3 home tech ideas for your tiny space

So, you got that tiny house. Or that compact one-bedroom apartment for which you endured a frightening co-op board interview. Or you and your partner moved into a studio that is really not meant to accommodate two people. Congrats! You are now Living Small.

There are innumerable ways you could make the most of this: Modular, multi-use furniture is one big way (especially when it doubles as storage); another is to trick out your new tiny abode with home tech.

“‘Home tech? how’s that going to help?’” you say. Well, we’ll tell you. While there’s no shortage of smart home gadgetry out there to help with problems you don’t have (we’re looking at you, smart fridges), there are also a few ways to use smart home products to get the most out of your space. Here are a few products we think will help ease you into the tiny living lifestyle.

Smart plugs are your friend

For even the most home tech averse among us, the allure of the smart plug is hard to deny. Sticking any of these Wi-Fi-enabled plugs into your existing outlets turns the outlet into a smart one that can be controlled with your mobile device via an app associated with the smart plug.

Our historic home-loving columnist is a recent convert—and who wouldn’t be, when on a hot day you can turn your air conditioner on from your phone on the way home from work? You can also, of course, use smart plugs for just about anything—from lamps to fans to just about anything else you plug into an outlet. For those of us who live in compact places, this means you can work with what you’ve got: no need to buy new, smarter things for your tiny space.

There are lots of options on the market and, unlike other things in the home tech world, they come at a reasonable price. Belkin and TP-Link each sell popular options you can find on Amazon.

Sony’s Life Space UX short throw projector and LED bulb speaker

Sony’s ultra-short-throw projector can turn a surface a mere 22 inches away into a screen for watching your favorite shows and movies.

Entertaining can be a challenge in a home of any size, but Sony has recently released a couple of products that could make that easier for the space starved.

The company’s Life Space UX series includes an ultra-short-throw projector (at a spendy $789), which turns any flat surface into a screen. Life Space UX also includes a lightbulb (at just shy of $240) that is both a color-changing illumination source and a Bluetooth speaker. The latter sounds gimmicky, but this editor has seen it in action (at both its unveiling at MoMA Design Store in New York and in a friend’s apartment). It’s actually quite nice, with solid sound quality. If you’re truly starved for space, combining an essential function with a non-essential—but delightful and quality-of-life improving—one is pretty smart.

Consider buying a smart home hub

Google Home.
 Courtesy of Google

The Amazon Echo has done a lot to popularize the idea of the home tech hub, a gadget that acts as command central for your Smart Things devices and responds to voice prompts.

Not long after the Echo debuted, gobbling up marketshare, Google entered the fray with the Google Home—and it was soon followed by the Apple HomePod, which purports to have better audio quality when compared to its competitors.

A smart home hub of any kind is going to help you. With voice commands you can toggle smart lights on and off, and listen to music and the latest news. It will serve up weather information, and more, in a rather compact unit that won’t take up a ton of counter space. For a guide to the what’s what of home tech hubs, you can read more here.

Opinion: What can smart home tech do for retirees?

The most complicated thing on earth isn’t high-technology, it’s family dynamics. A weekend with the in-laws, or a Thanksgiving dinner will provide all the evidence needed. And now that we’re living longer than ever before, the interests and opinions of more generations will compete for the same amount of airtime. The extended life expectancy also increases the need to coordinate long-term financial plans as families navigate mortgages, student loans and long-term care for four living generations. The good news is, there’s hope.

The high-tech craze known as the Internet of Things (IoT) promised the Jetsons lifestyle was only moments away. The reality was decidedly underwhelming. The IoT refers to any device connected to the internet. While some companies added internet connectivity to useful home appliances such as thermostats and door locks, others addressed the less useful combination of internet, such as egg trays and the Wi-Fi juicer.

Focus on needs, not on devices

There are some very useful IoT devices available that help families address the needs of multiple generations. The recommended approach to finding the right device is to identify the root causes of family stressors first, then look for a technology solution.

