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  1. 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)!
    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.
    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
  2. 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.
    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
  3. [CES 2013] Exclusive Update - Dotz

    Dotz has a unique cabling label method that is sure to make the person always complaining about their paper labels falling of their cables in their wiring closet jealous.
    [attachment=4846:dotz1.jpg] [attachment=4847:dotz2.jpg] [attachment=4848:dotz3.jpg]
    Most of us use the paper type labels which will always tear, fall off, or require a heat gun for application.  Dotz uses a translucent case of different designs and color that is transparent enough to read a protected label, plus has the durability to never fall off or slide on various cables.
    They make solutions for your wiring closet as well as desktop devices, and even make a kit which has matching stickers to place on various jacks for a desktop component for ease of installation.


    • Feb 11 2013 11:17 AM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  4. [CES 2013] Exclusive Update - Enerwave

    It is my understanding that no other manufacturer makes such a product!


    • Feb 11 2013 11:15 AM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  5. [CES 2013] Exclusive Update - Ooma

    Basically, the Ooma system uses their interface boxes that connect to your home network that enables you to make and receive phone calls, so it can replace your existing land line system, thus eliminating that ugly monthly bill! :)
    You can port your existing phone numberover to this system, or choose a new one.
    One big plus the Ooma system has over its competitors is it has enhanced 911 capability, so it will report your address to a 911 dispatcher automatically.  When you sign up for the Ooma service, you enter your address and it will then relay this to the emergency dispatcher whenever you dial 911.  You can also send additional emails or SMS messages alerting other parties to that emergency as well.
    Their are only monthly taxes as fees ($3-$4 depending on your exact area), or you can get a premier service that offers additional features for ten dollars a month.  You can make free unlimited long distance calls inside the United States.
    Other features include sending a digital recording of voice mail via email or SMS, additional line capability, and a Bluetooth interface that can pair with your cell phones, so you can answer any cell via your home Ooma phones. 
    You don't have to use Ooma's phones either as any standard corded or cordless phone will work
    The brains behind this service is provided by the Telo unit.  It just plugs in your home network, or you can purchase a WiFi adapteras well.
    [attachment=4841:ooma1.jpg] [attachment=4842:ooma2.jpg] [attachment=4843:ooma3.jpg]
    Your phone then plugs in the back of this unit.  You can even locate this device in your wiring closet so it can be interfaced to  your existing land line demarcation distribution panel.
    This unit retails for $179 but is occasionally on sale at Frys for much less.
    If you would like a second line, you can get a Linx unit that will work with the Telo box.  Like the Telo, the Linx will work with any standard phone.
    Ooma is currently running a special where you can prepay for a full year of premier service for $99 and get a Linx box ($45 value) for free!

    • Feb 11 2013 11:13 AM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  6. [CES 2013] Exclusive Update - Redfish

    They have a very nice product that has a wide variety of uses (let your imagination go wild with various ways to use this)!
    Basically it's a mulitfunction digital meter that can be displayed via your iOS or Android portable device (it uses those devices as its display)!
    [attachment=4839:redfish1.jpg] [attachment=4840:redfish2.jpg]

    The cool thing is it does this via a TCP/IP network interface via WiFi.

    This means you can have the unit itself away from your display device, which is a huge advantage for installers or people needing to help remotely troubleshoot problems in the field.
    The units for iOS only are available now, and the units that will support either iOS or Android platforms will be available in HomeDepot stores within the next several months.

    The hardware unit also supports data logging as well, and the data itself can be emailed via their apps.
    The price for this unit will run around $240 for both the iOS and Android versions.

    • Feb 11 2013 11:12 AM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  7. [CES 2013] Exclusive Update - Skyco

    One item that immediately stood out was their motorized shade controller that had a solar panel and battery for its power, thus eliminating the need for any wires to be run to it (since the controls are already wireless)!
    [attachment=4837:skyco1.jpg] [attachment=4838:skyco2.jpg]
    The solar material was selected so it can power the battery in low sunlight situations and the batteries themselves have a 90 day reserve (for typical operation cycles).
    Presently these units are 433 MHz controlled via a proprietary system, but they are striving to incorporate Z-Wave control functionality in the future.
    It also has a bi-directional encoder so the user knows the exact position of the blinds; and, you can enable an application that will work with Google Earth, so you can control the shade position based on the sun's changing angles during the day!
    Please visit their website for more information.

    • Feb 11 2013 11:11 AM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  8. [CES 2013] Exclusive Update - StickNFind (Indiegogo)

    They originally launched a campaign to raise funds for this concept on IndieGoGo and were hoping for a goal of $70,000.  They wound up getting $700,000!!!
    Basically the StickNFind is a small sized puck that can be attached to small items you are likely to misplace around your home, such as remotes to the TV.  When you need to find them, an application on your smartphone will sense the Bluetooth signal emitted via this puck and direct you towards the item via a radar visual display.
    [attachment=4834:sticknfind1.jpg] [attachment=4835:sticknfind2.jpg]
    The pucks have a Bluetooth 4.0 range of 100 ft and also feature a temperature sensor as well as an LED light and a buzzer!  Also, the creators of this product are going to release the API so others can develop applications for this product.
    The home automation imagination starts to really kick in on all of the custom applications this item can be used for!
    The applications will be both Andriod and iOS device compatible and the product should be available before April.
    This company also makes a Bluetracker unit that has all of the same functionality of the smaller StickNFind, but boasts a Bluetooth range of 2500 feet!
    They also make a Meterplug that allows you to view energy use of any device plugged into it.  It has a memory module inside that an app can pull its data from.  It also has a 'proximity mode' function so it can sense the two Bluetooth products above and applications can be written for instance to turn on the device when it senses a certain Bluetooth signal.
    You can also control the power to these units directly via a mobile phone.  Up to 20 different plugs can be controlled via one phone application.
    The SticknFind is slated to run around $25/puck, the Bluetracker $89/ea, and the Plugtracker $49/ea.
    Please visit Indigogo's product websites (linked above) for more details on these exciting new items!

