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No More Waiting: New Smart Extensions, Apps Make Home Automation a Reality | Cypress Semiconductor

No More Waiting: New Smart Extensions, Apps Make Home Automation a Reality

LAS VEGAS — For some time, home automation technology has been a compelling, albeit undercooked, proposition that was mostly out of grasp for everyday homeowners.

But as the technology moves away from discrete devices and more toward tapping the connectivity powers in the devices we already own, that perception is starting to change.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show, home automation was the main topic at a media event where Broadcom had a presence. At a panel hosted by iDevices LLC, Broadcom’s Brian Bedrosian, senior director of product marketing, Wireless Connectivity Combos, moderated a chat with key players.

At Broadcom, there’s a lot of excitement around the Internet of Things. It’s estimated that the number of smart devices is expected to reach 50 billion by 2020 and early products are giving consumers a look at how the next wave of technologies will bring home automation to life.

Connectivity is what everyone is craving these days, and, as Chris Allen, Chief Executive of iDevices told the panel attendees:

“The more things we connect, the more powerful the Internet of Things becomes.” 

Broadcom technologies help connect products like iDevices’ new Switch, a HomeKit-enabled smart plug, and technologies such as Schlage’s Sense as well as Chamberlain’s “Notifi” application, all of which add a new level of convenience and security to the connected home.

With its Wi-Fi chips, Broadcom fills an important need in making the interplay between the smartphone, home, and Internet of Things a functional reality.

About the size of two small toy blocks placed side-by-side, the Switch by iDevices plugs into any power outlet and enables the user to control any electronic device with one of Apple’s popular iOS 8 gadgets. Among its other features are remote control, timer and notifications for other residents of the home activity.

For example, lights, coffee makers and everything in between can be engaged by voice or the tap of an app. Anything with a plug can be made smarter, Allen said. “We enliven products that are otherwise dead.”

Units are expected to head to retail markets later this year, according to CNET. And since no central hub is required, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled plugs are all that are needed to make home automation and residential intelligence a reality, Allen said.

For instance, iDevices’ Switch can act as a bridge for new voice activated “talk to unlock” smart locks launching this summer from Schlage, according to Rob Martens, a Schlage executive. 

Dubbed Schlage Sense, the phone app makes keyless entries and exits easy, informed and secure, according to Martens.

“We think the Internet of Things is ready now,” Martens said. “Once consumers receive their first text notification from their opened door or no longer need a key to go on a run, we know they’ll seek and demand even more automation products.”

Take garage door openers, for example. They typically last 15 years or more, according to Corey Sorice, ?vice president of marketing, Connected Products and eCommerce, at Chamberlain.

But with the “Chamberlain Notify” extension coming later this year, existing garage doors can be upgraded and educated to alert you if your child came home (or not) at night. For parents and homeowners, that’s persuasive intel.

“Home automation is more than just turning things on or off,” Sorice said. “It’s more powerful than open and close. When connected, products likes Chamberlain Notify provide meaningful information about the comings and goings of loved ones to people’s homes.”

Use cases like that make Broadcom’s Bedrosian “very excited for the Internet of Things.”

Sure, the Internet of Things is still in its infancy and these sorts of products are still finding their way into the mainstream. “But bigger names are getting involved this year to drive awareness and accessibility, and make the technology a mainstream reality,” Allen said.

Get the latest CES news from Broadcom by following the conversation on Twitter at #connectingeverything, liking us on Facebook and following the blog.

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