  • Wellness concerns: It’s difficult to balance a full-time job, an immediate family and manage care for a parent or grandparent. If there is a dark stairwell in the home, installing a motion activated light reduces the risk of a fall. A voice intercom such as the Nucleus, can be a good way to check-in with a family member without visiting their residence. Smart locks are an effective way to grant home access to caregivers or emergency responders.
  • Limited mobility: Simple tasks can become difficult burdens under mobility limitations. Consider a smart home automation hub such as Samsung’s SmartThings and/or a voice-controlled appliance such as Amazon’sAMZN, +0.13% Echo that can be set up to switch lights on or off, lock doors, set reminders and even water a garden.
  • Medications: Managing medications is a top concern of family caregivers. A connected pillbox can be a great way to gain insight into medication adherence without bothering the family member daily. These pillboxes can be simple, such as Tricella’s Pillbox, or fancy such as the HERO.
  • Monthly bills: Home energy consumption can be volatile and difficult to manage. Smart appliances such as Google’s GOOG, +1.26% Nest can pay for itself in energy savings by managing HVAC routines based on user activity.
Herohealth.com
A smart pill box manages medications and keeps toddlers out.

Some of these devices may be familiar, and great solutions to specific issues. But what if the need is broader than one or two specific concerns? What if, for example, mom’s goal is to live at home as long as possible, but her children worry that the home won’t provide the support she needs? The solution is to connect the individual devices to a platform that offers insights valuable to each member in the family.

When it comes to retirement, 60s are the new 50s
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

While simple smart home devices can meet some goals for independent living, unless they work together they cannot address the situations that would otherwise undermine a family’s support of an older member’s decision to age-in-place. Take the motion activated light from above; its one function is to turn on the stairway light. When additional motion sensors are added in the home, the information from each sensor can be stitched together to make more meaningful insights, such as where the resident has been and how much time was spent in each room.

That’s a meaningful step toward unlocking the value promised from the IoT hype, but it’s not quite there. An analysis and alert service such as HoneyCo’s Internet of Caring Things (IoCT), completes the process. HoneyCo’s IoCT proactively alerts family members or professional caregivers of concerning activity, such as too much time at the bottom of that dark stairwell.

Game-changer

Residential care facilities were considered an unavoidable part of the transition from adulthood to elderhood. The broad sentiment was that nobody wanted to go, but we’d all end up there at some point, even if our kids forced us into it. Smart home technology is transforming this concept. The retirement communities of the future will be the homes we live in today. Care will be coordinated through the IoCT, driverless cars will shuttle members to social events, and we’ll reflect on how technology spared us from the anxieties of elderhood and allowed multiple generations to build meaningful relationships.

Zachary Watson is the Founder & CEO of HoneyCo Homes.

 

 

[Source”cnbc”]

Best Buy Using Store Space to Showcase Amazon and Google Home Tech

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Best Buy (BBY, +0.86%) is making nice with one of its fiercest rivals, Amazon.com(AMZN, -1.45%), to bolster its ongoing bid to be the leading retailer in the booming smart-home tech area.

The electronics retailer, enjoying a renaissance of late, announced on Wednesday it was expanding space at 700 of its stores to better showcase Amazon’s Echo as well as Google (GOOG, -2.53%)Home and how they interact with other smart home technology it sells such as Philips Hue smart light bulbs, and Nest thermostats. The strategy is Best Buy’s latest push into smart home tech: a few weeks ago, Best Buy announced a major new partnership with Vivint, a company that installs home monitoring services and solar panels.

The retailer last month announced a surprise increase in comparable sales for the first-quarter, with home tech a major source of that growth. That sent shares to record highs.

While the 10-foot-by 4-foot Amazon and Google displays won’t be as large or fancy as Best Buy’s current store-within-a-store arrangements with the likes of Samsung and Apple (AAPL, -1.52%), and will be staffed by Best Buy workers, they are part of Best Buy’s efforts to offer customers consultations and advice they can’t find online, a key prong in its successful strategy to beat back at online competitors like Amazon.

As reported by Barron’s this week, Piper Jaffray analyst Peter Keith recently called Best Buy “the biggest consumer retail beneficiary for smart home adoption” positioned to ride growing interest in smart home products.

[Source”timesofindia”]

AA batteries power this simple smart doorbell

Image result for AA,batteries,power,this,simple,smart,doorbell

If you’re intimidated by the prospect of installing a doorbell, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, startup Olive & Dove wants to help. Its $199 smart doorbell, RemoBell, relies exclusively on AA batteries. That means you can’t even hard-wire this thing if you wanted to — with RemoBell, it’s AAs or bust.

Check out its specs:

  • Requires 6 AA batteries
  • Wi-Fi-enabled
  • 720p HD video resolution
  • Infrared night vision
  • Heat-sensing motion detector
  • Push alerts
  • Two-way audio
  • 120-degree field of view

RemoBell isn’t the first door buzzer to work over battery power, but it is the first HD video-streaming smart model I know of that opted for AAs over a rechargeable battery.

