From Jared Newman for TechHive: Logitech is continuing its quest to control your entire smart home by linking up with a couple of voice-activated computers. If you own one of Logitech’s Home Hubs, you can now control all your connected home devices by voice with either a wall-mounted Ubi computer or an Ivee smart alarm clock. Both devices connect to Logitech’s Hub through Wi-Fi, delivering commands that would otherwise require Logitech’s Harmony remote control or mobile app. Ubi and Ivee can already control a fair number of smart home products on their own, but Logitech’s big pitch its ability to string multiple commands into “Harmony Activities.” For example, you could tell Ubi to “watch a movie” and have the TV and sound system turn on, while dimming your Philips Hue connected lightbulbs. Or, you could tell Ivee to make sure your smart lock is engaged and all the lights are off as you get into bed.
From Kimberley Mok for TreeHugger: Much like how camping can come in a a more luxurious, "glamping" version, so too can tiny homes come in more expensive variants that are equipped with all the bells and whistles you might imagine, in addition to the off-grid options. Positioning itself as the "first luxury, custom tiny home manufacturer in the U.S.," the motto of Oregon City-based Tiny Heirloom Homes is to "downsize, don't down grade," offering extra services like legal help, models that can be customized from top to bottom, and tiny smart home automation, thanks to a partnership with Nest Labs. The company is also rolling out their Tiny Heirloom Home Automation System soon, which will include "hands free lighting, voice activated door locks, automated thermostats, auto-leveling jacks, tank level indication and propane level readings and bluetooth surround sound. All this run from an iPhone or Android device. No wifi necessary." Pretty convenient for the hands-off homeowner.
Patrick Nelson for NetworkWorld: AT&T is one company that is planning on consumers being able to control elements of their home from the dashboard of connected cars. AT&T says that it is planning to link its connected car and smart home products via a voice recognition-enabled dashboard control. Home security will be the principal driver of the new tech in that case. But others are also in a race to bring functioning products to market and obtain consumer acceptance. Two existing AT&T products – AT&T Digital Life, a home management system, and AT&T Drive, its connected car platform – will be merged together to create its platform. Mercedes has a deal with Nest, the Google-owned thermostat and home smoke alarm gadget maker. Apple and Google are also working on automotive solutions for in-dash applications. Cont'd...
Zenno has created and launched a new home automation and control system that has been designed to offer a simple voice controls to manage your home entertainment systems and electronic devices around your home. Using your smartphone or other wearable devices such as smartwatches the Zenno home automation system is capable of providing easy and natural interaction between you and your home, say its creators. The Zenno home automation system has been designed to be first device that offers easy to use, customisable voice control over home electronics from your smartphone or other wearables. Features of Zenno include : • Advanced climate control features, without the installation hassle of a thermostat. • Every time, everywhere control from multiple platforms. • Guaranteed control of any home electronic that has a remote. • Developers will get to use our SDK for personal projects. • Smart Scenes that can execute multiple actions at once for your convenience • If you own an Android Wear smartwatch or plan on getting a wearable device in the near future, Zenno will give you a new cool way of using it! • Through our public SDK, Zenno will give developers great control methods for any DIY electronic projects, from LED light shows to RC cars.
he Z-Wave Alliance, an open consortium of leading global companies deploying Z-Wave, the world's largest ecosystem of wireless control products and services, is announcing a brand new competition to support and incentivize innovation on the Z-Wave platform. The yearlong Z-Wave Labs Program will accept applications from start-up companies and entrepreneurs looking to bring Z-Wave products to market. In order to accelerate innovation on the Z-Wave platform and lower the barrier of entry for new companies to develop IoT products, the program will reward one selected individual/company each month starting in May 2015 with a 12-month membership to the Z-Wave Alliance as well as one of the newly available IoT-ready 500 Series Z-Wave Developer Kits from Sigma Designs. "The Z-Wave Alliance recognizes the importance of start-ups and disrupters in the industry both to jump start innovation but also to accelerate widespread adoption of smart home and IoT technology," said Mary Miller, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing at Sigma Designs and a Principal Board member of the Z-Wave Alliance, "With over 1200 Z-Wave-certified devices currently on the market and 300 companies working together to create more solutions every single day, this program is a unique opportunity for young start-ups and entrepreneurs to engineer exciting new products for the Z-Wave ecosystem."
The popularity of mobile devices and changing consumer habits in media consumption are not only increasing demand for wirelessly connected audio devices, but also rapidly altering the home audio landscape, according to new research from IHS Technology (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight. Annual shipments of connected audio products, including wireless speakers, wireless soundbars, and connected AV receivers, are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 88 percent, from 1.5 million units in 2010 to nearly 66 million units in 2018. “Growing penetration of tablets and smartphones -- combined with an ongoing shift in consumer media consumption preferences toward those devices and streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer -- are collectively driving a behavioral shift in how people listen to music inside and outside their homes,” said Paul Erickson, senior analyst for IHS Technology. “Consumers are seeking ways to wirelessly play audio from their mobile devices on speakers in the room they’re in, in multiple rooms in a household, and on speakers carried with them while on the go. This geographically diverse need will drive strong global growth in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connected speakers over the next few years.” “While the whole wireless speakers category is forecast to grow rapidly, network-connected multi-room speaker systems is the small-but-growing subcategory to watch,” Erickson continued. “Heavyweights Samsung, LG, Sony, Bose, Denon, DTS and Qualcomm are all entering the market, with products or platforms designed to take on a rapidly growing segment initially popularized by Sonos.”
