9/07/2018

Do you know the story of how PUCK was invented? Hear it from SmashToast’s very own CEO and Founder, Barnabas Helmy:
 
“Well, I was sitting on the sofa watching TV with my two year old daughter and she was chewing on the Apple TV remote. When I went to change the channel, it no longer worked. This was the 2nd remote that she had chewed on and destroyed.”
 
This incident was only a few short years ago. That is when Mr. Helmy retreated to his basement workshop where he tinkered, experimented and then, eventually he came up with the idea for the PUCK – now being sold all over the world!
 

Get PUCK today for easy home automation!

20/09/2017

Get PUCK today for easy home automation!

The connected smart home is the next “big thing.” PUCK allows you to take the first step towards home automation at an affordable price. With ‘Made in USA’ quality there is nothing like it on the market!  Get PUCK today at Walmart!

 

There’s a huge investment opportunity in the smart home, Barclays says

11/09/2017

There’s a huge investment opportunity in the smart home, Barclays says

Premium Girl turning on switch

Jessica Peterson | Getty

You might want to think about investing in companies working to make our homes smarter, according to Barclays.

Manav Patnaik, an analyst at Barclays, said in a note to investors on Tuesday that the connected home “could represent one of the most significant investment opportunities over the next several years.”

GoogleAmazonApple and Microsoft are all major players in the space named by Barclays, and each is trying to create its own ecosystem. Other companies, such as light bulbs built by Philips, not specifically called out in the report, can be used across different platforms developed by Google, Apple and Amazon.

Patnaik argued that the connected home industry could be worth more than $300 billion by 2020. Barclays says hardware could contribute $130 billion to that estimate while software and advertising would amount to about $170 billion.

CNBC: Apple Home

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Smart homes aren’t necessarily new, but they have previously been limited to wealthy consumers who could afford to have highly specialized systems installed in their homes. Now, thanks to Apple HomeKit and other solutions, consumers only need an affordable hub and a smartphone to add voice controls to gadgets ranging from light bulbs to vacuums and garage door openers.

Barclays said voice control helped spur new interest in the smart home and which will be the driving force behind growth in the space.

“We believe a final major driver for overall adoption rates will be the ability of consumers to save money on their electric bills: We estimate that the full opportunity of converting to a smart home with a fully electric vehicle replacing a conventional vehicle would save consumers 46.6% on their annual energy bills while also increasing overall household usage by 14% in our base case,” Barclays said.

By Todd Haselton

The Hidden Benefits of Installing Smart Home Automation

17/07/2017

The Hidden Benefits of Installing Smart Home Automation

By only using lights, AV equipment, and other technology when needed, such systems conserve energy, which of course, reveals another hidden benefit.

That home automation is fast becoming an essential component of your average, luxury property is hardly groundbreaking news. Inspired by the growth of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, sales of smart home technology have reportedly soared over the last 12 months.

Yet according to one home automation installation firm, those investing in smart technology just to set a fancy lighting scene or have their favourite music automatically wake them up in a morning are actually getting a lot more than they bargained for.

Here, London’s Pro Install AV tell us how today’s luxury homeowners enjoy some significant hidden benefits from their technology.

A Greener Home

In today’s environmentally-aware times, most of us are on the lookout for anything they can do to reduce the carbon footprint of their daily lives.

However, many owners of smart homes don’t realise that they are already doing their bit to protect the planet simply by installing home automation.

By only using lights, AV equipment, and other technology when needed, such systems conserve energy, which of course, reveals another hidden benefit.

Lower the Cost of Utility Bills

Saving the world is nice, but so is saving a few pounds on the electricity bill too.

According to Pro Install AV, those with intelligent lighting control installed in their homes typically save around 40% off the typical cost of their energy bills.

Enhanced Home Security

A unique feature of most modern system is the ability to load pre-set scenes remotely via your phone or smart device. Working late and worried about home security? The click of a button can turn on lights and flick on the TV, creating the impression that somebody is home and ultimately deterring intruders.

Not bad for something you bought just to turn the lights down, is it?