Olive & Dove says RemoBell should run for up to 4 months before needing a new set of batteries. While the reliance on batteries could be annoying if you don’t always have a stash of them on hand, it’s definitely faster than waiting for a rechargeable battery to charge fully. It also helps that AAs are easy to find, compared to Netgear’s indoor-outdoor Arlo camera, which relies on expensive and hard-to-find CR123 batteries.

I do question the 4-month battery life, particularly if the camera is located in a busy area, but RemoBell’s “heat-sensing” motion sensor is supposed to help limit alerts to people only. I’ve reached out to Olive & Dove for a review unit and hope to test out this functionality soon. The startup doesn’t mention any specific smart home integrations with RemoBell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re added soon — a blog post on their site discusses the importance of the smart home and home security.

Olive & Dove hasn’t yet announced international availability, but the price converts to roughly £160 and AU$265 at the current exchange rate.

 

 

[Source:- CNET]

Solve this puzzle and (maybe) win a job at Dyson

Image result for Solve this puzzle and (maybe) win a job at Dyson

Are you smart enough to escape a locked room — and walk into a job at Dyson?

The British company, famous for its vacuum cleaners and other slinkily designed home appliances, is recruiting 110 software engineers. And in a stunt to promote that hunt for new talent, Dyson is combining cryptic video brainteasers with one of those “escape the room“-type challenges.

On Saturday 4 February and Sunday 5 February, Dyson will open The Smart Rooms, a pop-up puzzle palace in London where contenders must complete software-engineering-based challenges. It’s like “The Crystal Maze”, only nerdier.

Working as part of a team on on your own, you’ll quest to solve each puzzle and advance to the next room. Each challenge is projected onto the walls, so although you’re not actually moving, you advance through different virtual environments.

The winners take home a 360 Eye robot vacuum cleaner signed by James Dyson himself. And who knows, maybe Jim will spot your talent and take you on.

If you think you’re smart enough to crack the Smart Rooms, all you have to do is find the entry code hidden in this video and send it to Dyson. Oh, and travel to London, but you’re smart — you can figure that out on your own.

 

 

 
[Source:- CNET]

Still talk on the phone? You can make calls with this Viio Vezzo smart mirror

Image result for Still talk on the phone? You can make calls with this Viio Vezzo smart mirror

Need to call your friend while you put in your contacts? A company called Viio has created mirrors that let you chat through your mirror. Viio equips its mirrors with Bluetooth, so you can connect them wirelessly to your mobile device, tablet or computer. The built-in microphone and speakers let you make phone calls or play music directly through the mirrors. And if you’re just concerned with how you look, the Viio mirrors include LED lights around the perimeter.

The Viio mirrors come in three different models — the Vezzo, Vero and Vetta — that cost $395, $445 and $695, respectively. You can order the mirrors online and in a few Home Depot, Best Buy and Lowe’s stores in Canada. Home Depot and Lowe’s will begin to sell the mirrors in the US this spring. (The site doesn’t yet ship to the UK or Australia, but those prices range from £320 to £565, or AU$520 to AU$920.)

Smart mirrors might be the next hot category as tech companies begin to make health and beauty products. The company Simplehuman has its own line of smart mirrors that customize light settings based on selfies you save in the accompanying app. And an auto-sensing smart mirror called Juno has raised more than $425,000 during its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, thanks to features like light settings just for reading, makeup or selfies.

Viio features

  • Auxiliary cord connection
  • Anti-fog button
  • 6-hour battery or permanent plug
  • Wood backing to mount on walls
  • Vezzo: 24×32 inches, $395
  • Vero: 30-inch diameter circular mirror, $445
  • Vetta: 24×64 inches, $695

 
[Source:- CNET]

 

Best Blu-ray players 2017 UK: the most popular Blu-ray and DVD players you can buy in the UK, including 3D Blu-ray players | 3D Blu-ray player reviews

We reveal the best Blu-ray players you can buy in the UK in 2017. Blu-ray player buying advice. Most popular Blu-ray players to buy today.

Also see: Best Tech Deals

In a world of online catch-up TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube who needs a DVD player any more? Without the arrival of high-quality Blu-ray discs some time ago maybe watching content on disc would have died out by now but most of us still have enough DVDs and box sets to warrant that extra box below the TV.

