Thanks to the robust capabilities of the ELAN Entertainment & Control System, Core Brands and the Gary Sinise Foundation’s RISE (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) program recently presented a smart home to a wounded U.S. airman who lost three limbs in Iraq in 2004. The new home in Miramar Beach, FL combines the advanced ELAN system with Amazon’s Alexa voice-recognition technology to empower senior airman Brian Kolfage to control his home’s lights, security, HVAC, audio, and video through voice commands.
According to TechCrunch, iRobot CEO Colin Angle has been repeating for some time now that the next step in the evolution of the company’s hit Roomba vacuum is becoming a connective tissue for the smart home. This morning’s announcement from the company takes it a couple of steps closer to that dream, introducing Alexa voice integration and advances to the robotic vacuum’s mapping system that lay the groundwork for future smart home upgrades.
No surprise, really, that connected home sales experienced a surge last year. Between the seemingly exponential number of new players and driving pushes from major companies like Apple, Google and Amazon, the market’s been pretty tough to avoid.
Apple is touting the home automation capabilities of iOS and Apple TV on a newly updated website for its HomeKit software and its related Home app. The page now includes a new 45-second video that demonstrates the Home app for iOS 10 in action, showing a woman operating a range of devices from her phone, including the Honeywell Lyric Round thermostat, Kwikset smart lock, and iHome smart plug.
When it comes to protecting your family, pets and possessions, reliability and a reputable name stand out as critical features. There are several smart home products in this category that look impressive and can even speak to you with a friendly voice, but for a capability this important, we favored devices that were trouble-free and inexpensive enough to allow purchasing several for your home.
The big names in door locks have smart home options, but they haven’t pulled it off as well as upstart August. Its easy-to-install, Apple HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock$198.99 at Amazon mounts over your existing deadbolt switch to provide connectivity for your door. It speaks via Bluetooth to your smartphone, granting quick access to you or guests. The latest version integrates tightly with Apple devices, but still has support from other services like IFTTT.
There are several things that have been released lately to help improve home automation and lifestyles.
Home automation is exactly what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house—from window shades to pet feeders—with a simple push of a button (or a voice command). Some activities, like setting up a lamp to turn on and off at your whim, are simple and relatively inexpensive. Others, like advanced surveillance cameras, may require a more serious investment of time and money.
There are many smart home product categories, so you can control everything from lights and temperature to locks and security in your home. Here’s a rundown of the best products we’ve tested for every room of the house.
Google Home is a tough contender for the Amazon Echo, but it launched with much less third-party support. Now, the company’s added Belkin WeMo and Honeywell to the list of supported devices.
Ikea is finally getting into the home automation game with its own system for smart lighting. The new range of products is called Trådfri — which means “wireless” in Swedish — and is built around the ZigBee Light Link standard for connected lights (the same as Philips Hue). The system seems to have rolled out to select European countries last fall, but will be seeing a larger release at the end of March.
Security companies, of course, for years, have provided remote monitoring of our homes to those willing to pay for it. Many companies like ADT, FrontPoint or AT&T Digital Life are expanding into at leastoffering some home automation gadgetry.
With the advent of affordable home automation, people are looking for more than just “security.” We want to be able to monitor and adjust their smart homes, themselves, even when remote. Want to look in to see how the puppy is doing, from work? Turn on the lights before you get home… You get the idea. That means that WE need the ability to do our own monitoring, even if we are paying a company for security monitoring. And we want to be able to make sure we locked the door when we left, or closed the garage. Or turned down the thermostat.