ConnectSense at CES 2017! [VIDEO]

The ConnectSense crew was excited to show off some of our products coming out in 2017 at this year's CES!

Controlling and monitoring a home can take a lot of work. In the past, it required the user to be present constantly. Our goal is to make controlling your home a simple and efficient process. It all starts with one device, one problem, and one solution. Building upon that by adding more devices creates a much bigger picture, step-by-step, evolving into a truly smart home.

The three products we chose to show off this year include:

The ConnectSense Bluetooth Extender-
The new ConnectSense Bluetooth Extender enables users to access their Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors and devices from outside the home. The Bluetooth Extender can be configured to work with Apple HomeKit or the ConnectSense Cloud. Utilizing HomeKit, users can securely control all of their HomeKit accessories from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Using the Bluetooth Extender as a hub, users can control and monitor their smart devices from just about anywhere.

Bluetooth Sensors-
The second generation of the ConnectSense Sensors are more compact, versatile, battery-efficient, and are lower cost than their predecessors. Each sensor is configurable for Apple HomeKit or for the ConnectSense Cloud. By integrating with the HomeKit ecosystem, users can easily utilize sensor data to monitor and automate their homes. The ConnectSense Cloud enables collection of sensor data and alerts via text or email, notifying you of changes in your environment

Water Sensor- 
The ConnectSense 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. The Sensor provides water alerts via HomeKit or the ConnectSense Cloud.

Temperature and Humidity Sensor-
The ConnectSense Temperature and 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.

Watch the full video below.

In this episode of Smart Home Tech, Adam Justice of ConnectSense gives you a brief overview of some of the new products ConnectSense had to show off at CES 2017. Questions? Comment below or tweet Adam at @adamjustice ConnectSense on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/ConnectSense/pages/default?pageId=TO3EZAGQIFDV8YB&channel=YouTube www.ConnectSense.com

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.

###

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

ConnectSense Introduces Power Monitoring to Smart Outlet

Smart Outlet Price Dropped to $59.95

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — (October 20, 2016) — ConnectSense, a developer and manufacturer of home automation products, announced the addition of power monitoring to its ConnectSense Smart Outlet and the ConnectSense app.

With the ConnectSense app, users can easily create integrated scenes and rules for the Smart Outlet and other home automation devices regardless of manufacturer, with just a few simple steps. Users can control their smart devices with the touch of a button or using Siri voice control.

With detailed power monitoring, users have insight into the power consumption of devices plugged into the Smart Outlet, as well as how long devices have been turned on. This allows users to adopt more energy efficient habits or to replace energy-hogging devices or appliances with more efficient choices.

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. Also, 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.

More complex scenarios also can be set up to automate environments. For example, in a home theater, a homeowner can set a rule that says when the projector turns on, the room lights dim.

“We are happy to provide our customers a way to monitor their energy usage, and give them more control over their devices,” said Adam Justice, founder of ConnectSense. “Among the reasons to automate a home is to make it more energy efficient and to save money, and power monitoring will be an important tool in this effort.”

The ConnectSense power monitoring feature is available via firmware update free to existing customers in the current ConnectSense app.

ConnectSense also announced it is dropping the price of its ConnectSense Smart Outlet to $59.95. The Smart Outlet features two Internet-connected electrical sockets that enable users to control devices plugged into them using Siri via their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch. 

About ConnectSense
ConnectSense develops and manufactures home automation products, including the ConnectsSense 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.

###

For information contact:

Linda Muskin, 847-432-7300
lmuskin@teamclarus.com

Mara Conklin, 847-816-9411
mconklin@teamclarus.com

What Interoperability Means for the Internet of Things

By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

The Internet of Things (IoT) is reliant upon connection, making communication one of the most rudimentary functions of internet-enabled technology. Interoperability opens up endless opportunities for IoT devices as it ensures that devices will be able to communicate with each other and store data in a central location. The IoT will be able to fulfil its promises of convenience and functionality if multiple devices can be controlled simultaneously while being able to communicate and transfer data with each other.

