Tag Archives: Internet of Things

Devolo Home Control Unboxing

Devolo LogoDevolo is well known for its range of dLan powerline networking products which I rate highly, so I was very interested to see that Devolo was creating a new product range for the smart home. Called Home Control, this is a Z-Wave based system with a comprehensive set of accessories, from the usual motion sensor all the way through to radiator thermostats and smoke detectors. One of the key differentiators from similar products on the market is that the control unit is a dLan powerline device too, making it much easier to centrally position it away from the router.

I’ll be doing a full review of the components in a follow up article, but first here are two unboxing videos. The first is the Home Control Starter Pack which includes the control unit, a door/window contact and a smart metering plug. It has an RRP of £179.99. This is all UK spec gear.

Next up is the full range of the Home Control accessories, including remote control key fob, wall switch, motion detector, room thermostat, radiator thermostat and smoke detector. Prices range from £34.99 up to £79.99.

The next article on Home Control will look at the gear in more detail and how to make your house smarter. In the mean time, first impressions are good – accessories are well made and easy to use.

Lowes set to offer home monitoring for its Iris Smart Home Solution

lowesIs home automation, or the Internet of Things as it’s also known, the wave of the future? It sure seems that way these days, though there have been some bumps in the road. It’s getting better though as things begin to integrate with one another more and security, a major concern, is being improved.

Now Lowe’s is announcing new monitoring systems for its line of Iris Smart Home Solution products. This is, of course, related to home security. What the company has in mind is a system that will allow for the dispatch of responders in the event of an intrusion, carbon monoxide detection or a panic alert. Lowe’s claims that this type of security is most important to 62 percent of customers, at least according it its survey.

“Many of our customers have been interested in the added peace of mind of 24/7 protection with live professionals available to help if problems occur, but only if it was as affordable and flexible as Iris is today”, says Mick Koster, vice president and general manager of Iris Home Systems. “By providing customers with Iris’ easy-to-install, wireless DIY system combined with professional monitoring capabilities they can trust and afford, we are offering the most all-inclusive smart home solution available at the best value for both homeowners and renters alike. Whether our customers self-monitor or use our new professionally monitored service, Iris is the smart home system that evolves with you as your life changes and helps make your life easier”.

This isn’t free of course, it will set you back $19.99 per month. That includes the $9.99 fee for “advanced monitoring and control of the home” as well as a cellular connection when broadband goes down, something that goes for $4.99 monthly. It will be available in the second quarter of this year.

Onelink Brings Connected Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors to HomeKit

Onelink smoke and CO alarmWhen Apple announced the launch of HomeKit, its platform for the connected home, hopes began running high that HomeKit would become the one platform to “rule them all” in the Internet of Things space. And while the rollout of HomeKit has progressed somewhat slowly, more companies have begun releasing products specifically made for HomeKit. One such company is First Alert, who recently announced the release of its Onelink line of products, kicking off with a connected smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detector.

The intuitive, easy to install two-in-one alarm protects against threats of smoke and CO by sending notifications to users on their iOS devices or Apple Watches. The alarm can also be easily tested or silenced using the Onelink Home app. Siri voice commands allow users to check the status of their detector and ask if an alarm was triggered. Since the Onelink Alarm is HomeKit-enabled, privacy is built in and data is always encrypted, ensuring that users’ privacy is protected at all times

The Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + CO Alarm features a 10-year sealed lithium battery that lasts the life of the alarm. By utilizing photoelectric broad-based technology in conjunction with patented smoke entry system, it is efficient at detecting both smoldering and fast-flaming fires, while being less prone to nuisance alarms.

The Onelink system is designed to work with most existing interconnected hardwired alarms in the home, so users do not have to replace all existing functioning alarms at once, and can do so over a period of time. All Onelink alarms are designed to wirelessly interconnect through a Bluetooth mesh system with other Onelink alarms in the home when an emergency is detected.

The Onelink by First Alert Wi-Fi Smoke + CO Alarm is currently available at Lowe’s and Amazon. It will also be available at Apple Stores and the Apple website in time for the holidays..

Safeguard Against Water Damage with D-Link’s Wi-Fi Water Sensor

D-Link LogoHumans have done much over the centuries to try and control the flow of water around us. And in many parts of the developed world, we’ve created intricate water distribution systems that have helped to create a baseline quality of life unparalleled by anything in history. And while most modern indoor plumbing is generally reliable, sometimes it breaks down, potentially causing all kinds of damage. When plumbing leaks start, a quick response is crucial to avoid excessive water damage. But what do you do when those leaks occur in the middle of the night, while you’re asleep? Or when you’re not at home? D-Link has provided a solution with its new Wi-Fi Water Sensor.

The concept behind the D-Link DCH-S160 Water Sensor is pretty simple. Just place the sensor in an area of concern for potential water problems (near a sump pump or water heater, next to a washing machine, etc.) and plug it into a wall outlet. When the sensor detects water in its vicinity, it will immediately send an alert to the mydlink smartphone app, letting you know you should check out the situation. D-Link’s Wi-Fi Water Sensor can also be paired with a Wi-Fi siren to assure you’re alerted in the event of a water problem.

The D-Link Water Sensor retails for around $75.00 and can be found at most electronics retailers.

Atmel Brings IoT and Innovative Car Products to CES

Atmel logoAtmel is a Silicon Valley company that specializes in semiconductors, specifically microcontroller, touch, wireless, security and automotive products . Atmel brought many of its new concepts to CES 2015.

Marlo talks to Atmel Senior Vice President and General Manager of Automotive, Aerospace and Memory Business Units Rob Valiton about the company and what they were showcasing at the show.

  • The “Powered by Atmel” zone showcased the company’s core products including semiconductors and microcontrollers. This zone gave convention goers a chance to see how Atmel’s products are being used by its customers.
  • The smart living/IoT zone was all about connected devices.
  • The automotive zone showed off Atmel’s offerings for the car, including its AvantCar system. AvantCar features a curved touchscreen that give drivers and passengers individual access to apps.
  • Atmel’s maker zone demonstrated ways to use Atmel’s products within your own designs.

As consumers we often forget that great companies out there provide many of the internal components that allow incredible innovation by the OEM’s

Interview by Marlo Anderson from The Tech Ranch.

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CES 2015 has Apple Home Kit compatible devices from Incipio


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

OKIDOKEYS New Open API Integrates With Third Parties

OKIDOKEYS logoSmart key-and-lock company OKIDOKEYS has released a new open API to easily allow third-party developers to integrate with its products. Developers that build apps and devices that work with the OKIDOKEYS system will be allowed to display a “Works with OKIDOKEYS” label on their products so consumers can immediately tell if those products will play nicely with their smart keys and locks.

“Collaboration and interconnectivity is what will make the Internet of Things (IoT) a reality for the average user,” says Pascal Metivier, founder and CEO of OpenWays and OKIDOKEYS. “So many developers have fantastic ideas for creating innovative software solutions for the people who use our Smart-Locks, and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to make their concepts a reality.”

OKIDOKEYS products use Bluetooth to communicate with connected devices. Users can lock and unlock doors via the OKIDOKEYS website or iOS/Android apps. This system allows users to create, share and revoke access for family, friends and others such as babysitters and trusted service people, and receive notifications when doors are being operated. Smart keys may be created with date and time limits. Smart locks work with existing deadbolts and install easily on the interior of your front door without drilling or wiring.

To learn more about OKIDOKEYS, check out the company’s website (linked above)  or visit them at CES 2015 in Las Vegas. You can find them at Tech West, Booth #75108.