These days, having a voice-activated digital assistant in your pocket is pretty much taken for granted. Instead of typing on tiny touchscreens, we've all become accustomed to simply whipping out our phones and saying, "Hey Cortana, call Dad," or "OK Google, dial 911," or "Hey Siri, what is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?" So it's no surprise, really, that a similar digital assistant, Alexa, has rocketed Amazon's Echo to the top of the electronics sales charts month after month for more than a year now.
So, why has Amazon Echo been such a huge hit? Mostly because Alexa it does it all. She plays music for you. She gives you the news and weather. She manages your shopping lists and calendar appointments. She even tells you jokes, for goodness' sake. And best of all, she can turn your home into a voice-controlled sci-fi dream, giving you the ability to dim your lights, adjust your thermostat, lock your doors, fire up your Keurig, turn up your ceiling fan and more, using nothing more than the sound of your voice.
Actually, strike that. The best thing about Alexa is that she actually works. And she works with more and more smart home devices all the time, some directly, and others via smart home hubs like SmartThings, Wink, and most recently Nexia as well as smart security panels from places like Vivint.
The advantages of adding a compatible hub to your Amazon Echo control system are numerous; it not only vastly expands the number of devices that Alexa can control, but also the types of devices under her command. And having a hub in place also gives your voice commands more power by allowing you to link interoperable Z-Wave devices. Say you have a SmartThings hub, for example, programmed to turn on the porch light if you lock your front door after dark. In that case, you wouldn't need to tell Alexa to do both; simply saying, "Alexa, lock the front door" at night could automatically trigger the programming that also illuminates the exterior of your home.
And that's just one example of way the smart home is evolving to include innovative control methods that make your home more intuitive to control than even the most imaginative science-fiction writers could have ever dreamt of. Scene controllers like the Nexia One Touch, for example, allow you to literally change the look of your entire home at the touch of a single button. And FIBARO’s new gesture controller SWIPE allows you to manipulate the devices in your home by simply waving your hand in the air like some sort of sorcerer.
The only thing that could be easier would be controlling your home with the power of thought alone, and we're not quite there yet. But with Alexa voice control combined with the power of Z-Wave, we're close enough that it still seems like magic.
Z-Wave, Home Control, Smart Home, Amazon Echo, Alexa, voice integration, FIBARO, Nexia, Wink, SmartThings, gesture control, one touch living
If you're one of the roughly 50% of homeowners looking to add smart home technology to your home in the coming year, chances are good that you've either put a lot of thought and planning into your purchases, or you're absolutely daunted by the staggering number of options. It isn't always easy to know unless you look for the Z-Wave logo.
For most parents, the prospect of leaving their children at home alone can inspire fears ranging from minor mishaps to major disaster. There is always concern about what the kids are up to and who may be invited in when mom and dad are not home to supervise, or even the possibility of an accident occurring when the child is alone.
Nexia Home Intelligence Overview
Complete Home Automation Package - Vivint
With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, you're no doubt starting to look at your house with a mind toward some basic repairs or home improvement. Which makes it the perfect time to start adding some smart home enhancements to your abode, as well. Not to worry – upgrading your home with some smart Z-Wave technology is easy.
Spring is here, and that has all of us feeling a lot greener. After all, it's hard not to think at least a little bit about the environment when you've just watched nature call forth all of her bud-tipped bounty! Green devices offer plenty of ways to celebrate the springtime renewal from the safety of the porch—while cutting the Earth a break at the same time.
CNN features Schlage & Nexia
Digital Life Virtual Smart Home - AT&T
Chances are the dad in your life has had his share of standard, run of the mill Father’s Day presents like ties, power tools and shaving kits. A poll from Ebates found that electronics are the most wished-for purchase by fathers
If you've been searching for an affordable do-it-yourself home security solution that's simple to install, simple to operate, fee-free, and can even be used in a condo or apartment, you may be starting to think that no such thing exists. It does. It's called Piper, and you'd be amazed just how much this one little device can do.
"The Z-Wave protocol lets you turn on lights from your phone before you get home or open and close a garage door to take a delivery," says Stephanie Miller, Sales Manager for Drees Homes.
One benefit of a connected home is that it should (asuming the system is working) let you know when there's a problem, even if you're not there. It's one reason those with vacation homes are installing smart leak detectors, Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, and so on. And just because your second home is on wheels, it doesn't mean having devices that keep an eye on things is any less helpful.
Yale Real Living Assure Locks – "Unlike other models, the products feature Z-Wave and ZigBee connectivity, not Bluetooth or Wi-Fi."
And while home security systems were once complicated and a bit vexing, newer technologies have made them simple and even smarter.
The Piper NV ticks a lot of boxes and goes beyond a lot of the other offerings out there. The app also works with Z-Wave devices. That means if you have any other Z-Wave smart home devices, like plug sockets or smart lights, you can control them all through your Piper app too.
A defining feature of the new technology is the way Z-Wave devices actually communicate better with one another as more devices are added to the network.
As the IoT continues its explosive growth, the role of the home will become increasingly critical. It is time to ensure the security, efficiency and compatibility of the devices that will fuel this growth...
The homes come standard with home automation that includes locks, lights and a wireless alarm system. Among the products are: Schlage Z-Wave lock, Trane Z-Wave digital thermostat, and Nortek Z-Wave lighting control