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...

Home Control Software Interview - HAL

HAL does not require voice training and provides multiple voice interfaces into the system such as open air microphones, telephones, intercoms, webpages, smartphone apps, headsets and more.

LG Smart Sensor Can Turn Your Low-Tech Appliances To Smart Home Appliances

By Alexandra Burlacu, Tech Times:  The Smart ThinQ Sensor is designed to work with traditional, low-tech home appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and others, turning them into smart appliances or, as LG puts it, making them "smart-aware." Once attached to home appliances, this circular Smart ThinQ Sensor gets feedback such as temperature or vibration and transmits its readings to the Smart ThinQ app on the user's smartphone. LG offers examples to illustrate how this will work out when paired with existing home appliances. Attached to a traditional washing machine, for instance, the Smart ThinQ device can sense when the machine completes a laundry cycle, sending a notification to the user's smartphone. Attached to a refrigerator, it can send the user a notification when a food item is approaching its expiration date. Connected to an air conditioner or some other such appliance, the Smart ThinQ allows users to remotely control the appliances via the smartphone app.   Cont'd...

Home Control Software Interview - ComfortClick

ComfortClick works with KNX, Modbus, Z-Wave, S-Bus, DSC alarm, Global Cach©, IRTrans, XBMC, Philips Hue, SMA Solar Technologies, IP cameras and IP intercom.

Home Control Software Interview - Indigo

Indigo supports three home automation technologies out-of-the-box: Z-Wave, Insteon, and X10. To use one of those technologies, a USB-based interface is required.

Home Control Software Interview - ECS

Protocols: X10, Insteon, UDP, ModBus, Z-Wave, ZigBee, HTTP, FTP, SNMP, TCP/IP, RS232, RS485, and more. Brands: > 50

Home Control Software Interview - Throne

THRONE controls equipment of KNX Association protocol (more than 400 manufacturers worldwide), HDL (China) and Teletask (Belgium).

Philips Just Made It Stupid Simple To Install Smarthome Lighting

Mark Wilson for FastCompany:  A lot of intelligent people believe that a platform like Apple’s HomeKitwill be the way we control the smart home of the future. But I'd bet on it looking a lot more like the new wireless dimming kit from the Philips Hue line—subtle technology that eliminates the need for electricians and apps at the same time. Each kit runs $40, and it includes a white Hue bulb and a dimming remote. All you have to do is screw in the bulb to install it—and up to ten others can piggyback on this same network. The remote uses theZigBee radio protocol to control them in tandem, and it promises to last a minimum of three years, or 50,000 uses, before it needs its battery replaced. Better still? This remote fits into a sticky base plate that adheres to your wall and looks like any standard light switch. In other words, rather than hiring an electrician to wire up the connection, or googling how to install dimmers without electrocuting yourself, Hue’s new kit allows you to install home lighting as easily as duct taping a switch to a wall.   Cont'd...

Home Control Software Interview - Charmed Quark

CQC is a software based product, so it can control almost any type of device, given the broad range of communications media supported by modern computer operating systems. Typically they are serial, TCP/IP/UDP, IR, or USB, but almost anything is controllable given the ability to access the device from Windows.

Home Control Software Interview - The Home Control Assistant (HCA)

HCA has several protocols built-in: UPB, Insteon, Zwave (limited support), Wireless via WGL whole home wireless systems, IR via Global Cache IR controllers, X10, Next thermostats, a connector to the Wink world, weather data from many sources.

Nest Labs preparing to launch second generation smart thermostat

By David Curry, ITProPortal:  Arguments could be made for a new device, but Nest has been quickly approaching a second version of its smart thermostat. The company’s premiere product in many circles, it has won countless awards for its intelligent design and software tuning system. Nest will enhance the wireless capabilities of the second smart thermostat, alongside updating the service to offer more potential savings. The design should stay around the same as it is now, no need to change what isn’t broken. There have been rumours of an audio product and Google Glass in the pipeline. We do not think either of these products will be coming this year. Instead, Nest is focused on updating its product line to make everything fresh.

Electrician of the Year Contest

The grand prize winner will receive a 2015 Ford F-150 XLT Crew Cab customized by off-road specialists Addictive Desert Designs in Mesa, Arizona.

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...

Smart Home Interview - Kwikset Electronic Lock

Homeowners using this technology can lock their door from their cell phone, or receive a text message when their child arrives home from school.

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Smart Bulbs are out there and they can do far more then just provide light. Speakers, projectors, wi-fi extenders and more. The standard light socket that is wired up and ready to go in nearly every home in North America is now providing an easy and affordable option for home owners and renters alike to enter into the world of the "Smart Home". Here is a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options out there, and this list is just the beginning. In this ongoing article we hope to continue to add to and grow this list, so stay tuned!