Home Cinemas of the Rich & Famous : 50 Cent

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Home Cinemas of the Rich & Famous : 50 Cent

50 Cent

50 Cent

50 Cent recently sold his house for a mere $8 million, having originally listed it at an eye watering $18 million back in 2007. He bought the house for $4 million in 2003 and spent around $10 million in renovations and improvements to property's gym, racquetball courts, home cinema room and disco room.

Curtis James Jackson III known professionally as 50 Cent, is an American rapper was born July 6, 1975 he is one of the worlds most successful rappers.

50 Cents very Smart Home Cinema

50 Cents very Smart Home Cinema

50 Cent enjoying a movie on his Home Cinema

50 Cent enjoying a movie on his Home Cinema

The cinema features 8 leather motorised home theater recliners, with a love seat combo in the front row (this is two seats that don’t have a divider). The plush walls are soft blue velvet which help with keeping sound reflections and image reflections to a minimum. The middle chair is well worn showing that Curtis obviously enjoys using the room as the opposite picture shows him using his Smart Home automation system to choose from a selection of movies.

Leather Home Cinema Recliners

Leather Home Cinema Recliners

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Training - Smart Homes require good home networks

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Training - Smart Homes require good home networks

Wirut our Installation Director recently returned from a weeks intensive training in Advanced Networking up in Bangkok. He attended the CompTIA Network+ course which will help us to install even better residential networks into our customers Smart Homes in Thailand using Ubiquiti Networking equipment to make sure their homes and our clients have the best WIFI and LAN experience possible.

The Network+ course ensures an IT professional has the knowledge and skills to:

  • Design and implement functional networks

  • Configure, manage, and maintain essential network devices

  • Use devices such as switches and routers to segment network traffic and create resilient networks

  • Identify benefits and drawbacks of existing network configurations

  • Implement network security, standards, and protocols

  • Troubleshoot network problems

  • Support the creation of virtualized networks

CompTIA Network+ Training to help us design, implement and secure Smart Home Networks.

CompTIA Network+ Training to help us design, implement and secure Smart Home Networks.

At H3 Digital we ensure that we are kept up to date and invest in Training regularly so that we can continue to provide our customers in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Hua Hin with the very best smart homes, home cinema, audio systems and lighting control in the industry.

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Sonos ONE gets an internal redesign

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Sonos ONE gets an internal redesign

The Sonos ONE speaker which is part of the multi room music system Sonos ecosystem has just had a redesign, externally the speaker stays the same but internally there have been some changes;

new Sonos ONE soon available in Thailand

new Sonos ONE soon available in Thailand

Bluetooth Low Energy
Faster Processor
More Memory

Now, none of these are going to make the small standalone speaker sound any better, these types of Sonos wireless speakers are best suited to provide audio into children’s bedrooms, small rooms, bathrooms, kitchens or as an everyday speaker that can be moved around the house.

Sonos ONE underside

Whilst sound performance will be identical it’s likely that the other changes will make sure that the Sonos One can keep up with it’s snappy UI and streaming throughout your home and other Sonos zones. The last Sonos One was released about a year and a half ago. It’s likely that this is a cost cutting or streamlining manufacturing exercise.

There are some rumours that the extra horsepower under the hood will enable it to support Airplay2 by Apple. Sonos had previously stated that some older speakers "simply don't have the horsepower to support AirPlay 2,"

Sonos ONE in different colours

They are then looking at future proofing the Sonos One a little. No news when the new Sonos One will be available here in Thailand yet.

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Apple Hire ex-Microsoft VP to head up Apples Smart Home initiatives.

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Apple Hire ex-Microsoft VP to head up Apples Smart Home initiatives.

Apple have just hired former Microsoft VP - Sam Jadallah to help revamp its smart home business, in light of the recent competition in the Smart Home space from Google’s Home and Amazon’s Alexa.

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Sam Jadallah spent more than a decade at Microsoft and more recently headed up Smart Home Lock company Otto which shut down just over a year ago. Apple has hired him to lead the home initiatives at Apple, focusing on Homekit, Siri, Homepod and Integrating all the Smart Home components into a more tangible ecosystem.

Sam Jadallah Joins Apples Smarthome division

Sam Jadallah Joins Apples Smarthome division

We don’t see many Homekit enabled Smart Homes here in Thailand, with many users across Thailand thinking that it’s fairly half-hearted attempt at home automation and many saying that it feels tacked on, rather than a comprehensive, solid, home control system from one of the biggest technology manufacturers in the world.

