ConnectSense to Showcase HomeKit Sensors, Bluetooth Extender and Smart Outlet at CES 2017

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — (December 20, 2016) — ConnectSense, a leading manufacturer of home automation products, will showcase a new Bluetooth Extender in addition to the ConnectSense Smart Outlet and the company’s line of Bluetooth wireless sensors at CES 2017 Tech West at the Sands Expo Convention Center, Booth 40357, as part of the Smart Home Marketplace.

The new ConnectSense Bluetooth Extender enables users to access Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors and devices from outside the home. Without the Extender, a wireless phone or other device is needed to connect to the Internet.

The Bluetooth Extender can be configured to work with Apple HomeKit or the ConnectSense Cloud. Utilizing HomeKit, users can securely control all their HomeKit accessories from an iOS device and the new Home app from Apple. Using the Bluetooth Extender as a hub, users can control smart devices from just about anywhere. By connecting to the ConnectSense Cloud, sensor data is saved to the Cloud and notifications are relayed to a smart phone or email.

The ConnectSense Bluetooth Extender can be used with the new ConnectSense BLE enabled sensors for temperature/humidity and water detection. The ConnectSense Bluetooth Temperature & Humidity Sensor provides accurate and reliable data for sensitive areas of the home, including wine cellars, collection rooms, greenhouses and more. It works in harmony with HomeKit-enabled thermostats to regulate temperature in areas where a thermostat isn’t present. The ConnectSense Bluetooth Water Sensor detects the presence of water before it causes costly damage. It is perfect for detecting leaks in basements and laundry rooms, as well as monitoring plumbing and refrigeration lines.

Both sensors operate using Bluetooth Low Energy and require only two AAA batteries for long periods of operation. In addition, all ConnectSense products integrate with the new Home app included in iOS 10, which makes it easy to set up and control all smart devices in one app. Apple HomeKit allows users to monitor these devices easily and securely using Siri on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch or Apple Watch. By integrating with the HomeKit ecosystem, users can easily create integrated scenes and rules to automate devices, regardless of manufacturer, with just a few simple steps. For example, users can set rules to automatically turn on lights or other devices when water is found, and users can ask Siri to gather information about the sensors, such as asking about the temperature.

ConnectSense also will display its Smart Outlet ($59.95), which enable users to easily control and monitor their everyday plug-in devices, such as lights, fans and televisions. The intuitive design of the Smart Outlet fits over any existing standard North American electrical outlet and features Apple HomeKit technology. After installing the ConnectSense Smart Outlet, users can configure it using the ConnectSense app available in the App Store and easily create integrated scenes and rules for all HomeKit devices.

With detailed power monitoring in the app, users have insight into the power consumption of devices plugged into the Smart Outlet, as well as how long devices have been turned on. Unique to the ConnectSense app is the ability to create rules based on power usage. For example, a homeowner can set a rule that says if the television has been on for three hours, turn it off. For safety, rules can be set to turn off hot or potentially dangerous devices, such as flat irons, if they have been left on for an extended period of time.

ConnectSense products are available at connectsense.com and on amazon.com.

About ConnectSense
ConnectSense develops and manufactures home automation products, including the ConnectSense Smart Outlet and a line of wireless sensors that monitor changes in your environment then notifies you by email or text when something goes awry. ConnectSense can be found at www.connectsense.com and on Twitter at @ConnectSense.

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Note to media: Additional information, photos and links to videos about ConnectSense products are available at https://gridconnect.box.com/v/CES2017

The 8 Chicago Companies to Watch at CES 2016

This Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas has consistently been a spotlight for rising and innovative technology. In CES 2016, there was a variety of successful and growing business from the Chicago area presenting and competing. William Flanagan of ChicagoInno listed ConnectSense as one of the top 8 companies from the Chicago are at CES 2016. ConnectSense was exhibiting at CES’ Smart Home Marketplace. ConnectSense showcased the new Smart Outlet device, which allows for total control over your home devices. In addition to the Smart Outlet, a variety of wireless sensors that monitor the conditions of your home were showcased as well. The ConnectSense panel was a “must see” at CES 2016.

Read more: http://chicagoinno.streetwise.co/2015/12/30/ces-2016-exhibitors-chicago-tech-companies-to-watch/

Why the ConnectSense Smart Outlet Isn’t Just Like Every Other Smart Outlet

CES 2015 put into perspective for us at Grid Connect and ConnectSense just how many companies are fighting to get into the smart home space. Even more specifically, CES put into perspective just how many companies were creating smart outlets/plugs/sockets/etc. to introduce to the marketplace alongside our own ConnectSense Smart Outlet.

The question we got over-and-over again at the Grid Connect booth was, “well, how is your smart outlet different from [so-and-so]’s smart outlet?”

Well, let me tell you…

Apple HomeKit Compatibility

Users can control the ConnectSense Smart Outlet and other HomeKit smart devices through the ConnectSense and other HomeKit compatible apps, as well as with Siri Voice Control. In addition, the Apple HomeKit protocol allows for easy set up and end-to-end encryption for security purposes.

