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

Utah Jazz home arena renamed to 'Vivint Smart Home Arena'

The name for the 19,911-seat facility, formerly known as Energy Solutions Arena, will be the Vivint Smart Home Arena. The arena hosts about 1.8 million guests and more than 100 sports and entertainment events each year. The basketball court is named for Larry H. Miller, who spearheaded the construction of the building 25 years ago. “The Utah Jazz and the arena are proud to have Vivint as our new naming rights partner,” said LHMSE President Steve Starks. “Vivint is a long-time supporter of the Jazz, is a Utah-based company, and has a deep commitment to the community and our fans. These were all qualities we looked for when we began this process. ” Headquartered in Provo, Utah, Vivint creates innovative smart home products and services. With Vivint, homeowners can automate, control and monitor their homes from any smart device. The company’s smart home platform includes door locks, lights, a thermostat and an intelligent doorbell camera, among others. Vivint has more than one million customers and 8,000 employees throughout the United States and Canada. Forbes recently named the company to its list of “America’s Best Employers.”   Full Press Release:

Sonos To Open Up API To Simplify Integration With Smart Home Systems

Wireless multiroom-audio pioneer Sonos will open up its API to make it easier for home-automation suppliers to integrate with Sonos speakers and soundbars without having to reverse-engineer Sonos software.  But Sonos isn’t saying when. The “next big thing for us” will be “opening aspects of our platform so other companies [home-automation suppliers] can work with it,” Michael Papish, platform strategies director, told TWICE during the CEDIA Expo. Sonos wants to provide home-automation users with “the right amount of control without compromising sound quality and ease of use,” he said, without saying when the API would be available. For years, home-automation suppliers have reverse-engineered Sonos technology to create applications enabling their home-automation systems to control Sonos systems, and Sonos “won’t cut them off,” Papish said. But when Sonos makes software updates, the reverse-engineered solutions “might not work,” he said. Creating a “standardized protocol” will prevent that problem, he said.   Cont'd...

Linux's domination of home automation gizmos continues

Eric Brown for Linux Gizmos:  The Linux-dominated home automation business is still a fragmented free-for-all, but it’s also beginning to consolidate, with far fewer startups in 2015 compared to recent years. This month we saw several major product announcements from established players related to Linux. First, Google’s Nest Labs announced the first device partners for its Weave home automation protocol using the Thread networking standard. Now Samsung, which began shipping its first Linux-based SmartThings hub last month, released a $249 sensor kit built around the hub. Meanwhile, in the larger Internet of Things world that includes industrial, as well as home automation, the Linux Foundation’s AllSeen Alliance announced a new certification program and security stack. In addition, Amazon unveiled an AWS IoT cloud platform available with starter kits based on Linux hacker boards .  Cont'd...

Kickstarter Projects October 2015

BRiK DIY Wireless Speaker System / Thinking Cleaner, Wifi for iRobot Roomba / Angee. The First Truly Autonomous Home Security System

Nine Open Source Home Automation Projects

Here is a list of 9 open source home automation projects that consumers should evaluate more to see if it fits their needs.

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

 BLE2 Series Brushless Motor & Driver

BLE2 Series Brushless Motor & Driver

The BLE2 Series replaces our popular BLE Series and continues our brushless motor advantages by featuring an all new compact, high-power and high-efficiency brushless DC motor combined with a Driver that can be digitally set and controlled via external DC voltage or by the front panel. The BLE2 Series can easily compete with larger 3-phase inverter driven motors in many more applications, with built-in simple holding torque function, saving space and increasing performance thanks to the advantages of a brushless motor design. The BLE2 Series has a maximum speed of 4000 r/min, achieving a speed ratio of 1:50 (80 to 4000 r/min). The new motor structure is small than previous models and enables high power and high efficiency while incorporating easy setting, installation and wiring. The new motor connector offers IP66 degree of protection and allows for easy and direct connection between motor and driver with two available orientation of cable outlet direction.