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At CES 2023, Brilliant has announced that it is adding HomeKit support to its Brilliant Control product. The Brilliant Control is a sleek replacement for your existing light switches and features a touch display and camera. HomeKit support further expands its capabilities.

The Brilliant Control works by integrating smart home products from the likes of Amazon, Nest, Ecobee, Ring, August, Philips Hue, Sonos, Honeywell, and Wemo. At long last, the Control will also soon support HomeKit.

What this means is that you’ll be able to control HomeKit-enabled accessories using the Brilliant display. Further, Brilliant says that users will able to “find and control any light connected to the Brilliant Control by voice using Siri or with the Apple Home app.”

Details here are a bit sparse still, but the basic idea is that with Brilliant Control acting as your smart home centerpiece, you can integrate accessories from HomeKit, Alexa, and a host of other smart home platforms. Siri itself won’t be integrated directly into the Brilliant Control, but rather you’ll use Siri on your iOS device to control accessories connected to the Brilliant Control.

The Brilliant Control is available in four different configurations, depending on the size of the light switch you are replacing. Prices start at $299 and range up to $449.

Watch a video showcasing what Brilliant is capable of below, and check out the full press release for its HomeKit announcement. There’s no word on when exactly HomeKit support will rollout.

Brilliant Announces Apple HomeKit Integration

Control Any Light Connected to the Brilliant Control Using iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod and Mac

LAS VEGAS – JANUARY 8, 2023 – THE INTERNATIONAL CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW (CES) – Brilliant, maker of the award-winning Brilliant Home Control, the world’s first smart home controller that you swap out a light switch for, today announced their much-anticipated integration with Apple HomeKit™, allowing users to find and control any light connected to the Brilliant Control by voice using Siri® or with the Apple Home app on any Apple device.

Leveraging Apple’s software authentication for HomeKit, existing Brilliant customers will be able to get HomeKit support via an automatic, over-the-air firmware update to be issued Spring 2023 at no additional cost.

“Brilliant unifies control of smart home devices in a way that is seamless, simple and accessible throughout the home,” said Aaron Emigh, CEO and co-founder of Brilliant. “This new integration with HomeKit will soon give Brilliant owners who have invested in the Apple ecosystem even more functionality and convenience.”

The Apple Home app allows users to set scenes, which enable multiple accessories to work in combination, all with a single command. So users can control lights connected to Brilliant Controls, along with other functions such as locking the doors and lowering the thermostat.

About Brilliant

Brilliant creates technology that unifies the home experience through simple and thoughtful interaction. Co-Founded by serial entrepreneur Aaron Emigh, Brilliant is comprised of experienced entrepreneurs and engineers from companies such as Apple, Philips, Sonos, Cisco, Jawbone, PayPal, Palm, and shopkick. Brilliant is based in San Mateo, California, and is funded by August Capital, Miramar Ventures, The Box Group, and other prominent investors.

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How Irobot Could Control Your Smart Home And Become Your Butler

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In 2002, Colin Angle sent his army of Roombas into our homes. For years they’ve done a great job sucking up dirt. His newest model, the 980, does a heck of a lot more. It maps your home so a future model might one day navigate it as your personal butler. Angle sat down with Popular Science to tell us how technology will do even more of our dirty work.

Popular Science: How does a Roomba create a map?

Colin Angle: Because it’s a vacuum, its mission in life is to get everywhere it can get to. As it moves around your home, it uses optical sensors and software to document its journey. It says, “There’s nothing here, there’s something here,” etc. That’s how it builds a map, how it understands where your rooms are. You could build a platform on that and use your cellphone to track family members in the house—like find where your husband is and have your home perform intelligent tasks to suit his location.

PS: Like what?

CA: When you map people’s movements, you start extracting intent. For instance, when someone is in the living room, they probably want to watch TV, right? You can turn on the television, give a selection of their three favorite channels, and then turn it off when they leave the room.

