Home Automation

Elgato Avea Bluetooth LED Bulb Review

Elgato Avea Bluetooth LED Bulb Review

The democratization of the smart home continues, and nowhere is it more visible than in color-changing wireless light bulbs like Elgato's Avea. Pairing Bluetooth Smart with multi-color LEDs and a simple iPhone and iPad app to command them all from across the home, Avea isn't the first such bulb to the market, but with a street price of around $39.95 it's certainly one of the more affordable options. Beyond questions of whether remotely-controlled bulbs are actually necessary, then, has Elgato made a hue-killer or just another flash in the pan? Read on for my full review.

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Jawbone and Big Ass Fans hook up in your bedroom

Jawbone and Big Ass Fans hook up in your bedroom

Finding natural bed partners for wearables and the internet-of-things isn't always easy, but Jawbone and Big Ass Fans are hoping that the promise of a better night's sleep will be tempt us to link our wrists to our ventilation. Set to show up in a firmware update come February next year, the new feature will see enabling sleep mode on a Jawbone UP wearable or in the company's app automatically put the Big Ass Fan into sleep mode too, intelligently adjusting blade speed and lighting over the course of the night so as to maintain things like room temperature.

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Voice-controlling Nest thermostat via Google Now almost ready

Voice-controlling Nest thermostat via Google Now almost ready

It didn't take long after Google's purchase of Nest, the makers of the internet-connected thermostat and smoke alarm, for expectations to begin of how the home devices would begin to fit into Google's various apps and services. In June, a "Works with Nest" program was launched, and it was then teased that in the future we would be able to set a temperature with the command "Ok, Google…" via the Google Now app. Now it looks like the service is almost ready.

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Sony gets into connected home market with Qrio

Sony gets into connected home market with Qrio

There’s something really ironic about Sony, who have been hacked thoroughly, wanting to discuss or offer any form of security. For you, the consumer, the front door to your home serves as your main sense of security, and likely holds your stiffest door lock, and maybe even a few deadbolts. Sony, though, they want to help you protect your home, and are introducing something called the Qrio. You won’t see Qrio on your store shelves any time soon, though. Sony is also crowdfunding their efforts.

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Belkin WeMo adds heaters & purifier to smart home

Belkin WeMo adds heaters & purifier to smart home

Belkin's WeMo smart home platform is getting new devices to control, with Holmes throwing an air purifier and a pair of room heaters into the mix of phone-connected gadgets. The Smart Air Purifier is, outwardly at least, a regular HEPA filtering purifier, but thanks to an integrated WiFi connection it can be remotely monitored and controlled from Belkin's WeMo app. From there, not only can it be powered on and off - even if you're not home, current quality ratings can be read and schedules set.

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SmartHome Ventures adds Nest and Philips hue to PEQ

SmartHome Ventures adds Nest and Philips hue to PEQ

The team at SmartHome Ventures have expanded their PEQ smart home service to include Nest Learning Thermostat and Philips hue devices. This system will be able to work with Nest and Philips hue devices immediately if not soon, with a PEQ app update letting interaction happen with a tap. The PEQ app is available for both iOS and Android devices and PEQ devices in stores should all work with this newly integrated system as soon as the app update arrives for smartphones and tablets.

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SkyBell v2.0 gets better eyesight for your WiFi door

SkyBell v2.0 gets better eyesight for your WiFi door

WiFi-enabled doorbell SkyBell has been upgraded, with version 2.0 of the wireless ringer getting better eyesight and stronger connectivity. The doorbell, which hooks up to a WiFi network and beams video and two-way audio to a smartphone or tablet, has been revamped with a new wireless chipset that, so SkyBell claims, will add up to smoother video and faster reconnections to the network. Meanwhile, there are Dropcam-style cloud DVR features in the pipeline.

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Scout Alarm review: DIY home security you’ll want

Scout Alarm review: DIY home security you’ll want

DIY home security — it seems like everyone is doing it. After being privately funded, Scout is ready to toss their hat into the ring as well. The interesting thing with Scout is that you get a bit more off-the-grid security, but still remain connected. In bridging the gap between modern hardware and software in new ways, Scout is aiming to become the new darling of the home security world. Is Scout worthy of praise, or is their system too clumsy and dated for a modern world?

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ecobee3 smart thermostat can now be bough from Apple Store

ecobee3 smart thermostat can now be bough from Apple Store

Brace yourselves folks. The tech giants are bringing their turf wars out of your pocket and into your homes. Apple has now just started to carry in its online Store shelves the ecobee3, the latest smart WiFi thermostat from ecobee, who market themselves as the original smart thermostat. This can be seen as another direct competition between Apple and Google, as the latter's Nest Learning Thermostat is also being sold through Google Play Store. Let the smart home wars begin!

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Manything app update brings remote features

Manything app update brings remote features

With home security becoming easier to get hold of, one small issue remains. There are solutions — popular ones, too — but home security cameras are still fussy, and often require a heft investment. Manything doesn’t ask that you make any kind of big investment, though. In fact, Manything is a free app, with free cloud recording, and works with a device you may already have. Could it really replace the home security camera, though? For many, it just might, and might even be a better option.

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