Showing posts from June, 2018

Build a smart home for less

Building a smart home might sound like a daunting process to undertake, but since smart speakers from Amazon and Google came onto the scene, it doesn't have to be. Sure, you can still buy a dedicated smart home hub from Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon or Logitech, then buy smart lights, a connected irrigation system, motorized windows and more. But even on a budget of just $100, you can make your home smarter. This mostly involves buying connected accessories which attach to your existing kit - your speakers, TV and air conditioner, - and make them smarter. Read more:

Slow Home Automation adoption

Home automation is basically in its infancy. Right now, the technical development reminds me of early days of personal computing. Lots of companies had competing visions about what a PC should do. Handful of companies will realize that, for the home autiomation technology to achieve its destiny, something radial has to happen. Home automation has to get to the next level. But whether or not Apple can do for home automation what it did for personal computing remains to be seen. Read more:

Arlo Home Security

Home security can be a do-it-yourself project, one of the systems is Arlo, a wireless solution for indoor or outdoor use. I like the Arlo because it doesn't try too hard to upsell you on a service plan: For no extra money it saves seven days' worth of video recordings online. Arlo has introduced a security light add-on product that makes an Arlo system even more valuable. Available in packs of one, two, or three, the Arlo Security Light is also wireless. Read more:

Few smart speaker owners use them to control smart home devices

A survey of smart speaker owners found that 6% are using it to control smart home devices like lighting and heating. Even for HomePod, playing music was only the third most common use. Answering a question and checking the news or weather led the way, with discovering and controlling music in third place. Controlling other smart home devices is the least common use of a smart speaker. Read more:

Smart home water alert users can get their water damage expenses paid

Flo Technologies announced HomeProtect, a home water damage reimbursement program, which will pay up to $2,500 for out-of-pocket homeowner’s insurance deductible expense. For monthly HomeProtect subscription fee, homeowners get access to greater-than-standard levels of support for problems, questions, and water use analysis. HomeProtect is available to customers who bought the Flo smart home water-monitoring and conservation device. Read more:

Home Security System options

With two neighborhood burglaries, it was time to consider a security system. One I investigated was offering a free Ring doorbell, had armed response from local security force and reasonable fees. I didn’t like the required three-year contract, but I figured that with free installation it was worth it. For another $30 a month, I could have the company’s cars patrol in front of my house and even check on me if they saw that newspapers were piling up. The system can be armed and disarmed with a cellphone app. Read more:

Sonos' new home theater smart speaker

Sonos just announced a compact home theater smart speaker, the Sonos Beam. The cheaper device boasts a smaller footprint than its previous home theater products; the company says Beam is 60 percent smaller than the Playbase. The speaker is available for pre-order starting today. The company’s new home theater product will support Amazon Alexa controls at launch, alongside Airplay 2 connectivity, which will arrive in July. The product will be set up to gain support from other voice assistants in the future, the company says. Read more:

Smart Home self-installation preferred

People want to quite literally take their smart home technology installation in-house, according to a new survey from GfK Research. The firm found that 52% of consumers prefer to install smart home products themselves. “We cannot say right now if the desire for self-sufficiency is driven by cost or a true independent streak – but it is definitely a marketplace force to be reckoned with,” Tom Neri, Commercial Director for Tech & Durables at GfK, said in a press release. “Device makers and service providers alike need to work harder to collaborate and pave the way for seamless installation and service; reflexive siloed behavior will only drag down acceptance and yield poor word of mouth from amateur technicians.” Read more:

Savant releases new version of home automation software

Savant has announced the release of version 8.8, bringing more personalisation options. Savant states that products and features introduced as part of the software rollout have been created to “enhance functionality” for users by creating a more “intuitive smart home environment” that brings value to the integrator. Part of Savant’s IP Audio device range, Savant Music 2.0 sees the introduction of music server experience designed to improve speed, navigation, preset recall and queuing. Read more:

Crestron control and management system in a hotel

The Mondrian Doha hotel attracts affluent travellers with its up-all-night vibe. The guest experience is intensified thanks to the comprehensive Crestron hospitality solution. As soon as a guest steps into their hotel room, they are greeted with calming lights, relaxing music and automated shades that perfectly frame the beautiful exterior views. Guests can easily adjust the lighting, temperature and visual displays to personalise their environment, using bespoke Crestron touch screens, which include voice recognition and web browsing features for an additional wow factor. Read more:

Smart Home helping disabled

Smart home technology can be a great convenience, but is particularly valuable to those with disabilities. We recently heard blind people talk about the life-changing nature of things like Apple’s Siri and VoiceOver, and one 9to5Mac reader has now told us how he uses smart home tech to help keep a disabled family member safe. Brian Morris told us that his uncle and roommate have cognitive disabilities. They wanted to have the independence of living in their own place, but Brian obviously wanted to ensure that they were safe – and to be able to provide help and support from his own home. Read more:

Los Angeles’ biggest construction permits approved

Developers secured $398 million in construction permits to build the five largest projects in the Los Angeles. Sprawling multifamily projects in West Adams, Downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley largely dominated the top five. Here are the biggest construction permits, issued in May by the L.A. Department of Building and Safety. Only commercial and multifamily projects within city limits were considered. Permit valuation is based on the minimum construction requirements set by the Department of Building and does not reflect the total cost of the project. Read more:

Solar mandate could change California home building

California’s new residential solar mandate could change the look of new homes and solar panels themselves. California Energy Commission adopted regulations that will require electricity-producing solar panels on most new homes in 2020. Although any type of roof can accommodate panels, some designs are more solar-friendly. A basic gable roof with a large south-facing slope is ideal, according to Ann Edminster, founder of Design Avenues, “Oftentimes roof designs are just too convoluted,” with hip forms and fake dormers that leave it looking chopped up, she said. Read more:

How Smart Home Can Make You Healthier

Smart home tech is trying to help us, these tiny AI assistants can remind us to do things, and they’re harder to ignore than those constant alerts on your smartphone. But don’t take our word for it — we checked in with health and wellness pros about how they use their smart homes. When we say smart home tech, we mean gadgets that make your home “smart.” Since most of us have a smartphone habit we’d like to kick — it’s huge that these devices allow us to go screen-free without sacrificing the more helpful aspects of staying connected. Read more: