Philips Hue at Gadget Show Live

Hue Personal Wireless LightingWe’ve always been fans of the Philips Hue here at GNC and looking back I reviewed Hue back in December 2013. At that time, Hue was only a small range of connected light bulbs. Today Hue has a much wider range of bulbs and integrates with other elements of the connected home such as Nest, while Hue Tap brings practicality, turning on lights with a physical switch.

The latest addition to the family is Hue Go, a portable light with a built-in rechargeable battery giving three hours of light. Bowl-shaped and 12 cm across, the Go can be controlled as any Hue light via the app. Off-net when there’s no smartphone handy, the Go’s on lamp controls can switch through seven presets, making the Go great outside even when there’s no wi-fi.

Hue Go

For more on the latest developments in Hue’s world listen to my interview with Chris from Philips at Gadget Show Live.

Homes Just Got Smarter with Kibbi

British Inventors ProjectWith the Internet of Things and smart homes being all the rage, it’s inevitable that there would be at least one smart home system at Gadget Show Live taking part in the British Inventors Project. Here’s the Kibbi – homes just got smarter.

KibbiThe Kibbi intelligent hub provides round the clock security combined with entertainment. The built-in HD wide angle security camera monitors 24×7 with motion detection and night vision, and saves video footage to either cloud servers or local USB storage. The keyfob-size Kibbi sensors are fixed to doors, windows, fridges and measure movement, vibrations and temperature. The speaker announces alerts and can wirelessly stream music too from smartphones.

The complementary Kibbi app works with Android, iOS and Windows – it’s good to see the Windows app here too.

The Kibbi previously raised nearly $57,000 on Indiegogo and pre-orders (£170) can be made through the Kibbi website with Deliveries expected from May 2015.

Oomi Cube Smart Connected Home

Oomi LogoContinuing the current trend of connected homes and smart houses, Oomi‘s unique selling point is the user experience, claiming to be the easiest to setup and the smartest at learning. Jamie talks dream houses with Chris Hall, President of Oomi.

Eighteen months in the making, the heart of the Oomi system is the Oomi Cube and the Oomi Touch. The Cube is the brains of the system and is full of sensors, including ones for motion, noise, temperature, humidity, breaking glass and smoke. The Oomi Touch is an Android tablet which is used to setup and control the whole system though “Tap-and-Touch”. Tap the connected device to be added to the system and then touch the app on the tablet to get it setup correctly. Easy-peasy.

Oomi IQ is built-in to the Cube and the idea is that it learns from the activity in the home around it and starts responding to changes in an intelligent way. Simplistically, if it’s dark and there’s someone in the house, turn the lights on. Sounds great but it will be interesting to see how it works out.

Oomi will be available mid 2015 and pre-orders will initially be taken through Indiegogo, though the campaign is not yet live.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly  for the TechPodcast Network.

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Oort SmartHub Integrates With Bluetooth

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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Unikey Brings Keyless Entry To Your Home At CES

Unikey logo

It’s no secret that technology is making its way into every aspect of our lives, and our homes are no exception. Most of us know how frustrating it is to arrive home, only to spend 5 minutes digging around trying to find your house key. Fortunately, with new advances in smart technology, that nuisance could soon be a thing of the past.

Todd had the opportunity to talk with Dirk Wyckoff, VP Sales & Marketing at Unikey, a technology company that’s working to replace traditional keys with the convenience of a smartphone. Unikey’s technologies have been incorporated into a variety of smart-lock products, which wirelessly communicate with your smartphone to lock and unlock your door before you even touch the doorknob.

To find out more about Unikey and the products that use it, visit unikey.com.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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eyeSight Singlecue Gesture Control at CES

eyeSight logoWhen it comes to motion tracking and gesture control, gaming has shown the way especially with Microsoft Kinect and the Xbox. Outside of this arena, there’s been relatively little traction though eyeSight are hoping to change this state of affairs with Singlecue. The two Todds talk to Tal Kryzpow, VP of Product Management, to find out more.

The Singlecue is a tabletop device that’s roughly the same size as a Kinect, though unlike its sibling, the Singlecue has a small central display. Singlecue converts gestures, such as an upright finger to the lips, into an action, in this case “mute”, which it then passes onto the relevant devices in the room using infrared. As it uses IR, it’s compatible with almost every piece equipment in the home that uses a remote control. The Singlecue also uses WiFi to interact with technology such as Nest thermostats and Philips Hue lighting.

The Singlecue is currently on pre-order at $129 but will have MSRP of $199 when it goes on sale in Spring 2015.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Todd Aune of The Elder Divide for the TechPodcast Network.

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CES 2015 has Apple Home Kit compatible devices from Incipio

wac-outlet_1

Home automation, sometimes known by the scary name of “internet of things”, is a big deal these days. The recent CES show in Las Vegas did nothing to banish that notion. To compliment Apple’s recent Home Kit release, Incipio brought along some products to show off.

