How to harness IFTTT-like event Triggers with Apple HomeKit in iOS 9

To make the most out of your smart home experience you need the perfect blend of hardware and software.  Up until recently, the software you would use with HomeKit devices was limited by Apple’s iOS 8 short-comings.  Thankfully Cupertino fixed most of that with the recent release of iOS 9, but no developer has taken the time to harness all this potential power.  Now, thanks to a new app called Home by Mattias Hochgatterer, we can finally build the smart home of our dreams!

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REVIEW: Nest Learning Thermostat -VERSUS- HomeKit-enabled Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat

Over fifteen years ago I purchased a cheap programmable 5+2 day thermostat at my local hardware store.  And for nearly a decade that unit provided me ample performance, until one day it stopped working and needed replaced.  At that time, a few years ago, there was only one option for tech geeks like myself who wanted a WiFi smart home thermostat.  But nowadays we have many options, which is why today I’m provided my review of the two of the top sellers in this segment:  the Nest Learning Thermostat and the ecobee3 Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor (Apple HomeKit Enabled).

Continue reading REVIEW: Nest Learning Thermostat -VERSUS- HomeKit-enabled Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat

Amazon Echo brings voice-recognition to the home, but is it better than Apple’s Siri?

Smart phones have made our lives easier, providing users with cameras, GPS navigation, and web browsers wherever we go.  However, Apple’s Siri requires a button press, or must be plugged into power to be listening for your “Hey, Siri” commands.  With their recent public release, Amazon’s Echo device hopes to bring always-on voice-recognition to your home or business.  But how does it compare?

Continue reading Amazon Echo brings voice-recognition to the home, but is it better than Apple’s Siri?

COMPARISON: Nest Cam versus Withings Home versus Netatmo Welcome WiFi Security Cameras (and Dropcam Pro)

Security cameras are becoming quite popular, with new options emerging regularly.  We recently tested two devices in this segment, and now have had a chance to test two more.  Whether being used as a security camera, a baby monitor, or just a way to keep tabs on your pets, these devices are gaining traction for many users.  In this installment we’ll take the a look back at the Dropcam Pro versus Withings Home, adding the Netatmo Welcome versus Nest Cam wifi security camera devices.

Continue reading COMPARISON: Nest Cam versus Withings Home versus Netatmo Welcome WiFi Security Cameras (and Dropcam Pro)

QUICK LOOK: Lutron Caséta Wireless Lighting with Apple HomeKit Integration (L-BDG2-WH)

“Hey Siri, set the living room lights to 50%” I barked at my phone.  Seconds later, as if I was living in some futuristic world, my lights were on.  My phone responded politely. “You got it, Ari.  I set both of the living room lights to 50” sung the small electronic portal in my hand.  Has the ability to control one’s home with your voice finally arrived?  Let’s take a quick look at the new Lutron Caséta Smart Bridge (L-BDG2-WH) with Apple HomeKit Siri capabilities to see just how science fiction our lives may really have become!

Continue reading QUICK LOOK: Lutron Caséta Wireless Lighting with Apple HomeKit Integration (L-BDG2-WH)