smart home

SmartThings V2 shipping as home monitoring service goes live

SmartThings V2 shipping as home monitoring service goes live

SmartThings' second-generation home automation hub is shipping in the US, with the new box adding a backup battery in case of power outages. First product from the company to launch since its acquisition by Samsung, the SmartThings Hub V2 can now run for up to ten hours even if its power connection has died, and also supports a select array of offline functionality so that your smart home still works even if the internet goes down.

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New Nest 3rd-Gen: Should you upgrade?

New Nest 3rd-Gen: Should you upgrade?

Just when you'd learned to love that nosey "learning thermostat" on the wall, watching as you and your family went about your day, here's Nest with a new model. Nest v.3, announced earlier today, promises much the same as its predecessors, with intelligent understanding of when people are home and when they're away. Question is, should existing owners be thinking about upgrading?

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Neato Botvac Connected aims for “a new standard for robot vacuums”

Neato Botvac Connected aims for “a new standard for robot vacuums”

The Neato brand robot vacuum Botvac Connected has been revealed this week to take on the smart home with a Wi-fi-connected cleaner. This machine connects with a home Wi-fi network so that the user can connect with the machine's Neato app. This app allows users to set schedules and start the vacuum up to clean a house on the spot. This app also sends the user instant notifications on where the vacuum is on its cleaning run.

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Google On app launched for your smart home

Google On app launched for your smart home

Today the first Google On app has been launched, prepared at first for the device OnHub, a device Google says is "a router for the new way to Wi-Fi." Inside this app you won't find a whole lot - unless you've already got a Google OnHub in your home. For now this device will act as a smart Wi-fi control tower, distributing your internet service throughout your home in a set of smart ways. In the future, the Google OnHub and On app will act as smart controllers for all of the smart home products in your immediate environment.

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LG’s SmartThinQ sensor can make any regular appliance chatty

LG’s SmartThinQ sensor can make any regular appliance chatty

LG seems to have a thing about appliances that like to talk to their owners. While this latest products aren't exactly the LINE-powered smart appliances that LG has been showing off the past two years, they definitely still have the ability to have at least a one-way conversation with you. In addition to its new Smart Lightwave Oven and Smart Air Conditioner, LG is also revealing the SmartThinQ Sensor that you can attach to almost any old, conventional appliance to make them just a little bit smarter to some extent.

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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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