Home automation Stories December 13, 2016

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Google Home is an absolutely fantastic product, but like its competition, the Amazon Echo, I’ve always felt that it is most useful as a hub for home automation. Unfortunately, unlike its competitor, Google Home is not compatible with most smart home products. However, today the list expands with official support from Wemo.

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Home automation Stories September 30, 2016

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We’re right around the corner from Google’s October 4th event where, among other things, the company is expected to launch the Google Home, its Amazon Echo competitor. We know the price and basic functionality of the Home device already, but the biggest question is compatibility.We now know one major platform that will be compatible at launch.

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Home automation Stories May 2, 2016

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Update: Samsung has issued a statement to us, which just expands on its earlier response. You can read it below the video.

Computer science researchers from the University of Michigan have shown how malicious apps could take control of Internet of Things devices in Samsung’s SmartThings platform – including the ability of an attacker to unlock a front door to gain physical access to a home.

The main weakness identified is that way that the SmartThings platform grants apps more privileges than needed to perform their stated functions, reports The Verge.

The researchers demonstrated this finding with a proof of concept app promising to monitor battery life on various devices. If the user agreed to let the malicious — but seemingly innocuous — app access their smart lock, the researchers could then not only monitor its battery, but perform the lock’s other functions, including unlocking the door. The researchers found 42 percent of 499 analyzed SmartApps are currently over-privileged in a similar way … 

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Home automation Stories April 4, 2016

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Revolv, a home automation device company, has announced that it will be officially be shutting down next month. Alphabet’s Nest Labs purchased Revolv back in 2014 and the duo had worked toward bettering out the Works with Nest platform since then. After the acquisition, Revolv’s products continued to function as expected, but today’s shutdown announces that neither the hub or app will be functional any longer after May 15th.

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Home automation Stories December 30, 2015

LG adds funky-looking hub to its SmartThinQ home automation system

As home automation devices proliferate, most tech companies seem to have decided that wirelessly connecting them up to a central hub is the best way to enable us to keep them all under control. Apple’s HomeKit platform uses the Apple TV as its central box, and Samsung has its SmartThings Hub.

LG is now following suit, pre-announcing the SmartThinQ Hub it plans to formally launch at CES. Interestingly, the device – which looks similar to the Amazon Echo – has a built-in display, which the company says can display alerts as well as allow direct control of devices without using your smartphone.

LG SmartThinQ Hub serves as a gateway to smart sensors and connected appliances in the home but is more than that, with the ability to display reminders from personal calendars and stream music from its built-in speaker. The elegantly designed SmartThinQ Hub includes a 3.5-inch color LCD display and connects to a smartphone app to facilitate two way communication with smart appliances and smart sensors in the home.

LG also offers SmartThinQ sensors, which aim to turn dumb appliances into smart ones by using things like vibration to allow a washing-machine to signal when a wash is complete.

The company hasn’t yet announced a price, but Samsung’s SmartThings Hub costs $99, so is likely to be in the same kind of range.

Home automation Stories December 15, 2015

Philips Hue blocks access to ‘untested’ third-party bulbs due to ‘interoperability issues’

An update to the Philips Hue system has blocked access to some third-party bulbs, including GE Link LED (above) and Cree Connected LED, citing ‘interoperability issues.’ While existing bulbs already linked to the Philips Hue Bridge will continue to work for now, the system is not currently allowing additional bulbs to be added, and Philips says there are no guarantees that this won’t change in future updates.

We are seeing an increasing number of interoperability issues with these untested third party products, which are causing increasing confusion for our installed base. They are also hampering our ongoing development and damaging the consistency of experience for the Philips Hue ecosystem. Next to confusing differences in setup and resetting, we’ve encountered a number of such issues over the years including 3rd party lights which do not turn off when we fade them to off, lights which do not react correctly to scene recalls and lights which stop proper functioning of our Wireless Dimmer Kits.

This will disappoint many, as one of the promises of the Hue system was support for third-party bulbs. All is not yet lost, however.

Philips says that it has created a Friends of Hue program to allow third-party products to be tested and certified for use with the system. It also stated in a blog post that third-party apps will continue to work and will not require certification. If you want to add additional bulbs now, however, you are limited to official Philips Hue products.

The company has created a FAQ, which can be seen below.

Via CNET

Home automation Stories September 3, 2015

Samsung launches next-gen SmartThings Hub with 10-hour backup battery, new app for Android

Samsung’s answer to Apple’s HomeKit, SmartThings got some valuable stage time at IFA in Berlin this morning, with the announcement of a brand new SmartThings Hub. The hardware has been revamped, and no longer needs a connection to the cloud in order to work. What’s more, it’s got a built in backup battery capable of giving you 10 hours use in the event that you have a power cut.  The new Hub is available to order today and was launched alongside a handful of complimentary sensors for tracking water leaks and motion among other things.

