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System Integration for the Connected Home

Home Automation

The Samsung Connect Home Smart Wifi System

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Samsung combines networking and home automation with the Connect Home Smart Wifi System-- a router packing the Samsung SmartThings platform, eliminating the need for a separate control hub device.

Connect Home WifiThe Connect Home uses Eero-style mesh networking, meaning a single router provides up to 140 square metres of coverage while a combination of three routers covers 418 square metres. In addition, the SmartThings platform allows it to communicate with other devices via Bluetooth 4.1, ZigBee or Z-Wave as well as wifi, providing the control Samsung appliances, Philips Hue lighting and Netgear Arlo cameras, among others.

The system is expandable to up to 5 Connect Home routers, and Samsung promises security comes through both hardware and automatic firmware updates. Setup should be easy via companion Samsung Connect app complete with simplified device management through automatic connectivity and device integration, as well as connected device management, parental controls and guest access.

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Wemo Bridges HomeKit Support

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The Wemo home automation portfolio receives HomeKit support through the Wemo Bridge, a device adding control through either Siri or Home app on the iPhone, iPad or Watch.

Wemo Bridge"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," Belkin says. "We're proud to work with Apple to bring together two of the most influential smart home platforms.  Wemo has been providing smart home devices for more than 5 years, and millions of people use Wemo devices every day.  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."

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Ecobee4 Thermostat Gets Alexa

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Ecobee launches the next iteration of its smart thermostat-- the Ecobee4, an Amazon Alexa-compatible offering able to act as a wall-mounted Echo device.

Ecobee4Obviously Alexa adds voice-based home climate control, but customers can also use the Ecobee4 for other skill provided by the Amazon assistant, such as asking it for reminders, news or recipes. Voice control comes through built-in far-field microphone, meaning it should pick up voices regardless of location within the room.

The Ecobee4 also offers integration with other home automation systems, including Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit and IFTTT. It is also compatible with the Ecobee wireless room sensor, allowing it to track room occupancy and adjust cooling or heating accordingly, further adding to energy cost savings.

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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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