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System Integration for the Connected Home

Home Automation

Gartner: Connected Home Still in Early Adopter Phase

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According to Gartner connected home solution adoption remains at the early adopter phase-- only around 10% of households currently have connected home solutions.

Connected homeThe conclusion is the result of a survey of 10000 online respondents in the UK, US and Australia held during H2 2016. In this case, "connected home solutions" covers devices and services connected to each other and the internet able to respond to preset rules, provide remote access and management via mobile app or browser, and push alerts and messages to users.

"Although households in the developed world are beginning to embrace connected home solutions, providers must push beyond early adopter use," the analyst says. "If they are to successfully widen the appeal of the connected home, providers will need to identify what will really motivates current users to inspire additional purchases."

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Fibaro Integrates Russound Audio

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Home automation and control device vendor Fibaro announces integration with Russound with trio of plug-ins allowing Fibaro Home Center controllers to manage Russound audio systems.

Fibaro RussoundThe plug-ins in question provide control for the Russound XSource audio streamer, MCA-88X multi-zone controller amplifier stremer and the XZone4 four-zone audio system. As a result Fibaro and Russound dealers can promote the systems with the Fibaro Home Center controller, providing customers with a pro-grade audio solution for smart homes.

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Acer Monitors the Air at MWC

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Mobile World Congress 2017 sees Acer announce the Air Monitor-- a connected device providing real-time air quality analysis through companion app and a colour-changing LED embedded in the chassis.

Acer Air MonitorPart of the company's "Internet of Beings" (IoB), the Air Monitor tracks 6 air quality indicators, namely TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compounds), carbon dioxide, PM2.5, PM10, temperature and humidity. The smartphone app allows users to easily access the measured data, and it can also send warnings via push notifications when indicators exceed predefined thresholds.

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Juniper Research: Home Automation Devices to Exceed 770m by 2021

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According to Juniper Research home automation and monitoring devices will grow to 770 million globally by 2021-- representing 1000% growth over the 68m sold in 2016.

Home automationThe analyst points out increasing adoption of platform evangelism and openness to partnership boosts 3rd party device development, especially in developed markets. In fact, W. Europe, N. America, Far East and China are forecast to account for almost 75% of households adopting the technology in 2021.

In addition, Juniper says home automation hardware devices will "rapidly" beat subscription services, with one-off purchases seeing faster growth over the next 5 years. Hardware sale revenues are to exceed subscription revenues in 2018, reaching $6.2 billion, and services such O2 Home in the UK are destined to remain a niche offering. This is due to the subscription business model not being a fit to an immature market.

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Crestron Shows Alexa Integration at ISE

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The consumer segment of Crestron's ISE 2017 booth was all about voice control, as the company took to highlight its partnership with Amazon with live demos in a dedicated soundproof room.

Crestron AlexaAs the company puts it, Crestron Technology Professionals can leverage the Alexa Voice Service to build voice-controlled scenes and settings based on customer specifications. Integration is not limited to just lighting and temperature control, as homeowners can choose from an "unlimited" range of voice control options.

“We’ve been collaborating very closely with Amazon Alexa engineers to make sure we offer an uncompromising voice control experience that is every bit as seamless and satisfying as tapping a button on a beautiful Crestron touch screen, remote control, or designer keypad," Crestron says. "You can ask Alexa to set the mood for dinner, or to play a movie in the bedroom, or let her know it’s too cold in the bathroom. Just say the word and your Crestron system responds immediately.”

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B&O Opens BeoLink SmartHome

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At ISE 2017 Bang & Olufsen announces the BeoLink SmartHome is now open for integration with other home automation solutions, with support for Crestron, Control4 and Savant products.

Bang & Olufsen SmarthomeThe system also works with products and services from Danfoss Link, DoorBird, Ecobee and OpenWeather. A BeoLink Gateway enabler allows installers to open the system, before customers choose suitable connected device from both things already installed and things yet to come.

A real-time configuration tool comes complete with "hundreds" of pre-installed drivers, with a simple graphic interface removing the coding out of home automation programming. The manufacturer's remote control allows customers to manage the home automation system and 3rd party devices, and cloud-based services provide a secure remote connection dedicated to B&O solutions, allowing installers to upgrade or service existing setups from remote locations.

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Lutron Systems Getting HomeKit, Alexa Support

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ISE 2017 sees Lutron announce the HomeWorks QS home control and GRAFIK RA 2 lighting and shading solutions now work with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Sonos.

Lutron As the company puts it, the three "alliances with best-in class brands" make it easier for customers to interact with and control connected homes, while "enhancing peace of mind and improving the quality of life."

Apple HomeKit support comes from March 2017, and covers the Lutron Connect Bridge and GRAFIK RA 2 systems. It enables users to control Lutron systems via the Home app, Siri or 3rd party HomeKit apps on iPhone or iPad. Thus, one can tell Siri to "turn the lights off" and the Bridge turns off the lighting in the entire house. Users can also ask Siri to check if the lights in a specific room are on or off.

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