Smart Home Weekly: B8ta Test, Z-Wave Ups Security, UPnP+OIC, SmartThings Goes Premium

While most everyone in connected home business being either head's down preparing for CES or slowing down for the holidays (or both), there has been some interesting news coming out in advance of the big show in Vegas. 

Maybe the most interesting is the launch of b8ta, a new retail store for IoT. I write about it here and will be publishing a podcast interview with Phillip Straub, cofounder of b8ta, later today. You'll be able to find that here by this evening. There's also been news on the smart home technology front, with OIC absorbing UPnP and Z-Wave upping its security game to include 'HomeKit' level encryption. Check those out and other stories below.  

If you are going to CES, I'll be doing a live Smart Home Show on Thursday January 6th at 1 PST from the Anova booth, who has been kinda enough to open up their (booth) home to let me crash it with my mics and a few guests. I'll be talking smart home, smart kitchen and what trends are defining this year's CES and 2016 in connected home with a few guests. There's also a smart kitchen mixer I'm planning with a few others for Wednesday night. More info soon on that.

As for 2015 and 2016 wrap-ups, I just recorded a podcast with the good folks from HomeTech.FM and Home: On, which alongside the Smart Home Show represent a pretty amazing connected home podcast line up for Technology.FM, our sister podcast site. That one will go live tomorrow and can be found here. Also, I will be publishing some thoughts the trends that mattered in smart home in 2015 and what to look out for in 2016, so keep an eye out for that.

Also, if you haven't had a chance to check out the videos of the sessions or photos from Smart Kitchen Summit, please do so. We're already planning for next year as well as other smart home and smart kitchen events, and if you'd like to participate as a sponsor, speaker or just attend, please email us here.

On to the stories:

Z-Wave Intros 'HomeKit' Level Security Algorithm Into Core Security Framework

One of the bigger themes around IoT in 2015 - and one that will likely be even bigger in 2016 - is security. Nowhere is the continued rise to prominence of security as an issue for IoT more evident than at security conferences like DEF CON, where each year speakers warn of the imminent danger in a world where everything is connected. In fact, IoT got top billing at this year's DEF CON, where one of the conference's famed "hacking villages" was IoT themed for the very first time. Read More.

SmartThings Introduces Scout Monitoring As First Premium Service

From almost the get-go, one of the most promising aspects of the SmartThings DIY smart home offering was as a "platform" for third party devices, applications and related services. The company invested early on in application developer tools and hired business development folks to water and feed their developer ecosystem, and the end result was an impressive array of apps and devices that work today with SmartThings. Read More.

OIC + UPnP: Sign Of Reduced Fragmentation In IoT's Future?

Anyone who was around for the first wave of the connected home in 98-2003 remembers that the arrival of UPnP was a big deal. Much like today there was lots of the noise and interest around the physical layer networks (back then it was HomePNA (phoneline) vs. HomePlug (powerline) vs HomeRF and Wi-Fi (wireless), but the more important part was figuring out how disparate devices on any network could discover each other and join the network. Read More

Here's B8ta, The IoT 'Super Store' We May Have Been Waiting For

Back in 2014, I posed the question of whether the world needed an IoT super store. You know the kind, one where you could go in the heyday of the personal computer revolution for mice, graphics boards and speakers, only this more modern computing store's shelves would be lined with smart bulbs, connected locks and other consumer-centric IoT devices. Read More

With Maker Program, Google Makes A Case For The Home Router (And You Can Too)

When Google introduced the OnHub earlier this year, it was clear they wanted to reinvent the home router. Not a bad idea since, after all, the home router has long been a device where usability and design are afterthoughts, and today's modern smart home is desperate for a new approach that goes beyond what most products offer in this forgotten category. Read More

Siri vs. Alexa: Taking Measure Of Apple And Amazon's Living Room Smart Home Strategies

One of the more interesting battles in the smart home is how companies plan to leverage their position in the living room as part of their broader smart home vision. 
Apple and Amazon both clearly see their footholds here as important ones, with each company, to varying degrees, starting to lay out arguments (from a technology, if not positioning, perspective) for why their TV boxes could conceivably make for very capable smart home hubs. Read More

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