Lowe’s Iris Home Automation Program for Security

Kevin Meagher from Lowe’s  talked to Todd and Daniel about the Lowe’s Iris Program.  The idea behind the Lowe’s Iris program is to bring home automation to the masses. The base program which is a security program starts at $175. You control the program through a smart phone or a computer. The base program is very easy to set up you simply plug the base unit into the router, hang the sensors up and do the setup and you are ready to go. The total setup should take about an hour to complete. Lowe’s is working with their vendors to make sure that the vendors devices work with Iris.  If you’re looking for device that can run under Iris just look for the Iris logo.

There is no subscription for the entry-level program. The more advanced program which is known as Magic is an all-inclusive program and is available for $10 a month. The Iris program is fairly new and its development is continuing.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network and Daniel J Lewis of The Audacity to Podcast

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Iris Security Smart Home

Iris is a new home security system being offered through Lowes, the home improvement giant that has stores around the country. The Iris system is not new, but a lot more upcoming features were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and Andy McCaskey stopped by the booth to take a look.

Iris is about more than just security. It is also home automation. For instance, the system can tie into your irrigation system and keep your plants watered. Each feature will require a separate controller, but the good news is that each is affordable — think X-10 type pricing, but with better features. You can even put a tag on your dog’s collar to control pet doors. All of this can be handled from an app via iOS or Android.

All of this is available for $15 per month. You will need to purchase the individual sensors, but that is, of course, a one time cost. Those interested can visit this Lowes site for more information.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net

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Are Smartphone Apps Really Practical?

Today’s smartphones are amazing devices and can do some pretty cool things. Some of the apps can be quite remarkable, but do they offer real-world functionality?

Yesterday was another 104 degree day. Get used to it – there are days like this every year.

I was in my bedroom yesterday afternoon and suddenly the lights went out. To spare you the details, the problem ended up being an aging 60 amp breaker that had weakened to the point where it couldn’t handle my dishwasher and washing machine running simultaneously.

So here I was standing there in front of the breaker box with a magnifying glass trying to make out the tiny numbers printed on the breaker in question and writing them down on a piece of paper. After a few minutes, I realized there was a barcode sticker located on the top of the breaker. Unfortunately, it was located in a position where there was no way that I could see the numbers on it.

Barcode… barcode… BARCODE!!! I have multiple barcode apps on my HTC Evo smartphone. “I wonder if I can possibly scan that barcode with my phone?” I thought to myself. I got the phone, started the Amazon Barcode app, and held the phone up a rather awkward, non-ideal position, trying to hold the phone as still as possible. Success!! The barcode suddenly scanned. I was able to click on the button to look the number up in Google and to my delight it popped right up with the product description and the actual model number of the electrical breaker.

A quick trip to the nearest Lowe’s store and $10 dollars later, I had the exact replacement breaker model that I needed.

It turns out that the Amazon Barcode app ended up being very useful in a way that I could have never imagined.