What Exactly Is Amazon's Smart Home Strategy?

Michael Wolf for Forbes:   If you were hoping for a straightforward, ‘here’s our smart home’ announcement from Amazon, you’re out of luck. And unlike others in the space, Amazon’s efforts so far can’t really be summed up easily in a sentence or two. Instead, they’ve put together what appears to be a hodgepodge of random efforts that, at first blush, are difficult to distill down into a cohesive strategy.   But once you start looking more closely and begin to connect dots, a potentially interesting plan begins to emerge, one completely different than any of the company’s peers...   One thing Amazon is notably not doing is creating a separate piece of purpose built smart home hardware to connect a bunch of smart home devices and radios. In other words, they’re not doing a hub.   Instead, they’ve opted to focus on creating a control layer for your smart home in the Echo that gives them the ability to innocuously gather usage data about your smart home.

Wink's Outage Shows Us How Frustrating Smart Homes Could Be

THIS PAST SATURDAY, one in four people who had come to rely on Wink as the brains behind their smart home set-up found their connected devices suddenly lobotomized. Devices connected to the Wink Hub couldn’t access the internet, meaning that they could no longer be controlled via app, and wouldn’t execute their pre-programmed rituals. Simply put, nothing worked.   In an emailed statement, Wink confirmed that the cause of the outage was a “misconfiguration” of a security measure it had implemented previously. Several Wink Hub units couldn’t be fixed remotely, and those users will either have to try to repair their own using Wink-provided instructions, or mail them in for a replacement. Around 10 percent of Wink users are still without service, and the Hub has been pulled from shelves until further notice.  But Wink’s weekend failure reminds us that the smart home of the future won’t be immune from the testiness that plagues any technology. In fact, those common, unavoidable flailings will be even more frustrating. Nearly a year ago, Mat Honan wrote The Nightmare on Connected Home Street, a glimpse at the inevitable dystopia caused by hooking up our households and everything within them to the internet sewage pipe. We’re not nearly at the full-fledged horror stage, but incidents like the weekend Wink stink are the foundation on which our frustrating smart home future will be built.   Cont'd..

7 Smart Locks & Door Startups Improving your Home Security

Your door & lock is no longer that simple and its now part of the mobile, internet of things, connected movement. Here is a list of 6 smart locks & door startups improving your home security.

Silvair Control wireless remote lends smart home control

Seed Labs, the IoT company empowering the world’s leading manufacturers of appliances, devices and electronics to create the truly smart home, has introduced Silvair Control. The world’s first fully configurable, gesture-driven, wireless controller that lets customers manage their everyday appliances whether that be lamps, shades, and garage doors or other household and commercial products. Silvair Control is a Bluetooth® Smart-based device that can easily be configured with your smartphone or tablet to control. It doesn’t need any hard wiring or even a plug, its battery lasts up to 8 years and magnetic mounting allows customers to use it at any space. The control is part of Silvair Mesh where software-defined sensors and controllers can be seamlessly connected to products appliances and adjusted to customers needs providing with an easy and unmatched management capabilities.

Using the myLink App to Control Window Coverings

You can now open your blinds in the morning by rolling over and pressing a button on your smartphone.

Why is the so-called Smart World still So Stupid

For the emerging smart home - Internet of Things industry to succeed, it needs to conquer a lot of issues - interoperability, user interaction, standards, etc. - but most importantly , it has to develop, integrate and roll out cloud intelligence that will transform our dumb smart devices into truly smart Smart Devices!

A First Look At Home Automation On The Apple Watch

Now, we have a first look at how PEQ will handle home automation using the Apple Watch, and it’s a sensible approach: They’re simply moving those function blocks from the iPad screen to your wrist. Instead of several tiles on the screen at once, there’s only one at a time, which the user can swipe through. short list of the most important stuff. So why is this better than just using PEQ on that iPhone living in your pocket? One of PEQ's designers, argodesign founder Mark Rolston, contends that glancing at your wrist is a step less friction than pulling a phone from your pocket. And living in his own hyperconnected smarthome, managed by his iPad and iPhone, has taught him this. "It’s just accessibility," Rolston explains. "A recurring scenario for me is, I walk out the back door, and I might have some lights still on, and as soon as I walk away, I pull up on my phone [to check]. We used to have this routine, asking, ‘Did you leave the light on? Run upstairs and see if you left the light on!’ We don’t do that anymore." And to Rolston, the ability to look at his wrist rather than check his phone to answer that basic question, "did you leave the lights on," is the paradigm shift at play.

Amazon's Smart-Home Hub Has Been Here All Along

Wednesday, owners of the Amazon Echo—a voice-activated Bluetooth speaker still only available for purchase by invitation—received an email detailing their little black cylinder’s newfound powers. In addition to streaming music from the cloud, telling you the weather, and tapping into Wikipedia to help settle bets, Echo now supports products from WEMO and Philips Hue. In other words, you can now bark at your speaker to dim the lights.   The products Echo now plays nice with include the WeMo Switch and Insight Switch, which you plug into an outlet to give you limited control over your appliances; Light Switch, which does the same for, well, lights; and a stack of smart bulbs from Philips Hue.   Set-up seems fairly simple. As long as your smart home products are on the same Wi-Fi network as your Echo and you’ve identified them appropriately in their respective apps, you simply need to say “Alexa, discover my appliances.” (Alexa is the name of Echo’s AI personality.) Once discovered, they’re at your literal beck and call.

Peerless-AV Case Study: Montreal Airport

Montral-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport Installs Peerless-AV® Digital Signage

ABB, Robert Bosch & Cisco eyeing smart home software

ABB, Robert Bosch GmbH and Cisco Systems Inc have joined hands in an international joint venture called mozaiq operations GmbH to develop and operate an open-software platform for smart homes.   The platform promises to unify today's standalone solutions for home automation and offer interoperability across devices.     It is claimed the platform, to be developed by mozaiq operations, would bring the Internet of things, services and people into consumers' homes, making it easy and secure for a wide range of products to communicate with each other.    Consumers will be able to seamlessly and intuitively tailor their appliances and devices, regardless of brand, to deliver an unprecedented level of control, comfort and significantly improve energy efficiency, it is claimed. 

Internet of Things Relay For Home Automation Using Arduino

Makers, developers and hobbyists who enjoy making projects from home automation using different Arduino microcontrollers, Raspberry Pi mini PCs or anything else that can connect to the Internet of Things.   Maybe interested in a new IoT relay that has been created by Team IoT to allow you to easily connect devices and boards to mains voltages to create the perfect home automation systems.   The IoT relay project is currently over on the Kickstarter crowd funding website looking to raise $8,750 in pledges to make the jump from concept to production and is currently priced at just $20 per relay. Watch the video below to learn more about this new relay and how it may help you expand the functionality of your projects using Arduino microcontrollers.   “Imagine the applications:  A smart fish tank.  DIY home automation. Industrial control. Wireless remote lighting.  Home theater.  Security. This is the Internet of Things. You can build almost anything imaginable with an Arduino.  But how do you hook it up?  A $60 WiFi plug?  No thanks.     Enter the IoT relay.  It’s an easy, affordable way to control the Internet of Things from your DIY circuit.   Connect to any micro or WiFi adapter. It’s simple — only two wires. The high-voltage switching is done inside the box.  Just hook it up and plug in.

Smart Home Interview - SmartThings

Part of this open ecosystem is a smart device certification program where SmartThings curates and certifies innovations submitted from the developer community.

Smart Home Interview - iSmartAlarm

Currently the iSmartAlarm system uses proprietary radio frequency, and Z-Wave and Zigbee is expected available in 2015.

Smart Home Interview - HomeSeer

HomeSeer controllers are compatible with a wide variety of wireless and wired technologies including Z-Wave, Insteon, X10, UPB, PLCBUS, Nest, HUE, Sonos, IFTTT and many more.

Smart Home Interview - TiO

TiO is purchased from, and installed by, a systems integration professional.

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