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

IoT and Networking

By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer/Marketing

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been revolutionary in changing the way consumers interact with the technological devices in their lives. The amount of users with IoT devices in their homes, cars, and even on their bodies is also growing at an increasing rate. It is clear that IoT technology is heavily integrated into the lives of many consumers. That being said, there has been a lot of media coverage regarding the security of these devices.

Security in modern technological devices is a critical feature and a very big concern for consumers due to the threat of being hacked. Properly encrypting IoT devices is very important because very personal information can be accessed through IoT devices. In addition to simply losing personal information, the physical safety of consumers is at risk. An example of this can be found in the 2014 Jeep incident. Hackers were able to infiltrate a Jeep Cherokee via the internet in order to send commands to the car’s entertainment system, brakes, steering, and even the transmission. Despite the fact that this happened a couple of years ago, the technology is still under the same risk of being hacked. Even the FBI has intervened and has begun to warn any car makers and owners that vehicles with high levels of internet access have an increased risk of being hacked. 

These security issues aren’t just affecting cars; these problems can be observed in a variety of other Internet-enabled devices. Another example is how connected baby monitors and other home monitoring devices are being tapped into by hackers, allowing them to see if anyone is home. Essentially any IoT device can be breached and used in an unintended way if proper security measures aren’t taken. When valuable data is at risk, security should be a bigger concern for manufacturers. The current and common culture among IoT companies is to release devices to this public with minimum protective measures in order to be the first to the market. Not all companies are a part of this culture, but a large portion of them contribute to these security issues. It’s not an issue of developers being unfamiliar with the intricacy of this high-end technology, it’s an issue of not taking the extra time to implement adequate security measures.

It is clear that having impeccable security features will benefit the consumer and the manufacturer in the long run. The invasive nature of IoT technology leaves the user very vulnerable to breaches in safety and security. The manufacturers should be responsible for monitoring the activity of their devices and determining how to block suspicious activity once the product is released. However, if security systems were developed in entirety before a device is released, these extra measures wouldn’t be as necessary. As IoT technology continues to become a bigger part of the lives of the consumers, it will be vital to our safety that a higher standard of security is implemented.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is continuing to grow at a rapid pace as more devices are becoming connected. However, the IoT is rendered useless without a system of networking to support it. As WiFi-enabled devices increase in popularity, the demand for networking will expand substantially. IoT-based technology is disrupting the current networking market due to vast amount of data that is collected and the quantity of devices connected to the Internet. Companies will be expected to have extremely efficient networks that will allow for real time analysis. In addition to this, simply having faster internet speeds and creating more access points is essential in supporting the rise of IoT devices.

One of the developing applications of IoT devices is found within the smart home. Some smart technology devices require extremely fast networks. When using multiple devices, it is critical to have a network that will enable the connectivity of all devices. The IoT enabled ConnectSense sensors and Smart Outlet rely on networking to enable machine-to-machine communication. Your ConnectSense products collect data through this communication in order to provide you with accurate and efficient analysis. Improving the ConnectSense cloud is one of the ways Grid Connect is able to help you adapt to the implementation of IoT devices in your home. Having a network that can sustain the connection of multiple devices is very important. Additional actions that can be taken in order to create a more efficient network are constructing quicker router speeds, ensuring that the WiFi is able to be accessed everywhere in the home, and creating an in-home network that can sustain multiple connections.

A strong network is essential for the use of various IoT products, whether it’s a smart home device, a piece of wearable technology, or even if it’s for an industrial application. Gateways, routers, and other networking devices can help improve networking abilities in order to support the demanding nature of connected and data driven devices. Finding a perfect network configuration will compensate for whatever quantity of data your IoT devices are bringing in.

It is clear that the impact the IoT is having on networking is only going to expand as the demand for a more connected and efficient world continues to increase. Having quality control of networks will allow for an improved customer experience.  Creating networks that can handle a great deal of traffic and data will allow you to be prepared for the IoT’s disruption of the networking market.