Whether you have two smart devices or 200, all you need is one Hub to create a smart home. Like a live-in translator, the Hub communicates with all of your different connected products—regardless of their wireless protocol—so that you can easily monitor and control them from the SmartThings app.

Samsung’s new SmartThings hub has a more powerful processor enabling it to handle video streaming and sensor monitoring tasks without the cloud. With this feature in mind, Sammy also introduced its new Smart Home Monitor which lets users access a continuous vide live-stream and can trigger video recording when something unexpected happens. Only important video is saved for viewing, and early detection enables it to capture the footage before the event.

As well as new hardware, Samsung has released a new app for Android from today. You can organize and control your connected devices by room, view live streaming from cameras and manage the routines right from the app.

SmartThings is compatible with nearly 200 products, including the Amazon Echo, and devices from manufacturers like Bose, D-Link and Honeywell. The SmartThings hub is available to buy from today for $99 from SmartThings.com or Amazon, with sensors priced between $30-$55.

Home automation Stories August 31, 2015

LG’s new smart sensor aims to turn dumb appliances into slightly smart ones

Smart appliances may be great, but they’re also expensive – and it’s not like any of us budget to replace things like fridges, cookers and washing-machines very often. LG thinks it may have the solution, in the form of its new SmartThinQ sensors, designed to turn our existing dumb appliances into slightly smarter ones.

The sensor can add remote control functionality to some devices, like air conditioners, and monitor others – for example, a vibration sensor sending your smartphone an alert when the wash cycle is complete.

It’s not quite the full deal, but – depending on cost – could be a decent halfway house. Press release below, and we should learn more about them at IFA later this week.

Via Android Central

Home automation Stories January 6, 2015

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Announcing a new version of its SmartThings Hub, Samsung co-CEO BK Yoon said that every piece of hardware the company makes will be a connected device within five years.

By 2017, 90% of all Samsung’s products will be Internet of Things devices, and that includes all of our televisions and mobile devices[…] Five years from now, every single piece of Samsung hardware will be an IoT device, whether it is an air purifier or an oven.

Yoon also said that the company was committed to open connectivity, rather than the walled garden approach the company has previously taken, where its devices only talk to other Samsung devices …  expand full story

Home automation Stories January 5, 2015

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Nest’s smart thermostat is getting smarter, thanks to a number of new additions to the Works With Nest connectivity program, ranging from your car to your washing-machine.

Some of the applications are obvious, such as your August smart door lock setting the heating or cooling to Away mode when you leave the house. The Kevo lock goes one better, letting Nest who is home and away, so that their preferred temperatures can be used …  expand full story

Home automation Stories November 12, 2014

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Today, Samsung announced a new set of SDKs for its Digital Health and Smart Home platforms during its ongoing Developer Conference in San Francisco. Similar to offerings from Google and Apple, the Korean company’s fitness-focused initiative uses wearable and mobile devices to track a person’s exercise and diet habits by syncing their information with its cloud servers.

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Home automation Stories November 5, 2014

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Nest recently announced a new sales partnership with Irish utility firm, Electric Ireland that will give the energy provider’s customers an option to receive a free smart thermostat from the Google-owned company after signing a two year service contract. This partnership give’s Mountain View’s growing home automation arm a shot at Electric Ireland’s rather large customer base.

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Home automation Stories October 24, 2014

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Today, Nest announced that it has acquired home automation device maker Revolv for an undisclosed sum. It’s believed that the Google-owned company made the move to acquire the firm’s developer platform. Nest recently acquired Dropcam for $555 million as part of its continued push into consumers’ homes.

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Home automation Stories September 24, 2014

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Despite the Fire Phone’s unfavorable reception from critics and consumers alike, Amazon isn’t scaling back its hardware efforts. The company’s Lab126 division that develops Amazon’s mobile products is reportedly increasing its staff in order to further pursue its interests in home automation and wearables. According to Reuters, Amazon is in the process of testing a WiFi device that can be added to a closet or cupboard, allowing consumers to order relevant products like detergent with the press of a button.

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Home automation Stories August 14, 2014

SmartThings

About a month ago, word broke that Samsung was interested in acquiring home automation firm SmartThings and today the two companies have made things official. A blog post by the company’s founder and CEO, Alex Hawkinson acknowledged the deal and stated that SmartThings will continue to act as an independent company under Samsung’s Open Innovation Center group.

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Home automation Stories July 16, 2014

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Wouldn’t it be cool if you could tell your watch to change the temperature, turn on/off lights, or perform various tasks on your computer? Well, thanks to Android Wear and some third party services, you can transform existing smart devices around your house into fully automated tasks using a device like the Samsung Gear Live, Moto 360, or LG G Watch.

The process will slightly vary between different Android devices and “smart” devices in your house, but we’ve put together the groundwork necessary so that you can build on these ideas in your own home. The setup procedure is a bit more than some people would like to go through, but in the end saying simple commands from a smartwatch to control things in your house is absolutely worth it.

