Home appliance makers Haier, LG, Samsung and Whirlpool showcased their visions of a smart home. However, more common products at CES were products that consumers can easily relate to and understand the benefits, such as various types of cameras, smart door locks, smart plugs and power strips, and lighting equipment.
Quite a few manufacturers showcased home security cameras. Basic features include remote monitoring via smartphones, Wi-Fi connectivity and PIR motion sensors. More advanced models included features like two-way audio and cloud-based storage.
Home security cameras are already pretty mature products, so the more interesting ones were all about creative applications. Amaryllo’s Skype-certified iCam HD cameras featured an aesthetically pleasing design and AR-like controls. Flir Security introduced a multipurpose camera that uses optional cases to become either an indoor or outdoor home security camera, wearable camera or dashboard camera. Video door phones like Skybell and Doorbot upgrade traditional doorbells with video, audio, smartphone notifications and remote monitoring.
Two notable cameras at CES were crowdfunded smart home cameras Canary and Blacksumac’s Piper. They both integrate into the smart home ecosystem and have built-in sensors that enable innovative features. Canary is a member of the AllSeen Alliance, while Piper uses Z-Wave’s protocol.
Numerous vendors were touting smart plugs or power strips. The most obvious value in connecting ordinary objects to the Internet is that they enable off-site control, and power strips are no exception. More advanced ones connect to other appliances in the home via proprietary or open standards, enabling infinite possibilities for automation.
Lighting equipment was more colorful than anything else at CES. Philips Hue brought smart light bulbs to the mainstream, and is arguably the market leader in this product category. Its 16 million colors cater to any user and any mood, while its IFTTT and ZigBee support enable a wide variety of triggers. Startups like Lifx and ilumi have their own takes on this product category; Lifx uses AllJoyn to eliminate the need for a dedicated hub that needs to be attached to the router, whereas ilumi uses Bluetooth to address the same problem.
It is evident from this year’s CES that there is true value in connecting almost every object to the Internet. From spoons to toothbrushes to scales to flowerpots to refrigerators, connected objects can send data on usage patterns and user behavior to other devices or cloud-based services. This data can then be recorded and analyzed to, ideally, provide insight on how users can improve their lifestyles. For objects that do not yet have built-in sensors or connectivity, Sen.se’s multipurpose sensors can be attached to any object to fill in the gap.