“When Apple announced HomeKit, our team immediately went to work on developing cost effective solutions that are deeply integrated with iOS and that have more compatibility than current home automation devices on the market,” says Andy Fathollahi, Chief Executive. “Today, Incipio delivers three user-friendly home automation solutions and a complimentary app, at an incredible value, that will truly impact and simplify day-to-day routines with just a tap of your device or a Siri voice command”.

The Incipio DIRECT Wireless Smart Outlet was unveiled, bringing automation to your plugged in items. There is also the Light Bulb Adapter and Power Strip. All products are compatible with Siri, can be used to create zones and controlled by the company’s own app. Pricing details follow below.

  • Incipio DIRECT Wireless Smart Outlet – MSRP $24.99
  • Incipio DIRECT Wireless Smart Light Bulb Adapter – MSRP $24.99
  • Incipio DIRECT Wireless Smart Power Strip – MSRP $59.99

Tekoia introduces new control for your home automation

Tekoia_logo_final_nobg-04-150x69Home automation may be the wave of the future, but it’s also becoming more standard for many people, thanks to popular items like the Philips Hue bulbs and more. As cool as it can seem, all of these new items need to be controlled by something. An Android app is the perfect fit for this, and thankfully there’s a new option for enthusiasts.

Tekoia’s SureMote is designed to let customers use a phone or tablet to control and monitor the home. It also covers media devices, accomplishing all of this through a combination of WiFi and an IR blaster.

“Currently, the app  covers all digital media appliance controlled by IR, as well as smart TV’s and security cameras controlled and monitored with WiFi”, the company states in its announcement. This includes smart TVs and media streamers including Samsung, LG, Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV.

The company plans support for Nest and various other home automation protocols. Availabilty details were not included in the announcement.

Face Recognition Comes To Simplicam

Simplicam Logo

Back in 2014 when ArcSoft launched the simplicam home monitoring system based around a high-definition webcam, it borrowed face detection technology from digital cameras. With this tool, the monitoring system was able to differentiate between persons and pets, ensuring that only important alerts were sent through to the owner who would otherwise be swamped with notifications when their cat or dog took a wander round the house.

SimplicamArcSoft has now announced at CES that the face detection feature in simplicam powered by Closeli can be upgraded to (beta) face recognition, meaning that not only does the system recognise people vs pets, it can now tell who has walked into the house. Those expected to be at home can be ignored with strangers immediately flagged.

The new Face Recognition Manager in the Closeli app allows users to register and store up to ten people. After a short setup, home owners can configure privacy settings for each individual and customise notifications, choosing to receive alerts when a specific registered person or an unrecognised person is in the house. The app can be set to automatically save or delete footage based on who is home.

ArcSoft is a pioneer in Face Detection and Face Recognition technology, and we are excited to bring this expertise to the connected home. When we released simplicam powered by Closeli earlier this year, we got invaluable feedback from customers and press. Now, new and current users can provide us with feedback directly from within the Closeli app that may be incorporated into the product,” said Caroline Tien-Spalding, Senior Director of Marketing, ArcSoft.

The standalone simplicam is $149 and a year’s worth of Closeli’s 1-Day Recording Services brings the price to $199. The Closeli service is needed for the face detection and recognition.

I think this is a great step forward as when I previously reviewed a home monitoring kit from another manufacturer, one of my concerns was that I felt I was spying on my family.  All activity in the house, whether my business or not, was being detected, recorded and forwarded to my smartphone. I think this goes a long way towards addressing those concerns.

Philips Hue and FC Bayern Munich

Hue Personal Wireless LightingThis is going to be a challenging post for a large chunk of GNC’s audience. Not only is it about football with a round ball, it’s about German football too. Anyway….Philips have partnered with one of the biggest club’s in Europe, Fußball-Club Bayern München to promote Philips Hue LED lighting systemFC Bayern Munich logo (German / English)

With names familiar to soccer fans worldwide, the promotional video shows off the footwork of Xabi Alonso and Rafinha, the skills of Arjen Robben, Jerome Boateng and the safe hands of Manuel Neuer. The video’s short lighting sequences illustrate the wide range of options and lamp colour changes, all controllable via an app available for both iOS and Android.

The eye-catching and visually impressive campaign with the FC Bayern stars underlines Philips Lighting’s leadership,” says Thomas Fine, Head of Brand, Communications and Philips Digital DACH. “It also shows how the future of lighting looks in your own home, and how light brings emotions into our everyday life.Light Magic is the 20 second, emotional spot that runs on all major private broadcasters in Germany from mid-December onwards. There’s a longer version of the advert here.

In the coming months, the Munich football stadium will also be equipped with comprehensive exterior LED lighting. Its 380,000 light spots will allow dynamic colour changes with a range of 16 million colours, just like Philips Hue bulbs. The partnership between Philips and FC Bayern Munich is long-term, designed to increase awareness of light as an emotional product and position Philips as the leading innovator in the field of LED lighting.

You can read GNC’s review of the Philips Hue lighting system from last year.