Smart Home Show : Talking Smart Home With Underwriter's Laboratories' Tom Blewitt

This week Mike talks with that company that puts a UL on all those devices in your home, Underwriter's Laboratories.

He talks to Tom Blewitt, who has been at UL for almost 40 years and has watched as devices went from dumb things stuck on formica countertops to smart devices that can anticipate and communicate.

How does a company like UL adjust? Listen to the podcast and find out!

You can find out more about UL and

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Check out our weekly smart home newsletter at

New Giveaway! A Danalock Bluetooth/Z-Wave Smartlock!

Hey folks, another giveaway!  We're giving away a Danalock Bluetooth/Z-Wave smartlock in the next few weeks. If you're already entered for one of our giveaways, don't worry, you're entered in this one. If not, you can join a few ways, such as giving us a review in iTunes or Stitcher or your favorite podcast service and emailing a screenshot to us at or joining our smart home newsletter (we don't spam, only good stuff) here and forwarding the confirmation email to the same email,

So what are you waiting for? If you listen to the show, join us and possibly win one of these:

Smart Home Weekly: Amazon Echo, iDevices $10 Mil, Target Smart Home, Quirky Goes Nuts

This is the Smart Home Weekly news wrap up for the week ending November 15, 2014. In this episode, I talk about:

-Amazon's Echo (and whether its a smart home controller)
-iDevices, $10 Million HomeKit bet
-Target's entry into smart home
-The Scout home security appliance has started shipping
-Quirky's huge smart home announcement this week

If you want to see my written analysis of all this news, go to

I also announce the winner of the August smart lock giveaway in this episode. If you want to enter for future giveaways, just give a review of the Smart Home Show in iTunes, Stitcher or other podcast app and email it to

Subscribe to the Smart Home Show at

You can see the full write up (more than just show notes, folks) for this and Smart Home Weekly podcasts at:

Remember to register for our live smart home 2015 outlook webinar on Dec 4th:

And as always, you can get the podcast at Technology.FM:

Smart Home Show: iDevices $10 Million HomeKit Bet With Chris Allen

This week, iDevices surprised most everyone when they announced they'd invested $10 million in HomeKit-centric smart home development. This involved not only their own product - which they will unveil at CES 2015 - but a platform which others can use to build HomeKit centric smart home devices.

This conversation is the first podcast interview with Chris Allen since the unveiling of their new HomeKit platform.

You can find out more about iDevices at

You can listen to more Smart Home Show podcasts at:

Smart Home Show: Talking Retrofit Smart Home With Roost's Roel Peeters

A podcast 2-fer: A weekly update and an interview with Roost's Roel Peeters.

We combined the smart home weekly update this week with an interview with the CEO of smart battery company Roost.

Today's topics include:
-Verizon's new router with Z-Wave
-Goji smart lock delays
-Walmart enters the smart home
-The retrofit smart home opportunity
-Keen smart vents
-SmartThings gets a Windows app

In the second half of the show, we talk to Roel Peeters, the CEO of smart battery company Roost.

You can find out more about Roost at

You can find the smart home show at

You can read the smart home weekly update at

If you want to try and win an August smartlock, just review the Smart Home show in iTunes, Stitcher or another podcast service and send a screenshot to

Smart Home Weekly: The (Nearly) All Revolv/Nest Acquisition Edition

This is the Smart Home Weekly news wrap up for the week ending October 26, 2014.This episode is almost entirely about the Revolv acquisition by Nest. Joining Mike is Richard Gunther, smart home podcaster from the Home:On podcast.

We also announce the winner of the Oort smart home system and give all the details about our next smart home gear giveaway, so you'll definitely want to listen! Remember, if you've entered the last giveaway, you are entered for future giveaways.

You can see the full write up (more than just show notes, folks) for this and Smart Home Weekly podcasts at:

Remember to register for our live smart home/IoT roundtable with the GM of Lowe's smart home and CEO of Zonoff on October 30th:

And as always, you can get the podcast at Technology.FM:

Smart Home Show: Talking 2Gig, Bluetooth and Z-Wave with Linear's Duane Paulson

This week's interview is with Duane Paulson, Senior VP of Product with Linear.

