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]

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 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.

.

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]

European expansion helps Nest’s smart home grow

Image result for European expansion helps Nest's smart home grow
Google/Alphabet’s smart home brand, Nest, today announced a retail expansion to Spain, Italy, Germany and Austria. While Nest products are used in over 190 countries, they were previously only sold in the US, UK, Belgium, Canada, France, Ireland and the Netherlands. Adding four more countries to its official retail roster could increase its presence in the European smart home market.

But not so fast. The availability of Nest’s thermostat, smoke and carbon monoxide detector, indoor camera and outdoor camera (video below) will vary by country. Here’s an overview of Nest’s planned product rollout, straight from the official press release:

  • Spain — The Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Cam Indoor, and Nest Cam Outdoor is available from Amazon, Media Markt and El Corte Inglés for preorder today.
  • Italy — The Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor are available from Amazon, Media World and ePrice for preorder today.
  • Germany and Austria — Nest Protect smoke + carbon monoxide alarm, Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor is available from Amazon, Media Markt and Conrad for preorder today. The Nest Learning Thermostat is expected to be available later this year.
  • The good news is that most products are available for preorder starting now with shipping slated for mid-February. Customers in Germany and Austria will have to wait a little longer for the Nest Learning Thermostat, though.

    A Nest spokesperson told us the Nest Smart Home Skill on the Alexa app is a “global integration,” meaning new customers in countries where Nest products and the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Tap are sold should be able to control their thermostat with Alexa voice commands.

    Nest also has its own smart home platform and its parent company, Google, manufacturers and sells Amazon Echo competitor, the Google Home. The Google Home is currently only sold in the United States, but its Google Assistant voice control software is available on select Android phones such as the Pixel and Pixel XL — both phones are available in Germany. Be sure to check out CNET’s Nest and Google Home/Google Assistant compatibility pages to find even more products that might work with Nest in your country.

[Source:- CNET]

Samsung now sells smart built-in home appliances like wall ovens

Samsung now sells smart built-in home appliances like wall ovens

Samsung sells smart home appliances like refrigerators and washers, but up until now, it never offered smart built-in appliances.

The South Korean company on Tuesday introduced a new line of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled wall ovens, cooktops, and range hoods. These appliances, which will be available starting in November, work with Samsung’s SmartThings Hub, which lets you connect and remotely control all of your smart products from one place. The new line is expensive, but we’re sure there are premium consumers out there who are interested.

Prices will range from $1,100 for the cooktops and range hood to $4,000 for the double wall oven. There are double- and single-wall ovens that cost between $2,199 to $3,999. With them, you can control and monitor your cooking food from your phone. The gas cooktops cost between $1,199 to $1,699, while the electric are $1,099 to $1,499, and the induction ones are $2,099 to $2,499.

The smart range hoods cost between $1,099 to $1,299, you can sync them with the cooktops. You’ll of course need to do a bit of home remodeling in order to outfit your house with these appliances, which will further increase your total.

But if you’re up for the expense and challenge, Samsung’s new built-in products should suit your needs.

 

 


[Source:- pocket-lint]

BT Smart Hub wants to kill your home’s black spots

British Telecom has revealed its new BT Smart Hub, which will re-energise its Wi-Fi signal and make it the most powerful signal available in Britain compared to routers from other broadband providers.

BT is aiming to offer a faster and broader service, with more locations and a reduction in dropped receptions and an increase in reliable speeds. It’s planning to do this with a larger array of antennae – seven in total, which is more than any other broadband provider operating in the UK today. It will use the latest AC Wi-Fi tech so you can use multiple devices on the same signal without that drop in speed’s we’ve become accustomed to.

 

“Customers want a quality connection throughout their homes and the new BT Smart Hub delivers the UK’s most powerful Wi-Fi signal so customers can enjoy Wi-Fi in more places,” says Pete Oliver, MD consumer, commercial, marketing and digital at BT. “It’s packed with the latest wi-fi technology and is the only router from a major UK broadband provider to offer 7 antennas to offer unbeatable Wi-Fi range.”

