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Posts Tagged ‘home automation’

The Smart Home Talks Z-Wave at CES

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Z-Wave LogoIf there’s any kind of smart home device in your house, there’s a very good chance that it communicates using Z-Wave. The protocol is oriented to the residential control and automation market and designed specifically for low power and low data rate communication, making it ideal for battery powered devices. Todd and Jamie find out more on this largely unknown wireless technology from Mitchell Klein, Executive Director for the Z-Wave Alliance.

Develop in the early 2000s, Z-Wave is now supported by over 300 manufacturers producing over 1500 certified devices for the smart home, from simple door switches and sensors to central heating and security systems. Operating in the 900 MHz frequency, Z-Wave has a theoretical range of 100 m, but typically this is much reduced by the density of building construction materials. However, unlike Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Z-Wave uses a mesh network with devices acting is intermediary nodes, passing on messages. Consequently, interoperability is key to Z-Wave and all Z-Wave devices will work with other Z-Wave devices.

Mitchell talks about the current state of the Z-Wave market and discusses some of the future possibilities for the technology, including interacting with systems like Amazon Echo.

Todd Aune bridges the technology gap with the The Elder Divide and Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist.

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TikTeck Sells Direct to Consumer

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

tikteckTikTeck are coming to market with the sole purpose of bringing affordable products direct to the consumer and cutting out the middleman. With only a few gadgets available, Daniel chats with Rex Chen, VP Product Development of TikTeck to find out what’s in store.

In the first wave of products, there’s a Bluetooth-controlled smart LED bulb displaying 16 million colours for only US$9.99. You don’t need me to tell you what a bargain that price is. The companion smartphone app runs on both iOS and Android, providing group controls and timers, much like some of the market leading apps. Available for pre-order now with delivery expected end of February.

TikTeck RoverCombining both security and fun, the next product is a wireless camera rover. It’s a digital video camera on a remote controlled buggy which can be steered and monitored by wifi from a smartphone. US$69.99 when it goes on sale. I want one – the black version in the interview looks positively menacing.

Finally, TikTeck have a smart finger ring that measures heart rate and tracks activity and sends the data back to the smartphone by Bluetooth. It looks far more like a man’s ring than it does a fitness tracker. Price not finalised but likely to be in the $50-$100 range.

Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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Essence Behaviour Analysis for the Smart Home

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Essence LogoComing from a background in home securityEssence have used their understanding of monitoring to develop a range of products for the smart home to enable independent living for those people who might otherwise have difficulty looking after themselves. Jamie and Daniel find out more from Rafi Zauer, Essence Head of Marketing.

The smart home market is exploding at the moment and there are hundreds of companies peddling hubs and sensors. What sets Essence’s SmartCare apart is a focus on unobtrusive monitoring and pattern analysis to detect when a dependent person’s daily routine changes, potentially by illness, in order to alert family members to a problem.

By using PIR motion detectors and door sensors, a pattern of behaviour is built up and deviations from the pattern can be escalated to relatives to follow-up. It’s all passive detection; there are no cameras and as such this provides an important level of privacy. Data is passed to a cloud service which in turn passes alerts to an app on a tablet or smartphone.

With an increasingly older population who want to remain in their own home, these kinds of systems will be increasingly relevant.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist.
Daniel J Lewis dares you to get started in podcasting with The Audacity to Podcast.

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Oort SmartHub Integrates With Bluetooth

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Oort Logo

Smart homes and the Internet of Things are very much in vogue at CES this year with vendors offering a wide range of products, some of which hardly deserve the name “smart” and others that are genuinely innovative. In the latter camp, there is Oort which tries to “make your world smarter”. Don learns more from Radek Tadajewski, Wizard of Oort.

The difference between Oort and many of its competitors is that Oort has been designed to work openly with Bluetooth devices from the start. By using Bluetooth profiles as the integration mechanism, Oort can use any Bluetooth device that has the necessary profile. To get you started, there’s a $350 starter kit which includes the Oort hub, light bulbs, sockets and a tracker beacon though other devices can be added as needed. As you’d expect there’s a smartphone app for Android and iOS which communicates with the hub and the connected  devices. You can view the status of devices and sensors through the smartphone app, whether you are inside the house or sitting in the office, and you can turn devices on and off as needed.

There’s more in the interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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CES 2014: visit CES Unveiled with IdoNotes

Monday, January 6th, 2014

CES 2014 Unveiled is a chance to get an early look at close to 100 exhibitors and what they will be launching as the week of CES continues.  Chris Miller (IdoNotes) visits the show floor and gives you a video summary.

Chris breaks the exhibitors down into what appeared to be five major group areas complete with pictures and commentary. See everything from home automation, phone cases, audio, health to just plain stuff.

Video summary by Chris Miller (IdoNotes) of Spiked Studio.

UPnP Forum:Technology Standards for Universal Plug and Play

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

How to get them all to play together ?

Home automation, entertainment, mobile devices, routers, cable modems, security, and a whole range of devices are a part of the connected modern home.  That’s the mission of the Universal Plug and Play Forum. It assumes IP networking, and then gets them all working together. A lot of it is behind the scenes, without the user being aware of any specific app, insuring that devices interoperate. Over a thousand companies are part of the consortium. A number of other organizations (Suchas DNLA) or devices or apps such as Skype, X-Box or Playstation transparently opening correct ports and authorizing activities within your home network.

 

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDRNews for the TechPodcast Network.

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Somfy Tahoma – Beyond Home Automation

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Steve Iommi chats to Todd and Tom about Somfy‘s new Tahoma system which takes home automation to the next level. It’s based round the concept of “scenes” – a scene might be “weekday-morning” which has certain set of actions, e.g. open blinds at 7.30am, whereas the “weekend-morning” opens the blinds at 8.30. With a whole a range of scenes, everything from blinds to thermostats can be controlled according to the day of the week and the activities of the owner.

As with all things these days, the Tahoma system is connected to the Internet via the homeowner’s Wifi, meaning that the owner can connect via a web browser back to the system to make any changes that might be needed, say, because of changes in the weather.

The underlying technology is the Z-Wave RF home automation wireless standard, so upgrading a home to for automation doesn’t involving lots of recabling. It’s simply a case of replacing the controllers with Z-Wave-compatible ones.

A basic Tahoma system can be professionally installed for under $2000.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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