ConnectSense Wi-Fi Setup

In order to set up your ConnectSense device, you first need to set up an account by going to the website www.connectsense.com/setup. Once you have reached the homepage you need to login. If you do not have an account, you can create one by following the steps below. If you already have an account you can continue the setup process and skip the following steps:

  1. Click on the “Register Now” button.
  2. Fill out all of the required account information and hit “Register” at the bottom of the page. You will then receive an account conformation email.
  3. Once you receive the conformation email, click on the “Confirm Account” button in the email and it will automatically sign you in.

Once you are logged into the ConnectSense setup page you can begin to configure your device. The first thing you need to do is select “Add New Device,” when it redirects you to the next page, begin to configure your device by clicking the “Via Wi-Fi” option. At this point you need to join the ConnectSense’s network.

If you return to the browser and leave the window open it will automatically redirect you to a new page titled “Wi-Fi Info.” From here you have to enter your Wi-Fi SSID (network name) into the indicated box and the Wi-Fi channel into its indicated box. If you are unsure of what Wi-Fi channel your SSID uses, check your routers configuration.

The next step is setting up the security settings on its respective page. You can enter the security type and encryption type by clicking on the dropdown menus provided. Next, simply enter the password into the box titled “WPA Key.” The next page you will be brought to is titled “IP Address.” For this page, there is only one dropdown box in which you should select the option “DHCP” or “Static.”

The page titled “Connect” is for you to verify that your settings are lined up with your access point; click the “Connect” button if you are pleased with the displayed settings. The website will ask you to wait about 45 seconds while the device is connecting. Once it is complete you will be redirected to a new page to configure your device’s settings.

After the device is connected you can begin to adjust its settings. For example, you can adjust things such as the name, location, and polling interval for your ConnectSense device. Once you have your desired settings, hit the “Save Settings” button at the bottom of the screen and it will bring you to the sensor page for the device. If you click on the “Sensors” button at the top of the screen you can see previous sensors that you have set up. If you wish to set up other device simply follow this process again.

View the video below for visual step-by-step instructions.

IoT Design Considerations: Network

Manufacturers have many hardware and software options when it comes to network technology for their IoT-enabled products. Some devices can be directly connected to the Internet using networking such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi, which are based on the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP), a set of communications protocols providing end-to-end connectivity. Other products may use wireless technologies; some of which include TCP/IP, but will require a “gateway,” or a “hub” to convert the chosen network to either Ethernet or Wi-Fi, such as ZigBee or Z-Wave. Some of the many technologies available include:

  • Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi
  • IPv6 over Low Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPAN)
  • ZigBee
  • Z-Wave
  • Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth Smart e.g. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Bluetooth (BT) 4.0, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Cellular

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here.

Senior Outlook Today: Technology

More seniors are beginning to embrace technology to connect with their loved ones and to make life easier. One of these technologies includes the ConnectSense Water Sensor.

This holiday season, gift givers can give friends and family peace of mind with a wireless and portable water sensor from ConnectSense. The ConnectSense Water Sensor can detect the presence of water anywhere before it becomes a problem, and notify homeowners by email, phone call or text message, making the sensor a good solution for vacation homes, boats and basements that may be difficult to access.

The ConnectSense Water Sensor is an easy Do It Yourself (DIY) system that does not require monthly monitoring fees. Owners simply place the sensor’s probe on the floor where the first signs of water may appear. Owners then set up notification rules at ConnectSense.com about who is contacted and if notification is by email, text message, phone call or Tweet. Notifications are sent using the existing Wi-Fi network and can be sent to more than one person. ConnectSense also manufactures sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, motion, security and light.

A valuable gift that delivers peace of mind, the ConnectSense Water Sensor retails for just $149.95 and can be purchased on Amazon.com or at shop.connectsense.com. Included: Water Sensor, USB cable, Industrial Velcro and Screws for mounting, 4 AA NiMH rechargeable batteries and Quick Start Guide.

For a wrap up of some other technologies available to make senior living easier, visit Senior Outlook Today.