Home Automation

Apple patent points to dock that is potentially an IoT hub

Apple patent points to dock that is potentially an IoT hub

A patent application from Apple, published today, reveals a new accessory. It’s not a USB-C cable, nor is it a new cover for an iPad. This one is listed as a dock, presumably for the iPhone (though any Apple handheld can probably be used), which makes use of a second screen and inductive charging. The dock also supports gesture controls, and has features for wireless communication with other gadgets. From the sound of the patent, this dock is a lot more than a place to rest your phone.

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Scout Alarm DIY security system now ‘Works with Nest’

Scout Alarm DIY security system now ‘Works with Nest’

Scout, the do-it-yourself home alarm system that has standalone connectivity, is now working with Nest. In a blog post, Scout says their system now works with Nest “to enable seamless access and control of your Nest device(s) within your Scout account.” Your Scout Alarm will now work with Nest’s Smoke + Carbon Monoxide detector, as well as Nest Learning Thermostat. Though the reasoning for grouping your thermostat and home security system together might not be immediately clear, Scout has outlined several ways it can be handy.

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‘Nest Audio’ job listing suggests voice control could be the future

‘Nest Audio’ job listing suggests voice control could be the future

Nest wants to be the central hub of your home, which was made evident by their ‘Works with Nest’ platform, introduced last year. By allowing other IoT gadgets to link to Nest’s new platform, your home is tied together via the thermostat, of all things. Though third-party support will remain intact, it seems Nest is also extending their own reach into your home. A new job listing for ‘Nest Audio’ wants someone who can head the new team, though it’s not exactly clear why just yet.

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Marvell introduced SDK for IoT HomeKit devices

Marvell introduced SDK for IoT HomeKit devices

Your home will get smart, like it or not. Over time, smart devices for your home will outweigh dumb ones, and you’ll either have to jump on board with the ‘Internet of Things’, or live with the knowledge your home is possibly smarter than you are. Don’t believe us? Marvell, who make a variety of chipsets that go into smart home devices, has unveiled an SDK for the IoT, dubbed EZ-Connect. It’s the first SDK for Apple’s HomeKit, too, according to Marvell.

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Apple Watch could be your Smart Home helper

Apple Watch could be your Smart Home helper

Could home automation integration be the most useful feature of the Apple Watch? Showing off the new smartwatch during Apple's keynote in San Francisco today, the Cupertino firm put on a demo of how third-party apps - in this case from home security firm Alarm.com - could integrate with the wearable, and give easier access to things like lighting, doors, and garages. For instance, a live view from a security camera watching the garage could stream directly to your wrist.

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Google patent wants to make even doorknobs smart

Google patent wants to make even doorknobs smart

Google acquired Nest and then Dropcam, so it isn't much of a surprise that it might want more. If there was any doubt there, this latest patent, filed just months after the two acquisitions, would dispel all that. It might be deceptively called "Security Scoring in a Smart-sensored Home", but the message it sends is clear. Google wants to make homes smarter, and probably gather more information than you're willing to hand over through browsers and phones. And like any other house, it all starts at the door.

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Simplicam adds detection zones for fine-tuned home security

Simplicam adds detection zones for fine-tuned home security

When it comes to the ‘Internet of Things’, context is important. Not the context on background of the sensor or item, but context in how it can make the info it’s grabbing make sense. An often overlooked part of your smart, contextual home is the security camera. For DIY home security monitoring, nothing outshines Simplicam. Already a winner due to facial recognition, Simplicam is now offering detection zones, which you can program yourself. Now, you’ll be able to get alerts exactly as you want and need them.

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Philips Hue Phoenix lamps promise healthier light

Philips Hue Phoenix lamps promise healthier light

Philips has outed a new lineup of remotely-controlled lamps, the Hue Phoenix range, integrating "light recipes" which the company claims can stimulate productivity and concentration. Five different styles will be on offer, spanning downlights through table lamps, and finally ceiling lamps, and all with the same UFO-styled lozenge enclosure. As with Philips' Hue Lux bulbs, which we reviewed last year, Phoenix is all about white light.

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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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