Smart devices have already begun to take over our homes. With incentives of cost-effectiveness, improvements in efficiency and a greener lifestyle, it’s easy to see why. This week at CES, one of the largest consumer technology trade shows in the world, many major tech companies showcased their smart home products, giving us a hopeful insight into our future lifestyles. Here’s the emerging technologies we can expect in our future homes…
Smart Devices to Control Your Home
As the benefits of the smart appliances mainly centre around the ease of efficiency and controllability, it is vital that the devices and systems in control these are accessible and simple to use.
Lenova Smart Display
To control the wide range of Samsung smart appliances set to digitally disrupt our homes, Samsung has unsurprisingly developed an app. The LG Smart ThinQ app allows you to easily monitor and control your wi-fi enabled appliances all in one place. Like many smart products, the more a user interacts and engages with their app, the more it learns about them and can adjust based on the individual user's needs and preferences. The free app is built on an open platform as well, meaning that the app and appliances will evolve and improve alongside major technology developments.
The Insteon Hub is one device that aims to be the central hub of your home. Announcing its compatibility with Google Assistant at the CES trade show, the Insteon Hub connects your home with your smart devices, allowing your home to be controlled from anywhere around the globe. The device can automate schedules and send instant emails or notifications to your device to alert users of suspected security breaches or device malfunctions.
Another popular device is the Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant. It can make calls, play music, operate your smart home devices, but unlike the current smart speakers on the market, the Lenovo Smart Display utilises its screen to illustrate answers based off your given voice commands encourages. If you want to know how long your journey to work will take you, it will bring up a map, if you want to make a meal, it will bring up recipes and YouTube tutorials.
It’s hard to tell if the device will catch on, however it does represent the next step in voice-controlled device innovation. The device encourages full use of Google Assistant, and as smart devices developed by LG, Sony and Samsung-owned JBL, all utilise Google Assistant, the voice recognition capabilities are likely to rapidly evolve to try and compete with ever-growing abilities of Amazon’s Alexa.
Lenovo, LG, Sony and JBL may have a difficult time dominating the smart display device however with market against Amazon’s rival bid, the Amazon Echo Show. Much like the other smart displays, the Amazon Echo Show can bring up visuals to illustrate its responses to voice commands. The device has compatibility with WeMo, Philips Hue, Hive and more. The device features eight microphones, beam-forming technology and noise cancellation mean the device can hear you from any direction, even with the music playing - and there are improvements to the speakers!
Connected and Smart Appliances
These devices would be rendered useless however without smart appliances, but CES had plenty of those.
Whirlpool's Smart Kitchen Appliances
One of the most prominent devices in the kitchen is undoubtedly the fridge and by the looks of CES 2018, it is about to get a huge makeover. Whilst the concept of smart fridges featured at last year’s show, the increasing range of smart kitchen products means that the capabilities of the smart fridge are improving.
LG is, perhaps, one of the most obvious brands entering the smart refrigerator market, demonstrating the built-in Alexa voice controls and a WebOS touchscreen of their Smart InstaView fridge at last year’s trade show. Now named InstaView ThinQ Refrigerator, to align with other products in the ThinQ range (currently featuring a dishwasher and oven), the device aims to make dinner time as easy as possible. The fridge can inform you of its contents,recommend and take you through recipes as well as alerting you when food is approaching its expiry date and smart suggestions on how to use them. The inclusion of the smart fridge within the ThinQ product range emphasises the expanding capabilities when collaborating more smart devices.
Whilst it is unlikely consumers will rush to own a smart fridge, the device’s market is already offering many alternatives. Back in 2017, Whirlpool bought Yummly, the smart recipe network that hosts over 2 million recipes, and the recent range of smart kitchen appliances really shows off the partnership. Whilst the smart fridge assists in combating food wastage using similar features to LG’s InstaView ThinQ smart fridge, Whirlpool’s product range is much clearer. The range features a Whirlpool Smart Front Control Range, Refrigerator, Microwave and Washer and Dryer.
The true star of the smart refrigerator market was Samsung’s Family Hub Refrigerator. Its capabilities stretch to match those of the control hub devices. Like the InstaView ThinQ Refrigerator, the model can access a multitude of apps and play music through its large touchscreen and access to Samsung’s voice assistant, Bixby. Also similar to the ecosystem of many other smart devices, the fridge can connect to other products within the Samsung SmartThings range.
All this sounds like it will use a lot of energy, right? Well whilst control hub devices and applications allow you to easily monitor your energy usage, the Fibaro Wall Plug will flash or turn off a device when it begins using too much energy. The LED ring around the edge responds to the energy usage, making it easier than ever to reduce your energy consumption.
What does this tell us about our future homes?
CES 2018 really showed off the capabilities of AI assistants, like Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Samsung’s Bixby, demonstrating the consumer’s preference towards voice-operated devices. Many brands used CES 2018 to announce their collaborations with major voice-operated assistants resulting in almost a Google vs. Amazon standoff, with Alexa coming out on top with around 33 individual connected devices.
What is clear from CES 2018 is that the recurring embedment of Alexa and Google Assistant with smart devices mean Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology will experience massive developments and improvements over the next year. AI uses machine learning to constantly evolve its capabilities and communication skills, therefore, the more it is used, the better it can assist you.
This development is only positive for businesses looking to utilise AI. AI can prove a valuable aid for businesses across a range of industries. AI can analyse masses of data within seconds and provide insightful suggestions to streamline business operations, increase ROI and improve customer and user engagement.
B60 has partnered with Yale to begin working on their smart home range. Speak to one of our technology experts to find out more about how you can utilise the technologies behind our future smart homes.