The smart home is more accessible than ever with the launch of Reliant’s new suite of home security packages and automation tools. These solutions help customers connect anywhere, anytime, to what is often their largest investment – their home. Retail electricity customers can now sign up for a customizable security package from Reliant, or enroll in a new electricity plan that offers a home automation package. These new advances provide a broad customer-focused platform for integrating emerging and future home technology innovations. “We are passionate about powering people at home and on the go and with these new security and home automation solutions, we can make life easier and more comfortable for consumers,” said Elizabeth Killinger, president of NRG Retail and Reliant. “Customers can conveniently and remotely control devices in their home through a new app – all from the comfort of their couch or from thousands of miles away.” The security solution offers 24/7 professional, live security monitoring services, expert installation and remote access via mobile devices and computers. Customers on the go can use the app to: Arm/disarm their security system; Open/close their garage door and know when it’s open or closed; Turn on/off their lights even when away from home; Unlock/lock their doors remotely to let family, friends, contractors or others into their home; and Keep an eye on their home with video cameras that record based on specific actions, such as when the alarm is triggered. In addition to the new security offering, customers who want home automation can sign up for a select Reliant Free WeekendsSM 24 plan that includes an easy to install package with a smart thermostat, smart plug and gateway device.
From John Patrick Pullen for Time.com: Here’s what you need to know to plan for your Apple-centric connected home: Siri will become your digital butler, turning up the heat and closing blinds at your command. But how that happens deserves some explaining. Requiring neither a new hardware device nor an operating system upgrade, Apple’s smart home capabilities will let users discover, configure, create actions for and control smart home devices using their iPhone’s operating system. As an element already baked into Apple’s iOS 8, its integration will be seamless and largely invisible to consumers. If you’ve ever used Apple’s AirPlay technology to stream audio to a speaker or video to an Apple TV, you’re already familiar with how it operates. But developers know the technology as HomeKit, the programming framework responsible for running Apple’s connected home ecosystem. Like AirPlay (and CarPlay and iBeacon, other Apple-approved interfaces for connecting with third-party products), HomeKit is designed to streamline communications between Apple’s gear and accessories like web security cameras, smart plugs, thermostats, and more. This framework ensures that however complex a third party company’s device is, in the eyes of iPhone users, it will just work (to paraphrase the late Steve Jobs). In other words, when you tell Siri to “turn on the downstairs lights,” no matter the room, or the make and model of smart home lighting solutions, the connected lights in your home’s downstairs will turn on. Cont'd...
Because of the expanded interest in using video in educational environments, there are many opportunities for video producers to use their talents to create films that have educational value.
HomePlug AV2 MIMO fulfills the promise of powerline networking delivering 100BaseT class service over the home's powerlines and truly makes the powerline a high bandwidth backbone for the hybrid home network to deliver Ultra HD Video and IoT applications as well as extend Wi-Fi coverage to all areas of the home
Doing a Google search for 'home automation' or 'lighting control' can many times lead to confusion, resulting in head scratching 'chaos', given the information provided blogs, trade publications, hobbyists, and DIYers, many times provides incomplete and sometimes incorrect information.
The connected home may still be a distant mirage for most average consumers, but in the meantime the technology is becoming big business. Today, British Gas announced it will buy AlertMe, a developer of platforms for running various domestic “smart” devices, in a deal worth £65 million ($100 million), lining up the energy company to provide smart services covering heating, lighting and more. The net cost to British Gas and its owner Centrica will be £44 million ($68 million), after accounting for an existing 21% investment in the company. In addition to being an investor, British Gas was a user of its services, specifically in its Hive product, which lets you control your heating and hot water remotely. Hive is in use by 150,000 customers today. Smart home technology may sound like a novelty to some, but it is more than that. It is a way of improving the efficiency and cost associated with energy use, and in many cases it can make everyday life simpler and easier for people. Founded in 2006, Cambridge, UK-based AlertMe was an early mover in connected home technology — the idea of giving “dumb” services like your heating a network connection that helps calibrate and control them in a more efficient way. (And here’s an interesting fact: AlertMe was a partner of Google’s in one of the search giant’s earliest attempts to tackle the smart home, the now-defunct Powermeter.)
From Klint Finley for Wired.com: Smart homes are here. You can use motion sensors to trigger smart light switches. You can program smart thermostats to warm only the rooms that people are actually using. You can even control smart power outlets with your mobile phone, setting appliances to turn on and off at certain times of day. The problem is that all this gear is pretty expensive. And generally, you’re forced to install each system by hand—or hire someone to do it, which makes things even more expensive. And if you’re renting? Forget about it. These devices are almost completely out of reach you’re not allowed to retrofit your home. All those barriers make it particularly difficult for young people to embrace what we now call the Internet of Things—and they’re typically the ones who are most interested in experimenting with new technologies. Sce Pike, the co-founder of the Portland, Oregon-based startup IOTAS, points out that only 36 percent of people under the age of 35 own their own homes, according to the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. But Pike and IOTAS aim to solve this problem. The company works with real estate developers to build Internet-of-Things tech into apartment buildings, so that renters get access to it without having to pay upfront costs. The idea is to bring the smart home to everyone, to finally push it into the mainstream. IOTAS is starting simple, with motion sensors, light switches, and power outlets. Using the company’s mobile app, you can create custom rules for your apartment. You could have IOTAS turn off all your apartment’s lights when you go into your bedroom after 10pm. Or maybe even tell it to blink your kitchen lights when you get a text message from your boss. The system operates via a central online service. This could be included with your rent, or offered for an additional fee, like a utility. If you opt-out of the service, all the lights and outlets would still work just as they do in a normal apartment. And if your internet connection goes down—or if the cloud service can’t be reached—existing rules will still work. You just won’t be able to create new ones or use the app as a remote control. Cont'd...