And today’s best Blu-ray players boast streaming features themselves, with smart apps and access to BBC iPlayer, Netflix and the rest built in.

If you have a 3D TV then you need your DVD/Blu-ray player to be 3D compatible, too – so look out for players that work with 3D Blu-ray discs.

Here we highlight the most popular Blu-ray/DVD players on Amazon, which are considered some of the best Blu-ray players by their user reviews. We also take into account user reviews on Reevoo, and independent reviews from the likes of Which? and other testers. We haven’t reviewed these products.

Features to look out for. All these players will play both Blu-ray and DVD discs, but some boast greater features than others.

Best Blu-ray players: what is Blu-ray

Blu-ray discs can hold much more data than DVD discs, and so are great for high-definition TVs, where the picture quality can be much higher than you’d get from a DVD. All Blu-ray players can also play standard DVDs (upscaling the video to near-HD resolutions). Usually the Blu-ray player is preset to upscale a 480i recording (SD-DVD) to 1080P (full HD) output by default. This doesn’t mean that content on DVDs looks as great as on Blu-ray discs but it should noticeably improve the DVD’s quality. Some newer models of Blu-ray player can “up-convert” 1080p high def to 4K for the latest Ultra HD TVs.

Best Blu-ray players: Blu-ray specs explained

Best Blu-ray players – 3D: You might think that owning a 3D TV means you can play 3D discs, but you’d be wrong. Your Blu-ray player also needs to be 3D compatible, so look out for this feature if you want to enjoy 3D movies on disc.

Best Blu-ray players – Wi-Fi: Some Blu-ray players have Wi-Fi built in so you can stream or download movies and TV shows from the Internet without the need for a wired Ethernet connection.

Best Blu-ray players – Ethernet: If you want your downloads to complete faster than via Wi-Fi look for a player with an Ethernet LAN port. These are only useful if you have a wired connection from your router nearby, which most people won’t have near their TV. However, you can use your house’s electrical cabling as a proxy Ethernet cable by using Powerline adapters. You plug one in to a wall power socket near your router, and connect that via Ethernet (cables included with the Powerline adapters), then plug another adapter near your home-entertainment centre/TV/Blu-ray player. Then you connect thise devices to the Powerline via another Ethernet cable. Bingo, you now have wired internet access straight to your TV/player. See Best Powerline adapters.

Best Blu-ray players – Smart apps: Smart Blu-ray players include built-in apps that offer TV- and movie-streaming on services such as Amazon Prime or Netflix, catch-up TV on apps such as BBC iPlayer, and even social media on Facebook and Twitter.

Best Blu-ray players – DNLA: DLNA (which stands for the Digital Living Network Alliance) allows sharing or streaming content such as movies, music and photos over a home network – for example, from your laptop to your TV, or playing an MP3 on your phone.

Best Blu-ray players – USB: Some Blu-ray players include a USB slot so you can simply plug in a USB memory stick or hard drive to play movies, TV shows, home videos, photos and music on your TV screen.

Best Blu-ray players – 4K: If you have a 4K TV you’ll want a Blu-ray player that can upscale to super high-resolution 4K, so look out for this feature. If you don’t have a 4K TV (or aren’t planning on buying one in the next year or so) this feature won’t matter to you.

Best Blu-ray players: where to buy

In this feature we look at the most popular Blu-ray players, using data from Amazon. But the models listed here can also be found – sometimes cheaper – on other online retailers such as Tesco, Currys, PCWorld and Argos.

Samsung BD-J4500

Samsung BD-J4500

  • RRP: £45

The Samsung BD-J4500 is one of the most popular Blu-ray players on Amazon. It’s super cheap but garners great user reviews on many retailer web sites, although it’s a no-frills budget model that lacks a network connection or smart apps. That said, if you’re after just a Blu-ray player and none of the extras this is great value.

It plays both Blu-ray and DVD discs, but not 3D. It plays high-quality Blu-ray discs and upscales DVDs to Full HD for rich, sharp visuals and clear sound.

The BD-J4500 also lets you play your own multimedia from a USB memory stick or HDD. And AllShare lets you access movies, music and photos via DLNA, so you can enjoy your content wirelessly.

One of its big claims – aside from the super-inexpensive price tag – is support for the largest number of codec and file formats. Many popular video formats such as Flash and QuickTime are supported, as well as VOB files from DVDs. In addition to MP3 audio, you can listen to lossless FLAC files as well as .WMA, .OGG, .WAV and more. Pictures can be viewed in the popular JPEG picture format, as well as PNG files, GIF files and more.

