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Tag Archives: smart home

The Coolest Smart Home Gadgets Showcased At CES 2017

smart home

Every year, the CES tradeshow in Las Vegas offers a glimpse into the future by bringing together the latest in global consumer electronics and technology.

The 2017 edition that took place at the beginning of January showed that smart home devices are going to enter every facet of our houses.

From devices meant to reduce food waste to gadgets that influence the quality of our sleep, they can all help you raise your home’s IQ. And make your life easier.

Here are some of the highlights showcased at this year’s CES edition:

A Fridge Accessory that Can Suggest Recipes and Reduce Food Waste

Figuring out what’s for dinner it’s an old-age quandary.

The FridgeCam – a camera devised to sit in the fridge – is meant to help homeowners with this problem.

smart home

Using custom food-recognition software, the FridgeCam makes your old refrigerator a lot smarter. It does so by keeping track of the food you have in it.

Based on this information, it can dish up ideas about what to cook. In addition, it notifies you when food is getting close to expiring to reduce food waste.

The FridgeCam can also help you shop smarter, as you can take a look inside your fridge from anywhere via an app.

The way it works is pretty straightforward. Whenever you want to put something in your fridge, you have to scan the food’s barcode on the FridgeCam’s app which uses WiFi to connect.

You’ll have to introduce fruits, vegetable and other foods that don’t have a barcode manually.

Smart LED Lights that Adjust Colour Based on the Time of Day

Soraa generally makes lighting solutions for corporate clients. However, the company is now also targeting the consumer market with Helia -a new line of bulbs that promise to mirror the feel of natural sunlight.

Using HomePlug Green PHY technology, these smart bulbs rely on sensors and can communicate with each another over a home’s existing electrical wiring.

Once you set them up via an app, the bulbs will automatically start modifying the type of colour they emit throughout the day. The purpose is to make the light easier on your eyes.

smart home

Also, these smart lights are set to address the issue of blue light, which is thought to be disruptive when it comes to our sleep patterns. By filtering out blue light, Helia bulbs are expected to help consumers get a better night’s rest.

A Smart Home Robot with a Friendly Face

Powered by Amazon’s Alexa, LG’s Hub robot is supposed to help homeowners do their chores faster.

This high-tech personal assistant includes Amazon’s Echo technology which it can employ to control your appliances.

Here are some of its other notable features you should know:

  • It connects to other smart home devices, so you can tell it to preheat the oven or start the washing machine.
  • Touch- screen face that can learn each family member’s face so that it can greet everyone in a different way.
  • It can tell the weather and play music.
  • Voice-activated.

LG hasn’t yet announced an official release date for the Hub robot, so it might be a couple of years until it comes to market.

A Smart LockBox that Works Offline

Improved security, a top concern for owners, was also one of the major themes at  CES 2017. One of the smart solutions that stood out was Igloohome’s smart keybox.

Designed for short-term rental hosts and homeowners, the device is meant to increase convenience and safety. By using it, owners can provide remote access to guests or visitors without having to be at the premises. 

Owners can create a PIN code, which is sent over to their guests. The PIN code is then used to unlock the keybox.  The PIN code will expire after a set amount of time to prevent unwanted access to the property.

Hope you enjoyed this selection of smart home devices which debuted at CES 2017. Are you looking forward to more articles like this? Make sure to keep an eye on our blog.

Also, don’t forget to share this post on social media with others who might find this information useful.

4 Smart Home Innovations to Look Forward to in 2017

smart home

It’s an exciting time to be a homeowner. From smart bulbs to smart locks, technology feels more and more at home in the housing sector.

Innovations are emerging constantly, and the industry promises to offer even more tangible benefits.

With 2017 coming soon, the smart home industry seems ready to open its doors to new devices that will ultimately make life easier.

Here are four devices that will make the new year a lot more interesting – and increase your property’s IQ.

smart home

1. Smart Plugs

If you’re looking to make your home smarter in 2017, smart plugs are an excellent way to start.

These plugs have already emerged on the market, and we can expect to see further development and increased capabilities in 2017.

