Home Automation

The simple Smart Home: Where to start

The simple Smart Home: Where to start

Controlling lights, appliances, and keeping an eye on home security has never been easier, but as smart home technology proliferates, picking the best place to start can be tough. I’ve been upgrading my apartment for the past few years, now, and I know that the first step needn’t be too risky, however. Since home automation can be intimidating, I’m going to focus on products that require the minimum of installation effort. I’m a big fan of non-permanent options: it makes a lot of sense if you’re renting, but it also gives you flexibility to change things up as you get used to your newly-smart home.

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Apple denies HomeKit launch delay [Updated]

Apple denies HomeKit launch delay [Updated]

This might not be much of a surprise when you consider the back story, but a new report says Apple is delaying the release of their HomeKit framework. HomeKit is poised to take on the likes of Nest and SmartThings in providing a framework for devices to be built for, which connect to each other via a loose network of connectivity. According to Fortune, Apple is pushing HomeKit’s official launch into the Fall, which will leave us wanting at WWDC. Update: Apple has denied the report; check out the full statement after the cut.

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Qualcomm wants your IoT coffee pot to run apps, too

Qualcomm wants your IoT coffee pot to run apps, too

Qualcomm has ambitions for the Internet of Things beyond just wiring up your fridge to the web, launching a set of chipsets that will not only provide connectivity but app support to appliances. The two new embeddable boards target everything from coffee pots and rice cookers through toasters, fridges, and washer-dryers, not to mention integrating the IoT - or the "Internet of Everything" as Qualcomm prefers to describe it - with home hubs and routers. Meanwhile, there are moves to smooth the IoT setup experience, too.

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Ilumi Smart LED Bulbs review; Bluetooth brains

Ilumi Smart LED Bulbs review; Bluetooth brains

In the connected home space, lighting has become rather dull. Several lightbulbs change color, and can react to an app; it’s all fairly mundane at this point. Philips Hue is widely pointed to as the first domino in the rally, but it has limitations, like the need for a WiFi hub. Ilumi thinks it can change our minds about lighting, with their connected bulbs that also change colors and react to an app. In the face of big-name players, Ilumi may have got lighting right.

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Ring Doorbell hits retail, gains ‘Chime’ accessory

Ring Doorbell hits retail, gains ‘Chime’ accessory

Ring, your connected doorbell and two-way intercom, is going off the grid. You can still use all the features you know Ring offers, like smartphone notifications when someone wants to come inside and the two-way voice chat (and one-way video feature), but a new accompaniment lets you tune your smartphone out. No, not an Apple Watch app — an actual doorbell chime. Ring now has a connected doorbell chime, and you can hook up as many of them around your home as you like.

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Samsung ARTIK wants to wire the IoT (& solve drought)

Samsung ARTIK wants to wire the IoT (& solve drought)

Samsung has launched a new range of chipsets intended to get your home appliances online and talking to each other, borrowing smartphone chip tech for its new ARTIK range. The trio of tiny boards - as small as 12 x 12 mm - connect via Bluetooth, WiFi, or ZigBee, model depending, with Samsung hoping they find their way into everything from connected toasters and fridges to future wearables. Meanwhile, since having your coffee pot hacked is probably considered unwelcome, ARTIK has baked-in hardware encryption.

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Comcast Xfinity now an IoT platform, supports August, Automatic and more

Comcast Xfinity now an IoT platform, supports August, Automatic and more

You can now control your front door with your voice. In a partnership with Comcast, August — makers of the August Smart lock and August Connect — will soon allow their connected devices to be controlled via Comcast’s Xfinity service. If you have Xfinity Home, Comcast Xfinity Remote with Voice Control, or the X1 Entertainment Operating System, you can control your August device(s) via voice or on-screen controls, where supported. Comcast is also adding support for other Internet of Things devices, likely an attempt to make Xfinity more of an IoT platform than a cable offering.

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Autonomous Desk is a smart desk powered by AI

Autonomous Desk is a smart desk powered by AI

There are different styles of desks out there to suit any need or style of work. A new desk has surfaced that is called the Autonomous Desk and it is billed as the smartest desk out there and is powered by some sort of AI. The design of the desk is a standing desk to help people be healthier and more productive at work.

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Wink offers posts fix options for hubs bricked by update

Wink offers posts fix options for hubs bricked by update

Wink users who have suddenly found themselves without some smartness in their homes this weekend are probably painfully aware of the blunder that the company made in a recent firmware update. All hope is not yet lost, however. Wink has just posted some instructions on how to get those Smart Hubs up and running and connected to the Internet again. And in case you're not that confident with your technical know-how, they are offering free round-trip shipping to get yours fixed in a few days.

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Wink smart home hubs bricked by software update [Update]

Wink smart home hubs bricked by software update [Update]

Saturday was not a good day for owners of the Wink Hub, a smart home device that allows users to control a range of home appliances with their smartphone. Of course, Wink owners are probably already aware of this, what with not being able to turn off the lights, open the garage door, adjust the thermostat, etc. See, Wink issued a new software update that, as the company puts it, made their box "so secure that it is unable to connect to the Wink servers." All of the hubs that received the update were then offline for a majority of the day.

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Philips Hue Go Review – Finally, a battery

Philips Hue Go Review – Finally, a battery

Philips has been pushing its Hue smart lighting system for years now, but it’s taken until now, and the Hue Go, for the lamps to gain a battery for truly wireless convenience. Latest to the app-controlled line-up, the distinctive little lamp offers the same millions of color options as Hue has from the start; unlike most Hue bulbs, however, Hue Go can not only cut the cord but doesn’t demand a nearby smartphone. That flexibility comes with some compromises along the way, however; read on for my full review.

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Amazon Echo adds Hue and WeMo smart home voice control

Amazon Echo adds Hue and WeMo smart home voice control

Amazon Echo is digging its voice-controlled fingers deeper into the smart home, with Amazon adding Philips Hue and Belkin WeMo support to the always-listening home assistant. The new functionality, pushed out to Echo units from today, allows owners to control their lighting, smart appliances, and switches using simple voice commands rather than reaching for the respective apps, and could well be the most useful additions Echo has seen since it began shipping in limited numbers late last year.

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