PS: So how does that get us to the smart home of the future?

CA: As the maps get better, as we add more 3-D information about what’s in your home, it’s easy to imagine programming a house to stay organized, to keep the trash can where it goes, toys, magazines, and more. I imagine a robot, like a butler, with an arm that helps you clean things and fix things. It would provide security during the day, look for spills. And when you come home, it would interact with you. Or not.

PS: What do you mean?

CA: If you want privacy, you can send the butler away. The smart home that I think of is not like other people imagine, this Starship Enterprise interface where the house is omniscient and omnipotent and always monitoring. That idea requires big expenses, and the concept of privacy is blurred. What I’m talking about is a distinct thing that is either with you or not with you. If it’s not with you, you have privacy.

PS: Sounds like a companion bot.

CA: It can be. People already love to anthropomorphize their Roombas and name them. The Roomba on the main floor of our house is Roswell. At first our little poodle, Daphne, was very skeptical of Roswell and liked to try to chase its side brush. But quite quickly Roswell and Daphne have formed a fine relationship, and Daphne occasionally can be seen hanging out with Roswell waiting for something to happen.

This article was originally published in the November 2023 issue of Popular Science, under the title “Roomba’s Creator And His Robot Butlers.”

Best Apps For Your Smart Home

Technology has come a long way, and today you can get devices and apps that will make your day-to-day routines much easier. Forgot to turn off the thermostat, or you’re unsure of whether you locked the door on your way to work? Instead of going back, you can now simply unlock your phone, open the smart apps, and do it on the go.

Check out some of the best devices and apps you can get today and improve or transform your house into a modern smart home.

What Can You Install In Your Smart Home: Apps and Devices

A smart home is a residence where some, or all, of the house’s functions are controlled via smartphone or similar device. Lighting, thermostats, door locks, TVs, air conditioners, and more can all be controlled from a distance using apps on your smartphone.

There are thousands of devices, gadgets, and apps that we could discuss. Today we decided to showcase some of the best and most useful ones that will improve your home and enhance your experience.

Smart Door Locks

Functionality comes at a cost, which is why a standard door lock is less expensive and more ubiquitous. Smart door locks you can get range from $200 to $300. According to the experts at Locksmiths Locators, no matter which brand of smart door locks you get, they are no more difficult to install than standard locks.

However, to stay on the safe side and avoid damages, improper installations, or other issues, you should call a professional to do it for you. One example of a smart lock is the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi Smart Lock. You can get one online for about $280, and it comes with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, geofencing, tamper alarm, touchpad, and voice activation. You can download the Z-wave app from where you can control the door lock.

Virtual Assistant Technology

The first virtual assistant app that comes to mind every time is Amazon’s Alexa. It was launched back in 2013 — the virtual assistant is used with Amazon Echo and has a ton of features. Today, you have heard about this app even if you don’t have Alexa at home. To clarify, Alexa is the app you play via your Amazon Echo speaker. Some people still think that the speaker is named Alexa.

The speaker has an app that helps you control and give commands via voice activation. In fact, all you have to do to make the device work is call its name. You can make appointments, set alarms on your phone, make shopping lists, play music, change the channel on your TV, etc.

You can get the speaker online for about $80, while the Alexa app comes for free, as you can download it on your smartphone.

Smart Lights

Philips has released a lightbulb called Hue. Once you install all the lights and download the app, you can turn them on or off, adjust how bright they are, and even change colors. You can also set timers when the lights change color by themselves.

Additionally, you can pair the app with your Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri and use voice activation. You can get the Philips Hue lightbulbs online, which come in packs of 2 or 4 and will cost you around $70 or $120.

Intelligent Thermostat

With a smart thermostat like Ecobee, you can open the app, adjust the temperature and make your home warm and cozy, no matter where you are.

Final Thoughts

Technology today is ever changing and bringing new conveniences into our lives. What would have seemed like science fiction a few years ago is a reality today. Whether you decide to jump into smart home devices all at once or slowly over time, it’s important to remember how convenient these technologies can be. More important than convenience is the safety and security that a smart home can provide.

