Smart home solutions helped to drive double-digit growth in home security over past two years

A new Parks Associates report finds smart home offerings have helped revitalize the residential security industry, as the number of households with monitored security rose over 15% in the past two calendar years. The New Face of Home Security - 2015 Edition reports approximately 21 million U.S. homes have professionally monitored security, with another 1.5 million with monitoring in a second home.  "By the end of 2015, nearly six million professionally monitored homes will also have smart home control as part of their security system," said Tom Kerber, Director, Research, Home Controls & Energy, Parks Associates. "Smart home is firmly entrenched as part the U.S. security industry, thanks to both push and pull factors. Companies such as Vivint, AT&T, and ADT have been aggressive in offering smart home features with their systems, while security owners are open to new technologies. Security households are 150% more likely than non-security households to state that they keep up with technological innovations and like to own the latest devices."   Full Press Release.  

ZigBee home automation design kits use RPi-based gateway

Eric Brown for LinuxGizmos.com:  Silicon Labs unveiled reference designs for home automation and lighting networks, based on its ZigBee SoC and middleware plus a Raspberry Pi-based gateway. Silicon Labs, which bills itself as the ZigBee market share leader, has integrated its ZigBee “Golden Unit” Home Automation (HA 1.2) software stack, “EM358x” ZigBee mesh networking SoC, and various ZigBee sensor and lighting technologies in several reference designs for home automation. The Dimmable Light Switch, Connected Lighting, Door/Window Contact Sensor reference designs work with a WiFi and Ethernet ready ZigBee Gateway Reference Design that runs Linux on a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B SBC. The “cost-effective” ZigBee reference designs are intended to reduce the complexity of connecting ZigBee devices, such as lights, dimmer switches, and door/window contact sensors. The Golden Unit ZigBee middleware, which connects all these gateways, enables LED lights to reliably join, interoperate, and detach from a mesh network, says Silicon Labs. The Golden Unit stack can scale from a few light nodes to hundreds on the same network, says Silicon Labs. Complete schematics, layout, and bill of materials (BOM) are offered for all reference designs.   Cont'd...

Dojo Is Designed To Protect Your Smart Home From Itself

Natasha Lomas for TechCrunch:  Israeli startup Dojo-Labs is launching out of stealth today after more than a year working on its connected home security device. No, not another Wi-Fi spy camera trying to engender a sense of vicarious paranoia in the buying public to convince folk with money to burn they need to ceaselessly surveil their property (and/or family). Rather this startup has it eye on securing the connected smart home from the threat posed by, well, all the devices that comprise the connected smart home. Dojo’s first (eponymous) device — available for pre-order now, with a shipping date of early March 2016 — aims to create a consumer-friendly security and control interface at the network layer that the company claims is capable of spotting and blocking anomalous behavior by connected devices on your home network. Whether that behavior is down to hackers trying to infiltrate your devices remotely. Or your devices trying to send your personal data somewhere they shouldn’t be, surreptitiously — perhaps by manufacturer design (hello smart TVs!).   Cont'd...

The Brazilian Home Automation Market

One thing to consider that differentiates our market from some other parts of the world is that the average Brazilian customer is definitely not the "Do-it-Yourself" type and is willing to have someone design and install the system.

Flex to Bring the Intelligence of Things 'Home' with Wink Acquisition

Flex , the sketch-to-scale™ solutions company that designs and builds intelligent products for a connected world, has entered into an agreement to acquire Wink, the smart home platform that enables smart products to work together seamlessly, and connect and communicate globally. Upon completion of the acquisition, Flex will enhance its strategy of driving the Intelligence of Things™, and helping the world Live smarter™. Wink improves the functionality and usefulness of disparate devices in the home by allowing them to communicate with each other, while enhancing usability through a shared common interface in the Wink mobile app. Flex has been a strategic partner to Wink, serving as their primary supplier of hardware and firmware, including the Wink HUB and Wink Relay, which include core IP developed within Flex. After the acquisition, Wink will remain a separate entity and corporation, with its own management structure for day-to-day activities and operations. Flex will look to leverage Wink's platform and provide current and future Flex customers with improved connectivity in a rapidly expanding open ecosystem. Full Press Release:

Rent a smart home? Some multi-family buildings are going automated

By Jenny McGrath for Digital Trends:  When we put together our list of smart-home gadgets that are good for apartment dwellers and renters, a lot of light bulbs, locks, and switches made the list. Wiring and affixing things to the wall just isn’t worth the hassle when you’ll be moving out in a year or two — or when you risk the wrath of a landlord. But lots of tenants would like the option of smartening up their homes, even if they are just temporary homes. A few multi-family dwellings actually want in on making buildings more energy efficient or solving some common headaches that come with balancing security and convenience (think key fobs to enter a locked entrance). StratIS makes app-based tech for apartments, dorms, and hotels that helps property managers control energy, automation, and security. They can use special tablets to oversee a bunch of properties, while those living there can use a smart thermostat without having to buy it themselves and uninstall it when moving out.   Cont'd...

Could This Single Device Protect Your Smart Home?

Joseph Bernstein for BuzzFeed News:  Sense is a smart router combined with software that sits on top of and monitors all of the connected devices in your house. It reads all the traffic coming into those devices in real time and analyzes it using F-Secure’s cloud security network, “an analytics engine and information repository for malware and a variety of other digital threats.” When Sense detects unwanted or malicious traffic — say, a botnet trying to connect to your smart television — it simply blocks it. By drawing all of the IoT devices in the home into one protected network, Sense presents a remarkably elegant solution to a problem the cybersecurity world has been worrying about for a long time.   Cont'd...

Robotics Startup Unveils Humanoid Servant

Alpha 2 can wake you up at your desired time every morning and give you a weather report and news of the day to starts your day. He can then brief you on your schedule for the day and then activate your house alarm after you close the door behind him.

Study - Smart Home Technology Will Have Greater Impact Than Wearables

New GfK research shows that half of US consumers believe smart home technology will have a major impact on their lives – a higher level than wearables or cloud computing and equal to mobile payment systems. The study, which covered seven countries, asked consumers to choose which of 11 leading-edge technologies – from 3D printing to augmented/virtual reality to Internet of Things -- would be important to their lives. (Respondents could choose as many technologies as they wished.) In the US, 51 percent of consumers picked smart home, versus 50% for mobile payments – a statistical tie; these compare to global levels of 54% for mobile payments and 51% for smart home. (The global figures cited here represent five of the seven countries in the full survey – US, UK, Germany, Brazil, and South Korea; data for China and Japan will be released later.) Four in ten (42%) US consumers cited wearables – significantly higher than the global score of 33% -- while cloud computing came in at 41%. Full Press Release:

CEDIA 2015 Comes to a Close

Attendance rose 16% to over 18,000, including a 33% rise for attendees, who visited for the first time. The show had a 6% rise in exhibitor participation. Of the 510 companies, 124 made their debut at CEDIA this year.

Senior Lifestyle, A New Internet of Things Application

When the behavioral patterns are known, exceptions can be detected and analyzed. For instance, minor exceptions like skipping a meal or major ones like not getting out of bed in the morning, or even suspicious inactivity in the afternoon.

Sentri Home Security And Automation Hub Up For Pre-Order

Anthony Karcz for Forbes:  Quick, how many connected devices do you have in your house? Do you have a smart thermostat or LED bulbs? How do you control them, via various different apps on your phone? What about when you’re gone and your phone is with you? What do you do then? Sentri is a new company on the scene that has an answer to all of these questions. Coming off a successful Kickstarter campaign, they are offering a home-automation hub and security camera to help everyone in your household control your smart devices and keep them safe. Compatible with Nest, Philips Hue, and WeMo switches (for now, more partners will be announced in the future), Sentri provides easy access to your smart home via a 10-inch touchscreen.   Cont'd...

Content Isn't Free: Ad Blockers Are Just a Symptom of Bad Marketing

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) likes to point out that without economic support, indie publishers and local outlets will cease to exist and you'll be left with the power engines of commerce - Google, Amazon, Facebook and others - because they'll use the old switch/carrot routine to get folks back into the fold.

HOME AUTOMATION AND X-10

I wrote this article 19 years ago but many of the principles of Home Automation Systems are still relevant today --- and X-10 products are still around too.

UPDATE - Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

In this ongoing article we will take a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options that are available now. Updated 10/29/15

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