Nest roundup: home security camera, improved smoke alarm, revamped mobile app and more

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 17, 2015

Google-owned Nest launched some new home automation gear while refreshing its entire lineup at a media event held in San Francisco this morning. Designed for personal home security, the new Nest Cam is born out of Nest’s acquisition of Wi-Fi video streaming camera maker Dropcam.

The $199 camera has a magnetic stand and can capture and stream a 130-degree video in Full HD 1080p resolution so you can keep an eye on your home while at work.

Moreover, it has advanced night vision, Nest Aware-powered activity alerts and boasts some other cool features worth mentioning. Read More

 

HomeKit in iOS 9 supports new sensors and devices, can remotely control your home via iCloud

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 8, 2015

HomeKit, Apple’s platform for the connected home that was unveiled last summer, is beginning to pick up support from some well-established names in smart home appliances.

Last week, several vendors brought out some compelling HomeKit-certified home automation devices ahead of the Worldwide Developers Conference. And now, HomeKit is going to get a lot smarter with support for new types of home automation systems and improved remote management of your home. Read More

 

Hands-on with HomeKit: the Caséta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Kit from Lutron

By Jeff Benjamin on Jun 4, 2015

A couple of hours ago, I got my first real hands-on experience with HomeKit—the connected smart home framework that Apple announced at WWDC 2014. A year later, and some of the very first HomeKit enabled products are now landing on store shelves.

The folks over at Lutron were nice enough to send us the Caséta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Kit ($229.95 on Amazon). This kit comes with a Smart Bridge, two remote controls and two plug-in lamp dimmers. Although the kit in and of itself is interesting, our main interest at iDownloadBlog is with its HomeKit support. With that in mind, this post consists of an unboxing and overview of Lutron’s kit and a walkthrough of the HomeKit configuration, including Siri control.

Want to see how HomeKit works in the real world? Then watch our full video walkthrough for more details. Read More

 

Apple confirms Apple TV’s role as a hub for remote HomeKit functionality

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 3, 2015

We’ve known since CES 2015 the Apple TV would play a central role in Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem, dating back to October 2014 when HomeKit support first surfaced in an Apple TV Software beta.

Wednesday, a newly published Apple support document has acknowledged that the streaming box acts as a bridge between HomeKit devices and your mobile life. Read More

 

iHome launches smart plug receptacle with HomeKit, pre-orders beginning June 15

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 2, 2015

Among the first wave of HomeKit-certified devices from SmartLinc and Ecobee, which dropped today ahead of Worldwide Developers Conference next week, iHome on Tuesday launched its HomeKit-enabled smart plug receptacle.

The first in iHome Control series of smart home products, the iHome iSP5 SmartPlug not only controls smart home appliances but “dumb” ones like lamps, using Apple’s HomeKit. The accessory will be available for pre-order on iHome.com beginning June 15. Read More

 

HomeKit-enabled $150 Insteon Hub now shipping, hitting retail stores in July

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 2, 2015

Available for pre-order since CES 2015, Insteon said today its hub with support for Apple’s HomeKit will begin shipping to retail stores early next month. Dubbed the Insteon Hub, the device can now be ordered at $149.99 through Amazon.com and via SmartHome.com.

Controlling HomeKit-enabled accessories away from home requires a hub in the form of a third-generation Apple TV with Apple TV software 7.0 or later, or a dedicated product like the Insteon Hub. Read More

 

Elgato unveils HomeKit-compatible smart devices for the connected home

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 2, 2015

Ahead of Worldwide Developers Conference which kicks off next Monday with a keynote, accessory maker Elgato has launched several smart devices for the connected home built on Apple’s HomeKit platform that it previewed at CES 2015. These accessories use Bluetooth Low Energy and a special iOS app so they’re battery-friendly and fully controllable through your iPhone.

As first noted by German blog iFun.de, the company’s smart home sensor dubbed the Eve, along with other accessories such as the Eve Room, Eve Weather, Door & Window Eve and Eve Energy, can now be pre-ordered from Amazon.com.

These devices make a vision of the HomeKit-enabled connected home a reality by gathering data on air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, energy consumption and more. Read More

 

iOS 9 reportedly includes new ‘Home’ app for controlling HomeKit smart devices

By Christian Zibreg on May 20, 2015

Enhancements to Apple’s HomeKit are expected to be among a flurry of software and platform advances in tow for the Worldwide Developers Conference next month. According to sources, the Cupertino company is thought to be announcing a new app in iOS 9 called Home for managing and controlling HomeKit-certified accessories for the connected home, 9to5Mac learned Wednesday. Read More

 

Software hiccups delay Apple’s HomeKit launch until late August or early September

By Christian Zibreg on May 14, 2015

Apple was forced to delay its planned launch of HomeKit, a Siri-assisted platform for the connected home, as its software teams continue working around the clock to shrink down the code base to run efficiently on small devices, according to a report Thursday by Fortune.

Fortune writer Stacey Higginbotham claims that Apple’s connected home platform will likely arrive in fall — late August-ish or early September-ish — rather than in early summer as originally planned. Read More

 

Save on these smart home deals from iDB Deals

By iDB Deals on Feb 23, 2015

A huge trend in consumer electronics is the “smart home,” bringing modern mobile technology into every-day household items like furniture, appliances, and light bulbs. At the iDownloadBlog Deals store, we have some nifty smart home accessories with exclusive discounts. From smart bulbs to smart scales, we’ve put together an exciting collection of deals that will help turn your smart house a smart home. Read More

 

Samsung’s SmartThings platform for the connected home will work with Apple’s HomeKit

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 12, 2015

Samsung’s new solution for the connected home, based on a technology provided by SmartThings, a startup it announced acquiring in August of last year, will play nicely with Apple’s own HomeKit platform, Cnet reported Monday.