Hiring Jadallah is the latest signal that Apple plans to get serious about its own efforts in the home. Recently, the company acquired a start-up called Pullstring, a start-up that specializes in voice-enabled toys. The purchase could help the smartphone maker become the center of a more connected living room.

Many commentators feel that perhaps Apple has been slow to react or innovate in the smart home space and it has allowed Google but mainly Amazon to get a massive headstart on smart home automation.

Apples Smart Home Kit

Apples Smart Home Kit

Apple, Amazon and Google - All three companies have a combination of hardware and software that controls everything from turning lights on and off using voice or your phone, to playing music and Apple's HomePod represents only a small share of the market, compared to Amazon's Echo and Google Home.

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Control4 Buys out Smart Home Remote NEEO

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Control4 Buys out Smart Home Remote NEEO

Last year at ISE I had a chance to play around with and talk to the guys at NEEO, They had come up with a brilliant remote control that promised vastly improved battery life, a great touchscreen user interface and worked with a wide range of Smart Home products such as Sonos, televisions, blu ray players and other smart home devices. I was lookig to see if it would be available here in Thailand and really looked forward to installing it into our custmers Smart Homes in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Hua Hin. It still needed a little work but what I saw was very promising.

NEEO Smart Home Remote

NEEO Smart Home Remote

Now at this years ISE it has been announced that Control4 has bought the company, going forward from now on the remote will be available only from Control4 and likely only through their network of Smart Home dealers.

It sounds like Control4 will be first taking some time to understand and work it into their range of Smart Home products. As such it will unlikely be available through a home channel for DIY installers in the near future.

Control4 Press Release -

Control4 Corporation (NASDAQ:CTRL), a leading global provider of smart home solutions, today announces the acquisition of Switzerland-based NEEO, the creators of the acclaimed smart home remote, to accelerate its leadership in delivering remotes, touch panels, keypads, and other smart home devices.

Introduced in 2016, NEEO’s remote quickly gained industry recognition for its simplistic set up, out-of-box interoperability with thousands of devices, and most notably, its beautifully conceived industrial design. Based in Bern, the NEEO product team has been led by the company’s founder Raphael Oberholzer and will be working with the Control4 engineering group in Salt Lake City on the development of the next-generation of Control4 remote controls, touch panels, keypads, and other devices. Oberholzer will take a leadership role in the development of Control4’s interaction devices and will report to Charlie Kindel, Control4 Senior Vice President, Products & Services.

Control4 announce acquisition of Neeo at ISE 2019

Control4 announce acquisition of Neeo at ISE 2019

“Raphael built a world-class customer-centric product team with proven strengths in industrial design, product development, and user experience. We’re keen to add NEEO’s unique expertise and award-winning Swiss design ethic to enhance our plans for reimagining the way homeowners interact with their Control4 systems,” said Martin Plaehn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Control4. “The NEEO acquisition is a talent and technology investment that will yield beautifully-designed and deeply integrated products in the future. We’re excited to welcome the NEEO team to the Control4 family,” he added.

“From the start, it was obvious that both our companies are passionate for customer-centric design,” said Raphael Oberholzer, NEEO Founder. “By joining the Control4 team, we can execute our shared vision to accelerate the creation of beautiful products consumers want in their smart home.”

NEEO previously sold its remote to homeowners online but is discontinuing all direct-to-consumer distribution in connection with this transaction. Control4 will support existing NEEO customers via www.neeo.com and plans to provide an upgrade path to make it easy for users to experience Control4’s broad array of smart home solutions.

Control4 is exhibiting at ISE 2019 Stand 10-N130 in Amsterdam this week and showcasing its extensive smart home solutions including the KNX line of smart lighting, multi-room audio and video offering, Triad speakers, award-winning Intercom Anywhere video intercom solution, Pakedge intelligent networking solutions, and security cameras.

For more information on Control4 visit Control4.com.

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Sonos Multi Room - Headphones ??

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Sonos Multi Room - Headphones ??

