Insteon has partnered with Toshiba to include Insteon's home automation and control technology in Toshiba laptops. Insteon announced that the Insteon universal app will be included on new Toshiba Windows 10 laptops shipping at the end of the month. Insteon will be the first built-in IoT application shipping to the masses, giving customers with the Insteon Hub easy, intuitive control of their connected home from their Toshiba laptop.

According to a recent survey, approximately 5 million households in Germany will be equipped with a smart home system by 2020. That means that the number of connected homes will increase by almost 900 per cent within a few years. One of the main reasons for the predicted surge is that the current solutions are often still quite expensive and don’t offer the security end users are looking for. However, now that more and more companies have started to develop new systems that aim to match the user’s needs, the demand for smart home systems is growing rapidly.

Next generation home security devices achieve a complete replacement of existing security systems, 3D video cameras, automated connected thermostats, access sensors, and intrusion detection devices can alert a person on the smart phone. Devices are wireless, are more energy efficient, last longer and have a significantly lower cost of operation.

As the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2015 draws near Apple HomeKit is in the news again.  There are talks about a delayed launch and there are some who said HomeKit will be launch next month at WWDC, but who knows; this is Apple we are talking about when up to now we have not heard anything official. We will just have to wait and see.  One good news around HomeKit, is that Broadcom has been given the stamp of approval as a certified HomeKit components manufacturer even though they were announced as official partner last June.

Venture Capital (VC) funding activity in the smart grid sector in 2015 quarter one more than doubled that of the last quarter of 2014 at US $185 million. Energy efficiency companies raised US $140 million and Battery/Storage raised US $69 million according to Mercom Capital Group.  Smart grid merger and acquisitions came in high at US $196 million for disclosed transaction.

The connected life style should have a market potential of US $731 billion by 2020, this is according to Frost and Sullivan.  This figure includes revenue from all sectors that touches the connected home.  Cloud computing, mobility, low cost sensors, big data are driving the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected industries.

Eletrobras, a major Brazilian utility has selected Cisco’s FAN (Field Area Network) technology for a BRL $1.2 million project funded by the World Bank. The Energia+ project will cover the states of Acre, Rondonia, Piaui, Amazonas, Alagoas and Roraima.  The aim is to help Eletrobras to improve operational efficiency and control of non-technical losses, which is as high as 22 per cent in some areas.

About 50km west of Tokyo on an old Panasonic factory site PanaHome the housing division of Panasonic Group is building its vision of a smart and sustainable town.  The 600 homes and 400 apartments have all the latest appliances and services of a smart home. All the homes are fitted with solar panels for feeding surplus energy into the smart gird, and the world’s first domestic ENE-FARM household fuel-cell generator.

Zonoff said they have been working with Nest developer program and the official SoundTouch API from Bose to make the compatibility possible. Now Zonoff home automation system owner can add nest thermostat and Bose SoundTouch music system to the list of controllable home appliances.

Microsoft has big ideas and plans for the connected home but with most ideas you need support and partnerships to make them a reality.  Since last year I have noticed that the relationship between Microsoft and Insteon has grown and Insteon it seems has become a key partner in Microsoft’s connected home strategy, something they have been working on for some time.

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