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System Integration for the Connected Home

Home Automation

Windows 10 PCs Control Smart Home Via Cortana

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Windows Central reveals Windows PCs are getting a new capability-- the Cortana Menu application has a "Connected Home" section, allowing users to sign in to different smart home control services.

Connected Home WindowsCurrently Connected Home is limited to 5 services, specifically Wink, Insteon, Nest, SmartThings and Hue. It runs on both Windows 10 desktop and mobile, and once connected users can manage the devices linked to service in question, such as Hue lights or Nest thermostats, through the Microsoft voice-controlled assistant.

The revelation comes as Microsoft and Harman Kardon start shipping the fruit of their recent collaboration-- the Invoke, a cylindrical speaker promising "rich, captivating sound" as well as the capabilities of the Cortana digital assistant. Like rivals such as the Amazon Echo the Invoke can also control connected devices.

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Triby IO Supports HomeKit, Alexa

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French company Invoxia announces a smart speaker-- the Triby IO, a device the company posits as a smart home controller able to handle both Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa.

Trilby IOA sequel to last year's Triby speaker, the Triby IO features a similar design complete with a handle and small display on the front showing the time, weather doodles and messages. A magnet on the back allows customers to attach it to the fridge, while the 5 hardware buttons are customisable to control lights, thermostats or even HomeKit scenes combining multiple smart home products.

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Key Digital Adds Lutron to Compass Control

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Key Digital adds 4 Lutron systems to the Compass Control Partner Alliance program-- Caséta, HomeWorks, HomeWorks QS and RadioRa2, all available as bi-direction drivers and modules.

Compass controlCompass Control is a fully integrated control system built for iOS and Android. It offers modular programming or custom design, and the Partner Alliance program allows installers to instantly integrated pre-configured GUI templates, cutting down on programming time.

The Lutron systems included with the Compass Control bi-directional modules allow the control of lighting, shade and thermostats via smart device. The Caséta Wireless Dimmer provides control of lights, shades and temperature settings, while the HomeWorks system handles lighting and shades, together with security and AV systems.

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Futuresource: Smart Home's Worth "Rising Fast"

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Smart home devices are fast becoming part of the mainstream, Futuresource Consulting reports-- the market is one of the fastest growing CE categories of 2017, with global revenues worth $6 billion.

Smart home marketSuch revenues are forecast to triple by 2021, reaching $18bn.

"The smart home has arrived and its impact is indisputable," the analyst says. "Smart home devices help with daily tasks, improve security and generate savings in energy bills through heating and lighting control. With high profile brands like Samsung, Apple and Philips getting in on the action, consumers are becoming attuned to the benefits, excited by the possibilities and are beginning to flex their purchasing muscle."

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PowerView Motorisation System to Get HomeKit

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Hunter Douglas announces the next-generation PowerView Motorisation system-- a means to control the company's motorised window shades with support for Amazon and Google services, as well as (following an update) Apple HomeKit.

Powerview motorisationThe PowerView Motirisation Hub allows users to control, time and set window shades to raise, lower and tilt according to an automatic shcedule. The aforementioned smart assistsnts provide voice control, while HomeKit support allows the incorporation of shade settings into scenes as part of a full-home automation setup.

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Best Buy Pins Improvement Hopes on Smart Home

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Best Buy puts smart home as the cornerstone of a renewed retail strategy-- Best Buy 2020, a 3-year plan based on 3 tiers, specifically smart home, assisted living and in-home tech support.

Best Buy smart home“Our Renew Blue transformation was about improving the customer experience and fixing what was broken,” CEO Hubert Joly says. “Building on what we have accomplished, we are excited by the opportunities we have in this next chapter to grow the company by helping customers pursue their passions and enrich their lives with the help of technology, which is a much bigger idea and one that is rich with opportunities.”

As part of Best Buy 2020, the American retailer plans to enhance the smart home areas in all stores, roll out the Best Buy Smart Home Powered by Vivint automation and security offering to 450 stores, and add 1500 dedicated smart home employees. Another related expansion involves an in-Home Advisor program with 300 specially-trained advisors providing customers free in-home consultations related to home automation.

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Crestron Teams Up in Yacht AV

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Crestron yachtsCrestron joins forces with Hatteras Yachts, a luxury yacht manufacturer, and technology integrator AHT to create a "world-class experience" with the M90 motor yacht outfitted with Crestron technology.

The technology supplied by Crestron allows one to control AV, lights, shades, pools and hot tubs, security cameras, motorised awnings and more with the simple touch of a button.

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