A majority of the companies that are manufacturing IoT technology are trying to create platforms and devices that will be accepted as the “industry leading solution.” However, this culture within the IoT industry has led to a large assortment of devices that have to be controlled as separate entities and from different apps. The fact of the matter is that consumers simply don’t want to have 50 different devices, each with their own app, that operate independently of each other. The growth of the industry will be limited until manufacturers begin to collaborate in developing devices that will work together within the same network.

Manufacturers clearly understand that interoperability is a necessity for the IoT to continue to grow. So why hasn’t a standardized control system been created? The answer is simple: money and brand recognition. Each company wants to be the one that develops the ultimate “hub” for controlling IoT technology as it will come with a major payout. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just means it will take more time to reach seamless interoperability than it would if there were more collaborative efforts. That being said, there are still some open-source initiatives to create interoperability that have shown signs of promise such as Qualcomm’s AllSeen Alliance.

When it comes to the individual corporations that are trying to create hubs for controlling smart technology, it appears that Apple is on the verge of creating total interoperability for HomeKit products. The upgraded Apple operating system, iOS10, has transformed the way HomeKit is used with its addition of the Home app. This app allows for any HomeKit device to be controlled from a central location. This means that instead of going to an app for each manufacturer, all devices can be controlled in the hub Apple has integrated within their new operating system. Companies like Google and Microsoft have also created similar smart home platforms, but they don’t quite offer this level of interoperability and don’t seem to have as much traction in the consumer world. These developments in HomeKit are great strides in achieving interoperability within the IoT.

Even though HomeKit has achieved a previously unseen level of interoperability, it still isn’t quite what consumers want in terms of creating a smart home that is completely connected. This is because HomeKit products are the only products that can communicate and operate within this network, thus limiting the device integration to Apple approved devices. This isn’t a bad thing for Apple because many other tech giants are trying to create this same level of interoperability for their respective smart home platforms. At this point in time, this segregated version of interoperability is the best consumers will get until these large corporations put their differences aside.

The current trends within the IoT industry are unlikely to change anytime soon due to the fact that smart home technology is still in the late stages of its infancy. As technology becomes more advanced and more efficient, consumers will begin to demand networks that are more connected, with devices that are able to communicate and operate in harmony. The interoperability provided in Apple HomeKit is a significant advancement from previous systems and is an innovative solution at this point in time. It will be interesting to see if large IoT businesses will be willing to work together in an effort to create a centralized hub that can control and communicate with any type of smart device.

The Home App for Apple HomeKit (Part 2)

Apple recently unveiled the Beta 1 version of its newest operating system, iOS 10, at WWDC 2016. In order to discover more about this exciting release, Adam Justice of ConnectSense upgraded all of his devices to iOS 10, Beta 1.  There are innovative new features that can not only be accessed on the iPhone, but on the Apple Watch, iPad, Apple TV, and even using CarPlay.

Once iOS 10 is up and running on the iPhone, there is a pretty useful function that can be accessed on the home screen. The user has the ability to 3D touch the icon for the Home app and run a scene from there, without having to open the app itself. There is also an option to add a new scene from this menu, and once this option is selected, the app will launch and the user will automatically be directed to the scene creation screen.

The Apple Watch also unlocks some very powerful functions with watchOS 3, Beta 1. The Home app can be accessed by clicking on the dock button on the Apple Watch. Once the Home app is launched, there is a simple list of the accessories. The user has the ability to scroll through all of their HomeKit accessories using the digital crown. For any outlets or simple devices, there is an on/off button that can be used to control each device. For anything that is dimmable, the digital crown can be used to set the level of brightness. At the top of the menu, there is a list of all of the user’s scenes that can be controlled with the touch of a button. If the user has multiple home’s set up, they can use force touch to change to an alternative location.

