maanantai, 19. elokuu 2019

Aqara G2 camera review

Xiaomi has now built a solid reputation in the field of home automation, offering a high-performance home automation system at an ultra-competitive price, as we saw in our test of the Xiaomi home automation solution. Following the success in many countries, including France, some products have been adapted to become compatible with the French market (including the gateway, which now has a French plug), and the entire application is now perfectly translated into French. Some products are even officially distributed in France. The product we are going to discover today is not yet "officially" available for the French market, but it should not be long in coming. It is an original product to say the least, since it is a camera integrating a ZigBee home automation gateway: the Aqara G2 camera.

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Unboxing the Aqara G2 camera

The Aqara G2 camera is delivered in a very small case, which reminds us of the product's strong points: full HD 1080p video, encoded in H265, and a wide viewing angle of 140°.

Inside, we find the Aqara G2 camera, a USB power cable, a charger (in Chinese format for the time being, but being a USB cable, the camera can be plugged anywhere), a mounting bracket, and a manual.

This Aqara G2 camera features a minimalist design, which reminds me a little of the "Minions" of "Me, Ugly and Mean":p. At the front, only a large black circle is visible, like a large eye, hiding the 2 million pixel lens, and 8 infrared LEDs for night vision (up to 8m) invisible at night (no red glow, therefore perfectly compatible with a child's room for example). At the bottom of the circle, a small LED will light up to indicate the status of the camera. Just below, a microphone will allow you to listen to what is happening. At the back, on the other hand, a loudspeaker will allow an alert to be broadcast or even a dialogue with a potential visitor.

Power supply will be provided by a simple Usb microphone cable. It will be the only connection, the connection to the network being exclusively by Wifi. A button on top will trigger a 15s video recording by pressing it for 3s, convenient for example to leave a video message for someone. But it can also be used to enable/disable the alarm by pressing it twice quickly. We will come back to this alarm function later....

This camera is really tiny, since it fits in the palm of your hand. It measures only 8.2 x 5.6cm for 112g. Its design is not simplistic. Its base contains a very practical support that can be unfolded. We will notice in passing the micro SD location to record locally the photos and surveillance videos. Returning to the bracket, it allows the camera to be raised, but also to be positioned as desired, as this bracket can be rotated 360°.

Better: this support is even magnetic! This way, the camera can be easily fixed to any metal surface. With just a USB cable for its power supply, this camera should be able to be positioned a little where you want, placed on a piece of furniture, fixed to the wall, or even to the ceiling.

Last but not least, under its good-natured appearance, this small camera also features a ZigBee 3.0 home automation gateway. Thus the various Aqara devices can be paired directly to this camera, to create scenarios if desired.

tiistai, 30. lokakuu 2018

Heatzy launches the first smart thermostat for less than 100€

We are talking about the small Heatzy module to control its electric pilot wire heating. A module that was easy to install, efficient, and cost less than 50€. Once in place, the radiator inherited a Wifi connection that allowed us to control it from anywhere. Today the manufacturer is repeating its feat by announcing FLAM, the first thermostat for boilers under 100€.

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With FLAM, Heatzy meets a high consumer demand to control their dry contact heating. FLAM follows the philosophy of the first PILOTE product: a product that is easy to install, simple to use and affordable.

“Heatzy FLAM allows you to control and program your central heating via your smartphone from anywhere in the world and offers advanced control functions to save as much as possible on your energy bill, for only 99€”.

Heatzy FLAM uses a dry contact system, which makes it compatible with a multitude of heating systems (boiler, underfloor heating, heat pump, pellet stove, etc.). Heatzy FLAM is very easy to install and use, since everything is controlled from a single window on the application.

FLAM is composed of two peripherals: a module to be connected to the dry contact of the boiler, and a plug to be connected in the living area, which will measure the temperature, in order to automatically regulate the boiler. This makes it very easy to install. Note that the plug will also allow you to control the device that will eventually be connected to it, which gives you some additional features.

Heatzy also takes advantage of the FLAM release to update its application to version 3.0: the user will be able to consult and modify the temperature of his direct heating, change the operating mode and program his FLAM product to adapt his heating to his schedule. And this is only the beginning, since Heatzy is already working on new products and new features for its application.

It should be noted that the company also offers APIs, allowing Heatzy products to be interfaced with other home automation systems. Jeedom and eedomus already have a plugin to manage the PILOT. Google Home and Amazon Echo accounting will also be announced soon.

Finally, Heatzy teams are already working on adding intelligent functions through machine learning. We look forward to learning more about it very soon!

The Heatzy FLAM is already available on the manufacturer’s website for 99€, and will soon be available from other brands such as Castorama for example.

perjantai, 28. syyskuu 2018

Nest Learning: the smart thermostat

Winter is coming and the third generation of the Smart Thermostat is being sold out just in time to help you better manage your heating consumption.

Because heating in winter is anything but free, the Nest Learning Thermostat aims to save you more money by heating your home intelligently.

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Heating more intelligently

Home automation is at the center of connected objects or Internet of Things, which consists of a galaxy of several million intelligent devices. The Nest is no exception to the rule and is even an excellent example of how technology can bring the best to our lives by changing very little in the end.

The small thermostat, all connected as it is, of course allows you to change the temperature of your fireplace from your mobile phone, tablet or PC - but above all it is intelligent and automatically regulates the temperature, by turning on the heater just in time to reach the temperature you want, when you want. With its "Learning" capabilities, the Nest learns your favorite temperatures and self-programs after only one week; if you have a schedule that varies little, it is ideal.

When you are not there, the Nest automatically turns down the heating to save energy. And to monitor its energy consumption closely, the smart thermostat has a history and an energy report. It is compatible with almost all central heating systems: Combi and condensing boilers, floor heating, heat pump, etc. A concentrate of technology offered at 200€ in its third version.