Cisco CEO: “We are still only on the front end” of a new version of the network

Fresh off a positive earnings call that saw Cisco report $11.9 billion in revenue for the 2Q 2018 – a 3 percent increase from the same quarter in 2017 and the first time in 6 quarters the company reported year-over-year sales increases – CEO Chuck Robbins has a lot to crow about.

Fresh off a positive earnings call that saw Cisco report $11.9 billion in revenue for the 2Q 2018 – a 3 percent increase from the same quarter in 2017 and the first time in 6 quarters the company reported year-over-year sales increases – CEO Chuck Robbins has a lot to crow about.

First of all, the company’s most strategic new direction: The Network. Intuitive, more commonly known as intent-based networking is rapidly finding acceptance amongst customers, Robbins said.

+RELATED: Getting grounded in intent-based networking; What is intent-based networking?+

At the center of its intent-based networking plan is the Catalyst 9000 switch which found a home in 2,100 new Cisco customers premises this quarter – bringing the total to 3,100 since its announcement last June. Robbins called it the fastest growing product in Cisco’s history.

Robbins talked with Network World’s Michael Cooney about the status of the networking giant’s key intent-based networking push, campus-switching directions and the use of artificial intelligence technologies in the enterprise in an interview after the recent earnings call.

Cooney: Reflective of the earnings call, can you update our readers on the status of Network. Intuitive rollout?

Robbins: If you think about what’s happening with our customers today, they are dealing with multiple public-cloud providers, they are dealing with 10, 20 or 50 SaaS providers they are getting services from, and they still have private data-center infrastructure to support. And then they have this explosion of IoT devices and increasing connectivity at the edge so when you look at all that, the network is really going to be at the heart of how customers manage increasing complexity.

For those reasons and others, we last June announced Network. Intuitive because we felt like we need to fundamentally reinvent networking and how networks are built to accommodate what our customers are trying to deal with now and how we can help them manage this complexity in the future.

So we launched Network. Intuitive and the first platform was the Catalyst 9000, and we also launched the DNA Center which is an automation platform. We launched encrypted traffic analytics, which lets users see malware inside encrypted traffic without decrypting it. Fast forward to this quarter the real highlight for us was that our core innovation, the Catalyst 9000, had more than double the customers who have adopted the technology. It is the fastest ramping new product in the history of Cisco, which is pretty amazing.

We had 1,000 customers after the first quarter, and we have 3,100 customers now. We have more platforms that will transition to this architecture. Enterprise customers, when you move them to a new architecture, they are going to take their time evaluating it to make sure it can integrate into their overarching management system and to make sure it is appropriately ready for their environments.

Cooney: Can you delve a little deeper into the subscription idea and what that brings to customers?

The Catalyst 9000 was introduced with a subscription that brings a number of innovations to the customer. A couple weeks ago we added more features to the intent-based architecture around assurance across the data center, the networks as well as the WIFI networks.

The predominant number of the Catalyst 9000s are going out with the advanced software subscription which is really what enables the automation and the security embedded in the network and the analytics capability.

So now if you look back at what our customers are dealing with around complexity and why this matters so much – Mckinsey [McKinsey Study of Network Operations for Cisco – 2016] had said the customers are spending $60 billion annually operating networks – three times what they spend on the network technology itself. The study also showed 80-95 percent of network changes are performed manually which leads to error, and 43 percent of the time the IT team spends troubleshooting network problems. So getting at all those issues is what we have been all about. That’s what lead us to being this new version of the network, which candidly we are still only on the front end of.

Cooney: Can you expand further to talk about the advanced software and why it is important?

If you go back to the original launch we talked about intent, which is really delivered through automation and context which is delivered through analytics. What we have done is re-written our operating system to not only support modern API structures and programmability but also to build analytics capabilities out of the network which helps deliver this context. So if you look at these assurance capabilities we have built, we have the Cisco Network Assurance engine, which use this verification of what’s happening on the network to help keep the businesses running as the network is changing. We launched Cisco DNA Center, which is the assurance ability that feeds back into that overall DNA Center, which will be the crux automation and analytics platform. This gives greater insights and visibility to reduce time and money spent to get at those issues – like cutting down on troubleshooting costs across both wired and wireless environments.

Also what we did is we actually created the capability to make this platform backwards compatible for a number of our products that are out there today this new operating system that we wrote enables it to support at least a full generation of products that customers could actually run across a broader set of products than just the Catalyst 9000, so not just limited to Catalyst 9000.

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iOS 12 release date, news and rumors

The iOS 12 release date in 2018 shouldn’t surprise you by now – Apple always launches its big iPhone and iPad update at the same time every year.

Its new software features, however, are always filled with some unexpected and exciting news.

The iOS 12 release date in 2018 shouldn’t surprise you by now – Apple always launches its big iPhone and iPad update at the same time every year.

Its new software features, however, are always filled with some unexpected and exciting news. We fully expect groundbreaking ideas, but also a healthy dose iOS 11 fixes given our many, many ongoing iOS 11 problems.

With the launch of iPhone X last year and the theoretical iPhone X2 release date happening later in 2018, Apple seems poised to make more big changes.

Here’s our list of what we expect from iOS 12, given leaks and rumors about the next big mobile operating system update for the iPhone and iPad.

Cut to the chaseWhat is iOS 12? Apple’s next big iPhone and iPad software update When is it out? Likely a June announcement and beta, September launch How much will it cost? Nothing. iOS 12 will remain free.iOS 12 release date

The iOS 12 release date isn’t a lock, but we fully expect to see the changes debut at Apple’s WWDC 2018 keynote in early June. That’s less than four months away.

