Home Networking, Home Automation

Savant Goes Mainstream With Remote, Host

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Savant Goes Mainstream With Remote, Host

High-end home automation vendor Savant aims at the consumer market with the Remote and Host, a universal remote and automation hub combo complete with DIY setup via companion mobile device app.

The Remote and Hub feature technology from the Savant Pro line, if with a focus on the control of entertainment devices of the Sonos, Apple TV, cable STBs and Roku variety. It is also compatible with Philips Hue smart lighting products via additional of Lamp Controller modules. The hardware is designed by Ammunition (the firm behind the Beats headphones and Nook eReader) while the software promises automatic detection of devices connected to the home wifi network.

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Philips Hue Integrates With Apple HomeKit

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Philips Hue Integrates With Apple HomeKit

Philips integrates the Hue smart lightbulb family with Apple HomeKit and launches the Hue Bridge 2.0, a home automation hub allowing users to control devices through voice commands and Siri.

“Lighting is the most accessible aspect of the connected home, and as the lighting expert for the Internet of Things we are taking connected lighting to the next phase,” the company says. “By integrating Philips Hue with Apple HomeKit, we are broadening people’s experience of light beyond what has been previously possible, providing seamless interoperability with other connected home devices.”

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Amazon Echo Gains Smart Home Control

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Amazon Echo Gains Smart Home Control

Amazon quietly gives the Echo, its odd voice assistant-slash-black cylindrical speaker, smart home capabilities via software update allowing the voice control of Belkin WeMo and Philips Hue devices.

Such functionality so far appears to be limited-- customers can only directly control WeMo switches and LED light bulbs, as well as Hue smart lighting solutions (specifically the Hue A19, Lux, BR30, Bloom, and LightStrip), with no control of automated schedules.

Setup is reportedly simple enough, since the Echo automatically discovers and pairs with devices connected to the home wifi network via "discover my appliances" command.

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Belkin Automates the Coffee Machine

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Belkin Automates the Coffee Machine

Wifi-enabled, app-controlled coffee machines are not too new a concept, but that doesn't stop Belkin from taking on such devices with the cheerfully named Mr. Coffee, a "Smart Optimal Brew Coffeemaker with WeMo."

The name says it all, really. The Mr. Coffee uses a WeMo connectivity and a companion smartphone app (iOS and Android) to, as Belkin puts it, "make it easy to schedule, monitor, and modify your brew from anywhere." Users can configure and schedule "weeks' worth of brews" in advance and even monitor brew status from the comfort of their bed.

The app is also clever enough to let one know when to change the filter or empty the carafe, and since the machine is WeMo-enabled it can be paired with other paired with other smart home devices using the technology, such as LED lights, switches and motion sensors.

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Google's Nest Swallows Revolv

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Google's Nest Swallows Revolv

Google-owned smart thermostat and smoke detector vendor Nest makes a second home automation-releated acquisition-- Revolv, the company behind the connected device home hub of the same name.

The Revolv product offering consists of a red puck-shaped control device packing 7 radios combined with an iOS app and a cloud-based backend. It handles 10 protocols, and the free cloud service allows the creation of "actions" (aka scenes) based on geolocation, time or sensor activity.

Further details behind the deal are not available. The sale means Revolv will no longer sell its hub device, even if it promises its service will remain available for existing customers. Instead, the company will be putting its efforts into working on the "Works With Nest" open API program.

“Nest bought a team of people knowledgable in the interoperability of a wide variety of radio technology and software protocols in order to make integration easier for partners and customers,” Forrester analyst Frank Gillett tells Forbes.

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Haier, Energous Team Up in Wireless Charging

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Haier, Energous Team Up in Wireless Charging

Appliance vendor Haier announces a partnership with wireless charging developer Energous-- one seeing Energous embed its WattUp chargers into Haier appliances in the near future.

WattUp technology uses the same radio bands as wifi routers (5.7 and 5.8MHz) and claims to provide 4W of wireless power from up to 4.5m distance, without need for placing devices on a mat. However devices need to carry WattUp receiver technology in order to actually sip from the wireless power.

