Beecon is a free app for automating your home with iBeacons

beecon free app automating home ibeacons screen shot 2014 10 02 at 37 12 am
It’s been about a year since Apple first announced its iBeacon technology, and now, at long last, there’s finally a free app that makes using it easy and accessible for the average Joe.

For those of you who might not recall, the technology was introduced around the time that iOS 7 was released, and it was supposed to solve the occupancy-sensing problems that had been plaguing home automators for years — namely, that GPS-equipped smartphones lacked the precision needed to tell when you’ve moved to another room inside your house, and passive infrared sensors only work when there’s continuous motion in the room.

To solve this problem, Apple devised a system of small transmitters (iBeacons) that can be placed around a given space, and use a Bluetooth Low Energy signal to triangulate the relative location of your smartphone. With this more detailed location information, iBeacons can be used to trigger proximity-based actions — things like turning lights on/off when you enter/leave a room, or even making music follow you around the house by jumping from speaker to speaker.

RelatedApple rolls out its location-sensing iBeacon tech to message shoppers inside its stores

It’s certainly an intriguing prospect, but for the most part, iBeacon technology hasn’t really made its way into people’s homes quite yet — arguably because setting up and controlling an iBeacon array is still a somewhat complicated process. But Beecon might help change that.

With Beecon, there’s finally an easy way to manage, detect, and range iBeacons around you, create multiple regions, and define actions that are triggered when you enter or leave them. Currently, the app allows users to control Hue and LIFX lights, control IR appliances (with some extra hardware), call servers or URLs with custom actions, take temperature readings from Estimote beacons and execute actions based on temp, tweet messages, and even launch certain iOS apps automatically. Beecon’s website also suggests that the app is being adjusted for compatibility with Home Kit, which would allow iOS users to control home appliances by issuing voice commands to Siri.

The app is optimized for the iPhone 5 and above, but any iPhone that supports Bluetooth 4.0 (4S and up) is compatible. Get your hands on it in the App Store

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

Yamaha’s MusicCast Vinyl 500 turntable spreads analog joy throughout your home

It can be tough to listen to your favorite analog tunes anywhere besides the room where your turntable is located. With its MusicCast Vinyl 500 turntable, Yamaha allows you to stream your tunes throughout your home.

Join the Apple club with our complete guide to switching from Android to iOS

If Android simply isn’t cutting it for you anymore, then you might be considering Apple’s warm embrace. Here’s how to make the switch from Android to iOS without losing your contacts, sleep, or hair!

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Smart Home

Idaho mother says her child’s light-up sippy cup exploded

After a mother filled a Nuby insulated light-up cup with milk, the cup allegedly exploded. The incident caused burns to the mother's hand and face and a stinging sensation in her lungs that required a trip to the hospital.
Smart Home

Project Alias is a ‘smart parasite’ that stops smart speakers from listening

Two designers chose to do something about nosy smart speakers. The result is Project Alias, a "smart parasite" that whispers nonsense to Google Home and Alexa until it hears a specific wake word.
Smart Home

The Instant Pot Lux is a gateway drug into the pleasures of pressure cooking

The 3-quart Instant Pot Lux is one of the most affordable Instant Pots you can buy. Is it still a solid pressure cooker? Here are our thoughts on the Instant Pot Lux, a great IP baseline model.
Smart Home

DS3 Clean water-free swatches could be the future of cleaning products

DS3 Clean swatches were on display at CES 2019. The small swatches come in several types, including shampoo and toilet cleaner. They're great for travel, but their real impact is in how such supplies will be shipped and stored.
Smart Home

Amazon patents a technology to help Alexa fight fake voice attacks

Amazon filed a patent this month for a new technology that looks like it would help its digital assistant Alexa fight fake voice attacks that could potentially fool Alexa's biometric security protocols.
Smart Home

Amazon Prime members number more than 100 million in the U.S., survey says

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated there were 101 million U.S. Amazon Prime members as of December 31, 2018. Last April, CEO Jeff Bezos wrote there were more than 100 global million Prime members.
Smart Home

With focus on interoperability, is Nevo Butler a smarter home hub?

Universal Electronics is the latest company getting into the smart home market, announcing at CES 2019 that it intends to market the Nevo Butler, a new smart home hub with onboard A.I. and voice control technology.
Emerging Tech

Google’s radar-sensing tech could make any object smart

Computer scientists have shown how Google’s Soli sensor can be used to make dumb objects smart. Here's why radar-powered computing could finally make the dream of smart homes a reality.
Smart Home

The best air fryers deliver fried food with a fraction of the calories

What is this magical mechanism? It's an air fryer, and when used correctly, it can mimic the effects of frying while using just a little bit of oil. You still get that crispy, golden exterior and the fluffy center.
Emerging Tech

‘Tech vest’ prevents Amazon workers from colliding with robot co-workers

Amazon workers at its fulfillment centers are using "tech vests" to help protect them from collisions with their robot co-workers. The robots already have obstacle avoidance sensors, but the belt offers another layer of safety.