From TechHive: Developed over an 18-month period by a team with 12 years of experience creating ZigBee and Z-Wave devices, the Hive Trio connected-home system comprises a smart hub melded with a whole-home audio system. Choosing a smart hub is arguably the most challenging decision that any connected-home DIYer has to make. The hub, after all, is not just another cog in the smart home machine but the very linchpin around which the whole setup must revolve. Fortunately for all you DIYers out there, new devices are coming in thick and fast and the increasing competition is forcing manufacturers to think out of the box. The Hive Trio is one such attempt at adding a new twist to the whole smart hub concept. Currently seeking $100,000 on Kickstarter, the Hive Trio smart home solution from Salt Lake City-based startup Hive Life consists of the Hive Hub, Hive Sound speaker system, and Hive App. While the Hive Hub has a lot going for it in terms of specs, the star attraction in this case is undoubtedly the Hive Sound. The Hive Sound is a multi-room, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled speaker system that can blast out the same or different tunes to different corners of your connected home, to say nothing of its ability to fetch your favorite beats straight from a long list of streaming services including Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, NPR One, and Pandora. Providing entertainment, however, is not its sole purpose.
From John Patrick Pullen of Time.com: Companies selling smart home products are quick to say how easy it is to connect their devices to the Internet. And while most of the time they’re correct, they are sidestepping a big, thorny pitfall: namely, your home’s wireless network. Over the past year and a half, I’ve been working on turning my house into smart home, and have learned that nothing is more important — and infuriating — than my house’s Wi-Fi. Here are four lessons I’ve learned so far: 1. Be smart about where you put your Wi-Fi router. 2. There are no great ways to extend the range of your home’s Wi-Fi. 3. Hard-wiring your home is easier than you may think. 4. Power is a problem. Full Article:
Here are a bunch of press releases from exhibitors at the show --- be sure to add yours.
A true home automation is not about offering a singular solution for access control or temperature control; it is about an integrated platform that unifies devices, mobile applications, cloud services and data analytics, with an overlay of a consistent, easy-to-use interface.
From ZDNet: Intel acquired Lantiq, which makes broadband and networking gear, in a move that broadens its connected home efforts. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Lantiq is based in Munich, Germany and primarily serves broadband providers. With the move, Intel becomes the latest tech giant to hop on the connected home bandwagon. Samsung has said its appliances will be connected to the Internet and tied together. Google owns Nest and everyone from Apple to Microsoft has some kind of connected home play. Intel is looking to combine its cable gateway unit with Lantiq to tie together multiple devices---that will presumably run on its processors. Intel also has a strong Internet of things unit. Lantiq fills out the portfolio. Lantiq would fit into the gateway portion of Intel's IoT platform.
Crestron control intelligence is embedded into popular AV equipment such as projectors, flat panel TVs, audio/video receivers, and a variety of other wired and wireless devices.
Read Full review by Shawn Knight of TechSpot: Amenities like being able to remotely adjust the temperature inside your home or receiving a text when the laundry is done certainly sound appealing, but are they really all they’re cracked up to be? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just try these features out for a week or two before committing to shelling out hundreds or thousands on a standalone IoT-enabled device? With littleBits’ new Smart Home Kit, you can do just that. For the uninitiated among us, littleBits is an ever-growing open source library of small electronic modules that easily connect together. Created by Ayah Bdeir, it started as a tool to help designers incorporate electronics into the prototyping process. Today, it’s much more than that. Think of them as Lego bricks for the iPad generation. The Smart Home Kit we’ll be looking at today is tailor-made for home automation projects. It includes 14 modules and 11 accessories, enabling a vast array of creations that can add smart functionality to all sorts of appliances and gadgets you already own, or create entirely new ones.
From AppAdvice.com: While the crowdfunding craze has helped to create a number of successful iOS accessory companies, there have also been more than a few spectacular failures. But Lockitron falls somewhere in between. The company arrived on the scene all the way back in 2012 with its unique (at the time) smart and app-enabled deadbolt that cost $179. Flooded by a more-than-expected number of preorders, the company was unable to keep up with demand as the original Lockitron was plagued with hardware and software issues. But the company has just introduced a new lock version named Bolt. There are some major differences compared to the original model. Most importantly, the new version is retailing for just $99, which is significantly less than other competitors like the Kwikset Kevo and August Smart Lock. Purchasing the optional $77 bridge will allow users to control the lock from anywhere. And instead of a fitting on top of your current deadbolt, the Bolt replaces it completely.
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