By: Healther Skyler
The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) recently wrapped up in Las Vegas, and one idea creating a big buzz was “The Connected Home.” This isn’t a particularly new idea, and it has been talked about for years at CES, but it appears as if the technology is finally catching up with the idea, and having your very own connected home is not so very far away.
These new technologies, which include such devices as voice-controlled thermostats, toothbrushes that can tell you whether or not you’re doing a good job on your teeth, and refrigerators that play music are part of a new world of web-connected devices dubbed “The Internet of Things.”
According to the Gartner research firm, by 2020, the Internet of Things will include 26 billion devices, with a market worth of $1.9 trillion.
What can the Internet of Things do for your home? Will these new devices enable your bed to make itself and leave a chocolate on your pillow? Not quite, but some of the new features are pretty handy. Here’s a roundup of some of the new and upcoming products featured at CES, to give you a better idea of what a home of the future will look like.
A Bluetooth-enable refrigerator that allows you to listen to music in your kitchen? A washer/dryer that can be commanded to clean from afar? These are two of the new “connected home” products featured at CES.
Whirlpool® debuted a line of Smart Appliances that give you the option of checking to see that everything is running smoothly at home, even when you’re far away. There is a washer/dryer pair called the “Duet.” You can monitor energy usage and access certain settings when you’re out, but you can’t get it to suck the laundry from the floor and wash it while you’re gone. Each one runs you approximately $1,700.
The refrigerator keeps you up-to-date on temperature settings, and power outages and allows you to manage other features such as your drinking water. This retails for about $2,000.
The $949 smart dishwasher, allows you to monitor energy use and lets you know when certain parts need replacing.
Samsung is another player in the smart home arena. The company’s platform, called “Samsung Smart Home,” debuted at CES and the roll-out along with pricing is planned during the first half of the year.
The initial platform consists of three main services: Device Control, Home View, and Smart Customer Service. With Device Control you can access customized settings for all of your devices from your smartphone—while you’re out of the house—or on your Smart TV when you’re at home. You have the ability to control multiple devices at once, no matter how far you travel. The service will also allow you to use voice commands with your Galaxy Gear or Smart TV remote. You can tell your device that you’re “going out,” for example, and your connected lights and appliances of choice will turn off as you leave. Smart!
Robotic vacuums are nothing new, but now they are getting more affordable. Neato Robotics already has a robotic vacuum, but this year they’re launching one that’s more affordable to the masses. In March, you’ll be able to pick up the Neato XV Essential for $379 at Walmart.com
The iRobot Roomba has a new version out as well. It boasts 60 percent more storage space and greater cleaning capacity than the former version and retails for $699.
The company also makes a robotic pool cleaner!
A Smart Crockpot?
It doesn’t get much better than this. A slow cooker that you can control from your smart phone, so your pork ribs are falling perfectly off the bone by the time you arrive home. This is a product from Belkin that launches sometime this spring and is set to retail for $99.99.
Control Your Climate & Beyond
Trane, Herman Miller, and Nest are a sampling of companies who want to help you control the climate of your home from afar. These devices not only adjust your temperature, but look better on your wall than their old counterparts.
Nest also made the recent leap to the connected smoke detector. The sleek, round-edged square has a pale blue light glowing at its center which acts as a motion detector night light, to help guide your way through a dark hallway. This smart smoke alarm will also alert you to any smoke or fire problems at home when you’re not there.
A Smart Toothbrush?
The perfect gift for your kids. Now you can see if they actually brushed their teeth and if they did a thorough job! The Kolibree toothbrush claims to be the first “connected toothbrush” that improves your brushing habits. Not only does it track how often your brush your teeth (or not), it claims to know what parts of your mouth you missed or didn’t pay enough attention to.
Controlling your lights while away is another feature of the connected home. Forgot to turn on lights to scare away the burglars? Not a problem. Do it with your smartphone.
An Intelligent Lock
Another connected home feature of note at CES was the Goji Smartlock. The lock takes a picture of visitors at your front door and can be accessed via your smartphone.
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