Launching in the summer, the new BT Smart Hub will be small enough to be posted through your door – so need to worry about booking a day off to receive a package – and will be made available to existing BT customers first. Current BT Infinity customers get get access to one by reorganising their contract or via a fee of £50.

 

 

[Source: T3]

Balamp – a Smart Bedside Lamp

balamp-concepticon-studio-andrea-cingoli-1

Andrea Cingoli Italian designer wins the International iF Design Award 2016 prize in the lighting product category with Balamp, a smart occasional table or bedside lamp that works just like a balance: it turns on and off on the based on the weight of the objects placed upon it. The International Prize has been awarded on February 26th during the impressive Award Ceremony inside of the futuristic BMW Museum in Monaco, Germany.

The lighting design object Balamp designed by Concepticon studio Andrea Cingoli designer aims to live in symbiosis with the context around it (it serves as a place to put your personal things and objects) but its form is extremely refined. It does not allow any analog method of setting and to set Balamp (clock, alarm, tone and colour tone) you use a cell phone app, which makes it truly one of a kind.

“I am very proud of the iF Design Award – explains the designer Andrea Cingoli – because the Balamp lamp shows very well the essence of my way of designing. I do strong believe that innovation is the only way of dealing effectively with a hugely competitive and purposeful market, and this is the reason I explore and reinterpret the daily reality giving new meanings, unexpected shapes and functionality to design products”.

Everyday we observe our habits, our lifestyle, the trends that bring us to consider the natural evolution of how things work, keeping them in the same format, but with more and more functions. This is the case of Balamp, a bedside lamp whose function is based on the weight of the objects placed upon it: by placing objects on Balamp and then pushing down its dish, the weight is registered, and the lamp remains off. If you lift one of the objects off of it, like for instance a glass of water, Balamp turns on with a dim light so that you can have illumination without disturbing your partner. If you then put the removed object back, the lamp recognizes the weight and turns itself off. When Balamp turns on, the incorporated alarm clock displays the time for a few seconds by projecting it onto the beside dresser. To turn on Balamp with a higher intensity, all you have to do is push the top plate and keep it pressed to turn off the LED dimmer function.

The top plate is also a wireless battery charger that allows cell phones to be charged just by putting them on it. Materials: dark brushed steel, polycarbonate, a polished polymer for inductive charging, electrical equipment, dimmable LED strip, scratch-proof film; sizes 30Lx30Wx 5H (cm).

 

[Source: Interiorzine]

Smart ways to secure your home

Smart ways to secure your home

With summer approaching and holidays on the horizon, now’s a great time to ensure your home and garden security is as savvy as can be. Consider these easy and effective tips to make your home safe and secure and get peace of mind whether you’re out for a night at your local restaurant or soaking up the sun and sipping a cocktail abroad…

CONTROL, MONITOR AND SECURE

Checking up on your home while you’re out and about from the convenience of your smartphone or tablet is now easier than ever before. Panasonic’s Home Monitoring Twin Camera Kit KX-HNS102 features alarm sensors and indoor and outdoor cameras to give you footage of your home and garden via the dedicated Smart Home app. With one swipe of your smart device you can access a video of your home’s interior and exterior, so you’ll instantly know if there’s an intruder in your home or if your cats are clawing away at that fabulous new rug you bought for the living room. Hopefully not! You can also link to the system and use your smart device for two-way communication – this comes in handy for letting the postman know where to leave a parcel when you’re not home for example, or for communicating with other household members.

THINK LIKE A BURGLAR

Take a good look around the exterior of your home and in your garden and consider what could be used to break in. Are there ladders and tools within easy reach, for example? If so, lock them safely away. Then take a moment to hide anything they could get their hands on inside – keep important ID documents and car keys hidden away from doors, letterboxes and windows, for example.

DOUBLE CHECK YOUR DOORS

According to Safewise, a surprising 30% of burglars enter homes through unlocked doors and windows, without having to use force, so a little common sense can go a long way. For those with multi-locking door handles, the MET Police’s advice is to Lift, Lock and Remove. This means you should lift the handle, lock it with the key and remove the key, storing it in a safe place but out of sight. Don’t forget to secure unlocked back and side gates in the garden and fit sheds and garages with a decent lock too. Locks with alarms fitted in them are an inexpensive option and a very effective idea.

