Google moving into "Hardware" as the Internet of things Era takes hold

Huffington Post - Tech news and opinion

Google's strategic move into selling own branded Mobile phones is another step in the merging of "Software plus Hardware" that Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and recently Facebook have realized at the making of the "Internet of Things" Era. This is the critical issue of not just providing the software and operating system but increasing the value in the devices that become the Interface to the Customer: the smart phone, the smart tablet/laptop of Microsoft Surface, the Smart Speaker of Amazon Echo and Alexa, and the Facebook Oculus Rift and Microsoft Hololens that are the new foundations of Natural Language speech recognition services and the VR Virtual Reality and AR Augmented Reality breaking now and into 2017 and onward. Google's long-term market is changing, the advertising revenue from search engines while still strong is now seeing new ways to search via speech or Virtual image recognition and virtual interaction Google has been late to realizing perhaps the shift to software hardware is where the Internet of Things may be shaping the market with the Connected Home, Connected Car and Connected Work through these devices. It's all about "market marking" beyond just the big cloud data centers and big data analytics to how to build out the edge of the cloud network with all these potentially billions of connected sensors and devices. If the Mobile phone is becoming the "remote control to this world" and platforms the "fabric of social networks and connected experiences" then Google like others is rushing to get into this space with stronger software and hardware offerings


Aquanta and its smart water-heater controller are back with new promises to slash your energy bill

PCWorld

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating water accounts for fully 18 percent of the typical household's annual energy consumption, second only to the amount of energy consumed to heat and cool their residence. And because the typical tank water heater keeps 40 to 50 gallons of water piping hot 24 hours a day, seven days a week--whether or not anyone is home to use it--20 to 50 percent of the energy is completely wasted. Following an aborted crowd-funding campaign in late 2014, Aquanta (formerly Sunnovations) is now taking pre-orders on its Aquanta "learning" water-heater controller, which it expects to ship in July. In a note to its would-be backers when it cancelled its Kickstarter campaign, the team said while its campaign was unsuccessful, the exposure it garnered lead to "a sizable number of large and exciting strategic and distribution partners to contact us." Fast forward 18 months and Aquanta CEO Matthew Carlson tells me his company has "had test units in the field for more than a year."


Google Assistant can order around LG's connected appliances

Engadget

LG has placed its trust on Google Assistant and has given it the power to control its smart appliances. While it teamed up with Amazon earlier this year to give its refrigerators built-in access to Alexa, its partnership with Google is much bigger in scale. Now, you can control any of the company's 87 WiFi-connected smart home appliances by barking out orders through a Google Home speaker or through a compatible iOS or Android smartphone. Once you're done setting voice control up through LG's SmartThinQ app, you can use commands within a Home speaker's range or through a phone to tell your fridge to make more ice or to tell your AC to adjust the temperature. If you have an LG washing machine, you can ask Assistant how much time is still left before your load is done.


Is Viv the Future of Personal Virtual Assistants?

#artificialintelligence

As video content matures and proliferates and VR content creates new interactive environments and as the way we access software and apps changes and evolves, PVAs or personal virtual assistants will radically influence the interface with the internet and these new layers of content and virtual experience. Viv is just four years old, but by the time IoT and VR matures, she will be ready to make the smart home, smart city and billions of connected devices truly come to life. While we assume it will be one of the tech giants: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple or Microsoft; disruption doesn't usually come from an established player whose interests and investments are scattered. Just as VR represents a new platform of information, content, advertisement, marketing and social media, and digital experiences, VPAs like Viv could represent another springboard to the future.


This Kickstarter campaign wants to help you turn everyday objects into smart devices

Mashable

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission. With smart devices popping up left and right, the rush to go totally Smart House like the '90s Disney Channel movie can get overwhelming. These devices are super helpful, but it'd be nice if smart home life was more personalized, organized, and well, simpler. A Kickstarter campaign aims to simplify smart modern living by transforming everyday objects into smart objects: meet CliQ, the smart wireless sensor that could turn virtually any object into a smart device for truly personalized automation. CliQ is tiny yet mighty -- attach it, assign when and where it works, and violà: previously manual tasks are now automated.