Luxurious small smart homes by Tiny Heirloom

From Kimberley Mok for TreeHugger:  Much like how camping can come in a a more luxurious, "glamping" version, so too can tiny homes come in more expensive variants that are equipped with all the bells and whistles you might imagine, in addition to the off-grid options. Positioning itself as the "first luxury, custom tiny home manufacturer in the U.S.," the motto of Oregon City-based Tiny Heirloom Homes is to "downsize, don't down grade," offering extra services like legal help, models that can be customized from top to bottom, and tiny smart home automation, thanks to a partnership with Nest Labs.   The company is also rolling out their Tiny Heirloom Home Automation System soon, which will include "hands free lighting, voice activated door locks, automated thermostats, auto-leveling jacks, tank level indication and propane level readings and bluetooth surround sound. All this run from an iPhone or Android device. No wifi necessary." Pretty convenient for the hands-off homeowner.

How your car will help control your home

Patrick Nelson for NetworkWorld:  AT&T is one company that is planning on consumers being able to control elements of their home from the dashboard of connected cars.   AT&T says that it is planning to link its connected car and smart home products via a voice recognition-enabled dashboard control. Home security will be the principal driver of the new tech in that case. But others are also in a race to bring functioning products to market and obtain consumer acceptance.   Two existing AT&T products – AT&T Digital Life, a home management system, and AT&T Drive, its connected car platform – will be merged together to create its platform.   Mercedes has a deal with Nest, the Google-owned thermostat and home smoke alarm gadget maker.   Apple and Google are also working on automotive solutions for in-dash applications.   Cont'd...  

Zenno Voice Controlled Home Automation System Unveiled

Zenno has created and launched a new home automation and control system that has been designed to offer a simple voice controls to manage your home entertainment systems and electronic devices around your home.   Using your smartphone or other wearable devices such as smartwatches the Zenno home automation system is capable of providing easy and natural interaction between you and your home, say its creators.   The Zenno home automation system has been designed to be first device that offers easy to use, customisable voice control over home electronics from your smartphone or other wearables. Features of Zenno include :   • Advanced climate control features, without the installation hassle of a thermostat. • Every time, everywhere control from multiple platforms. • Guaranteed control of any home electronic that has a remote. • Developers will get to use our SDK for personal projects. • Smart Scenes that can execute multiple actions at once for your convenience • If you own an Android Wear smartwatch or plan on getting a wearable device in the near future, Zenno will give you a new cool way of using it! • Through our public SDK, Zenno will give developers great control methods for any DIY electronic projects, from LED light shows to RC cars.   

Z-Wave Alliance Launches IoT Competition to Reward Start-Ups for Their Innovation in the Smart Home

he Z-Wave Alliance, an open consortium of leading global companies deploying Z-Wave, the world's largest ecosystem of wireless control products and services, is announcing a brand new competition to support and incentivize innovation on the Z-Wave platform. The yearlong Z-Wave Labs Program will accept applications from start-up companies and entrepreneurs looking to bring Z-Wave products to market.  In order to accelerate innovation on the Z-Wave platform and lower the barrier of entry for new companies to develop IoT products, the program will reward one selected individual/company each month starting in May 2015 with a 12-month membership to the Z-Wave Alliance as well as one of the newly available IoT-ready 500 Series Z-Wave Developer Kits from Sigma Designs.  "The Z-Wave Alliance recognizes the importance of start-ups and disrupters in the industry both to jump start innovation but also to accelerate widespread adoption of smart home and IoT technology," said Mary Miller, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing at Sigma Designs and a Principal Board member of the Z-Wave Alliance, "With over 1200 Z-Wave-certified devices currently on the market and 300 companies working together to create more solutions every single day, this program is a unique opportunity for young start-ups and entrepreneurs to engineer exciting new products for the Z-Wave ecosystem." 

Wireless is Redefining the Home Audio Market

 The popularity of mobile devices and changing consumer habits in media consumption are not only increasing demand for wirelessly connected audio devices, but also rapidly altering the home audio landscape, according to new research from IHS Technology (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight.    Annual shipments of connected audio products, including wireless speakers, wireless soundbars, and connected AV receivers, are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 88 percent, from 1.5 million units in 2010 to nearly 66 million units in 2018.   “Growing penetration of tablets and smartphones -- combined with an ongoing shift in consumer media consumption preferences toward those devices and streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer -- are collectively driving a behavioral shift in how people listen to music inside and outside their homes,” said Paul Erickson, senior analyst for IHS Technology. “Consumers are seeking ways to wirelessly play audio from their mobile devices on speakers in the room they’re in, in multiple rooms in a household, and on speakers carried with them while on the go. This geographically diverse need will drive strong global growth in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connected speakers over the next few years.”    “While the whole wireless speakers category is forecast to grow rapidly, network-connected multi-room speaker systems is the small-but-growing subcategory to watch,” Erickson continued. “Heavyweights Samsung, LG, Sony, Bose, Denon, DTS and Qualcomm are all entering the market, with products or platforms designed to take on a rapidly growing segment initially popularized by Sonos.”   

