Networks are Ubiquitous in the Smart Home

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Networks are Ubiquitous in the Smart Home

u·biq·ui·tous
adjective
present, appearing, or found everywhere.

Our origins began with networking, we started the company up nearly 15 years ago after being brought in to wire home technology, at that time mainly wired networks and control systems into Villas in Phuket. At that time we had to import all of the Network Infrastructure Products into Thailand, Cat-6 cable, Gigabit Networks, Switches and Routers.

Home networking has always been a bit of a dark art, drilling down DOS command lines in windows to see what IP addresses are on the network, not much fun.

 Ubiquiti Networking Products

Ubiquiti Networking Products

Starting this year we have begun offering the very well thought of Ubiquiti Networks range of products, including the security gateway (router), powered and unpowered switches, access points and their range of IP Cameras.  Home networks are now complicated and congested and the Unifi controller (a web based GUI) that works with the Ubiquiti gear is a godsend.

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With the Unifi GUI we are able to track what individual IP Addresses and MAC addresses are doing and see in realtime exactly what's happening across the network.  We can rename all the network connections user friendly names and administer the network in a much more useful manner. 

 Ubiquiti GUI (Graphical User Interface)

Ubiquiti GUI (Graphical User Interface)

Ubiquiti networks are a game changer in the home network space, recently suffering from a rash of Spotify connection problems with my Sonos music system these disappeared immediately on upgrading my own home to all Ubiquiti Network Gear.  I could see exactly what all of my networked equipment was doing at a glance.

 Ubiquiti IP Cameras

Ubiquiti IP Cameras

We will be recommending Ubiquiti equipment with new installs when customers want us to help design and build their home networks, it's a little pricier than off-the-shelf consumer equipment but definitely worth it - to have a more robust and customisable network.  Especially when you consider how much of our entertainment, private and work lives is so reliant on the internet.

 

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Amazon rumoured to be developing a robot for your home

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Amazon rumoured to be developing a robot for your home

Amazon, who only as recently as 4 years ago introduced the world to their Amazon Echo smart speaker, are rumoured to be developing a robot for the home.

Codenamed “Vesta,” after the Roman goddess of the hearth, home and family, the project is overseen by the Amazon’s Lab126 hardware research division, currently there are listings on their job page for “Software Engineer, Robotics” and “Principle Sensors Engineer” helping to fuel speculation.

Jeff Bezos and Robot Dog

According to insider the Vesta project originated a few years ago, Jeff Bezos hosts the invitation only MARS conference every year which is entirely dedicated to machine learning, home automation, robotics and space exploration.

Amazon have a clear advantage here, they already have a division called Amazon Robotics which designs, builds and deploys robots to run their Amazon Warehouses which is a originated as a company called Kiva Systems that they bought back in 2012 for $775 million.

Atari Robot

Robots in the home have been the holy grail of technology with a long line of famous technology companies trying their hand at bringing them to the masses, Nolan Bushel founder of Atari is shown here with his Topo Bot which could be programmed by Apple II.  Could Amazon be the company to bring Robots mainstream for the very first time?

 

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Home Cinemas of the Rich and Famous - The Whitehouse

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Home Cinemas of the Rich and Famous - The Whitehouse

The White House Home Cinema (If you can call it that) is a small movie theater located in the White House in Washington, D.C. It is for the use of of the President of the United States and his family.

 The cinema in the Whitehouse is decorated in Movie Palace Red.

The cinema in the Whitehouse is decorated in Movie Palace Red.

Converted from a cloakroom in 1942 on the orders of Franklin Roosevelt (the 32nd President of the USA) the room was originally called the Hat Box in it's first guise as a cloakroom.  Prior to this there was no screening room for watching movies and film viewings were set up temporarily in the main building.

 Barack Obama watching Superbowl on the big screen at the Whitehouse Theatre.

Barack Obama watching Superbowl on the big screen at the Whitehouse Theatre.

There are 42 seats in the home theatre which was renovated with the help of the motion picture industry through the 1980's and then during George.W.Bush's Presidency redecorated in it's current "movie palace red".

 3d Cinema night at the Whitehouse.

3d Cinema night at the Whitehouse.

 Whitehouse Cinema Seating

Whitehouse Cinema Seating

As of 1988, Jimmy Carter had viewed more films in the White House Family Theater than any other person, having watched 480 films in the facility during his four-year term beginning with All The President's Men.