David Todva

David is an experienced writer who has worked in the sports industry for many years and he also enjoys writing about tech, business and real estate investments as a freelance writer. David’s background as a Russian native gives him a unique perspective on Eastern European business culture and current trends. When he’s not writing, David enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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Homekit Weekly: Four Ways To Control Cooling With Fans And Air Conditioners

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

We’re halfway through August, but summer doesn’t feel anywhere near like letting up: it’s hot outside! Luckily there are lots of ways to keep cool indoors — including four methods that work with HomeKit and Siri. Controlling cooling with HomeKit doesn’t have to be expensive either.

Smart Plug + Fan

Connecting a floor fan or window A/C unit to a HomeKit smart plug is the easiest and cheapest way to control cooling with Siri. Any model of the iHome Smart Plug that works with HomeKit for under $30 is my preferred smart switch.

In my office, I connect an iHome Smart Plug to a small flat panel Vornado fan set to its highest speed. In the Home app, you can assign the plug type as a fan (versus light or outlet) so Siri knows it’s connected to a fan and the accessory icon can match.

My house has a back porch area that is indoors but lacks central cooling, unlike the rest of the house. A basic window A/C unit was already installed when I moved in, so I simply added a HomeKit smart plug to the setup and assigned it as a fan to make it easily controlled by HomeKit as well.

This approach is super easy, relatively inexpensive, and made better by the Home app’s ability to assign smart switches as fans for proper support. The only real downside is missing out on fine tuned controls like changing target temperature and fan speed.

Also note that this works with any fan that works as soon as it’s powered on if left in the right mode; some fans require additional interaction to work but you can test before buying a smart switch by just unplugging and plugging the fan to the power source.

Smart Ceiling Fan

If you want more control, consider a HomeKit connected ceiling fan. Hunter Connect (reviewed) is my go-to solution. You get all the functions of a standard ceiling fan including speed and direction control, an integrated LED light, and a wall-mountable remote — plus complete Siri and Home app control.

Speed options include 25%, 50%, and 100% intervals, spinning direction can change between clockwise and counterclockwise (clockwise for winter to redistribute warm air; counterclockwise for summer to create a cool downdraft), and the integrated LED light appears in HomeKit as a separate accessory.

Expect to pay around $300 and installation is required, but the result is tremendous convenience — especially if you have a HomePod in the room for voice control. There’s nothing cooler than laying in bed, deciding it’s too hot and you’d prefer the fan on, and turning it on at your desired speed without moving a muscle.

Smart Thermostat

A more common and medium-priced option is a smart thermostat that works with HomeKit. I personally use an ecobee 4 (reviewed) that features built-in Alexa integration, but the cheaper ecobee 3 lite is my recommendation if HomeKit control is your primary goal.

Smart thermostats let you control your HVAC system using iOS apps, Apple’s Home app, and Siri so you can switch between heating and cooling, set the desired temperature, and toggle your system on and off without ever touching the thermostat — you can even control your HVAC system away from home.

Other smart thermostat options work with HomeKit too, but I prefer ecobee and its expandable sensors for measuring temperature and presence by room. Installation is required, but this is generally a one-and-done experience.

Smart Window A/C Unit

The last option is a newer solution we’ve seen come to market recently: smart window A/C units that work with HomeKit. Priced at $279, the GE AHP08LX, an 8,000 BTU unit, has been exclusively available from Lowe’s since spring. Larger (and pricier) 10,000 BTU and 12,000 BTU units are also available now. This solution costs a bit more than the quick and easy smart plug approach, but you get much more control than just on and off. Setting up the GE unit is also super easy.

Simply unbox it, connect it to power, scan the HomeKit set up code on the side, assign the unit to a room in HomeKit, then you’re set. In addition to using Siri and the Home app to turn the window A/C unit on and off, you can also adjust the target temperature. GE’s iOS app and physical remote offer more programming options like fan speed and energy mode.

