IN BREAKING NEWS – a fluke discovery for any Australian users of Amazon Alexa.
If you have shipped an Amazon Echo device from the UK or USA, and have had to do some tricky set up to get it to work, chances are on the 24th of Jan, it stopped working.
Things like not recognising your account, even dropped off basic set up features like switching accounts and answering set up questions. It appeared to have been in factory restored mode, forgetting all of your settings and account.
Well, there’s a reason for that!
As of tonight, Amazon has pushed the Australian Software for Amazon Alexa. (whether or not it was testing or intending this change, remains to be confirmed)
Upon further inspection (and a lot of back and forth trying to figure out why our lights weren’t talking to echo), we discovered that the Amazon app (not available in Australian app stores YET), gave us a preview of what is to come.
Below is a list of all new Australian and New Zealand skills ready to go come on launch day, set to be the 1st of Feb (in 6 days’ time).

Lastly, a massive feat for Austereo. Not only having Hit105 and sister stations all with skills but also Triple M Radio Stations, in particular, have been very busy working on TWO skills per major station. One for news, and one dedicated to sports news. This is a great skill to have for your morning briefing.

  • Triple M news for Sydney
  • Triple M news for Brisbane
  • Triple M news for Melbourne
  • Triple M news for Adelaide
  • Triple M sport for Sydney
  • Triple M sport for Brisbane
  • Triple M sport for Melbourne
  • Triple M sport for Adelaide

We are sure that there are many still to come, these are all the confirmed skills. There are many NON-BRANDED skills like games, facts and jokes ready to go as well.

Google Assistant smart home partners list updates

Google Assistant already had a large number of official partners, but in attempts to keep ahead of the field (which until Amazon Alexa launches in Australia it will stay the case), Google has recently updated that list.
Now growing to over 200 brands, with a combined tally of over 2500 smart devices. You can read and learn about the brands, with the google official list and if you were already cued up on the devices available with google assistant here are the latest brand names now listed on the official partners over the last few updates.

When will Amazon Alexa Launch in Australia?

When?  Where?  How much?

Don't worry Australia, we all share that same frustration, yet another MAJOR TECH ITEM that changed the world as we know it … ANNDD, we don't get it. Its been just over THREE years since Amazon Alexa launched. Back in nov 2014.  It was the move that changed the regular American household. And the tech industry as we know it, SMART ASSISTANTS. Now it's our turn. FINALLY, release date and cost has been released for the Australian Amazon Alexa's

echo dot will be
79 AUD

The Echo will be 149 AUD

Echo plus will be
229 AUD

Shipping February 1 if you order online.

If you order online through Amazon there is a limited time offer of echo dot for $49, echo for $119 and echo plus for $199. WITH free shipping,

Get ready Australia, the Smart Tech is coming.

Is Microsoft Cortana Competition to Google and Amazon

Microsoft has shown that voice assistant Cortana, is powerful enough to deal with a wide range of ‘Smart Technology’ from speakers and toasters, to fridges and Cars at the Build 2017 developer conference, announcing the platforms has developed a partnership with both BMW and Nissan. However so far there has only been one dedicated Cortana speaker, (the Harmon Kardon). While competitor assistants Alexa and Google Assistant continue to be a feature in more and more devices, Cortana seems to be falling behind. Microsoft is promising that more will come in time.

Microsoft has announced new partnerships with Ecobee, Honeywell, IFTTT, Lifx, and TP-Link, which is a big step forward for consumers wants and needs.  Now we need to see more variety in the choice of hardware to encourage  the longevity of the assistant.

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 Automation ROUND UP

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The Consumer Electronics Show 2018, was in Las Vegas this year with thousands of companies exhibiting every year, and hundreds of thousands in total attendance its no wonder CES is known as – the global stage of innovation. This year there was over a whopping 900 startup companies in Eureka Park (the home for startup exhibitors). 2018 CES was Jan 9th to 12th this year, a while the number of gadgets featured that will go to market did not overshadow the previous years,  we are on the next leap forward in smart technology.

Couldn’t get to Las Vegas this week? That’s ok; we have you covered. Here are all the headlining products and concepts featured at CES this year. With leading electronic companies such and Samsung, Amazon, Google, Apple, LG, Sony and thousands more previewing and launching multiple products or at least attempting to preview those products – gadgets can get a little bit temperamental at the worst times, as LG learnt while showing-off there home assistant CLOi. Cloi might even show up in shopping carts if she ever learns to listen.

