smart home

Automatic smartphone car link gets IFTTT channel

Automatic smartphone car link gets IFTTT channel

Automatic, the iPhone-connected car telemetry dongle, has announced a new IFTTT channel that can integrate a vehicle into the Internet-of-Things, including automatically logging journeys, sending notifications when you're about to get to work, or even controlling a smart home. The new "If This Then That" channel can be sparked by several different triggers, including ignition status and location, and then used to fire off other IFTTT-integrated services like Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, SmartThings, and more.

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Belkin WeMo hack hole already patched smart home firm says

Belkin WeMo hack hole already patched smart home firm says

Belkin had already patched the security loophole which could allow hackers to remotely take control of users' WeMo plugs and whatever was plugged into them, the company says, as long as users are up to date with their firmware and apps. The security vulnerabilities, identified by researchers at IOActive, could have been used to fool Belkin WeMo smart home gadgets - which include remote-control sockets, light switches, and motion-sensors - into installing unofficial software that could be exploited.

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Microsoft boosts Internet of Things team with wearable tease

Microsoft boosts Internet of Things team with wearable tease

Microsoft is tooling up for a big push into the Internet of Things (IoT), a run on new hires to the team suggests, with hints that consumer tech like wearables and automotive could be on the agenda. The company has been relatively quiet on its plans for computing as it spreads beyond PCs, tablets, phones, and consoles, though the IoT technology could work alongside Microsoft's previous research into HomeOS, a home automation system.

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The secret to Nest’s future success: Be as un-Google as possible

The secret to Nest’s future success: Be as un-Google as possible

When Google announced last week that it had agreed to acquire Nest for more than $3 billion, there appeared to be a general consensus in the tech world: bad news.

While it's true that Google has acquired companies in the past, like Motorola, that it has largely left alone, its track record of ensuring a company is actually kept intact with the same culture that made it popular and successful isn't necessarily so great. And there's some concern – despite Google's own best assurances to the contrary – that the search giant might again hurt Nest.

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Smart Home players welcome Google (& warn it won’t be as easy as Android)

Smart Home players welcome Google (& warn it won’t be as easy as Android)

Google's surprise acquisition of Nest was met with no small amount of horror from existing users of the company's thermostats, but other players in the smart home segment aren't so worried about a big new name in the industry. Speaking to SlashGear, several of the better-known brands in home automation actively welcomed Google's involvement, countering user concerns around "Big Data" aggregation with the potential for far faster evolution of what's currently a fragmented market. In fact, as more than one company pointed out, it could've been so much worse: Apple could've bought Nest.

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Smart object-recognition system could spy on your milk in the IoT

Smart object-recognition system could spy on your milk in the IoT

Computers that can identify objects without requiring any human training are now a possibility, as researchers figure out how to teach AIs to intuit the key features and differences between faces, objects, and more. The new algorithm, developed by engineer Dah-Jye Lee of Brigham Young University, avoids human calibration by instead giving computers the skills to learn how to differentiate themselves: so, rather than the operator flagging individual differences between, say, a person and a tree, the computer is given the tools to identify the differences on its own, and then use them moving forward.

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I, for one, welcome our new Google Nest overlords

I, for one, welcome our new Google Nest overlords

Google's acquisition of Nest is controversial, for more than a few reasons. On the one hand, there are questions around how Google Ventures-invested companies segue into Google-owned divisions; many users are concerned as to whether Google will simply absorb nest and then one day simply shut down the project as it moves onto other things. Most upsetting, however, seems to be the question of privacy and whether - for all Nest CEO Tony Fadell insists the firm has no plans to modify the privacy policy - one day Google will be using Nest hardware as another spy into the home. The news has got some Nest owners threatening to rip the thermostats from their walls.

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Nest not giving Google data access, still supporting iOS and Android

Nest not giving Google data access, still supporting iOS and Android

Nest's $3.2bn acquisition by Google won't see the search giant immediately get its hands on the smart home firm's user data, founder Tony Fadell has insisted, and nor will it see products like the Nest thermostat ditch iOS support, despite Google's vested interest in Android. Chatter of Google gaining insight into when Nest thermostat owners were home and which rooms they were active in being factored into services like Google Now began almost immediately after the cash deal was announced, with many concerned that Google's hunger for more contextual information would overrule Nest's privacy policy.

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Motorola talks Android, Wearables & Nest: The SlashGear Interview

Motorola talks Android, Wearables & Nest: The SlashGear Interview

It's fair to say Motorola had a big 2013, and SlashGear sat down with Steve Horowitz, senior VP of software engineering, and Steve Sinclair, VP of product marketing, at CES last week to talk wearables, contextual ecosystems, and the Internet of Things. The Google-owned company kicked off a new smartphone strategy, epitomized by the always-listening Moto X and the shockingly-affordable Moto G, arguably just as notable for what it left out of its products as what it chose to include. Meanwhile - and topical, given Google has just acquired Nest - we also talked about Motorola's place in the smart home, and where former Android project lead Horowitz sees the smartphone fitting in. Read on for the full interview.

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