Apple typically announces its new iOS update during this developers conference and also issues the first developer beta within the next week. A public beta has also launched in June for every non-developer willing to test it out.

Apple needs these betas more than ever for iOS 12, as it’s been plagued with so many iOS 11 problems. The company is unlikely to stop issuing the unfinished software since it values this feedback from so many users.

The actual iOS 12 release date for everyone else is expected to be in September, right as the iPhone 9 and maybe the iPhone X2 launch. We don’t yet know the names of Apple’s next phones, but rumors point to a cheaper version of the iPhone X with an LCD screen and an iterative update by the way of the X2.

iOS 12 to focus on reliability over big changes

“iOS 12 just works,” may be Apple’s big message about its next iPhone update, as it’s reportedly focusing on reliability and shelving many exciting features.

There have been so many glitches and bugs with the current mobile operating system that the team said to be working on the software allegedly got a directive to drop refreshes to the Camera, Mail, and Photos app to work on stabilization. We may also miss out on a planned home screen redesigned.

This is both good and bad news if you were looking forward to iOS 12. There may be fewer front-facing features, but your iPhone may reset less. It’s hard to argue with that.

iOS 12 apps and macOS together at last

One of the biggest new iOS 12 features may actually be for you computer: Apple may bring first and third-party iOS apps to your Mac computer. Why can’t you control your smart home with the Home app via that all-powerful iMac Pro? It’s a ridiculous notion.

Apple is rumored to be allowing developers to expand their app ecosystem to the forthcoming macOS 10.14 update. Apple’s own apps, like Home, are also said to be finally making the jump, according to Bloomberg.

More Animojis in more places (like iPad)

Whether you demanded it or vehemently opposed it, Apple is due to bring more Animojis to iOS 12 for use with the iPhone X Face ID camera. The navigation of these character masks should get easier too, according to Bloomberg.

Apple’s Animoji character may make two jumps. First, the natural jump to FaceTime for video chats behind a virtual panda, robot and poop mask. Second to what may be a new iPad Pro 2018 with a Face ID camera. We’ve seen some evidence of an updated iPad recently, so that makes sense.

Here are more features we wish were coming to iOS 12…

What we want to see

While nothing is known about iOS 12 yet we have a clear idea of some of the things we want to see, such as the following.

1. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles that work properly

Control Center has been improved for iOS 11, but one thing we’re not such fans of is the fact that you can’t actually turn off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth from it.

Tap either toggle and your device will disconnect from Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth accessories, but won’t actually turn off their radios.

There are good reasons for this, as it ensures accessories like the Apple Pencil and Apple Watch 3 will continue to work, as well as features such as AirDrop and AirPlay, but there are also plenty of reasons you might want to fully disable them.

Currently to do that you have to head to the main Settings screen, so in iOS 12 we’d like there to at least be an option to have proper ‘off’ toggles in Control Center – perhaps with a harder 3D Touch?

2. Wish list returned to the App Store

The App Store has been overhauled as part of iOS 11, and for the most part it’s for the better, but one feature has been killed off in the process, namely wish lists.

Previously, if you saw an app or game you liked the look of but didn’t want to buy it then and there (perhaps because the price was high or you were using cellular data) you could add it to your wish list so you wouldn’t forget about it.

You can’t do that anymore, and nor can you see your old wish list, so good luck remembering anything you’ve added. It was a handy feature and we’d like to see it – along with everything we added to it – returned in iOS 12.

3. Camera controls in the camera app

People often talk about how intuitive iOS is, and for the most part they’re right, but there are some aspects which really aren’t – namely the camera controls, or rather their location.

If you’ve not used iOS before you’d expect to find them in the camera app, but some, including video resolution, file formats and whether or not to show a grid, are instead on a sub menu of the main Settings screen, meaning you have to actually leave the camera app and make several additional taps to change them.

It also means that some users may not even know they exist, especially since some controls are housed in the app, so you might reasonably assume that they all are. We really want to see this changed for iOS 12.

4. A movable back button

When moving around apps in iOS you’ll often want to go back to a previous screen, and as there’s no hardware back button you instead have to tap a tiny option in the top left corner of the display.

This isn’t ideal if you’re right handed, as it can be a bit of a stretch when using a larger device such as an iPhone 8 Plus, so we’d like to see its position become customizable in iOS 12.

5. More powerful Files

Files promised to be a file explorer and manager for iOS, bringing it closer to a desktop experience, or at least to Android levels of control. But in reality, the first time you open Files you probably won’t see much of anything.

You can connect cloud drives to it, but anything locally stored won’t be visible unless you manually save it to Files. It makes the app a bit confusing and clunky and means you never have a true view of your system’s files and folders.

For iOS 12 we’d like to see it turned into a proper file manager.

6. More Control Center customization

With iOS 11 Apple has let you pick what you see in Control Center, but its selection isn’t comprehensive.

We’d love the power to add any setting or app shortcut we want, and also to remove the likes of music controls and screen mirroring, which currently you can’t.

7. System-wide autofill

Password managers are a fast, secure way to log into your various apps and accounts. Or, they’re secure anyway, and on most devices they’re fast, but not always on iOS.

That’s because for a password manager to autofill the login fields of an app, the app’s developer has to have manually enabled it, which few have.

Apple has somewhat improved things by adding a ‘Password Autofill For Apps’ feature to iOS 11, which does exactly what the name suggests, but only for passwords you’ve stored with Apple.

Apps still can’t tap into your favorite password manager automatically, so the first time you log in to them you’ll have to either type out your username and password manually or copy and paste.

On a computer or Android phone the password manager experience is seamless. On iOS it’s anything but, so we want this fixed for iOS 12.