Sonos have a great reputation as one of the best multi room audio systems available for the Smart Home - We’ve been installing Sonos music systems into smarthomes across Thailand from Phuket in the South to Chiang Mai in the North, for over a decade. Between this and the Nuvo whole home audio systems we’ve got the two best sound systems for your home. Now Sonos is expanding to personal audio with plans to launch a set of stereo headphones in a move outside of the home.

Speaker maker Sonos Inc. is planning to expand beyond the home with high-end headphones, according to rumours within the industry.

The wireless, over-the-ear headphones are still in the early development stages and could be launched by next year, say rumours. Renowned famously for their very high audio quality Sonos is working on high end technology to bring their sound quality to personal devices like iPods, iPhones and Android devices.

Sonos is focusing on audio quality and the ability to work with multiple music services and digital assistants, like its latest internet-connected speakers. The company is one of the few independent consumer hardware makers that has partnered with most of the leading technology companies, including Apple , Google and Amazon.

We took a look on the internet and artist Ben Mahon has come up with some great looking concept drawings for an idea of what they could look like. https://dribbble.com/ben_mahon

We took a look on the internet and artist Ben Mahon has come up with some great looking concept drawings for an idea of what they could look like. https://dribbble.com/ben_mahon

Sonos went public in August and now have shareholders to answer to, they are looking at new areas of growth and state that their research shows that over half of music listening actually occurs outside of the Smart Home.

Recently Sonos wrote "We plan to push our boundaries by investing resources to make the experience of Sonos outside the home a reality”.

Headphones and personal listening is a tight market with Beats, Apple, Bose, Sony, Sennheiser and Skullcandy all with strong offerings. The price of the headphones will be rumoured to come in at around $300.


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IKEA Set to Launch SONOS Speaker in August 2019

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IKEA Set to Launch SONOS Speaker in August 2019

SONOS Speaker Available in Thailand from IKEA

SONOS Speaker Available in Thailand from IKEA

It’s well known that SONOS and IKEA have been working together on a collaberation project whcih has been named the Symfonisk as part of their future home sound project, it’s now been given a launch date of August 2019. I’m not sure if the Sonos speaker will be available here in Thailands IKEA by that month but the Thailand stores do stock the IKEA range of Smart Home bulbs.

The IKEA speakers will work much the same as any other speaker from SONOS we are told although it has not been announced if there is a microphone (and therefore Alexa and possible Google Home Integration). In terms of sound quality from what we understand it will be priced below and aimed at being SONOS most affordable speaker, no news on the amplifiers power in terms of RMS Watts yet.

SONOS are saying that the Symfonisk will work in the SONOS ecosystem exactly as you would think, that means that you can control it with your phone, PC, MAc, or voice (through your Alexa Smart Home) It will be able to join an existing setup of wireless, multi-room Sonos speakers or the SOnos Connect:amps and will be treated as a Sonos speaker in your SONOS ecosystem.

SONOS and IKEA Smyfonisk Smart Home Speaker

SONOS and IKEA Smyfonisk Smart Home Speaker

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Cortana from Microsoft moving into Smart Home territory

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Cortana from Microsoft moving into Smart Home territory

Microsoft isn’t really the name you would first associate with the Smart Home industry but they have their own connected home technology embedded into Cortana, the voice assistant you might not even know you have.

If you run Microsoft Windows10 then you already have Microsoft’s voice assistant built into your computer and therefore in your Smart Home, accessible via your PC’s and smart phones.

Microsoft's Cortana SmartHome

Microsoft's Cortana SmartHome

It’s a crowded space at the moment with Alexa from Amazon, Google Assistant and Siri currently jostling it out for control (literally) of our smart homes. All of these voice assistants can control and automate things like your lights, audio an home automation systems. The ace up Microsoft’s sleeve is that Cortana is built into every MS Windows 10 install in the world. MS reckon that over 145 million users currently use Cortana.

Cortana and the smart home:

So what exactly can Cortana do for your smart home?

MS Smart Home Speaker

MS Smart Home Speaker

You can control your;

Music System
Home Cinema
Smart Lights
Smart Thermostat
Skype Calls

In addition you can ask questions from the web, check news, weather etc… and manage your calenders. Cortana can even sort through your emails and interface with your business documents.

In the same format as Amazons Alex, Microsoft’s Cortana has Skills, you can expand control of your Smart Home through enables skills. Microsoft is working towards making it easy to port Amazon Skills directly over to Cortana.

