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Home Networking, Home Automation

The Samsung Connect Home Smart Wifi System

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The Samsung Connect Home Smart Wifi System

Samsung combines networking and home automation with the Connect Home Smart Wifi System-- a router packing the Samsung SmartThings platform, eliminating the need for a separate control hub device.

The Connect Home uses Eero-style mesh networking, meaning a single router provides up to 140 square metres of coverage while a combination of three routers covers 418 square metres. In addition, the SmartThings platform allows it to communicate with other devices via Bluetooth 4.1, ZigBee or Z-Wave as well as wifi, providing the control Samsung appliances, Philips Hue lighting and Netgear Arlo cameras, among others.

The system is expandable to up to 5 Connect Home routers, and Samsung promises security comes through both hardware and automatic firmware updates. Setup should be easy via companion Samsung Connect app complete with simplified device management through automatic connectivity and device integration, as well as connected device management, parental controls and guest access.

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Apple Opens HomeKit Development

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Apple Opens HomeKit Development

WWDC 2017 might have been dominated with the announcement of hardware such as the HomePod speaker, but it did host an interesting tidbit involving HomeKit-- the Apple home automation platform is now open for Apple developers.

As Forbes reports, development of HomeKit-compatible devices no longer requires an MFi license. In fact, Apple says one can even develop prototypes using popular developer boards such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino, making it easier to start building HomeKit products. That said, the change relates solely to prototyping, and commercial products will still require MFi certification.

Another HomeKit-related announcement regards security. Future smart home devices will not require the integration of an authentication chip, since authentication has been moved to software-based option. Mind authentication still involves the same hardened encryption as it always has.

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Wemo Bridges HomeKit Support

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Wemo Bridges HomeKit Support

The Wemo home automation portfolio receives HomeKit support through the Wemo Bridge, a device adding control through either Siri or Home app on the iPhone, iPad or Watch.

"Wemo is offering this bridge to address the overwhelming request from customers to make currently installed Wemo products work with HomeKit and other HomeKit compatible products," Belkin says. "We're proud to work with Apple to bring together two of the most influential smart home platforms.  Wemo has been providing smart home devices for more than 5 years, and millions of people use Wemo devices every day.  The Wemo Bridge will allow current and future Wemo users to experience the benefits of HomeKit, including Siri integration and interoperability with other HomeKit devices while also leveraging all the Wemo features customers enjoy."

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Logitech Pop Buttons Get HomeKit

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Logitech Pop Buttons Get HomeKit

Logitech announces an Apple HomeKit upgrade for the Pop Smart Button-- allowing users to control more devices and any number of home automation scenes with the press of a button.

The Pop buttons feature 3 control gestures, and connect to devices via bridge device able to pair with an "unlimited" number of buttons. As for HomeKit, one simply needs to pair the bridge with the Apple Home app before configuring required scenes. The company adds Pop buttons are compatible with non-HomeKit devices, such as Sonos wireless music systems, Osram lighting, Hunter Douglas and Lutron blinds, and more via companion Pop app.

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WeberHaus Builds Houses With HomeKit

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WeberHaus Builds Houses With HomeKit

German pre-fabricated house builder WeberHuas announces it will start adding HomeKit in smart homes, allowing customers to control "everything in their home" via iDevice or Siri.

As a result, HomeKit and the Home app can be used instead of the WeberHaus home control system, WeberLogic 2.0 and the MyControl app from BootUp, with an iPad or Apple TV acting as home hub. WeberHaus does not detail the products found in its buildings, but it says customers can adjust underfloor heating systems, blinds and lighting through iDevice. One can also HomeKit-compatible radiator valves, light bulbs and sensors.

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Lutron Systems Getting HomeKit, Alexa Support

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Lutron Systems Getting HomeKit, Alexa Support

ISE 2017 sees Lutron announce the HomeWorks QS home control and GRAFIK RA 2 lighting and shading solutions now work with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Sonos.