As smart home technology plays a larger role in real estate, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC today released a survey uncovering what smart features home buyers are looking for when purchasing a home and how those features impact a home's sale. Coldwell Banker Real Estate also announced a list of 25 smart home products and systems in the categories that matter most to home buyers. Smart home appliances and technology are becoming more mainstream in homes throughout the country. Products and features once reserved for only the highest priced properties are now found in homes across the United States at various price points. The proliferation of this technology is not only changing the way Americans live, it's also changing their tastes and expectations when shopping for real estate -- so much so that making your home "smart" may be smarter than you think. According to the survey, home buyers are most interested in smart home technology for the following categories: Security (65 percent of sales associates agree) Temperature control (57 percent) Safety (48 percent) Lighting (46 percent) Entertainment (42 percent) Appliances (23 percent)
By Maria Sciullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Products often rely on mobile apps to connect to cloud-based servers in order for you to “talk” to your security cameras. If you can control smart devices via the Internet, chances are good that some even smarter stranger with hacking skills might stand a chance of doing so. “Consumers should think hard about the benefits they will gain from an IoT device, and weigh those against a ’worst-case’ risk,” said Mark Stanislav, a Rapid7 senior security consultant and member of BuildItSecure.ly, a pro-bono industry initiative that helps vendors create more secure products. Rapid7 helps companies manage security services. “For instance, is the Internet-connected Web camera you want to put into your home worth the potential risk that someone on the Internet may be able to snoop on it if a flaw is found? It’s worth thinking about the placement of a device like that and how much privacy would be lost in that sort of scenario. “This simple ‘risk-versus reward’ is a great test for consumers to make any time they are about to purchase an IoT device,” Mr. Stanislav said. Cont'd...
From DigitalTrends: Nest and Dropcam are just the beginning for Google’s entrance into the smart home, according to a patent filed in September 2014 called “Security Scoring in a Smart-Sensored Home.” Published yesterday, the patent deals with connected devices that “communicate with each other and/or with a central server or a cloud-computing system to provide any of a variety of useful home security objectives.” It’s not surprising, given that Nest and its “Works with Nest” developer program recently made the smart thermostat and smoke-and-CO2-detectors play with August smart locks, Philips Hue light bulbs, and Withings sleep system. But the patent shows Google is planning on doing more than operating in conjunction with third-party smart devices: It just may start cranking out its own. There are a few drawings and mentions of smart products Google doesn’t yet make, including smart plugs, wall switches, nightlights, and connected doorbells and doorknobs. Then there’s a smart alarm clock that wakes you up earlier when the roads will be icy or an accident is tying up traffic. But it goes beyond just connecting everything in your home; Google wants to tie the community together, too. A burglary three houses down would cause your lights to flick on and your smart lock to engage.
From Adam Gettings for Techonomy: There's a sizeable "smart home" wave building. The smart home and building technology market was $4.8 billion in 2012 and a report by Allied Market Research predicts it will grow to $35.3 billion by 2020. Not surprisingly, many startups, retailers, and established tech companies hope to ride the wave. Surfing is hard to do. Not everyone will get the timing right. But some strategies will make it a lot less likely that companies will wipe out. Open Up Your Platform: Everyone's racing to make their own smart home platform, but few of them are open. Now I don't mean open source, like the Android Open Source Project or Apache Hadoop-those projects are incredible for the technology industry, but open source isn't right or always possible for every company. Rather, I mean these smart home platforms need to be open by offering APIs and other developer toolkits to allow easy interoperability with other products within the ecosystem (or even allowing other brands to license their technology to create totally new products). Developers understandably want to maintain control over their products, but too tight of control can also limit a product's potential. Cont'd...
Jennifer Allen for Paste Magazine: Automating your home is already possible through a variety of different remotes and devices, but how about something that relies upon sound? That’s the thinking behind Listnr, the latest device that aims to make life seem a little more futuristic, as well as convenient. At its simplest, it allows you to connect a smart light-bulb to it, thereby allowing you to turn the lights on or off by snapping your fingers. You can program Listnr to react to any kind of sound, such as a clap, snap, or a stomp of your feet—the latter being useful when your hands are full. Besides simply turning on or off, you can set up the gadget to change to specific colors if you so wish, setting the mood perfectly. It goes one step further, too. It’ll also understand emotion from sounds, such as when your baby is communicating. Via a notification system, Listnr can tell if your baby is crying, laughing, screaming, or simply gurgling, soon sending you a heads up to your smart phone.
Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL) - a worldwide leader in providing complete silicon solutions from mobile communications to storage, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud infrastructure, digital entertainment and in-home content delivery and Kinoma software enabling the "Smart Life and Smart Lifestyle," - today announced that Xiaomi has launched a smart module built on the Marvell IoT chipset; the module also has been integrated into Xiaomi's smart air purifier and smart hub, part of its portfolio of smart home product offerings. The new design wins build on the previously announced Xiaomi's smart-plug and extends the partnership between two leading companies in the Smart Home industry. Powered by the Marvell IoT chipset, the Xiaomi smart module integrates Wi-Fi connection and complete communication protocol with Xiaomi Cloud, which enables third-party manufacturers to upgrade to smart devices from traditional devices. This module supports multiple functions, including power on device detect, firmware upgrades, network reliability and consistency maintenance of the connection status indication. "I am very pleased with our collaboration with Xiaomi in launching a new series of Smart Home devices for the vast consumer base in China. Smart Home is an integral part of the fast-growing Internet of Things market," said Weili Dai, President and Co-Founder of Marvell. "I am very proud that Marvell is leading the industry with the broadest technology portfolio and end-to-end silicon and software solutions. With our continued collaboration with top global ecosystem partners such as Xiaomi, we are committed to bringing the benefit of IoT technologies to billions of consumers around the world."
Neurio is an intelligent, open platform that with only one sensor brings smart home capabilities to the entire home, with future versions providing intelligence for all existing appliances. As the "brain of the home," Neurio connects both older appliances and newer "smart" devices to allow users to easily track, monitor and better understand how their home is operating, such as letting the user know when their kids come home, or if they forgot to turn something off before leaving for the day. Neurio makes it simple, affordable and practical to bring smart home technology, and its benefits, to the masses. A Single Sensor Monitoring Energy Use Habits Means Saving Money Successfully funded via Kickstarter, Neurio is now shipping to backers and is currently available for pre-order at www.neur.io. The Neurio Sensor costs $249 and users have the potential to save money quickly by recognizing energy use patterns and habits. The Neurio platform, which features a single sensor attached to a home's circuit box, allows for home intelligence and monitoring right out of the box.
LINQ Home, a maker of energy-saving home automation products, today announced the launch of a Kickstarter Campaign to improve Heating and Cooling through smart vents. LINQ is providing households with unprecedented control over HVAC systems. By sensing the temperature in each room and adjusting dampers on every vent, LINQ’s system enables room-by-room temperature control. The system routes air to the rooms that need it, and not to those that don’t. Air flow data processed through algorithms, opens and closes the vents and prevents strain on the furnace or AC unit. Rooms reach their set points faster, run times of HVAC equipment are reduced, and the increased efficiency translates to money savings and consistent comfort. “I couldn’t believe the temperature variances between the rooms in my home,” said Jason Griggs, founder and CTO of LINQ Home. “When I first started testing our Smart Vent system there was a 12 degree difference between rooms. The variance resulted in seemingly endless thermostat wars.” LINQ Smart Vents have all the perks of a zoning system, at less than half the price, and with none of the inconvenience of construction. The simple-to-install, retrofittable system saves users up to 50% on monthly heating and cooling costs.
From Stacy Higgenbotham for GigaOM: This year is going to be a big one for Bluetooth technologies in the smart home. Thanks to some updates in the Bluetooth standard from a year ago, we’re seeing products such as light bulbs, outlets and more using the radio technology to connect devices. But it’s not just the standards update that’s helped; a few firms have also introduced software that have allowed companies to turn their Bluetooth radios into a mesh network that offers more resiliency and range for the technology. One of the more popular is CSRmesh, the software designed by CSR, the company that helped invent Bluetooth and is now in the process of being acquired by Qualcomm. Now a year old, and primarily used in lighting products like those out from Samsung or Avi-On, the CSRmesh tech lets you group up to 64,000 bulbs or devices together. But it can do so much more. And soon it will. I took some time to discuss the technology with Rick Walker, who is in marketing with CSR to discover what’s next for the technology and whether we may see it integrated into the official Bluetooth standard anytime soon.
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As flat panels themselves become increasingly slimmer, customers are looking for even more ways to get these mounted TVs and monitors as flush with the wall as possible. The Video Mount Products IWB-1B is an in wall box that allows up to a 32-inch flat panel to fully collapse into a wall. It installs easily between two 16-inch on center wooden studs, has integrated cable and electrical knockouts, and a high load capacity. The IWB-1B works with the LCD-1B and LCD-2537B mounts. The IWB-1 is yet another option for discerning installers and customers who demand both aesthetic appeal as well as the famed VMP reliability. Whether in the office, commercial install, home, or any other application where a low-profile wall mounted flat panel option is desired, the VMP IWB-1B is the answer.