3D: No          Wi-Fi: No          Ethernet: No

Smart apps: No          DNLA: Yes        USB: Yes          4K: No

Sony BDP-S1500

Sony BDP-S1500

  • RRP: £69.60

Another bargain Blu-ray and DVD player the Sony BDP-S1500 offers Full HD. Images are detailed and clear, and colours take on a rich intensity thanks to Sony’s TRILUMINOS colour technology. (Note this technology is exclusive to Sony and optimised for use with accompanying TRILUMINOS TVs, so you’d need a matched TV to get the most from it, although the player will work without it on other TVs.)

Like the other Blu-ray players the BDP-S1500 also upscales standard definition DVD movies to near-HD quality.

You can also stream content from a variety of online entertainment providers (BBC iPlayer, YouTUbe, Skype and apps made for your TV via the Opera TV Store), via the Sony Entertainment Network.

The BDP-S1500 boasts a quick start so will deliver fast loading times, and it boots up in less than a second.

3D: No          Wi-Fi: No          Ethernet: Yes

Smart apps: Yes          DNLA:          USB: Yes          4K: No

Sony BDP-S5500 3D

Sony BDP-S5500 3D

  • RRP: £100

The compact Sony BDP-S5500 offers not just Blu-ray and DVD playback, but also supports 3D Blu-rays discs. This Blu-ray Disc player also upscales 2D video to “simulated 3D” for enhanced depth and improved on-screen image detail.

With the BDP-S5500’s built-in super Wi-Fi Pro, you can browse the best online entertainment on the big screen. Smooth, fast streaming means you’ll enjoy Internet content with fewer interruptions and greater picture quality. Upscaled and native 3D Blu-ray movies also come to life in Full HD 3D for a more immersive viewing experience.

With Miracast you can view and share smartphone content on your TV, giving your photos, videos, and music the big screen treatment. Also you can use your tablet or smartphone (Android or iOS) to control your Blu-ray Disc player, and learn more about what you’re watching, with the TV Sideview app.

Like the BDP-S1500 it is compatible with Sony’s exclusive TRILUMINOS colour technology.

Enjoy all the fine detail of the original recording in clear, high-fidelity surround sound with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD. DLNA allows you to share multimedia content across all supported devices in your home. The USB slot is handily positioned on the front.

3D: Yes          Wi-Fi: Yes          Ethernet: Yes

Smart apps: Yes          DNLA: Yes          USB: Yes          4K: No

LG BP250

LG BP250

  • RRP: £49.99

The no-nonsense, compact LG BP250 is a Blu-ray and DVD player that also allows you to play videos, photos and music via a USB drive (handy slot on the front).

Like the other players here it will also upscale your DVD collection to near-HD quality.

While it won’t work with 3D discs and doesn’t offer smart TV apps most people won’t miss these extras. It has an HDMI slot on the back, but no Ethernet.

3D: No          Wi-Fi: No          Ethernet: No

Smart apps: No          DNLA: No          USB: Yes          4K: No

Samsung BD-J5500

Samsung BD-J5500

  • RRP: £61.99

This is one of the cheaper 3D Blu-ray players, and also includes smart functions such as Opera TV apps so you can watch BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, You Tube, and Netflix among others.

The curved design makes this Blu-ray/DVD player stand out from the crowd, and mimics Samsung’s curved TVs and soundbars.

You can plug in a USB memory stick or hard drive and then use ConnectShare Movie to share everything from home movies and downloaded music to photos, with friends and family. The BD-J5500 is DLNA compliant, and has built-in Wi-Fi.

3D: Yes          Wi-Fi: Yes         Ethernet: Yes

Smart apps: Yes         DNLA: Yes          4K: No

Sony BDP-S7200 4K

Sony BDP-S7200 4K

  • RRP: £169

The Song BDP-S7200 might cost more than the other Blu-ray drives listed here, but it does upscale Blu-ray Full HD content to 4K for the latest, high-resolution TVs. Audio playback is super high resolution too.

Its dual-core processor enables faster streaming, quicker loading and smoother playback.

Download the TV SideView app to start using your smartphone or tablet as a remote control. And you can view and share your smartphone on your TV with screen mirroring.