Linear is one of those companies that has product in millions of homes, but you often don't hear about because many times it's with another company's brand on it. I talk to Duane about Linear's products such as the 2Gig smart home touch screen and their Z-Wave garage door controller, and we also talk about Bluetooth, the evolution of smart home and much more.

You can find out more about Linear at

Just a few more days to enter the giveaway of a Bluetooth smart home. Great odds, so why not enter! Go here to read how:…-smart-home-system

Also subscribe to the Smart Home Show at

Join us for a webinar on October 30th on building smart home products and services:

Smart Home Giveaway from The Smart Home Show!

Wanna win some smart home gear? You're in luck. 

Here at the Smart Home Show, we're giving away a free Oort Bluetooth smart home system courtesy of the nice folks at (you guessed it) Oort.

All you need to do to enter the giveaway is go and give the Smart Home Show an honest review in iTunes.  If you don't use iTunes, you can do it on Stitcher. And like I said, you don't have to give a 5 star review (but if you want to, that's fine too!) You can also tell me if you like or hate my intro music (it seems to be split pretty evenly in those two camps. Also, if you've given the show a review in the past, feel free to enter by simply sending over a screen shot of that (and no using other's reviews - that's pretty easy to determine if you're fibbing!).

Once you give a review, just send a screen shot of your posted review to  You only have to do this once, and you'll be entered in future giveaways as well (more chances!). 

We're taking entries through Monday, October 27th, so better hurry!

Smart Home Show Weekly for 10/18/14: Bluetooth Smart Home, August/Danalock, Oort, CSR

The Smart Home Weekly news wrap up for the week ending October 18, 2014.

All the big stories for the smart home discussed in one podcast.
Also, we're giving away an Oort Bluetooth smart home system. For details, go to and see the latest written version of the Smart Home Weekly for October 18th or listen to the podcast.

Stories this week:

-Apple doesn't make news (meaning no new Apple TV)
-August ships, Danalock on deck
-Oort starts to ship
-Qualcomm buys CSR
-Bemo launches Kickstarter for smartphone-based smart thermostat
-Ubi, the standalone voice control computer for the home, is available

You can see the full write up (more than just show notes, folks) for this and Smart Home Weekly podcasts at:

Remember to register for our live smart home/IoT roundtable with the GM of Lowe's smart home and CEO of Zonoff on October 30th:

And as always, you can get the podcast at Technology.FM:

Smart Home Show: The Evolution of WeMo With Ohad Zeira

Guest: WeMo's Ohad Zeira

Belkin's WeMo has been one of the most popular DIY smart home line of products around. Mike catches up with Ohad Zeira, the head of WeMo, to hear about where WeMo's been and where it's going.

You can find out more about WeMo at:…-home-automation/

You can subscribe to the Smart Home Show at:

Smart Home Weekly for 10/11/14: Apple TV/HomeKit, WeMo CoffeePot, Best Buy Smart Home

The Smart Home Weekly news wrap up for the week ending October 11, 2014.

All the big stories for the smart home discussed in one podcast.

Stories this week:
-Apple TV gets HomeKit
-Best Buy expands smart home section
-Mr. Coffee brews some WeMo
-Echostar becomes smart home Sage
-Allseen launches smart lighting group
-Broadcom leaves OIC
-Revolv connects to Danalock
-PeQ revs software
-MaxMyTV off to slow start
-Coinguard ultra low cost IoT security

You can see the full write up at the new home for the Smart Home Weekly newsletter at:

Remember to register for our live smart home/IoT roundtable with the GM of Lowe's smart home and CEO of Zonoff on October 30th!

And as always, you can get the podcast at Technology.FM:

Smart Home Show: The Bluetooth Smart Home With Oort's Radek Tadajewski

Guest: Radek Tadajewski of Oort.

Mike goes deep on the Bluetooth centric smart home with Oort's Radek Tadajewski, which is launching their Bluetooth smart home system on October 15th in New York.

If you want to know more about how Bluetooth will fit into the smart home in the future, this is a must listen!

You can find out more about Oort at

You can find more Smart Home Shows at

Also, join Mike on October 30th when he has a live conversation with the GM of Lowe's Smart Home and the CEO of Zonoff:

Smart Home Weekly for 10/3/14: LockState , Roost, SwannOne

The Smart Home Weekly news wrap up for the week ending October 3, 2014.

Slow news week, with most of the news coming around new funding for some startups.

Mike talks about:
-Smart lock company Lockstate and their new $2 million in funding for their Wi-Fi smart lock business
-Roost has a coming out party (kinda)
-DIY home security/monitoring company Swann creates full smart home solution with the Swann One

You can see the full write up at the new home for the Smart Home Weekly newsletter at:

And as always, you can get the podcast at Technology.FM:

Smart Home Show: Wally Home's Jeremy Jaech

Guest: Jeremy Jaech, CEO of SNUPI, creator or Wally Home.

In this episode, Mike catches up with Jeremy Jaech, longtime Seattle entrepreneur and the CEO of SNUPI. SNUPI has a product called Wally Home, an in home moisture sensor which uses a patented technology that allows ultra low cost communication using in home powerline and enables a battery to last up to 10 years.

You can find out more about Wally Home at:

Please subscribe to the Smart Home Show at:

Smart Home Week in Review: Amazon's smart home, Wink Relay, Goji Goes Dark

This is the smart home weekly newsletter for the week ending September 29th. If you would like this in your inbox every week, please sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Apparently Amazon is Smart Home Curious

I've written quite a bit about whether or not Amazon could potentially get into smart home, and this week Reuters has confirmation of what I have suspected all along: they are definitely interested.

According to the report, Amazon is "testing a simple wi-fi device that could be placed in the kitchen or a closet, allowing customers to order products like detergent by pressing a button, one of the people said. Lab126 is also interested in wearable devices, the other person said. Both sources stressed that such devices may never come to market."

Now, Lab126, as some of you may know, is where much of the company does its secretive hardware development and commercialization, such as its recent work on the Fire TV.  Interestingly, my sources have told me that the company recently just turned over pretty much the entire Fire TV team, meaning they're essentially starting from scratch for the second generation product.  

Amazon has lots of entry points into the connected home, from the more obvious mobile devices to the Fire TV, but I also think other less-obvious routes would be interesting. Amazon's introduced the Dash food scanner, and the Reuters article suggested they would be interested in washing machines. 

The Takeaway

In reality, the rationale for Amazon to get into smart home wouldn't have anything to do with trying to create a line of smart home hardware - that's small potatoes. Instead, I believe the company would basically look to create a "point of sale" touch point in nearly every part of the house. Basically wherever they could stuff a sensor and some intelligence that could connect to a person's Amazon account. 

Out of milk? Let's reorder.  Need some detergent? It will be here tomorrow.

And I have no doubt that's where they're going. I can see the FireTV being a hub/sensor aggregator, but again, don't let that fool you. It's less about FireTV and more about creating a smart home network that serves as an underlying Amazon commerce "fabric".

Wink introduces in-wall touch screen controller with Relay

While folks have been speculating a while about an in-wall controller from Wink, I had nearly forgotten about it until this past week when the company announced a nifty little touch-screen controller called the Relay.  

The device, which is expected to ship in November for $300, is an Android powered touch screen controller that has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee in it. It also has speaker, microphone, and a variety of sensors (temperature, humidity and motion sensors) packed inside. 

If you've been following Wink you know they have two types of Wink compatible devices: Those that are 'Wink App Ready', which means you can control w/out the Wink hub (basically Wi-Fi devices).  There are also Wink App 'compatible' devices which you need a hub for.

From what I can tell, the Relay will work without the hub for all Wink App Ready devices, but still needs a hub for Wink app compatible devices. This is a missed opportunity in my mind, since the Relay could effectively replace the hub (it already has Zigbee - it should have added Z-Wave; maybe that's in the plans).

The hub itself is a radio-packed device, with Wi-Fi, BLE, Zigbee, Z-Wave, Lutron and Kidde protocol compatibility. What makes me a bit curious is that they were able to cost reduce the hub, with all those radios, to $49.  It might be simply a technical issue now where they don't think they could get the Relay into its current form factor, add all the radios, and effectively replace the hub today. 

