IFA 2016 spotlights: Home security, voice control, smart lighting, homecare

IFA 2016 spotlights: Home security, voice control, smart lighting, homecare
IFA is one of the world’s largest consumer electronics shows. It’s a major showground for innovators to demonstrate their new products and technologies. This year, the smart home takes spotlight at the show. The exhibitors put comfort and security at the center of the smart home. The home appliances become smarter when they are connected. At the tradeshow, there are a number of showcases from leading home appliance players like Bosch, Simens, LG, Samsung, Redmond, Hisense, Skyworth, Changhong and Haier to shape the smart living experience. They demoed new connected kitchen concepts and home security and automation systems during the six-day fair.

Smart lighting and home security are two main and noteworthy categories at IFA 2016. There are lots of new Wi-Fi IP cameras, security and safety sensors, and smart light solutions to steal the show.

In addition, the homecare and connected health applications are gaining traction. Air quality monitor, connected air purifer, baby monitoring and elderly care solutions were displayed at the show. Philips, Beurer and other companies released products and solutions to address the emerging market.

The Philips uGrow parenting platform captures data from connected devices, such as Philips’ smart baby monitor and smart thermometer. It provides feeding and sleeping patterns, creating a highly personalized supportive environment around babies and their parents. Connecting to family doctors and pediatricians via the Philips HealthSuite, parents can get professional information when making any decision. Beurer’s SleepLine product series are designed to improve sleep quality of the users by recognizing sleep problems to improve sleeping conditions. The product range consists of seven products that analyze sleeping behavior, including sleep sensor, snore stopper, air humidifier, thermos hygrometer, wake-up light and air cleaner. The SE 80 SleepExpert non-contact sleep sensor is placed under the mattress, recording the heart rate, respiratory rate and movement. All measured values are prepared and presented clearly in the Beurer SleepExpert app and supplemented with tips. Sleep quality can be improved by making individual changes to parameters that affect sleep. Moreover, the Fresh Wake function enables the user to wake up well-rested in the right sleep phase.

Voice control gaining traction

Voice control becomes a buzzword this year. There are numbers of voice command devices supporting Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit like Tado’s smart thermostat. LG Electronics announced the collaboration with Amazon, integrating Alexa Voice Service into its smart home hub that lets users to control connected sensors, plugs and light bulbs. eQ-3, the leading home automation solution provider in Germany, announced that its HomeMatic IP system supports Amazon Alexa to let users to control their smart home devices by voice command like controlling heating systems or activating the alarm system. Busch-Jaeger ABB-free@home supports voice control fucntionality. Users can just say “Switch on the hall light!“ when arriving home in the dark, and the light will go on.

The award-winning K1 kit from the Netherlands-based company smanos is Z-Wave compatible and works with the Google Nest thermostat and Amazon Echo. The smart home hub can connects with up to 50 wirelessly connected devices, including detectors, sensors and vision systems. The smart home kit will be globally available in Q4 2016.

Sevenhugs hugOne is a sleep monitor device that supports Amazon Echo as well. It allows the owners of a hugOne to request information on air quality and the quality of sleep for all members of the family by voice command The company also showcased its new Smart Remote at IFA this year. Besides Amazon Alexa vocal assistant, the device also supports IFTTT, Nest Thermostat and Philips Hue light bulbs that allows users to to set rules and set temperature and light for optimal restorative sleep. The user can create useful programs, such as turning off all the lights or turning on the online video camera when everyone in the family is asleep.

Smart lighting shines in smart home

Philips Lighting launched extended Philips Hue white ambiance range, next generation Philips Hue white and color ambiance A60 (E27 and B22) (EU) /A19 (E26) (US),Philips Hue motion sensor, and new GU-10 spot light which fits flush into ceilings and sockets. The lamps comes with a portable wireless Philips Hue dimmer switch which is pre-programmed with four pre-set Light Recipes to support you through your day: Relax, Read, Concentrate and Energize. The Philips Hue white and color ambiance A60 (E27 and B22) will be available in starter kits and individually When synced to the TV, and the users will become more immersive when watching movies or playing video games. The company also showcased Philips Hue motion sensor which is wireless, battery-powered, magnetic and adjustable for the detection direction, and provides personalized setting. Users can connect up to 12 sensors to your Philips Hue bridge for full coverage around the home. The sensor can link directly with the Philips Hue app, and integrate into the Philips Hue lighting system, having instantaneous reaction within 0.5 seconds. It can be put on a side table or book shelf, on a metal surface with the magnet, or mounted to a wall or ceiling. It not only provides comfort but also energy-saving benefit. With a built-in daylight sensor, the Philips Hue motion sensor knows if there is already enough light in the room and will only activate the lights if needed.