LIGHT THE WAY

When you’re away from home, use timer switches and smart plugs that are linked to lights and audio, such as a radio, to deter intruders so they think that someone is at home. You’ll find a smart plug in Panasonic’s KX-HNS102 kit and a DECT-enabled hub unit that wirelessly connects to its range of clever Smart Home devices as far as 300m away. Use the kit to control the lighting and audio in your home, turning it on and off remotely using your smart device. It comes in useful when you’re at home too, letting you turn on the music, dim the lights and feel as relaxed as you did on your summer holidays.

 

[Source: Panasonic]

Balamp – a smart Bedside Lamp

balamp-concepticon-studio-andrea-cingoli-3

Andrea Cingoli Italian fashion designer wins the worldwide iF layout Award 2016 prize inside the lights product class with Balamp, a smart occasional table or bedside lamp that works similar to a balance: it activates and rancid on the based on the weight of the gadgets positioned upon it. The international Prize has been provided on February twenty sixth in the course of the remarkable Award rite interior of the futuristic BMW Museum in Monaco, Germany.

The lighting layout item Balamp designed by means of Concepticon studio Andrea Cingoli clothier ambitions to stay in symbiosis with the context around it (it serves as a place to position your private matters and gadgets) but its form is extremely refined. It does not permit any analog method of setting and to set Balamp (clock, alarm, tone and coloration tone) you operate a mobile cellphone app, which makes it absolutely one in all a type.

i am very happy with the iF layout Award – explains the fashion designer Andrea Cingoli – because the Balamp lamp shows very well the essence of my manner of designing. I do strong accept as true with that innovation is the best way of dealing correctly with a hugely competitive and functional market, and that is the purpose I explore and reinterpret the daily fact giving new meanings, unexpected shapes and functionality to design products”.

everyday we examine our conduct, our life-style, the developments that convey us to take into account the herbal evolution of the way matters work, preserving them inside the identical layout, however with an increasing number of features. this is the case of Balamp, a bedside lamp whose function is primarily based at the weight of the objects located upon it: by using putting items on Balamp after which pushing down its dish, the weight is registered, and the lamp remains off. if you carry one of the items off of it, like for example a tumbler of water, Balamp turns on with a dim light so that you could have illumination with out worrying your associate. If then you definately placed the removed item returned, the lamp acknowledges the burden and turns itself off. while Balamp activates, the incorporated alarm clock displays the time for a few seconds by way of projecting it onto the beside dresser. to turn on Balamp with a better depth, all you have to do is push the top plate and maintain it pressed to show off the LED dimmer characteristic.

The top plate is likewise a wireless battery charger that allows cellular phones to be charged simply by using putting them on it. materials: darkish brushed steel, polycarbonate, a sophisticated polymer for inductive charging, electrical gadget, dimmable LED strip, scratch-evidence film; sizes 30Lx30Wx 5H (cm).

Devolo Home Control Starter Pack review – smart home for the masses?

Devolo Home Control Starter Pack

Devolo is best known for its range of Powerline Homeplug networking products, so it was a surprise to see the German company launch a range of smart home kit. The core Home Control Starter Kit contains a control hub, a door sensor and a plug adaptor for controlling electrical devices such as lamps. Other optional components include a smoke detector, motion sensors, thermostats, wall switches and key fobs. Surprisingly, given that most household lights in the UK are fitted into ceilings rather than free-standing lamps, Devolo doesn’t sell compatible lightbulbs.

The control hub connects to your router either via Ethernet or Powerline – oddly, there’s no Wi-Fi option. It communicates with all the other components using Z-Wave, so basic functions will continue to work in the event of an internet outage. It should be compatible with non-Devolo Z Wave smart home products, but I didn’t have the chance to test this.

The control hub has to be set up using a web browser on a desktop or laptop, and you have to create an online Devolo account. After that, everything can be configured and then controlled remotely from the web interface, which was easy to use despite the occasional bit of stray, untranslated German. Alternatively, you can also use Devolo’s respective iOS, Android and Amazon Fire My Devolo apps, but these weren’t quite as well organised as the web interface.