3D: No         Wi-Fi: Yes          Ethernet: Yes

Smart apps: Yes          DNLA: Yes         USB: Yes          4K: Yes

Samsung DVD-E360 DVD Player with USB Host 2.0

Samsung DVD-E360 DVD Player with USB Host 2.0

  • RRP: £29

This DVD player doesn’t play Blu-rays

This Samsung player is as simple and affordable as they come. It has the clever functionality of being able to play videos stored on USB sticks. You can even convert audio CDs onto MP3 with the built-in audio rip feature.

Sony DVP-SR170 DVD Player

Sony DVP-SR170 DVD Player

  • RRP: £39

This DVD player doesn’t play Blu-rays

One of the best selling DVD players on Amazon, this Sony DVD player will do everything you want (apart from play Blu-rays – scroll up for those).

It’s only 270mm thick, meaning it’s a great space saver with the ability to playback a plethora of media formats for video, audio and images.

Panasonic DVD Player

Panasonic DVD Player

  • RRP: £29.99

This DVD player doesn’t play Blu-rays

Hassle-free, dust-proof design coupled with handy USB playback make this a slim, easy DVD player to use. You really don’t need much more than the basics if all you want to do is play films.

 

[Source:- PCA]

Best smart switch 2017 UK: Control lights, fans, heaters, kettles, cookers, irons, straighteners and more from your phone

Which smart switch is best? What do smart switches do, and are they worth the money? We test five of the contenders: the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch, TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug, Elgato Eve Energy, Energenie Mi| Home Adapter Plus and the Efergy Ego. Also read our reviews of the best smart light bulbs

Also see: Best Gadget Deals

Just as smart thermostats are muscling in on old-school programmers, smart switches are having a good go at yesterday’s twiddly timer switches.  Also see: Best robot vacuum cleaners

What is a smart switch?

Basically it’s a switch that you plug into a power socket, and then plug another device’s plug into so you can control it via an app on your smartphone or tablet over Wi-Fi.

With the best smart switches you can set schedules, monitor energy usage and find out which devices are used most often and when. Armed with such data you can start saving on your home’s domestic electricity usage. Sounds interesting, but is it really useful?

The not-very-smart traditional power timer switch is pretty handy at switching things like lights, kettles and fish tanks on at set times or intervals. You can buy an analogue timer switch for under a fiver, or get a fancy digital one for a few pounds more.

The ‘smart’ switch is more capable, linking with a smartphone app for device control wherever you are with an internet connection (Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, etc). Say you stay out longer than you were expecting to (“Go on, just one more pint:”) and really want a light on inside your house to pretend you’re home. With a dumb-ish switch you’re stuffed. With a smart switch you’re only dumb if you let your phone battery run out.

Tap the app, select the smart switch you’re after, and turn on the light. Bingo.

Some experts think you could save on your energy bills by powering down your fridge freezer for a couple of hours a day. Read: Best smart home heating systems.

With a smart switch you could control the TV in your child’s room from the comfort of your armchair, although popping your head around the door and/or reading them a book would be better parenting. Read: How much screen time is safe for kids.

Energy monitoring

One of the more appealing functions of smart switches is energy use and cost monitoring. Not all switches offer this feature, but many do. Devices are often left on standby when not in use for large parts of the day, and standby use accounts for around up to 16 percent of the average electricity bill, reckons energy gadget maker Efergy. With a smart switch you can dramatically cut down on this wasted Standby time. Efergy’s own Ego smart socket, see review below, is especially clever at cutting back on Standby time.

And there’s enough on offer to save you time and effort, too, in the day. Fill your kettle or coffee maker in the morning, and turn it on via the app when you get out of bed so that it has boiled by the time you get to your kitchen. This might sound a very lazy use of technology, but it’s a daily time saver – if you remember to fill the kettle the night before!

The ability to turn devices on and off via Wi-Fi from afar, plus on various timed schedules, is useful. Seeing the energy usage and costs of various devices could help you save money, but this would be even more useful if such switches could monitor multiple devices on a power strip, and these do exist now.

Prices

Smart switches start at around £25, and rise to around £55, so they’re not yet so cheap you can buy one for every appliance. But for those you really want to control from afar, it can be worth the outlay.

TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug

TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug

  • RRP: £24.99 inc VAT

TP-Link’s Wi-Fi Smart Plug is one of our top picks. For a start, it’s only £24.99 from Amazon and second, it connects via Wi-Fi directly to your router. So it doesn’t need a hub, nor does it need (as Elgato’s Eve Energy does) an Apple TV or iPad for remote control away from home.

