Michael Wolf for Forbes: HomeKit is Apple’s attempt to bring sanity to the smart home space (and also sell a lot of iOS devices while they’re at it), but unlike Apple Watch the effort involves a whole bunch of hardware partners. In fact, it’s probably the first major Apple strategic initiative that is as much about other companies hardware as its own, which is what makes HomeKit both so compelling for the industry and challenging for Apple itself. Compelling because many believe Apple’s entry into the smart home will bring both consumer attention and possibly more coherence to what’s been a fairly fractured market to this point. In my view this may be the biggest impact of HomeKit, alongside putting a core smart home control app on iOS devices. Long term, we expect HomeKit to become one of the most important platforms for companies building connected devices for the home, to the tune of 180 million HomeKit enabled devices shipping annually by 2020.
John Patrick Pullen for Time: When Microsoft announced this week that Windows 10 would be available July 29, Start Button devotees the world over rejoiced. But the return of everyone’s favorite app launcher is just one of many new features rolled into the forthcoming operating system. The biggest and most exciting element added to Windows computers is one that went largely unmentioned: smart home control. Microsoft announced last November Windows 10 would pack a technology called AllJoyn. An open source framework that encourages devices to be interoperable, AllJoyn was developed by the AllSeen Alliance, a group of more than 150 companies including the likes of Electrolux, Honeywell, LG, and Qualcomm that have banded together to make an open standard for Internet of Things (IoT) devices to speak to each other. “AllJoyn technology is like dial-tone for things,” says Philip DesAutels, a senior director of IoT at The Linux Foundation. What he means is this new protocol harkens back to how when you bought something to plug into your home’s phone jack — an answering machine, a cordless phone, a fax — it would just work. The idea behind AllJoyn is that whatever smart home products you buy, no matter the manufacturer or which wireless method they use to connect, when they get plugged in, they are detected and connected to all the other AllJoyn devices on the network. Cont'd...
Aaron Tilley for Forbes: Five startups are announcing the launch of the very first HomeKit-certified devices today. HomeKit is Apple’s standard for how third-party smart home gadgets connect in iOS. These five HomeKit-compliant devices include: Ecobee’s $250 WiFi-connected thermostat. Elgato’s line of sensors that collect data on air quality, humidity, air pressure, temperature as well as energy and water consumption. iHOME’s smart plug that allows users to turn on and off appliances wirelessly. Lutron’s bridge device that connects the HomeKit standard with its connected lighting system. Insteon’s bridge device that connects its massive catalogue of existing home automation devices with HomeKit. Each of these device makers had to go through Apple’s MFi (“Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad”) program to achieve certification. Apple requires device makers to install an authentication chip in their product as well as go through extensive usability testing to make sure the products live up to Apple’s lofty standards.
Adam Clark Estes for Gizmodo: Smart lighting systems like Philips Hue are futuristic and awesome and, typically, expensive. But IKEA wants to offer this type of technology to the masses. The Swedish flatpack furniture empire is developing an entire smart home system, and it looks futuristic and awesome and, you guessed it, cheap. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. IKEA’s been inching into the home electronics business very deliberately, and it’s only natural that it would want to upend the burgeoning smart home market. Creating with a connected lightbulb system makes good sense. We already saw IKEA’s affordable, motorized sit/stand desk last fall. Then, came IKEA’s versatile and customizable wireless charging system that hit stores this spring. But next fall, the so-called Home Smart II Lighting Collection will take things to a new level. At least, IKEA says it’s going to do this. I recently visited IKEA’s headquarters in Älmhult, where the company was showing off all kinds of new goodies, from vegetarian meatballs to couches made out of paper. At an event that I can only describe as a science fair for furniture, I learned a little bit about how the new lighting system will work. Since I didn’t test the products themselves, I’ll offer you IKEA’s description of the system, which is being developed in collaboration with Frog Design. Cont'd...
By Jacob Kastrenakes for The Verge: The promise of the smart home is a world of appliances that anticipate your needs and do exactly what you want them to at the touch of a button, but that vision devolves into chaos when none of those devices can actually talk to each other. That's more or less the state of the smart home today, but now Google is trying to offer a solution. At its developers conference this afternoon, Google announced two pieces of software for the smart home and the broader collection of connected devices around us, increasingly known as the internet of things. Those two pieces are Brillo, an operating system, and Weave, a common language for devices to talk to one another. And importantly, Weave doesn't have to run on Brillo — so appliance manufacturers can theoretically add it on to their existing products. With Weave, Google is creating a "common language" that devices can use to talk about things like locking a door, taking a photo, or measuring moisture. Google will keep adding more functions as it thinks of them, and developers will be able to submit their own functions, which Google will vet and potentially add in. Weave devices are even required to go through a certification program to ensure that they work properly.
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, 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.
