Video Doors, UWB, and Smart Home Glitches

Gerard's Smart Home Newsletter

Good morning everybody; things are pretty good over here in Ireland, the vaccine rollout is starting to progress, which should hopefully improve things for everyone. On the smart home front, it has been a relatively busy week in terms of new stuff and things breaking! Time for some coffee! so enjoy this weeks update:

Video Doorbell Commoditization

Video doorbells are hot in the smart home space; and speaking from a user perspective, I find these devices really useful. Not only do they provide video coverage at the front door, but they include other features such as phone notifications, integration into various flavors of smart home automation, and cool ring tones. As a smart home fan; I am starting to see smart video doorbells appear on doors when out walking around the neighborhood. This is trend is expected to continue is fueled by cheap devices. In fact, the leading player in the space recently announced a $60 wired doorbell. You can check out this article over on TechCrunch, which provides some background as to why pricing has plummeted.

HomeKit UWB

Short for ultra-wideband, UWB is a wireless protocol not normally associated with smart homes to date. Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee, Insteon, and of course Wi-Fi are all popular buzzwords for those of us in this space, but not UWB. That could change over time. Apple is UWB friendly and includes chipsets in its smart home speakers to support the emerging standard. To build interest in the technology Apple rolled out some UWB features to its HomePod and HomePod mini speakers that allow modern iPhones to seamlessly transfer audio between both device categories. If you’re looking to dig in deeper, head over to an article on the Verge news site right here.

Some Google Home Glitches

Although I didn’t notice any problems in our own Google Home setup, a number of users received an error message, when issuing smart home voice commands to Google home assistant earlier this week. Here is the error message that appeared on thousands of Google Home speakers:

It looks like that device hasn’t been set up yet. You can do that in the Google Home app.

The issue appeared to be confined to smart home device control. Here is a Reddit post with hundreds of comments about the issue.

Smart Home Builders

Over the years, numerous building companies have issued press releases related to their plans to add smart devices to their new builds. Some announcements have worked out, but many of these initiatives have failed in the past. It’s good to see one of the larger US home building companies making smart devices available as standard in new homes. Here is the list of smart devices that will gain from this recent announcement.

  • Level
  • Ring
  • Eero
  • Moen
  • Honeywell
  • and myQ

You can learn more about this new home building smart home initiative in this press release here. 

And another Smart Home Outage this week

The O’Driscoll home runs three smart home systems! Ring (Alexa), Google, and HomeKit.  While on the couch in front of the fire on Wednesday evening, jumped into my Ring app to check a recently installed outdoor camera for my 8 week Smart Home course, and encountered app problems. Checked Twitter, where Ring explained that they were experiencing technical issues. In fairness to Ring, they kept their customers updated and the service returned to normal later that evening. 

Weekly Smart Home Voice Command! 🎤

Hey Siri, set my bedtime scene

Thanks for reading. If you have colleagues that would benefit from knowing about smart home devices, please consider sharing it.

– Gerard

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

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