Showing posts from April, 2018

Nortek's camera integrates with Home Automation system

Nortek’s Elan Home Systems introduced a line of IP cameras and networked video recorders (NVR) that integrate with the company’s home automation and entertainment system during ISC West 2018. The significance of the combo might have been lost on many of the security dealers at the show, but it’s a big deal — apparently the first “native” integration between an NVR and popular smart home system in the pro channel. Competitive systems from Savant, Control4, Crestron, URC and RTI all integrate nicely with third-party NVRs, but can’t capture every bit of footage within their own control environment … like Elan now can. Read more:

Smarten up your home with Lutron's Caseta Dimmer Switch

For those who want to get into the Smart Home game, one of the first things you should do is research lighting for your home. Some companies focus primarily on light bulbs, while others focus on smart switches. Lutron is one of the latter. Lutron's Caseta system plays nice with just about everyone — Apple HomeKit, Nest, Wink, IFTTT, Amazon Alexa, Google Home,, and home automation platforms like Savant and Control 4. Caseta is one of our favorite lighting systems, but depending on which kit you go with, can be expensive. For this review, we take a look at the Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch 2 Count Starter Kit.  Read more:

Hiring Professional Smart Home Installer

As smart-home platforms have matured, it’s now possible to set up a smart-home system all by yourself. However, doing it yourself can still be a tremendous pain. Cameras need to be mounted, thermostats have to be installed, and smart locks require you to tug out your old, non-smart deadbolt before they can be installed. Beyond the physical installation, there’s also the struggle of getting all your disparate devices and services talking to each other. Luckily, there’s a rapidly growing number of professionals happy to help you get your smart home up and running. If the thought of pulling out light-switch plates and determining whether you have neutral wires installed fills you with trepidation, you may want to consult a pro. You can certainly get many smart-home installs without being Bob Villa, but a robust home-automation solution will require hands-on installation work. Read more:

Home Assistant for home automation

Did you ever wish that Alexa or Google Assistant was able to let you have a smart home instead of just a bunch of smart things? How about dimming the room lights, turning on any back lighting on a monitor or display, and making everything cozy when you start playing a movie? These are relatively simple tasks that should be able to work instead of us having to open 10 different apps and make 10 different adjustments individually. Isn't that what we all imagined when we decided to start having an automated home? You can, and you can even do a lot more with a good automation hub. And a good automation hub doesn't have to be expensive.  Read more:

SimpliSafe and August Smart Locks partner on home security systems

SimpliSafe and August Home announced a partnership to integrate their devices. If you own an August Smart Lock and SimpliSafe security system, you'll be able to sync up locking and unlocking with arming and disarming your security system. If you disarm your system using the SimpliSafe Key Fob, Keypad or mobile app, your August Smart Lock will automatically unlock. Arming the system works the same way: arm your SimpliSafe system, and your August Smart Lock will lock with it. Read more:

California ranks No. 3 in new home construction.

In Texas, they have one new home community under construction today for every 10,000 people. In Florida, they build one new home community for every 20,000 people. In California, the ratio is one community per 45,000 people. The result is that [home builders] who build and sell substantially the same house in Texas for $300,000 as they build in California for $800,000,” writes Pete Reeb, a principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, in a new analysis. California is a unique market for three primary reasons, according to Reeb. It can take 10 years or more to get a master-planned community approved for development, according to John Burns Northern California expert Dean Wehrli. Additionally, California’s development fees are high. Homebuilders have to pay $25,000 to $75,000 in fees for a single home to be built in some areas of the state. Of course, that expense pushes prices higher for homebuyers. Finally, although California has plenty of land to construct on, there are many res

Califronia's Home Builders using more Solar

As Jimmy Ayala, Division President of Pardee Homes San Diego, leads me through a series of model homes at his company’s new development, he explains that this master-planned community is both a vision of the future, as well as the last of its kind. The project in the booming East County area outside San Diego, Weston might be one of the region’s last housing developments done at this scale. A co-development between TRI Pointe Homes and Pardee, this project was a decade in the making, owing to challenges securing permits and arranging parcels. As Ayala takes me through a series of homes, ranging from the $500,000s to the high $700,000s, all decorated with bright contemporary decor and lots of outdoor furniture, he also explains how Weston represents California’s future, specifically a turn towards increased solar power. Read more:

Outsmart your smart home

Could your fridge be spying on you? And should you worry about Alexa listening to your conversations? These are two things the Bricks & Mortar team have been puzzling over after a week of news stories informing us that a global Russian hacking offensive is under way, and our homes could be the target. We have an increasing number of devices that are susceptible to hackers. The average home these days has almost nine internet-connected devices; in the next 20 years that is likely to rise, says Mark Skilton, a digital expert and professor at Warwick Business School. Read more:

New Smart Home Security System Eufy

Eufy is Anker’s smart home brand, and they just launched their campaign for a wire-free security cam—the EverCam. The EverCam's late entry into this market segment allows it to address common issues that other security cameras face. This includes annoyances like battery life, tricky installation, and an unending stream of tedious false notifications every time your pet barks at the mail carrier. Eufy's 1080p HD EverCam cameras connect to a Security HomeBase. After connecting the hub to your wireless router, the HomeBase stays in constant communication with up to 16 cameras over a low-frequency wireless signal. The base automatically switches to WiFi once it starts recording, and stores the footage on a microSD (it comes with a 16GB card). Most current security systems store your footage on cloud servers, which are typically convenient, but costly. Read more:

Save money on electric bill by installing smart home

Nowadays, people seek convenience at low costs. From smart thermostats, lighting and doorbells to smart fridges, washers and dryers, the sky’s the limit.According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, the average installation cost of a smart home appliance is $189 — if you consult the pros. If you want a little help installing your device, make sure the technician has specific experience with smart home appliances. "Our surveys have found that more and more home service pros — including electricians, HVAC contractors and handymen — are installing smart home technology of all kinds, so homeowners shouldn’t have any trouble finding qualified, prescreened pros for the job," Read more:

Smart Home Technology for Seniors

Move over, millennials, and let your grandparents show you what smart home is all about. According to research by AARP, nearly 90 percent of adults 65 and older prefer aging in their current home rather than moving to an assisted living facility. “Smart home technology can help families avoid the wrenching decision and the expense of moving an aging parent to an assisted living facility,” said Ryland Madison, director of product marking for Cox Communications. “A connected home ensures seniors can continue their daily routine while maintaining, and even enhancing, their quality of life in their own home.” Read more:

New Home Construction with Smart Home technology

While the market for smart home technology in real estate will be limited this year, IHS Markit forecasts this segment will grow. “We could see an upward revision to the CAGR forecast for builders because this channel is a great way to overcome technology education gaps and stress related to DIY projects for the consumer,” Blake Kozak, principal analyst for smart home and security technology at IHS Markit. Kozak says many consumers don’t understand that by turning off the light switch, the connected bulbs lose connectivity. Another benefit to having a builder install smart home is that a display will likely be installed in the home rather than relying on a mobile app. New home builds are more likely to see smart home inclusion because current smart home technology makes it difficult to transition accounts. “For example, a new homeowner would need to find and add all connected to devices to their smart home user account and remove all devices from the previous homeowners’ account,”

Study on Professional Installation for Smart Home

Consumers can be a finicky bunch. Some want the best technology, but want to install it themselves. Others will gladly pay someone to install a new device. There’s also some people who couldn’t care less. Kwikset’s smart lock segmentation study found that professional installation is not a significant barrier to purchasing smart locks. Unsurprisingly, “smart home savants” said professional installation was a significant barrier at 33%, while “super moms and dads” came in at the lowest with 16%. While the study was focused on smart locks, this information could be applicable to smart home devices in general. Read more:

Smart homes makes life easier for older residents

An array of smart gadgets can make life more convenient, safer and alert family members or emergency services if help is needed. Take the Double 2 Telepresence Robot by Double Robotics. Using an iPad, user can control the robot remotely, keeping an eye on a loved one and communicating via video. Other sensors in the home can detect dangerous levels of carbon dioxide, smoke, broken windows and open doors. “The smart home is a great way to watch over your loved ones,” said Juergen Barbusca, a Cox Communications spokesperson. “This gives a caregiver the opportunity to monitor basically everything around the home. ” Read more:

Building family-friendly smart home

Wouldn’t life be easier if lights in your house could go off automatically when your family's not using them? Or if the front door alerts you every time someone’s outside? Or if you could tell the power to go off after your kids have watched TV for half an hour? For millions of smart homes around the world, that's just another day. Some people call home automation the future of luxury living, but it's already the standard when it comes to protecting your place and your loved ones. Today, you can turn your house into a fully integrated, family-friendly smart home with just a few devices. Read more:

Smart home gadgets

Alexa is one of the most widely used smart-home gadget to be gaining traction on the market. It is now possible to use your phone to fire up your crockpot, turn on the lights and heat, unlock and re-lock the front door, play music and watch what’s happening in every room at your home. The latter function, which is accomplished through video-streaming cameras from companies like Nest, has proved especially helpful for Valerie Crowell of Concord. “I check in on Bubba every day,” Crowell said, referring to her 85-pound Doberman. She could even speak to Bubba if she so chose, but “he gets freaked out that he can hear my voice but can’t figure out where I am,” Crowell said. Read more:

Trusted Smart Home Security Devices

When it comes to keeping their homes safe, consumers trust smart home security devices, but only 17 percent currently have them installed, according to a new survey from PCMag.14 percent either plan to buy one in the near future, or would consider it. When asked what they trust most to keep their houses safe, 34 percent of respondents said smart home security devices. Twenty-five percent said local police patrols, 15 percent said traditional analog locks and alarm systems. Read more:

Amazon supports more smart locks

Amazon Key, the delivery service that uses a smart lock inside your front door, is expanding to work with five more smart locks. The three newly supported models from Kwikset include two with touchpads and backup keyway, and one that includes a touchpad and no keyway whatsoever. The two models with keyways are called the SmartCode 916 and SmartCode 916 Contemporary, and the keyway-less model is called the Obsidian. Yale’s two newly supported models include one with a button pad and keyway, called the Assure 216, and one with a touchpad and no keyway, called the Assure 256. The new models offer more style options for homeowners, which is important for something that goes on the front door. Read more:

Benefits of Smart Home

Smartphones make life easier but what can smart devices do for you at home? Home automation is catching on as a convenient way to customize your home. Consumer-ready products like Alexa and Sonos are accessible to the DIYer, while larger-scale “total control” systems from URC, Savant, and Crestron require specialized programming to ensure that they’ll work exactly as you expect. Experts recommend consulting a professional AV company about how to best accommodate your needs, and how you personally interact with gadgets in your home. Read more:

Renters value Smart Homes

A new study shows the vast majority of the country’s renters value new and evolving smart home amenities over traditional benefits offered to apartment dwellers. The survey revealed that the most important smart home services to renters are security cameras, including doorbell cameras and ceiling-mounted surveillance cameras, keyless entry with special codes for guests, smart thermostats, and a security system. Read more: