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smart home

Smart windows could combine solar panels and TVs too

Imagine standing in front of a wall of windows, surveying the view. You hear someone enter the room behind you. You turn. “Welcome,” you say. “Here is the video I wanted to show you.” At the press of a button, the view vanishes and the windows transform into a high-definition TV screen. No, your friend isn’t James Bond, and you aren’t the next Q. Still, even as you watch the video, your window-TV ...[Read More]

Apple HomePod is already losing the smart speaker battle

The war for your digital home is waging. Apple has finally followed Amazon, Google and Microsoft by launching a smart speaker with a voice-controlled artificial intelligence assistant. Yet even though the “HomePod” is another technological marvel, there’s a chance Apple is already losing the battle. The competition isn’t just through the sound quality of the speaker – but the other things that use...[Read More]

Smart speakers could be the tipping point for home automation

One of the biggest trends of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year was companies taking digital smart assistants – think Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa – and incorporating them into more and more consumer devices. From smart light bulbs to smart toilets, it’s clear that the market sees great promise in devices you can speak to, combined with home devices y...[Read More]

Home runs: The 11 best smart home gadgets of CES 2018

There’s no doubt about it: buoyed by the widespread adoption of Alexa and Google Assistant-equipped kit and flexible platforms like Samsung’s SmartThings and Apple’s HomeKit, smart home tech feels like it’s finally on the cusp of mainstream adoption. After a decade or so of languishing in the consumer tech background, connected home products are getting some proper time in the spotlight – and ther...[Read More]

Moona is a R5,000 pillow that stays at your preferred temperature

Happiness is the cool side of the pillow, as the twee little saying goes. But, like many cliches, there is a hint of truth there. Occasionally a cool pillow against the cheek is just what you need to escape from the day. The question is, are you willing to pay more than R5,000 for it? The folks behind the Moona smart pillow, a project currently being Kickstarted, seem to think so. Their backers al...[Read More]

A day in the life of a smart-city commuter – and why it’s not so far from reality

The alarm on your smart phone went off 10 minutes earlier than usual this morning. Parts of the city are closed off in preparation for a popular end of summer event, so congestion is expected to be worse than usual. You’ll need to catch an earlier bus to make it to work on time. The alarm time is tailored to your morning routine, which is monitored every day by your smart watch. It takes into acco...[Read More]

Your smart home is trying to reprogram you

A father finds out his daughter is pregnant after algorithms identify tell-tale patterns in the family’s store card data. Police charge suspects in two separate murder cases based on evidence taken from a Fitbit tracker and a smart water meter. A man sues Uber for revealing his affair to his wife. Stories such as these have been appearing in ever greater numbers recently, as the technologies invol...[Read More]

Can you ever be sure your connected kit is really secure?

Assuming you’re a regular reader of this or other technology news sites your kneejerk reaction to this headline should be “nope”. That’s a good instinct. Because just as new hardware tends to outpace the legislation that governs it, the people and companies behind that hardware tend to prioritise features, functions and time to market over security. With the pace of innovation and the potential pe...[Read More]

Samsung PT Smartcam – Home Gadget of the Year 2016

It may look like something out of Dr. Who, but Samsung’s PT Smartcam is the best single-solution IP camera we’ve had the pleasure of freaking out our house guests with. The PT bit stands for pan and tilt, meaning one Samsung PT, cunningly placed, can provide visibility of a whole room. Add 1080p video to the mix and it can be a pretty big room, thanks to all the zoom flexibility that k...[Read More]

Sony’s charming little Xperia Agent robot will manage your home

OK, OK, you caught us – the Xperia Agent isn’t new, having first been spotted on trade show floors at MWC 2016. But this year, we’re getting a taste of its expanded repertoire of tricks. It’s still got an adorable “head” with two blinky eyes, which sits on top of a body made up mostly of screen, showing more info about the robot’s task at hand. We got a bit of a puppy vibe ...[Read More]

Amazon Echo will bring genuinely helpful AI into our homes much sooner than expected

What’s all the fuss about the voice-activated home speaker that Amazon is due to release in the UK and Germany in late September? This gadget has been available in the US for over a year and has proven a minor hit, with sales estimates between 1.6m and 3m. But these figures belie the potential impact this kind of artificial intelligence device could have on our lives in the near future. Echo doesn...[Read More]

Security risks in the age of smart homes

Smart homes, an aspect of the Internet of Things, offer the promise of improved energy efficiency and control over home security. Integrating various devices together can offer users easy programming of many devices around the home, including appliances, cameras and alarm sensors. Several systems can handle this type of task, such as Samsung SmartThings, Google Brillo/Weave, Apple HomeKit, Allseen...[Read More]

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