The Takeaway

If the folks at Wink are smart - and by all indications they are - the Relay is essentially the future central control device and the hub eventually goes away for those willing to pay a higher price point.

But let me say this: I really like the idea, the look, and the overall approach. Wink's early reviews have been a bit rough, but if they can get the software ironed out, the in-home architecture approach they are bringing is a savvy one.

INSTEON Adds Voice Control With Microsoft Cortana

This was announced in July, but now it's real as Microsoft and INSTEON have rolled out Cortana voice control for those who have the INSTEON app for Windows Phone 8.1. According to the two companies, now you can use voice commands to control up to 200 different devices on the INSTEON network.

The Takeaway

This is interesting in so much as it's just a further sign of more voice integration with the smart home. Nest already works with some voice, and many of the new devices coming out (such as the Wink Relay) have built in microphones which are there, obviously, for future voice control integration. 

For Microsoft, I'm glad to see them doing good integration work with INSTEON, but I still feel like the company needs to make a bigger play overall. INSTEON is limited in its overall appeal in that it's a proprietary platform, while other players such as Google, Apple, Qualcomm and others are trying to make bigger ecosystem-centric plays with newer, more comprehensive approaches.

AlertMe Introduces Next-Gen Platform

This didn't get picked up by much of anyone stateside, but AlertMe, the British smart home platform service provider which powers the Lowe's Iris product line, just announced their next-gen platform for IoT.

Like many companies, AlertMe started out fairly focused, with its specialty being home security, control and energy management. Over time, the company has started to broaden its focus to IoT more broadly, and this is clear in its messaging of the Omnia platform. 

This makes sense both in that it widens the addressable market for the company but also because the reality is service providers are only seeing smart home as part of a broader set of consumer IoT that they need to address, and by broadening their message, they could see increased deployments for both consumer IoT and even business and industrial.

The Takeaway

The battle for backend and cloud smart home and, as seen here, consumer IoT, is heating up. I expect more funding in this space in coming rounds (for existing players) and possibly some new entrants.

Smart Home News Short Takes

Lots of little stories about startups and some big players. Here's my quick take on each.

Doorbot Renames itself Ring, Refocuses Company on DIY Security

Doorbot is coming out with an updated product, and now positioning itself as a light security company. I've written a lot about this market, and I do think there's a big opportunity here - probably bigger than just if they called themselves a doorbell company - but home awareness/DIY security is starting to get a bit crowded. 

Smartlock company Goji has gone dark     

Goji, which had a fairly successful crowdfunding campaign which led to lots of press and entry into partner programs such as Staples Connect, has effectively gone dark, missing their ship dates and not posting an update for six months. This has caused a bit of an uprising over on their comment page for Indiegogo.  I've watched many hardware crowdfunding campaigns fail post-funding once the creators realize creating workable products and commercializing is a lot harder than anticipated.  

New Smart lock company skips the deadbolt

Interesting approach by a new company called Haven, building what is essentially a smart doorjamb. The project is on Kickstarter so it's far from a sure thing that it will ship/commercialize, but I applaud the effort to create a new approach. Part of the problem for startups in the lock space is there is a lot of existing intellectual property and so smartlock companies have to figure out innovative architectures that don't impinge on patents, and this approach skips over existing deadbolt centric patents and also creates a new, possibly more secure, smart lock product.

If you would like this Smart Home Week in Review sent to your inbox every week, please sign up for our weekly newsletter!



Smart Home Shark Tank (Aka Convince the Analyst) #1: Mason Lawlor & SmartKit

It's the first (of maybe more) Smart Home Shark Tank segments in which Mike takes a pitch, gives feedback and maybe even convinces someone to make changes.

This episode basically happened because I got an email one day from a prospective smart home entrepreneur pitching his idea for a new smart home security system. I told him he needed to make some changes, it became a respectful email back and forth, and I invited Mason Lawlor on the show to talk it through and see if he could "convince the analyst."

It was fun and I might do more. If you have a startup idea or an idea for a smart home product you want feedback on, email me at and let me know.