Another device in Apple’s arsenal is the iPad Pro, which can be used in order to further explore the new features of iOS 10, Beta 1. The first important thing to examine can actually be found in the iPad’s settings. Once in settings, head down to the settings for the Home app. There will be an option titled, “Use this iPad as a Home Hub.” If the user has an iPad that is always at home, they can check this setting and use that iPad as a home hub to access any of their HomeKit devices while away from home. This is a really powerful setting if there is an iPad that can always be left at home.

The Home app on the iPad is fairly similar to the one we see on the iPhone, except there is a lot more screen real-estate so the user can easily see their favorite scenes and devices. In the top left corner of the screen, there is a summary of all of the devices that are on within the user’s home environment. The next thing to explore is the “Rooms” tab, which can be accessed with the middle button on the bottom of the screen. Instead of going through the rooms menu at the top, the user can quickly switch between their rooms by swiping the screen to the left or right.

The last section of the Home app is the “Automation” tab, which is the bottom right button. In the first ConnectSense walkthrough, we didn’t have access to the automation section, but there are ways three ways to access the functions of this tab. The first way to do this is by enabling an iPad to act as a home hub, which was discussed above. The next way to do this is to have an Apple TV running tvOS 10, Beta 1. However, the simplest way is by downloading another HomeKit app, such as the ConnectSense app, that has support for things like triggers, automations, or rules, and then adding a new automation within that new app. This will enable the user to be able to see the automation tab in the Home app. Once this is complete, the user has some really powerful options. New automations can be set up by clicking the “create new automation” button in the middle of the screen.

There are four options for automation that are based off of when the user’s location changes (geofencing), the time of day, when an accessory is controlled, or when a sensor detects something. These are all great tools to get started on home automation. Setting up automation based on time of day is very useful. One of the really awesome new features in this section that was not available in iOS 9 is the ability to trigger something based off of the sunrise and sunset. So if the user has outside lights or any other devices that need to be controlled based off of the sun, this is a great option because the time of the sunrise and sunset will change based off of what time of year it is. The user can also select a specific time of day and set it to repeat on various days of the week. The accessory based options also give the user quite a bit of control. This is a really great way to set up automations so that doing one device will trigger other devices. An example would be if the someone turned on a light in the morning, it could then trigger a “good morning” scene that would turn on other devices in the home. Another great thing is that these automations sync across devices. This is a big upgrade because any rules or automations set up on an iOS 9 device were unable to be transferred to another device.

The last major function of the Home app on the iPad can be found on the “Home” tab. The user can further examine a device by holding down on its icon. A menu will then pop up with information on the device. Within the device details, there is actually a link to the manufacturers app. So if the user is using a ConnectSense Smart Outlet, they can access the ConnectSense app from this menu. Even though the Home app is very powerful, there will typically be certain manufacturer features, firmware updates, and things like that, which can only be accessed through the manufacturer’s app.

The Apple TV can help expand the functionality of HomeKit with the use of tvOS 10, Beta. With the use of this Beta, we can now utilize Siri commands with the Apple TV remote. The user has the ability to say something along the lines of “set my thermostat to 72 degrees,” or “set my home for ‘I’m leaving.’” This will help give home owners much more control over their network of HomeKit devices.

One of the coolest new features for iOS 10 is the fact that HomeKit works with CarPlay, which it did not for iOS 9. The user has the ability to use Siri voice commands within their car in order to control their various HomeKit devices in their home. An example would be if someone was about to leave their home and was in their car, they could say “set my home for ‘I’m leaving,’” which would trigger a scene for the home from the car. This gives the user much more control over their home environment.

(Part 2 of 2) Adam Justice is back from WWDC and has upgraded all of his Apple Devices to iOS 10, Beta 1. In this episode, Adam Justice of ConnectSense continues from his first video of the Home app (https://youtu.be/A-m1afEEoHo?list=PLsluzrxrM99peR-ucD7lrzrF_mgQfgjqe) to show you more of its new features not only on the iPhone, but on the Apple Watch, iPad, Apple TV, and even using CarPlay.