As the company puts it, the three "alliances with best-in class brands" make it easier for customers to interact with and control connected homes, while "enhancing peace of mind and improving the quality of life."

Apple HomeKit support comes from March 2017, and covers the Lutron Connect Bridge and GRAFIK RA 2 systems. It enables users to control Lutron systems via the Home app, Siri or 3rd party HomeKit apps on iPhone or iPad. Thus, one can tell Siri to "turn the lights off" and the Bridge turns off the lighting in the entire house. Users can also ask Siri to check if the lights in a specific room are on or off.

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The Brilliant Control Light Switch Replacement

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The Brilliant Control Light Switch Replacement

Brilliant proposes customers replace all their light switches with the Control-- a small touchscreen tablet designed to control lighting, as well as any number of connected devices.

The Control has a 5-inch touchscreen and provides swip-based control for lighting, music and climate. It pairs with a number of smart home devices, including the Nest thermostat, Sonos speakers, Philips Hue bulbs, Ring doorbells and the Honewbell Lyric automation hub via wifi and Bluetooth, and is compatible with IFTT as well as SmartThings and Wink hubs. On the lighting side it is 120V, 5Amp control and dimming compatible through a single switch gang box.

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Reuters: Amazon Threatens Apple in Smart Home

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Reuters: Amazon Threatens Apple in Smart Home

Reuters details the differences in the approach to smart home adopted by Apple and Amazon-- Apple keeps tight control over the use of HomeKit, while Amazon offers an open-systems approach.

The article points out connected home is important to both companies, if for different reasons. Apple built a home automation architecture in order to to keep the iPhone in "the centre of customers' lives," while Amazon wants to provide customers with  online shopping without the intermediary of a smartphone or browser built by another company.

Different approaches lead to, of course, different results. Apple demands special certification for vendors wanting to adopt HomeKit, as well as the purchase of special HomeKit-compatible chips and specific wifi/Bluetooth radios. As a result the number of HomeKit-certified devices currently clocks at 100, far behind the 250 devices certified to work with Alexa.

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Nest Smart Home Expands in Europe

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Nest Smart Home Expands in Europe

Nest looks to expand further in Europe as it announces the availability of the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Cam Indoor and Outdoor, and Nest Protect products in Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain.

“Nest is focused on creating a home that takes care of the people inside it and the world around it,” the company says. “This expansion brings us closer to achieving our goal of helping people around the world save energy, stay safe, and feel secure in their homes.”

Such products were first available the UK since April 2014, and are currently already sold in Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK. Since then the company has seen many a change, including the departure of CEO Tony Fadell, the introduction of the Nest Cam and the acquisition of smart home rival Revolv.

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A Universal Language for the IoT

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A Universal Language for the IoT

The ZigBee Alliance takes to CES to unveil Dotdot-- a "universal language" for the devices making the Internet of Things (IoT), first seen at the show running over a Thread IP-based network.

As announcement release puts it, the majority of IoT devices do not "speak" the same language, even if they use the same wireless technology. This leads to arguably needless complexity for developers, while limiting customers to single-vendor systems. Enter Dotdot, an application layer at the heart of ZigBee technology developers can apply across other IoT networks.

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Ledvance Intros HomeKit-Enabled Smart Bulb

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Ledvance Intros HomeKit-Enabled Smart Bulb

Lighting vendor Ledvance presents the Sylvania Smart Multicolor A19-- a HomeKit-enabled smart bulb customers can control via Siri or Home app, without need for a separate hub controller.

Installation promises to be very easy, since one simply needs to screw the bulb in place before syncing with HomeKit. The bulb works when users are both inside or outside the home, with a connected Apple TV or iOS 10-enabled iPad acting as a hub for remote control. Customers can combine the Sylvania smart bulbs with other HomeKit-enabled devices to create custom scenes through the Home app, such as an "I'm on my way home" command activating lights, unlocking the door and turning on the thermostat.

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