Pay it forward with an iTunes review of the Smart Home Show, and subscribe if you haven't already:…2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Smart Home Week in Review: The CEDIA Downstroke, IControl Lawyer's Up, Logitech Gets Smart

This week was an interesting one in that it didn't have a whole bunch of smart home news, but those stories it did have were important ones.

Here's my analysis of each:

Logitech Gets Smart

First big news was the introduction a smart home focused line of remote controls and a hub from Logitech.  The company that makes the extremely popular Harmony line of universal remotes announced the Harmony Home Living line, which out of the gate included two remotes and a smart home hub.

The hub includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RF and IR to communicate with the remotes or the Harmony Living app using a smart phone/tablet. The hub is packaged with either remote, or purchasable for $99. 

The first remote is a $149 basic button only remote that controls up to 8 entertainment devices (again, for the price you get the hub included). The second remote - the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home - allows connections of up to 15 entertainment devices and your home automation network. 

The Takeaway

What's important here is that it's an entry into the smart home by a very big player in remote market.  Logitech Harmony is, by my understanding, the most popular universal remote product brand out there. Other big players in universal remotes like URC and RTI beat Logitech into home automation, but by creating it's own hub as well as offering a Z-Wave/Zigbee add-on, Logitech is marking its entry into the smart home space with the creation of a self-contained smart home control system.

That said, that the main hub includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as the primary smart home interfaces (RF/IR is for the remote control interface), Logitech is joining a growing list of newer entrants like Google/Nest, Belkin who are treating older home automation technologies as afterthoughts and are trying to push the DIY market towards IP (Wi-Fi) and pervasive low-power (Bluetooth LE) technologies. 

Lastly, I think Logitech's unfair advantage in this space is the fact it strong brand recognition as well as sizeable market share in the home entertainment remote space. I think the entertainment zone is a logical center-point for many consumers new to smart home and this gives them a reasonable and fairly low-cost way to get into the market. At the same time, I don't see the new product line as a serious contender for Z-Wave/Zigbee-centric smart homes since it's adapter seems more of a bolt-on afterthought than part of central local hub for these networks.

IControl Files Patent Infringement Suit Against Zonoff, SecureNet

While this wasn't that widely reported, I think the Icontrol legal action this week was an important piece of news that could have fairly wide-ranging impact on the market for smart home services.

I covered it over at the NextMarket blog, but I'll expand a little on what I think the reasons are for Icontrol to take this action now.

It's worth noting that the company has taken action against two companies that are essentially offering smart home services platforms.  Zonoff's is more of a white-label solution, while SecureNet offers its service platform directly to dealers/installers. Both are fairly modern cloud-centric smart home security and home automation platforms that are meant to result in subscription-based services for consumers.  In other words, they are platforms with similar go-to-market strategies as Icontrol.

This is an important distinction, because you'll notice if you look at the patents that Icontrol could effectively bring legal action against a much larger set of players, including some DIY-centric offerings. But, in my view, their main goal is to use the patent infringement cudgel selectively and only against those companies that they directly compete with in the managed smart home space.  

Ok, you say, but isn't Zonoff powering a DIY/retail offering today in Staples Connect? Yes, but in reality their offering could be used to power other players, including service providers.

The Takeaway

Bottom line, I think this is a sign that Icontrol will aggressively use legal tactics in addition to other methods to guard its position as the leading smart home services platform.  It's too early to see if they'll win or if the companies will reach a settlement, but I think its a fairly ominous sign for other smart home services companies in the space, particularly those that are looking to provide technology to service provider partners.  

Quick CEDIA Thoughts: The Big Downstroke

I had meant to do a full review of CEDIA, but given that folks like Jason and Seth over at HomeTech.FM did a much better job going over almost everything interesting there, I'd suggest you take a listen to their show.

But, a few quick thoughts:

The big trend at CEDIA among the traditional high-end smart home/home automation players is to find ways - within reason - to respond by the increased threat they are facing from the DIY smart home crowd. What I mean by within reason is that companies such as Crestron, Control4 and Savant are fairly fixed in their go-to-market strategy in that they are premium solutions built around professional installation. 

