Home Automation

Nest products get family accounts and better home or away detection

Nest products get family accounts and better home or away detection

Nest has announced the introduction of two new features today for its smart home products via software update. Dubbed Family Accounts and Home/Away Assist, they allow a home's network of Nest devices to not only work automatically, but also smartly by detecting if someone is even home and allowing multiple people to make adjustments with their own account.

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Aido home robot plays with kids and controls smart appliances

Aido home robot plays with kids and controls smart appliances

Aido is a new personal robot that has turned up at Indiegogo and looks a bit like Wall-E's girlfriend Eve if she were much taller and had a hunched back. Aido is designed to do all sorts of things for you inside your home and is packed with sensors, microphones, and can have a projector. The bot has six different microphones to help it hear and understand voice commands in noisy environments.

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Amazon is using Dot to make you more comfortable with Echo

Amazon is using Dot to make you more comfortable with Echo

If you want to get your customers to take your product and utilize all of its features, there are a lot of good ways that you can do it. Amazon has been pushing Alexa pretty hard, and with today's newest additions to the family, they found one way to encourage owners to use their Echo for ordering products from them. And not everyone likes the idea.

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Amazon Tap and Echo Dot join Alexa in the connected home

Amazon Tap and Echo Dot join Alexa in the connected home

In an unexpected surprise this Thursday morning, Amazon has just announced two new devices in its Echo connected speaker lineup. Dubbed the Amazon Tap and Echo Dot, both units feature the Echo's digital assistant Alexa, or connect to it in some way. Both are available for pre-order starting today, although the Echo Dot has a pretty interesting buying process, which we'll get to in a moment.

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Zuli adds Hue support to presence-tracking IoT plugs: Hands-on

Zuli adds Hue support to presence-tracking IoT plugs: Hands-on

In the smartest Smart Home, everything plays nicely together, and IoT smartplug maker Zuli is further joining up its dots with the addition of Hue support. The Zuli smartplugs, which differentiate themselves by using Bluetooth to figure out when rooms are in use and adjust devices accordingly, can now command Philips' color-changing LED bulbs too.

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Passive WiFi uses 10,000 times less power than normal WiFi

Passive WiFi uses 10,000 times less power than normal WiFi

A group of researchers at the University of Washington has made a WiFi breakthrough that could result in wireless networks that consume much less power. As it is now, WiFi-enabled devices give up a significant amount of their battery life to stay connected to wireless networks. The researchers have made a passive WiFi discovery that uses 10,000 times less power than current WiFi methods.

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Elgato Eve Energy can make any plugged appliance smart

Elgato Eve Energy can make any plugged appliance smart

The recent surge of Internet-connected appliances and home electronics is leaving out a lot of people who are wary of giving up their favorite living room companion for something newer, smarter, but also more unfamiliar. There are, however, a few gadgets available that offer a compromise. Elgato's latest member of its Eve line is one of those. The Eve Energy is a simple yet elegant small box that sits between the wall socket and any traditional appliance, connecting the latter to your iPhone or iPad via the magic of Apple's HomeKit platform.

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Silk Labs’ Sense wants the IoT to have some style

Silk Labs’ Sense wants the IoT to have some style

The smart home may be fashionable right now, but it's hardly attractive, something one startup created by a former Mozilla exec aims to change with Sense. Brainchild of Andreas Gal, who until 2015 was chief technical officer on the Firefox team, Silk Labs has visions of a connected camera that's pretty enough that you want to look at it while it's watching you.

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Now Amazon’s Echo takes charge of your thermostat, too

Now Amazon’s Echo takes charge of your thermostat, too

Amazon's Echo has added what could be one of its most useful abilities to-date: voice control over your home thermostat. The update, which as with all Echo feature-adds will be pushed out invisibly through the cloud, allows owners of the cylindrical smart speaker to turn the heating up or down simply by calling out.

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Amazon Echo will now request an Uber too

Amazon Echo will now request an Uber too

Amazon seems to be on roll this week with adding new capabilities to its Echo smart home speaker. First it was ordering pizza for the Super Bowl, then came support for listening to Spotify, and now users can ask digital assistant Alexa to order them an Uber ride. The ride-sharing company has announced that its API is now compatible with Echo, so those in need of a driver don't even need to take their phone out, let alone open the app.

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Samsung SmartThings ads show how you can have super powers

Samsung SmartThings ads show how you can have super powers

The past few weeks have been rather hard on the Internet of Things market. Despite the slew of new trinkets and ideas that were paraded at CES 2016 earlier this month, bugs and security holes in currently marketed devices cast a rather negative light on connected home appliances. Perhaps Samsung thought it was time to lighten up the mood, especially considering it too has some IoT products to sell. In a set of ads revolving around its SmartThings platform, Samsung reveals how IoT can give you superpowers. Or at least the semblance of it.

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Nest software update leaves users without heat

Nest software update leaves users without heat

What happens when your smart home devices receive a bad update that make them not-so-smart anymore? Many Nest owners are finding out the answer to that exact question this week. Users have reported a variety of issues suddenly occurring, from dead devices to overworked heating systems.

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