Category Archives: Smart home

Introducing our New Sensorflare!

Welcome to our new look website!

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We’ve introduced a new look Sensorflare website giving you a whole new Sensorflare world to explore.

The new look of our site is live and focuses on the most important thing Sensorflare does – to give you full control over your smart devices!

What is new?

We’ve changed the design of our site and made it easier to get around.

We’ve introduced a great new look that we feel reflects the easy to understand nature of our range of services.

A lot of the things you use most are still here, you will just find they look a whole lot fresher!

We’ve worked hard to ensure that our new website is accessible and creates a more user-friendly online experience for everyone.

Tips and tricks about the new Sensorflare!

Our new interface is designed to help you get more out Sensorflare. Amongst other you can now:

★ Select your favourite devices to view them just after you log in

      ★ Tag your devices with a single click
      ★ Control your Philips Hue lamps easily even if your are not home
    ★ Create actions with all your smart devices in 3 simple steps

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More good news?

Our iOS App is coming soon to the App Store! It’s already working in our development environment and it’s looking beautiful! Keep an eye out for iOS release dates.

We will continue to develop, evaluate and improve the usability of our site to ensure our users’ needs are being met. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new look site, so please let us know – we’ll be in the thread below to discuss them with you.

Give life to your home lighting

It is known that X10 is the “Grandfather” of home automation but being the first one always creates compatibility issues in an fast changing world. X10 has a large base of different gadgets to control nearly anything. Today there are so many X10 users that would love to see their smart homes updated but are afraid to touch their working systems. They would love to control and manage their X10 smart devices with the newer smart home gadgets and smartphones.

If you are one of many that jumped into home automation game early with X10 devices and love open source projects and tools you probably know and use Mochad (if not maybe its the time to do so!). Mochad is an application that allows you to control your X10 smart devices over the Web.

So you have your home server setup and use Mochad for the past years with no problems to switch lights, plugs and devices on and off from a linux terminal.

But what about real automation? How do you set the garden lights off on daybreak? Linux has some great tools but you either have to code them or find something similar created by someone else and adapt it. And what about controlling everything from your smartphone?

There is no reason to start from scratch! Sensorflare comes to save the day with its new “mochad-python” daemon that runs in the background and brings your old X10 devices back to life. Even if you are afraid of touching your Mochad server you do not need to. Just install “mochad-python” to the same machine and leave Sensorflare do the rest.

So…

What you have?

You probably already have a server running with Mochad and a CM15A or CM19 attached to it via usb.

What you need to do?

  • Just grab a copy of the script via github and add it to your server.
  • Log in to Sensorflare and visit the resources page. Click the “+ Add” button and set a password to secure the communication with Sensorflare.
  • Copy the “properties.py.template” file to properties.py and change its contents to match the ones that you setup in the previous step.
  • Finall run “python mochad_python.py” and visit the Remote Mochad Terminal and enjoy your new home!

What is more?

Save all your devices using the “+” button, add them to Dashboards, schedule their operation or add Intelligence based on your location and combine them with other devices like Smartthings or Insteon.

Interested in understanding how this works? Check out the following image and see what actually happens every time you click “On” on your Smartphone to turn your “X10 Supersocket” on and give power to your awesome smart-fan!

Click on the picture to enlarge.

How to control your X10 SuperSocket using Sensorflare

More detailed instructions are available here. Learn how to install mochad from scratch? Interested in adding this to a Raspberry Pi? Use it on Windows? Stay tuned for more updates…

If you have any questions about how to connect your X10 Mochad to Sensorflare, just leave us a note in the comments section, or contact our team.

How to control and automate your X10 lights with Sensorflare

We live in a smart and connected world! With more than a thousand compatible devices the possibilities are nearly endless. From lights and locks to thermostats and motion sensors, smart appliances and home security apps the connected home represents a network connecting objects, platforms, and systems with the name the “Internet of Things”, all able to coexist together and offer new opportunities in the field of smart home.

