Smart Houses & Appliances

Jailbreaking your connected coffee machine: The idiocy of things


Yes, that data is valuable to the device manufacturer, too, which runs cloud services in order to make that product work. But, increasingly, I am starting to see smart devices that not only rely on connectivity for basic functionality but use networking and sensors in order to prevent end-users from actually getting the most out of their devices. Well, the consumable supplies business for printers is huge. Newer-generation Keurig machines actually scan and validate the supplies using digital rights management (DRM) before brewing.

Ecobee4 smart thermostat review: Retains the great functions of the Ecobee3, and adds Alexa


While the 4 looks almost identical to the 3, if slightly larger, it's now packed with a speaker and microphone to accommodate its new role as a smart hub that can tell you jokes and the weather, change the temperature in the house, and, if you really want, play music from Amazon's music service (among many other tasks). While it's not the worst speaker I've ever heard, the actual Amazon Echo's speaker is at least a little better. So, if you work from home and have the sensor in your home office, the Ecobee can adjust the temperature based purely on the readings in your office. You can't create a complicated schedule of adjustments throughout the day like many admittedly less-smart thermostats allow, since the Ecobee adjusts based on your set temperature preferences for cooling and heating, and data from the motion sensors.

Google Assistant and IFTTT can close your garage door


We haven't gotten to the point of voice-activated vacuum cleaners yet, but closing your garage door with an "Ok Google" has arrived. MyQ works with IFTTT now as well. The system can automatically close the garage door when you leave a geofenced area, turn down the thermostat once you leave. If you go month by month, access to Assistant and IFTTT will run $1 a month, or you can get a discount by going yearly for $10.

Inside the Second Coming of Nest


But because I am visiting Nest, and Mittleman is its Head of Product Design, working on a new gadget that this startup-turned-controversial Alphabet division is launching, I can't say I am surprised. The new products include the aforementioned Nest Secure, a home security system; Nest Hello, an internet-connected doorbell; an outdoor version of its Nest Cam IQ security camera (which uses Google face recognition to identify people who wander into range); and, perhaps most significant, the integration of the voice-based Google Assistant into Nest products, beginning with the indoor IQ camera. When Fadell left in June 2016, Larry Page replaced him with Marwan Fawaz, a nuts-and-bolts guy who is much in the mold of other recent Alphabet division leaders: experienced, middle-aged guys (always guys) known less for vision than for delivering quarterly results. Though no case like that had ever been reported, Nest halted sales for a few weeks and issued a recall to disable the feature in 440,000 Protect units.

Apple HomePod faces tough odds against Amazon Echo in connected home market

Boston Herald

Connected speakers are part of a broader white-hot market for connected home devices, which Amazon, and Google hope to control against rival devices planned by number of others like Apple and Microsoft. CIRP estimates that Amazon has sold 15 million Echos, accounting for 75% of the U.S. market, while Google has sold an estimated 5 million Homes, or 24%. While sales of 15 million Amazon Echo units is a big number, as of last year there were about 125 million U.S. households. The HomePod speaker will be heavier than Echo or Google Home, and Kevin Tofel, a gadget enthusiast and blogger, said that means it will offer much better sound.

Amazon Reportedly Developing Alexa Smart Glasses

International Business Times

Now, a new report claims that Amazon is planning to put Alexa on a pair of smart glasses. The Amazon Alexa smart glasses won't feature a display of any kind nor a camera like the Google Glass, according to Engadget. Google Glass founder Babak Parviz is believed to be closely involved in the development of the new Amazon Alexa glasses. Aside from the Alexa glasses, Amazon is also believed to be working on a new home security camera.

Pixel 2 Leaks: Google Code Reveals Squeezable Edges, New Search Bar

International Business Times

In a breakdown of Google's latest beta for its official app, 9to5Google found several mentions of features that line up with past rumors around the Pixel 2. Most significantly, the app has mentions of an Active Edge squeeze feature that would allow users to trigger actions like activating Google Assistant. In the app's code, it mentions how users can customize what settings or actions the phone's squeeze gesture could trigger. Google Assistant mentions in the app include alternative voices and custom activation keywords, along with enhanced smart home device control.

Alexa controlled drone can fly around home for security

Daily Mail

The drone also works with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant to respond to voice-prompted commands, or can fly autonomously and detect anomalies and provide security alerts by recording a livestream of one's home. The camera-equipped drone drone, called Aire, has a jet propulsion system is hidden inside its body by a fabric exterior, making it quiet and safe for home use. The drone has a jet propulsion system is hidden inside its body by a fabric exterior, making it quiet and safe for home use. The drone works with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant to respond to voice-prompted commands, or can fly autonomously and detect anomalies and provide security alerts by providing a livestream of one's home Along with its cameras, the drone uses sonar and onboard sensors and complex algorithms to determine it's position, similar to the technology used in AR and VR headsets and what self-driving cars use to determine location.

These 20 Influencers will Lead the Internet of Things


In his role as president and CEO of the Internet of Things Consortium, Greg uses his influence and remarkable network to build a premier IoT group focused on driving the industry forward. As one of the top technologists in the industry, Sridhar Solur is driving innovation and product strategy for the Xfinity Home business for Comcast. Scott Harkins is Vice President of Partner Development within Honeywell's Connected Home & Building organizations. He enjoyed great success as a leader for Honeywell's home security channel and is continuing that success by driving Honeywell's Smart Home ambitions.

Roku might be making its own smart speaker


First noticed by Variety, Roku has listed open positions that are specific to tying audio with software. For example, Sr. Software Engineer, New Products, Audio (Expert) requires candidates with experience taking "new hardware platforms from prototype to mass production." The most notable resumé belongs to Jim Cortez, a Senior Software Engineer who works on voice interfaces for the company. He was previously the cofounder of Ivee, a company that makes smart home speakers in the same vein as the Amazon Echo and Google Home.