Home Automation

Jan 19 2018

News - CES 2018 - MySmartBlinds Bluetooth retrofit kits and bridge

I love the concept behind MySmartBlinds { https://www.mysmartblinds.com/products/automation-kit} solar powered $99 2.5” automation retrofit kit. I would love to have automated blinds, but the cost of a complete replacement is prohibitive. Especially considering that the blinds we have are in great shape. If rollers are more your thing, a kit should be available in a few months for $149.

Jan 19 2018

News - CES 2018 - ZLINK $20 Z-Wave USB dongle

Installation cost is one of the major barriers to home automation. In addition to the cost of your switches, bulbs, etc. you also need to purchase a home automation controller (HAC) in most cases. The other major issue is complexity, which is where the development budget of large companies like Amazon and Google help immensely. They have the $ to make UX not suck. With the release of the Amazon Echo Plus, it seemed like Amazon was trying to help on both counts; that is until the world discovered that instead of going for the largest device ecosystem with [mostly] guaranteed compatibility (<cough> Z-Wave) they opted to put a Zigbee radio in the hub.

Jan 17 2018

News - CES 2018 - Guardian by Elexa

Near the end of the last day of CES, we stumbled into the Guardian kiosk in the Z-Wave pavilion. Having seen quite a few leak detection/water control devices over the previous week I wasn’t holding out much hope. As it turns out, what they have to offer is a really neat approach to solving this problem.

Jan 17 2018

News - CES 2018 - Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF)

Interoperability is one of, if not the biggest, challenges to adoption of home automation (HA) in the non-geek market. In order to get to this segment, or most people, we need to solve the “how do we get devices to talk to each other” problem. The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) is trying to solve exactly this via an open source implementation as well as a certification process.

Jan 15 2018

News - CES 2018 - LifeDoor

In every conversation I’ve had since returning from CES ’18, LifeDoor has come up near the top of my list of interesting products that we saw at the show. And, the response has been universally positive as well. After all, what’s not to like about a simple, easy to install, device that listens for a smoke alarm, illuminates the room, and collaboratively closes the all the doors they are installed on - potentially protecting your family from smoke and oxygen depletion. LifeDoor costs $100, the battery (2x 9V) lasts 2-3 years, and for the Z-Wave home automation crowd you can use it to close the door even if it’s not a life-or-death situation.

Jan 09 2018

News - Insteon Now works with the Google Assistant

Insteon Now works with the Google Assistant

No need to create IFTTT applets to call Stringify flows anylonger. Insteon is now available in the Google Assistant Home Control Device list.


Oct 19 2017

News - I thought it was just me

When Amazon announced their new Echo Plus, I was immediately intrigued, and then a bit put off by the decision to use Zigbee instead of Z-Wave (although both radios would have been better). Afterall, Z-Wave has the biggest pool of devices and [near] guarenteed compatiblity. Aparently I'm not the only one who doesn't get the choice - CEPro just does it much more eloquently.

Aug 16 2017

News - Ikea is entering home automation market with Zigbee devices

I love what Ikea did for the lightbulb market, so if they can replicate that success with a line of Zigbee devices. I'm all for it, as long as they are HAC agnostic, and will play nice with any Zigbee compatible network.

Aug 16 2017

News - Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt gets Android compatibility

Schlage Sense™ Smart Deadbolt

I'm more of a total solution guy when it comes to home automation (think HAC + Z-Wave/Zigbee devices), but totally get that there's room in the market for the less committed. That's where the smartphone hosted smart devices like this Schlage Android lock come in. Isn't hard on the eyes either, or wallet. MSRP is $229.

Jul 27 2017

News - Yale announces slim smartlock

I just added a couple Yale Z-Wave locks to my house. They look great, and have the functionality I wanted. Unfortunately, they aren't nearly as slick looking as these new deadbolts. 

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