Upcoming Tradeshow, Conference & Exhibition Summary
April, May, June 2015

Here is a summary of what Tradeshows, Conferences & Exhibitions to look forward to in the coming months.

Best in Texas: Trolls Love Vague Patents, Friendly Courts

Patent trolls aren't ugly things. Nope they're just good ol boys who know where the best house is in Texas and just go back again and again and...

Smart Home Interview - Simply Automated

Any products that can output an RS-232 serial string can utilize UPB devices. In fact there is a software tool, the "UPB Command Wizard", to help write UPB serial strings (i.e. drivers).

Smart Home Interview - Insteon

Insteon uses a dual-band signal, or mesh network, which communicates to devices simultaneously via radio waves and a home's existing electrical wiring.

Smart Home Interview - Neurio

Once the Neurio Sensor is installed on an electrical panel, it sends the data via WiFi to the secure cloud where the smart algorithms identify the unique power pattern by each device in real-time to tell whether a specific appliance is in use or off, and how much energy it consumes.

Smart Home Interview - LifeSmart

Currently LifeSmart communicates with IKAIR through Cloud protocol, and communicates with SONOS & Phillips hue through LAN protocol

Survey Finds the Technology of Tomorrow Helps Many Smart Homes Sell Faster Today

As smart home technology plays a larger role in real estate, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC today released a survey uncovering what smart features home buyers are looking for when purchasing a home and how those features impact a home's sale. Coldwell Banker Real Estate also announced a list of 25 smart home products and systems in the categories that matter most to home buyers.   Smart home appliances and technology are becoming more mainstream in homes throughout the country. Products and features once reserved for only the highest priced properties are now found in homes across the United States at various price points. The proliferation of this technology is not only changing the way Americans live, it's also changing their tastes and expectations when shopping for real estate -- so much so that making your home "smart" may be smarter than you think.   According to the survey, home buyers are most interested in smart home technology for the following categories:   Security (65 percent of sales associates agree) Temperature control (57 percent) Safety (48 percent) Lighting (46 percent) Entertainment (42 percent) Appliances (23 percent)  

Your Smart Home Devices Might be Smart, but Are They Secure?

By Maria Sciullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:  Products often rely on mobile apps to connect to cloud-based servers in order for you to “talk” to your security cameras. If you can control smart devices via the Internet, chances are good that some even smarter stranger with hacking skills might stand a chance of doing so. “Consumers should think hard about the benefits they will gain from an IoT device, and weigh those against a ’worst-case’ risk,” said Mark Stanislav, a Rapid7 senior security consultant and member of BuildItSecure.ly, a pro-bono industry initiative that helps vendors create more secure products. Rapid7 helps companies manage security services. “For instance, is the Internet-connected Web camera you want to put into your home worth the potential risk that someone on the Internet may be able to snoop on it if a flaw is found? It’s worth thinking about the placement of a device like that and how much privacy would be lost in that sort of scenario.   “This simple ‘risk-versus reward’ is a great test for consumers to make any time they are about to purchase an IoT device,” Mr. Stanislav said.   Cont'd...

Google's new patent is full of ideas for smart home gadgets

From DigitalTrends:  Nest and Dropcam are just the beginning for Google’s entrance into the smart home, according to a patent filed in September 2014 called “Security Scoring in a Smart-Sensored Home.”   Published yesterday, the patent deals with connected devices that “communicate with each other and/or with a central server or a cloud-computing system to provide any of a variety of useful home security objectives.” It’s not surprising, given that Nest and its “Works with Nest” developer program recently made the smart thermostat and smoke-and-CO2-detectors play with August smart locks, Philips Hue light bulbs, and Withings sleep system. But the patent shows Google is planning on doing more than operating in conjunction with third-party smart devices: It just may start cranking out its own.   There are a few drawings and mentions of smart products Google doesn’t yet make, including smart plugs, wall switches, nightlights, and connected doorbells and doorknobs. Then there’s a smart alarm clock that wakes you up earlier when the roads will be icy or an accident is tying up traffic. But it goes beyond just connecting everything in your home; Google wants to tie the community together, too. A burglary three houses down would cause your lights to flick on and your smart lock to engage.    

How to Ride the Smart Home Wave

From Adam Gettings for Techonomy: There's a sizeable "smart home" wave building. The smart home and building technology market was $4.8 billion in 2012 and a report by Allied Market Research predicts it will grow to $35.3 billion by 2020.   Not surprisingly, many startups, retailers, and established tech companies hope to ride the wave. Surfing is hard to do. Not everyone will get the timing right. But some strategies will make it a lot less likely that companies will wipe out.   Open Up Your Platform:  Everyone's racing to make their own smart home platform, but few of them are open. Now I don't mean open source, like the Android Open Source Project or Apache Hadoop-those projects are incredible for the technology industry, but open source isn't right or always possible for every company. Rather, I mean these smart home platforms need to be open by offering APIs and other developer toolkits to allow easy interoperability with other products within the ecosystem (or even allowing other brands to license their technology to create totally new products). Developers understandably want to maintain control over their products, but too tight of control can also limit a product's potential.   Cont'd...

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