Having iOS 11 problems? Here’s how to fix them

The best AT&T plans in February 2018

The best AT&T plan you can get will depend on what your needs are, but we’ll help make choosing easier for you. If you’re set on AT&T as your mobile carrier and you’ve already grabbed the best AT&T phone, you’ll want to make sure you get the perfect mobile plan.

The best AT&T plan you can get will depend on what your needs are, but we’ll help make choosing easier for you. If you’re set on AT&T as your mobile carrier and you’ve already grabbed the best AT&T phone, you’ll want to make sure you get the perfect mobile plan.

We’ve sorted through all of AT&T’s plans and have all the info you need to make your choice, whether that’s a high-data, streaming ready plan, or a simple low-cost plan.

Check out all the AT&T plans available to you.

Jump straight there:View the plans at att.comChoose your phone:The best AT&T phones available this month

AT&T Plans: Explained

You don’t have to worry so much these days about paying huge fees for making calls while you’re out of town or during peak hours. But mobile data is the big budget killer these days. AT&T has a number of plans with unlimited calls and texts and data allotments ranging from 1GB to 20GB, and ranging in price from $30 a month to $110 a month.

You can save money on these plans by taking advantage of AT&T data-sharing plan. Through this service you can add additional devices to the account and share the data allotment across all of them, up to 10 devices.

With these shared plans, each phone requires a monthly access charge of $20, including the first phone on the plan. Tablets and wearable devices that connect to data are $10 each month.

With these plans, you don’t have to worry about fees for going over the data allotment. Data speeds will simply be slowed down once you hit the cap. If there is any unused data, it will roll over the next month.

For 10GB plans and higher, calls and texts to Mexico and Canada are free as well, with no roaming charges for use in Mexico.

AT&T’s Unlimited plans

If you don’t want to spend a bunch of time thinking about which data allotment is right for you, you can just opt for one of AT&T’s Unlimited plans. It has an Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Plus plan with varying features that we’ll discuss further in.

If you’re really big into streaming content from your mobile device, AT&T also has a few packages that bundle streaming services into its Unlimited plans. All of these Unlimited plans have a cap of 22GB a month after which data speeds may be reduced, but you won’t be charged any fees for going over that cap. Customers who enroll in the unlimited plans can receive a $5 discount if they use AutoPay and Paperless billing. AT&T also allows Unlimited plans to have multiple lines on them.

How much data do you really need?

While 1GB of a data might be enough for someone who mostly uses their phone for calling and texting, and the occasional search on Yelp, it may not be enough for most of us. If you stream a lot of video you may be looking at 10GB plans and up. For a lot of Internet browsing and Instagram use, somewhere in the ballpark of 5GB may be enough. Thankfully, even if you use up all of your high speed data, AT&T continues to provide data at lower speeds, so you can still get that Instagram photo uploaded.

AT&T Next: Device installment and upgrade plan

If the upfront cost a new phone for your new data plan is too much, AT&T offers an installment plan service to spread the cost of the device over 24 to 30 months. The Next and Next Every Year plans also offer a change to trade-in your phone and upgrade before you’ve finished paying off the device. Here’s how each plan works.

AT&T Next

AT&T Next lets you break up your device payments over 30 months. At the end of the 30 months your monthly payments will drop, since the phone is paid off. Alternatively, after 24 months, you have the option of trading in your phone to upgrade to a new phone.

AT&T Next Every Year

If you can afford slightly higher monthly payments and want to have a new phone every year, the AT&T Next Every Year installment plan spreads the cost of a device over 24 months but lets you upgrade to a new phone every year. After 12 payments, you can trade in your device and switch to a new one.

The best AT&T plans for you:

Now that you know about the types of plans, how you can share them with family and friends, and how to get a device on an installment plan, let’s take a look at the plans themselves.

These Mobile Share Flex plans are a simple way to pay for just the amount of data you need, and save big if you have more people to split the monthly bill with. Keep in mind that every device you add costs $20, including the primary device on the plan, so the prices listed are just for the data plan itself.

AT&T offers a $10 discount to the plans if users are subscribed with AutoPay and Paperless billing. Customers can also use the Wi-Fi hotspot feature of their phone, but only five devices at a time can use this.

Let’s take a look at each tier of AT&T’s plans and see which one fits your needs the best.

1. AT&T Mobile Share Flex plan | 1GB data | $35 per month
If you’re a pretty light mobile user, you can probably get away with this plan. If you like to watch any video on your data plan, this may not cut it. While youc can still use data after you hit the 1GB cap, it will be significantly slowed down. View this plan at AT&T

2. AT&T Mobile Share Flex plan | 5GB | $60 per month
This plan is at a sweet spot for multiple users, as the 5GB can be split two ways for moderate users while keeping the price within reason. It can even be split three ways if everyone agrees to go easy on the streaming. View this plan at AT&T

3. AT&T Mobile Share Advantageplan | 10GB | $85 per month
For bigger families or heavy mobile users, this plan may work out nicely. For a single line, you’d be looking at $105 total, which is more than AT&T’s unlimited plans. So, solo users that use over close to 10GB a month should consider an unlimited plan. The plan looks better when you split that 10GB with multiple users. View this plan at AT&T

4. AT&T Mobile ShareFlex plan | 20GB | $110 per month
20GB is just that much more to share between a group of friends or a family. At this tier, single line customers would be smarter to look at the AT&T’s Unlimited Plans, which comes with 22GB of full-speed data at a lower price. View this plan at AT&T

AT&T Unlimited plans

1. Unlimited Choice Plan | $45 per month
This is something of a no frills plan, but if you use a lot of data and have a limited budget, it’s an affordable option. Mobile hotspot is not allowed, video streaming is limited to 1.5Mbps and data speeds are limited to 3Mbps, but you still get 22GB of data to work with each month. This plan also comes with free HBO. See the unlimited plan on AT&T

