Every January, tens of thousands of executives, reporters, and gawkers descend upon fabulous Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show, which is being held at the Venetian Hotel this year (remember to tip your gondolier, they didn’t spend years training in opera to wear that striped shirt). Each year there seems to be a general trend within the industry, as last year’s CES was mostly dominated by curved displays, smart watches, and virtual reality headsets while this year the new hot gadgets are less entertainment based and increasingly domestic. It does seem that with the rise of smart phones and smart wearables that controlling your home’s functions remotely is only a natural evolution of technology. As an additional bonus, many of these new developments also contribute to improved security and even the environmental awareness technology has begun to display in recent years.
One of the first major aspects of home automation is new security systems and companies BeeWi and security juggernaut ADT (and the previous Brinks Broadview) are looking to turn your home into something out of a James Bond movie. BeeWi has introduced a detection system that links to your mobile device, whether it is a phone, tablet, or a wearable device, and alerts the user to any motion detection or unexpected temperature increase in the home. ADT has introduced a comprehensive security hub called “Total Security” that links up to 250 sensors and 10 cameras via wi-fi through one control panel, which is accessible with a smart device.
Master of Your Domain
Although arguably best known for their automotive products, German firm Bosch sponsored CES’s separate home technology-oriented showroom, dubbed the “Smart Home Marketplace,” and showed off a variety of products that aim to place the control of every function of a home – including appliances, lighting, heating, etc. – at the homeowner’s fingertips. Bosch is well-known for their variety of home appliances, and they now seek to upgrade their appliances so they can all be linked through a local wi-fi network and controlled through their new and aptly named software: Home Connect.
As of now, it is unclear if Bosch intends to make the Home Connect software open to connect with other future smart appliances, but other innovators have set out to create true hubs for a fully-automated home, such as Google’s newly acquired Nest project and the OORT system which was recently showcased at CES. The OORT Home Hub draws its name from a cloud of space particles and utilizes extremely high speed bluetooth technology to connect smart devices of every make and model for a truly universal centralized hub. This system seems particularly exciting following some other reveals at CES, including smart light bulbs that automatically detect the presence of people, and can adjust lighting based on preference and if a room is occupied. The lights can also be controlled manually through the company, Stack’s, proprietary application or third party apps such as OORT.
What It Means For The Future
While many fear these developments are devolving human beings into lazy, gelatinous slobs, that conclusion might overlook how meaningful these technologies could be for the environment. Everyone knows to turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or switch off lights off when leaving a room, but it is safe to say that very few people actually operate their homes in such an efficient manner. Passing the control of all these minute functions over to an automated system that never fails to save water or electricity would result in massive cumulative savings and a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and power demands. Given the delicate state of the United States’ convoluted power grid, along with the world’s exponentially expanding population, these technologies could make life better for billions. We may not yet have jet packs, but at least we can rest easy knowing that robot butlers and smart homes are practically a reality.
Article by Jared Hill
IMG Credit: Flickr Swimfinfan