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System Integration for the Connected Home

Security

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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CES 2016 Detects Netatmo's Presence

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French IoT startup Netatmo follows on last year's face-recognising Welcome camera at CES 2016 with the Presence-- an outdoor security camera able to distinguish between people, animals and cars.

Netatmo PresenceThe Presence is big, boxy and carries a floodlight users can set to automatically turn depending on what the camera detects. Once installed it analyses the surroundings in real-time (with 100-degree field of view and 20m detection range), using a "Smart-Sight" learning system to tell what is passing by and alert the user accordingly.

However one has to keep in mind the Presence lacks the facial detection technology from the Welcome.

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The Camera-Free Security System

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Customers wary of indoor connected cameras spying on their every daily lives get a camera-free option with Xandem Home, a system using radio waves to monitor the home.

Xander SecurityBased on motion-detecting wireless mesh networking technology, Xandem Home promises home security without the blind spots and false alarms found in traditional cameras and motion detectors. The technology essentially creates a "radio-frequency sensing web" across the entire floor plan. Movements affect the radio waves making the web, and algorithms detect and locate the causes of said disturbances, radar-style.

The radio waves travel through walls and furniture, and are generated by nodes users simply plug into wall power outlets. In turn the nodes connect with an internet-connected gateway, making for a fairly simple setup process. The maker adds the gateway integrates with other smart home products, allowing the system to control lights or thermostats, or sound on an alarm in case of break-in.

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Netgear Updates Security With Arlo Q

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Netgear launches an update on the Arlo home security camera-- the Arlo Q, a Nest Cam-style device featuring 1080p video recording, 2-way audio and 7 days of free cloud video recording.

Arlo QThe Arlo Q records video using a 4MP image sensor, 130-degree wide-angle lens and built-in night vision. It connects to wifi networks and promises easy control via companion iOS/Android app complete with live video feed access, 2-way audio and notifications in case of sound or motion detection.

Users can create specific activity zones and alert times, with customisable smart detection promising to lessen false alarms caused by lighting changes, natural background movement and normal ambient sounds. One can also control multiple Arlo and Arlo Q cameras through the same app.

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The HomeKit-Enabled Smoke Detector

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First Alert presents the first HomeKit-enabled smoke alarm-- the Onelink Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm, a Nest Protect-style device featuring iDevice integration.

Homekit alarmHomeKit capability allows users to control the smoke detector via Siri, with voice commands such as dimming the night light or checking for smoke or carbon monoxide alerts. A companion app tests the viability of the smoke detector, notifies users of alarms and silences accidentally set off alarms.

The app also toggles the built-in nightlight on and off, and guides users to problems with voice alerts.

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