Is DIY smart home tech hobbled by poor app functionality?

Cate Lawrence for ReadWrite:  In Argus Insights’ newest “Smart Home 360” report, it’s clear there’s a strong distinction between consumer perception of the apps associated with the most popular Smart Home Service Providers and MSOs (Multiple System Operators) and the apps coming with Do It Yourself (DIY) devices. Argus Insights found that — from over 56,000 app and device reviews — ADT andSuddenlink are the least liked of MSOs and service providers and their associated apps saw a drop in both the tone and volume of feedback over the last month, an indication that frustrated users could be moving to other providers. This is consistent with previous research that demonstrates a high degree of satisfaction by customers in DIFM (“Do it for me”) installations. However, Vivint’s Sky app, Cox Communications Homelife app, Xfinity Home app and Alarm.com app all trended up — an impact of both new releases and subscriber growth.   Cont'd...

Big Content: Studios, Nets Work to Leverage Viewers' Web Involvement

The challenge is how fast and flawlessly content is streamed to your big set or device.

How to Invest in Smart Home Technology

Greg Miller, Senior Analyst for Wall Street Daily:  Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve discussed the promises and perils of the Smart Home, as well as why this segment is on the cusp ofbreaking into the mainstream.  Naturally, it’s time to ask: “How can I profit from this?” Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer.  Ideally, there would be one or two tickers predicted to soar from the rising Smart Home trend, but there isn’t such a company out there yet.  However, there are still ways to participate in the upcoming boom.  It will require some creativity and careful investing, specifically in companies with small current exposure to the area.  Here are some guidelines for investing in the Smart Home – and for avoiding expensive mistakes.   Cont'd...

Comcast and Alarm.com to acquire smart home company Icontrol

Harrison Weber for VentureBeat:  Comcast and security company Alarm.com have entered into agreements to acquire and divvy up Icontrol, an 11-year-old Internet of Things and home security company founded in Palo Alto and now based in Austin, Texas. Comcast previously invested an undisclosed sum into Icontrol and relies on the company’s tech to power parts of its connected home and home security platform. In this multi-part deal, Comcast says it’s buying Icontrol’s Converge platform and wholesale business, which “powers the Xfinity Home touch-screen panel and back-end servers, allowing them to communicate with and manage security sensors in the home, as well as supporting home-automation devices like cameras and thermostat.”   Cont'd...

Ethernet Speed Certification

Inspired by the IP industry where engineers have a huge resource of off-shelve tools and materials that they can call on to inspire new designs and easily create software to make things work, the Ethernet testing industry is quickly adopting an approach where testers are specifically designed to certify Ethernet.

Opinion Article: Apple HomeKit: More Home Automation Waste

John C. Dvorak, Opinion Article for PCMag:  Home automation has been on the back burner for decades, and is something Icomplain about at least once a year. It was in the news again after Apple's WWDC this week, when observers looking to squeeze some news out of the long keynote seized on news about HomeKit.  This led me to the HomeKit homepage, which finally answered all my "what is it good for?" questions. Absolutely nothing! Let's amuse ourselves with Apple's assertions. First, we are told to be on the lookout for the HomeKit seal of approval logo (above) for any sort of device we want to use within a HomeKit microcosm. This ensures interoperability and security. Apple is using all sorts of proprietary protocols for these devices to protect users against house hacks that I've described in the past, where devices are controlled by smirking jokers on the net.   Cont'd...

The Home Automation House: IFSEC's Brand-New Interactive Feature

Adam Bannister for IFSEC Global:  IFSEC has introduced an interactive Home Automation House for it 2016 edition, with products integrated and demoed – through a Control4 system – from Lilin, Nest, Qmotion, 2N Telecommunications and Texecom. US home automation innovator Control4 is building the exhibit and its technology forms the backbone around which the other technologies – which include lighting, security and cinema/audio system – are integrated. Visitors can see how products in the Home Automation House – which you can find right at the centre of IFSEC – integrate with one another seamlessly to create a living environment optimised for security, comfort, leisure and convenience.   Click here to find out more about the exhibitors with technology in the Home Automation House.