Trust International B.V. also showcased its new ZigBee light bulbs, spots and security products. The smart light bulbs are with E27, E14 and GU10 sockets. With the Smart Dimmable LED bulb and spot, users can create a cozy atmosphere with warm light. Besides lighting products, Trust Smart Home offers a wireless contact sensor, motion sensor and a Wi-Fi IP camera with night vision.

Ledvance, a subsidiary of OSRAM, introduced new Lightify products—networked garden luminaires, outdoor and indoor flexible light strips, and a motion sensor. They are compatible with an increasing number of other smart home systems such as Samsung SmartThings and Telekom Qivicon. Thanks to the mesh network technology, the wireless ZigBee motion sensor supports operating range up to 40 meters. The sensor can detect movements within an angle of 100 degrees and to a distance of 4.5 meters. Lights, groups and scenes can then be switched automatically.

Sengled released new smart bulbs Everbright and starter kit Element at the show. The Sengled Element consists of two ZigBee bulbs and a hub, supporting lighting scenarios and connectivity with up to 50 smart lamps for creating the right light ambience. The Sengled Everlight can be used as an emergency light, or for consutruction sites and campervan sites. Powered by the built-in battery, the lamp can work for up to 3.5 hours.

Innovations from market leaders

Bosch Smart Home announced new trendy 360° indoor camera and multi-functional outdoor camera, smoke alarm and motion detector to enhance its security product portfolio. The outdoor camera features built-in lights, motion sensors, and an intercom in a single smart device. The Twinguard Smoke Alarm use dual-ray technology with different light wavelengths (infra-red and blue) to detect smoke particles of various sizes. Equipped with the air quality sensor, the device can monitor room temperature, relative humidity, and air purity to help users to improve air quality in their homes. Starting in early 2017, users could operate the Home Connect washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers directly through the Bosch Smart Home app Bosch Smart Home System.

Panasonic demoed a series of ULE enabled smart home security sensors like open/close sensors, occupancy sensors, and smart plugs with a built-in sensor, and indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi security cameras. the ULE technology supports integrated two-way voice and video, and enables whole home solutions with a simple low-cost layout. Panasonic also has two important announcements of its strategic partnership with Allianz and IBM. The partnership with global insurer Allianz Assist make the two companies to take advantage of Europe’s growing professional security market. In partnership with the IBM, Panasonic uses the IBM’s Watson cognitive computing platform to enhance the capability of its smart home offerings. Panasonic integrate IBM’s Watson IoT platform, a cloud based system, into its security cameras, glass break-, movement-, door and window-sensors, so that the home security system could know when to react. The Watson’s unique machine learning and natural language processing capabilities help transform the services it provides to consumers. For example, the system will not react if the neighbours’ children are just fetching their football, but will automatically alert the police if likely intruder tries to scale a fence to enter the property. The solution ensures the well-being and safety of residents, especially more vulnerable family members such as the elderly and young children.

NEDIS showcased König Smart Home Security system that consists of IP camera, gateway, indoor siren, door/window sensor, remote control, motion sensor, water leak sensor and smoke detector. The sensors are connected via RF 868MHz, and the IP camera supports Wi-Fi technology. The company believes home security will drive the smart home market in the following years, and sees a growth potential of the home security camera. The company provides a home kit for end users with cloud-based service. The system is expandable with smart power plugs to control electric appliances up to 3000 watt.
 
Schwaiger introduced home automation system HOME4YOU based on Z-Wave and ZigBee technologies, including actuators, security and safety sensors and gateway. For those who like to create personalized scenes, they can use ZHF01 mini remote control and ZHS03 wireless wall switch which provides different programmable keys and up to 8 switching commands. Also, the company’s solar-powered outdoor siren ZHS14 will alarm users with sounds and LED flash lights, and send the push notification to the user’s mobile devices or email box. In addtion, the company introduced ZHK 17 outdoor camera and ZHK 18 indoor camera. The ZHK 18 equipped with motor and intercom feature allows users to talk with each other in the house.

AVM presented a new radiator controller FRITZDECT 300 for the first time that supports DECT ULE technology. Combined with a FRITZ!Box, the FRITZDECT 300 manages the temperature at home and helps to save energy. It supports selection of individual schedules, open window detection, key lock and calcification protection. The company also showcased a new outdoor plug FRITZ!DECT 210 which eanbles users to measure the power consumption or temperature at home or on the go simply by using their DECT telephone, PC, smartphone or tablet.
 