Ready to start building out your smart home? There is a wide misconception that smart homes need special wiring. You can certainly avoid it. In fact, you can install Internet-connected devices step by step, rather than all at once with almost no installation effort. And when it comes to turning on smart lighting, from switches to plugs and bulbs, there are many ways to leave the middle ages and step into an era of intelligent solutions. Imagine locking the doors, turning off the lights, activating the alarm system, and changing the thermostat for bedtime all with one touch.

This connected home – the intelligent home – is an amazing concept. Sensorflare is designed to make you aware of what’s happening with your home and your family, with minimal effort from you.

A smart home is more than just lights and heating. It is all about people. There is a need for a smart home that can adapt itself in order to make the people’s life comfortable. A truly smart home will know who you are, where you are and what you want, all without telling it anything- it can actually think for us.

Whether you are already using Sensorflare or thinking about jumping in, one of the easiest ways you can get started is by controlling and managing your lights!

Do you have a X10 light bulb? Here is how you can have an Intelligent Home by combining it with your Sensorflare account:

  • Control – your light bulb can be controlled remotely via the Sensorflare Android app (iOS coming soon) on smartphone and tablet. Remote control is useful while away but also when you are inside the house meaning you can close the lights while on the bus or check out their status from anywhere with a tap of a button, like this.

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  • Smart Combinations – Do you really need to switch on and off the lights each and every time you approach home or you go away? Why not just explain to your house what to do? Sensorflare can do this for you. You can set up your lights to automatically turn off when you leave the house. You can also set them to automatically turn on when you approach. Your are just one step away from having an Intelligent Home!

Intelligence-Sensorflare

Go ahead – take that first step toward building an intelligent home and see how it changes your life. See what problems it can solve for you. It really is as easy as screwing in a light bulb. So get out of the dark ages, and start controlling your home from anywhere.

A Future with the Sensorflare

According of what happened at CES 2015 the smart home – along with the Internet of Things – was for the first time the biggest theme. The reality is that the rapid advances in electronics integration, miniaturisation and processing power have brought about a marked increase in computing and electronic devices that now surround us in our daily lives. The ever-increasing number of devices also inevitably brings new kinds of functionality, user interfaces, functions and increased complexity, which is something we have to cope with. For some of us this increase in smart home devices raises certain issues: how will these devices work together or how will work properly with the old ones, how can they all be interconnected to enable more intuitive control of the future home and what possibilities would such a home offer its occupants.

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Photo Credit Amir Zmora (Flickr)

The truth is that the smart home is a concept that promises improved ways to control functions in the home, flexible networks that can connect to any device, adaptive control facilities and peace of mind for its users. Right? This is the goal, but how can it be achieved using the present technology along with our old smart devices? What do we do with our old smart gadgets? I have an answer for you!

Keep your old smart devices – regardless the vendor or communication protocol –  in the game adding new features and capabilities with the help of Sensorflare!

Sensorflare as a promised player in the battle of the smart home platforms is what you need in order to control and manage your smart home devices easily adding new kinds of features in your existing devices and systems! It is a cloud app that allows users to control all their smart devices via a single point. Sensorflare is the place you can go and add all your new and old smart devices, set up notifications to know when important things happen, trigger actions to take place automatically, and discover new ways to live smart.

I will give you an example using one smart home category. Let’s say that we live in a smart home with X10 devices. Ok? I think of X10 as the father of home automation. Certainly not a dead technology! There are so many X10 users that love to see their homes go to the next level. Some of them are already use the Mochad – a Linux TCP gateway for the X10 –  in order to control and manage them. Sounds hard, no? Sensorflare goes a step ahead extending Mochad adding support for cloud control of X10 devices. The result? New features and capabilities for your smart devices.