According to a list of film screenings obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Gizmodo, the first film watched by Bill Clinton in the White House Family Theater was Lorenzo's Oil on January 27, 1993. The final film watched was Chocolat on January 6, 2001.  The first film screened during the presidency of Donald Trump was Finding Dory.

 President Reagan and his wife Nancy enjoy a screening in the Whitehouse Cinema.

President Reagan and his wife Nancy enjoy a screening in the Whitehouse Cinema.

Other interesting factoids about the Whitehouse Home Theatre are;

President Kennedy watched ‘From Russia with Love’ the night before he was killed.
Carter watched the first X-rated movie ever in the White House – ‘Midnight Cowboy’
George W. Bush enjoyed Austin Powers and he personally called to request ‘The Hunt for Red October’.

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Sonos ONE available in New Colours!

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Sonos ONE available in New Colours!

Sonos has launched their Alexa compatible Sonos ONE Speakers in a range of new colours.

Designed in partnership with Danish design firm HAY the Sonos ONE speakers will soon be available in Yellow, Green and Red. The new colourful smart speakers are identical to the black and white Sonos speakers except they will cost around 15% more.

 Sonos One in Yellow

Sonos One in Yellow

Releasing them in September this year, Sonos hope to capture those buying Smart Speakers for the Xmas Holidays, the busiest time of year.   Last Holiday period competitor Amazon sold "tens of millions" of its Alexa powered speakers and devices.

Sonos says that it has picked the fairly constant colours of its speakers to ensure they blend into the places they live: 

 Sonos ONE in Colours

Sonos ONE in Colours

Our speakers aren’t designed to claim attention, but to blend naturally into their surroundings
— Tad Toulis, Sonos VP Design
Colour is one of the most important tools in the design process, and it was very important we didn’t just create a colour scale that looked beautiful . Colours can hide completely and disappear, or provide contras

These speakers deserve to be treated like furniture: strong, independent objects that fit different needs and spaces
— Mette Hay, CoFounder Hay Design

Sonos also announced that the Sonos ONE will be fully compatible with Apples new Airplay2 system when they finally launch it.  It's likely that this is limited to the Sonos ONE speaker so if you want a whole house to use Apples newest music streaming technology then that's the way to go.

 

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Spotify Lists on NYSE

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Spotify Lists on NYSE

Spotify Lists on NYSE as SPOT

The day before yesterday Daniel Ek the Founder and CEO of Spotify, who started the company in Stockholm in 2006, made this blog post to describe what was happening.

"Tomorrow, Spotify becomes a listed public company on the New York Stock Exchange. And it feels like the right time to pause and acknowledge the thousands of Spotify employees around the globe who helped build out the Spotify ecosystem while staying true to who we are and what we believe. You make me proud to come in and learn and work alongside all of you.

Lots of people have asked me how I feel about tomorrow’s listing. Of course, I am proud of what we’ve built over the last decade. But what’s even more important to me is that tomorrow does not become the most important day for Spotify.

It’s the day after, and the following day that matters — and all those days to come. Because that’s when we will continue the hard and important work of our mission: To unlock the potential of human creativity — by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.

Spotify is not raising capital, and our shareholders and employees have been free to buy and sell our stock for years. So while tomorrow puts us on a bigger stage, it doesn’t change who we are, what we are about, or how we operate. 

This is why we are doing things a little differently.

Normally, companies ring bells. Normally, companies spend their day doing interviews on the trading floor touting why their stock is a good investment. Normally, companies don’t pursue a direct listing. While I appreciate that this path makes sense for most, Spotify has never been a normal kind of company. As I mentioned during our Investor Day, our focus isn’t on the initial splash. Instead, we will be working on trying to build, plan, and imagine for the long term.

Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we stumble. The constant is that we believe we are still early in our journey and we have room to learn and grow.

I have no doubt that there will be ups and downs as we continue to innovate and establish new capabilities. Nothing ever happens in a straight line — the past ten years have certainly taught me that. My job is to ensure that we keep our foot on the pedal during the ups, so that we don’t become complacent, and that we continue to stay the course with a firm grip on the wheel during the downs.

We have a lot to do — we are only in the second inning — and I'm more excited than ever for the future.

Remember, tomorrow is just another day in our journey to fulfill our mission.

Harder, better, faster, stronger."

