Smart homes are getting smarter than ever, even if some of us may have been too dumb to notice.
For proof, check out this year’s CES, where two exhibit halls are are packed with the latest in smart home devices to lock your doors, monitor your home environment and even make using the kitchen sink easier.
Technology consultant Shelly Palmer of The Palmer Group said smart home devices increasingly are becoming more compatible with one another and link with voice-activated digital assistants such as Echo and Alexa for ease of use.
Another less technology-oriented but equally vital facet of the smart home revolution are more stylish devices designed to easily mesh with a room’s decor.
“I think designers have been pretty smart,” said Rick Kowalski, senior manager of industry and business intelligence for the Consumer Technology Association, which produces CES. “I think they understand that people are going to integrate this into their living room. It has to fit in aesthetically. It has to look nice.”
Home monitors are popular CES offerings, from devices that monitor a home’s air to devices designed to monitor a home’s occupants.
Vayyar Imaging unveiled a sensor-based health and safety monitoring system that can monitor the locations and health of people in a home — and even detects people who shouldn’t be in the home — without the use of wearable devices.
Instead, the system uses sensors placed on walls that scans rooms 24/7, monitors occupants’ locations and habits, and flag any anomalies in behavior. The company says it even can provide a tip-off to such health conditions as dementia and sleep disorders and can analyze the gait of older residents to see if they may be at risk of a fall.
The sensor system also can detect intruders. Because it senses when people come and go, the company says it even can be used to control lights, TV and heat or air conditioning systems according to occupants’ preferences.
Another Company, OVAL Digital Inc. debuted OVAL Smart Home, its own smart sensor system, citing sensors as a solution to fears of hacking associated with microphones and cameras.
The company says the system offers real-time monitoring and alerts when it senses changes in motion, light, temperature, humidity and water caused by anything from open windows to water leaks, allowing homeowners to forestall theft and prevent property damage.
Users can have the system alert as many as 12 people by text, email or phone calls. The company says it’s compatible with most popular smart speakers and other smart home products for control via voice commands.
— John Przybys (@JJPrzybys) January 7, 2020
Security items are popular offerings in the smart home universe, and several companies at CES highlighted smart locks that make metal keys seem downright medieval.
Kwikset unveiled its Halo Touch Wi-Fi smart lock, a biometric lock that uses fingerprint technology. The company says the lock can store up to 100 fingerprints — enough for 50 users — locally, and not in the cloud, and homeowners can monitor and control the lock remotely through a mobile app.
The lock also is designed to withstand common forced-entry techniques, and the company says installation is easy for do-it-yourselfers. Halo Touch features voice assistant integration with Google Home Assistant and Amazon Alexa, will retail for $249, and comes in traditional and contemporary styles with three finish options.
— John Przybys (@JJPrzybys) January 7, 2020
Kitchens are a hotbed of smart technology these days, not just in the form of smart appliances but even smart faucets, too. Moen launched the U by Moen Smart Faucet, which brings intuitive voice-activation technology to the kitchen faucet.
The company says the new offering, which uses the same technology as its U by Moen Smart Shower, is the only voice-activated kitchen faucet on the commercial market that can dispense water in quantities as little as one tablespoon and as big as one gallon at a specific temperature. Cooks merely specify the quantity and temperature of the water desired.
Users even can set personalized presets — “baby bottle” or “coffee maker,” for instance — with an accompanying app.
Intelligent toilets always are CES conversation starters. This year, Kohler’s Numi 2.0 intelligent toilet is a CES Innovation Award honoree.
Kohler says it’s the first intelligent toilet with embedded Amazon Alexa and allows users to personalize their bathroom experience via lighting, music syncing capability via Bluetooth and a heated seat. It’s water efficient and can be controlled by voice command, the Kohler Konnect app or through internal sensors.
Contact reporter John Przybys at jprzybys @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.