I can definitely say the proper HomeKit experience it offers is worth your consideration. It’s extremely simple to set up (you don’t even need to install GE’s app) and controlling it with voice is straightforward.

Catch up on earlier HomeKit Weekly entries below:

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Google Unveils Pixel 3 Phones, Pixel Slate Tablet, Google Home Hub

At the Made by Google event in New York City, the company unveiled its new lineup of devices for 2023, including its new flagship Pixel 3 phones, Pixel Slate hybrid tablet, and the Google Home Hub.

Here are the biggest announcements from Google:

The biggest announcement at the Google event was, without a doubt, the unveiling of the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones.

If you’ve been following the leaks online, you already know pretty much everything that you’re getting with these new phones, including wireless charging Qi and a wide-angle front-facing camera.

These mobile devices have the same internals, such as a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and 4GB of memory.

The only real difference is the screen and battery size. The Pixel 3 features a 5.5-inch (2160 x 1080) display and a 2915 mAh battery, while the Pixel 3 XL sports a 6.3-inch (2960 x 1440) display with a gigantic notch and a 3430 mAh battery.

The smaller Pixel 3 and the bigger Pixel 3 XL will come with 64GB or 128GB of storage, and they’re expected to be available on October 18. Preorders are available immediately through the Google Store. Pricing starts at $799 for the smaller screen, while the bigger one will cost $899. They’ll be first available on Verizon network, but the company will be selling the phones unlocked as well.

Google Home Hub

Google also introduced a new version of its Home speakers, which now includes a touch-enabled display. It’s like a tablet docked to some big speakers. The device has been designed to be the hub to control your smart devices around the house (for example, cameras, thermostats, and lights), and of course, to access all the services that the search engine offers.

The Google Home Hub will be available in four colors — Chalk, Charcoal, Aqua and Sand –, and you can preorder it now, and it’ll cost $149.

Pixel Slate

Google is betting again on tablets with its new Pixel Slate 2-in-1 tablet, which also runs Chrome OS. Similar to Windows 10 running on a Microsoft Surface device, the operating system switches seamlessly between desktop and table modes, and you can run Android apps available from the Play Store.

The tablet also has a keyboard, which is a detachable folio with rounded keys and a trackpad. Again, similar to the Surface Type Cover, but with magnets that allow you to adjust the viewing angles, but it doesn’t offer lapability as the Microsoft devices offer.

The Pixel Slate comes in various hardware configurations from a Celeron processor to an Intel 8th generation Core i7 on the most expensive model. The pricing starts at $599, while the keyboard will be sold separately for $199, and the pen will cost you another $99.

Google Pixel Slate is expected to ship this year, and preorders are not yet available.

Alongside these new products, Google also introduces the Pixel Stand, which is just a wireless charger for its new phones and some extra features. In addition, the company announced a new improved Chromecast device with a performance boost of 15 percent bringing support for 1080p videos at 60fps.

How To Use Home App And Customize Homekit Accessories On Iphone

Home makes incredibly easy to manage and control your HomeKit-enabled accessories. The easy-to-use interface and the ability to let you customize the accessories as per your convenience makes Home very helpful for users.

Depending on your need or the desire to get the best out of your accessories, you can fine tune them. As for instance, you can change the location or name of the accessory, create your favorite scene or set any accessory your favorite. Let’s walk along with me to customize the accessories perfectly.

How to Use Home and Manage HomeKit Accessories Perfectly on iPhone

How to Add an Accessory in Home on iPhone

First off, you need to add locks, lights, thermostats along with other HomeKit-enabled accessories to get started. Keep your accessory near your iPhone and make sure it’s powered on. Do check out the accessory manual to find out whether it requires extra hardware in order to work with HomeKit.

Step #1. Open Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on Add Accessory.

Step #3. When your accessory appears, tap on it. If you are asked to add the accessory to network, allow it.