Let’s take a look at the main features and corresponding benefits you’ll get if you decide to invest in this sort of device:

  • Control using your smartphone. Gain convenience and peace of mind. If you’re the kind who constantly forgets to turn plugs off in the morning, you can surely stand to benefit from this. You can switch electronics on or off remotely, so you won’t have to constantly worry about it.

smart home

2. Smart Gadgets to Help You Sleep Better

Devices meant to improve the quality of your sleep have become more and more popular in the smart home market. And this trend is expected to be carried on into 2017.

What kind of capabilities do they offer?

  • Monitor your vital signs while you sleep: heart rate, respiration.
  • Keep track of your sleeping pattern, including how many hours of sleep you get per night.
  • Monitors noise, light, temperature, and humidity in your bedroom.
  • Sleep assessment. Based on an evaluation of your sleep parameters, the devices can make certain recommendations, like advise you to see a doctor if there’s sign of a potential medical condition.

This information is typically gathered using a type of wearable device, a clip or a band that you strap to your bed. All that information is then sent to your smartphone through an app.

3. Intelligent Cooking Appliances that Have Computer-Like Capabilities

Technology impacts every aspect of our lives, including the way we cook.  The concept of “automated cooking” is still pretty new, but we can expect to hear more of it in 2017.

Products like the June Intelligent Oven offer a glimpse into what’s to come:

  • Software that can recognise a wide array of food and automatically cook them at the right temperature.
  • Built-in cameras. Keep an eye on your meal by live streaming your food.
  • Switching appliances on and off from a distance using an app.

Introducing this kind of technology into the kitchen is likely to make cooking a lot faster and easier. It will be interesting to see in which direction this automated cooking concept is headed in the near future.

4. Devices that Offer an Integrated Approach to Smart Home Security

Homeowners’ need for increased security is obvious. So it’s safe to assume security will be a main focus in 2017 as well.

Smart locks provide a resource offering that extra mile in protection. This type of technology will only become more sophisticated in the future.

smart home

Imagine a wireless world in which smart locks, CCTV cameras, smart doorbells, smoke detectors, and even your lights, can all communicate with one another.

If these devices can connect to networks, communicating with mobile devices and each other, they can gather and share relevant security data to create next level security.

For instance, a home security system’s motion detectors can track movement patterns over time and share data with the lock to detect any suspicious activity.

All homeowners can look forward to an all-around solution to give them peace of mind knowing their family and assets are protected.

Over to You

All in all, the future is looking bright. There are plenty of smart home innovations to get excited about in 2017.

If you want to be the first to know more about them, make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook as well to get the latest updates.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like some of the others from our blog.

Google Lines up for the Smart Home Competition – Here’s What’s New

smart home

Google really knows how to make an entrance on any market – be it already established or emerging.

Don’t forget that the search engine industry was already in full swing when Google first launched, yet now they’re the number one search engine in the world.

Maybe this is actually the aspect Google is counting on to get ahead of Amazon in the smart home industry. They’ve studied the market and know what it needs.

Still, they have a lot of catching up to do, though.

That’s because Amazon released their Echo speaker two years ago. It has quickly become a popular device and users adopted it with ease. Alexa, the assistant integrated within the Amazon Echo, can:

  • Play almost any song you request (even by genre)
  • Control smart appliances (lights, thermostat)
  • Answer your questions (“How’s the weather?” “What time is it?”)
  • Connect to and control many other types of smart devices

However, on the 4th of October, Google became Amazon’s competition. Well, with this article, we aim to help you learn more about Google’s smart home devices and how they plan to take on Alexa.

Is There a Difference between Google Home and Amazon Echo?

At first glance, both devices seem awfully similar.

Google’s freshly launched automated home device has an integrated voice assistant – just like the Echo. They both recognise natural speech and are activated by a particular phrase:

  • “Alexa” for the Amazon Echo
  • “OK, Google” for Google Home

smart home

However, you should keep in mind that Google has a lot more data at its disposal. A history of voice samples and oral commands is stored in each user’s Google account.

Plus, back in 2015, there were around 1.4 billion mobile Android devices in use. Even if only 10% of those users relied on vocal commands, the data Google gathered was still extremely useful.

Why? Because it facilitated the development of accurate speech recognition software.

Additionally, both Echo and Google Home devices rely on artificial intelligence. However, that’s also what sets both devices apart. How? Well, here’s what you need to know.