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Home automation Stories July 15, 2014

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Wifi and Bluetooth may work fine for today’s limited number of smart home devices, but neither is ideal for future homes in which every switch, socket and lightbulb may be a connected device – that’s the claim of a consortium of companies that includes Samsung, Nest and ARM.

GigaOM reports that the companies have jointly created a new radio system which they believe is more suited to smart home networks than existing systems.

Dubbed Thread, it is a low-power, mesh network protocol that also supports IPv6. The standard is built on the existing radio hardware used by ZigBee devices (802.15.4), which means that a company could update their ZigBee devices to support Thread with software if they chose …

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Home automation Stories July 3, 2014

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Is was bound to happen, and it looks like it’s here. On the day that the first Android Wear device began shipping and only a few days after Google I/O attendees were given a free device themselves, one developer has demoed a home automation system using an Android Wear smartwatch to control it. And even more interestingly, it runs on Android applications that are already on the Play Store.

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Home automation Stories May 29, 2014

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If you love the idea of smart home technology like Nest, but are concerned about the cost of replacing half the appliances and devices in your home, Nest CEO Tony Fadell has some good news. Speaking at the Re/Code conference, he said that while “you need new hardware to allow things to flourish,” there are many things that could be done with software alone.

 Just like your smartphone has many many apps on it, we think there [could be] many apps in your home but you don’t necessarily need new hardware …

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Home automation Stories May 26, 2014

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Earlier this year Google acquired smart-thermostat company Nest, and according to a new report out of The Information, the company is not planning on stopping its quest to enter the home automation and security market. The report claims that Google has “considered” acquiring Dropcam, the makers of a system that streams live footage directly to phones and computers.

The report goes on to say that the status of talks and negotiations between the two companies is unclear at this point and that spokespeople for both companies did not reply to requests for comment.

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Home automation Stories April 24, 2014

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If you use Android, then download this app. That’s the recipe popular automation service IFTTT, or If This Then That, hopes you will follow as it debuts its software on the Google Play Store for Android users for the first time. The service has long had a web component for programming automating functions between a number of supported services, and it delivered an iPhone version about a year ago, and now it’s finally available on Android.

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Home automation Stories January 2, 2014

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Samsung is generally one of the best companies to visit at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. The Korean giant arguably puts on some of the best shows and has one of the largest individual display areas for any company in attendance. That’s all well and good, but a new post by the company’s “Samsung Tomorrow” blog is capturing our attention.

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Home automation Stories July 12, 2013

Back in May, we reported on a new piece of Glassware that controlled your Nest thermostat via Google Glass, and last month we saw GLASSTESLA, an app that lets you manage your car with Glass. Now home automation company Revolv has taken it a step further. The company has released a teaser video of a new technology developed by their Sr. Engineer that lets you control all sorts of things via Google Glass. Specifically in the video you can see office lights, Philips Hue lights, Yale Lock, and a Sonos player all being controlled with Glass. In addition to simply turning the Hue Lights on and off, the video also shows how you can change the color of the lights.  The app can be controlled with either gestures or voice commands.

It’s unclear when or if this technology will be released to the public, as it is simply the “side project” of Revolv’s Sr. Engineer.  expand full story

Home automation Stories September 17, 2012

You will soon control the color of your energy-efficient LED light bulbs with your iPhone/Android [Video]

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Oh, Kickstarter. It is a primary place where tech lovers’ dreams have an opportunity to become reality; it not only promotes some of the most innovative ideas, but it also makes those of us in the real world more anxious for a gadget-filled tomorrow. Enter LIFX.

LIFX’s, well, life on Kickstarter is only nearing the 48-hour mark, but the reinvented light bulb already surpassed its set goal and hit $402,707 (as of press time) worth of pledges. In a nutshell: LIFX is a “Wi-Fi-enabled, multi-color, energy efficient LED light bulb that you control with your iPhone or Android.”

Just watch the video above for the full effect. A few of the more notable integrated uses include changing indoor light color to match any mood, visualizing music, security measures for while away, or even just enabling couch potatoes. Those who pledge at least $69 will get a handy-dandy LIFX “smartbulb” to try, with an estimated delivery pegged around March 2013.

Check it out: LIFX: The Light Bulb Reinvented

Home-automation technology is a huge hit among startups, such as former Apple Senior Vice President Tony Fadell’s popular Nest Learning Thermostat, and even carriers are trying to get on board by developing services that streamline life and home processes.

AT&T, for instance, produced a consumer home automation and security suite of services that began trials earlier this summer. The services, which exist under the “AT&T Digital Life” naming umbrella, control home functions and implement security features. With Nest and others creating a buzz in the mobile home-automation space, expect to see LIFX flying off retailers’ shelves this time next year.

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Mac.

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