Home Automation

Nest Cam IQ Review: Impressive face-recognition comes at a price

Nest Cam IQ Review: Impressive face-recognition comes at a price

In an increasingly competitive world of connected security cameras, Nest has turned to Alphabet-sibling Google and its facial recognition tech to make the Nest Cam IQ stand out. Not just the latest in the company's sophisticated home security camera line-up, the Nest Cam IQ represents a complete platform upgrade, with an all-new sensor, lossless zooming support, and the ability to recognize and track faces. On the downside, it also commands the highest price of a Nest camera so far, so does it deliver for $299?

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Flic Hub lets you control your IoT buttons without a smartphone

Flic Hub lets you control your IoT buttons without a smartphone

Flic buttons were already kind of an IoT lover's dream, but now the company behind them wants to try making them better. When Flic buttons first launched two years ago, they needed to be paired with a smartphone app. Obviously, needing to own a smartphone isn't much of a barrier to entry these days, but the new Flic Hub wants to free you from the app requirement all the same.

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New message or new call? Just glance at your Amazon Echo

New message or new call? Just glance at your Amazon Echo

Smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home are mostly verbal affairs. You talk to them and they respond by voice. Visual feedback is mostly an afterthought, an add-on, or a different device altogether. That makes it sometimes difficult to check the type of notifications you get without having these assistants blurt out potentially incriminating information. Fortunately, at least one of them does have an alternative means of calling your attention. Amazon has just given the Echo a few more light signals, distinguishing between an incoming call and an incoming message.

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Nest considering support for Apple’s HomeKit in iOS 11

Nest considering support for Apple’s HomeKit in iOS 11

As the creator of some of the first connected home devices, Nest has long been one of the odd holdouts in supporting the HomeKit, Apple's platform for controlling such products from their iOS devices. A big part it is likely the fact that Nest is owned by Google. But even with that caveat, this situation could eventually change with this fall's release of iOS 11, announced earlier this month at WWDC.

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Amazon Dash Wand is a barcode scanner you can speak into

Amazon Dash Wand is a barcode scanner you can speak into

How many ways can you take an idea and turn it into different things? If you’re Amazon and you’re talking about Echo and Alexa, it might be a near limitless list. Even if the idea ends up being slightly laughable. After the Amazon Echo Look comes the Amazon Dash Wand. Don’t worry, you don’t actually wave it around to make magic. You don’t even hold it that way. Instead, you use it to scan barcodes or speak into it to ask Alexa anything, like converting from different units of measure.

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Wink Bright kit, new services secure homes in a wink

Wink Bright kit, new services secure homes in a wink

There are dozens upon dozens of connected products in the market these days, all promising to make your homes smarter or more secure. From smart speakers to smart doorbells to smart lights, it can be an overwhelming task to choose which product to start with, let alone actually get started. To help ease consumers into this new IoT frontier, Wink is making available a new Bright “starter kit” and two new security services that help you set up a secure smart home without batting an eyelash.

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Elgato Eve Degree Review: A simple temperature & humidity HomeKit sensor

Elgato Eve Degree Review: A simple temperature & humidity HomeKit sensor

Apple's HomeKit may have had a quiet start, but third-party accessories for an iOS smart home are gradually picking up pace. Latest to store shelves is Elgato's Eve Degree, a compact temperature, humidity, and air pressure sensor, wrapped up in a simple and handsome design, and promising to be the smart trigger your connected home has been asking for.

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Qualcomm’s smart router plan puts mesh, IoT, and Alexa-style agents in one

Qualcomm’s smart router plan puts mesh, IoT, and Alexa-style agents in one

Routers may not be sexy but they can definitely be ambitious, with Qualcomm looking to replace your Echo, router, and smart home bridges with a single unit. The company unveiled its Mesh Networking Platform and Reference Design at Computex 2017 this week, an all-in-one that combines mesh networking, self-healing and -organizing configuration, voice agents like Alexa and Google Assistant, and all the radios to talk to your connected lights, locks, speakers, and more, in a single box.

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Belkin Wemo Bridge adds Apple HomeKit to smart plugs, switches

Belkin Wemo Bridge adds Apple HomeKit to smart plugs, switches

Smart home products these days speak different languages, which sometimes defeats the purpose of having an automated home. But rather than trying to force existing and future products to speak a single language, device and platform makers are solving the language barrier like we do in the real world: with translators. The Belkin Wemo Bridge is one such translator and it is quite adept at one language. This tiny square that you connect to your Wi-Fi router allows Wemo's switches and plugs to speak Apple's HomeKit language.

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Amazon Echo Dot price cut briefly offers Alexa for $10 less

Amazon Echo Dot price cut briefly offers Alexa for $10 less

Curious to dip your toe into the smart home assistant market? Amazon's Echo Dot has been given a rare discount, bringing the cost of the Alexa-packing connected home puck down to under $40. It's the cheapest way we've seen to pick up a single Echo Dot in some time.

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IFTTT gives Makers the multi-stage IoT Applets partners had to pay for

IFTTT gives Makers the multi-stage IoT Applets partners had to pay for

IFTTT has built a reputation for itself as the glue that can hold the Internet of Things and the cloud together, and now it's opening up its most advanced features for regular users. IFTTT - or If This, Then That - is effectively a cloud-based hub for connected devices and services that might not normally work together. With its Applets, users can hook up their Nest thermostat to their Gmail account and get a notification if the temperature drops, for instance, or flash their Hue lights if their favorite team scores.

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Hands-on with Brilliant’s aptly-named smart home Control panels

Hands-on with Brilliant’s aptly-named smart home Control panels

There's a ridiculous blind-spot in the smart home, and it's all about control. Our light bulbs speak to the internet, and our connected speakers stream from there, and we can adjust our thermostats from halfway around the world. When we're actually at home, though, actually having to pull out a phone or tablet to do something as simple as turning on the light is an oddly involved process. It's also something startup Brilliant believes it has the answer to.

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