WeMo, Belkin's line of smart light switches and plugs, will soon be compatible with Apple's HomeKit. "WeMo is offering this bridge to address the overwhelming request from customers to make currently installed Wemo products work with HomeKit and other HomeKit compatible products. The WeMo Bridge will allow current and future WeMo users to experience the benefits of HomeKit, including Siri integration and interoperability with other HomeKit devices while also leveraging all the WeMo features customers enjoy." The Bridge (pictured above) adds HomeKit integration into WeMo's smart plugs and light switches by using your WiFi connection.
The phenomenal rise of Amazon's Alexa, and its run against Google Home and Siri, has us aquiver again with talk of the war for voice, and who will win it. Apple and Google went for the car computer option first. Lack of integration is also a reason that some early attempts in smart home technology haven't really brought much, except remote control heartache. My instinct is that an open-standards play will win the day here, that plugging a device into your personal AI ought to have the same conformity you expect from plugging it into a power socket.
Add one more perk to Ikea's elegant, affordable selection of smart lighting products: you can soon control them with your voice. According to Ikea's website, a gateway kit featuring two bulbs, remote control, and a gateway to access broadband Internet costs $79.99, while dimming kits go for roughly $27. Users can download a free app to control all Ikea lighting. "We think that smart home technology should be accessible for everybody," said Jeanette Skjelmose, business area manager for Ikea's lighting and smart home division, in a statement.
Today, the Swedish retailer announced that their IKEA Home Smart products will respond to voice commands from Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant starting this summer. Making our products work with others on the market takes us one step closer to meet people's needs, making it easier to interact with your smart home products," said IKEA Home Smart's business leader Björn Block. In comparison, IKEA's Smart Lighting System's TRÅDFRI Gateway is half that price -- just $30, though the number of lights it supports is unclear. IKEA's aggressive pricing makes smart, voice-controlled lighting more accessible to a wider range of potential buyers.
And pretty soon, it's going to extend to smart cars, Intel demonstrated at its recent autonomous cars event in San Jose, Calif. We see a lot of promise for smart home and enterprise, if you move networks more to a fixed wireless capability. We go out and showcase with automotive companies, showing them 5G in a car, so they can see the way data comes into the car for the way it functions, for safety, and more important for bandwidth, the way our experience inside the car is going to change when it's autonomous. The ability to analyze, compute, and harvest that data is going to make us smarter in the way we lay out cities, set up factories, drive cars, and do other things around us.
It turns out the smart mirror in the smart home is actually a smart camera, what a surprise! With talks of Snap Inc. becoming a "camera company" and Facebook resounding in its ability to replicate the trends as usual, it's a bit ironic that Alexa now is not just a "smart speaker", but can literally live inside your camera. That's the beauty of the evolution of computer vision and machine learning. Since Amazon's native image recognition technology, "Reokognition", can do facial analysis, it's a shoe-in that sentiment analytics can be easily integrated into how Amazon can potentially live in your closet.
Now, Google has given the rest of the world a glimpse of how machine learning will work behind every platform it has. Image recognition is one of the first beneficiaries of machine learning development. As the future of smart home devices begin to take shape -- thanks in large part to devices like the Amazon Echo -- Google doesn't want to get left behind. Further specializing its search engine prowess, Google is bringing its power people in the U.S. looking for jobs that will suit them, and helping employers find the employees they need.
Earlier this month, the Seattle Mariners became the first professional sports franchise to place Amazon Echo devices inside stadium suites. At Safeco Field, fans at each of the 59 suites can now use their voice to order food, change TV channels, play music, and even have Alexa -- the AI powered voice assistant built into the Echo -- sing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." Zach Parker, head of business development for Amazon's Alexa Smart Home unit, noted how the technology removes the need for fans to use a separate smartphone app to accomplish certain tasks. Alexa Voice Service lets manufacturers integrate Alexa into their products.
Consumer and business users alike are abuzz about the potential of natural language processing (NLP) and how it enables voice assistants as front ends for routine and even specialized tasks. Much of this work predates today's AI programming languages and application programming interfaces (APIs). Today, the best-known application of NLP for consumers is the voice assistant (VA) sitting at the center of many smart homes, controlling thermostats, lights and appliances, and reading users' calendars for the day. These technologies could also help businesses improve the customer experience by providing deeper insights that weren't available via interactive voice response (IVR) and other traditional customer interaction channels.
Google Assistant, and by extension, the Google Home smart speaker, can now control a raft of smart home appliances, including products from big names such as iRobot, LG, GE Appliances, and D-Link. Most of these bigger names are not part of the Home Control section of Google Assistant. Other new smart home services integrate directly with Google Assistant inside the Home Control section of the Home app. This story, "Google Assistant can now control GE, iRobot, LG, and D-Link devices" was originally published by TechHive.