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Gerard's Smart Home Newsletter

Hey,

Morning! winding down here for Christmas at the O’Driscoll household. Here are some cool smart home news that came into my inbox this week!

Spuds and Smart Devices…๐Ÿฅ”

To be honest, this came a little, or should I say Lidl off guard! The Germany based grocery giant has entered the smart home marketplace. Yep, as of now, some stores, certainly in the UK and assume other parts of Europe, customers can purchase different types of smart devices. Here were the juiciest tidbits:ย ย 

  • Lidl smart home devices support the Zigbee protocol, Lidl making them compatible with other devices you may own already.
  • As with many smart home systems, a mini-hub is required to operate the smart devices.
  • Smart bulbs, ceiling lights, and power outlets seem to be part of the initial launch.
  • Includes support for the Google Assitant smart assistant platform. No sign of Alexa yet!

Looking forward to picking up some smart devices when out ‘smart’ grocery shopping with my wife in the New Year.

Take a look here yourself.

Apple Circles ๐ŸŸฃ

So Apple’s HomeKit platform is available for a couple of years at this stage but is not yet enjoying the widespread popularity of other systems such as Ring and Google Nest. One of the factors holding back widespread adoption is the availability of smart devices that support the platform. In recent times, I’ve noticed that more and more manufacturers are jumping on board the HomeKit ship and developing compatible devices. One of the more important announcements over the past number of days was the release of a HomeKit compliant doorbell from Logitech. It’s branded as Circle View and boasts some powerful features, including:

  • 160 field of view
  • Support for HomeKit Secure Video
  • Custom activity zones

Ready to connect your front door to your iPhone then check out the product over on Apple’s website.

Nest Tunes ๐ŸŽผ

Turned on Ho Ho on our Ring doorbell last weekend and the kids loved it! Google is following suit with a recent announcement that Nest Hello now supports a bunch of seasonal themes.ย 

Christmas, Winter holidays, and New Year’s are some of the sounds I plan on testing at the O’Driscoll household. You can learn more about the other themes available on a Nest Hello doorbell by clicking here.

New Fire TV UI ๐Ÿ”ฅ

The word on the street is that Amazon is planning to overall their Fire TV interface.ย 

Here are the key update takeaways:

  • Personalization of the TV viewing experience for multiple family members.
  • Now includes a Find tab if you’re unsure what to watch.
  • Improved integration with Alexa voice assistant.
  • Picture-in-picture capabilities

The rollout schedule appears to be starting with Fire TV sticks and continuing through the remainder of Fire TV devices in 2021.

A great post from the verge provides some more details.

Bonjour Alexa

Yep, it’s been a pretty hectic week in smart homeland this week with the rollout of a new Alexa feature that enables live language translations between people. The new feature (limited to the US market for the moment) leverages advanced speech recognition technologies to initially interpret six different languages, namely English, French, Spanish, Hindi, Brazilian Portuguese, German, and Italian. Here are a few use cases that come to mind for this new feature:

1. Practice speaking different languages at home

2. Utilizing in hotels where guests and staff speak different languages.

Get the whole read here.

Weekly Smart Home Voice Command! ๐ŸŽค

Alexa, translate French

Thanks for reading! and Happy Christmas, ๐ŸŽ… Gerard

ICT professional, Author, Serial Internet Entrepreneur, Investor, Smart Home Enthusiast, and Creator!

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