SMART HOME TECH TRENDS IN 2018

Homeowners are beginning to embrace smart home technology and artificial intelligence in their homes, with connected lighting systems, virtual assistants, and programmable thermostats that learn your preferences. A myriad of new products were on display at trade shows that kicked off earlier this year. There are a few specific trends that seem to stand out and are on the rise. The biggest trend in the home technology field is how everything is not only offering wireless connectivity, but also offering services powered by artificial intelligence.

The vehicle for this vision of the smart home could be those new-age iHome devices that package AI assistants into a more traditional, less intimidating alarm clock exterior. Or it could be familiar smart speakers, like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, which everyone has already been receiving as holiday gifts. Or it could be your usual appliances that will just all run on AI.

Samsung announced that it’s aiming to make all its products not only internet-connected by 2020 but also “intelligent”, via its smart voice assistant Bixby (Watch out, Alexa and company!).

Indeed, the biggest takeaway on the smart home front is that it still feels like only the beginning. Tech companies are finding so many ways to deliver the connected smart home that it seems likely to find us one way or another, eventually.

Take a look at the top 3 specific and provocative smart home trends and products that may be widely relevant sooner than later.

Fully Wireless Kitchen

One of the most “futuristic” yet timely technologies was the wireless kitchen developed by Michigan-based startup Urbaneer with small spaces in mind. Wireless charging furniture has been around for awhile, but this kitchen design amps up the technology and in a practical way. Compatible appliances charge and run right on the countertops, so that those surfaces become a cooktop when needed and free counter space the rest of the time.

A wireless kitchen would also cut down on cords in the kitchen, especially important near sinks. The kitchen “island” shown in the photo above sits on wheels for extra flexibility. Everything in the exhibit, from the wireless countertops to the Philips and Haier devices that work with them, are actually already on the market.

Smarter Home Deliveries

Last fall, Walmart and Amazon triggered a collective shudder when they announced in-home delivery services that use smart locks and security cameras to let couriers into your house while you monitor the process remotely via an app.

Major smart lock maker, August, who partnered with Walmart for its in-home delivery pilot, announced it’s opening up the service (now called August Access) to the broad network of retailers that work with same-day delivery startup Deliv.

Next-Level Remote Controls

Physical remote controls aren’t going away in the smart home. They’re just shifting shapes. There’s still many products that boil smart home control down to the press of literal buttons. They are just adding new integrations for smart lights, speakers, thermostats, and more.

However, an interesting approach to tactile smart home control comes from Nanoleaf, which makes modular, internet-connected light panels. This year, the company debuted the Nanoleaf Remote, a palm-sized dodecahedron that works with Apple HomeKit. Each of the remote’s dozen sides can be programmed to launch a different command, be it a specific lighting scene created by the panels or settings for any HomeKit-compatible device, from locks and cameras to outlets and fans.

 


Resource and excerpts: CES 2018: Smart home tech trends you need to know, By Jenny Xie, Curbed.com, January 17th, 2018.

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