The week in smart home: Control 4 snaps up Neeo and more – The Ambient

In a week when Sonos' new Architectural range finally went live and we were smitten by an e-paper weather poster, Negear's smart security arm Arlo suffered some teething woes with its 4K Arlo camera.

But that's not all – it was a jam-packed week for smart home news. Here are some stories that may have missed your radar…

The week in smart home: Control 4 snaps up Neeo and more

Control 4 picks up popular universal remote maker

Control 4, one of the top dogs in the high-end home automation game, has added another connected bow to its armoury, snapping up Neeo, makers of a universal remote control that was originally a huge hit on Kickstarter back in 2015.

The Swiss company, which then sold its device directly to consumers from its online store, raised over $1.5 million on the crowdfunding platform, and has proven extremely popular with its active user base.

However, the move will see Neeo become a brand that is only available through Control4’s network of approved dealers, much like other Control 4-owned brands Pakedge and Triad.

Raphael Oberholzer, Neeo's founder, will be working with Control4’s engineering group on the company’s remote controls, touch panels and keypads going forward – so there's lots for Control 4 users to be excited about.

“The Neeo acquisition is a talent and technology investment that will yield beautifully-designed and deeply integrated products in the future,” said Martin Plaehn, CEO of Control4.

The week in smart home: Control 4 snaps up Neeo and more

Alexa now offers interactive story times

Choose Your Own Adventure is jumping into the smart speaker world – with a new Alexa skill that takes people to the Lost City of Atlantis in Journey Under the Sea or the snowy peaks of the Himalayas in The Abominable Snowman – both R. A. Montgomery CYOA classics, of course.

It's been 12 years in the making and the skill has been created in partnership with Audible. And all you need to say is, Alexa, open Choose Your Own Adventure.”

“It took a long time for the technology to get to where it is today,” explained Melissa Bounty, associate publisher at Chooseco. “We knew that Choose was perfect for this space – how better to immerse you in the story? Swapping text on the page for narration, and sound effects for illustrations was simple, but we needed to figure out how to make the listening experience interactive.”

The week in smart home: Control 4 snaps up Neeo and more

Lowe's shuts down its smart home

Lowe's is out of the smart home game. We know what you're thinking – “When was it ever in it?”… right?

But it was and now it's pulled the plug on its Iris platform.

“We have decided to shut down the Iris smart home platform and related services effective 31 March 2019,” the company explained this week. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and are committed to providing the resources and support needed as you transition to comparable smart home products.”

It's all a bit of a faff to be honest – there's talk of a pre-paid Visa card refund for some and Samsung SmartThings compatibility for some of the devices. Good luck if you've got an Iris system is all we can say.

Amazon's Valentine's Day Gift Shop is open for business and there are some great savings to be had across its Echo smart speakers range.

Such as…

Echo Dot – Buy 2 get $40 off
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Echo Spot – Save $30
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Echo Show - $50 off
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Echo Dot Kid's Edition - half price
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Echo 2nd-gen - $30 off
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Echo Plus + Hue bulb - $45 off
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