Google continues its mission of organizing the world’s information, and then some. The search giant's AI efforts continue to pay dividends with its Google Assistant platform, now appearing on many more devices, including iOS. Now you'll be able to turn off your toaster from your Google Home, or from the middle of Iceland.
As previewed at CES 2017 and shown to Smarter Home Life at the Philips Hue Suite at the Aria in Las Vegas, Philips released pricing details, pre-order and in-store availability information today on the new Hue ceiling and table lamps, plus the new Hue White Ambiance candle bulb.
The highly-anticipated (and ridiculously leaked) Ecobee4 smart Wi-Fi thermostat launched this past week. The overall design and features of the new thermostat remain the same from the Ecobee3, and the Ecobee4 comes with a remote temperature and occupancy sensor just like its predecessor. But wait, there’s more: Ecobee4 doesn’t just “work with” Amazon’s Alexa, she’s built right into the device.
In the “good old days” of home automation, buttons were everywhere. You couldn’t escape them. This was especially true before the early touchscreen controllers hit the market from companies like AMX and Crestron. Today, smartphone apps and voice control have seemingly taken over control of everything in the modern smarter home, but is that really a better experience?
Samsung surprised no one this week with the launch of the overly-anticipated Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones at its Unpacked event, featuring the much-rumored Bixby digital assistant. Most citizens of planet Earth have been eagerly waiting for another virtual assistant to use, since the four existing platforms of Siri, Cortana, Alexa and the Google Assistant just didn’t give everyone enough choice.
Last fall, the Google Assistant debuted on the Google Home smart speaker and the Google Pixel smartphone. Initially, the only things that Google Assistant could help with were SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue and IFTTT. Since the launch, Google has slowly added a few more, such as support for Belkin WeMo and Honeywell. But this week, an entire dozen (not a baker’s dozen) of new integrations were added to the Google Assistant.
Ever since late December 2016 with the dual announcements by LIFX and Sylvania about their HomeKit-enabled, no-hub-required smart bulbs, many HomeKit enthusiasts have been patiently (ok, probably impatiently) waiting to see which one would ship first. As it turns out, they were both “one-upped” by a company that most of us have never heard of.
It’s been one week since the “incredibly revealing” information drop by Wikileaks about the apparent abilities of the CIA to eavesdrop on individuals via devices ranging from smartphones to smart TVs and potentially digital assistant devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The United States, most of planet Earth, and even the International Space Station, were immediately sent into a mass-panic with nearly everyone abandoning their electronic devices, pulling the plug on their Internet routers, chucking their smartphones right out the window, and wrapping their microwave ovens with that special blue masking tape.
Joe Dugandzic was a guest on today's edition of Tech News Today, speaking about, of course, smarter home technology. He also spoke a bit about how prices of these gadgets are slowly decreasing, and his opinion on the news that government agencies could be spying on people through their smart TVs and other connected devices.
As seen at CES 2017 and announced previously, D-Link's new HomeKit-enabled security camera has appeared in Apple's online store today. This marks the first time that a home surveillance camera has become available to consumers that is compatible with Apple's home automation platform.
Home automation, the "smart home", whatever one may call it, connected gadgets and appliances for the home are now big business. Even just trying to cover just that single section of CES can be a bit overwhelming. But in our fast-paced recap video that covers nearly everything that our previous videos didn't cover, we think we've got it all.
On the first day of my CES 2017 adventures, I ran into someone I recognized from appearances on TWiT.tv shows at the Elgato booth, Allison Sheridan. While we didn't have a chance to chat much that day, we later conversed via Twitter and email, and ultimately I was invited to be on one of her shows, Chit Chat Across The Pond, a weekly technology interview show. She produces both CCATP and Nosillacast, her original technology podcast. We had a wonderful conversation on the smarter home and some of the new stuff from CES.
Companies at CES 2017 showcased many new products for the smarter home, but only a handful were truly innovative and worthy of being included in our top five list. And why would these products make the list? Not just because they're cool... they have to solve a real problem, not complicate your life and do something that no one's ever done before. That's what we mean when we think of innovation.
2016 was, without a doubt, a big year of developments for the smarter home. From a wider selection of connected devices to increased competition of the voice-based digital assistants, all categories of the smarter home were taken up a notch. 2017 is going to bring even more change to the connected home, and will hopefully start to decrease some of the confusion and complexity that consumers face when getting started on the road to a truly smart home.
It’s been a big week for HomeKit, and it isn’t over yet! With the release of iOS 10.2, HomeKit can finally send you real-time notifications of sensor-reported events, such as doors opening and closing. And Fibaro, a home automation vendor with an entire line-up of smarter home products, has launched its first HomeKit-compatible devices, including the first-ever HomeKit water leak sensor.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) recently announced the adoption of their latest specification, Bluetooth 5, which offers greater range, data bandwidth and transfer speeds. This is a win-win for the rapidly-growing Internet of Things and smarter home industries, as it can transform Bluetooth-only devices into more major players instead of being treated more like second-class citizens of this new world of connected devices.
Not to be out-done by Google, which just launched the Echo-competitor Google Home voice-activated smart speaker, Amazon has started selling special leather and fabric cases for the new 2nd Generation Echo Dot.
BREAKING: Google originally promised during the introduction of Google Home at I/O 2016 in May that the Google Home would fit in nicely with any decor with a colorful array of interchangeable fabric and metallic bases. While the search giant did miss these being available on launch day, all six of the bases are now shipping from the as of Monday afternoon, November 7, 2016.
Apple's HomeKit platform debuted in 2014, and products started rolling out during summer 2015. In 2016, the ecosystem of HomeKit products has started to expand, filling nearly every category of the smarter home. In late 2016 and early 2017, numerous additional products should finally bring the picture of a truly HomeKit-enabled home into focus.
The Eve lineup of HomeKit-enabled products grew a bit bigger this month with the addition of the Eve Light Switch. It has the distinction of currently being the only in-wall, wired-in switch that is completely standalone and does not require a hub for HomeKit compatibility.
Creating spooky fun at Halloween is even easier today thanks to Philips Hue smart LED lighting and the recently-updated Hue Halloween app. What's the big deal about the update? Support for the new Hue Motion Sensor and activation of both lights and music / sound effects!
Even though Apple's HomeKit debuted in 2014, it's taken time for accessories compatible the home automation platform to become available that complete the circle of devices around the home. Nold Technologies looks to be the first to conquer the garage.
On Friday, October 21, 2016, the DNS provider Dyn was the victim of a DDoS attack. At the time, the source of the attack was not known. But over the weekend, it became clear that the massive bandwidth for the attack originated with a very large network of compromised Internet of Things devices.
Sonos introduced an API (technically at the end of August), Apple rolled out iOS 10 with better HomeKit integration and the Home app, certain vendors made Alexa headlines at CEDIA 2016 including Crestron, and speaking of Alexa…Amazon launched the next-generation of the Echo Dot.
Earlier this year, the Internet went berserk for the lower-priced, hockey puck-sized Amazon Echo Dot, the little brother of the original Amazon Echo “smart speaker”. In fact, it went so berserk that the Dot sold out nearly immediately, and eventually Amazon said it was not making any more of them.
Today’s Apple announcements came and went without any mention of an “always-on” listening device where Siri could command your smarter home by just using your voice. Could it have been another “smart speaker”? Or an “air freshener”-esque device like the soon-to-be-released Google Home product? Or is the mystery product still sitting in Jony Ive’s secret lab?