Devolo Home Control Starter Pack kit

The setup wizards for the home control components include handy streaming videos illustrating how to setup and install each one, although these can be very superficial for the simpler components such as the key fob. In most cases, it’s simply a matter of pressing a button or pulling out a plastic tab to turn the component on and waiting for it to register with your control hub before fitting it in the position of your choice. Most components can be fitted to walls and frames using either screws or double sided tape, both of which are included with each component where applicable.

Once everything is configured and in place, it’s easy to set up rules enabling your various home control components to work together automatically. I quickly created a rule where opening the front door would automatically turn on a radio plugged into the plug adaptor. I also created a rule where any movement detected by the motion sensor (£56 from Broadbandbuyer.co.uk) near a window automatically turned on a lamp plugged into the plug adaptor and sent an email notification. In another example, lights plugged into the plug adaptor were configured to turn on automatically if the smoke detector goes off, providing valuable illumination of your escape path in the event of an actual fire. You can also set rules to run on a schedule.

The plug adaptors keep track of power usage, so you can also use them to monitor any ruinously power-hungry appliances. Many of the components also measure temperature data, which you can track on a graph in the web interface, so you can easily identify hot or cold spots if you’re worried about your unevenly insulated home. Oddly, many of the components can also track brightness but this is shown as a meaningless percentage figure rather than something more useful such as lumens or nits.

Devolo Home Control Starter Pack adapter

The four-button key fob (£40 fromMoreComputers.com) and the wall switch (£43 from Kikatek.com) can be set up to manually run rules when pressed. The wall switch is a rocker and can be configured as either a single or double rocker switch using the included plates. These can be prised off gently using a small flat head screwdriver if you ever want to change the plate or need to change the battery.

One of the suggested use cases for the wall switch – mounting it on your bed frame – elicited much derisive chortling in the Shopper offices, but this can still be useful for turning on or off multiple devices plugged into plug adaptors without having to get out of bed, which is handy if you’re forgetful or have mobility issues.

The smoke detector (£56 from Broadbandbuyer.co.uk) was reassuringly loud and it’s tamper resistant, too – attempting to remove it from its mounting bracket or prise open the plain white plastic casing will cause the alarm to sound. Disappointingly, though, there’s no convenient way to silence the smoke detector, such as through the app, during false alarms – you’ll have to prod the small button or waft a tea towel instead.

Nest for Electricity? Ecoisme Offers Full Control Over Home Power Usage

This general lack of real intelligence also extends to the thermostat (£89 for the wall mounted room control version and £67 for the individual radiator version, both fromBroadbandbuyer.co.uk). Although I couldn’t test it extensively as our test home already has a Nest smart thermostat fitted, it doesn’t have any comparable learning features. While the ability to control the temperature remotely or easily schedule it are still useful given the generally poor state of thermostat interface design, the lack of more advanced capabilities shows that Devolo’s smart home kits feel more like improved versions of the home automation kits I’ve had for years rather than true smart home gear.

Another overarching issue, albeit shared with other connected home kits, is the lack of compatibility with rival smart home systems such as Works with Nest, Apple’s HomeKit and Google Brillo. Devolo does say it’s looking into compatibility with Nest and HomeKit, but for now smart home kit is still for early adopters willing to risk buying into a system that might not be popular enough to have a wide choice of compatible components a few years down the line.

A more immediate concern is Belkin’s comparably priced ZigBee-based Wemo smart home system. As well as having compatible light bulbs (albeit ones with screw rather than bayonet fittings), this system also works with IFTTT for more complex rules. Devolo’s Home Control Starter kit is still good, but I’d think carefully about what you want to achieve with it before purchasing.

SPECIFICATIONS
OS SUPPORT Windows 7/8/10, Ubuntu 14, Mac OS 10.7+, Android 4.0+, iOS 5+
TRANSMISSION SPEEDS Ethernet 10/100, Powerline networking 200/500
CENTRAL UNIT RANGE 30m (Powerline, Z-Wave indoors), 200m (Z-Wave outdoors)
WARRANTY Three years RTB

 

 

[Source:- Expertreviews]