Why it’s different: One of the biggest downfalls in the smart home space right now is that very few smart devices run on the same protocol which makes it impossible for devices on different systems to communicate. By utilizing a standardized protocol such as HomeKit, the ConnectSense Smart Outlet will not only be able to communicate with other ConnectSense products, but with other companies' devices that operate under the Apple HomeKit protocol as well. This allows for one complete smart home solution.

Dual Outlet

The ConnectSense Smart Outlet comes with two outlets to use for your devices. Each of these outlets can be controlled separate from one another while monitoring your power usage. You can control each outlet through the app or manually, as well as set rules from the app about when to turn the outlets on and off. The outlets can even tell you when a device is plugged in or if the outlet is empty.

Why it’s different: Many of the smart outlets you will see have only one outlet. If there are two, it’s an all-or-nothing kind of deal where you can turn both outlets on or both off at the same time, but not separately. In addition, some smart outlets will not monitor your energy usage or tell you if you have something plugged into that outlet.

Wi-Fi Connectivity

The ConnectSense Smart Outlet uses the Wi-Fi you already have in your home or office.

Why it’s different: Many other smart outlets require additional gateways to connect to the Internet, which costs the user additional money..

USB Charging Port

The ConnectSense Smart Outlet has a 2.4A USB charging port on the side that supports rapid charging for new iPhones and iPads. It also frees up an outlet that would have normally been used to charge a phone or tablet. 

Why it’s different: Some of the other smart outlets you will find do not have a USB charging port, which therefore requires the user to use an outlet when charging their phone or tablet. Of the smart outlets that do include a USB charging port, many only carry 1A, which does not support rapid charging for new iPhones or charging of tablets.

> For more information on the ConnectSense Smart Outlet, click here or download the PDF now.

Apple HomeKit Automation Gear Sees Slow Ramp

The first products to take advantage of Apple’s home automation technology won’t likely reach stores until this spring.

That’s nearly a year after Apple announced HomeKit, the software that allows consumers to use their iPhones like remote controls to activate various automated appliances, during its keynote last June at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Hardly happy news for the instant-gratification crowd, intent on creating their very own versions of the Jetsons home.

Some HomeKit devices are trickling out.

Adam Justice of GridConnect traveled to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to show off a product called the ConnectSense Smart Outlet, an Internet-connected electrical socket that turns ordinary household appliances, like lamps, into devices that can be controlled using Siri on the iPhone or iPad.

Read more at RE/CODE or download the PDF now.

CES 2015: Grid Connect's Biggest Takeaways about the Smart Home Space

A few members of the Grid Connect and ConnectSense teams were excited to attend CES this year. While a lot of time was spent in the booth demoing the ConnectSense Smart Outlet, we were able to stretch our legs and explore many other CES exhibits as well. Home automation was a big aspect of the show this year and we were definitely proud to be contributing to it. 

Now that it's been a week since we've returned to the office and had some time to reflect, here are some takeaways we gathered from the Smart Home section of the show...

"Home automation was the belle of the ball at CES 2015. There were a lot of new and exciting products.  I feel like 2015 will be the year that home automation comes into focus and goes mainstream.  The winners in this market are going to be those who focus and build best in class devices that interoperate with other companies devices through standards like HomeKit, AllSeen, OIC, Thread and others. The losers in this market will be those that try to do it all themselves and build every device under the sun on their system. In the end, what is good for consumers is good for this market. Companies that keep that in mind will do well."

- Adam Justice, Vice President of Grid Connect and Founder of ConnectSense

"Wow!  As always, the CES was an amazing event. We saw companies in the home automation space introducing products to broaden their product line, while others jumped in where they hadn’t played before.  There seems to be more and more devices every time I check Gizmodo or Mashable. Unfortunately, a lot of them are the same ol’ same ol’…innovation wins with me every time!

The big question is, what company will win the platform war? Are you developing your own ecosystem of devices 'on an island' of their own? Companies need to make sure the applications or the products are upgradable to future standards to take advantage of new features and capabilities. The last thing anyone wants to do is continually replace their devices or systems when new features are enabled."

- John Marchiando, Vice President of Business Development at Grid Connect

"There are a lot of people and companies who want to be involved. Many devices are similar to each other so companies must separate themselves from their competition through the features and benefits of their products. They must also make sure to deliver on their promises about the capabilities of each device. Consumers are going to have to research different companies and their products to make sure they are finding the right devices for their needs and ideally, compatible with other home automation products they have now or will have in the future.

As a consumer, my biggest takeaway was that any product I buy needs to be worth the price tag. If the features and benefits are not up to par, or if it just plain doesn't work, it's not going to be in my house."

- Brittney Borowicz, Marketing Manager at Grid Connect

And on the first time exhibiting at CES...

"As a first timer, the CES show is massive. The investment of the big companies like Intel, Samsung, LG are unbelievable. Our booth was in the Innovation area, which was fun to see all the different types of companies that were doing cool things. Our new Smart Outlet was well received and demoing it with Siri is a cool feature.  We will be back at CES next year, in the Smart Home section of the show."

- Mike Justice, President and CEO of Grid Connect

What was your biggest takeaway about the smart home from CES 2015?