Holiday gift guide: Smart home products – get a jump on HomeKit for 2015

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I wondered earlier this year whether Apple’s HomeKit system would bring home automation to the masses. The good news is that you don’t need to wait for HomeKit to start bringing smart home technology to your family and friends – and we’ve put together a gift guide covering some of the main products that might bring a smile to their faces during the holidays.

With the right gadgets, they will be able to control lighting, heating, cooking, sound systems … even have their kettle switch on when they walk up to their front door, which will automatically unlock as they approach. Best of all, you can get them in on the smart home action from just $30 …

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Manything video security app gets IFTTT support, can automate control of Nest, Hue, WeMo and more

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While you’ve probably heard of Dropcam (which we like), you may not have heard of Manything – the cloud video service that allows you to use iOS devices as the smart cameras. You might want to check it out now, though, as the app has just added IFTTT support – giving access to a whole new world of automation.

Previously, Manything could use motion-detection to alert you to something moving inside or outside your home and send you an alert plus live video stream, enabling you to check it out remotely. Adding IF This Then That support makes it much more powerful – examples below …  Read more

Opinion: Will Apple’s Smart Home concept bring home automation to the masses?

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It’s the 21st Century: weren’t we all supposed to be living in automated homes by now? Where we walk in the door after a long day to have our home playing some soothing music, informing us that it’s run us a bath and that dinner will be ready in 45 minutes? Where a robot has done the cleaning, changed the flowers, accepted a parcel that arrived while we were at work and fed the cat?

That dream seems to be a long time coming. I’m a reasonably techy guy who loves the idea of home automation, yet even I only have three examples in my home (which I’ll mention along the way). Most mass-market consumers haven’t even noticed that the products exist, and the few who have tend to view it all as too complicated or fiddly.

If anyone can change that perception, it’s Apple. Which is why the Financial Times report yesterday that Apple is working on a new approach to home automation that may be unveiled at WWDC next week caught my attention …  Read more

If This Then That (IFTTT) launches iOS app for automating service directives

If This Then That (IFTTT) today launched an iPhone app version of its popular service for automating simple actions/services. The video above is a nice tutorial/overview of the service if you aren’t familiar. Channels are the services (like Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, as well as devices like Philips Hue, Belkin WeMo, and UP by Jawbone) and Recipes are the directives in IFTTT lingo.

Download the app and unlock three new Channels for iPhone: Contacts, Photos, and Reminders (with more to come). Create and use Recipes around the things you do on the go: snapping screenshots, adding new contacts, completing reminders, and organizing your photo albums.

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The IFTTT team notes that they are adding new features all the time.

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