile applications becoming such a driving force in our homes, offices and culture, better wireless networking is a necessity. 802.11ac delivers a big step up in terms of wireless network performance.

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