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  1. Thread - a new networking protocol to unite the IoT initiated by Nest, ARM, and Samsung and others.

    Things seem to be heating up in the battle to bring the Internet of Things to fruition.  The latest such entry into this market may just be the game changer we've been looking for to start bringing all these different systems together.  We've seen plenty of other attempts at standardizing communication in our homes - but they've all gone their own way trying to create the "best" - and instead it seems we've ended up with too many choices.  The Thread Group hopes to change this.  Cue the old xkcd.com comic:

    Posted Image
     
     
    What makes this different is the list of backers this time around.  The founding group consists of ARM, Big Ass Fans, Freescale Semiconductor, Nest Labs, Inc, Samsung, Silicon Labs and Yale Security.  New members should getting accepted Q3 2014).  This is a not-for-profit group that's centered around working with developers and consumers and creating a certification program for their new mesh networking technology.
     
    I'm not 100% up to speed yet, but the idea is that a new protocol called Thread is being developed as a new mesh networking protocol based on 802.15.4.  This means that, in theory, existing devices which use ZigBee / 6LoWPAN and possibly others will be able to migrate to Thread with just a firmware update.  In fact, Nest thermostats are now shipping with a version of Thread running on them.
     
    This new protocol shows promise, as it's designed from the ground up to be a self-healing network that's secure, scalable, and still easy on batteries making it work for portable devices.  It's intended to bring together appliances, access control, climate control, energy management, lighting, safety, and security - and it's designed specifically for the home.  Up to 250 devices are supported on a single network and can handle multiple hops (may be too few devices for some of us).  Setup looks like it'll eliminate the need for a lot of technical knowledge, as it seem like you'll be able to enroll devices with just your smartphone by entering in or scanning a product code on the packaging.  This will help open the doors to households everywhere, leaving the biggest remaining hurdle likely to be getting the electrical components switched out (switches, outlets) and possibly wiring up the new thermostat; everything else seems like it'll enroll in seconds.
     
    I'm certainly intrigued; I think this will be the biggest jump-start the IoT needs to finally start bringing the masses together so we can finally start seeing the world where all of our appliances and fixtures in the home communicate and work together to keep us informed and help reduce our energy costs by allowing everything in the home to work together.  Of course this likely will bring with it yet another dependance on "The cloud" - but being a single standard, hopefully there'll be options for the edge routers to keep things closed within our own homes as well.
     
    Thoughts?  Comment below!
     
     
     
     

    • Jul 17 2014 12:04 AM
    • by Work2Play
  2. CES 2014: Exclusive Update - HomeSeer Technologies

    CocoonTech visited HomeSeer Technologies during the CES show this year.  HomeSeer has added new features to their HSTouch Mobile Application that includes automatic video camera support and (this is a big plus in my opinion) voice recognition via the Google voice engine on Android mobile hardware that can be used to trigger commands.
     
    This voice command option works really well!  One only has to press the microphone icon on the bottom of the screen to initiate events via the HomeSeer automation software.  Rich Helmke demonstrated this to me and amazingly, the recognition worked well in spite of all the horrendous background noise of the CES convention (and he didn't have to 'shout' the commands either)!
     
    [attachment=5994:hstouch.jpg]
     
    This feature goes beyond simple commands as it can be used to customize events such as (as their press release states) "On Saturday, at 4:30 pm, turn the outside lights on for 3 hours"
     
    They also have a 'canned' touch screen setup for mobile phone apps (for a quick 'out of the gate' setup) that can also be heavily customized by the user.
     
    Other new features include ease of setting up video cameras with their HSTouch (no more trying to figure out the obscure URL to get this to work with a mobile app).  Presently their cameras only include the Foscam model, but other cameras should be added in the future.
     
    [attachment=5995:hscam.jpg]
     
    The mobile screens looked great during the presentation and will be a welcome addition to anyone using HSTouch (which is included with their new HomeTroller Zee device by the way).
     
     
     
     

    • Jan 19 2014 04:26 PM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  3. CES 2014: Exclusive Update - Black Sumac's 'Piper'

    Black Sumac was showing their new Piper all in one sensor including a video camera during the CES 2014 show held in Las Vegas, NV.  This device was created via an IndieGoGo campaign and will ship to these backers in a couple of weeks..
     
    This product features a 180 degree fisheye CMOS video camera, passive infra-red motion sensor, temperature, humidity, and ambient light sensors, accelerometer, microphone, speaker and a 105 dB siren.  All of this is included in a relatively small package that also has internal battery backup via three AAA batteries.
     
    [attachment=5993:piper.jpg]
     
    All of these sensors can be seen on your Z-Wave network and can provide a nice marriage of security and home automation for your Z-Wave infrastructure.
     
    You can also access this device directly through your WiFi router and it provides an SSL structure for remote access with your mobile phone.
     
    The system records video continually and stores it in on-board memory.  Rules can be setup to trigger a 'snapshot' of this video.  The trigger can come from motion change to the video or by any one of the on-board sensors.
     
    Since this device is Z-Wave enabled, other Z-Wave sensors can be used for a variety of home automation or security rules (including snapshot of the video).
     
    They currently require their 'cloud' server for video uploading, but the rules are stored in the local device (not a bad system as the video will be in a remote location if this device were to get stolen during a burglary).
     
    Currently their API is not open to developers but this may change in the future once the product matures.
     
    The price is only $239 and that includes the wall mount plus AC adapter.
     


     

    • Jan 19 2014 04:22 PM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  4. Black Friday Sale on HomeSeer Products!

    If you are going to upgrade your lighting, you might want to also consider upgrading HomeSeer.  They are having a Black Friday sale:
     
    Coupon Code
    BFR-50P
     
    HS3 (Full)
    $124.97 (reg. $249.95)
     
    HS3 (Upgrade from HS2)
    $62.47 (reg. $124.95)
     
    HS3PRO (Full)
    $299.98 (reg. $599.95)
     
    HS3PRO (Upgrade from HS2)
    $237.47 (reg. $474.95)
     
    HS3PRO (Upgrade from HS3)
    $192.47 (reg. 384.95)
     
    HS3PRO (Upgrade from HSPRO)
    $62.47 (reg. $124.95)

    • Nov 29 2013 10:52 AM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  5. Chat Server Problem

    The company which provides internet service to the location which hosts the chat server just changed the IP address without warning.  This means that you can't connect to the regular address until DNS has propagated.  In the mean time, you can manually connect to:
     
    108.183.232.25 port 6667
     

    • Feb 08 2013 09:02 PM
    • by Dan (electron)