Home Automation

Nest’s new talent tames the thermostat when power gets pricey

Nest’s new talent tames the thermostat when power gets pricey

Nest's thermostat has always been billed as "smart" but, courtesy of even deeper integration with power companies, a new "Time of Savings" feature could help your wallet, too. Part of the smart home staple's intelligent energy services, the new addition works with so-called "time of use" (TOU) plans by learning what the rates are and adjusting heating and cooling use according to when it's most affordable.

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Amazon Alexa will soon blend with Logitech Harmony

Amazon Alexa will soon blend with Logitech Harmony

Amazon's Alexa is truly growing up to becoming the personal assistant for the home, sprinting past Google, Apple, and Microsoft and giving them a run for their money. While those big three are scrambling to get a foothold inside living rooms, Amazon is already building up its army rallying behind Alexa. The latest news, if for real, will potentially add dozens if not hundreds of devices that don't directly support Alexa. All through the masterful orchestrating of Logitech's Harmony smart home platform.

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D-Link DCS-8200LH HD 180-degree camera joins the smart home club

D-Link DCS-8200LH HD 180-degree camera joins the smart home club

As homes get smarter, so too do potential intruders and miscreants. As we continually upgrade our appliances, it is also fitting that we upgrade our security systems. Fortunately, it won't necessarily mean trading an arm or a leg just to get a smart security setup. D-Link is adding a new HD 180-degree camera, the DCS-8200LH, to its mydlink Connected Home team to offer affordable security cam without skimping on the features that make these connected cameras a perfect fit for smart homes.

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No Apple TV? Your iPad can be an Apple Home Hub

No Apple TV? Your iPad can be an Apple Home Hub

Apple's update for HomeKit may make the Apple TV even more important, with its addition of remote access to control things from afar, but it turns out you don't actually need the set-top box. In an ideal setup - and certainly how Apple presented it at the WWDC keynote this week - the Apple TV running the upcoming version of tvOS acts as a Home Hub, but if you don't have, or don't want, the set-top box, you can use something else.

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Amazon Alexa ramps up to 1,000 3rd-party skills

Amazon Alexa ramps up to 1,000 3rd-party skills

Amazon's line of Echo speakers and the virtual assistant Alexa are constantly getting updated with new features and connected services, but the company has now revealed that the number of third-party skills available has topped 1,000. That's a lot of new abilities for Alexa that developers have created, resulting in useful features like the ability to check bank accounts, make travel plans, and even order a pizza, all via voice commands.

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The best Amazon Alexa Skills to try (and why they’re a big deal)

The best Amazon Alexa Skills to try (and why they’re a big deal)

With more than 1,000 Skills under its belt, Amazon's Alexa leads the pack in voice-controlled smart home assistants, but which should you try first and why? Read on for our pick of some of the best third-party integrations with Alexa, including why they're important, and how you can try them out without splashing out any cash in the first place.

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Switchmate Review – The easiest IoT light upgrade ever

Switchmate Review – The easiest IoT light upgrade ever

If embracing the smart home has a common first step, it's often remotely-controlled lights, but that can be an expensive, time-consuming, or technical upgrade. Wireless bulbs switch out for their dumb cousins, but equipping every lamp can get expensive; swapping dumb wall switches for wireless versions looks clean but requires screwdrivers and dealing with mains electricity, not to mention potentially incurring landlord wrath. Step forward Switchmate, then, with an alternative that's up and running in mere minutes.

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iDevices Socket gives incandescent bulbs an IoT upgrade

iDevices Socket gives incandescent bulbs an IoT upgrade

Upgrading existing lights to connected versions usually means choosing between fancy LED bulbs and those you already have, but iDevices is pitching a way to keep both. The new iDevices Socket screws into a regular bayonet light socket - whether a ceiling fixture, standalone lamp, or wall sconce - and has a ring of multicolor LEDs for mood lighting; however, you can also add your choice of existing bulb.

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Belkin Wemo Switches get Nest integration

Belkin Wemo Switches get Nest integration

Belkin’s Wemo now works with Nest, with the company announcing Works with Nest integration this morning. What’s this mean for you? If you have the Nest thermostat and one or more Wemo switches, such as a Wemo Insight Switch or Light Switch, they’ll now work together, making for a more integrated (and thusly capable and efficient) home.

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Nest OpenThread launches to bring open-source into the IoT

Nest OpenThread launches to bring open-source into the IoT

The attempt to get all parts of the Internet of Things speaking the same language continues, with Nest today announcing OpenThread, an open-source implementation of Thread. The Thread networking technology - launched in 2014 and backed, among others, by ARM, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments - builds on existing wireless standards like 802.15.4 and supports IPv6, but uses a mesh network for greater resilience and performance

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iOS 10 might finally bring an official Apple HomeKit app

iOS 10 might finally bring an official Apple HomeKit app

It's been more than a year since Apple introduced its own foray into the budding market of smart appliances and home automation products, what some label as the Internet of Things. Since then, adoption of HomeKit by manufacturers and developers has been steady but somewhat slow. Adoption by consumers, however, was perhaps slower, hampered by the dozens of apps available, one per smart home product. A long requested feature, Apple might have finally listened to its customers and might soon have its own official HomeKit app, available starting iOS 10.

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Here’s how Samsung and GE will bake the IoT into your kitchen

Here’s how Samsung and GE will bake the IoT into your kitchen

The Internet of Things wants to invade your kitchen, and a new breed of high-tech, high-price appliances is the gateway. Samsung has followed up its oddball Family Hub Fridge - which puts a big touchscreen tablet interface on the front of a double-door fridge-freezer - with another connected gadget for the kitchen, a WiFi-enabled range.

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