Redmond demoed a complete smart household appliace lineups—Sky Kitchen and Sky Home at the show, including smart kettles, multicookers, coffee machines, heaters, air purifiers, irons, humidifiers and fans. Users can get the notifcation of the air quality via their mobile phones, and remotely turn on or off the air purifier, adjust the air flow rate, and set a time switch via the mobile app. In addition, the company has Sky Power series that consists of smart plug, light switch, door/window sensor, smoke detector, motion sensor and Bluetooth tracker.

New Z-Wave and ULE  gadgets  

The pavilion of Z-Wave Alliance showcased several interesteing wireless smart home devices. The company Popp & Co. presented a Z-Wave Rain sensor Z-Rain, and a new Popp HUB, confirmed by the AV-Test institute, as a gateway for the connected home. Fibaro demoed its new smart button called Button available in 8 different colors, being used as a panic button or as a scene control for more complex applications. The button can also recognize a one to five times press and a holding down of the button. Z-Wave.Me demoed Z-Uno, a programmable microcontroller and Z-Wave Plus certified device, which lets users upgrade random devices to wireless Z-Wave devices. Swiid presented a new smart remote control which can control Z-Wave and IR devices. Thus users can control their A/V equipment like TV or Blue Ray Player, and home automation devices, such as shutters, lights and heatings with one remote. Aeotec (Aeon Labs) showcased a LED-Stripe and a wall switch with a glass surface. The Chinese company TKB presented new wall thermostats and new wall switches.
 
devolo introduced new siren, water sensor and humidity sensor based on Z-Wave technology. At IFA 2016, devolo presented new flush-mounted components for existing wall switches, dimmers and shutter controls. The devices provide easy integration with products from third-party manufacturers, such as Philips HUE and software platform like IFTTT.

ULE features low power consumption, long range, interference-free RF bandwidth, and natural support in two-way voice. It can transmit both voice and video. EUROtronic, Sercomm, and ROC-Connect showcased their smart home solutions based DECT ULE (Ultra-Low Energy) technology. EUROtronic launched new sensors integrated with DSP Group’s DHAN-S module which offers application developers a turn-key platform for ULE nodes, whether battery- or AC-powered. The new sensors includes thermostats, a wall switch and door/window contacts. The module serves as a wireless connectivity channel for devices running on an external microcontroller unit (MCU), and can be used as a standalone solution using the DHX91’s internal ARM926 processor. The smart hubs and home security devices like door locks from ROC-Connect support Ultra Low Energy (ULE) technology. ROC-Connect will offer ULE-enabled smart home solution sto its retail, insurance and service provider partners in Q4 of 2016. Sercomm introduced new sensors integrated with DSP Group’s DHX91 ULE SoC like its motion sensors, window contacts, smoke and flood detectors, thermostats.

At IFA 2016, we saw innovative gadgets incorporated with eye-catching smart functions.

Amaryllo shocased its indoor and outdoor smart security camera ATOM, AR2, AR3, and Koova. Koova and ATOM support auto-tracking and facial recognition. ATOM auto-tracks moving people 360 degrees and recognizes multiple people simultaneously through smart algorithm and its powerful multi-core CPU. The company plans to integrate octa-core CPU into its next-generation security cameras. ATOM can auto-tilts to center people in the middle of the view. Besides hardware, offers free rolling 24-hour unlimited cloud storage for each of its devices. Moreover, Amaryllo builds a dynamic military-grade 256-bit encryption server to offer the best security protection to smart home market. The dynamic peer-to-peer video server reduces video latency to offer the best streaming video experience by automatically adjusting video quality based on available bandwidth.

Sen.se launches BLE-enabled ThermoPeanut which is an affordable and intuitive smart sensor that can monitor temperature in-and-around the home to provide alerts and trigger automated interventions in response to heat fluctuations. Unlike other temperature tracking devices, ThermoPeanut connects directly to the SensePeanut app without the need for hubs or gateways. The sensor works with Nest and IFTTT, allowing users to set rules. Each ThermoPeanut can be paired with multiple smartphones and tablets, and supports multiple users.

NodOn NIU is a waterproof and magnetic smart button that supports BLE technology, providing easy-to-use experience. Users can just press buttons to trigger actions via single, double or long press. The available actions include photo trigger, fake call, alarm snooze and so on. NIU is compatible with IFTTT, Nest, MyFox, Gmail, Slack, etc.
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