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smart home hub


Toshiba introduces Symbio, a smart home hub, security camera and system, and Alexa speaker in one

I look around at my hallway console nowadays and see a Canary camera, a Google Home, and a SmartThings Hub v2. Not to mention the Synology server, router, and a few other miscellaneous tech items. The idea of having all three integrated in the same device, saving space and unnecessary wiring is quite appealing, and that's what Toshiba's new Symbio aims to do.

It's a 6-in-1 device: a 1080p wide-angle "low-light" camera with sound and motion alerts, a smart sound detector for babies and pets and even legacy alarms around the house, a Bluetooth and WiFi streaming speaker with ODMD driver, a voice control interface with Amazon Alexa built-in, a smart home hub with ZigBee and Z-Wave radios, and an intercom for communicating between Symbios and phones.

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The Moon is an all-seeing, levitating robotic eyeball that can control your home [Update]

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.

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[Deal Alert] Samsung SmartThings Hub 25% off on Amazon, now $74.99

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.

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