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Smart Houses & Appliances

Designing societally beneficial Reinforcement Learning (RL) systems


Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) is transitioning from a research field focused on game playing to a technology with real-world applications. Notable examples include DeepMind's work on controlling a nuclear reactor or on improving Youtube video compression, or Tesla attempting to use a method inspired by MuZero for autonomous vehicle behavior planning. But the exciting potential for real world applications of RL should also come with a healthy dose of caution – for example RL policies are well known to be vulnerable to exploitation, and methods for safe and robust policy development are an active area of research. At the same time as the emergence of powerful RL systems in the real world, the public and researchers are expressing an increased appetite for fair, aligned, and safe machine learning systems. The focus of these research efforts to date has been to account for shortcomings of datasets or supervised learning practices that can harm individuals.

Smart home standard Google Matter coming later this year


Google announced on Wednesday at its I/O 2022 convention that it plans to finally launch Matter, its new but delayed smart home industry standard later this year, and has explained how it will work in home ecosystems. Matter, developed in collaboration with Apple, Amazon, and the Zigbee Alliance among others, will let users connect all enabled devices to Google Home and control them both locally and remotely with the Google Home app, including smart home controls on Androids and Google Assistant. Matter controllers will include the original Google Home speaker, Google Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, Nest Audio and Nest Wifi. Devices will connect using Fast Pair and will feature multiple compatible voice control systems and networking protocols, including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, as well as Thread. While the Fast Pair feature has previously been used for headphones and audio gear, Google announced that it will soon be able to sync lightbulbs and smart plugs with Android and Nest devices. "With Matter, there's no need to build multiple versions of a smart home device to work across different ecosystems.

Google's Matter smart home standard is launching this fall


Google plans to finally launch its new smart home industry standard called Matter this fall. Devices will all connect quickly and easily using Fast Pair and the platform will support a variety of voice assistants and networking protocols. Those include Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri as well as WiFi, Thread and Bluetooth LE. While Fast Pair feature has been used for headphones and audio gear, the company is working to use it for more things, including syncing lightbulbs and smart plugs with Android and Nest devices. You'll be able to scan a code with your phone to get things rolling, which should be quicker and easier than the current method for adding new gear to your arsenal.

What is Ambient Computing?


Ambient computing is all about A.I. and making decisions without human involvement. Ambient computing is a broad term describing an environment of data, smart devices, A.I. decisions, and human activity that allows computer actions alongside daily life, without direct human interventions or commands. This essentially means that computers quietly handle stuff in the background. Although the phrase was coined in the 1990s, it first became prominent in the mid-2010s. Thought leaders assumed that 2021 would be finally the big year for ambient computing. Ambient computing is currently experiencing its moment as both a growth factor in lots of business decisions and an accelerating force towards smart home branding.

Google Nest cameras now work with Amazon Alexa devices


The smart home ecosystem is getting a little more integrated: Google just updated its Amazon Alexa Skill to work on its latest Nest cameras. So if you already own a variety of Nest and Alexa devices, they'll work together more seamlessly moving forward. Now, you can stream live feeds from your Nest cameras, doorbells and other devices to anything from your Amazon Fire TV to any Echo device. Amazon made a similar gesture to open up its own smart home ecosystem last month, when it announced that its doorbells and security cameras would work with Google Nest, Ring, Abode and other third-party devices. Amazon's Ring doorbell already works with Google Home and Apple Homekit.

A Beginner's Guide to The Internet of Things (IoT) 2022


We are able to turn on the lights in our homes from a desk in an office miles away. The built-in cameras and sensors embedded in our refrigerator let us easily keep tabs on what is present on the shelves, and when an item is close to expiration. When we get home, the thermostat has already adjusted the temperature so that it's lukewarm or brisk, depending on our preference. These are not examples from a futuristic science fiction story. These are only a few of the millions of frameworks part of the Internet of Things (IoT) being deployed today.

Best home security camera (2022)


Security is imperative for companies to deter trespassers and would-be thieves and to protect valuable equipment crucial for businesses to operate successfully. A robust setup with cameras, sensors, and night vision can take the pressure off security teams and give business owners peace of mind out-of-hours. Luckily for organizations, the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, mobile connectivity, apps, and cloud technologies has radically changed the security landscape and made it easier than ever to set up multi-room and on-premise systems. The possibilities are endless: cloud or local feed storage, customizable or automatic alerts and alarms, smartphones and tablet connectivity, wired or wireless, battery-powered or mains options, video capture, night vision, audio feeds of varying quality, and the ability to check-in, in real-time, are all on offer and can be tailored depending on the requirements of your business. To make navigating the variety of hardware and vendor ecosystems available to today's company owners less of a challenge, we have assembled our top ten picks for businesses.

The future of manufacturing is digital – Predictive Maintenance


Industry 4.0 promises a lot – efficient production through connected machines, data-driven insights, and better machine availability via predictive maintenance These capabilities are no longer desirable, but business critical. In today's manufacturing industry, where efficiency is top priority and unplanned downtime can quickly hit the bottom line, smart technologies are basic requirements. In fact, a report by Deloitte shows that downtime is costing manufacturers around $50 billion every year. If manufacturers are going to evolve and recoup after 18 months of turbulence, they need to embrace digital transformation, digital solutions and predictive maintenance. Whether it's Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR) or Internet of Things (IoT) – they each have an essential role in keeping equipment running reliably, identifying faults at an early stage, and solving problems quickly regardless of location.

Best smart plug (2022)


Designing a smart home doesn't have to cost a fortune. With smart plugs, you can control just about any appliance with a few taps on your smartphones (or even with your voice). These affordable, internet-connected devices are easy to install and are one of the fastest ways to bring modern technology and automation into your home. Plus, smart plugs can help you monitor your energy usage and save money on your power bills. Below, we've created a list of six of today's best smart plugs, including options that integrate with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.

Amazon's latest Echo Dot falls to a new all-time low of $28


If you've been eyeing an Alexa-powered fourth-generation Echo Dot smart speaker, now is the time to buy. Several models are on sale, including the basic model that's selling for just $28 or 44 percent off, the lowest price we've seen to date. The Echo Dot Amazon Smart Plug, Echo Kids and Echo with Clock model are also carrying steep discounts near their all-time low prices. Powered by Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, the Echo Dot is one of the least expensive smart speakers out there. You get a lot for your money, though.