2. Unlimited Plus| $75 per month
AT&T sweetens the deal with this Unlimited Plus plan. The plan allows full speed data for 22GB, after which the speeds may be throttled. HD video quality is allowed, and so is mobile hotspot for up to 10GB a month per line. This plan still adds in HBO access, so you have content to stream with all that data. See the unlimited plan on AT&T

Extra: DirecTV discount packages
If you’re really into video, AT&T offers a few streaming packages that can be added onto its Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Plus plans. You can add DirecTV streaming to your plan or even get DirecTV installed in your home as part of the plan. See AT&T’s streaming and DirecTV packages here

AT&T Prepaid optionsCheck out AT&T’s prepaid plans

If none of the plans have seemed right for you so far, AT&T also offers a number of prepaid plans with a lot of the same perks as the other plans and reasonable prices. You can get 1GB, 6GB, unlimited data, or even no data at all. No contract is required and you don’t need a credit check to get started with these plans. See AT&T’s prepaid plans here

How long can an Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, Google Home infinite loop last? – CNET

We know most people don’t have an Apple HomePod, an Amazon Echoand a Google Home, but we do here at CNET.

We know most people don’t have an Apple HomePod, an Amazon Echoand a Google Home, but we do here at CNET.

So we decided to create an infinite loop, meaning we set up reminders and calendar alerts with the trigger words, like “Hey Google,” to set off the smart speakers in a continuous sequence. (You can read more on how we did that here.)

In theory, this would go on for infinity, but we know there’s no chance of that happening, thanks to things like Wi-Fi dropping out.

So how long will it last? We’ve set up the YouTube livestream above with a clock so you can see and hear how long the infinite loop has been going.

Starting at 12 p.m. PT on February 15, we’re hoping to make to 48 hours. Stay tuned. And if you had to guess, which virtual assistant — Siri, Alexa or the Google Assistant — do you think is most likely break the chain?

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Apple HomePod: What to do if you don’t use Apple Music – CNET

Apple’sHomePod ($349.00 at Apple) is a device built to stay within the company’s walled garden. The device works flawlessly with Apple Music, and while it may appear that it doesn’t work with any other service outside of Apple’s, that’s not quite the case.

Apple’sHomePod ($349.00 at Apple) is a device built to stay within the company’s walled garden. The device works flawlessly with Apple Music, and while it may appear that it doesn’t work with any other service outside of Apple’s, that’s not quite the case.

Now Playing:Watch this: Make an infinite loop with HomePod, Echo and Google Home
3:18

In fact, with a little know-how you can stream music from just about any source to the HomePod. But first, let’s take a look at what the speaker supports.

Supported services

As with most Apple products, the HomePod lacks built-in support for outside music services. So you can’t trigger services like Spotify, Google Play Music or Pandora by just talking to Siri. Instead, you are limited to the following according to the HomePod’s technical specifications:

Apple MusiciTunes Music PurchasesiCloud Music Library with an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscriptionBeats 1 Live RadioApple PodcastsAirPlay other content to HomePod from iPhone ($1,099.99 at Best Buy), iPad ($295.00 at Amazon.com), iPod touch, Apple TV ($179.00 at Walmart) and Mac
AirPlay is your (only) friend

Harsh, I know. But with the lack of Bluetooth support or an audio-in option on the HomePod, AirPlay is the only means you have to stream music from a computer or phone to the speaker.

Of course, that means you’ll need to have a Mac or iOS device on the same Wi-Fi network as the HomePod to use AirPlay.

Most music streaming apps running on Apple products offer AirPlay support. For example, I checked Google Play Music, Spotify and Pandora, and all three offer AirPlay support.

In Spotify, the process looks like this:

For apps like Google Play Music and Pandora, you just need to look for the AirPlay icon then select the HomePod:

The process is similar for those services with a dedicated Mac app.

Touch controls still work

Even though the HomePod isn’t streaming from your iTunes library or Apple Music, you can still use the touch controls on top of the speaker to pause and skip a track or go back to the previous track. Naturally, the volume controls also work.

A single tap will pause, while a double-tap goes to the next track, and a triple-tap goes to the previous song.

Alternatively, you can control playback on your phone using your respective streaming app.

Apple
reading
Apple HomePod: What to do if you don’t use Apple Music
Feb 15
Tablet buying guide
Feb 14
How to prevent the Apple HomePod from staining your furniture
Feb 14
HomePod review: My first week with Apple HomePod

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These smart locks will let you ditch your keys – CNET

Keys are a time-tested means of access, but they won’t do you much good if you leave them inside on your way out the door.

Today’s crop of smart locks ($129.00 at Amazon.com) think they have a better way.

Keys are a time-tested means of access, but they won’t do you much good if you leave them inside on your way out the door.

Today’s crop of smart locks ($129.00 at Amazon.com) think they have a better way. All of them offer convenient, key-free access to your home, whether by code, by app, by proximity, or by the touch of your finger.Some of them don’t even accept keys at all, which makes them immune to forced entry via lock picking or lock bumping.

There’s a lot to consider before upgrading to a smart lock, and it’s a pretty expensive upgrade at that, with most costing somewhere around $200 — as much as 10 times more than their non-connected predecessors. The category continues to grow, though, so here’s a quick rundown of some of the more notable options.


8
Smarten up your front door with a connected deadbolt

Kwikset Kevo (second generation)

Now a second-gen smart lock, the Kwikset Kevo is a connected deadbolt that uses Unikey’s touch-to-unlock technology to let you inside with just a tap. The lock pairs with your phone or with a fob over Bluetooth. When you touch it, the Kevo uses Bluetooth to see if your phone or fob is close by and determine whether or not to let you in.