By Sajid Qureshi 

Why Smart Home Devices Are A Strong Growth Opportunity For Best Buy

10/07/2017

Why Smart Home Devices Are A Strong Growth Opportunity For Best Buy

 

Recently, Best Buy announced that it is expanding space in 700 of its stores to better showcase Amazon’s Echo and Google Home devices and their interaction with smart home technology. Smart home technology is likely to be a key growth driver for Best Buy in the next few years. According to Zion Market Research, the global smart home market is likely to grow at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 14.5% between 2017 and 2022 and reach $53.45 billion by 2022. While home owners are enjoying the convenience and comfort of home automation, many need a detailed demo to be able to understand these products and choose the correct one for their homes. Further, integration of the smart home control device (Amazon Echo or Google Home) with devices such as lights, security systems and appliances is the key to convenience. For a smart purchase, homeowners need to understand these links to get the most value from these products. Expanding its store space to display these devices and demonstrate how connections work can help Best Buy in attracting and converting more customers for these products.

North America is expected to be the largest market for smart home products, and given Best Buy’s solid market position in the region, it is well poised to capture this growth. Further, setting up a home automation system can be fairly complicated, and Best Buy has an opportunity to provide services for setup, generating additional revenues. The company recently entered into a partnership with smart home solutions provider Vivint to sell its products and services in 400 Best Buy stores starting this summer. This partnership will ensure that at least one Vivint employee is present at Best Buy stores to assist customers in their purchase and installation decisions. While the smart home market is likely to grow rapidly in the next few years, issues such as complexity of installation and lack of awareness/education on the benefits of these products can suppress adoption. By bringing in experts to its stores to educate customers, Best Buy is ensuring that it retains its strength of a “go-to” place to understand and purchase new technologies. This initiative is likely to drive sales going forward.

We expect Best Buy’s revenues to decline gradually over our forecast period as it faces intense competition from e-commerce and omni-channel players such as Amazon.

BBY 20170629

However, a decent share of the $50 billion+ home automation market along with a focus on e-commerce initiatives can help Best Buy arrest this decline and grow revenues in the long term.

By:  Trefis Team Contributor

How IoT & smart home automation will change the way we live

22/03/2017

How IoT & smart home automation will change the way we live

The Internet of Things is set to disrupt the way we live and work, but for now let’s focus on the “live” portion of that statement.

Smart homes filled with connected products are loaded with possibilities to make our lives easier, more convenient, and more comfortable. Imagine that you’re driving home on a hot summer day. But rather than turn the air conditioner on when you get home and wait for your house to cool, you simply use your smartphone when you leave your office to tell your smart thermostat to lower the temperature.

Or imagine that you’re cooking dinner, and you ask Alexa, the voice assistant on the Amazon Echo, to read you today’s biggest news stories so that you can focus on chopping those vegetables.

There is no shortage of possibilities for smart home IoT devices, and home automation seems to be the wave of the future. Below, we’ve compiled a detailed guide on how the IoT and house automation will change our way of life.

Smart Buildings and Smart Homes

BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, expects the number of smart home devices shipped will grow from 83 million in 2015 to 193 million in 2020. This includes all smart appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators, etc.), smart home safety and security systems (sensors, monitors, cameras, and alarm systems), and smart home energy equipment, like smart thermostats and smart lighting.

The first and most obvious benefit to smart homes is convenience, as more connected devices can handle more operations (lighting, temperature, etc.) and frees up the resident to perform other tasks.

But beyond this, smart home IoT devices can help reduce costs and conserve energy. In our example above, you’d have a comfortable and cool apartment when you get home, but you could also leave your air conditioner off when you’re not home, which would lower your electric bill and reduce energy consumption. Smart lights would function in a similar way.

Of course, there are disadvantages, as well. Smart home devices are typically more expensive than their non-connected counterparts, so consumers would certainly feel the hit in their wallets at first.

Consider than connected LED bulbs cost $15 on average, compared to $8 for nonconnected LED bulbs. However, the cost of these connected bulbs has dropped in the last two years, so the prices of smart home IoT devices could decline even further and make them more affordable to the average consumer.

Smart Home DevicesBII

Smart House IoT Devices

Several stellar smart home IoT devices have already hit the market and made their way into thousands of houses around the world.