Using Sensorflare you can profit from command autocomplete/history using the online mochad terminal. Via the history of Sensorflare you can communicate with your home and tell it what you want it to do for you automatically without the need of create a new command. Also you can have the status reporting and historical information for X10 devices. Sensorflare give us a lot of interesting ways to control, manage and secure our homes. Instead of replacing your old smart home devices with a newer I will suggest you to give a try with Sensorflare.

Do you use any smart home devices? Share your thoughts below!

Sensorflare supports X10 devices!

I thought I might write up a little primer on home automation using X10 technology. Why? Because when you look around at many of the smart home systems coming to market you see a variety of wireless technologies – Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Insteon are the most popular – but X10 none. What does that mean for users who have X10 smart devices? Is X10 an obsolete technology? Absolutely not!

Let me remind you a few things about X10

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Photo Credit Khalid Albaih (Flickr)

X10 is an industry standard technology for home automation. The technology behind X10 has been developed over several decades and remains popular today despite competition from other standards. X10 utilizes either wired power line or wireless radio communication methods. A X10 home automation environment utilizes sensors and control devices that communicate with each other and manage various household appliances. These devices most commonly interface with lights, thermostats, security cameras and others.

Today for smart home owners, putting together a smart home remains mostly a do-it-yourself project. Right? You choose your components, connect them to your home network and start living your connected life. But now, some newer smart home products are coming to market that enable you to use what you have by transforming a dumb device to one that’s smart. So, what suppose to mean for users that already live in a smart home having established a smart ecosystem?

My personal view is that the average consumer is not going to change their X10 light switches, for example in order to replace them with the ‘new tech’ light switches that pushed into the market the last month! Why? Because they still work fine! There are people who uses old X10 controllers to manage their pool heaters, landscape lights, sprinklers and others. Some are from the 80’s and still work fine. There are so many X10 users that have a huge inventory of no longer supported X10 devices which they would love to see supported! These users are trying to figure out how they bringing together their “old” smart devices with the newer smart home products in order to live in a connected home.

We all love getting new gadgets, but what to do with the old ones?

The answer is simple! We don’t have to throw them out! Who has the money to trash everything and buy all new devices? And if you do have, why would you do that? It’s a bit wasteful. And let me tell you why… Because Sensorflare is here and supports X10 devices. If you are one of many thousand of people that jumped into home automation game early with X10 devices you could use Sensorflare. With Sensorflare you can keep adding new technology in your smart home system that already have without the hassle of managing your old and new smart devices simultaneously. You can have all your smart devices in one place, Sensorflare is what you need for your future automation expansions.

How it works? Sensorflare uses the Mochad in order to control and manage the X10 devices. Mochad is a very good and simple project that works perfectly with Sensorflare. In order to connect Mochad to Sensorflare you need to follow these simple steps. After that Sensorflare Mochad Terminal provides you with suggestions for the most common x10 commands. Just start typing your command and Sensorflare will show you the most recent commands you have used. Add your devices and services to platform, let Sensorflare to see your supported devices, products or services and then you can just focus on the real world experiences. Sensorflare not only help you to control and manage your smart devices but also suggest you intelligence solutions for your daily life.

If you have not tried Sensorflare yet, now is the time!

Integration with Insteon Products

It is remarkable how technologies for the Internet of Things and those focusing on smart homes in particular gained so much attention through 2014. We’ve experienced an explosion of creative ideas on how to smartify a home. It’s very exciting, and for 2015 we expect to see even more developments. The burgeoning global Internet of Things market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020, according to IT research agency, IDC. The capabilities in this space look endless and the evolution of the smart home is going really fast.

In this fast changing landscape, one of the world’s best-selling technology that has been in business for more than a decade is Insteon. If you are a fan of the smart home movement, probably you are already familiar. A wide range of Insteon devices are available for you in order to invest and built a smart home. You can find smart thermostats, switches, controllers, dimmers or light bulbs and outlets. Insteon devices interoperate through power lines, radio frequency (RF) communications, or both. Controlling all the smart appliances is done via the Insteon Hub. It works in combination with your home router and gives you the ability to access and control your home appliances via your phone or tablet either while in your home or when you are away. Even though, some users report that the software app in some cases is inconsistent and incomplete – Insteon is an established technology that offers a reliable and affordable home automation solution.

