smart home Stories October 29, 2018

August Home adds new Halloween-ready features powered by Google Assistant

It’s almost Halloween, and August Home is getting your smart home ready for the deluge of trick-or-treaters with new features for your Google Assistant.

smart home Stories October 9, 2018

C by GE light bulbs to gain Google Assistant support, new Home Mini bundle

Amidst the fray of Made by Google announcements today, third-parties are unleashing a ton of Made for Google products. General Electric is the latest, announcing Google Assistant support for bulbs in its C by GE product line.

smart home Stories June 25, 2018

Smart home technology is being used to inflict new forms of domestic abuse on partners and former partners. Example include everything from video surveillance through cameras to blasting out loud music through smart speakers and turning up thermostat temperatures to oppressive levels …

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smart home Stories May 3, 2018

When it first launched, one of Google Assistant’s biggest weak points was the number of smart home devices and services it could connect to. While there are still a few services we wish it could integrate, Google has done a lot to round out the smart home functionality, now working with 5,000 different devices.

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smart home Stories January 3, 2018

Beta test will see high-end Roomba models hunting down Wi-Fi dead zones and weak spots

A beta test will see top-tier Roomba models adding to their duties as they wander around your home. In addition to the cleaning, they will also be mapping the strength of the Wi-Fi signals, looking for dead zones and weak-spots …

smart home Stories November 2, 2017

Here’s a list of every smart home device that works with Google Home and Assistant

Google Home and Google Assistant are awesome ways to control your smart home, but picking products that work with it was a pain at launch. Thankfully, the list has expanded greatly over time, and now Google has a page dedicated to showing you what works with Home.

smart home Stories October 26, 2017

One of the key decisions you need to make when adding smart lighting to a home is whether to have the smarts in the switches or the bulbs. Switches tend to be the easier option if you have non-techies in the home, while bulbs offer more flexibility.

A new smart switch system called Noon Home aims to offer the best of both worlds …

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smart home Stories July 14, 2017

D-Link’s smart plugs are now supported by Google Home/Google Assistant

Smart plugs are one of my favorite types of smart home accessories, but there are dozens of great options out there and quite a lot of them aren’t supported by Google Assistant yet. Today, though, one of the more popular brands offering smart plugs is getting Assistant support — D-Link.

smart home Stories May 31, 2016

iFixit 2015 Chromecast and Chromecast Audio

Google Home was announced earlier this month by Chromecast head Mario Queiroz. The team responsible for Google’s hit streaming media device headed up development of the Amazon Echo competitor because Home is essentially a “dressed-up version of Chromecast”, according to The Information.

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smart home Stories May 2, 2016

smartthings-exploit

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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smart home Stories April 4, 2016

Revolv

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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smart home 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.

smart home 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

smart home Stories October 1, 2015

When it works with Nest, it just works. - YouTube 2015-10-01 08-44-18

Nest Weave, the communications protocol that Nest uses to make its connected home devices talk to each other, definitely isn’t new. But as of today, Nest is making it part of its Works with Nest program so that third-party hardware makers and developers can use the protocol in their own products… expand full story

smart home 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

smart home Stories June 8, 2015

PRO

Nest sent out press invitations last week to an event on June 17th, and we speculated that it might mean that the company is ready to announce its first Dropcam successor since being acquired by Google in June of 2014. Now, thanks to an FCC filing that we’ve uncovered (published to the FCC website on May 28th), it seems more likely that the company is getting ready to announce the next generation of its security camera… expand full story

smart home Stories January 6, 2015

smartthings

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

smart home Stories July 15, 2014

SmartThings

According to a report from TechCrunch, Samsung is in talks with SmartThings to acquire the smart home platform for around $200 million. The report originally claimed that the deal was completed, but TechCrunch has since updated the report to note a second source says the talks are still ongoing.

SmartThings is a home automation platform that enables Android and iOS users to effortlessly control their home from one simple app, including lights, locks, electronics, appliances and other connected home devices. The app can also detect motion, alert you of danger and monitor how many family members are home at any given time. expand full story

nest

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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smart home Stories June 23, 2014

Google CEO Larry Page (centre) with Nest co-founders Matt Rogers amd Tony Fadell (photo: technologyreview.com)

Google CEO Larry Page (centre) with Nest co-founders Matt Rogers amd Tony Fadell (photo: technologyreview.com)

Google and Nest have big plans for their partnership, the Wall Street Journal reports. The two companies plan to team up to offer a development platform around the Nest learning thermostat and Nest Protect smoke/CO detector in what appears to be the next step in Google’s connected home efforts following the Mountain View company’s $555 million acquisition of Dropcam a few days ago.

The system as it is currently said to exist allows users to issue voice commands to a smartphone to change settings on the Nest lineup or change a house’s temperature based on the owner’s proximity (so the air comes on when you’re almost home). However, the “Works with Nest” program will soon be expanded to support third-party remotes and appliances.

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