smart home

Japan’s great toilet mystery is about to be solved

Japan’s great toilet mystery is about to be solved

The first time I visited Japan, I knew what I really wanted to try first. Not the sushi, though that turned out to be superb, or the bullet train. No, my boyish excitement was all about the magical robotic toilets. For a button-loving geek who has long thought that the bathroom should have more unexpected warm water surprises, Japan's clever bidets or "washlets" are the Holy Grail.

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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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TV news mentions Alexa ordering a dollhouse, Echo speakers begin doing the same

TV news mentions Alexa ordering a dollhouse, Echo speakers begin doing the same

In an age where more and more connected devices are getting "always listening" capabilities, our greatest concerns have been about privacy and what's actually recorded. Turns out, what we should've been fearing is our devices listening in and following commands from the wrong thing. This exact scenario became a reality this week when Amazon Echo owners all over San Diego found their speaker ordering dollhouses after hearing "Alexa ordered me a dollhouse" from the TV news.

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NVIDIA SPOT hands-on: this is SHIELD’s smart home

NVIDIA SPOT hands-on: this is SHIELD’s smart home

NVIDIA SHIELD has suddenly begun to look like a smart home master this week at CES 2017, adding Google Assistant and SmartThings to take the IoT in one swift stroke. For new users, all that's needed is the NVIDIA SHIELD TV device - it includes a standard TV remote and a gaming remote, both of which have microphones to accept voice commands. NVIDIA SPOT also has a microphone as well as a speaker, acting as an extension of the smart home functionality of NVIDIA SHIELD with Google Assistant and SmartThings connectivity.

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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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Ford brings Amazon Alexa to its Sync 3 vehicles

Ford brings Amazon Alexa to its Sync 3 vehicles

Amazon's voice assistant Alexa is coming to a number of new devices this year — including the smartphone — but Ford will be the first to integrate it into their cars. The two companies announced at CES 2017 that starting later this month vehicles outfitted with Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system will begin working with Alexa from the home, while sometime this summer drivers will be able to speak to Alexa from the road.

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NVIDIA SHIELD TV refresh boasts 4K streaming, Google Assistant

NVIDIA SHIELD TV refresh boasts 4K streaming, Google Assistant

NVIDIA has just revealed its next-generation SHIELD TV at CES 2017, and it arrives offering a number of improvements over its predecessor. Not only has the aesthetic design been overhauled, but the new SHIELD is capable of streaming content in HDR at 4K resolution. Users will be able to stream 4K video from a variety of services, including YouTube, Amazon Video, Netflix, and Google Play.

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Ring Floodlight Cam joins video doorbell for outdoor home security

Ring Floodlight Cam joins video doorbell for outdoor home security

Ring, maker of the Ring Video Doorbell, has introduced a new outdoor security product called the Ring Floodlight Cam. This item is designed to take a standard floodlight and add onto it the benefits of both a smart home ecosystem and what Ring calls ‘proactive vision technology.’ The company says its new product is now the ‘most powerful security camera’ available.

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LG’s Smart InstaView webOS fridge has Alexa and transparent touchscreen

LG’s Smart InstaView webOS fridge has Alexa and transparent touchscreen

LG has added webOS, WiFi, Amazon Alexa and more to its latest Smart InstaView Door-in-Door Refrigerator, fitting the double-door appliance with a transparent touchscreen and voice and smartphone control. Revealed at CES 2017 today, the kitchen behemoth is LG's latest push in the Internet of Things, though it's not the only appliance getting smarter. In fact, LG is putting WiFi into all its 2017 home appliances.

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ADT’s Pulse security system gets a new Amazon Alexa skill

ADT’s Pulse security system gets a new Amazon Alexa skill

Of all of the new Alexa skills being announced at CES 2017, the one for ADT's Pulse security system is one of the most interesting. Pulse is a smart home focused security system from ADT, so it makes a lot of sense to see support for Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot being added by way of an Alexa skill. The skill isn't available just yet, but ADT says it'll be start rolling out later this month.

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Sleep Number 360 tries to make the case for smarter beds

Sleep Number 360 tries to make the case for smarter beds

Sleep is perhaps both the most undervalued and, at the same time, overrated aspects of our biological lives. We use technology day in and day out to improve our food intake, our activities, and sometimes even our grooming. But very few of those technologies actually focus on the time when we’re not active, aside from the very basic sleep monitoring function of fitness trackers. At CES 2017, Sleep Number is aiming to change all that with the Sleep Number 360 smart bed that employs all sorts of sensors, temperature controls, and even IoT communication to give you the best sleep of your life.

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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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