The week in smart home: Alexa gets smarter as she lands in more homes

A look back at the past seven days in smart home tech

Alexa gets smarter as she hits more homes

It's been a busy week for smart home news, with the Milan Design Week jam-packed with slick looking connected tech, such as Sony's futuristic Hidden Senses exhibition and some new designs for the Sonos One, as a result of a collaboration between Sonos and Danish design firm Hay.

Elsewhere, Amazon and big retail rival Best Buy have teamed up for a Fire TV assault; and Hive and Hue are now best of friends too. It's certainly been a week for tag-teaming.

Here's some other smart home stories you might have missed...

Alexa making herself heard in the UK

The week in smart home: Alexa gets smarter as she lands in more homes

Alexa has been able to act as an intercom for house Stateside for a while now, and finally the Announcement feature has landed in the UK.

Simply say "Alexa, announce that [message]" and your message on all home network Echo speakers. You can also say, "Alexa, broadcast..." or "Alexa, tell everyone...".

The new feature comes as a YouGov poll has stated that mart speaker ownership among Britons has doubled since last autumn, with 10% of Brits having one or more in their home - with Amazon's Echo range owning a whopping 75% of the market.

Qualcomm's smart home chips

The week in smart home: Alexa gets smarter as she lands in more homes

Qualcomm, famed for its smartphone systems-on-chips (SoC), has revealed two new chipsets designed with IoT devices in mind.

The QCS605 and QCS603 feature ARM-based multicore CPUs, Spectra image signal processoing and a Hexagon vector processor. They will tap into Qualcomm's new Vision Intelligence Platform and, according to Engadget, focus on three applications in particular: artificial intelligence, camera processing and power efficiency.

Lutron turns on more lights

The week in smart home: Alexa gets smarter as she lands in more homes

Lutron, one of the leading lights (leading lights, geddit?) in smart lighting has signed a deal to acquire Ketra, whose Natural Light solutions provide high quality light that emulates daylight in interior spaces.

“Our company started over 57 years ago with our founders innovating the electronic light dimmer – a device that delivered beautiful light controlled by the end user,” said Mike Pessina, co-CEO and president at Lutron Electronics. “Ketra’s range of quality light complements the Lutron light control product offering and enables our customers to create a more comfortable, productive and pleasant environment at home and at work. We’re excited to deliver this expanded light control solution to the industry.”

This robot will build your Ikea stuff

Not technically smart home, but how can we not include this video of a robot knocking up an Ikea flatpack? Dubbed the Ikeabot and built at Control Robotics Intelligence (CRI) group at NTU in Singapore.

You can read more about it over on Spectrum.


Deals of the week

In the UK there's an absolute bonanza of bargains to be had on Amazon, as part of the company's Spring Smart Home Deals bonanza.

The best deals feature an Echo device thrown in, such as a Dot or a Show, tagged up as an 'Alexa smart home bundle'. Deals such as...

US readers, there's no springtime promo for you unfortunately - but there are still a couple of good deals to be had:

  1. There's $31 off of the regular Nest Thermostat price at $219
  2. 2nd-gen August lock - less than half price for $109.99


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