Home Automation

Switchmate hands-on: Smarter switches, no electrician needed

Switchmate hands-on: Smarter switches, no electrician needed

The smart home might be intended to make our lives easier, but actually upgrading with home automation kit is more like a headache. Ripping out legacy switches and replacing them with their smart brethren isn’t only a headache, it’s out of the question for many who rent rather than own where they live. Startup Switchmate plans to change that, opening up automation with ridiculously simple and non-destructive gadgets that install in seconds. I caught up with the company to find out how a Bluetooth switch could pave the way to making the smart home mass-market.

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Panasonic Nubo wants to kill Dropcam with 4G

Panasonic Nubo wants to kill Dropcam with 4G

Streaming security cameras are great, until your WiFi connection dies and your virtual peephole gets cut off. Enter the Panasonic Nubo, throwing 4G LTE into the mixture along with some smart home ambitions. Panasonic isn’t aiming low, either, claiming the Nubo is a “Dropcam killer” from the outset, and aiming to out-perform everything on the Nest-owned streaming camera’s spec sheet. I caught up with the Panasonic Cameramanager team to find out why Nubo shouldn’t just be on your home office wall, but hitching a ride in your suitcase.

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Neurio adds hard-wired brain to your connected home

Neurio adds hard-wired brain to your connected home

Your home and the ‘Internet of Things’ is an interesting concept, but there are so many devices out there aiming to help you do similar things. It’s maddening. Can one device rule them all? The answer to that is likely ‘no’, but one can potentially provide the backbone to make other devices useful. Starting today, you can pick up Neurio, a device meant to become the “brain of your home”, which will provide an open platform for others to build upon and link their devices.

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Scout gets IFTTT channel, runs away with DIY home security crown

Scout gets IFTTT channel, runs away with DIY home security crown

Home security doesn’t have to be expensive any more. In fact, you can get peace of mind for a few hundred bucks upfront, and never pay another dime. It’s one of the benefits of the ‘Internet of Things’ we keep hearing about. DIY home security is probably best realized with Scout, which lets you migrate between connected monitoring and home-grown security. Already one of the better options around, Scout just got a lot better with a new IFTTT channel.

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‘Terribly buggy’ Nest Protects can’t be hushed for one unlucky Googler

‘Terribly buggy’ Nest Protects can’t be hushed for one unlucky Googler

Any time a smoke alarm goes off, it’s troubling. Either your home is on fire, or the blackened tuna you’re searing caused a panic in your home. When cooking, getting your smoke alarm to silence quickly becomes priority one, but what if it just won’t shut up? Even worse — what if there was no smoke to begin with? Google’s Brad Fitzpatrick recently uploaded a video to YouTube, showing just what happens when your Nest Protect smoke alarm can’t get right, and just won’t shut up.

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Smart home, smartphone, smart selling: Xiaomi’s power plan

Smart home, smartphone, smart selling: Xiaomi’s power plan

Xiaomi's schemes for smart home domination rest on a three dollar gizmo and a willingness to practically give it away, a warning note for rivals that, should a US launch happen, the Chinese curiosity could upset the game considerably. The Xiaomi Mi Module is a 22 yuan add-on linking regular appliances - whether they be heaters, rice cookers, or, as Xiaomi has already created for smog-heavy China, an air purifier - to the cloud, but rather than trying to fence the whole thing in, the company hopes to offer them at cost. It's a strategy that's at odds with how many of Xiaomi's competitors do business, and one which symbolizes quite how well a different approach can resonate with consumers.

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August Connect and August Smart Lock review

August Connect and August Smart Lock review

Your connected home is only complete if it’s secure, and that starts at the front door. Though several cameras and motion sensors plan to tell you if something is going on, there’s no better first step for security than a locked door. There’s also nothing cooler than locking and unlocking your home from a phone, and the peace of mind you get from checking in on your front door from anywhere is comforting. Beautiful enough to reside in the Apple Store, we wanted to know if August was just a pretty face, or a home automation must-have.

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SmartThings joins Z-Wave board as IoT gets strategic

SmartThings joins Z-Wave board as IoT gets strategic

Samsung's infiltration into the Internet of Things continues, with SmartThings - its recently-acquired home automation platform - now grabbing a spot on the Z-Wave Alliance board of directors. Z-Wave is one of the lingering wireless standards that still prevails among smart home devices, connecting things like remotely-controlled outlets, lamps, and thermostats, though while popular has nonetheless failed to dominate and thus unify the interconnectivity between automation devices. Given that SmartThings has proved that the smart home is worthy of big money, Z-Wave is now hoping some of that shine rubs off on it.

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Lockitron Bolt replaces original as company aims for mass production

Lockitron Bolt replaces original as company aims for mass production

During its crowdfunding days, Lockitron was a breathe of fresh air. A connected home gadget that required no re-assembling of your door’s existing locking mechanism, Lockitron was great for home owners, and a dream come true for renters. Unfortunately, they ran into the same long delays many crowdfunded hardware platforms experience, causing year-long delays in some cases. Rather than continue that same path, Lockitron is announcing the Bolt, which has the same solid functionality as the original, but has mass production in mind.

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Misfit Flash fitness wearable now also a connected life gadget

Misfit Flash fitness wearable now also a connected life gadget

the Misfit Flash may not be the flashiest fitness wearable around, but it’s handy. A small Bluetooth button, which then slides into a watchband or clip-on, Flash is good at tracking your activity levels. Starting today, Flash is getting a whole lot handier, as Misfit announces they’ve integrated several new platforms into their own service. To round out your connected life, Misfit now interacts with Yo, Spotify, Nest, August, Logitech, and IFTTT. With a few taps or long presses, you can automate your life like never before.

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