Home Automation

Make your home smarter – 8 of the best smart home devices in 2016

Make your home smarter – 8 of the best smart home devices in 2016

Homes are getting smarter, little by little. Despite recent troubling reports of how the so-called Internet of Things are ticking security time bombs. Those software issues, however, are more likely to get fixed, hopefully sooner rather than later, rather than the dozens of smart home appliances and products to disappear from the market.

Setting up a smart home can look like a daunting task, with so many moving pieces and so many choices. Of course, it doesn't have to be and you don't have to go all out all at once. To get you started on the road to home automation heaven, here are 8 of the best products, in different categories, to check out when you're planning to take your home to the future.

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Sunflower uses drone, lights to monitor homes from outside

Sunflower uses drone, lights to monitor homes from outside

Most smart home security systems aren’t so smart, argues Sunflower Labs. It says that 95% of the alarms raised turn out to be false ones to the point that police dispatchers have become numb to them, which is a very dangerous attitude. And for real situations, those security systems only alert you when it’s too late to do anything, when some is already at the door of has gone through the window. Sunflower Labs, naturally, proposes a smarter solution, one that combines an autonomous drone and inconspicuous lawn lights to pinpoint when, where, and who is approaching your castle.

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4 things to know before you buy Google Home

4 things to know before you buy Google Home

The Google Assistant has escaped, and it's haunting your house. No longer is it trapped in your phone or your browser: instead, the power of Google's so-called Knowledge Graph now gets a new enclosure, the vase-esque Google Home. Like Amazon's Echo, it reacts to voice rather than touchscreen or buttons, and like Amazon's assistant Alexa, it promises to streamline your day and entertain your evenings with its personalized knowledge of your tastes and interests. Sounds great, right? Turns out, there are a few things you ought to bear in mind before you bring Home home.

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Living with Google Home

Living with Google Home

The Google Assistant has been bundled into the browser, added into Android, and squeezed into Android Wear: now, it's getting a sleek object d'art for the smart home. Google Home is the search giant's take on the smart speaker space, a direct challenge to everyone's current favorite virtual PA, Amazon's Alexa. At $129, Google Home undercuts Echo (though not Echo Dot) and, if your digital life is already in Google's cloud, it promises a more streamlined way to consume that data around the home.

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Elgato Eve Motion wireless sensor with HomeKit tech turns things off for you

Elgato Eve Motion wireless sensor with HomeKit tech turns things off for you

Elgato has unveiled its latest product called the Eve Motion. As the name suggests the Eve Motion is a wireless motion sensor that has HomeKit tech inside. It can be placed inside or outside the home and will automatically activate HomeKit Scenes and accessories. The Eve Motion is able to turn things on or off when it detects the presence or absence of motion such as power outlets, HVAC systems, lights, and combinations of devices.

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Omate Yumi is an Android, Amazon Alexa powered home robot

Omate Yumi is an Android, Amazon Alexa powered home robot

Omate made a name for itself back in the heyday of smartwatches, bucking the trend by putting a full Android OS inside the tiny wearable. Just recently, it made another pioneering effort by putting Amazon’s Alexa front and center, almost literally, of its Limited Edition of the Omate Rise smartwatch. Now with smartwatches believed to be in a slump, Omate is breaking out into new territory, combining everything it has learned so far. The result? An unexpected venture into the niche “family robot” market with Yumi, which puts a face and body to Alexa.

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With ENERGY STAR nod, Philips Hue unlocks smart bulb rebates

With ENERGY STAR nod, Philips Hue unlocks smart bulb rebates

Philips' Hue connected bulbs have clinched coveted ENERGY STAR certification and could potentially get more affordable, the light specialist will announce this week. The certification, which Philips plans to detail at the ENERGY STAR Products Partner Meeting, makes the company's Hue platform one of the first connected lighting systems to qualify not only for ENERGY STAR's badge of approval, but utility subsidies that could make upgrading to smart bulbs considerably cheaper. I caught up with Todd Manegold, senior director of Hue product marketing, to find more.

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Now Nest wants to make the smart home more discriminating

Now Nest wants to make the smart home more discriminating

Nest's vision of the smart home is getting more discriminating today, with a new batch of abilities that allow "Works with Nest" integrated products to react more intelligently to movement and changing environmental conditions. Works with Nest, the Alphabet-owned company's scheme of third-party gadget compatibility, currently has a developer cohort in excess of 20,000 using the smart thermostat and cameras' APIs. Now, there'll be more sharing of specific details about what's going on in the home.

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Apple taps builders to make home automation mainstream

Apple taps builders to make home automation mainstream

Apple is working with home builders like Brookfield Residents Properties to create showroom homes filled with Internet-of-Things gadgets, the end result being an automated home that shows potential homeowners the extent of what smart technology can do for them. These smart gadgets, as you'd expect, all work with Apple's HomeKit, and could prove a fruitful way for Apple to draw in new customers to iOS.

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GE unveils first dishwasher with Amazon Dash Replenishment

GE unveils first dishwasher with Amazon Dash Replenishment

In the house of the future, our appliances and furniture will be so smart, sometimes smarter than us, that they will never forget to buy milk or eggs when they run out. Or to buy detergent when you need it the most. For GE, that future has already arrived, thanks to Amazon’s Dash Replenishment service. Following a smart washing machine with the same feature, GE is announcing a new smart dishwasher, the first of its kind to directly connect with the retail giant to order detergent automatically, so you won’t have to remember at all.

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Dyson 360 Eye Review: A great robo-vac with blind spots

Dyson 360 Eye Review: A great robo-vac with blind spots

Dyson's first robot vacuum arrives with plenty of fanfare, promising more suction than the competition, more flexible trundling on its tank tracks, and smarter cleaning with vision-based navigation. As with all the British icon's products, however, that doesn't come cheap: the Dyson 360 Eye has the familiar grey, blue, and fuchsia plastic of its manually-operated vacuum siblings, and a similarly hefty $999.99 price tag.

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Philips Hue Motion Sensor Review

Philips Hue Motion Sensor Review

You can control your connected lighting by app, from your smartwatch, by voice, and even by a good old-fashioned button, but Philips' latest addition to Hue only cares when you're around. The Hue Motion Sensor takes a hands-off approach to smart lighting, triggering scenes across any of Philips' bulbs, lamps, or luminaires when you walk past, either for convenience, security, or both.

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