smart home

Almond 2015 mini-Review: smart router, smart home automation

Almond 2015 mini-Review: smart router, smart home automation

While the Almond 2015 and Almond+ have been bringing some smart functionality to the router game for some time now, today they get a big bump with home automation. The Almond 2015 has been out on the market for a couple of weeks and the Almond+ has been out for months now, but both will be getting this update from their makers at Securifi, giving them connectivity to both ZigBee and Z-Wave devices. This device doesn't work with IFTTT (at the moment), but it doesn't need to - all automation here is local.

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Facebook’s Internet of Things: Parse for IoT in full effect

Facebook’s Internet of Things: Parse for IoT in full effect

This week Facebook has revealed what they'll be doing with their recently-acquired company Parse. This company creates backend tools for web, mobile and now IoT developers, meaning developers will be using Parse software to build "a whole new category of apps for connected devices." This includes in-home smart appliances, wearable smart devices, and everything in-between. Parse for IoT is a new "official" line of SDK (software developer kits) for connected devices. Parse Product Manager James Yu spoke up this week on the release, suggesting that through conversations with Parse customers who use the platform in hardware products already, they've decided they could "go one step further."

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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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AT&T’s newest integration: controlling your home from your car

AT&T’s newest integration: controlling your home from your car

Amidst all the things going on at MWC today, AT&T has made a big announcement: the company's connected car platform can now be connected to the maker's own home automation/security service, tying both home and vehicle together in a way that makes both work together. AT&T Digital Life is the maker's home security and automation service, obviously available for one's home, while AT&T Drive is the maker's connected car platform. With this new support, AT&T's own Digital Life becomes the first so-called "home management system" that works with its Drive platform.

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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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Sesame smart lock fits over your current (dumb) lock

Sesame smart lock fits over your current (dumb) lock

You've been working with a dumb lock on your door for long enough - so suggests the folks bringing the smart lock called "Sesame" to the public. This lock unlocks your door via your smartphone, and it does it without requiring you to take apart the lock your door already has. Sesame fits over the lock your door already has. This smart lock also provides several different ways to open your door, including a special knock combination you create and tap out yourself.

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Smart home, smartphone, smart selling: Xiaomi’s power plan

Smart home, smartphone, smart selling: Xiaomi’s power plan

Xiaomi's schemes for smart home domination rest on a three dollar gizmo and a willingness to practically give it away, a warning note for rivals that, should a US launch happen, the Chinese curiosity could upset the game considerably. The Xiaomi Mi Module is a 22 yuan add-on linking regular appliances - whether they be heaters, rice cookers, or, as Xiaomi has already created for smog-heavy China, an air purifier - to the cloud, but rather than trying to fence the whole thing in, the company hopes to offer them at cost. It's a strategy that's at odds with how many of Xiaomi's competitors do business, and one which symbolizes quite how well a different approach can resonate with consumers.

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