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System Integration for the Connected Home

Security

Nest Cam Heads Outdoor

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The Nest Cam (aka the rebranded Dropcam) was a capable enough security camera, but limited to indoor use. Enter the Nest Cam Outdoor, a version designed for outside use.

Nest CamAs the name might suggest, the Nest Cam Outdoor features a weatherproof casing and more mounting options, including magnetic and screw-on mounts for attachment outside a building. However one has to keep in mind the camera requires constant power via plugging to an outlet.

On the technical side the Nest Cam Outdoor is identical to its inside-only sibling. Video resolution is at 1080p, field of view is 130-degree and 8 IR LEDs allow for night vision powers. Recording happens exclusively on the Nest Aware cloud, with no connection to local DVR available.

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D-Link Adds Automation to DCS-8200LH Camera

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D-Link announces an addition to the mydlink Connected Home series-- the DCS-8200LH, a 180-degree wifi camera featuring IFTTT support and a microSD card slot for local recording.

D-Link cameraThe camera records video at 720p resolution and pairs with other mydlink connected home devices. Control comes through the mydlink Home app, with IFTTT (If This Then That) support allowing integration with other app as well as the creation of automated routines through conditional commands.

For example, one can create an IFTTT recipe having the DCS-8200LH automatically start recording whenever the home owner leaves the house, or take a snapshot whenever the doorbell rings. The app also allows the remote checking of live or recorded footage via smartphone or tablet.

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Nest Gets Smoke Alarm Rival With Roost

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Roost-- the company behind a smart battery for smoke detectors-- takes on the actual device category with the RSA-200 and RSA-400, a pair of connected smoke detectors similar to the Nest Protect.

Roost alarmThe RSA-200 features smoke and fire detection, while the RSA-400 adds carbon monoxide and natural gas detection. Both are based on the aforementioned Roost smart battery for internet capabilities, providing customers with smartphone notifications in case of alarms.

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August Refreshes Smart Lock With HomeKit

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August announces the second generation Smart Lock-- one featuring HomeKit support, allowing customers to lock or unlock doors through voice commands such as "Siri, lock my door."

August Smart LockMore paranoid customers can even ask Siri to check whether the door is locked or not.

The Smart Lock HomeKit is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Watch and even 4th generation Apple TV. It also plays nice with apps from 3rd party home automation vendors such as Insteon+, Lutron and iDevices, allowing customers to switch on/off lights and appliances through the lock.

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Ring Updates Video Doorbell

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The Ring Video Doorbell now comes in a Pro version-- one offering customers a better resolution camera (1080p, up from the 720p original), user-configurable motion detection and a slimmer design.

Ring video doorbell proLike the original Video Doorbell, the Pro connects to home networks via wifi to provide homeowners with smartphone alerts in case someone is at the door. It also allows users to answer the door via phone with a video call, reducing the need to actually get up for checking duties (should one actually want to do that, of course).

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Cisco: IoT Devices Pose Security Risk

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The connected devices making the Internet of Things (IoT) might bring more convenience to the home, but Cisco points out major concerns with the technology-- security is not a priority among the vendors of such devices.

Smart thermostatAccording to the company smart devices might make a weakest link potential hackers can exploit in order to attack home or organisation networks. Making matters worse is patching such vulnerabilities can be a complicated task, especially for non-technically savvy average user or situations where many connected devices are in use.

Cisco points out a particular vulnerable device-- the Trane ComfortLink II thermostat. Back in April 2014 Cisco's Talos security unit alerted Trane to three vulnerabilities providing a backdoor for hackers to not only gain control of the thermostat but also access networks and launch local or at-large attacks.

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The HomeKit-Enabled Onelink Safe, Environment Monitor

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First Alert presents a variety of HomeKit-enabled home security devices additions to the Onelink portfolio at CES 2016, including a safe, an environment monitor and a smoke alarm.

Onelink wifi safeAs one might imagine, users can easily and remotely unlock the Onelink Wifi Safe through an iDevice app or Siri commands, eliminating the need for passcodes. The safe also alerts users of movement or tampering detected through built-in accelerometer, while battery charging comes through USB cable.

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