Last Thursday marked the end of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and like many years prior, this year was filled with big news and exciting developments – especially for the home. For the past two weeks, the conference highlighted some of the most exciting up-and-coming products in consumer technology, from virtual reality and wearable tech to advances in health and science. (Click here to see Northern Michigan's finest collection of vacation rentals)
Aside from self-driving cars and audio equipment, smart home accessories were among the most common exhibits this year at the event, so if this is a glimpse at the year ahead, there’s certainly a lot to look forward to.
Here’s a quick recap of the hottest smart home technology you can look forward to this year. (Click here to see all Northern Michigan Waterfront Lifestyle Homes for Sale)
The leading-edge virtual assistant from Amazon is limited to its core programming no more. Several of the vendor displays at this year’s conference highlighted the connectivity between their products and Alexa, making it become one of the most versatile additions to your connected home. From robotic butlers to fridges and air quality regulators, it’s clear that the industry is shaping itself around this innovative system. Here’s just a sampling of what Alexa can do:
- Let you know what traffic and weather will be like for your commute.
- Stream music from your favorite apps.
- Set alarms and timers.
- Answer questions and read out headlines.
- Connect the various devices in your smart home.
Amazon is not the only company in the race to create the best virtual assistant. Google Home and Apple’s HomeKit are a couple of others.
2. ROBOTIC PERSONAL ASSISTANTS
The tech world has been trying to make robots play a bigger part of our everyday lives for many years now, and it seems that this year is no different. One of the most exciting products unveiled this year is the Kuri, an adorable robotic companion that can do everything from playing music to watching the house while you’re away and notifying you when the kids come home from school.
3. COMPREHENSIVE SMART HOME KITS
Over the last few years, there have been countless products released to automate nearly everything in your home, from thermostats to lighting and growing plants to unlocking the door. Each device comes with a wealth of perks, except that each requires its app and they don’t always play nicely together – that is, until now.
What the smart home industry lacked was a selection of centralized hubs that could unite the various products to seamlessly automate your home like its ecosystem. While the hubs themselves are not that new, the ability to sync with other products is. And like a good scotch or cheese, it’s only going to get better with time.
Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Google Home, and Apple’s HomeKit can sync with various products, including:
- Various environmental sensors, including air purifiers, smoke alarms, CO2 sensors, and thermostats.
- Home security and smart locks
- Kitchen appliances
- Home audio systems and televisions
4. CONNECTED APPLIANCES
One of the most exciting parts of CES is the selection of new and nifty home appliances that you didn’t think you could ever need, and frankly, some of them you don’t.
Whirlpool made a big splash this year with the announcement of a new way to cook your favorite packaged meals. Their new line of connected microwaves and ovens will offer a scan-to-cook feature that you can use to scan the barcode of your packaged meal and the cooking instructions will be sent directly to the correct appliance via Whirlpool’s new app. Popcorn, anyone?
Also coming to the next generation of Whirlpool appliances is Alexa. This means that you can verbally give directions to your oven, dishwasher, microwave, and fridge. Need to preheat the oven but your hands are covered in the dough? Just say the word, and Alexa will make it happen.
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