Home Automation

Ikea joins the smart home biz with Trådfri connected lights

Ikea joins the smart home biz with Trådfri connected lights

Although not exactly present in all corners of the globe, the name Ikea is well-known for ready-to-assemble furniture, and sometimes overpriced products. It isn't, however, known for being on the cutting edge of technology. Although it has dabbled a bit in augmented reality and wireless charging, it has yet to jump on the home automation market. It isn't jumping yet, but it is now at least dipping its toes in that still young segment. And like any budding smart home product, it's Trådfri line is starting with the simplest one of all: connected lights.

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Ultimate Zelda fan uses ocarina to control automated home

Ultimate Zelda fan uses ocarina to control automated home

The Legend of Zelda is a hot topic these days, what with the latest title, Breath of the Wild, debuting alongside the Nintendo Switch this month. To showcase his love for the series, Allen Pan of the YouTube channel Sufficiently Advanced took to automating his home and making it all controllable via an ocarina, the small wind instrument at the center of the iconic N64 Zelda, Ocarina of Time.

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D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD Review: HomeKit’s first camera is raw

D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD Review: HomeKit’s first camera is raw

Apple's HomeKit makes a simple promise: take the disparate parts of the connected home, and bring them together under one straightforward umbrella. Still, the stringent requirements around things like security and ease of setup has meant partner devices have been slower to trickle down to the market than for rival platforms: this D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD has the title of first HomeKit-compatible security camera available. $200 gets you a very wide angle lens and freedom from subscription fees, but there are still signs that neither HomeKit nor D-Link's camera are quite where the competition has reached.

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Nest two-factor authentication boosts IoT security

Nest two-factor authentication boosts IoT security

Nest is adding two-factor authentication to its smart home products, aiming to prevent third-parties or hackers getting remote access to your cameras or smart thermostat. The new feature follows increasing concern over the security of the so-called Internet of Things, a topic only likely to become more prevalent as connected devices proliferate. Nest will make two-factor authentication optional, though it's probably something you should turn on.

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Amazon Echo might soon be able to tell voices apart

Amazon Echo might soon be able to tell voices apart

Amazon arguably kicked off the “personal assistant in a can” line of products, so it’s almost fitting that it also be the first to implement one of the most needed feature for smart speakers. These devices can already recognize and understand voices and speech, but they can’t really differentiate one voice from the next, which makes for a sometimes hilarious, sometimes frightening situation. Amazon, however, is tipped to be working on a certain “Voice ID” feature that would put those worries to rest.

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Turn Touch smart home controller is carved out of wood

Turn Touch smart home controller is carved out of wood

Smart homes are usually more associated with science fiction but not everyone likes a hi-tech environment 24/7. Some would prefer a more cozy and natural feel to their homes, even with the pervasive presence of smart technology. Turn Touch delivers a small serving of that mix between technology and nature. Technically, it’s a Bluetooth controller for your connected appliances or even Apple devices, but one that looks and feels like it was made especially for you, because it really is.

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August Home, Wink work together to secure your smart home

August Home, Wink work together to secure your smart home

The irony about smart home products and the so called Internet of Things is that they aren’t really that smart about talking with one another. Each have their own loyalties and speak different languages that may or may not be understood by the smart devices inside your home. For cases like these, you’ll need a translator, a.k.a. a smart hub to be the go-between for these sometimes disparate devices. One such hub is Wink and, as of today, it has learned one new language. August Home, one of the increasingly popular names in the smart home security market, is partnering with Wink to make it easier to keep your now smarter home also more secure.

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Google Assistant now speaks WeMo’s, Honeywell’s language

Google Assistant now speaks WeMo’s, Honeywell’s language

A smart assistant isn’t going to be very smart if it keeps to itself, especially when said assistant should be helping you around the house. That’s why in order for products like Google Home to be a viable smart home hub, it needs to be able to communicate with as many smart appliances and services as it can. Initially launching with only a few integrations, Google is now announcing its expansion with two more members of its growing roster. Now Google Home and Google Pixel owners can easily control their thermostat or even any appliance thanks to Honeywell an Belkin’s WeMo switches.

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Nest brings its smart home brand to more European markets

Nest brings its smart home brand to more European markets

Although it is no longer the only game in town, Nest has been one of the most popular pioneers of this new smart home trend. You rarely hear about it recently, though, except perhaps in not so flattering news. Proving that not only is it still alive but also growing exponentially, Nest has announced its expansion in Europe, entering the German, Austrian, Italian, and Spanish market and, claims Nest, doubling the number of European households where its smart products can be found in.

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Switchmate’s no-tool smart home upgrades get sleeker

Switchmate’s no-tool smart home upgrades get sleeker

The Internet of Things may be the next big marketing pitch, but battery life, installation hassles, and general complexity can make upgrading to the smart home a headache. Promising Bluetooth simplicity and no tools required, Switchmate brought its latest range of battery-powered IoT gadgets to CES 2017 this week. Like the company's first product they're designed to be renter-friendly, but they also expand the number of devices you can add remote control to.

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GE ovens, Nest Protect work together to protect your nest

GE ovens, Nest Protect work together to protect your nest

Getting a notification on your smartphone when there’s a potential fire hazard is great and convenient, but not if you’re physically unable to immediately jump into action. In most cases, simply turning off a wayward appliance, stove, or oven is more than enough to prevent the accident. But what if you’re away or even just in a far room? That’s why Haier-owned GE Appliances is taking the smart home protection to its logical next step, by integrating with Nest Protect smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector to automatically turn off connected ovens when needed.

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Logitech Harmony gains Amazon Alexa support

Logitech Harmony gains Amazon Alexa support

Logitech's line of Harmony universal remote controls have long had the ability to control some home automation devices like the Hue lights from Philips. Harmony devices have now gained support for the Amazon Alexa via the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. If you have a Harmony remote and the Echo or Echo Dot in your home you can use your voice to control your entertainment.

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