Google’s Smart Home Device Only Offers a Few Interesting Features for Now

As mentioned before, Google Home can recognise voice commands like Amazon Echo. Still, the key difference is in the artificial intelligence software behind them.

For the Echo device, the users need to repeat “Alexa” every time they want to launch a command. However, the voice assistant could sometimes return a negative response. In that case, users need to keep repeating the phrase quite often, which can get tiring.

That’s not the case with Google’s smart home device. To activate the voice command, you need to speak the phrase “OK, Google”. But you don’t need to repeat it for every follow-up question you have.

Additionally, Google’s integrated assistant can answer rather complex questions.

That has been achieved through the use of an advanced neural network capable of learning. A vast network of servers analyses vocal spectrograms (visual representations of a signal’s “loudness”) and tries to predict new patterns – like a human brain does.

smart home

Another thing that only Google Home can do is connect to video devices. And the new Chromecast Ultra has just been launched by Google to outline this feature. Granted, Amazon can match this by using their Fire TV devices.

Availability, Prices, and Conclusions

Well, Amazon’s Echo is now available in the UK. The device was officially launched on the 28th of September. It costs about £150.

Sadly, Google’s smart home device doesn’t yet have a release date for the UK. Still, there is some speculation that at least the price will be lower. The device will be available in US stores starting with the 4th of November.

It is safe to assume that Amazon is the better option at the moment. Its Echo speaker can connect to many smart home devices:

  • Smart lights
  • Smart locks
  • Smart hubs
  • Overall entertainment

On the other hand, Google Home announced integration with only a few devices for now.

In the end, we’ll just have to wait and see what features are added and what other companies partner up with Google. Who knows, they just might end up providing us with better smart home technology in the long run.

Lockrite is a team of expert locksmiths with a keen interest in bringing you the latest in automated home technology and security. Here are some of the professional services we provide.

For more information about automated homes, feel free to browse through our blog.

How Smart Home Security Surpasses Conventional Systems

smart home

In our quest for a smart home, we often forget what makes the security better than the old lock-and-key.

At LockRite, we’ve analysed this and would like to inform you on the subject.

Sit back and enjoy while we walk you through the benefits of a smart security system.

smart home

Why the Internet Saves Homes

Almost anything can be connected to the Internet nowadays – from the standard laptops and PCs to watches and even refrigerators.

Smart home security systems are no different. Some security cameras don’t even require you to follow a complicated installation procedure.

There are systems where you just connect your HD camera to the Internet and set it in the desired location. That’s it.

The reason you’re going to log into a network is to supervise your home while you’re away. You can do that through any hand-held device with access to the Internet.

You simply sync your device with the camera for an easy way to check on your home.

Of course, just watching your flat isn’t enough. You’ll also need a way to alert someone of the intruders’ presence if you’re not paying attention.

Luckily, there are alarm systems which offer motion-activated alerts for such occasions. Moreover, a tool like the Yale Easyfit Smartphone Alarm sends images to your smartphone when the alarm is activated.

Think of how much control you have just through the power of the Internet.

Get Notifications about Your Smart Home

Some people are just more paranoid than others about the safety of their assets. If only there was some way to check on the house while you were away.

Ah, but there is. Everyone has a smartphone nowadays. Security companies saw this as a chance to develop their own free security apps.

You can use your 3G/4G or Wi-Fi-enabled device to get notifications about unusual activity in your home. Not to mention live video feeds straight from the scene.

Deter Potential Intruders

The best way to deter thieves is for someone to be home all the time. Of course, that wouldn’t be viable for anyone.

However, potential intruders don’t need to know that you are out of the house. Fortunately, alarm systems nowadays can come fitted with power switch accessories.

That means light switches and some appliances can be turned on if unusual activity is detected on the premises.

It is highly unlikely that someone would attempt a robbery while the owners “are home”. Noisy alarms don’t always need to go off to discourage burglars.

smart home

The Question of Privacy

Some of you might wonder if security cameras don’t threaten your privacy. Fortunately, any alarm or CCTV system is in your total control at all times.

You decide where you set up the cameras, and consequently what you can see through the Smartphone app at all times.

Would you like more information about smart homes? We have all the new trends in home security on our blog. Give it a look.

If not, you might be interested in your own security option. You can peruse our offers and contact us through this form if you are interested.

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