Amazon Expands Smart Home Portfolio With Ring Purchase

Amazon just inked a deal to acquire Santa Monica, CA-based Ring for what Reuters says is more than $1 billion. Ring made its mark with its Wi-Fi-enabled doorbells that, via integrated cameras, enable homeowners to see who’s at their front door from their smartphone. The company launched with a video doorbell, now priced at $179, and has expanded to offer other video doorbell versions, and security cameras and systems. Last month, Ring acquired Mr. Beams, Wi-Fi-enabled LED lighting with motion sensing abilities. Continue reading Amazon Expands Smart Home Portfolio With Ring Purchase

Apple Updates How Home App Controls Smart Home Devices

Apple has launched a new website for its HomeKit software and Home App, which are used to control connected appliances and other devices in a user’s house. The site displays the compatible devices from 50 different brands and allows users to group them so that multiple actions can be triggered with a single tap or voice command. Apple has recently faced more competition in the smart home space because of Amazon’s Echo, which can also operate home devices via voice commands. Continue reading Apple Updates How Home App Controls Smart Home Devices

Vox Media to Launch Circuit Breaker Gadget Site on Facebook

Vox Media, parent company of politics site Vox, sports sites SB Nation, and technology site The Verge, is about to launch Circuit Breaker, a blog about gadgets. Circuit Breaker will publish news and gossip about technology products and primarily live as a Facebook page, not a separate website, says The Verge’s editor Nilay Patel. The idea of a blog devoted to gadgets is a throwback to sites like Engadget and Gizmodo that, in the early 2000s, focused on smartphones and then broadened to become culture sites. Continue reading Vox Media to Launch Circuit Breaker Gadget Site on Facebook

Alphabet Tops Apple, Still Growing Core Business, Other Bets

Google’s parent Alphabet finally sailed past Apple as the world’s most valuable company, as shares rose 4.2 percent, to a market capitalization of about $560 billion, compared to Apple’s $539.7 billion. Alphabet posted 14 percent revenue growth in its core Internet businesses, including search, YouTube and Android, rising to $74.54 billion from 2014’s $65.67 billion. Revenue from its “Other Bets,” or moonshots, rose 37 percent to $448 million, up dramatically from the $12 million in revenue reported in 2013. Continue reading Alphabet Tops Apple, Still Growing Core Business, Other Bets

Apple TV Remote Also Offers Features for Home Automation

Apple just came out with a new Apple TV remote with integrated Touch ID, which utilizes fingerprint sensors to authorize and block users. In addition to TV-centric capabilities, the new remote offers the ability to enter a channel without punching in a password and to allow authorized people to make iTunes purchases. What makes this TV remote truly different is its ability to control in-home electronics. Over the years, rumors have been rife that Apple’s end game for Apple TV was as a home automation hub. Continue reading Apple TV Remote Also Offers Features for Home Automation

Apple Refutes Delays, Says HomeKit Devices Shipping in June

Apple is refuting a recent report that suggested HomeKit — its home automation software platform — was experiencing problems and could expect delays. This week the company announced that the first HomeKit-enabled devices will ship next month. The company first unveiled HomeKit at last June’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The platform enables Apple devices to control connected appliances in the home, essentially turning iPhones and iPads into a command system for smart thermostats, lights, garage doors, locks, security systems and more. Continue reading Apple Refutes Delays, Says HomeKit Devices Shipping in June

IoT: Amazon Acquires Connected Enterprise Startup 2lemetry

Amazon recently confirmed that it has acquired 2lemetry, a startup with a focus on creating real value of data being processed and shared via Internet-connected devices. Under Amazon, Denver-based 2lemetry will continue to service its existing clientele, which includes companies such as Honeywell and First Mile. All other deal details remain undisclosed. Amazon’s acquisition of 2lemetry reflects the company’s early efforts to develop an Internet of Things business strategy. Continue reading IoT: Amazon Acquires Connected Enterprise Startup 2lemetry

Best Buy Plans to Offer Smart Home Hub via New Peq Service

According to videos recently posted to YouTube, Best Buy will offer a smart home hub through a $9.99-per-month service called Peq, which is provided by the newly launched SmartHome Ventures. Ted Schremp, CEO of SmartHome Ventures, suggests that Peq makes setting up and operating home automation and security very simple. Best Buy will become the fourth major retailer to join the home automation space following Lowe’s Iris, Staples Connect and Home Depot’s deal with Wink-Quirky. Continue reading Best Buy Plans to Offer Smart Home Hub via New Peq Service

Internet of Things: Samsung Purchases Startup SmartThings

ETCentric community member Lee Lanselle forwarded us news that Samsung has acquired SmartThings, maker of smart-home controllers, for around $200 million. While SmartThings will continue to operate independently under CEO Alex Hawkinson, its three facilities are expected to move to Palo Alto to become part of Samsung’s Open Innovation Center (run by former Google and AOL exec David Eun). SmartThings, which is owned by Physical Graph Corp., began in 2012 as a Kickstarter project. Continue reading Internet of Things: Samsung Purchases Startup SmartThings

36 Million Smart Homes Coming to U.S. and Europe by 2017

Analyst firm Berg Insights forecasts that the number of smart homes in the U.S. and Europe will reach 36 million by 2017, with sales of $9.4 billion per year. The second edition “Smart Homes and Home Automation” report indicates the U.S. had 3.5 million smart homes at the end of 2012. Berg defines smart homes as those with connected products that work in conjunction with apps or a Web portal. However, most of today’s smart homes simply include products such as a Nest thermostat. Continue reading 36 Million Smart Homes Coming to U.S. and Europe by 2017

CES 2013: Trends Flying Somewhat Under the Radar

In addition to the highly anticipated array of UHD TVs, new smartphones, Android devices, cloud developments and Internet-connected everything, next week’s CES promises interesting new products and services related to a number of sectors not yet drawing the same amount of press attention. Watch for news involving small flexible displays, green technology, home automation, home projections systems, 3D printing and more. Continue reading CES 2013: Trends Flying Somewhat Under the Radar