Step #4. Now, you need to scan the eight-digit HomeKit code on the accessory or accessory documentation using your iPhone camera. You can also enter it manually.

Step #5. Next, you will have to add some information about the accessory. As for instance, you need to add its name and the room in which it’s located in. Siri will quickly identify the accessory you have added by the name and the located in which you have added it.

Step #6. Tap on Next → Tap on Done to confirm.

Note: There are some accessories like Honeywell thermostats which need additional setup through their app.

How to Add Room in Home App on iPhone

You have the option to divide your house into two different rooms. Add some cool items in those rooms and control them with ease.

How to Customize Your Accessories in Home App

Home allows you to edit details such as name, location about your accessory.

Step #1. Launch Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on Home tab at the bottom.

Step #3. Next, you need to touch and hold an accessory. Then, tap on Details.

Now, you can add the details about your accessory.

Name: You can name your accessory to identify it in Home and be able to control it with Siri

Location: It lets you assign a location for your accessory like a kitchen

Type: Choose what type of accessory it is. As for instance, a switch or light

Include in Favorites: Enable it to access your accessory in the Home tab, Control Center, and on Apple Watch

Status and Notifications: Enable it to check out which accessories are turned on at the top of the Home tab

How to Create your Favorite Scene in Home App

Scenes allow you to control multiple accessories at once. As for instance, “Bye” scene will let you, adjust the thermostat, turn on all the lights of your home etc.

Step #1. Open Home app → Home tab or Rooms tab.

Step #2. Tap on “+” icon. Then, tap Add Scene.

You have the option to use a suggested scene or create a custom one.

Step #3. Tap on Add or Remove Accessories.

Step #4. Tap on the accessories that you wish to add.

Step #5. Tap on Done to confirm the change.

Now, you can tap and hold an accessory to adjust its settings

In order to preview the scene, simply tap Test This Scene

To access your scene from the Home tab, Control Center, and your Apple Watch, you need to turn on Show in Favorites

In the end, tap on Done to finish.

How to Control Accessories in Home on iPhone

To turn accessories on/off, tap on Home/Room tab and tap on the accessory to turn it on/off

To control accessories like a thermostat, simply touch and hold the accessory to check out its controls. If you want to control accessory from your Apple Watch, add it as a Favorite

Check out the status and notifications to find out which accessories are turned on at the top of the Home tab

There are some accessories such as, lights and thermostats which provide features like brightness, color, and temperature controls. Just touch and hold the accessory to find and adjust additional features

How to Share Control of Your Accessories in Home App on iPhone

You can invite your friends to control your Home accessories. Make sure your friend’s iPhone is running iOS 10 and signed into iCloud.

Step #1. Open Home app → Tap on the Home tab at the bottom.

Step #2. Tap on Rocket button.

Step #3. Next, you need to tap on Invite.

Step #4. Now, enter the Apple ID of the person and then tap on Send Invite.

How to Accept Invite to Control Accessories

When anyone sends an invite to control accessory, you will get a notification in the Home app.

Step #1. Open Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on rocket icon.

Step #3. Tap on Home Settings.

Step #4. Tap on Accept and then tap on Done.

Now, you can tap on the rocket button then tap on the name of the Home to control it.

How to Delete Home Data and Reset Accessories on iPhone

You may need to delete Home data and reset accessories when moving to a new home.

Step #1. Launch the Home app on your iOS device.

Step #2. Next, tap on Home tab.

Step #3. Tap on the tiny rocket icon at the top right corner of the screen.

Step #4. Next, you need to scroll down to bottom. Then, tap on Remove Home.

Step #5. Tap on Delete at the bottom to confirm.

To reset your accessories, look for the button on the accessory or check the manual.

How to Troubleshoot HomeKit Accessories Issues from iPhone

Just in case HomeKit accessories are not working properly, follow these tips to fix them.

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Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of chúng tôi who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting content on social media.

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