IFTTT is a tremendous boon for those interested in automating their lives. The company's tools have deep integration with a wide variety of third-party services and products, and they're always being improved upon. The most recent additions to the party are iHome Enhance, Everynet, Grasp IO, and Nexx Garage. The old Stocks category has also been renamed to Finance, so if you can't find those stock-related applets, they're still around in a new place. Read More
IFTTT continues to expand the realm of automation possibilities at its users' disposal. Over the past month or so, nine new channels have been added to the connect-everything service. Most of them will make your home smarter (or more pleasing to your olfactory receptors), while one connects a number of services to the Ethereum blockchain. Read More
Just ahead of CES proper, Schlage has announced that its immensely popular Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt (say that five times fast) will soon work with Google Assistant. A few months back, it added support for Amazon's Alexa, right after adding an Android app for remote control. And now, sometime in Q1 of this year, you'll be able to 'Hey Google' your way into locking or unlocking your Schlage-equipped front door. Read More
With a couple of months of use behind me, my feelings about the Belkin WeMo switches are just as conflicted now as they were when I unpacked these. On paper, the idea of a switch that you can plug anything in to make it smart is fantastic. In reality, I struggled to find many, if any honestly, devices I wanted to use the WeMo with. But that's not even the meat of my issue with WeMo's switches. Their connectivity has been iffy at best, the app is laughably old, and integration with other smart home devices is hit and miss, mostly because of the aforementioned connectivity issues. Read More
I always have fun seeing which services are being added to IFTTT: it leads me to discover new products I'd never heard about, it makes me imagine scenarios for automations that I wouldn't have considered previously, and it reminds me of how much of our lives nowadays can be relegated to a server somewhere.
Over the past couple of weeks, 9 new channels have been added to IFTTT. I'd only heard of Hive before, but you may find something here that you've been anxiously waiting for and that's super popular in your environment. Here they are:
- SafeTrek, an app and service that can dispatch help (police, ambulance, fire truck) in an emergency
- Guardzilla, a security camera company with several models including a 360-deg HD indoor cam
- Hive Active Plug, a WiFi-connected smart plug
- iDrate, a smart garden watering controller
- Orion, the makers of Onyx, a connected walkie-talkie for teams
- data.world, "an online platform designed for data and the people who work with data"...
If you're interested in a new security kit for your home or a way to get started setting up a smart home, Wink has a nice offering that's pretty much foolproof for newbies. I reviewed the hub a while ago, and though I moved to SmartThings for its more advanced features, I can still recommend Wink because it makes the basics a lot easier than SmartThings. And Wink's new Lookout takes that one step further by providing sensors and a siren that are pre-paired with the included hub, requiring even less setup. The system may not be as sturdy as other home security offerings from Nest and SmartThings + ADT, but it costs much less and requires no monthly fees. Read More
One of the most requested features in the SmartThings app has been scene support. I'm new to the system, so I'm sure there were some enterprising solutions to the lack of scenes, but there wasn't any native and easy way to do it. That changes with the latest update to version 2.10 of the SmartThings app.
Scenes reside inside the My Home tab, next to Things and Rooms, and allow you to change multiple lights, switches, and devices to different presets to suit a certain mood. So if you're working, you can have the lights go all the way up but if you're watching a movie, they can be dimmed down. Read More
If you're looking for an easy way to get into home automation, then this deal alert may interest you. The Wink Hub 2 is currently on sale, dropping down to $69.17 on a few websites. That's about $30 off of the MSRP, which is pretty decent. Read More
Schlage recently announced Android support for its Sense Smart Deadbolt lock, along with the launch of a new Wi-Fi adapter that enables remote access through the company's app. The same lock is now getting even smarter as it gains Amazon Alexa integration, which will allow you to lock or check the status by voice via an Alexa-enabled device such as the various Amazon Echos.
As well as control and checking capabilities, the Schlage Sense skill can be used in conjunction with the Alexa app to add door locking to multi-step routines – a good way to ensure your door is locked before bed by adding it to your 'good night' routine. Read More
We've seen levitating Bluetooth speakers and connected smart cameras before, but the Moon, a fully funded Indiegogo project, melds those technologies in a $209 ($330 at retail) floating robotic eyeball and base that can also act as a smart hub for your home. That is, if it ever ships. The typical crowdfunding caveats apply. Some Indiegogo projects don't have much of a future, and this is 1-Ring's first.
The Moon, which comes from 1-Ring Inc., comprises a wide-angle lens embedded in a sphere made of plastic, aluminum, and rubber. When the smart camera is levitating above its base unit, it can give its owner a 360-degree scan of whatever room it's placed in. Read More