There are iOS and Android apps, but the icing on the cake is that it also works with Amazon Alexa. That means – while at home – you can say, “Alexa turn on the xxx” and control your device hands-free.

Via the app you can create schedules as you can with Energenie’s switch, turning the plug on and off as many times as you like, with different schedules for each day if you like. Using your location, you can also choose sunrise and sunset as triggers.

There’s also a timer mode so you can turn the plug on or off after a preset time, which could be handy for a sleep timer or to turn off the TV once the kids have had enough screen time.

For £10 more, you can buy the HS110 which is the same except that it also monitors the energy the connected device consumes. You see at a glance how many kWh the appliance has used so far today and how long it has been on. Tap on each and you get more detail, such as current power usage, plus totals and daily averages for the past week and month. (It’s the same breakdown for runtime).

With a well-designed and good-looking app, no need for a hub and a decent price, the TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug is one of the best you can buy right now.

Efergy Ego Smart Switch

Efergy Ego Smart Switch

  • RRP: £29.99 inc VAT

The Efergy Ego smart switch (which you can buy from Amazon for £29.99) can work like a regular timer, and also has the knack of switching devices on and off at random, which could be useful when you’re trying to give the impression that a home is occupied when it’s actually vacant for a long time.

Its smartphone or tablet app will show you the energy usage of a device or strip of devices, plus their estimated cost over a period of time. Isolate the worst culprits and you’ll soon be making sure they’re properly switched off when not required.

While it lacks WeMo’s handy Notifications feature, the Ego wins out with its ability to learn and turn off appliances automatically that have been on stand-by for too long

When the appliance, most probably your TV, is plugged into the Ego and is on standby you go to the Stand-by/Learn screen in the app. Press the learn button and the Ego stores that value. Then in the Standby feature you set an amount of time, so after ‘x’ minutes of the TV being on standby I want it to turn off at the mains.

There is a also a Group function for those who multiple Ego switches in their home. You can group them together and control them all from the Group/scene page. The best application for this is to have all appliances in one room in a group.

Like the WeMo, the Efergy Ego is reasonably inconspicuous but still a little too bulky to not get in the way of other sockets’ flick switches. It is taller than the WeMo.

No hub is needed, so the price is all you pay, and at £29.99 at the moment (usually £39.99) it’s great value.

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Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

  • RRP: £49.99 inc VAT

You can buy the WeMo Insight Switch for £49.99 from Argos, so it certainly isn’t cheap. It’s part of a larger WeMo home-automation series of products, including Smart LED Bulbs and Light Switch, and WeMo Motion.

There’s a very visible green power-on indicator on top, and, weirdly, a Micro USB port that currently has no function. Setting up the switch is straightforward, if a little long-winded at first. It took us a couple of goes to get it to recognise our Wi-Fi. But at least it doesn’t require a separate hub connected to your router.

Plug the Switch into a power outlet in your home and then plug your chosen device into the Switch. Download the free WeMo App (iOS and Android), and pair it with the Switch and your Wi-Fi network.

Aside from turning things off without getting off your backside WeMo can inform you when, for instance, a laundry cycle is complete, which is actually rather handy. This is set up in the WeMo app’s clever Rules section. Or you could be alerted when your child has exceeded his or her allotted screen/TV time.

Via the app you set rules that trigger the power according to preset times, or to respond automatically to sunrise and sunset, or through motion detection via Belkin’s WeMo Motion detector (an extra £64).

Rules can be set for: Weekends; Weekdays; and, Individual days. And allow for: Turn on only; Turn off only; and, Turn on then off.

It isn’t the cheapest but the ability to create rules could make it the best option for you.

Elgato Eve Energy

Elgato Eve Energy

  • RRP: £44.95

The Eve Energy is a smart switch which also monitors how much power the connected device uses over time. It’s an Apple HomeKit plug which means it works only with iOS devices. However, this also means you can control it with your voice using Siri and that it benefits from the full encryption that HomeKit offers.

Rather than use Wi-Fi, the switch uses Bluetooth. This makes setup easy (and also means you don’t need to have a hub connected to your router) but it does limit the range over which it can be controlled. It will work in most ‘normal’ UK homes, but if you want to control it when away from home, you’ll need an Apple TV (3rd gen or later) or a spare home-based iPad (newer than iPad 2) running iOS 8.1 or later.

You can turn the switch on and off via the Apple Home app in iOS 10 or use the Eve app. If you’re standing next to the switch, there’s a button on top for manual control, too.

