Ever since I got my Wink Hub 2, one of the services I kept seeing in conversations when trying to bridge together different smart appliances and services was Stringify. The app was limited to iOS though, so I never got to use it because I wasn't going to carry my iPad around all the time to toggle a light bulb. But at CES, Stringify made a few announcements that we just came across (excuse the delay, we had tons of emails and releases to sift through) and that are sure to please Android users.
Before going further, here's a quick rundown of what Stringify is for those of you who'd never heard of it. Read More
Blink, the company that makes affordable and portable home security cameras (see my full review), has been on a bit of a roll over the past few months. First, it added Alexa support to arm and disarm the system and inquire about the latest recorded videos, then it announced an outdoor camera, the Blink XT, with weather-proofing, 1080p video, and an IR night vision sensor. Now it's releasing a whole host of upgrades and gear to complement its system.
To begin, Blink's Sync Module, the one that connects to your WiFi and serves as the central hub for all the small wireless cameras, has an upgraded version with 4G Cellular support and battery backup so your system remains up and accessible even when WiFi is down and there's no power. Read More
I bought an apartment in October. You can imagine the joy at the thought that it'd be my future family's home, terror at the sight of the mortgage value on the signed contract, and all the excitement about getting to set up a house from scratch. I could pick everything that I loved from design to materials to colors to organization, and yes, also automation.
I wanted lights that turn on when the doors open, A/C units that cool the place when I'm coming home and the outside heat is too much to bear, cameras that catch intruders the moment they are detected, a washing machine that notifies me when the load is done, colored lights that coordinate with whatever I'm watching on TV, blinds that open and close with the sunset and sunrise, and much more. Read More
A lot of the things we do depend on the weather and outdoor conditions. We crank up the thermostat when it's too cold, wear coats and carry an umbrella when it's raining, turn on the AC when the summer heat is too much, plug in the lights when the sun sets, and more.
Now you can automate many of these things with Weather Underground's new IFTTT channel. There are plenty of existing applets already, including ones from WU that contain many thats as consequences to one this, like the one that transitions the house into night mode by adjusting Hue lights, WeMo switches, and Nest thermostats or the weather preparedness one that notifies you, emails you, and creates a calendar event for rainy times. Read More
Samsung's SmartThings is one of the most popular smart home product lines. The company has developed outlets, light bulbs, sensors, and more all designed to work seamlessly together. Tying everything together is the SmartThings Hub, which acts as the bridge between your smart devices and your home's internet connection. Now you can get the second-generation SmartThings Hub (the latest model) for $50 on Amazon, half off the original $100 price tag. Read More
BestBuy has a sweet deal going on today. You can pick up a Phillips Hue A19 starter kit (3 bulbs plus a hub) and an Amazon Echo for $260.40. That's about $120 less than you would pay if you bought each item separately at full price. This a great combo for those of you wanting to add some tech to your home to make it a little smarter.
I own several Phillips Hue bulbs. I love being able to change the color and intensity of the lights to fit my activity and mood. Waking up to gradually increasing lights instead of an alarm has helped me tremendously in handling the dark Seattle winters. Read More
Today is the day you've been waiting for... maybe. Google Home is available for purchase from Google and other retailers. The voice-activated Assistant hub is priced at $129 and works with many of your smart home devices, assuming you have those. Read More
There are plenty of companies building smart hubs for your home, but it's safe to say that SmartThings, which was bought by Samsung, is one of the most popular. That's not only due to the wide range of connectivity options it has, like both ZigBee and Z-Wave, and the 10-hour backup battery life, but also thanks to the big number of smart home gadgets that are compatible with it. Even better, the community is very active and usually figures out a way, whenever technically possible, to add compatibility to brands and accessories that aren't supported officially.
One of the last companies to integrate with SmartThings is Google and its Google Home speaker / voice control hub. Read More
Google Home was announced earlier this year at I/O, and since then we've heard little about the product itself. Today at the #madebygoogle event, Google has released all the details, including price, shipping date, more about its abilities, and when you can pre-order it (i.e. throw your money at Google). Read More
If you're anything like me, you don't take kindly to unexpected visitors. The doorbell is a sign that something has gone terribly wrong, and I may soon be forced to interact with other people. Shhh, just be quiet and they'll probably go away. Okay, maybe you're not exactly like me, but perhaps you want to know who's at the door before you get up. The Ring WiFi doorbell can do that, and it's on sale for $169.99 right now on Amazon. Read More