We use a Kwikset Kevo to let us in and out of the CNET Smart Apartment, and we’re fans of both the touch-to-unlock convenience and the inconspicuous design. Just make sure that your phone will work with it, particularly if you’re an Android user. And be prepared to spend — the second-gen Kevo retails for $230 and charges $2 each time you want to share full access with someone else.

Read our review of the second-gen Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth Deadbolt.

Yale Assure Lock SL Touchscreen Deadbolt

Like Kwikset, Yale is no stranger to smart locks, with a relatively diverse line of connected deadbolts to its name. The Assure Lock SL is Yale’s most recent touchscreen deadbolt with a slimmer, low-profile take on the touchscreen keypad. Like previous models, this Assure lock features a touchscreen on which you can punch in a code to get inside, as well as ZigBee, Z-Wave or iM1 HomeKit network modules to let you sync your lock with a larger connected home platform like Wink or SmartThings.

These latest touchscreen deadbolts take things one step further by eliminating the keyway altogether and rendering your keychain obsolete. That might sound like a potential problem since these smart locks are all battery-powered, but Yale came up with a clever safeguard to keep you from getting locked out if your batteries die. If the deadbolt’s four AA batteries ever run dead, you can touch a 9-volt battery to the bottom of the lock’s exterior to give it just enough juice for you to punch in your code and step inside.

Read our review of the Yale Assure Lock SL.

Kwikset Obsidian

The Kwikset Obsidian is another keyless smart lock recently released by Kwikset. We like the modern minimalism of this compact design. It smartly borrows that 9-volt battery trick from Yale’s keyless locks. And the Obsidian also includes a clever feature that displays two random numbers for you to press before entering your code, which is meant to keep potential intruders from studying your fingerprints to figure out your code. With a retail price of $180 — $50 less than the Kevo — the Obsidian lock is a reasonably priced touchscreen deadbolt.

Read our full review of the Kwikset Obsidian.

Kwikset Premis

There’s one more Kwikset smart lock worth mentioning, and that’s the Kwikset Premis. It uses the same, touchpad-centric design as most of Kwikset’s smart locks, but it adds in compatibility with Apple HomeKit, a set of smart home protocols built into the software that runs iPhones ($899.00 at Walmart) and iPads. With HomeKit compatibility, you can control and automate the lock directly from Apple’s Home app alongside other compatible devices, stick a shortcut button into your iPhone’s Control Center, or even lock and unlock it with Siri commands.

Like the Kevo, the Premis retails for a steep $230. But unlike the Kevo, it doesn’t charge you anything extra to share access with friends, family members, roommates, and service workers. In fact, the lock’s well-designed app does a terrific job at managing multi-users, including options for limiting access to specific days and times, or for creating codes that expire after a set amount of time.

Read our review of the Kwikset Premis HomeKit-enabled Deadbolt.

Schlage Sense Bluetooth Deadbolt

Kwikset isn’t your only option for a smart lock that works with Siri. Schlage was first to the market with a HomeKit-compatible deadbolt. It’s basically the exact same product as the Premis, albeit with a slightly less polished app. You’ll also probably have better luck finding one at a discount, given that it’s been out longer.

Read our review of the Schlage Sense Bluetooth Deadbolt.

August Smart Lock (third generation)

August’s third-generation smart lock has a more traditional design, costs just $149, and works with Amazon Alexa speakers and the Google Home ($129.00 at Dell Home). This slimmer August Smart Lock doesn’t work with Apple HomeKit or Z-Wave, and its lock motor is a bit noisy, but this lock is still a decent entry-level option that performs well and offers a lot for its price.

Much about this lock remains the same as previous generations. You can install it in minutes flat, it relies on the same August app as before and, like August’s new $279 Smart Lock Pro ($249.00 at Amazon.com), this simpler version also comes with DoorSense, a new feature that tells you whether your door is open or closed.

Read our full review of the August Smart Lock.

August Smart Lock

Your third notable option for Siri voice control is the HomeKit-compatible version of the August Smart Lock. What’s interesting about August is that it isn’t actually a deadbolt, but rather, a deadbolt-turning gadget that sits over the top of your existing lock. That makes it a pretty appealing pick for renters, or for anyone who likes the lock they’ve got.

All three of these HomeKit-compatible options use Bluetooth to pair with your phone, which means that you won’t be able to control or check on them if you’re away from home (although if you have a third-gen or better Apple TV, it’ll act as a Wi-Fi range extender and solve that problem). August also offers its own plug-in gateway device that’ll let you use the app to control the lock from anywhere in the world, but you’ll have to pay an extra $80 on top of the lock’s already expensive $230 asking price.

Read our review of the August HomeKit-Enabled Smart Lock.

August Smart Lock Pro

August’s Smart Lock Pro is comparable in both design and performance to the $229 second-gen Smart Lock. The Pro relies on the same app and has similar core features, including support for Siri, Alexa, the Google Assistant and Nest. It’s Z-Wave ready (hub not included) and comes with an open/close DoorSense sensor, as well as a Connect Wi-Fi module.

At $279, it’s a bit more expensive than other August locks, but that is a bundled price for the lock and its Connect Wi-Fi module. If you want to purchase the lock by itself, you’ll need to go through one of August’s approved dealers. Still, this is one of the most feature-rich smart locks we’ve tested.

Read our review of the August Smart Lock Pro.