Sears doubles down on the smart home with new Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard products

Michael Brown for TechHive:  Sears continues to shed its image as a staid, old-school retailer, introducing yet another line of new products for the smart home at an event in New York City on Wednesday. Among the 12 new products: A sensor-laden refrigerator that tracks how many times its doors have opened, a clothes washer that can be started from afar using a smart phone, a garage-door opener that sends alerts when you forget to close it, and a series of tool chests with Bluetooth locks. The company also extended its Kenmore brand to televisions for the first time ever; surprisingly, however, its first generation of Kenmore HD and 4K/UHD sets won’t be connected smart TVs. “The home is the largest investment an American family is going to make,” Sears’ president of Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard brands Tom Park. “Our philosophy around the connected home is that these brands have been trusted for generations. If we can offer connected products that provide convenience and save consumers money, that’s important.”   Cont'd...

New Ride: Today's Business Goes Up, Down and Around at Thrilling Speeds

The challenge for management is to become comfortable with being uncomfortable handling the speed, ambiguity and scary portions of the business rollercoaster.

Why Apple wants to be the smart home's nerve center

Lora Kolodny for TechCrunch:  On Monday, Apple announced that it would make an app called Home available to users soon, allowing them to connect and control all of their HomeKit-enabled smart home devices from their iPads, iPhones or even Watches. Per an earlier TechCrunch report live from the event, the Home app will let users control a Fantasia-like orchestra of smart gadgets from one place, including everything from smart doorbells and locks, to thermostats, light bulbs, humidifiers and entertainment systems. And the app will let users engage Siri to tweak the settings on those devices, of course. But why is Apple intent on becoming a universal remote, or a nerve center, for the smart home? Frankly, consumers are not yet buying IoT devices and services with the fervor hoped for by consumer electronics and appliance brands.   Cont'd...

Wayfinding

Wayfinding is now a part of our life, taking the guess work out of where we are; and how do we get where we are going. Men will no longer have to stop and ask directions although they never did in the first place.

The Smart Home Has Been Built Into Boats for 50 Years.

Zach Lyman for GreenTechMedia:  For over two millennia, the marine industry has been a focal point of human innovation. This was by necessity; innovations in aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, navigation, system resiliency, space optimization and others have all improved crew health and survival rates, sped global trade and generally helped ensure we didn’t sail off the edge of the earth. Marine systems have been proven via relentless iteration to satisfy society’s desire for adventure, exploration and expansion. They have taken us to the farthest reaches of our known world and brought us safely back again. Custom-built yachts have always been a luxury of the wealthy. They likely always will be. Boat-building is a bespoke industry that emphasizes individuality and craftsmanship over scale and affordability. Yet luxury and premium products have an incredibly important role to play in our rapidly changing world. A startling amount of innovation occurs when price is no object and there is total independence to dream big.   Cont'd...

Vyo Is a Fascinating and Unique Take on Social Domestic Robots

Evan Ackerman for IEEE Spectrum:  A group of researchers including Michal Luria, Guy Hoffman, Benny Megidish, Oren Zuckerman, Roberto Aimi, and Sung Park from IDC Herzliya, Cornell, and SK Telecom have developed a prototype social robot called Vyo. Vyo is “a personal assistant serving as a centralized interface for smart home devices.” Nothing new there, but what sets Vyo apart is how you interact with it: it combines non-anthropomorphic design with anthropomorphic expressiveness and a tactile object-based control system into a social robot that’s totally, adorably different. But is it practical?   Full Article:

Takes Time: Innovation is About Thinking Different, Not Copying Different

The leaps in creativity and innovation come from the shortfalls, failures you seldom hear about. As long as each failure produces a positive side effect, you know the company and the team are moving in the right direction.

Why Nest's woes are typical of the smart home industry

Hayley Tsukayama for The Washington Post:  Tony Fadell’s decision to step down from the helm of Nest last week came as a surprise but not a big one. The problems specific to the smart appliance company — which is owned by Google — have been well-documented. But the questions that now loom over Nest aren’t isolated to this one firm, but over the entire smart home industry in general. Nest, after all, was supposed to be the trailblazer leading the smart home revolution. When Google put down $3.2 billion to buy it in 2014, it appeared to make sense. The company was already a fixture in consumers’ online lives, and the purchase would give Google an entry point into their offline lives. The charismatic Fadell seemed to be the right pioneer, given his product experience at Apple that he could apply to Google’s more open computing vision.  But Nest proved to be a less-than-ideal poster child.   Cont'd...

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