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.
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.
IKEA is continuing its assault on the smart home, with its new TRÅDFRI smart lighting range undercutting stalwarts like Philips Hue when it hits US stores this spring. The popular homewares and furniture company - known as much for its competitive pricing as its flat-pack, self-assembly products - has confirmed US pricing for the connected bulb range. Notably, the TRÅDFRI line-up will support Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa support natively.
Microsoft's vision for Cortana goes beyond sitting in a smart speaker on your kitchen counter, with the company showing off some of the ways its assistant could follow you at home and on the road. Bringing Cortana's latest enclosure, the Harmon Kardon Invoke speaker, on-stage at the BUILD 2017 opening keynote today, Microsoft showed how the agent can expand into the car. It's part of a big expansion in what developers will be able to do with Cortana themselves.
Cortana may have only just got a standalone smart speaker to reside in, but Microsoft's Alexa rival is set to get a whole lot smarter. The next generation of talents, AI abilities, and conversational computing for Cortana is being detailed today at BUILD 2017, Microsoft's annual developer event. That includes a significant push into AI across every aspect of the software behemoth's portfolio.
The new Amazon Echo Show, the latest way for Jeff Bezos & Co. to sneak Alexa into your home, has been officially revealed, complete with both voice and touch. The first Echo device to include a display, the Echo Show has a 7-inch touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera for video calls. There's also a total of eight microphones packed into its fairly blocky housing.
In a recent interview with Apple's Phil Schiller, the SVP of Worldwide Marketing shared some thoughts on the state of voice assistant-powered home speakers and how they could be improved by screens, possibly hinting at Cupertino's own debut of a device to compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices. There have been rumors for weeks now about Apple unveiling a Siri-powered connected speaker at WWDC in June, and Schiller's comments seems to indicate that the company has been thinking about a device for some time now.
Amazon may have split opinion this week with Echo Look, which encourages Alexa to watch you getting dressed, but it seems it's not letting that slow the roll-out of new smart assistants. Echo Look is the fourth product on Amazon's virtual shelves to use Alexa, following the original Echo smart speaker, the Tap portable Bluetooth version, and the compact and more affordable Echo Dot. As soon as next month, though, we could see a fifth addition to the line-up.
In a shocking revelation that came as a surprise to practically nobody, a $400 connected juicer may not be the must-have in the kitchen that it was pitched as. Nor is it the best poster-child for the Internet of Things and, as is usually the way, scorn heaped on Juicero has spilled over to the connected home more broadly. After all, with $120m in funding, some are already describing the company as the epitome of IoT hype.
If the smart home is so darn smart, why shouldn't the garage be too? Mercedes-Benz is expanding its cars' support for the popular virtual assistants, with select models now taking instructions from both Amazon's Alexa and Google Home. Although we're still some way from being able to ask an Echo to have your S-Class dispatched to your front door, the functionality could still be a time-saver in the morning.
Google Home is addressing one of its most criticized features, adding the ability to differentiate up to six people by voice and serve them up their own, personalized results. The smart speaker launched back in May last year as Google's answer to Amazon's Alexa and the Echo but, like Amazon's system, had a big issue for those in multi-person homes. Only one person's Google account could be logged in at a time.