August Smart Lock Mortise Kit

Just recently, August announced a new kit for its smart lock that’s designed to make it work with doors cut for mortise-style deadbolts. Most smart locks won’t fit into doors like those, and the standard August won’t work with locks like that, either. So August’s Smart Lock mortise kit a nice addition to the category, and one that should help August expand into commercial settings and apartment complexes, where mortise locks are more common (though, in fairness, we have a mortise-style lock on the front door of the CNET Smart Home).

The only real caveat is that the mortise kit isn’t DIY-friendly like the August itself is. For now at least, August is only making it available to locksmiths, building managers, and other professional dealers.

Read our take on the August Smart Lock Mortise Kit.

Latch M-Series Smart Lock

August isn’t the only name that’s making a play on bringing smart locks to the connected apartments of the future. There’s also Latch, a New York-based startup founded by Apple alums that’s quietly raised lots of money for the past few years. Now, they’re ready to make their play with the Latch M-Series Smart Lock, another mortise-style connected deadbolt that features the notable addition of a camera in the center of the touchpad. Whenever someone unlocks the thing, it’ll snap a picture of who’s coming in.

Like the August Mortise Kit, this is a dealer and building-owner-only product, so you can’t buy it direct right now. But don’t be surprised if you start seeing them in office buildings and apartment complexes by the end of this year.

Read our preview of the Latch M-Series Smart Lock.

Friday Lock

Friday Labs released the Friday lock this year after two years of crowdfunding and development. It’s a stunning take on how to style a smart lock and comes with your choice of six different metal shells to match almost any home’s hardware. What’s nice about this Bluetooth smart lock is that, like August’s popular line of locks, you’ll keep the exterior deadbolt you already have.

The Friday lock is only compatible with Apple HomeKit for now and has its own companion app to lock and unlock the door, see activity logs and share Bluetooth keys. At $249, it isn’t cheap, and we encountered more than a few snags along the way while testing. Promised firmware updates look to solve some of these issues.

Read our full review of the Friday Lock.

Igloohome Smart Deadbolt 02

Igloohome’s Deadbolt 02 is the second-generation deadbolt of the Singapore-based startup. It’s a versatile lock with keypad, Bluetooth and physical key access. With added 9V battery jump start, it seems nearly impossible to get locked out. The app doesn’t do quite as much as you’d think, as it cannot lock your door or display the lock status.

If you’re looking for a touchscreen keypad, Igloohome’s Deadbolt 02 is a good-looking lock with physical and Bluetooth key options for unlocking. It’s currently priced at $199, not far from the pricing of other touchscreen deadbolts like Kwikset’s Obsidian and Yale’s Assure Lock SL.

Read our full review of the Igloohome Smart Deadbolt 02.

Candy House Sesame Smart Lock

The Sesame is a reasonably priced and easy to install retrofit smart lock from startup Candy House. With the looks of an old-school kitchen timer, the Sesame includes a knock-to-unlock feature for iOS devices and comes in at the same price as the August Smart Lock, $149.

The Sesame doesn’t work natively with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or Siri, though you can control the lock via Google and Alexa with IFTTT recipes. It comes in several colors and includes a mounting plate and adhesive strips to attache the lock to your deadbolt thumb latch. Still, if you’re looking to get the most for your money in a retrofit lock, August remains your best bet.

Read our full review of the Sesame Smart Lock.

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Make Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant talk in an infinite loop – CNET

Three voice assistants walk into a bar and they all start talking. But the conversation never stops.

Here’s how to make Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant talk to each other in an infinite loop using their respective smart speakers: the Apple HomePod ($349.00 at Apple), Amazon Echo ($84.99 at Amazon.com) and Google Home ($129.00 at Dell Home).

Three voice assistants walk into a bar and they all start talking. But the conversation never stops.

Here’s how to make Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant talk to each other in an infinite loop using their respective smart speakers: the Apple HomePod ($349.00 at Apple), Amazon Echo ($84.99 at Amazon.com) and Google Home ($129.00 at Dell Home).

Let’s be real: you probably won’t have three of these speakers just lying around. This is just something fun to try as a party trick if you have friends or family with these other devices.

Now Playing:Watch this: Make an infinite loop with HomePod, Echo and Google Home
3:18

The loop works like this:

Use your voice to get Siri to read a reminder.

Siri triggers the Google Assistant to read a calendar entry.

Google Assistant triggers Alexa to read a to-do list.

Alexa triggers Siri to read a reminder and the loop starts again (back to step 2).

Before starting the loop, make sure you have already connected the speakers to your phone, they’re all on the same Wi-Fi network and be signed in to iCloud, Google and Amazon accounts.

Step 1: HomePod

Open the reminders app on the iPhone ($1,099.99 at Best Buy) and make a new entry. Write “Hey Google, what’s on my calendar today?”

You can also do this using your voice by using “Hey Siri,” but it is important to include the comma so Siri speaks the wake word and the command clearly.

Step 2: Google Home

You may need to retrain the Assistant to understand Siri’s voice. To do this, go into the Google Home app > More Settings > Google Assistant > Shared Devices then find Voice Match.

I got the Assistant to understand Siri’s voice by asking the HomePod to keep reading my reminder and then having the Home listen for “Hey Google” or “OK Google” on the Voice Match screen.

Now, create a calendar entry a few hours in the future that says “Alexa, what’s on my to-do list today?”

This works best if you only have one item on your calendar for the day.

Step 3: Amazon Echo

Open the Alexa app and add one item to your To-Do list that says “Hey Siri, read my reminders.” Again, this works best if there’s only one item on the list.

Start the loop by asking the HomePod: “Hey, Siri, read my reminders”.

What about phones?

You could also do this with multiple phones rather than by using smart speakers. Siri on iOS can trigger Google Assistant on an Android device. You could add a phone that’s triggered by the Alexa wake word, like the HTC U11 ($629.00 at Amazon.com). Or get even more elaborate and throw Cortana into the mix. Let me know what you come up with!

