Home Automation

Amazon Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5 get a 2021 camera upgrade

Amazon Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5 get a 2021 camera upgrade

Amazon has revealed two new smart displays, and while the 2021 updates to the Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5 may not have an auto-swiveling screen like the Echo Show 10, they're also a lot more affordable. Both get upgraded cameras, with the Echo Show 8 adding digital panning and zooming for video calls to help keep you centered int the frame as you move around.

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Wemo Stage Scene Controller Review: Apple HomeKit remote needs refinement

Wemo Stage Scene Controller Review: Apple HomeKit remote needs refinement

Sometimes, only a button will do. The smart home and the rise of connected devices like lamps, speakers, locks, and more have brought complex automations within reach of a mainstream audience, but sometimes you don't want to have to pull up an app - or talk to a smart speaker - just to switch on the lights. For those in the Apple HomeKit ecosystem, then, the Wemo Stage Scene Controller remote could be the answer.

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Meet Matter: The IoT badge aiming to simplify the smart home

Meet Matter: The IoT badge aiming to simplify the smart home

Get ready to look out for a new name and logo as you shop for the smart home, with the Zigbee Alliance rebranding and launching a new name, Matter, for Project CHIP. The revamp sees the old alliance name retired in favor of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), intended to reflect a broader array of ways for things like connected bulbs, smart locks, cameras, and more to talk among themselves.

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Google Assistant can now help find your phone and order your takeout

Google Assistant can now help find your phone and order your takeout

Google is adding four new Assistant features, aiming to streamline how its AI interacts with the smart home, helps with takeout orders, and even helps hunt down a lost device. A new "Hey Google, find my phone" feature works with all Nest smart speakers and smart displays - including the most recent Nest Hub 2nd Generation - to track iPhones and Android devices.

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Google Home won’t ring you anymore if your phone isn’t home

Google Home won’t ring you anymore if your phone isn’t home

We call some products "smart" mostly due to the abilities they have that sometimes go beyond our own skills, at least when it comes to getting information from the Internet. There are times, however, when smart assistants and smart devices don't actually behave that smartly, like things we take for granted because of human behavior or common sense. It is only recently, for example, that these smart speakers and displays have started to adjust their behavior depending on whether there's anyone around in the first place, like ringing them only when you're around to actually answer a call.

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Wyze Floor Lamp learns your light demands

Wyze Floor Lamp learns your light demands

Wyze has revealed its latest product, and the company continues its spread through the smart home with the new Wyze Floor Lamp. Up for pre-order now, the new lamp comes what a Bluetooth remote control to adjust brightness though, Wyze promises, after a few uses you won't need to do that manually.

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Crestron Horizon Thermostat takes on Nest with smart home integration

Crestron Horizon Thermostat takes on Nest with smart home integration

Crestron has added a new smart thermostat to its connected home range, with the Crestron Horizon Thermostat promising touchscreen convenience along with remote sensors as it takes on Nest and others. Although designed to integrate with a Crestron Home smart home system, the Horizon will also work as a standalone WiFi thermostat.

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Hunter Douglas Duette Motorized Shades Review – Room with a PowerView

Hunter Douglas Duette Motorized Shades Review – Room with a PowerView

Smart lighting may be the easiest route into home automation, but nothing quite wows like motorized shades. Arguably the king of the category is Hunter Douglas, with a range of shades, blinds, rollers, shutters and more so wide, you'd be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed. If you've got an unusual window, though, that flexibility really pays off.

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Proscenic A9 Air Purifier Review

Proscenic A9 Air Purifier Review

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to become more painfully aware of the environments they live and work in. Many, in particular, have become more conscious of the air they breathe, especially considering it is how the dreaded coronavirus is primarily transmitted. In other words, appliances and gadgets that advertise cleaner air and sanitized surfaces are unsurprisingly on the rise and, in perfect timing, Proscenic just launched the new A9 Air Purifier which we take for a spin, almost literally, to see if it is as good as it sounds.

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Harman Kardon Invoke will become a Bluetooth speaker only by July

Harman Kardon Invoke will become a Bluetooth speaker only by July

Microsoft has been slowly removing Cortana from devices and platforms but this latest bit of news might be the most damning move it has done. While other devices or platforms only had Cortana as an added feature, Microsoft smart assistant is the very essence of the Harman Karon Invoke smart speaker. With Cortana's upcoming departure, it will downgrade the speaker into just a Bluetooth audio accessory, presuming you get it updated before the end of June, that is.

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Arlo Essential Indoor Camera now available for pre-order

Arlo Essential Indoor Camera now available for pre-order

There are a growing number of cameras connected to the Internet in our homes these days. There are, of course, the cameras on smartphones, tablets, and laptops that we use to communicate but there are also the dedicated cameras that are meant to protect our homes. These smart security cameras all come with promises of safeguarding our privacy as well but some find it hard to trust promises they can't see. That why at CES 2021, Arlo introduced its Essential Indoor Camera that, in addition to some upgrades, also introduces a real and physical privacy shield for peace of mind.

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NVIDIA SHIELD TV SmartThings Link will become unusable in July

NVIDIA SHIELD TV SmartThings Link will become unusable in July

A smart home hub is only as useful as the number of languages it can speak. Given the number of disparate smart home platforms available today, it pays to either understand all those or at least have the ability to learn to communicate with other smart home products. That was practically what the SmartThings Link USB dongle did for the NVIDIA SHIELD TV but that dongle itself will lose its ability to speak the SmartThings language when Samsung upgrades its ecosystem in June.

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