Hello, fellow smart homers!
How’s it going; we have a mini heatwave here in Ireland this week, Yipee!
Went to the beach, over in County Clare on Friday; and had a pretty cool day over there; so on the smart home side of the house, here are some snippets of news that might catch your eye.
Table of Contents
Smart Blinds – Retrofit Solution 🪟
Anything to do with automating blinds, window dressings always, and yep always catches my eye. So enter Aqara into this space with the release of a new retrofittable roller blind motor. This is a gadget that attaches itself to a beaded chain on a roller blind and does the job of your hands! We don’t have any beaded blinds in the O’Driscoll household, but might be useful if you have some. Furthermore, it’s HomeKit compliant, so the ability to automate your blinds is definitely in reach of most people. To date, no real Thermostat ‘Nest’ style innovator has emerged for the Window Dressings sector, and this is not that, however, it is a welcome development. Check out this link to read some more on the topic.
ADT and Ring Become Buddies 🎎
Big companies are always fighting about intellectual property rights. And of course, this happens in the smart home space on a regular basis! The latest spiff in the space was between Ring and ADT and it was related to an outdoor siren. Think I might have mentioned it a number of weeks back, but Ring released an outdoor siren that connects to their smart home alarm. All foo so far, however, ADT was uncomfortable with the similarities with its own siren and sent a lawsuit over to Ring. As a result, Ring announced this week that it will stop selling the current design of its Outdoor Siren and release a new version. Not the first spat between the two companies and I’m sure not the last! If you’re looking to dig in deeper, head over here.
This Weeks Blog Post
Ever since Apple launched Siri for the iPhone, more voice assistants have been unveiled. Amazon has given us Alexa for its smart hubs while Google has followed suit with Google Assistant. Microsoft and Samsung also have their own versions with Cortana and Bixby, respectively. There is no denying that people with disabilities have been the biggest beneficiaries of digital voice assistants.
This is because they can use them for pretty much everything. They can give voice commands for the tasks they would have required a helper.
By giving voice commands, they can control their smart lights, smart locks, smart speakers, and smart thermostats. While digital voice assistants are becoming increasingly popular for their convenience, there is also a bad side to them. For this reason, here is a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of Digital voice assistants;
This Week’s Words of Wisdom 😊
More Smart Home Privacy Concerns
In last week’s smart home newsletter the topic of personal privacy arose, and this week we have some more revelations. According to Wired, some Amazon speakers still retain personal information, after a complete factory reset. In particular, the article relates to research carried out on some Echo dots. With some technical wizardry, the researchers who worked on these dots were able to reassemble lots of sensitive data post factory reset. So, something to be cognizant of, if you are planning to sell any of your echo dots. Some more technical details are available here.
Improved Ring Smart Home Security 🔐
To date, Ring has been pretty lackluster when it comes to security. And this has obviously not gone unheard at the upper echelons of the company and as a result, the company has made some welcome announcements this week:
- First up is the rollout of end-to-end video encryption to customers around the world. At the moment, camera and doorbell video streams are encrypted when located on Ring cloud servers. This new development will encrypt local video streams.
- Furthermore, Ring has embraced multi-factor authentication.
- And finally, they have come up with a secure mechanism to allow customers to transfer ownership of used Ring devices to other people
That’s about it in a nutshell. Apple HomeKit has excelled in the smart home privacy space, and it’s great to see Ring implementing these important updates.
You can check Rings’ full announcement for all the details if you want to read more.
Weekly Smart Home Voice Command! 🎤
Set ceiling lights to 50%
Thanks for reading. If you have colleagues, friends, or neighbors that would benefit from knowing about smart home devices, please consider sharing them.
They can sign up for the newsletter by going here.