 Spotify Reception in NY

Spotify Reception in NY

 Spotify Meeting Area

Spotify Meeting Area

 Open Area in Spotify NY City

Open Area in Spotify NY City

 Meeting Room in Spotify NY

Meeting Room in Spotify NY

Yesterday the shares closed at around $150 each making Spotify worth just over $26 Billion.  Currently Spotify has revenues of over $5 Billion a year but is yet to make a profit, it pays nearly 3/4 of that money directly to Record Labels, Producers, Singers, Groups, Artists etc...  It's thought that renegotiating some of those deals and making more money from paying customers and advertising (for their free listeners) will push them into profit as the company moves forward.

 

 

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Oppo Digital ceases production

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Oppo Digital ceases production

 Oppo's 4k Blu Ray Player

Oppo's 4k Blu Ray Player

Oppo Digital who have wowed fans with their great featured Blu Ray and 4K players have declared ‘as Oppo 4K UHD players reach the pinnacle of their performance, it is time to say goodbye’.

Oppo have a fantastic reputation for value for money, in electronics generally and especially for home cinema fans, many of whom have owned or followed their excellent Blu Ray players.  Their latest player the UDP205 is a 4k player that has been lauded as reference quality by many users.

Oppos press release states that they will continue to trade whilst stocks last and warranty claims will be valid and spares available in the short term.  The Oppo Digital UK press announcement clearly states that the UK arm of the company will operate ‘while stocks last’, and ‘expects to close its doors in the summer’.

 Oppos High End Blu Ray Player

Oppos High End Blu Ray Player

‘We can be very proud of our achievements over the past few years. Along with market leading products, we have provided first rate customer service and support from our offices here in Norwich. I am very proud of our staff and very sad that we will now be closing our doors for good. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our European distributors, retailers and, of course most importantly, the people that have purchased OPPO products in Europe. We will continue to support products in and out of warranty and we have made provisions to continue this high level of service.’
— Oppo Digital UK’s Managing Director, Nigel Rich

 

 

 

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Amazon overtake Google

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Amazon overtake Google

 Amazons Alexa range of products

Amazons Alexa range of products

Amazon moved ahead of Google parent Alphabet on Tuesday  to become the United States second-most valuable company based on stock price.  Still way behind Apple.

The market capitalization of Amazon stands currently at $768 billion on Tuesday, ahead of Alphabet which is around $762 billion.  Apple is at $889 billion.

These three companies are at the forefront of the battle for your smart home with Apples Homekit and Homepod, Googles Home and Amazons Alexa technology.

 Apple's Homepod

Apple's Homepod

 Google's Home range

Google's Home range

Amazon has been on a fast rise to the top of late. It passed Microsoft for third place in market capitalization on Feb. 14. 

 Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

Amazon owner Jeff Bezos is currently the worlds richest person with Forbes putting his net worth at around $131.1 billion. with his 16% stake in Amazon, which he founded in a Seattle garage in 1994.
 

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Apples Homepod firmware upgrade changes sound, loses "Punchy Bass"

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Apples Homepod firmware upgrade changes sound, loses "Punchy Bass"

A new firmware has been released from Apple for their Apple Homepod Smart Home Speaker that according to some users negatively effects the sound quality.

 Inside the Apple Homepod

Inside the Apple Homepod

The upgrade according to many makes changes to the Loudness and Bass aspects of the speaker whilst boosting the mid-range. The problem that many are having with this is that the home speaker and sound quality that they initially bought when they invested in the Apple Homepod has now been changed, for the worse in their opinion.

apple_homepod_04.jpg

It's likely there will not be any sort of rollback available to take the system back to its old settings leading many to complain.  Apples engineers decide on the Bass, Mid-Range, Treble and Loudness settings on a one size fits all basis for all users.

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Home Cinemas of the Rich and Famous - Tommy Lee (Motley Crue)

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Home Cinemas of the Rich and Famous - Tommy Lee (Motley Crue)

 Tommy Lee from Motley Crue

Tommy Lee from Motley Crue

Rocker Tommy Lee - a founding member of Motley Crue has his Calabasas mansion up for sale currently and just reduced it from a price tag of $5.995 million to $4.995 million. The property high in the hills boasts panoramic views from its three stories and from the backyard’s piano-shaped swimming pool.

