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System Integration for the Connected Home

Home Automation

Smart Home Adoption, Awareness on the Rise

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Consumers are more aware of smart home devices, and plan to purchase more of such devices in the future, a survey commissioned by PlumChoice and the Z-Wave Alliance reveals.

home automation houseTitled "2016: Year of the Smart Device," the survey highlights the need for companies to provide consumers a user experience allowing smart home devices to easily fit into their lives. It states 52% of respondents plan to buy a smart device in the next 2 years, while 84% of smart device owners might buy another in the next 2 years.

The majority of consumers own a 4-6 smart home devices, and 61% have interconnected at least some of those devices. As such, interoperability is a key factor as consumers add more connected devices.

Smart appliances (smart refrigerator, washer/dryer etc) and smart smoke detectors are among the smart home products with the highest Y-o-Y growth, with 267% and 250% respectively. All types of services and support expected from brands has increased since 2015, with installation support listed as a top need (68%).

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Hubbell Acquires iDevices

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Lighting giant Hubbell buys into home automation with the acquisition of smart home accessory maker iDevices. Financial details of the deal are not available.

Hubbell iDevicesAccording to the two companies, the acquisition will "lay the perfect groundwork for a partnership in IoT at significant scale." It will also combine iDevice's experience in smart home solutions with Hubbell's "extensive expertise in manufacturing and distribution across residential, commercial and industrial markets."

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Logitech Pop Buttons Get HomeKit

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Logitech announces an Apple HomeKit upgrade for the Pop Smart Button-- allowing users to control more devices and any number of home automation scenes with the press of a button.

Logitech PopThe Pop buttons feature 3 control gestures, and connect to devices via bridge device able to pair with an "unlimited" number of buttons. As for HomeKit, one simply needs to pair the bridge with the Apple Home app before configuring required scenes. The company adds Pop buttons are compatible with non-HomeKit devices, such as Sonos wireless music systems, Osram lighting, Hunter Douglas and Lutron blinds, and more via companion Pop app.

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Fibaro Teams Up With QNAP

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Smart home device maker Fibaro announces a partnership with network attached storage (NAS) manufacturer QNAP, one adding the features of Fibaro systems to QNAP NAS servers.

QNAP FibaroAs a result, customers will be able to create a smart home via server and peripheral devices such as motion sensors, leak sensors, shutters and lighting controllers, with the NAS server taking the role of hub device. All one needs to turn a server into a home automation hub is a USB Z-Wave stick.

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Google Home Adds Automation Support

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An update on the Google Home website shows more devices compatible with the Google Home automation hub-- including August Home smart locks, Logitech Harmony products and smart lighting from TP-Link and LIFX.

Google HomeThrough such compatibility customers can use their voice to lock August smart locks and check lock status (but not unlock them), control lights and thermostats connected to a Wink Hub, turn on speakers, turn on a connected TV and go to a favorite channel via Logitech Harmony, control the colour and brightness of LIFX lights, control TP-Link smart lighting, outlets and switches, control Rachio sprinkler systems and control devices connected to a Vivint system.

Handling voice interaction is, of course, Google Assistant. August and Rachio say integrations only work on the Google Home device, while Wink, LIFX and TP-Link say integration works on smartphones as well.

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FutureSource: Demand for Smarter Appliances Accelerating

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The appliances market is set for "rapid roll-out" of smart-enabled white goods, FutureSource reports-- opening a door to vendors providing services linked to such products.

smart appliances"Manufacturers are now focusing on the inclusion of smart features and we anticipate that half of all home appliances that ship in 2021 will offer online connectivity," the analyst says. "For example LG and Hoover have committed to implementing connectivity within all their appliances this year. Other major players such as Bosch and Samsung have announced plans to follow suit by 2020."

Futuresource adds such growth brings an opportunity in services such as diagnostics and maintenance, management and ordering of consumables, improved fabric care and even enhanced cooking experiences. It also points out that while ASPs are declining mature markets are moving towards higher-end devices, and smart feature uptake should help stablise prices.

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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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