The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas recently featured innovative products for the home designed to make everyday living easier.
One of the most exciting new product lines are stunning refrigerators expected to be coming to market soon that will increase “connectivity” and advance the “Internet of Things“ (IoT). What does this mean for you?
Bosch, for example, introduced a refrigerator with interior cameras. The refrigerator will connect to your smart phone to show you if there are enough eggs for the week or what vegetables are in the crisper. If you are in the grocery market, you can quickly check your cell phone to see what you need.
Samsung’s revolutionary “Family Hub” refrigerator with connected home technology adds a 21.5 inch imbedded Wi-Fi touchscreen tablet to the refrigerator’s sleek high tech front door.
This tablet is loaded with apps to keep you connected to your family. It is designed to put your family’s important information, like each member’s calendar schedule, on the front door of the refrigerator where it is easily accessible.
Most significantly, the refrigerator serves as the digital family command center. It is expected to be available in Spring 2016.
From the refrigerator’s touchscreen, you can control home-automation systems, access streaming services (including news, music and TV), view messages, calendar events and share pictures. Now you will be able to watch TV from your refrigerator while in the kitchen preparing dinner!
Apps include news, weather, calendars, sticky notes, Pandora and groceries by MasterCard. The groceries by MasterCard app allows you to order groceries from your refrigerator. Samsung’s fridge will also allow you to place grocery orders with Shop Rite and Fresh Direct for home delivery.
The SmartThings smart home control app allows you to access and use all of your smart home devices from the kitchen.
The Samsung refrigerator also features three cameras built in to take pictures of the inside of the fridge every time you close the door. Pictures are automatically sent to your Smartphone. This way you never have to worry about forgetting what is in your refrigerator.
LG’s new refrigerator (part of its innovative “Signature” line) focuses on the luxury home market. The fridge features a glass panel over its outer door-in-door compartment that changes from dark black to transparent with the rap of your knuckles. This feature allows you to see its contents without actually opening its door to prevent the loss of cold air and conserve energy.
Other features are a foot level sensor to automatically open the refrigerator compartment and Wi-Fi to allow you to monitor functions such as temperature.
LG’s refrigerator sports a minimalistic design with new black stainless steel finish and stainless steel lined compartments. Pricing and shipping dates are not yet available.
Another area of innovation for the luxury market is the home cocktail machine. According to Bartesian, it has introduced the first machine to create cocktails using capsule technology. Each custom capsule contains the all-natural liqueurs, bitters, and juices to make the perfect drink. It is now available for pre-order online.
The topic of security, a big concern for many Americans, has captured the attention of Sengled, a company that sells a light bulb called “snap” with an integrated security camera. This year at CES, Sengled’s first-ever “smart bulb” that obeys voice commands made its debut.
The Wi-Fi enabled bulb, named “Voice” includes dual microphones and dual JBL speakers for music playback.
The “Voice” will respond to most household commands. It can detect dangerous sounds like glass breaking, dogs barking, a baby crying, or smoke alarms and send the appropriate text alerts to mobile devices and sound a siren.
These new light bulbs are one step in Sengled’s goal according to its U.S general manager to “fundamentally change the light bulb from a single functional product to a multi-functional product”. As a connected object, it could help simplify the Internet of Things once widely adopted.
Such products will help to make our lives easier, but they would not be as “smart” if we had to continually worry about replacing batteries. To help fix this, EnOcean Alliance is promoting a new technology that supplies juice to sensors and controllers without batteries. Instead the surrounding environment, such as light to temperature differences, powers them.
The companies displaying products for the home at CES demonstrated the common goal of making life easier.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is providing us greater efficiencies, conveniences and cost savings as well as helping us to conserve our resources. The rapid growth of the technologies behind the Iot is spurring advances for Smart Home related products. The Smart Home will connect more and more objects to the Internet and to people to help keep our homes safe and save us money.
While some of these products are in production but not yet available and there are still many innovations to come, it has become apparent that it is no longer a question of whether such products furthering the “Smart Home” and ease of living will be adapted by mainstream consumers but only a question of when it will happen.
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