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With so many TV’s, speakers, Smartphones, Cars, Computers and Gaming rigs, there was also a feature of the extensive integration of smart home gadgets and devices. Here is a summary of exciting and promising items featured at this years CES for your smart home.

Straight off the bat, let’s talk smart assistant integrations. One of the well-known smart home companies Netamo has turned to Facebook to interact with your smart home. The free chatbot available through Facebook Messenger service made to respond to your queries with your home or out and about. The Netamo smart home devices already integrate with Siri, Alexa and Google assistants but have now expanded to Facebook messaging service to allow for greater mobility and privacy. Such as using it in places where you can’t or wouldn’t want to use a voice command instead you can type out questions to the smart home bot.

Favorite lock company Schlage, a manufacturer of Smart Lock, adds extra connectivity to the sense deadbolt. Previously compatible with Amazon Alexa and Apple Homekit, the ‘Sense Deadbolt’ is now able to connect with Google assistant on Android devices and IOS with an added adaptor which cost about $90.

The company making the most significant headlines from this years event was of course Samsung. Samsung had a few big ticket items to reveal the most interesting being at a micro LED TV. With 4K TV resolution still big slide for many Aussie households, Samsung has gone up the game.

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Of course, it’s far from groundbreaking, with the first TV’s in 8K Revolution being worked on around 2015 Samsung is one of the three major manufacturers to bring 8k tv out to the Western consumer demographic, which is a big turning point, as most Hollywood films still film in 6K. The fact the notable films haven’t caught up yet leaves little content available in 8K as of yet, Only in Korea or Japan which has had a few broadcast in 8K so far, and have also hinted that the Winter Olympics and potentially the Japan 2020 Olympics will be broadcasting in 8K. Call the wall for obvious reasons the 8K TV is an enormous 168-inch bezel-less television- it is basically a jumbotron for your home.

Samsung also provided a first look for other 8K TVs at CES 2018 featuring Q LED display and AI technology. Samsung says the AI technology upscale standard definition content to 8K resolution using an algorithm that adjusts the screen resolution based on picture quality characteristics of each scene. Which reminds me of something Google’s Rick Osterloh explained in October. To simplify, we are at a technological impasse, and AI will be the will be the only way of improving further advancements.

Taking a step up from AI technology, Samsung also announced that their 2018 series of televisions would feature their own smart assistant Bixby.which will integrate with the connected home and Samsung SmartThings even more. This isn’t exactly big news for Australians as Samsung has yet to bring out smart things to Australia – still, no word when or if this will happen.

While we are on the subject of TV’s Samsung has focused on size, and LG focused on user flexibility… sorry TV flexibility.

Yep that’s right LG have featured a flexible display TV that can roll up and be tucked away in the base when not in use sort of like a projector screen. LG’s concept TV has been demo’s at previous CES, and in 2017 released a wallpaper tv (which is thinner than a BIC pen), but this is an impressive feat none the less as it’s still a 65 inch 4K OLED display that is flexible.

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Okay, so let’s get to the reason your here.  VOICE ASSISTANTS!! How would you like one in your car?

Byton electric announced at CES 2018 their latest concept SUV at CES and it should be available in Asia in 2019 followed by the USA and Europe. Still, the best news yet is that they’re coming down under with plans to release in Australia in 2021. Byton is aiming to rival the Tesla Model X and contend with established brands such as Audi and BMW. The SUV has smart features like facial recognition instead of keys, and the SUV also features a first in automotive technology. a massive 49-inch stretch display in the dash of the cabin. 

(check out the video to the left to get to low down on some of the more interesting features) Byton said they have been working with voice control technology alongside Amazon, and together they have integrated the well known smart assistant into the car. They plan the SUV will be significantly cheaper than the Tesla model x.

Amazon Alexa on the road seems to be a popular choice lately with Anker releasing their latest device called Roav(pictured left). Similar to the Garmin speak, Roav is a voice commanded automotive Amazon Alexa. Having Alexa in the car will be so helpful. Especially taking into consideration the strict (but necessary) road rules on device usage. hypothetically you could control many aspects of your drive through voice command in a device that is 1/4 the size of the Alexa Echo.  Anker does intend on releasing the Roav globally but are releasing in the states first.

Both Toyota and Lexus confirm that the Amazon Alexa voice assistant will be in the USA cars later this year.

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Smart homes are going to be more than just security and media rooms with CES 2018 exhibitors promising Alexa in the bathroom and Bixby and Google in the kitchen.