MS Smart Home Glass

MS Smart Home Glass

Some of the Smart Home gadgets that will work with Cortana in Thailand include ; Wink, SmartThings, Philips Hue and LIFX.

Music wise there is Spotify integration for your home.

HK step into your Smart Home

HK step into your Smart Home

Microsoft now offer Cortana built into devices, Harmon Kardon recently released a speaker with Cortana built-in. There are rumours that Microsoft is working on its own Cortana speaker.

Another great for SmartHome integration, especially here in Thailand is the IFTTT integration (If This Then That) which enables you to string together quite complex Home Automation routines.

It’s a tough market though and Google, Apple and Amazon are all BIG players in the smart home speaker and assistant territory, can Microsoft leverage their massive install base and become the basis for consumers smart home, something they’ve been angling for since their launch of the Microsoft Xbox.

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Yangon Smart Home Install

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Yangon Smart Home Install

Smart Home installs in Myanmar

Smart Home installs in Myanmar

We don’t just install Smart Homes in Thailand, we are involved in a number of high end installs in Yangon, Myanmar as well. Our Installation Manager Wirut is currently over there with our lighting system engineers to install a Smart Home lighting system, at the same home we’ve got a multi room audio system from Nuvo and Smart Home wifi from Ubiquiti.

Smart Home project in Yangon

Smart Home project in Yangon

Smart Home install in Myanmar

Smart Home install in Myanmar

Nuvo multi room audio

For the Nuvo Multi Room audio we will be using the latest wireless series of Nuvo amplifiers. These can be controlled via iPhone or Andoird app to set volume levels, join zones or party mode. The audio system consists of 11 zones of audio covering all the major common areas, living room, dining room, outdoor areas, poolside, bedrooms and roof terrace. There will be 15 pairs of speakers spread out across the home that will really help bring the home to life when the owner has guests or just wants to relax with his favourite music playing all over their home.

Nuvo P200 multi room audio amplifier

Nuvo P200 multi room audio amplifier

Nuvo P200 Series music amplifier

Nuvo P200 Series music amplifier

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Control4 Shows Smart Home KNX Connectivity at ISE 2019

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Control4 Shows Smart Home KNX Connectivity at ISE 2019

Whilst CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2019 is currently on in Las Vegas and has been abuzz with Smart Home new, it is predominantly a show for the USA - Europe’s closest equivalent is the ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) show held every year in Amsterdam. Smart Home supplier Control4 will be using the European show to debut their latest line for Smart Home integration with the KNX (formerly know as Instabus) home control protocol.

Personally I would recommend against using two (or more) home control systems within a residence for a number of reasons but primarily for simplicity, ease of use and long term reliability - this could prove useful for Smart Home owners who already have a KNX system and would like to use Control4’'s more user friendly Smart Home user interface.

Control4 and KNX Smart Home integration

Control4 and KNX Smart Home integration

The Control4 KNX solutions line for integrating KNX building and light control with Control4 smart home automation is making its international debut at ISE 2019 in Hall 10, having previously been seen at CEDIA in 2018.

Control4 delivers a complete offering of over 100 products enabled with KNX support, simplifying the integration of KNX lighting and comfort, with audio and video entertainment for homes around the world. The KNX line is also Amazon Alexa voice control-enabled for an even more complete connected home experience.

Primarily a software interface between the Control4 eco system and KNX the network driver introduces over 100 new products including lighting, HVAC, blinds and rollers, keypads, frames, and bus management products using the KNX standard.

Control4 Smart Home Touchscreen

Control4 Smart Home Touchscreen

The line integrates with over 12,500 third party devices within the Control4 ecosystem for control using keypads, remotes, the smartphone app, touchscreen and voice command. Homeowners also now have the ability to fine-tune their home automation using ‘When >> Then’ personalisation, a feature Control4 says is unavailable in most KNX systems.

Control4’s KNX line can be installed and programmed using existing ETS tools and also includes an automatic import into Control4 projects. This integration lets users tie programming, for example streaming audio into a single button keypress on the Control4 keypad.

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Smart Home Technology at CES 2019

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Smart Home Technology at CES 2019

Homes are getting smarter and more efficient, accelerated by smartphones and tablets interacting with the myriad of connected objects and devices.
From basic security monitoring to smart appliances, lighting, window coverings, irrigation, entertainment systems and more, see the latest innovations in smart home tech
— CES Smart Homes

SMART HOME Technology is at the forefront at the 2019 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. It’s a long way from Thailand but CES is where all of the major (and minor) electronics companies showcase their new technologies, and whilst it may take some time for this technology to filter out to Thailand much of the technology will become ubiquitous in the near future.

Here we take a look at some of the new technologies that we are seeing in the Smart Home industry.

Wellcam

From Alarm.com the Wellcam smart video camera connects to your home WiFi, allowing subscribers to extend their security service into their homes. It has a 180-degree field of view, 1080p resolution and the ability to make two-way audio calls. There's a call-out button on the Wellcam too for users to reach out for help. 

Smart Home Beer

LG introduced a slew of Smart Home kitchen products (Smart Kitchen) included an automated craft beer maker that works like a Nespresso machine for beer.

It handles everything, from fermentation to carbonation and aging, even cleaning itself. In as little as two weeks, you can get a batch of five liters of beer. The mobile app lets you monitor the home brewing process from anywhere.

Smart Home Fridge from LG

Also from LG is the Smart Home Fridge which brings distinctive styling and innovation to your kitchen with a tinted glass panel that allows you to see inside the easy-access door without letting the cold air out. Simply knock twice on the glass to illuminate the contents within.

Promising to give you the ability to “control your digital shower your way” Smart Homes can now feature voice controlled showers.

U by Moen creates a personalized showering experience. Now with three ways to control your smart shower: voice, phone, and controller. Start, Stop and Pause your shower with your voice, Create a preset within the U by Moen app and start it with Alexa and start your shower to a very specific temperature.

Smart Home shower
Smart Home toilet

This one even surprised us and we are in the Smart Home industry, it’s a Smart Toilet by Kohler.

This is the 2nd generation of smart toilet by Kohler and the Numi Intelligent toilet has Amazon Alexa built in - So yes you can actually speak to your toilet.

The seat automatically opens and closes and comes fully fitted with advanced LED Lighting and even a built in speaker system for what they claim is a "fully immersive experience", of going to the toilet.

Whilst talking LED lit toilets might sound a bit silly at this time, Kohler aren’t a small upstart company, that they are investing in Smart Home technology such as this for their toilet systems gives us a glimpse into what sort of connected world we may live inside in the future. There is a figurative explosion of electronics and electrical goods featuring smart home and home automation technology from all the big players as can be seen from the CES Trade show.

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LG's 8k OLED TV shown at CES 2019

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LG's 8k OLED TV shown at CES 2019

The Consumer Electronics Show 2019 is currently on in Las Vegas in the United States and LG are showing some of their new Tv’s.

Stunning Picture Quality on the OLED Panel

Stunning Picture Quality on the OLED Panel

First up is the new Flagship Television, it’s an 88” OLED TV featuring 8K resolution (7,680 pixels width so a full resolution of 7680×4320), Dolby Atmos (3.2.2) and their OLED (Organic LED) Technology. The OLED Panels look great and the new 8K flagship is stunning, currently these panels are very expensive to manufacture so some estimates expect a price of around $40,000 at launch. A little on the small size but just about usable in a custom Home Cinema.

LG’s 88” 8K OLED TV Featuring Dolby Atmos

LG’s 88” 8K OLED TV Featuring Dolby Atmos

That 8k resolution by the way offers quadruple the pixel density of current 4k Televisions. Interestingly the TV also features Dolby Atmos - Dolby Atmos is the newest surround technology that includes spacial sound from above, typically speakers that fire downwards from the ceiling or reflect from the ceiling by firing upwards from the source.


Next up and probably not yet ready for the average customers home but nonetheless released to consumers by LG is this 65” OLED TV with rollable screen technology. It’s a 4K Screen with speakers built into the base, the TV rolls away into the base so as to be unobtrusive when it’s not in use. LG and other technology and display companies are investing a lot of money into bendable, foldable and see through displays - it’s likely that something akin to these rollable Televisions or see through televisions become the norm in the next 10-15 years.

LG’s Rollable OLED Television.

LG’s Rollable OLED Television.

It’s probably going to be a few years until we see these TV’s in Thailand, however it’s similar to the clothes you see in Fashion Shows, although these designs seem outlandish (and expensive) the concepts filter down into production lines so expect to see more OLED and Samsungs QLED type displays in higher and higher resolutions in the shops soon.

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