By Adriana Lee for ReadWrite: Since Apple announced its HomeKit smart home initiative last year, it's been mostly quiet about just how iPhones and other Apple gadgets will wrangle those connected devices. Now, however, the company may have a fancy new app in the works—complete with virtual rooms, a clever and apparently easy-to-grasp metaphor for running a smart home. Apple’s approach, according to a 9to5Mac report, will be to launch a new "Home" app for controlling smart-home gadgets—think smart locks, sensors, garage openers, thermostats, lights, security cameras and other connected appliances. The Home app will sort gadgets by function and location into a visual arrangements of virtual rooms The goal is to simplify the otherwise bewildering task of finding, adding and controlling smart devices and appliances from Apple and other companies.
Hitachi America, Ltd. today announced the debut of three stylish new Wi-Fi enabled speakers powered by the AllPlay™ smart media platform, a wireless whole-home audio solution developed by Qualcomm®. AllPlay is a complete hardware and software whole home audio platform that offers manufacturers and consumers a unified solution for local media and cloud based Wi-Fi streaming across iOS and Android platforms. Hitachi’s smart speakers offer seamless streaming of high-quality local and cloud-based audio content – with the high performance and versatility of Wi-Fi – at three affordable price points. Industry-leading audio streaming music services such as Spotify®, Rhapsody® and others have committed to supporting speaker products powered by AllPlay this year.
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.
CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association) has produced a new video Guide to Smart Home Wiring which introduces consumers, builders and design professionals to the benefits that a properly designed and installed cabling infrastructure can provide in homes today. "We all dream of living in a comfortable, secure and energy efficient home," says Matt Nimmons, CEDIA EMEA's Operations Director. "The reality is that technology can now be seamlessly integrated and controlled to deliver these benefits to us all. By following the Best Practice advice within CEDIA's Smart Home Recommended Wiring Guidelines, this video shows how the right cabling infrastructure is an essential requirement for the internet-connected smart home." CEDIA's Guide to Smart Home Wiring looks at how technology is an integral part of a typical family's lifestyle in today's home. It then explains how the right wiring infrastructure can manage and distribute audio-visual, lighting, heating, security and other data hungry services effectively within a property whilst, at the same time, helping to minimise electronic box and cable clutter in the home.
From Josh Lowensohn for The Verge: If you plan on building or buying a connected gadget in the immediate future, Samsung wants to be inside of it. Today the company announced Artik, a collection of small system-on-chips designed to power everything from wearable devices to home appliances. The Artik line is made up three different sizes, what Samsung is calling the Artik 1, 5, and 10. The one is the tiniest of the bunch, measuring at 12mm by 12mm, and runs off a coin cell battery for what Samsung says is "several weeks." It has Bluetooth LE, an accelerometer, a 9-axis motion sensor, a gyroscope, a magnetometer, and a cost of less than $10. Samsung envisions companies using it for Bluetooth tags (like Tile), location beacons, and wearables. The larger Artik 5 (which is a little larger than a quarter) is like a small computer, and adds Wi-Fi, ZigBee wireless, and onboard 720p video decoding. Samsung says a good use case of the Artik 5 would be something like on-board chips for drones. Lastly, the Artik 10 — which is the most like a small computer and will run about $100 — adds more storage, 1080p video decoding, and a 1.3GHz Octa Core processor, all things Samsung says will be useful for media hubs, home servers, and personal cloud storage devices.
CSR plc announced that it has worked with Avi-on Labs to provide Bluetooth® Smart mesh connectivity in a new GE branded line of smart lighting from Jasco Products. These lighting and home control products, which are expected to appear in major retail stores this year, use CSR’s Bluetooth® Smart solution - CSRmesh™ - to allow an almost unlimited number of Bluetooth Smart enabled devices to be simply networked together and controlled directly from a “smart” switch or dimmer, a smartphone or a tablet. “CSRmesh has the potential to disrupt the smart lighting market by eliminating the complex setup, pairing, and use of an access device, such as a router, needed with other connectivity solutions available today,” said Cameron Trice, CEO of Jasco Products. “By combining CSRmesh with Avi-on Labs’ software and support we are able to offer a lighting product line that offers an unrivalled user experience and secure connectivity to customers through our major retail partners. Working with CSR and Avi-on allowed us to get to market fast to meet growing consumer demand for these types of smart devices.” The GE branded Jasco Products range will include “smart” switches, dimmers, an outdoor timer and a smart plug which will give consumers on/off control of virtually any standard home device or appliance.
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.”
Joseph Palenchar for TWICE: Comcast is opening up its monitored-security/home-automation system to operate with devices from a wide variety of home-automation brands. The company’s Xfinity Home system has been available with a variety of unbranded devices such as smart plugs, smoke detectors, security cameras, light switches, door/window detectors, motion detectors and a water-leak detector, a spokesperson said. An Xfinity thermostat and a smart door lock from Kwikset have also been available. Consumers will be able to buy the products from Comcast or from CE retailers, a spokesperson said. Later this year, Comcast will release a software development kit (SDK) and a certification program so home-automation suppliers can offer products that work with Xfinity Home.
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