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Internet of Things
Internet of Things Updates

Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

As a veteran reporter, Matt Power has covered virtually every aspect of design and construction. His award-winning articles often tackle tough environmental challenges in a way that makes them relevant to both professionals and end users. An expert on both building science and green building, he has a long history of asking hard questions--and adding depth and context as he unfolds complex issues. Matt is a founding member of the Tiny House Industry Association, and sits on the board of The Resilience Hub, an educational organization focused on permaculture and hands-on reskilling.
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Recent Posts

Smart Appliances Come of Age: Selling Timesaving Tech to Busy Buyers

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Aug 5, 2019 10:55:16 AM

Connected home technology, used properly, can save time for what really matters.

Connected appliances have matured in recent years. No longer pitched as simply a way to control your oven on your way home from work, their value as potential time and labor reducers has entered the conversation. That’s smart. Saving time is the Holy Grail of almost any new technology today. But to convincingly make the argument that technology will save time, you have to factor in human behavior and include that variable as part of the consumer’s education. Tech can take on common chores, yes, but only if used thoughtfully—a fact that many fail to acknowledge.

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Netgear Owes Arlo Camera Owners a Make-Good

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 6, 2019 6:59:40 AM

Netgear has left thousands of consumers stuck with malfunctioning Arlo cameras that can't be plugged in safely outdoors, while it moves on to a new model.

A couple of years ago, I installed one of those pricey, $400 Arlo camera systems with remote monitoring to keep an eye on my urban property. It came with a hub and four cameras, and a charger or two.

Arlos, in case you're unfamiliar, run on batteries, potentially for several weeks, if they're not triggered a lot. But my preference has been to leave them plugged in to their usb chargers. I don't see the value in any device that requires regular maintenance and babysitting. I'm busy enough without changing batteries in a bunch of gadgets that die at different intervals.

Sometimes the cameras work great. But too often, they remind me of that poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: ... When she was good, She was very, very good, But when she was bad, she was horrid."

Well, the horrid moments seem to come more frequently with each passing month. I've had two or three cameras fail, one battery go dead, and replaced most of the power cables, with various after-market products. Now another camera has unexplainably failed. I've tried covering the cameras with little silicon condom-type jackets, with no noticeable improvement.

The company keeps upgrading the firmware for the devices, but I've seen no noticeable improvement in reliability from these "improvements."

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Field Test: Entering the Z-Wave Universe

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

May 22, 2019 9:15:30 AM

As a way to put devices from different manufacturers under one control hub, Z-Wave rises to the task. But don’t expect a big range bump.

For off-the-shelf products, the Z-Wave wireless protocol often gets a call out as a more reliable, secure form of wireless. It differs from typical wireless systems, in that it operates on low-frequency radio bandwidth, specifically in the 800-900 MHz radio frequency range.

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Why Does Wemo Choose the Path of Lame-O?

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Mar 21, 2019 9:00:12 PM

One of my pet peeves is when mulitmillion dollar companies won't do a little more R&D to solve glaring weaknesses in their products.

And right now, as I sit here with two useless Belkin Wemo Insights in my lap, and I'm feeling grumpy. I already have one Wemo network set up to run a few devices, and I want to run a few more on another network, but the App won't let me. It's that simple, and it's not like Wemo hasn't known about this problem for at least a year. Add this to the other big Wemo throwback...most of the devices only run on 2.4 ghz bandwidth, so they won't even work with 5 gig routers that are not dual band! Surprise!

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Next Year for CES: How About A Virtual Medicare Cost Avenger?

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jan 24, 2019 6:28:34 PM

Instead of paying for artificial intelligence diagnoses, what we really need is a robo-caller that’s the nemesis of claims adjusters everywhere.

While dodging the crowds at CES with my friend and colleague Craig Coale last month, we were whisked into a traveling sideshow of sorts, a converted RV with a full-time virtual health assistant on board. Addison, as they call her, watches the inhabitants 24/7, from the comfort of her pixel-borned universe, and comments on things in our universe that she observes. “Did you know you’re favoring one hip?” I don’t think you remembered your medications, Dora,”—that sort of personal comments—the kind that, if you were a teenager instead of an octogenarian, might wither your soul.

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