All three of these companies alone have thousands installer channel partners that have become crucial to their business. Not only that, the very fact these solutions are premium, system-integrator-installed solutions is why the dealer/installer channel believes in them and installs them and, like a car dealer, makes them an essential part of their own branding strategy.  Many integrators basically market themselves as Crestron integrators or Savant integrators. 

So you can see the tight rope that these companies walk when they respond to the DIY market. Some things are easy to do, such as integrating with the Nest API such as Control4 has done to enable their installers to offer this product and have it work natively with Control4's own software.

Other strategies, such as creating offerings that are cheaper and much more easy to install - such as the Crestron Pyng - is a longer-term strategy that will be interesting to see how it evolves. 

I also think what I think Crestron is doing here with Pyng, and Savant with its new app and Control4 with its Composer Express, is trying to reduce the amount of work (and by extension the cost) of installing higher-end home automation systems.  Control4 told me that they see their Composer Express solution as a way to enable less qualified installers to do the majority of the work.  It also seems like a way to expand their dealer channel to bring on new installers without as much training, which in the end will make the market more competitive for installers and likely drop the price of an installed solution.

The question I, and many others, still have is whether any of these players would ever consider going direct-to-consumer. When I talked to one exec at the Savant booth, he indicated that they view whole-home automation as something that will always be professionally installed, but wouldn't rule out single-zone solutions (think a "smart living room") utilizing their technology. 

The Takeaway:

I think today the high-end players are enjoying the rising tide for smart home, but long-term I think they're worried about get their market share nibbled at from the bottom feeders below them, and at this show you saw the first of potentially many moves to react to a fast-changing market. 

Smart Home Week in Review: Apple Watch Breakdown & Let's Meet a Listener

It's an abbreviated smart home week in review for September 12, 2014 as Mike prepares to leave for CEDIA.

The week was all about Apple, and given that Mike's been waiting and writing about Apple's entree into the smartwatch space for well over a year, he gives his first take on Apple's first wearable.

He also welcomes a listener to the show in the first in a periodic segment called Let's Meet a Listener. Sean Cotton is from the Atlanta area and has been dabbling in smart home for a while. We hear about his current set up and what's next on his shopping list, his biggest issues with smart home and more.

You can find Sean on Twitter at

You can listen to and subscribe to more Smart Home Shows at

Or you can subscribe using one of the following podcast channels:



Smart Home Week in Review for Sep 6, 2014: Nest 2.0, IControl, Sonos, Savant, Reemo

This is the smart home week in review for the week ending September 6, 2014!

The week started slow as folks recovered from Labor day weekend and shuttled kids back to school, but it finished strong. 

You can listen to the podcast where we discuss the week that was in smart home, or if you're the TLDL (Too Long, Didn't Listen) type, just read the wrap up below.  I am going to try and do a written flash-analysis of the news every week, so if you want to get notified, subscribe to the NextMarket newsletter and you'll get an email each time we publish a wrapup. Also, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast as well. 

This week's guest on the podcast is Aaron Cohen, long-time serial entrepreneur, smart home enthusiast and all around smart guy. We get deep on some of market dynamics and business models, so if that's your thing, enjoy this episode!

The stories:

Savant gets investment from KKR

Last week Julie Jacobson noticed Savant seemed to be preparing for some sort of equity event, and while it wasn't an IPO like she predicted, they did announce this week an investment by private equity firm KKR.  KKR is a pretty storied firm and one of the most famous private equity firms (there's a book and movie about their buyout of RJR Nabisco), but perhaps more interesting to smart home folks is the company's interest in the premium brands in the connected home in recent years, most notably with Sonos, whom they invested in 2012.

Savant, like many other traditionally higher-end brands, sees the dual trends of higher valuations and increased competition in the smart home, so this move makes sense to me as they look to expand down-market to try to capitalize on the heat in DIY.

Icontrol launches Open Home Labs, partners with Indiegogo.  

I wrote this up over at Forbes, but the gist is this: Icontrol is looking to open up its OpenHome platform to interesting smart home startups through the creation of OpenHome Labs, where they will shepherd these companies to market and help them get aligned with their service provider partners such as Comcast, Time Warner, ADT.

