For the first time in recent memory, I had to call tech support. It wasn’t for my computer or my smartphone. It was for my house.
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This summer, I had the bright idea to connect my home to the Internet. As anyone who has walked into a Home Depot recently can tell you, the future has supposedly arrived. And it’s called the Internet of Things.
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Retail giants Target and Sears have both built impressive home automation showcases in San Francisco-area stores to demonstrate and sell smart-home products. There’s only one problem: Sears is unlikely to sell a whole lot of home automation systems there because the selections are too overwhelming for a category that is so confusing. Speaking with CE Pro last month, Ciovacco says he learned from Amazon that these products are really something you have to experience to understand all of the possibilities.Some smart devices like motion-sensor lights may be intuitive, he says, but the power is really the interoperability with other products.
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The Internet of Things is everywhere these days, and has become almost unavoidable. Reaction can be a bit mixed, ranking from calling it SkyNet to embracing the technology. It doesn’t always work as planned — I’m reasonably certain that one of my colleagues here could turn off my lights (don’t get any ideas guys).
Now MivaTek aims to fix those problems with new solutions for both home and business. Included are security cameras, water leak sensors and monitoring for disruptions to the alarm system. More importantly, it can keep track of health and send help if needed.
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ABB, a global leader in power and automation, unveiled the world’s most advanced voice activated smart home automation system at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany.
This latest innovation allows consumers to use voice commands to control more than 60 home automation functions for the full range of applications in a typical residential smart home environment including lighting, heating, blind control and door communication.
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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. Thirty five million dollars can buy a lot of home. And home automation. Just ask tech entrepreneur Michael Barnick, whose lavish spread near this coastal city, located about 95 miles north of Los Angles, is featured in a Wall Street Journal article.
As the story describes, Barnick was retired when he started designing the oceanfront residence in 2005. He ended up becoming so involved with the technologies being installed throughout the property that he decided to launch a business called Quantum Integration, which installs home-automation systems.
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Suppliers in the DIY home-automation market are an optimistic bunch, if the number of new players and line expansions is any indication. The companies executives must have read the results of a consumer survey commissioned by home-automation platform provider Icontrol Networks. The spring survey found that 50 percent of North American consumers ages 25 and older plan to buy at least one smart-home device in the next year.
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Lutrons Caseta Wireless system is a do-it-yourself and do-it-for-me product. The differentiator is the Lutron Smart Bridge, which allows system devices to be controlled via the Lutron app.
The DIY version of the Lutron Smart Bridge is available at retail locations and online and is compatible with such products as Nest thermostats, Logitech Harmony Home remotes, Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostats and others. The Smart Bridge Pro adds additional features like advanced integration capabilities beyond lights, shades and temperature (such as security systems and other A/V products) and can only be purchased through a professional installer channel.
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Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) said it now counts more than half a million customers on its Xfinity Home smart home offering. The company, which counts more than 22 million total customers across the United States, introduced the smart home service in 2010 and recently has been working to expand the platform to support a wider range of third-party products and services. Thus, said a top Comcast executive, Xfinity Home now has the potential to be a “comprehensive solution” in the smart home market.
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Piper is one of many DIY home security systems that thumbs its nose at traditional subscription-based services. Instead of a call center monitoring signals from your security system, Piper alerts you via your smartphone and lets you decide whether to call the police. Like Canary, Piper is a single, self-contained unit that sits on a shelf or table.
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For several days after I returned from my vacation, the lights in my house would automatically turn on around 6 pm and then again at 7 am. This would have been far more frustrating in the morning if it weren’t already light and we weren’t mostly up anyway. But there were a few times when my husband rolled over and seriously questioned my commitment to smart home technology an emerging category of futuristic household conveniences and, more importantly, his commitment to me.
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