Tommy Lee Home Entrance
Tommy Lee Swimming Pool

Measuring around 1,000 square meters the house as 6 baths, 5 bedrooms, a wine room, 2 kitchens and a subterranean garage that has been partially converted into a 2,000-square-foot recording studio with two live rooms and a control center.

It also has a home cinema, looking a bit dated now (Sorry Tommy) the real estate agents photos don't do it much justice. This carpeted 6 seat cinema features plush leather recliners and an electrostatic front speaker stage.  I bet this home theater has seen some crazy nights in!

Tommy Lee Cinema.jpg

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Nearly 1,000,000,000 smart home devices to be sold in 2022

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Nearly 1,000,000,000 smart home devices to be sold in 2022

Market Intelligence group IDC says that the smart home market is set to hit close to one billion devices sold in the year 2022.

 Smart Home control via  Tablet

Smart Home control via  Tablet

"International Data Corporation (IDC) today published results from its newest Tracker research program covering the fast-growing market of Smart Home Devices. In this initial publication, the Worldwide Quarterly Smart Home Device Tracker focuses on market sizing and forecasting of IP-connected devices used in the home, inclusive of smart speakers, digital media adapters, lighting, thermostats, and more. The historical data is accompanied by a five-year forecast that offers insight into upcoming trends and the ever-evolving market.

433.1 million smart home devices were shipped worldwide in 2017, growing 27.6% from the previous year, according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Smart Home Device Tracker.

In 2017, 433.1 million smart home devices were shipped worldwide, growing 27.6% from the previous year. Looking ahead, IDC anticipates a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.5% as the market balloons to 939.7 million devices shipped in 2022. Within the smart home market, the smart speaker category, which includes devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, will remain the fastest growing category throughout the forecast. Meanwhile, shipments for most other categories, with the exception of video entertainment products, will experience a double-digit CAGR during the same period.

 Almon SMart Home Wifi Router

Almon SMart Home Wifi Router

"The smart home market is still in its infancy but we're already seeing some significant changes in consumers' and vendors' approach," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "There's less of a focus on having a central hub and apps as the center of the interface as hardware makers race to create interoperability with smart assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. On the other hand, consumers, while still somewhat hesitant to anthropomorphize smart assistants, are beginning to expect a more natural user interface to the myriad of smart home devices."

"While it's still early days for the smart home market – and the wider consumer IoT ecosystem in general – we expect to see considerable growth over the next few years, especially as consumers become more aware of and increasingly interact with smart assistant platforms like Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant," said Adam Wright senior research analyst for IDC's Consumer IoT Program. "Whether in the form of a smart speaker or embedded in a thermostat, fridge, TV, or any other device, smart assistants are quickly becoming the cornerstone of consumer IoT by enhancing the accessibility, use, and functionality of connected devices, which will noticeably boost adoption rates in the near future."

EcoBee.jpg

Category Highlights

Video Entertainment devices, inclusive of smart TVs, digital media adapters, and other IP-connected video devices, are forecast to deliver a CAGR of 8.3% for unit shipments over the 2017–2022 forecast period. These devices are also expected to capture around three quarters of the dollar value of the entire smart home market as the average sale price (ASP) for TVs will be among the highest. Leaders in the TV category during 2017 were Samsung and LG while category leaders for digital media adapters during the same period were, in order, Amazon, Google, and Roku.

Home Monitoring/Security is comprised of devices like connected door locks, cameras, moisture sensors, door bells, and more. IDC expects this will remain the second largest category in terms of unit shipments through 2022 as products become easier to deploy in the home and will not require consumers to have a "DIY attitude" to integrate these products with their smart assistants and other devices.

Smart Speakers with built-in smart assistants have captured the spotlight recently as major new brands like Apple have entered the market. In addition, Amazon and Google have been quick to respond by offering additional models and price points through their first-party speakers and by partnering with numerous other brands to bring Alexa- or Google Assistant-enabled speakers. What remains to be seen is how long the partners can survive since the sale of hardware stands to be the smallest part of the overall revenue associated with this category.

Connected Lighting products, like those from Philips, GE, IKEA, and others, have to some extent been the gateway for consumers to the larger smart home market. With prices quickly dropping and bundling with smart speakers as an entry level smart home solution, the lighting category has a lot of future potential. IDC anticipates this category to be worth more than $3.5 billion dollars by the end of 2022.