    • Feb 11 2013 11:10 AM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  9. [CES 2013] Exclusive Update - Phillips

    One nice product Phillips has is their color changing light bulbs, controlled via a built in ZigBee interface.
    This concept, named Hue, comes with a kit that includes a gateway (interface to the network and the Zigbee communications), and three standard sized light bulbs.  You can download an app on your iPhone that will let you setup and communicate with these light bulbs.
    [attachment=4832:phillips1.jpg] [attachment=4833:phillips2.jpg]
    Just plug the gateway into your home network, screw in the bulbs, and download the application from the Apple store and your are all set to create very unique lighting moods for your home.
    There are an array of other cool and fun applications as well, such as a 'disco' mode or strobe application, which will pulse the lights into many different colors.
    This kit will sell via the Apple store and will only include interface to iOS devices (sorry, no Android :().
    The starter kit will sell for $199 and additional bulbs can be purchased for $60.  A separate remote is also available as well.  The bulbs are 60 watts and have an illumination rating of 600 lumens.
    For more information on the Phillips Hue please visit their website.

    • Feb 11 2013 11:08 AM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  10. [CES 2013] Exclusive Update - Z-Wave.me

    An interesting product that was being demonstrated was a Z-Wave version of the popular Raspberry-Pi development board!  This product, named the RazBerry is an android on steroids with its quad-core processor, LINUX operating system, and HDMI video interface.  Plus, it includes a daughter board with a built in Z-Wave interface to operate on the Raspberry-Pi's platform!
    This gives an included Z-Wave stack protocol capability to the HTML/Java scripting interface to this development kit making it easier for developers (and DIY enthusiests) to design their own Z-Wave software interface product!
    It includes a development software kit that has demonstraton UI's which show you the necessary java scripting code snippets needed for a specific Z-Wave action, such as turning a device on, or deleting a device from the network.
    The price for this unit is slated to be under $65.
    Example of this developer's menu interface is shown below:
    [attachment=4826:razberry2.jpg] [attachment=4827:razberry3.jpg] [attachment=4828:razberry4.jpg]
    [attachment=4829:razberry5.jpg] [attachment=4830:razberry6.jpg] [attachment=4831:razberry7.jpg]
    Here is a PDF which includes more details on this unique interface development board.

    • Feb 11 2013 11:00 AM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  11. [CES 2013] Exclusive Update - Sling Media

    Sling Media has long been known for their Slingboxes, which is basically a device that lets you view your home's DVR/Tuners via any Internet device including iOS and Android units.
    They have two new boxes this year, the model 350 and the model 500, with the difference between the boxes being that the 500 supports HDMI and includes build in WiFi connectivity.
    The 350 will run $179 and the 500 will run $299 (retail).
    [attachment=4823:sling2.jpg] [attachment=4824:sling3.jpg]
    Only one user can be connected to a Slingbox device at one time.
    All formats that the Slingbox can support are listed on their website.  Sling Media will also offer credit for your older unit when purchasing a 350 or 500 newer model.
    If you are new to the Slingbox concept, visit their site for more information on this cool technology.  They have a great compression algorithm that lets you watch skip free media on your portable devices!  You can also connect auxiliary devices and switch between them as well (such as a security camera).

    • Feb 11 2013 11:01 AM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  12. [CES 2013] Exclusive Update - Dish Network

    The big news for Dish is the introduction of their new Hopper.  This device now has built in Slingbox capability (more on this below), WiFi connectivity, three satellite tuners, a faster processor, and a 2 TB hard drive.
    You can also add a remote "Joey" device to any other TV so you can enjoy all of the Hopper's real time viewing and recording capabilities.  They interconnect via the existing coax cable in your home.
    There are new features on the Hopper as well such as "Prime Time Anytime" recording, and an 'Auto Skip' feature which will let you skip through commercials on your recorded shows!
    [attachment=4821:dish4.jpg] [attachment=4820:dish3.jpg]
    The SlingBox integration now lets you view your Hopper on practically any Internet connected device, including computers, iOS portable devices and Android devices.  You can also have full access to the program guide by logging onto their dishanywhere.com site.
    Another new feature for the iOS crowd is the capability of being able to 'download' your recordings on your device for later viewing!

    • Feb 11 2013 10:55 AM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  13. [CES 2013] Exclusive Update - Aeon Labs

    One intriguing new item was a window film that can be applied over an existing window, then have it's state change from transparent to nearly opaque (and back) with a Z-Wave command!
    Two views showing pictures of this film are enclosed below:
    [attachment=4809:aeotech3.jpg]  [attachment=4808:aeotech2.jpg]
    This piece was mounted on a test window at the booth (as shown below).
    Here is a movie showing the film being controlled from is near opaque to clear state via a Z-Wave command. The near opaque mode blocks 75% of the light/view.
    The film can be cut to size and will initially be available in one by one meters and one by two meters.  The control is via a Z-Wave power supply that causes the change of state to the film.  The product should be available in a few months.
    Aeotec is also working on a totally blacked out version, dimmable capability, as well as one with a mirrored finish!
    The movie does not do justice to the coolness and wow factor that this product had!

    • Feb 09 2013 10:11 PM
    • by BraveSirRobbin