“WattUp is a natural fit for a wide range of Smart Home products,” Haier says. “As Haier Wireless continues to make efforts and the wireless power industrial ecosystem continues to improve in the connected home market, Haier will accelerate industrialization application of true wire-free charging technology. In our vision, WattUp-embedded Haier Wireless appliances would serve as transmitters for any WattUp-enabled device that is within range.”

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Logitech Harmony Extends to Automation

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Logitech Harmony Extends to Automation

Logitech expands the capabilities of its Harmony remote control lineup with home automation as it launches the Harmony Home Hub, the Hub Extender, and the Ultimate Home and Home Control remotes.

“Harmony led the path for simplifying home entertainment, and now we’ve taken that expertise to also simplify home automation,” the company claims. “As more connected devices such as the Nest Learning Thermostat, Philips Hue lights and August Smart Locks come to market and enter the home, there’s more of a need than ever before for a centralized way to simply control all of the home’s devices."

The Home Hub is the, well, hub, of the Logitech automation system. It uses RF, IR, Bluetooth and wifi to relay commands from Harmony Living Home remotes or the Harmony mobile device app to what Logitech says is a "wide range" of entertainment and automation devices.

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HomeKit-Compatible Automation from Elgato

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HomeKit-Compatible Automation from Elgato

Elgato announces app-powered product and accessory range at IFA 2014, including the Eve connected home sensor lineup, the Alvea smart LED bulb and the Smart Power portable power solution.

The Eve sensors gather air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, energy and water consumption data before pushing all to a companion iOS app via Bluetooth Smart. The app provides users with a home overview, as well as insights on how to make their house smarter.

Meanwhile the Avea is an app-controllable LED bulb. Unlike similar lighting solutions (such as the Philips Hue smart bulbs) it does not require a bridge device, and users can coordinate multiple bulbs via single iDevice.

Controls provided by the app include dynamic mood lighting and a "Wake-Up Light" alarm function.

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A Thread to Tie Smart Home Devices

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A Thread to Tie Smart Home Devices

Nest, Samsung, ARM, Big Ass Fans, Freescale, Silicon Labs and Yale team up in the name of the internet of things (IoT) to present Thread, an IP-based wireless networking protocol to connect smart home devices without need for hub hardware.

According to the Thread Group current 802.15.4-based networking technologies such as ZigBee or Z-Wave have "critical issues" making them unsuitable for the IoT, including lack of interoperability, inability to carry IPv6 communications, high power requirements and "hub and spoke" models dependent on one device. Thread promises to solve such issues, being a low-power wireless mesh network able to simultaneously connect and provide internet/cloud access to over 250 devices.

"A number of networking solutions and platforms have been introduced to address the growing demand for connected products in the home," IHS Technology says. "Built on well-proven standards, including IEEE 802.15.4, IETF IPv6 and 6LoWPAN, Thread represents a resilient, IP-based solution for the rapidly growing Internet of Things."

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Google's Nest Buys Dropcam

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Google's Nest Buys Dropcam

Smart thermostat and smoke detector maker Nest makes further headway into home automation as it acquires connected camera startup Dropcam for $555 million with plans to incorporate the product range within its brand.

As we all know Nest is a $3.2 billion Google acquisition, but Re/code reports the Dropcam buy was made without assistance from the search giant. In fact Google was rumored to be a potential Dropcam buyer, at least according to a May 2014 story from The Information.

Dropcam sells not only IP cameras but also a subscription-based cloud-based security footage storage service-- one the company says is used by 39% of camera buyers.

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The Doorbell as Smart Home Hub

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The Doorbell as Smart Home Hub

Nucano announces what it describes the industry's first smart doorbell-- self-explanatory Nucano Smart Door Chime, a device acting as both door bell and a DIY home automation hub.

According to the company the Smart Door Chime not only lets one know if there's someone at their door, but also connects and controls over 1000 existing devices (including door locks, thermostats and cameras) via either wifi or Z-Wave.

Once connected, the Smart Door Chime pairs with a smartphone (iOS and Android) app and sends mobile alerts or even video once anyone rings the bell. It also provides inside and outside temperature readings and even lets users change the chime tune with any music stored on their mobile devices.

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