Thermostats, like the ones offered by Nest or Ecobee, are expected to have a worldwide CAGR of 20.8% for unit shipments by 2022. Despite the high growth, IDC expects it to be among the smallest categories as most homes will have a single thermostat and a large part of the world (e.g. Asia/Pacific and Middle East) does not use standalone thermostats, relying instead on those built into air conditioners or heating units.

Other smart home products like connected appliances, sprinkler systems, and other smaller devices are expected to see shipments grow at a CAGR of 18.2% from 2017–2022. Many of the analog counterparts, like traditional appliances, have long replacement cycles and are expected to have limited overall appeal within the future smart home."

https://www.idc.com/tracker/showproductinfo.jsp?prod_id=1781

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Smart Home Device Tracker® is designed to help clients understand the rapidly growing smart home device market. This includes products such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, Philips Hue bulbs, connected thermostats, and connected doorbells. This research product aims to capture and analyze the trends that are evolving in the smart home device market. The program provides insightful analysis, quarterly market share data, and a five-year forecast that can be broken down by key geographies. The core of the product is a comprehensive electronic database detailing changes and trends in the quickly growing smart home device market. IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Smart Home Device Tracker is built on the foundation of IDC's network of country-level quarterly tracking services, and its bottom-up methodology delivers an accurate view of the smart home market from those closest to it.

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Cinema - It's gone to the Dogs!

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Cinema - It's gone to the Dogs!

The Cinema is going to the Dogs! A new film has seen a wave of theatre's around the world opening up the cinemas doors for their preview showing to our friends of the canine variety so they also can watch the movie.

 These guys look excited to see the movie together.

These guys look excited to see the movie together.

Cinemas in the following locations opened up their cinemas to well behaved dogs and their owners for special previews;

The Little Theatre Cinema, Bath
Duke Of Yorks, Brighton
The Ritzy, Brixton
Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge
The Cameo, Edinburgh
Picturehouse Central, London’s West End
Clapham Picturehouse
Crouch End Picturehouse
East Dulwich Picturehouse & Cafe
Exeter Picturehouse
Greenwich Picturehouse
Hackney Picturehouse
Harbour Lights, Southampton
Stratford Upon Avon Picturehouse
City Screen, York 

Dog Cinema.jpg

Isle of Dogs is a stop motion animated film by Wes Anderson "When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture."

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Nuvo at ISE 2018

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Nuvo at ISE 2018

Home Audio company Nuvo had some of their newest music technology on show at Integrated Systems Europe at the Legrand stand.  Nuvo were instrumental in the distributed audio industry as the first company to develop and sell a multi room audio solution from a single box (amplifier).

Nuvo took the opportunity at the show to launch their new range of architectural speakers.  A new range of in-ceiling, in-wall and outdoor speakers for use with their Nuvo multi room audio and other home music system amplifiers.  The older speakers the Accentplus1 and Accentplus2 range are still available and we've had great success with them (we often use these with Sonos Connect:amps).

 Nuvo Architectural (in-Ceiling and In-Wall) Speakers

Nuvo Architectural (in-Ceiling and In-Wall) Speakers

Introduced at the show were a range of DIN mounted amplifiers, these small amplifiers are mounted on your DIN rail (Your Breaker Board) in your M&E Room (or cupboard).  You can have up to 16 zones and the DIN mounted P600 amplifier is 2x20 watts, plenty for background music in your house or villa.

 Nuvo P600 2x20w Music Amplifier

Nuvo P600 2x20w Music Amplifier

 Nuvo DIN Mounted Audio Power Supply

Nuvo DIN Mounted Audio Power Supply

 Nuvo's DIN mounted distributed audio amplifier for music all over your home.

Nuvo's DIN mounted distributed audio amplifier for music all over your home.

Nuvo also increased their range of control keypads for the P series of wireless amplifiers.  These can be installed into the wall and offer instant control for your home stereo system for those times when you don't want to reach into your pocket to grab your phone and fuss around. Simply press the on/off button, mute or adjust volume and sources instantly with the press of a button.

 Nuvo in-wall volume and control keypads

Nuvo in-wall volume and control keypads

Also at the show was the P30 Touchscreen controller for the wireless music system - This always on wall mounted touchscreen is perfect for controlling your Nuvo music system and choosing songs, albums and playlists easily.

 Nuvo P30 Touch screen control for Nuvos audio system.

Nuvo P30 Touch screen control for Nuvos audio system.

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