A natural next step is to start combining your appliances. “When I’m away, switch off the thermostat and lights” or “When I return home, bring them back on” so the home is waiting for you. Can this be done with Insteon? Unfortunately not. What about extending your smart home by adding smart appliances from other brands? Like that nice WiFi door lock, or those color led bulbs. Can these devices interact with the Insteon smartphone application? Again, the answer is negative. Insteon is not compatible with products from other brands. If you are a smart home owner, you do know that these features are not just “nice to have”. They are critical.

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Photo Credit Nick Harris (Flickr)

We, Smart home owners, need a radical change on how we interact with our homes. We need new ways to make the management of all our smart appliances easier and more convenient.

Fortunately, we can get a lot of help from Sensorflare. How?

Sensorflare works with Insteon products, and makes them instantly compatible with a broad range of smart home products. No more obstacles in communication with smart appliances from other vendors. All Insteon appliances can be easily combined with Zigbee, Z-wave, Wifi, Bluetooth devices and many more. Start with your connected products from your favourite brands – including Insteon, Philips Hue, Nest, Ecobee and others – and control them from Sensorflare. Now, they are all connected via Sensorflare, so you don’t need a different app for every product. Finally! Now you have more choices when it come to the proper devices for your home.

But this is not the only thing. You can now add the missing intelligence to your Insteon Smart Home. Sensorflare identifies meaningful ways that your devices can be combined and used and presents a collection of Intelligence suggestions. Sensorflare connects with all your smart appliances and identifies combination of devices and usages than we even perform subconsciously. It provides simple suggestions on how to improve your smart home experience by auto-optimising the operation of each individual device. Let’s say that the gateway door of your house is connected to the Internet, together with the entrance lights. So, every time you approach, you can control them via your smartphone. This is a habit, a routine. By recognizing such habits, Sensorflare identifies the repetition of your actions and proposes to automate them! Now, every time you are coming back, your home is already waiting for you without the need to reach for your smartphone and tap the screen! Take a look!

Cool, eh?

In Sensorflare we bring people and things together, we create a unified experience with people in foreground. Make your life simpler by connecting to the things that matter.

What’s your experience been with Insteon? Help us out in comments!

Sensorflare: Speak to your Smart Home

It is known that the smart home market is growing.  Devices and technologies embracing the Internet of things (IoT) become more ubiquitous. There are more and more devices being launched into the market each week that can connect to your home. According to Business Insider, connected-home device shipments will grow at a compound annual rate of 67% over the next five years, much faster than smartphone or tablet device growth, and hit 1.8 billion units shipped in 2019. There are so many different gadgets from the biggest brand names available these days like Nest or Ecobee smart thermostats, Belkin We-Mo or Insteon switches, Philips Hue or LIFX lights, August or Unikey door locks, Dropcam, Fitbit, Jawbone and many more that promise to make your life better.

If you have a mixture of different smart devices in your home maybe you are interested in communicating in a more natural way with them!
You might wonder, “what does it mean?”.

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Photo Credit derrickcollins (Flickr)

Did you remember the Clapper? Clapper is a sound activated electrical switch sold by Joseph Enterprises and marketed with the slogan “Clap on, clap off”! These devices were built on the notion that remote controls weren’t nearly convenient enough. So, they allowed people to operate appliances without getting up! Today we have got smartphones or tablets for that. Right? Using today’s technology, we are able to control and monitor the lights, the locks, the switches, the blinds with a touch of a button! We have total control of our home! Isn’t this great?

The booming smart home industry is giving consumers the ability to explore the experience of living in a smart space with so many intelligent features that may sound too good to be true, but I assure you it isn’t. The voice control of your home is truly one of the most incredible experiences! You can say things like “turn on the lights”, “turn off the thermostat” or “lock the door” and your home will know what you mean. Using short commands related to home automation you are able to control and manage all your smart devices only with your voice. Ok, you might think that this is quite difficult or it is not ready for consumers yet. However, the era of speaking to your house has arrived! It’s great to be able to speak to your smart home controlling and managing all your smart devices only with your voice!

How could you do that? Via Sensorflare! Because Sensorflare lets you speak to your smart home. You don’t believe me? Find out more here

Using the Sensorflare Genie you will be able to speak to your houses. It allows you to interact with your connected gadgets by using voice commands. Now, you can control your home with your voice anytime, anywhere. Lights, security, climate, and more! We are making sure your voice is heard with Sensorflare. Sensorflare uses a voice-activated control for your smart home using Speaktoit Assistant technology and exploiting the api.ai functionality to understand the semantics of the command and neo4j to traverse the ontology with all the devices matching the semantics. Cool, eh? You can use it right now…

Let us know what you think!

Smart home: start your experience!

Why would people be interested in smart homes? This is an easy question to answer. With hundreds of smart home devices in the market, it is easy to create a smart home! A home where you are in control of lights, temperature, locks, windows, blinds, and so much more. Smart technology is here adding value and convenience to our lives and at the same time it is now affordable and available to everyone! The “connected home” – a new label for an old home automation concept – is no longer the privilege of a few. It is coming near you at an incredible speed and increasingly affordable prices.

Start your smart home experience by using smart light bulbs!

Illustration by Yehicus

So, what do you think? Is it worth investing in a smart home?
The answer is TOTALLY!

You may actually start with your lights! It is the best choice, especially for those who want to experiment with the “connected home” but don’t feel yet ready to install a whole automation smart home system. There are many different smart light bulbs on the smart home market – like Philips Hue connected lamps, LIFX, LG, GE, WeMo, Lumen, Emberlight, or Samsung and others – that promise to make your life easier, comfortable and convenient. Who wouldn’t love to be able to control lighting?

Start your smart home experience by using smart light bulbs!

Photo Credit Zetson (Flickr)

Imagine how many cool things you can do with your smart light bulbs! First of all, anywhere you are, you can control your home lights, using your smartphone. You will never need to go back and check if you have left something on that should have been turned off. You are just a click away from your light bulbs! You can also create your own private ambiance to match your mood by changing the light color or the brightness. For example you could turn all your lights red to celebrate Valentine’s day! You can adjust your smart lights to do so many things: to turn on when it’s time to wake up, to blink when you are tagged in a photo on Facebook, to change color when your baby wakes up, to turn on if you oversleep…The capabilities are nearly boundless since you can create your own intelligent tasks and connect your smart light bulbs to other smart devices using Sensorflare. So, are you ready to start creating your smart home?

You can start unboxing your new smart light bulb. Sensorflare will see your smart device. It will take a few moments to connect it and create your profile. Yes! Your smart bulb is here! What can you really do with a smart bulb and Sensorflare? Well, let’s see the below different scenarios:

Wake me up! – I’m home! – I have a phone call! – I have an email! – Setting the mood! – Tell me when the weather changes! – Remind me to take a break from working or studying! – Remind me when my favourite show is on TV! – and much more…

So many possibilities. With Sensorflare you can set your smart bulb to turn on/ off automatically, creating your own smart tasks. Sensorflare develops ways for smart light bulbs to work in creative new ways with each other and things including home security systems, home appliances, smoke detectors and door locks. Knowing your habits and needs Sensorflare will suggest you intelligent recipes for your lights in order to get full control over the light in your life. And just remember… There are some big names in the smart lights space and some new players as well, regardless the brand Sensorflare is here achieving the highest level of intelligent.