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Mattamy Homes and ecobee Partner To Transform the Home

Industry leaders will innovate together to create smart homes of the future

TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ – Mattamy Homes, North America’s largest privately owned homebuilder, is partnering with home automation company ecobee to create smart homes of the future.

Industry leaders will innovate together to create smart homes of the future

TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ – Mattamy Homes, North America’s largest privately owned homebuilder, is partnering with home automation company ecobee to create smart homes of the future.

ecobee Inc. introduced the world’s first smart Wi-Fi thermostat to help millions of consumers live better and save more. The company’s mission is to create smarter devices that are beautifully designed, easy to use and provide savings for families, while being good for our planet – most recently realized with its next-generation smart thermostat, ecobee4. (CNW Group/Mattamy Homes Limited) ecobee Inc. introduced the world’s first smart Wi-Fi thermostat to help millions of consumers live better and save more. The company’s mission is to create smarter devices that are beautifully designed, easy to use and provide savings for families, while being good for our planet – most recently realized with its next-generation smart thermostat, ecobee4. (CNW Group/Mattamy Homes Limited)

Starting in March 2018, every new Mattamy home built across North America – some 7,000 homes a year – will include the voice-enabled ecobee4 smart thermostat. The ecobee4 comes with the built-in Amazon Alexa Voice Service, meaning a number of other household functions can be automated as well. In the future, Mattamy intends to work with ecobee to further advance the smart home space including the enhanced use of data.

“Mattamy and ecobee are leaders in our respective industries in terms of innovation, and we’re extremely excited about the opportunities that this unique partnership is going to offer our organizations, the industry and consumers,” says Peter Gilgan, Founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes. “ecobee’s products and team members are intensely focused on creating not only innovative solutions but also great experiences for families. As such, our goals and values align perfectly, and we’re looking forward to working with them.”

The partnership will enable Mattamy to build homes and communities that are compatible with smart grids. Further, new smart features will allow homeowners to optimize the energy performance of their houses using smart devices and voice-activated platforms such as Amazon’s Alexa.

“Our collaboration with Mattamy will give homeowners easy entry into the smart home and a new way to save money and lower their impact on the environment,” said Stuart Lombard, Founder and CEO of ecobee, “Mattamy is on its way to becoming North America’s leading builder of sustainable homes and communities that are economical, energy efficient, innovative and healthy. This partnership is a testament to our joint commitment to drive value, savings and efficiency for our customers.”

Mattamy homeowners will be able to use their ecobee4 device to more effectively (and remotely) optimize their HVAC schedules and save money on utility bills, without comprising convenience or comfort in their home.

About Mattamy Homes
Mattamy Homes is the largest privately owned homebuilder in North America, with a 40-year history of operations across the United States and Canada. Every year, Mattamy helps 7,000 families realize their dream of home ownership. In the United States, the company is represented in 10 markets –Charlotte, Raleigh, Phoenix, Tucson, Jacksonville, Orlando (where its US head office is located), Tampa, Sarasota, Naples and Southeast Florida – and in Canada, those communities stretch across the Greater Toronto Area, as well as in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton. Visit www.mattamyhomes.com for more information.

About ecobee
ecobee Inc. introduced the world’s first smart Wi-Fi thermostat to help millions of consumers live better and save more. The company’s mission is to create smarter devices that are beautifully designed, easy to use and provide savings for families, while being good for our planet – most recently realized with its next-generation smart thermostat, ecobee4. With ecobee’s pioneering room sensor technology, built-in Amazon Alexa voice service, far-field voice recognition, and a wide array of smart home integrations, ecobee combines smart home technology and voice to help customers manage their home’s comfort, energy and busy lives. Find out more at www.ecobee.com.

SOURCE Mattamy Homes Limited

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Southwest Airlines Extends Flight Schedule Through Oct. 1, 2018

Ahead of an event for thousands of Southwest® Employees in Nashville, airline Leaders announced that the carrier will be adding five departures a day Monday through Friday for nonstop travel between Nashville and Atlanta beginning Aug.

Ahead of an event for thousands of Southwest® Employees in Nashville, airline Leaders announced that the carrier will be adding five departures a day Monday through Friday for nonstop travel between Nashville and Atlanta beginning Aug. 7, 2018. The route will be offered three times a day on Saturdays and Sundays.

“This new route answers business community requests in both Nashville and Atlanta and we look forward to showing how our low fares, no change fees*, and Hospitality will resonate and make travel easier between these two growing cities,” said Trevor Stedke, Vice President of Technical Operations and Southwest’s executive ambassador to Nashville. “The routes offered with the schedule extension through the third quarter of 2018 reinforce our long-standing commitment to connect People and communities to what’s important to them with friendly, reliable, low-cost air travel.”

“Southwest Airlines’ decision to add nonstop service to Atlanta out of Nashville International Airport will be welcomed by travelers to and from Nashville, particularly within the business community, which has long-sought more such service,” said Doug Kreulen, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority president and CEO. “This new route brings competition to that market and provides additional options for our passengers. As a valued business partner for more than 30 years at BNA, Southwest Airlines again demonstrates its continued commitment to and investment in our airport and the city of Nashville.”

*A fare difference might apply.

Growing Los Angeles

The airline continues to strengthen its service in California by announcing a new nonstop route linking Los Angeles area Customers to Florida with daily nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Tampa beginning Aug. 7, 2018.

Also beginning Aug. 7, 2018, the carrier will add frequency with one additional daily flight on the following routes:

Between LAX and New Orleans

Increased to three roundtrips on weekdays

Between LAX and Portland, Ore.