First we have the Amazon Echo, arguably the first and most recognizable name in this space. The device functions as a central hub for your other smart home gadgets, and its voice-activated assistant, Alexa, provides convenience that few other products can match. Amazon also offers two sister products, the Tap and the Dot.

Nest, one of the more famous smart home device manufacturers, has created a Learning Thermostat that can automatically adjust temperature based on your location and uses a far-field sensor to determine the time and temperature from a distance. And thanks to a recent update, it now works with Alexa, too.

The August Smart Lock provides enhanced security for the home, is easy to install, and works with Siri through the Apple HomeKit.

And for smart bulbs, there’s the Lifx Color 1000, which can change color as necessary, and the Philips Hue Wireless Dimming Kit for your white-light needs.

Home Automation Companies

So who’s putting out these devices? Several companies have emerged at the forefront, such as Amazon, Nest (owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet), Apple, August, and Philips.

Other companies leading the way in this space include:

Notion Control4 SmartThings (Samsung) Plum Lully
Canary Vera Loxone MyFox Petcube
Iris Savant Vivint Latch iBaby
HomeSeer Wink Ecobee SimpliSafe Innit

The Future

The smart home market will take off if IoT device prices come down and the general public comes to understand the benefits of these products. And from smart homes, the next logical step is smart cities, which would take the IoT to the next level.

And yet, smart homes are just one small part of our daily lives that the Internet of Things will transform in the coming years.

By Andrew Meola

Designing an Invisible IoT

14/03/2017

Designing an Invisible IoT

Designing an Invisible IoT

By Rich Bira

We talk a lot in the industry about the interaction between product design and function—what does the device need to do and where will it live? For smart homes in particular, design isn’t just about the way a product looks and feels but about its usability in its environment. If a device requires users to change their behavior so drastically from their normal routine to utilize its function, will it survive? Practically speaking, probably not.

In the last five years, the concept of and control have moved downstream, both in price and availability, and evolved into what we now call the . But is it really smart? Devices might have connectivity inside that lets them communicate with each other and/or with , but how are they adding intelligence to our everyday lives?

The rise of the and voice control as a point of command and control for our home’s devices have introduced an important concept in the way we think about design: frictionless and almost invisible technology. Consumers may have to bring the devices home and set them up, but then they’re able to interact with them without effort. These kinds of principles are what guide our design and manufacturing. In the last year, we’ve seen products that provides gesture control while being completely hidden under a table, counter, or even drywall, and a compact, easily mountable button that can be pressed to quickly turn on or control multiple devices simultaneously. Products like these offer customized, natural control, while disappearing into their environment.

Gesture control is another area that carries lots of potential. It’s currently transforming the healthcare industry in an effort to combat germ spread in places like hospitals. Or, imagine being able to walk into your kitchen and quickly swiping right or left to activate a “let’s cook” scene that brings up your lights, pre-heats your oven, and turns on your streaming music service as you get ready to prepare dinner. In another scenario, you’re heading to bed, and you swipe down on your nightstand to activate a “goodnight” scene that arms your home security system and turn the lights off on the first floor. Simple gestures begin to cue powerful automations that make living a little bit simpler. This technology moves the smart home behind the scenes, to where it’s mostly hidden and the modern conveniences and safety that it brings are the only things visible.

The other powerful way the IoT is being woven into our homes is via ; increasingly, platforms are adding functionality that learns consumer behaviors in the home and then adapts to make the home fit their needs and lifestyle without any user inputs. Applicable products lets users teach their devices behaviors and in turn the devices can make suggestions and provide alerts based on those behaviors. For example, Fibaro’s Motion Sensor recognizes when a room has inactivity and can send a notification to the user to ask if the lights should be turned off or the alarm set. It also has the ability to monitor temperature and make adjustments where it makes sense. A flood sensor can detect leaks and send an immediate alert to the user to minimize the risk of flooding and can even shut down connected devices that may be an electrical risk or a water shut-off valve to avoid disasters.

Today’s world is fast-moving and consumers don’t have the patience for any device that doesn’t remove a step or provide a substantial benefit. Companies moving towards machine learning and automation see value in designing an almost invisible IoT—one that delivers convenience, safety, and security without asking for too much in return. The technology that’s as intelligent as human instinct, responsive to behavior, and completely effortless to control will rule the smart home and will stand the test of time.

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