By Jesse Oaks
The Consumer Electronics Show (or simply CES) is held each January in Las Vegas, and is the largest show of its type in the world. What Comic-Con is to popular culture and comic books, CES is to electronic devices of all shapes and sizes; everything from the videocassette recorder to the CD player and the plasma television have had their debut at the event. All this is to say, CES is a big deal within the consumer gadgets industry, and is the event to watch for the latest debuts of future technologies.
At the 2015 CES, the big trend in consumer electronics was the Smart Home. A market spearheaded by Samsung, this once small niche has grown into a sizable – and bankable – industry. This year, all manner of devices were displayed for the Smart Home. In fact, Samsung themselves predict that a fully realized Smart Home will be commonplace before we know it, and the company is continuing to invest heavily in related technologies.
Though there are certainly debuts at CES that go on to fail (we’re looking at you, Apple Pippin), the sheer number of Smart and connected devices designed for the home at this year’s event foretells a consumer marketplace in the very near future that heavily leverages the Internet of Things. Here, in our eyes, are some of the highlights.
CES: SmartThings Hub
Promising that 90 percent of its products will be Internet-enabled in just two years’ time, it should come as no surprise that Samsung is at the forefront of the connected home. The new SmartThings hub is a home automation system that allows for the monitoring, management, and direct control of any number of connected devices – be they cameras, thermostats or home sensors. Faster and more powerful than its predecessor, the new SmartThings hub can also run apps locally instead of being dependent on other devices, and with better battery life and the ability to tap into a cellular data network, it has built-in redundancies to help ensure it’s always on.
LG TwinWash Washing Machine
The connected, Smart Home of the future will leave no device unscathed or untouched. Yes, even your washing machine will be connected to the Internet. Before you go decrying the ridiculousness of such a notion, know that the LG TwinWash washing machine (so named because it allows you to do two loads at once – amazing that it’s taken so long for someone to invent that feature!) won’t be using its Wi-Fi connectivity for Facebook browsing or Twitter notifications. Rather, it will alert you via text when your load is done, and let you operate it remotely via mobile app. Now that’s a connected device we can get behind!
Pella Insynctive Windows and Doors
The Pella Insynctive system brings the Smart Home to your windows and doors. The system, which can be purchased a la carte and implemented on existing homes or used in new construction builds, allows you to monitor your door locks and windows remotely. In fact, the system can even tie into Pella’s own motorized blinds, enabling you to lower or raise the blinds – or set them to do so automatically – from anywhere. Unfortunately, the system does not currently enable you to lock your doors and windows while you’re away (though there are smart locks on the market, so expect this feature in the future). Currently, if you see your front door is unlocked and you’re at work, you have only two options: sit there in dread, or make the long trek home and lock the door manually. Better to know though, right?
Nothing can get between a coffee drinker and his or her coffee. The iKettle, designed by Smarter, seems to acknowledge this fact. The system, which has been designed to be compatible with both iOS and Android mobile devices, allows you to control your brew remotely, set the brewing temperature and number of cups, and receive notifications when the device needs to be refilled or your brew is complete. True, none of these things may be strictly necessary in order to make a cup of coffee… but don’t tell a hardcore coffee drinker that!