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Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 07, 2017  |  First Published: Jan 06, 2017  |  0 comments
Switchmate is dramatically expanding the company’s line of incredibly simple smart devices for home automation and security developed for do-it-yourselfers who want to convert existing dumb homes or dumber apartments into smart homes or smarter apartments. The original Switchmate is a battery-operated motorized cover that is held in place over an existing in-wall rocker or toggle switch by magnets. When the Switchmate receives the appropriate command, the mechanism inside does the exact same thing you would do with the fingers on your hand: it quickly flips the toggle or rocker switch from off to on (and vice versa). Switchmate says the smart switch conversion can be done in as quickly as one second, although my experience is that it takes more like two or three seconds for the physical installation.

The new Switchmate smart switch will include...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 06, 2017  |  0 comments
I always thought that Invoxia’s original Triby was a great concept, but that the cosmetics of the “Smart Portable Speaker with Alexa Voice Service” were a little too childish. The new model, the Triby IO, maintains all the smartness, portability, and Alexa integration found in the Triby; but it’s packed into a smaller chassis with a more sophisticated, grownup design. Magnets mounted on the rear of the Triby IO allow for it to be securely-but-temporarily placed on a refrigerator or other metal surface, while retaining the convenience of a portable, battery-powered, Wi-Fi-connected device.

The Inovoxia Triby IO adds...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 06, 2017  |  0 comments
Lockitron’s latest smart door lock iteration, the Lockitron Bolt, is unlocking a new level of affordability in DIY smart locks. Unlike the original crowdfunded Lockitron, the fit over existing deadbolts, the Lockitron Bolt is a full replacement deadbolt device that includes a Key Match feature allowing for the Bolt cylinder to be used with the homeowner’s or apartment renter’s original key. Since the Bolt is designed to replace an existing deadbolt—rather than fit over an existing mechanism—the new smart lock is smaller (1.1-inches deep, 7-inches tall, and 2.75-inches wide) with a knob that is only 0.7-inches deep. The center point of the knob is 1.2 inches from the bottom of the unit, so there is plenty of room for use with separate doorknobs and doorhandles.

The standard Bolt has...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 05, 2017  |  First Published: Jan 06, 2017  |  0 comments
AXIS says the company’s Gear is “the first shading solution designed specifically to motorize existing window shades.” In addition to being one of the few devices engineered for use with traditional shades and curtains (basically any window treatment with a “loop” chain or cable), the Gear is one of the simplest, easiest, least-intimidating smart home automation device to install I think I’ve ever seen.

Gear consists of a...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 05, 2017  |  First Published: Jan 06, 2017  |  0 comments
NuBryte, a relative newcomer to the smart home automation playground, is adding to and expanding on the company’s initial NuBryte Touchpoint touchscreen console with more flexibility in applications plus less expensive add-on, non-touchscreen light switches.

NuBryte’s Touchpoints combine many of the most...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 04, 2017  |  0 comments
In general, air purifiers have always seemed a bit like, um, smoke and mirrors to me. After all, most of them just sit in the room; and, frankly, I can never tell if they’re actually doing anything at all other than taking up space. It only took about 30 seconds for the Airmega folks to give me visual confirmation of their claim that the company’s Airmega Smart Air Purifier models remove more than 99 percent of the particulate matter in the air in the room...
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 04, 2017  |  0 comments
With the ever-loving number of products that are introduced at CES each year, it never takes long before you come across a gadget that causes your brain to stop functioning for a second under the heavy processing load of trying to figure out just why in the hell something like that would ever have reason to exist. Jooki, “an award-winning, figurine-controlled wifi speaker that develops children’s independence and imagination, away from screens” fell into that category when I read the initial press release. In fact, I had absolutely no intention of even taking a cursory look at something that seemed so stupid and had such a silly name. But Jooki was at an event featuring a number of startup companies with “smart” or “connected” products, and—out of the sheer goodness of my heart—I sat through what I thought would be a quick (but painfully dull) demo. It turns out that Jooki wasn’t quite what I thought it was.

The problem is that Jooki is hard to explain in a way that does it the justice it deserves. Seeing it in action, on the other hand...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 04, 2017  |  0 comments
On the eve of CES 2017, Smart sensor-maker, Roost, announced the availability of the company’s latest smart sensor that’s designed to alert homeowners to dangerous or destructive conditions occurring in their homes.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Dec 13, 2016  |  0 comments
It’s too easy to make things complicated, especially when it comes to gift giving—and, ironically, smart home automation systems. In my opinion, 2016 has already been way too complicated, so here are some simple smart home things for you to consider putting on your KISSH (Keep It Simple Smart Home) holiday gift list.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Nov 28, 2016  |  0 comments

The so-called “smart home” has had a sleepy, low-key year in 2016 as it recovered from several years of over promising and under delivering. The fact is, though, that there are plenty of stellar smart devices on the market. Many of these gadgets can be incorporated into a whole-house automation system or used solo as one of the many parts found in a “clever home”. Here are some of the devices that have “I Want” written all over them.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Nov 14, 2016  |  First Published: Nov 15, 2016  |  0 comments
I wish smoke alarms were sexier. Most of them are dull, white pucks that try to look as unobtrusive as possible. Even the squarish Nest Protect with the swirling perforation pattern on the cover isn’t something that most people will want to highlight as it hangs on the wall or ceiling. But there’s no doubt that smoke/carbon monoxide alarms save lives. The American Red Cross says that the organization’s Home Fire Campaign, which has “a goal to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries in the US by 25% by 2020” by getting more smoke alarms installed in more homes, has already demonstrably saved 111 lives in the short time since the program began in 2014. And since it’s recommended that you should check the working status of the smoke alarms in your home on the days when Daylight Saving Time begins and ends every year, it’s a good time to take a brief look at Roost’s brand new and—at $80 MSRP—nicely affordable RSA-400 Smart Smoke Alarm...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 26, 2016  |  0 comments
Voice integration and what it means for the future of home automation was a hot topic at CEDIA 2016, which attracted more than 500 exhibitors and almost 19,000 attendees.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 17, 2016  |  First Published: Sep 18, 2016  |  0 comments
Slovenian company, Qubino, says the Qubino Weather Station is “the world's first Z-Wave supported weather station to collect 10 essential values: indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, rainfall and wind direction, speed, gust, temperature and chill.” All measured data is then sent to the Z-Wave network for use by user’s control system in order to respond to changes in weather conditions as necessary.

The Qubino Weather Station’s sensors include...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 17, 2016  |  0 comments
SunBriteTV is bringing out a new series of weatherproof televisions called Veranda. The new TVs will be available in three screen sizes (43, 55, and 65 inches), and each model incorporates a direct-lit 4K UHD screen plus built-in down-firing speakers.

The models in SunBriteTV’s Veranda series are designed to be used in...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 17, 2016  |  0 comments
Amongst the many announcements concerning Amazon Alexa integration with higher-end control systems—including Control4, Crestron, Savant, and others—one of the more exciting reveals was the news that Lutron is adding Alexa integration to its HomeWorks QS and RadioRA2 lighting control systems, providing voice-activated control of lights, shades, and temperature setting via an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, or Amazon Fire TV.

Lutron, of course, is no stranger to the voice-activated world of Amazon Alexa having introduced integration...