Home Automation

echo-simplecontrol

If you've dreamed of being able to control your home with just your voice, Simple Control and an Amazon Echo will give you that power. Imagine sitting on the couch and being able to turn on the TV just by saying "Alexa, tell Simple Control to turn on the TV" or being able to turn [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
ihome-connected-smartplug-2

Apple's HomeKit is expected soon, and HomeKit-compatible devices are hitting the market in anticipation of this.  iHome has just announced their iHome iSP5 SmartPlug, its first entry in a planned series of products from the new iHome Control line of smart home accessories.  The SmartPlug is a WiFi-connected smart power outlet that lets you control a [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News, Wireless
phillips-hue-go-lamp-2

Phillips has a variety of lights for their WiFi-connected Hue system.  There are color-changing bulbs, white light-only bulbs, strips lights, and tabletop lamps, but they all have one thing in common:  they have to be screwed into a lamp socket (bulbs) or plugged into a power outlet to work.  The Go lamp is the first [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
amazon-dash-button

I'll admit that I thought this was an April Fool's joke when I saw it yesterday, but it's a real offering from Amazon.  The Amazon Dash Button lets you re-order laundry detergent, paper towels, diapers, pet food, even mac & cheese with the press of a button.  You just adhere the button to your washing [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
sesame-door-lock-2

There are a variety of ways you can open and lock your home's door without using a key.  I tried a WiFi-connected deadbolt that didn't work, no matter what type of interpretive dance I used to approach it.  I've been intrigued by other Kickstarter products that still haven't made it to market long after the [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
nyrius-smart-outlet

Nyrius has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new method of automating control of lamps and small appliances in your home.  The Nyrius Smart Outlet connects to an app on your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, so you don't even have to have an internet connection to use them.  So long as you are [...]

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Posted in: Android, Home and Kitchen, iOS, News
neurio

If the thoughts of turning your "dumb" home into a smart home sounds appealing but also too expensive and too daunting, consider Neurio. Instead of connecting individual sensors to all of your main appliances, Neurio is one sensor that installs into your home's electrical panel (no cutting or disconnecting wires is required). This one sensor uses [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
shuttereaze-shutter-controller

We told you about Tilt My Blinds, a device that attaches to and automates your existing horizontal blinds.  But what if you have plantation shutters instead of blinds?  Well, there's a way to automate them, too.  A Kickstarter campaign has been successfully funded, and ShutterEaze is currently production phase.  ShutterEaze requires you to mount the AA [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
kuna-wifi-security-light-2

Kuna isn't just a lighting fixture, of course.  This outdoor fixture also has a WiFi camera and intercom system built in.  You connect the Kuna fixture to an app on your Android or Apple phone, and Kuna can send you alerts whenever someone is at your door.  You can customize the app to notify you [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
incipio-home-automation-products

I use both Philips Hue and Belkin WeMo products to automate the lighting in my house.  I have to use two separate apps to control the products, so I was happy to hear about Apple's HomeKit, which promised to be a single, centralized solution to control all your home automation products.  Well, happy until I [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News

You want to have a smarter home - one that can notify you of events happening at home through your mobile device - but you don't have purchasing all new equipment in your budget.  You can make your current carbon monoxide and fire detectors smarter just by using a smart battery from Roost.  They say: [...]

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Posted in: Android, Home and Kitchen, iOS, News
hue-widget

Now you don't even have to bother entering your passcode on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 8 to control your Phillips Hue connected lights.  When you update to the latest version of the Phillips Hue app, you'll have access to the Hue widget for the Notification Center.  To add it, just swipe down to [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, iOS, News
tiltmyblinds-2

We have 1" wood venetian blinds in all our windows.  Most of our windows are floor-to-ceiling length, and they have long tilt adjustment wands that I can reach.  The windows in our sunroom are placed at ceiling height, but they stop about 3 feet above the floor, and their tilt wands are too short for [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
philips-hue-lux-connected-lighting-2

My mission is to automate the lighting in my house.  I don't have to have every light connected to the internet, but I would like to have WiFi-connected and controllable bulbs in certain rooms in my house.  I got the Hue Starter Kit for Christmas last winter, and I use them in my living room [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
belkin-wemo-lighting-kit

Actually, they'll be shipping on September 18, 2014, but Belkin is finally taking pre-orders for these WiFi-controllable light bulbs.  I've used Belkin WeMo Switches for a long time now.  I have lamps plugged into them around my house, and the Switches are programmed to turn my lights on at sunset and off several hours later. [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
SmartThings

There are a lot of home automation devices out there, each with their own app. As you work towards the smart home of your dreams, before long, you'll have multiple apps for your multiple devices. You can simplify things by controlling everything with the SmartThings Hub and iOS/Android app (you'll need at least iOS 7.0 [...]

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Posted in: Android, Home and Kitchen, iOS, News
philips-hue-tap-2

I have a set of Philips Hue lights that I got for Christmas last year that can light up my living room and foyer with white light or with colored lights - whatever I choose.  I can define light "recipes" where I can make each Hue bulb whatever color I want so set the mood [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
belkin-wemo-android-app-2

I reviewed the Belkin WeMo Smart Home Automation Switch about a year ago, and at the time, you really needed an iOS device to control the products.  There was an Android app, but it was in beta, but Belkin announced late last month that the Android app is ready.  Just like with the iOS app [...]

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Posted in: Android, Home and Kitchen, News
emberlight-kickstarter-2

This Kickstarter project gives you the tools to turn any dimmable light bulb into a WiFi-controllable bulb.  You don't need hubs, and getting your house connected is as easy as signing the bulb into your router.  The emberlight is a screw-in base that you can use with any of your current light fixtures or lamps [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News, Wireless
IMG_3862

I've been playing around with home automation products for awhile, but so far I haven't found anything that is easy to use or conforms to a well established standard.  I have some Insteon devices, X-10 devices, and there are also Zigby and Z-wave protocol devices available.   All of these require some sort of hub [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, Reviews
connected-by-tcp-1

Belkin has announced some connected light bulbs in their WeMo home automation line, but they have been "coming soon" for a long time now.  I discovered some other internet-connect LED bulbs while checking on the status of the Belkins recently.  The Connected by TCP smart lighting system consists of 11W LED bulbs, a gateway to [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat-1

Thermostats, in my day they only came in two varieties: round and rectangular . Today, thermostats are still available in rectangular and round, but now they also come in smart versions and programmable versions as well. With features such as digital and touch screens, humidity sensors and even some that will learn your habits. Thermostats [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, Reviews
ion-touchless-capacitive-switch-2

You've just come home to a dark house and your arms are full of groceries. With the wave of an arm or hand over the iON capacitive switch, you can turn on (or off) your lights without having to set your groceries down! And for the germaphobes out there, you no longer have to touch [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
hue-menu-mac-app

I got the Phillips Hue lights starter kit for Christmas, and I control them with an app on my iPhone or iPad.  Sometimes I'm at my computer and would like to turn on the lights, but I can't unless I have one of my mobile devices with me.  Phillips made the API available for third-party [...]

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Posted in: Computer Gear, Gear, Home and Kitchen, Laptops and Gear, News
quirky-aros-air-conditioner-2

Programmable thermostats are great for minimizing heating and cooling costs while maximizing your comfort, but they don't work for people who rely on window air conditioning units.  Leave it to the folks at Quirky and GE to develop the WiFi-connected Aros Smart Window Air Conditioner.  It works with the Wink app, so you can monitor, [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News