Amazon Echo is about to have company. As the New York Times reported, Google has a competing device in the works, and it has the full weight of the search giant's natural language processing behind it. If you haven't already heard the name, you could probably take a guess. It's Google Home.
Alarm.com sounds like a website whose sole purpose is starting your day with a broken laptop. Turns out it's a home automation service. The site can manage your security alarm systems, locks, lights, thermostats, and garage doors. Using "scenes," it can manage multiples at once with a single button press.
With the latest update, this functionality has come to the Android app.
I love crowdfunding projects that work well, especially when the product delivers relatively on time and with most of the features working as promised. Piper's home monitoring / security system is one of these success stories, but despite the product's hardware being great, I have been letdown by its poorly designed software and that didn't change since September 2014 when I first reviewed it. But Piper has been growing up in the meantime, releasing a night vision hardware version, adding Life360 integration, and offering several accessories like sensors and lights, and now it's ready to graduate its software and automation too.
The OnHub has been out for more than six months now, and it hasn't evolved much beyond the basic router functionality. Google promised us smart home features, and now it's starting to happen. The latest OnHub update added support for IFTTT. The channel is already live for you to start crafting automation recipes, but your OnHub needs to be on firmware version 7978.51.0, which is rolling out now.
Nest has announced that a communication protocol it's been using internally for its products is now being made available to all device makers. It's called Weave, and I know what you're thinking, but it's not the same as Google's Weave/Brillo platform (because that's not confusing at all). Nest Weave will allow devices around your home to communicate directly (and with the Nest app) rather than relying on the cloud.
Some homes are smart, and the Logitech Harmony serves as their brain. It provides a single location to control all the things, assuming of course that the products are supported. The latest update adds quite a few more to the list ranging from door locks to thermostats and a few things in between.
In recent years, Dropcam has been the leader when it comes to smart home security cameras. FLIR recently jumped in to the market with the FLIR FX wireless security camera. This is a mobile-centric security system that offers cool ways to review your video and receive alerts on your phone when something goes down at home. Let's see how it performs.
Alarm.com, despite its security-oriented URL, has become a thriving platform for home management hardware and software both defensive and benign. The latest update to the app, version 3.2, adds a handful of small but important features and adjustments that should make it much easier for users of compatible automated home hardware to get stuff done. The updated version appears to be rolling out in the Play Store with no delays, so no need to track down the APK.
Left: old light screen. Center and right: new light screen.
The biggest change tipped to us by an avid user is the new interface for managed lights.
We don't get to talk about FLIR much on an Android blog, but that Seek thermal camera was neat, right? Now FLIR is releasing another consumer-level imaging solution, but this time it's taking on the home surveillance market with the FLIR FX. This $199 camera has all the bells and whistles of the competition, and then some.
The similarly priced Dropcam is probably the most well-known competition for FLIR, but the FX seems to have a few advantages. For one, it can record to a microSD card if you don't want to deal with the cloud or subscriptions. FLIR has also created a feature called RapidRecap that lets you review hours of footage in a minute by speeding up and overlaying frames.