Yet, while virtual reality technology also shared the limelight, CES provided a venue for Smart Home “Soul Search Moment” 2.0. The CNET-sponsored CES Smart Home Panel underscored that, while smart home tech continues to change and evolve, the competing wireless standards forming the backbone of the technology threaten to cause frustration. Specifically, it could mean more fur-balls than a slick, seamless transition from multiple mechanical switches to single digital devices. In short, it’s the Betamax vs VHS fracas all over again — but this time, it’s for the control of your home.
Still, there’s been some cool smart home stuff introduced this year that shows how agile development is becoming to address consumer needs. Among these are connectivity, DIY, and security. Let’s look at five of the coolest smart home devices from CES 2016.
1) Ecoisme Won the CES 2016 Home Innovation Award
The devices automatically detects all the electrical appliances in your home, scans the electrical line noise and uses it to identify each appliance. Ecoisme then provides you a detailed overview of their power usage through a software dashboard. Connection is pretty easy; the device needs to be plugged into a socket and is also clamp-connected to your main power line. There are other similar power-monitoring devices out there but Ecoisme is the only one that identifies each appliance thorugh line noise. The developer notes that its a natural convenience to intergrate with residential solar.
2) Cassia Hub is a Bluetooth-only Smart Home Hub
Currently, the Bluetooth radio signal has limited range of 30 feet, and it can be easily blocked by walls and floors. The Cassia Hub broadcasts a higher power radio signals at higher power and uses an antenna with enhanced signal gain technology to receive signals from Bluetooth devices. This extends the effective range to 1,000 feet. Meaning, you can be out in your back garden using your phone to control the Bluetooth thermostat and washer inside your home.
3) Samsung is Busy Again
The technology company announced two new major appliances to its lineup at CES 2016.
- First is the WF50K7500AV model, front-loading washing machine with AddWash. This “door within a door” lets you add more laundry after the load has already started. Because the washerfront-loading, it uses less water than a regular top-loading washer, which saves energy.
- Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator (model RF28K95800SR) made a big splash at CES. Web-connected with a display built onto the door, it features a camera mounted inside the door frames so you can see the contents of your fridge without opening the door. You can also stream music to it, watch TV on it, and order groceries online. With all this, why would you ever leave the kitchen?
4) Shortcut Flic is Just a Button
BUT it’s an insanely and brilliantly simple button! It’s a BlueTooth-based button that uses the IFTTT (”If This Then That”) web service. With the Flic App, you assign what task you want the button to do – control lights, run timers, send texts, etc – nearly ANYTHING. Then you stick the button where you want it be and use it. It’s also compatible with Raspberry Pi, making the possibilities nearly endless.
5) Apple HomeKit Seems to Have Come of Age
This year, Apple released a whole slew of “Internet Of Things” gear. Put simply, HomeKit is software framework for iOS over WiFi or Bluetooth that lets users control lights, locks, security systems, thermostats, and more remotely by using Siri on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. This year’s coolest HomeKit components come from iDevices: the Socket, Wall Switch, Dimmer Switch, and Wall Outlet.
- The Socket is a smart adapter socket that can be used to remotely control regular light bulbs. It can dim (provided the bulb is dimmable) and has a color LED nightlight built into the socket that you can customize.
- The Wall Switch and Dimmer Switch are smart switches that replace regular wall switches. They can be controlled using the iDevices Connected app. Smart switches give you control entire arrays of lights without smart bulbs and are becoming more common.
- The Wall Outlet is the outlet version of the Wall Switch and allows you to control anything that’s plugged into it. The plugs are separate devices so you can monitor and schedule power to each outlet separately with the iDevices connected app.
Did any of you attend the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (or at least follow the media attention surrounding the conference)? If so, give us your feedback on the event in the comments – including your favorite products!