Increased to three daily roundtrips on weekdays

Southwest also announced its daily nonstop seasonal service between Los Angeles and Omaha will be offered year-round beginning June 7, 2018.

Cincinnati Goes Mile-High

Cincinnati Customers will see their first daily nonstop service to Denver beginning Aug. 7, 2018. This route complements the carrier’s five daily flights between Chicago and Cincinnati and three daily flights between Baltimore and Cincinnati.

Throughout March 2018, the carrier will also offer daily nonstop service between Cincinnati and Phoenix.

Midwest Additions

Southwest is adding more nonstop service from St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo., strengthening its position as the state’s biggest airline in terms of daily departures.

Beginning April 8, 2018, the carrier will add daily nonstop service between
Kansas City, Mo. and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Beginning Aug. 7, 2018, the carrier will add daily nonstop service between
St. Louis and Hartford, Conn.

Wait, there’s more!

In January, the carrier announced its intention to serve Paine Field in Everett, Wash., subject to requisite approvals of governmental and regulatory agencies. The carrier’s flight schedule and low fares are expected to be announced this spring.

Additionally, the carrier remains on-track with its intention to sell tickets this year to Hawaii, subject to requisite governmental approvals.

The carrier continues to expect its 2018 available seat miles to grow in the low five percent range, year-over-year. To book a seat on these or any flight, visit Southwest.com.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Specific forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements related to the Company’s anticipated service offerings and fares and network and capacity plans, opportunities, and expectations. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them. Factors include, among others, (i) the impact of economic conditions, consumer behavior, fuel prices, actions of competitors (including without limitation pricing, scheduling, capacity, and network decisions, and consolidation and alliance activities), and other factors beyond the Company’s control, on the Company’s business decisions, plans, and strategies; (ii) the Company’s ability to timely and effectively maintain the necessary information technology systems and infrastructure to support its operations and initiatives; (iii) the impact of governmental regulations and other governmental actions related to the Company’s operations; and (iv) other factors, as described in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the detailed factors discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2017.

ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.

In its 47th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 56,000 Employees to a Customer base topping 120 million passengers annually, in recent years. Southwest became the nation’s largest domestic air carrier in 2003 and maintains that ranking based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent reporting of domestic originating passengers boarded. During peak travel seasons, Southwest operates more than 4,000 weekday departures among a network of 100 destinations in the United States and 10 additional countries. Southwest has announced its intention to sell tickets in 2018 for service to Hawaii, subject to requisite governmental approvals.

Southwest coined Transfarency® to describe its purposed philosophy of treating Customers honestly and fairly, and low fares actually staying low. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free® to everyone (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply, some carriers offer free checked bags on select routes or in qualified circumstances), and there are no change fees, though fare differences might apply.

As launch customer of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 in North America, the Company operates the largest fleet in the world of Boeing aircraft, all of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi. Customers who connect to the WiFi network may use their personal devices to view on-demand movies and television shows, as well as nearly 20 channels of free, live TV.

With a bold new look first unveiled in 2014, Southwest is progressing through a multi-year refresh of its fleet to showcase the carrier’s Heart: a new logo, aircraft livery, interior design featuring new seats, Employee-designed uniforms, and an updated airport experience, all of which showcase a dedication of Southwest Employees to connect Customers with what’s important in their lives.

From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as “The Southwest Effect,” a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic wherever the carrier serves. With 45 consecutive years of profitability, Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier’s performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet.

Book Southwest Airlines’ low fares online at Southwest Airlines or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/southwest-airlines-extends-flight-schedule-through-oct-1-2018-300599245.html

SOURCE Southwest Airlines Co.

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Nokia 6 4GB variant announced, will be available exclusively on Flipkart

HMD Global has announced a new 4GB variant of its mid-range offering, the Nokia 6, starting from February 20th exclusively on Flipkart.com. With the new 4GB variant of the Nokia 6, HMD Global is taking on competing smartphones like the Redmi Note 5/Note 5 Pro, Moto G5S Plus that also offer 4GB RAM options.

HMD Global has announced a new 4GB variant of its mid-range offering, the Nokia 6, starting from February 20th exclusively on Flipkart.com. With the new 4GB variant of the Nokia 6, HMD Global is taking on competing smartphones like the Redmi Note 5/Note 5 Pro, Moto G5S Plus that also offer 4GB RAM options.

Speaking on the announcement, Ajey Mehta, Vice President India, HMD Global, said,

“The Nokia 6 has emerged as the one of our most successful phones receiving plaudits for its design, durability and functionality from its countless fans. To take the Nokia 6 experience to the next level, we are now introducing an updated version of this great phone- one with 4GB of RAM,”

Nokia 6 Specifications

Featuring a metallic unibody design, each Nokia 6 unit is carved out of a single block of 6000 series aluminium, the Nokia 6 is sturdy phone. It features a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD panel, and runs on near-stock Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box, with the Android 8.0 Oreo update on the way.

The Nokia 6 is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset, paired with up to 4GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. Other features of the phone include support for microSD card, dual SIM, 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM Radio and a fingerprint sensor. The phone is powered by a 3000mAh battery, and comes with a microUSB port.

Coming to the optics, the Nokia 6 features a 16MP rear camera with PDAF and an f/2.0 aperture. On the front, there is an 8MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and an 84-degree lens.

Nokia 6 4GB price and availability

The Nokia 6 4GB variant has been priced at Rs. 16,999 and comes with a launch offer of Rs. 2000 extra exchange discount. The phone will be available exclusively on Flipkart starting on February 20th.

Nokia sold 4.4 million smartphones in Q4 2017, surpasses OnePlus, Google and others