Setting up timers is possible using the Scenes tab in the app, but creating a schedule is needlessly complicated compared to other apps, such as TP-Link’s. However, the Eve app is built to work with the whole Eve range – not just a smart switch – and you can make all the gadgets work together using Scenes. It’s powerful, but could be easier to use.

It’s fairly expensive at £44.95 from Apple, but if you already have an iPad or Apple TV for remote access and you like the idea of controlling it via Siri, it could be right for you .

Energenie MI|Home Adapter Plus

Energenie MI|Home Adapter Plus

  • RRP: £34.99 inc VAT

Energenie’s Adapter Plus is the top-of-the-range switch which monitors and controls connected devices. It’s not too expensive at £34.99, but does require a £69.99 hub that connects to your router.

You can buy the Adapter Plus bundle, though, which includes two switches and the hub for £109.99. And there are other products in the range including two-gang wall sockets, smart TRVs, motion sensors and door / window sensors.

Pairing the switch with the hub is as simple as plugging it in and holding down the button for a few seconds. You can then add it as a new device in the Mi|Home app (Android / iOS).

In the app you can tap ON or OFF to manually control the switch (even when away from home) but you can also set up timers. You’re free to create as many as you like, for multiple power cycles each day and different times on different days.

There’s also a geofencing setting so you can turn it off (or on) when you leave the house and then do the opposite when you return. You can even set different distances to trigger the geofencing depending on whether you’re leaving or returning.

For energy monitoring, you can see current and average power use, plus daily and hourly totals. It will also tell you how much the connected device has cost to run each month for the last quarter.

Plus, Energenie has just launched a skill for Alexa, so you can control the plug using your voice – and an Amazon Echo.

 

[Source:- PCA]

At Britannia Windows, we have thought of everything to make your home as secure as possible.

security-2

Here are just a few components which will keep you safe; our key locking security handles are fitted as standard and available in a range of finishes, our internal glazing prevents the glass being removed from the outside and our multi-chambered PVCu frame is constructed with welded joints for added strength. Our key locking feature is also made with an anti-bump, anti-pick, anti-drill, anti-snap and anti-extraction promise and is trusted by many insurance companies.

Safe and Secure

We take the security of your home seriously and from start to finish, our product development process is geared towards giving you the very best. We use the best quality locks, the correct reinforcement and the right components to make sure that you can relax, safe in the knowledge that your house is safe and secure.

For added security be sure to ask your adviser about security upgrades such as laminated glass, enhanced security cylinders and heavy duty door handles.

 

 

[Source:- windownews]

LG to launch India specific products in home appliances

Image result for LG to launch India specific products in home appliancesb

Korean consumer electronics major LG plans to launch India specific products in the home appliances segment to strengthen its leadership position, while looking to enhance exports from the country.

The company is also looking to increase the level of usage of local components in its home appliances.

“The Indian market is among the top and important growing market for us. We will offer new technology products and also products tailored for the Indian consumers,” LG Electronics Vice President, (Head of Home Appliances, Middle East Africa and Asia Sales & Marketing Division) Daniel Shin told reporters here.

Citing examples of India specific products, he said LG has introduced water purifiers, top loaded washing machines with heaters that reduce cycles and also refrigerators that can keep items cool for seven hours during power cuts.

“In the second half of this year and early next year, we will launch premium products in India which have been verified in developed markets,” Shin said, adding new door-in-door refrigerator and washing machines with latest technologies were in the pipeline.

In Korea, LG has already introduced smart appliances, which can interact with users through a chat application on mobile phone and enable to control away from home. While the company did not specify time line for launching such products in India, these could come in the future.

Highlighting the significance of the Indian market, LG Electronics Senior Vice President (Head of Home Appliances, Overseas Sales and Marketing group) James Park said : “The contribution from India in LG’s overall home appliances is among the top…LG has a high market share in India and to maintain that we will continue to invest there.”

LG India is targeting sales of Rs 9,600 crore in 2014, up from Rs 8,000 crore in 2013 from its home appliances.

Last year, the company had a market share of 36 per cent in the Indian home appliances market that is estimated to touch Rs 24,000 crore this year at a growth of 10 per cent from 2013.

Park said apart from catering to the domestic market, the company will also increase exports from India.

“We have been manufacturing in India for the last 15 years and we are going to increase exports to other markets from there,” he said.
Currently, LG exports a range of products to 63 countries from India.

 

 

[Source:- ZEE]