Home Automation

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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Samsung Family Hub fridge finally available for purchase

Samsung Family Hub fridge finally available for purchase

It might sound like a tablet, a cylinder, or even a touch-enabled table, but if you saw Samsung's big reveal at CES early this year, you probably already know that the Samsung Family Hub is, in fact, a glorified refrigerator with a gigantic touch screen. To some, it might have sounded too futuristic to be true, but the Korean manufacturer has just proven them wrong by making the Samsung Family Hub available in the market at long last. Now you won't have to worry about forgetting if you need to buy eggs or not, or about the kitchen being only about food.

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Roost now has its own Smart Smoke Alarm

Roost now has its own Smart Smoke Alarm

Last year, Roost made an interesting proposition. Keep your traditional smoke detectors but make them smarter simply by using its 9V Smart Battery. That was practically all you needed to do to get things like alarm notifications, battery level alerts, and even naming your smoke detectors. Today, however, Roost is finally jumping in all the way in the smart appliance market. It is announcing the Roost Smart Smoke Alarm that gives all that and more in one single package. And yes, it still includes the smart battery.

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Google’s OnHub router now supports IFTTT

Google’s OnHub router now supports IFTTT

The OnHub is an odd and unexpected surprise from Google. While it has a very strong resemblance to Amazon's Echo, OnHub is primarily a wireless router. It's a smart router, though, allowing for more control and information via a smartphone. It is also meant to be the hub of Google's smart home ambitions. But there are only so many things you can do with a router, right? Google is now challenging that perception by opening up OnHub to popular web platform IFTTT, allowing almost anything to be done with the router.

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August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled Review: Siri, lock my door

August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled Review: Siri, lock my door

The Internet of Things may be the Wild West right now, but if Apple has its way, HomeKit-enabled devices like August's new Smart Lock 2nd generation will tame the confusion. It promises to act as your virtual doorman courtesy of the soothing tones of Siri, though at $229 it's not an inexpensive upgrade.

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Switchmate’s DIY-free wireless light upgrade hits stores in May

Switchmate’s DIY-free wireless light upgrade hits stores in May

Renter-friendly ways for a smart home upgrade are few and far between, but lighting at least is getting a blast of the IoT, no screwdrivers required. Glowing from its successful crowdfunding campaign last year, Switchmate is finally bringing its Bluetooth-connected adapter for your existing light switches to market.

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This ceiling mount for Amazon Echo makes perfect sense

This ceiling mount for Amazon Echo makes perfect sense

Amazon's Echo is already proving its worth in thousands of kitchens and living rooms, but when your smart speaker is entirely voice controlled, why does it need space on your coffee table? One enterprising Redditer has taken the obvious next step and moved his Echo completely out of the way, cooking up a ceiling mount that not only helps keep things tidy but could improve performance, too.

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