Archives For Smart Home

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Roll-your-own home automation remains something of a niche endeavor, despite an accelerating mainstream shopping push, given a whole host of compatibility considerations and complexity … that many of us are likely familiar with. It probably doesn’t help that Apple’s HomeKit is largely a no-show at this point and LG rival Samsung has delayed their SmartThings refresh. And perhaps why someone like Comcast, with existing relationships and network, sees an opportunity to similarly mate retail gadgetry to cloud-based services. Amidst this chaos, ADT also drops their hat into the ring with an attractive piece of LG hardware and promises to link up Nest, IFFT, and others:

This sleek all-in-one combines beautiful form with the functions of HD video, ADT 24/7 professional monitoring and seamless home automation. And its powerful yet compact design complements your modern home while keeping you in touch with it, right from your phone.

The monitoring hub, perhaps akin to iControl’s Piper, doesn’t yet have a name. Nor does the service have a price. Also unclear… might this somehow tie into the ADTs rumored investment in Zonoff, who we admire as the brains behind Staples Connect. In any event, ADT is planning a Fall 2015 release at which point all will be revealed.

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Amongst a slew of compelling INTX show announcements, Comcast’s further foray into home automation is particularly notable. Whereas Comcast Home started as the typical white-labeled home automation and security solution, featuring a variety of mostly generic components, Xfinity Home will shortly expand to incorporate higher profile retail accessories. For example, my beloved Kevo smartlock and Netgear Arlo cameras will be accessible from both the X1 DVR and Xfinity app this summer, with other leaders this space like Lutron, August, and Nest also onboard. And more can be expected as Comcast introduces an Xfinity Home SDK and partner program.

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I imagine many would appreciate another unified interface to their home automation and security gadgetry. I know I would (especially in regards to Arlo, which is currently silo-ed). Not to mention there’s a huge segment of the population who knows nothing of this, yet could benefit from it. But the question remains: Will folks have interest and confidence in their cable provider, specifically Comcast, as a partner for this sort of service? And what would they be willing to pay? Continue Reading…

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 5, 2015 — 3 Comments

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SmartThings iOS app adds Apple Watch capabilities
The fact that this update is coming to the iOS app for Apple Watch “further highlights SmartThings and Samsung’s commitment to an open platform,” The team behind SmartThings have released the SmartThings iOS app version 1.7.3 with Apple Watch integration.

Cable Cozies Up to TiVo & OTT
What a difference a few years makes. Former upstart TiVo was shunned by the cable industry for the better part of a decade, and Netflix has often ranked as enemy number one both for producing scads of Internet traffic, and for offering a competitive service to cable’s video-on-demand (VoD). Fast forward to today, however, and the cable industry has decided to mend fences all around.

Apple TV Remote Expected to Add Touch Pad in Redesign
The touch pad can be used for scrolling around and there will also be two physical buttons, the person said. The remote’s thicker size is comparable to the remote control for Amazon’s wireless speaker, the Echo, the person added.

Comast unveils Xfinity Share
Through Comcast’s new Xfinity Share app, X1 customers can live stream or send photos and recorded videos to their TV, or to the TV of another X1 customer, as well as live stream and share content to mobile phones.

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File this one under pure speculation… Beyond showing up as a new FCC listing, we know next to nothing about this Google “Smart Device.” Some have concluded it’s a Google Glass update. However, I find that unlikely given the naming convention (CAP1 vs X1) and seeking approval for just a single band of low energy Bluetooth. It’s been a long while since we’re heard anything out of Google-owned Nest and Dropcam – not to mention those canceled Tabs. So a new “Smart Device,” with a touch-powered display, is particularly interesting. Of course, the type of gadget that runs solely BLE would be limited. In fact, in my household, the only thing similarly adorned is my Kevo smartlock. Curiouser and curiouser.

Whoa, Amazon Echo just got way more interesting.Thus far, it’s made for a relatively decent voice-controlled alarm clock and connected speaker. But we’ve found it more novelty than necessity. That may change today. As Amazon just sent a note indicating they’ve enabled linkages to my Philips Hue bulbs and Belkin’s WeMo products for the smart home. Looking forward to checking this out real soon (and, sadly, it seems I may have prematurely unloaded our second unit). Continue Reading…

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One thing was immediately clear as soon as I was able get Netgear Arlo up and running: 1) it was very easy to add cameras, and 2) all I wanted was to buy more cameras! But let’s back up a second and explain exactly what Arlo is, and is not. Arlo, the spiritual successor to Vue, is the newest camera security system from Netgear — it consists of a central wireless hub hooks into your home router along with a number of wireless cameras. Arlo also incorporates heat-based camera sensors to record video as motion is detected and stores those clips in the cloud. But Arlo is NOT designed for continuous 24/7 video recording like a Dropcam. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s walk through how to setup the system, and explain the usage at our home. Continue Reading…