iSmartAlarm Unveils Major Updates and Innovative Features

iSmart Alarm, Inc., the leader in DIY smart home security, today announces the launch of iSmartAlarm App v2.0.1, the largest update to date to the award-winning iSmartAlarm Apps on iOS and Android devices. With this new update now available for download, fans will have a host of exciting new features, the ability to customize all system Modes, a cleaner UI experience, and significant upgrades in speed and stability.

CIA Exploits of IoT Devices, What Lessons Can We Learn?

All too often, companies building connected devices either ignore security completely, try to bolt it on late in the development cycle, or treat it as a "nice to have" feature.

Not trying to outdo Comcast, this Philly start-up finds its own home-automation niche

Diane Mastrull for Philly.com: Moorman and Buchert decided that multifamily residences represented a vast opportunity in the IoT -Internet of Things - and launched StratIS (for Strategic Implementation and Support), a software company in East Falls, in June 2015.

A look inside the 2017 HGTV Smart Home in Scottsdale

12 News Arizona: With an audio system wired into every room, a security system that can monitor for pipe leaks, and outlets with USB ports built in, the HGTV Smart Home 2017 is not your grandma's house. The fully wired, 3,300-square-foot home is located right in the Valley, in north Scottsdale. HGTV representatives say they chose Scottsdale -- "The West's Most Western Town" -- for its combination of tech and culture, as well as opportunities for year-round family fun. Designer Tiffany Brooks says she took her cues for the house from the desert landscape -- using natural materials like stone, wood, leather and glass, as well as incorporating antique tribal pieces and work from local artists. Full Article and Video:

Leviton Delivers New Wi-Fi Lighting Automation Solution with Voice Control, Scheduling and Remote Access

Leviton announced today the release of a ground-breaking "hubless" home automation solution, Decora Smart™ with Wi-Fi Technology, offering remote access, app-based scheduling and voice control. The new product family simplifies home lighting control from anywhere by automating interior and exterior lights using the free My Leviton app. The devices can also be connected to Amazon Echo, Dot, Tap or Alexa-embedded products, like the Nucleus touchscreen intercom, to provide voice control through commands such as "Alexa, turn living room lamp to 33%." The Decora Smart with Wi-Fi Technology product family includes both 600W and 1000W in-wall dimmers and 15 Amp switches that are all multi-way capable, as well as plug-in outlets and plug-in dimmers. Leviton devices are connected to a home's Wi-Fi network as well as to Amazon Alexa-enabled products via the My Leviton app. In the app, users can easily add a new home, device, room, activity or schedule at any time from an iOS or Android device. Users can also create schedules and activities based on specific times or events. Full Press Release:

Toys for Tots: Toys are Getting Smarter, More Educational but Riskier

All of the great "toys" are simply logical extensions of technology you're begging to use yourself and will help your kids be light years ahead of you when they're your age!

iRobot Takes Next Step in the Connected Home with Clean Map™ Reports and Amazon Alexa Integration

iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in consumer home robotics, today announced updates to the iRobot HOME App that expand the value of connected Roomba vacuuming robots within the smart home. New Clean Map reports provide visual post-cleaning maps that display information about the robot's cleaning performance, such as the dirtiest floor areas and total space cleaned, while the integration of Amazon Alexa™ voice activated control will make communicating with a Roomba vacuuming robot a breeze. "iRobot is aggressively pursuing opportunities within the connected home to improve our customers' experience with our cleaning robots," said Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot. "The latest updates for the iRobot HOME App make cleaning with an iRobot Roomba vacuuming robot even more user friendly, with voice-activated commands, enhanced mapping features and useful post-cleaning reports. These are exciting next steps towards our vision of an ecosystem of home robots that work collaboratively and further enable the smart home." Full Press Release:

Celebrity Cruises brings smart home automation to its latest ship class

Julian Chokkattu for DigitalTrends: Celebrity Cruises has unveiled a new ship that was completely designed in 3D. The Celebrity Edge won't be operational for some time, but the company offered a sneak peak at how technology will improve a guest's experience on the ship. At 1,004 feet long and 128 feet wide, the Celebrity Edge can carry 3,373 guests in total, as well as 1,320 members of the crew. It features 1,467 staterooms, 14 passenger decks, 12 passenger elevators, and more. As Carnival highlighted in its announcement earlier this year, Celebrity Edge will feature "friction-less arrival," meaning guests won't have to wait in long lines for a check-in process. This will work through a combination of facial recognition software and geo-fenced beacons. Cont'd...