Although SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson did not detail precisely how HomeKit fits into Samsung’s strategy, he did confirm that his company’s SmartHome platform will support HomeKit. Read More

 

Smart driving assistant Automatic now connects your car and home with Nest

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 12, 2015

First preview at CES 2015 a week ago, Automatic, makers of the popular connected car adapter, today officially announced a new feature to connect your car and home with Nest, the smart thermostat from Google.

The integration enables communication between your car and home through intelligently chosen rules that give the Nest thermostat a more timely understanding of when heating or cooling is needed and more importantly, when it’s not. Read More

 

Many early HomeKit devices require Apple TV for remote Siri features

By Cody Lee on Jan 8, 2015

Folks looking to take advantage of the onslaught of HomeKit products being introduced at CES this year will need to make sure they have an Apple TV. The Verge is reporting that many of the just-announced HomeKit accessories require the set-top box for select features.

More specifically, the outlet says that new smart home devices from iHome, GridConnect, Chamberlain, Elgato and others require users to have a third-gen Apple TV (running software 7.0 or later) on their network in order to take advantage of Siri remote control capabilities. Read More

 

CES 2015: HomeKit-compatible Switch controls your home with Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 5, 2015

Debuting at CES 2015 as the world’s first HomeKit-certified products on the market, a smart power switch from an accessory maker called iDevices makes it easy to turn on anything in your home using your voice, no hub required.

Marketed as the Switch, this smart power switch uses voice capabilities of Siri to help manage your home from wherever you are. Read More

 

OneCue adds motion gestures to your Apple TV and lets you control other smart home devices

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 25, 2014

EyeSight Technologies, a startup which specializes in machine vision, user awareness and gesture based interfaces, launched a very interesting home accessory yesterday, one that highlights a world of possibilities for a next-generation Apple TV.

They’re calling it the OneCue and it aims to connect and control your Apple TV, or other media streamers and smart home devices for that matter, using hand gestures akin to Microsoft’s Kinect with the Xbox One.

Supporting a plethora of TV sets, cable and satellite boxes, media streamers and AV receiver, the OneCue can turn on multiple smart home devices (i.e. TV, cable box and stere receiver) at the same time with the swipe of a hand or point of a finger. Read More

 

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch review: control home appliances and electronics from your iPhone

By Jim Gresham on Aug 26, 2014

Growing up as a child, anytime my family would venture out of town for more than a couple days, my father would run around the house trying to locate “the timers.” The timers, with which anyone is familiar, were the timer switches for the lamps in the house. They were old brown boxes with a beige turn wheel and a little switch, think I/O, for each of 24 hours. After manually selecting each switch to either turn on or off the receptacle, off you go for vacation. Now your lights magically turn on while you are away.

Even in the late ’80’s, I remember those timers looking dated, even acting dated. But, they worked and continue to be the same technology most people use today. Thankfully, Belkin is putting a stop to this archaic fumbling system with a modern appeal. The WeMo line of home automated devices gives you the power, literally, in a carefully crafted app and hardware unit. Read More

 

Samsung acquires smart home startup SmartThings for $200 million

By Cody Lee on Aug 15, 2014

With much of the ‘next big thing in tech’ talk focused on wearables and mobile payments, it’s easy to forget about the connected home. But all of the major tech companies are making major moves in this space, including Google, Apple and now Samsung.

Following Google’s Nest acquisition and Apple’s HomeKit unveiling, Samsung announced this week that it has purchased smart home startup—and former Kickstarter sensation—SmartThings. The money is said to be in the neighborhood of $200 million… Read More

 

Apple said to be working on hardware products for the connected home

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 26, 2014

As the smartphone, tablet and personal computer markets become increasingly saturated, Apple is said to be planning to expand its foray into the home. A new report, citing unnamed sources, claims that the iPhone maker has assembled a team to work on different hardware products for the home that would be closely integrated with Apple’s existing lineup of devices…  Read More

 

Google-owned Nest acquires Dropcam for $555 million

By Cody Lee on Jun 21, 2014

Smart thermostat-maker Nest announced on Friday that it has reached an agreement to acquire Dropcam. The company, which itself was purchased by Google earlier this year, says that the all-cash deal is worth a hefty $555 million.

For those unfamiliar with Dropcam, it’s behind the popular line of Internet-connected home monitoring cameras. Major selling points for the cameras include easy setup, 2-way audio and remote streaming via any PC or mobile device… Read More

 

Apple introduces ‘HomeKit’ smart home platform

By Cody Lee on Jun 2, 2014

As expected, Apple has announced a new platform for smart home accessories called HomeKit. The new API, which will launch with iOS 8, will make it easier for smart accessories to allow their devices to be controlled by iPhones, as well as Siri.

This will allow users to control HomeKit-certified smart appliances, such as garage doors, lights and security cameras, by simply speaking a command. Imagine saying ‘get ready for bed,’ and watching all of your [smart] doors lock and lights turn off… Read More

 
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