The star in the Smart Kitchen is the Ovie Smarterware that will let you know when your leftovers I have gone bad with an Amazon Echo or Google assistant you can tell your assistant what is in a container and it will tell you when it’s off. Quite handy if you are a household that seems to never have room in the fridge. Estimated to be about 75 Australian dollars for a pack of 3 and its functionality is similar to that seen in the Samsung family hub fridge but can attach to your pre-existing Tupperware.

Speaking of the Samsung family hub fridge Samsung have brought out the next model with some important updates and the addition of their voice assistant Bixby. The family hub fridge made it’s first appearance at CES 2016 but will now offer a wider range of features including syncing up food storage keeping it family members better connected and organised with a Bigger screen and AKG speakers with Bixby and AI built-in not only can you get your morning briefing you can also have recommended recipes as to what is in your fridge. The family hub will truly become a family hub allowing you to control your smart home from the kitchen.

Samsung made a promise to have its range of Internet of things products ready by 2020. Even demonstrated CES was Samsung’s new quick drive washing machine that is also smart things capable. But instead of displaying each product on stage Kim Hyunsuk spent most of the hour on stage explaining the vision for the future and trying to rename IOT to the ‘intelligence of things’. Claiming it’s one thing to have a connected home but for the future, we need to have an intelligent home.

Moving into the bathroom of the future, companies Moen, Elmer and Kohler have found a way to integrate Amazon Alexa into your bathroom. With Elmer creating a shower that you can control with Alexa commands such as the temperature, playing your morning briefing. And Kohler has been designing an entire bathroom range that can be controlled by Amazon Alexa commands such as running a bath or setting the water to a certain temperature even flushing the toilet for you. Moen’s Products feature a more family-based element with different settings in memory, and even an Amazon Alexa hub built into the mirrors (you can learn more on these products below in the video from Digital Trends)

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No mention yet on whether any of the ‘connected bathrooms’ will be available in Australia as is with many of the new CES products, both being a preview/concept show, and the fact that we are still waiting to see how Amazon Alexa takes off in Australia which will dictate how many products I brought down under.

SO, that’s not everything from CES 2018 but that’s as much as we’re going to cover if you would like to read more on these products or any others that we didn’t cover we suggest you check out CNET for a broader look at products and gadgets or you can watch the live streams and videos straight from CES TV. If there is something amazing you have heard about or seen from CES, let us know in the comments below.

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Wemo and Apple Homekit Users can Rejoice

Apple Homekit users can finally set up there WeMo devices after the WeMo Homekit Bridge has gone to market after it was first announced 8 months ago.

Belkin WeMo covers home automation devices such as cameras, switches and light bulbs. However in factory setup mode WeMo devices will not support Homekit connectivity without some further tinkering from IFTTT. No announcement for an Australian release or cost as of yet you can currently buy the WeMo bridge from Belkin’s US site for $40 USD. The bridge only requires to be plugged into your network, and power to “bridge the connection” between your devices. This will hopefully ease some annoyances for Apple Homekit users.

Subscribe to About Automation to stay up to date on this subject, and many others.

Samsung’s ongoing fight to make bixby relevant

Fridges, Phones and Televisions. Samsung are sprinkling a bit of BIXBY into the recipe for all there new big tech items.

At the CES 2018 convention in Las Vegas, Samsung has announced that the 2018 range of televisions will include their smart assistant BIXBY, to allow home connectivity and smart home interaction. This is to go hand in hand with Samsung SmartThings technology platform.

In regards to televisions and SmartThings, Samsung have been working on an app for easy setup and lets the TV serve as the hub to control SmartThings smart home devices, as well as the BIXBY voice assistant into the already “smart” televisions, which is going against the grain with most mainstream TV manufacturers teaming up with google or amazon for their smart assistant. Samsung is of course sticking to their own. which has yet to show anything promising.

Alongside TV’s and phones. Samsung has injected BIXBY into their smart fridges which while this isn’t new, the smart fridge now has added functionality int he SmartThings app allowing bixby voice control in the fridge and the ability to control the houses smart things devices, as well as keep an eye on whats in your fridge. it has been mentioned that Samsung are looking to increase the functionality of screen mirroring already available in the smart fridge, to include phone mirroring too.

Speaking of smart things devices. washing machines, yep Samsung has that too. the newest of which they claim is now smart things compatible. (but no bixby … yet)

it is questionable what on the list of available technology and features will be working in Australia, as down under is yet to be graced with SmartThings line of tech.

To read more about the gadgets and electronics to be featured at CES 2018 CLICK HERE