High Resolution Audio for Great Sound

Headphones, speaker drivers and amplifiers credited with the Hi-Res Audio logo must produce a bandwidth of 40kHz and digital inputs and processing must be capable of handling at least 24bit/96kHz.

Can your smart home be used against you in court?

Brian Heater for TechCrunch:  On a November, 2015 morning in Bentonville, Arkansas, first responders discovered a corpse floating in a hot tub. The home’s resident, James Andrew Bates, told authorities he’d found the body of Victor Collins dead that morning. He’d gone to bed at 1 AM, while Collins and another friend stayed up drinking. This past December, The Information reported that authorities had subpoenaed Amazon over the case. The police were considering Bates a suspect in what they suspected was a murder after signs of a struggle were found at the scene. They hoped his Echo might hold some insights into what happened the night before. Amazon initially pushed back against the request, citing First Amendment protections, but ultimately conceded when Bates agreed to allow the information to be handed over to police. While Amazon’s fight has been rendered moot, this case lays groundwork for some tough and important conversations to come, raising a slew of fascinating questions around the technologies.   Cont'd...

Comcast completes acquisition of Icontrol's IoT and home security arm

Tas Bindi for ZDNet:  Comcast has completed its acquisition of Icontrol Networks' Converge business, which creates Internet of Things (IoT) and connected home security solutions. Converge already powers Comcast's XFinity Home, in that it allows Comcast to communicate with and manage security sensors that are part of Xfinity Home, and also supports home-automation devices like cameras and thermostats. While the terms of the deal remain undisclosed, Comcast SVP and XFinity Home general manager Daniel Herscovici explained in a blog post that the acquisition will give the company full control over Icontrol's research and development roadmap. Specifically, it will allow the company to accelerate the pace of XFinity Home's development, especially in the area of connected home security.   Cont'd...

Is Home Theater Dead?

While I doubt people will ever get tired of sitting in front of a great pair of speakers, the way technology is progressing seems to bring technology to a more and more personal level.

Nest is working on at least 3 new smart-home gadgets right now - here's what we know

Antonio Villas-Boas for Business Insider:  Nest, the struggling connected-smart-home company bought by Google's parent company, Alphabet, in 2014, will expand its range of smart-home products with new and updated devices you can control from apps on your mobile devices, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Those new products include a home-security alarm system with window and door sensors, a key fob for arming and disarming your alarm, and a smart doorbell with a camera. The news comes after a tumultuous period at Nest, during which the cofounder and CEO, Tony Fadell, resigned amid criticism of his management style and a lack of new products. The new products would give Nest a more complete presence in the smart-home ecosystem, instead of forcing users to mix devices from a variety of companies.   Cont'd...

Extra security for your Nest Account.

From Nest: Here's how it works: the first time you sign into your Nest Account after activating two-factor authentication, you'll type in your email and password as always, but then you'll get a text with a verification code. Enter the code and you're set. To turn on two-factor authentication, go to the Nest app, tap the menu icon on the top left, then go to the category Account Security. You'll see an option there to activate "2-step verification." After you've turned it on, you'll need to sign in again. It takes a minute or two for our customers, but for hackers working from computers all over the world, things get a whole lot harder.

Understanding Trade-offs in Microdisplay and Direct-View VR Headset Designs

There is currently some debate about which VR headset architecture will create the "best" images with the "best" form factor at the "right" price. In writing this white paper, we started the process by framing the issues as a choice between microdisplay-based designs vs. direct-view panel designs.

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