A related announcement from the company was their partnership with Indieogogo, a crowdfunding site that is home to many of the interesting smart home startups like Korner.  The two companies said that smart home startups coming up through Indiegogo would have access to Icontrol's OpenHome Labs at no cost.  Again, see Forbes piece for more detailed analysis.

Reemo, from Playtabase, launches crowdfunding campaign. 

Playtabase, which is one of the first three companies into the Icontrol OpenHome Labs, launched their crowdfunding campaign for their motion-sensing smart home control wearable.  The device uses Bluetooth LE to detect and sense motion.   The company doesn't say much more about the technology and it won't ship until mid-2015 (if they indeed hit their promised targets), but an interesting concept nonetheless.

Sonos disrupts self, ditches bridge.

Years ago Sonos recognized that its proprietary hardware control interfaces were going to be killed by the iPad, and they were one of the first CE company - and probably the first successful CE company - to get rid of a proprietary controller and develop an iPhone and iPad apps. 

This week (though they announced the move months ago) they did something similar by moving beyond their proprietary hardware bridge, which up to this point was required to install and use a Sonos wireless home audio system.  I think this was largely due to the growing popularity of competing systems as well as Bluetooth speakers, but as the company has shown, they don't stand still and this will allow users to get into Sonos for even lower prices. 

Greenpeak gets vertical: Launches senior-care platform

When markets get a little frothy, you start to see companies leave their core business to try and capitalize.  During the first dot-com boom, I remember Intel started selling MP3 players and home networking gear (and now it sounds like they might be getting a bit adventuresome again), and so when I saw this news about Greenpeak, it reminded me a bit of those days.  

The gist: Greenpeak is a big supplier of 802.15.4 silicon, which to date has primarily been Zigbee chipsets. This week they announced "a family of new, ground-breaking sensor and cloud based intelligent systems for Family Lifestyle integrated with Social Media". 

The solution, which the company indicates will first be targeted at the senior and aging-in-place vertical, is a combination of on-premise technology with a  hub and Zigbee-based sensors and a cloud management solution (no indication yet if they partnered or built-their-own).  The senior-monitoring solution will have be tailored to create rules-based indicators (like "mom gets up at this time and moves into this zone") that will enable alerts to be sent via various consumer-facing apps (not sure why Facebook or social nets in general would be integrated here, unless its just for the messaging function). 

Bottom line: I do believe aging-in-place is a big opportunity for smart home, and Greenpeak indicates they are already working with service providers in Germany and China, but again, the move is a bit of a surprise for a chip-company. 

Amazon's "home automation" top 5 shows its really a "connected home" store

Amazon's home automation store is a year old, and looking at the top 5 products, it becomes clear that the store sells more than just home automation. In reality, the store is a "connected home" store with a heavy dose of smart home and home automation products. Aaron and I discuss the hierarchy of terms here in the podcast, if you want to get nerdy on these distinctions.

Nest launches Nest Protect 2.0 software

Earlier this year, Nest had a rare stumble with the recall of the Nest Protect due to the "wave to dismiss" feature the company felt could cause the alarm to not work properly in the case of an actual emergency. 

And when the company announced its latest rev of Nest Protect software this week, they decided to keep this feature on potentially permanent hiatus. In its place they did offer some new and interesting features, including the ability to discern between steam and smoke, as well as these other features:

  • Light pathways showing route to safety
  • Shows level of carbon monoxide
  • Last 10 days of safety history
  • Improved emergency planning capabilties

Nest is showing that their device has plenty of packed-in power (this is the first time they've enabled the humidity sensor to my knowledge) and that they will continue to unpack features through software-based field upgrades.

That's it for this week. Again, feel free to subscribe to the newsletter and subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. 

#31: Arrayent's Shane Dyer

Guest: Arrayent CEO Shane Dyer

While most people in the smart home space are familiar with the consumer-facing platforms, often times there is a company behind the company helping to power the smart home technology. Arrayent is one of those companies, helping companies like Maytag create smart home enabled products.

Mike visits with Arrayent CEO Shane Dyer, who helped found the company in 2005. We talk about Arrayent's technology, how to build scalable smart home services and what Shane sees for the future of the smart home business.

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