smart home

Amazon Alexa funds voice controlled Music and Sprinkler systems

Amazon Alexa funds voice controlled Music and Sprinkler systems

Amazon's Alexa Fund has spread to two new companies, one for a smart Hi-fi music system, the other a smart sprinkler system. Musaic is a high-resolution wireless Hi-fi system that allows users to play music throughout their home connected with smart products - like smart lighting to set the mood. Rachio is a software and hardware company that aims to improve water efficiency for homes. Amazon's Alexa will allow both of these groups to develop smart voice-control systems for the future of the fully voice-controlled smart home.

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Philips Hue Wireless Dimming Kit Review

Philips Hue Wireless Dimming Kit Review

Dimming lights used to be easy with incandescent bulbs, but the new age of LEDs can be a flickering, migraine-inducing mess. Philips believes its Hue Wireless Dimming Kit is the answer, the combination of a simple white bulb with an equally straightforward remote that can be left on a coffee table or easily wall-mounted. Though Philips is pitching the $40 set at novices, there's plenty for the Hue enthusiast to find appealing, however, not least the remote control.

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Amazon gives smart bulb devs the keys to Alexa’s voice

Amazon gives smart bulb devs the keys to Alexa’s voice

Amazon is further opening up its Alexa voice-control system, the engine at the heart of the Echo speaker, to smart lighting companies. The Alexa Skills Kit was launched back in June, breaking the cloud-based digital assistant out of Echo and allowing it to be embedded in new devices and taught third-party skills. Now, with a new Alexa Lighting API, those skills are expanding to deal with more complex sets of wireless bulbs.

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“Alexa, turn on SmartThings integration” says Amazon

“Alexa, turn on SmartThings integration” says Amazon

Amazon's cylindrical Echo home assistant is gaining another automation ability, hooking up with Samsung-owned SmartThings for the speech-controlled smart home. While it's not the first such integration we've seen Echo add in the months since Amazon launched the chipper speaker, it could well be one of the most far-reaching, thanks to SmartThings' broad compatibility with a huge - and growing - number of third-party automation devices.

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Smart homes: how close are we from the house of the future?

Smart homes: how close are we from the house of the future?

Yesterday, Google unveiled its newest product: OnHub. While technically a network router, it was also subtly a building block of Google own ambition to be the center of your home. And the search giant is hardly the only one. Somewhat a subset of the so-called Internet of Things that aims to connect anything and everything to the net, smart homes and smart appliances have become the byword of many tech companies as well as appliance makers. But are we really on the cusp of making that hi-tech future a reality? Or are we still taking baby steps?

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Google OnHub will be the first Brillo device for Google On

Google OnHub will be the first Brillo device for Google On

Google OnHub was revealed today by Google as the first doorway to a full smart home ecosystem. This service will be tied together with software protocols revealed in part earlier this year as Google Brillo and Google Weave. When Brillo was first revealed earlier this year, then-SVP of Product (now CEO) for Google Sundar Pichai showed how your smartphone would connect to all the Brillo-enabled smart devices in your home using a common-language protocol called Weave. This is the beginning of the smart home system called Google On.

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Google OnHub router detailed: aimed at easy, secure Wi-Fi

Google OnHub router detailed: aimed at easy, secure Wi-Fi

Today Google OnHub was revealed by Google and aimed at bringing the company into the networking market. This is the first time Google has created such a device, generally staying within the smart mobile device market - especially now that Alphabet exists. Google's OnHub router will make Wi-Fi secure, support home automation devices, and will look good as it does so. This is a router that doesn't need to sit under a pile of books or stay stuffed in your closet in shame - it doesn't look half bad.

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Hack turns Amazon Dash Buttons into do anything switches

Hack turns Amazon Dash Buttons into do anything switches

As seen previously, Amazon's new Dash Buttons are physical equivalents of 1-click checkout options, allowing Amazon Prime members to order common household items with a single press of the WiFi-connected device. But one programmer has come with a fairly simple hack that turns the $5 buttons into something that can track just about any type of data point. In a detailed post on Medium, Edward Benson explains how he turned a Dash Button into a system that collects data on his baby.

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Samsung’s SmartThings Hub v2 starts pre-order

Samsung’s SmartThings Hub v2 starts pre-order

Samsung seems to be on a roll. After unveiling the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ and announcing the actual launch of Samsung Pay, the company's year-old subsidiary is also making a big splash. Delayed by almost half a year, SmartThings is giving the green light for pre-orders of its brand new Hub device. Although owners are not required to upgrade to this new version, some might consider it worth the purchase considering a crucial update to the capabilities of the smart home central brain.

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iHome iSP5 Smartplug is here, works with HomeKit and Android

iHome iSP5 Smartplug is here, works with HomeKit and Android

Apple's HomeKit hasn't been its fastest adopted products and it is only recently that we are seeing appliances and connectors in the market that support it. Announced in early June, iHome's new iSP5 Smartplug is finally ready to go live. Not a smart appliance itself, the Smartplug gives some brains to any electronic device that plugs into a power outlet. But while iHome is naturally advertising the plug's compatibility with HomeKit, the iSP5 also works with Android smartphones to turn your home into a smart one.

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B&O BeoLink Multiroom invades every room in your house

B&O BeoLink Multiroom invades every room in your house

There was a time not so long ago when audiophiles and equipment makers shunned "wireless" sound technology because of their degradation of quality for the sake of mobility. Now, even the acclaimed Bang & Olufsen is getting into the game. Their latest masterpiece isn't just one piece of equipment. It is all of B&O's pieces combined into a single multiroom experience. Called BeoLink Multiroom, this wireless network links together any and all Bang & Olufsen speaker or appliance, creating a virtual orchestra of pure listening bliss wherever in the house you go.

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