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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Somfy’s motorized shades review

With the emerging market of motorized blinds and shades, Graber has partnered with the best motor and automation control specialists at Somfy. Each set of shades or blinds comes with uses Z-Wave technology to communicate with the blinds. The control itself has an in-built antenna, giving it an extended field of communication, but not messing with the sleek design of the remote. With the single-channel option enabled, the remote control allows the user to orient the blinds from virtually any spot in the common home. Installation of the blinds themselves can be a bit tricky, but not very time consuming if done correctly. The motor that does all of the heavy lifting runs off of 8 AA lithium batteries in an integrated battery case, or can be directly plugged into an outlet if one is handy. Once the motor is installed above the window, the shades can be controlled by the remote control, or integrated into a home automation hub like Wink or SmartThings.

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August adds smart locks and doorbell to Smart Home

August's Smart Lock Pro looks a lot like HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock. It works with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, but this version also adds in an August Connect as a bundled accessory. It has a new feature called DoorSense, which seems so logical that I'm stunned no one has introduced it before. It's essentially a door sensor built into the lock, with a second sensor accessory you either mount externally next to the lock or on the inside of the doorframe. With DoorSense, you can confirm that the door is actually closed (instead of simply locked or unlocked).

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Control4's new control for smart home

Part of the appeal of professionally installed smart home platforms like Control4 is that they come with on-demand access to technicians who can help you reconfigure your setup and keep things running smoothly. But now, the smart-home-as-a-service provider wants to help its customers call those technicians less often. The problem comes when customers simply want to fine-tune their system. "In the past, that would require a phone call to a dealer or integrator," Control4's Director of Product Marketing Brad Hintze told me. "That's a hassle to homeowners." Control4's answer: new, expanded controls for the company's 4Sight subscription service. This will integrate with over 10,000 Control4-supported devices and allow users to create rules that dictate how they operate.

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Los Angeles homebuilder builds smart home development

Many worries come with owning a home: doors left unlocked, packages stolen, lights left on, etc. One homebuilder is ready to make those anxieties a thing of the past. Brookfield Residential has teamed up with Apple for new project — named The Collection — to create a smart-home community. Located in the tech hub of Playa Vista, the contemporary homes feature the Apple HomeKit, which integrates home accessories such as lighting, thermostats, door locks and Wi-Fi into a user-controlled app. Smart-home tech isn’t new but what makes the development unique is that the Apple HomeKit comes standard in every residence. Homeowners can use an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Siri to control various elements of the home. With spoken word or the touch of a button, doors can be locked, temperatures controlled, lighting managed and Wi-Fi enabled. The company worked with Apple for about 15 months to integrate with the homebuilder’s specifications. Data from the home is encrypted and stored on the device, not the cloud, which gives consumers the most privacy.

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Building Smart Homes in California

Southern California’s strong job market for knowledge workers has also made it a prime ground for smart home platforms that builders are rolling out as standard equipment in an increasing number of new homes. While the smart home concept has been around for years, until recently individual devices or apps didn’t talk to each other and required an expensive and laborious integration process to sync them. Ultimately, that restricted users to a defined set of components, says C.R. Herro, vice president of environmental affairs for Meritage Homes. But advances in technology are delivering smart home platforms that are more user friendly than ever. The systems operate on robust wi-fi coverage throughout the house, work seamlessly with a host of products, and link automatically to any internet-enabled household component, but also offer more control over energy and water use with timers and other settings. Meritage, for example, recently introduced its M.ConnectedHome Automation Suite, a smart home platform that became available in its new homes. It features connected door locks, garage doors, doorbells with embedded video cameras, light switches, thermostats, and irrigation systems. All are centered on providing security and convenience to homeowners.

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Affordable Smart Home Installations

Wouldn’t it be great to turn on your lights or adjust your home’s thermostat before you reached your front door? But being connected is expensive, right? Smart home setups might seem out of reach, but some great products are on the market that don’t cost as much as you might expect. Discover how you can connect your home at an affordable price. Convenience is probably the top reason most people want a smart home setup. Before you consider your options, decide what you want to connect. The list of connected devices is always growing. From security systems to thermostats, you’ll find something for every corner of your home, inside and out.

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