Embedded Systems

What are Smart Cities? Everything you need to know


From traffic information to weather monitoring, the Internet of Things (IoT) is helping revolutionise how we live our lives across a number of industries. By connecting various aspects of the urban landscape to the Internet, local administrators will gain access to countless extra datasets that could help them provide better services for their citizens. The potential benefits provided by smart cities mean that the opportunities to utilise their technology are not limited to any particular areas or locations. For any city looking to embrace IoT technology, there are a number of hurdles to overcome, particularly concerning data analytics and smarter services investment.

The Wirecutter's best deals: Google Home and Philips Hue bundles drop by $70


This bundle offers two of our picks, the Google Home Speaker and the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter kit, for $230, an excellent deal. The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit is our pick for the best smart LED light bulbs. Grant Clauser writes, "Philips Hue is not just a smart bulb; it's a whole smart system. This is an excellent deal on these refurbished noise cancelling headphones, which typically cost $350 new.

Becoming a smart city takes more than sensors and buzzwords


Better parking, efficient lighting, improved traffic flow, smarter security, improved waste management, and disaster planning are all areas where technology can make an impact. Arvind Satyam, Cisco's managing director of smart cities and digitization division, gives the example of waste management and traffic departments working together. There is a reason "every city has their own challenges," said Blake Miller of Think Big Partners, a startup partnered with Cisco that's working on making Kansas City smarter. "The tenant, customer, and visitor experience is all integrated with the technology, and then all the back building facilities management is integrated as well," Eric Simone, CEO of ClearBlade, told Digital Trends.

Microsoft takes on Nest with a Cortana-based thermostat


Microsoft isn't content to let Amazon or Alphabet dictate the future of the smart home. The software giant has unveiled a smart thermostat from Johnson Controls, GLAS, that promises to one-up what you see from the likes of Nest. The slick-looking control packs both a translucent touchscreen and, more importantly, Cortana voice controls -- you don't have to talk to a speaker or your phone to change the temperature. Neither Microsoft nor Johnson Controls has said anything at this point (we're reaching out), but it's safe to say this will cost more than your average home climate controller.

Our favorite affordable smart plug is at a new low price right now


Smart home devices can make everyday tasks easier, leaving more time and energy for other more important aspects of your life. If you're looking for ways to enjoy a slice of the smart home pie without parting with all of your hard-earned money, I highly recommend a smart plug like the TP-Link Smart WiFi Plug. You can control this smart plug from your phone, making it a breeze to fire up your a/c on the way home or turn on lights while you're on vacation (and it's much cheaper than a smart air conditioner or smart light setup). But if you're more concerned with the aesthetics of controlling a device from your phone or home assistant than with reducing your energy consumption, there's a version without the green feature for only $25.

Artificial Intelligence is Finding its Feet in Retail - The Millennium Alliance


Ikea has started edging its way into smart home products with the recent rollout of a smart lighting system, the Trådfri system, which leverages common ZigBee Light Link technology standards for connected light bulbs. As industries like healthcare, looked to retail for guidance on connecting with the on-demand customer, the retail industry is experimenting with the next stage of digital transformation. With new augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence technology making a splash in 2017, retail is uniquely positioned to take full advantage of these digital tools. PAST DIGITL RETAIL TRANSFORMATION SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Ascena Retail Group Chief Marketing Officer, EVP of Digital Channels – Maurices Bed Bath & Beyond Chief Marketing Officer Best Buy Chief Marketing Officer BJ's Wholesale Club SVP, Marketing Coach Global Chief Marketing Officer Crayola Chief Marketing Officer Frito-Lay, Inc. Chief Marketing Officer Sally Beauty Chief Marketing Officer Sam's Club Chief Member Officer Sears Holdings Corporation President Gifts and Occasions Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Population increase and the smart city


One thing is for certain when urbanization at this rate occurs, and that is the strain on public services and resources rapidly increases. By 2100 the global population is expected to reach 11 billion people, but we should see this as an exciting opportunity to use the Internet of Things in formatting smart cities. Smart waste management applies the Internet of Things to rapidly improve efficiency. The growth of smart cities should only accelerate over the coming years – their potential is limitless and although they are expensive to plan and implement initially, they will only benefit residents by improving living cost, health, and quality of life.

6 AI-enabled gadgets that are actually helpful


You know about home robots that can help keep your floors tidy, but Kuri is more like a humanoid version of smart home devices like Amazon's Alexa. In addition, Kuri's "eyes" are a camera that takes photos or videos, recognizes faces, and serves as an alarm system when you're not home. That dream is realized with Dashbot, a talking AI dashboard robot that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Dashbot supports a wide variety of platforms, including Amazon's Alexa, Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and ESPN Radio.

Could Smart-City malware be spread via motorways and highways?


A critical smart-city component is transportation; sharing data inside and between cities to improve traffic flows (people and vehicles), provide on-demand public transport and enable road enforcement (for example: pay as you drive). This is where my earlier analogy becomes relevant, but instead of depositing spores that grow into plants along a motorway, connected-cars are collecting and transporting data to share between cities. Cars driving and while moving plants inland may all be very pretty, but what if they had a negative impact on the ecosystem? Smart-cities are something we should embrace, as I believe they will make the lives of people who live and work in them better.

Amazon Alexa Update Brings Assistant's Skills To Home Theater TV, AV Receivers

International Business Times

These include Sony 2017 4K TV models, the Logitech Harmony smart remote and BroadLink smart home hubs. Fire TVs and Fire Stick set-top devices have featured Alexa integration on their remotes, allowing users to do basic controls like playback and opening up apps. Within the past year, the company has made significant efforts to bring Alexa onto platforms besides its Echo home speaker. Since formally opening up Alexa skills to developers in 2015, Amazon has benefited from developers who want to integrate the virtual assistant into their products.