At CES 2019, there was no shortage of exciting news and buzz for smart home and appliances. Lighting, security cameras, software integrations and voice assistants took center stage in smart home announcements, while for appliances, the big news was on displays, artificial intelligence (AI) and guided cooking.
Outdoor smart lighting more than a passing fad
- The outdoor space is becoming a focus point for the smart home. Many cameras now include spotlights or flood lights for security purposes, while others are looking to add ambiance, bringing color and style to outdoor living. Although a continuation of what debuted at CES last year, this trend will continue to evolve, as more styles and use cases come to market.
Wi-Fi locks, 4K security cameras and peephole cameras create new integration and AI opportunities
- In addition to security cameras, the overall security market also gained traction at CES – including Wi-Fi door locks. Brink’s Array was the first to introduce its Wi-Fi door lock a few years ago, and this year Schlage and Kwikset followed up with their own products.
- The Ring peephole camera also had an interesting showing at CES this year.. Although Yale and others have offered peephole cameras for several years, primarily in Asia and Europe, Ring is the first big announcement for the North American market. The main difference between the two is the appeal to renters and multifamily dwellings, because the camera seamlessly replaces traditional peepholes, so no damage is done to doors when making this retrofit.
Wi-Fi charging in the smart home could be a game changer
- Wi-Charge, a partnership of Alarm.com and Allegion, also launched at CES. The prototype demonstrated how smart home devices in the future might not be constrained by batteries or cables, because they can be charged or powered using wireless technology.
Despite companies expanding their own brands, integrations were as deep and plentiful as ever
- Integrations are becoming much tighter and widespread across the smart home universe. Ring now provides closer integrations with Schlage, while Amazon Alexa will expand its capabilities with Ring Alarm. ADT relies on Honeywell for its new Command platform, which will slowly replace Pulse. The new Honeywell hardware allows users to speak directly to Alexa, while the portable keypad (touchscreen) will bring flexibility to often rigid professionally monitored solutions. Yale, Emtek and other Assa Abloy locks will soon be compatible with August Lock software, which could boost Yale lock models that currently use the in-house Yale app. Yale locks will now be included in the August lock app, which has a stellar 4.8 rating on the iOS app store, while the old Yale Secure app and Yale Assure apps rated only 2.3 and 1.4, respectively.
Amazon Alexa won CES, in terms of total announcements, but the long-term game plan could favor Google Assistant
- Partnerships with Amazon Alexa were much more widespread, than Google partnerships at CES. However, some big news could affect Google’s share in the voice platform market, as the company continues to focus on certain categories and certain integrations. For example, Google could have a big impact on pay-TV services and other businesses, with their newest interpreter feature. Google seems to be taking a more methodical approach to partnerships these days, which will pay off in the coming years.
Cameras are interesting and convenient for refrigerators, but analytics will be a game changer
- Guided cooking is also reaching new levels, with brands like Samsung, Haier, Bosch and Whirlpool. Cameras built into refrigerators (or, in the case of Whirlpool, countertop ovens) can detect food types automatically. This feature is a game-changing development, because auto detecting food means consumers can be alerted to food spoilage and can select recipes based on the food that’s already stored. Prior to this development, consumers could see what was in the refrigerator, but they had to manually input food items and create their own shopping lists.
Displays are table stakes
- Displays will soon be an integral feature in all types of major home appliances. Ovens, microwaves and stoves from Whirlpool, Samsung, Haier and LG now include small touchscreens, which support greater convenience and an improved user experience. Moreover, these small screens enable AI to truly go to work for the consumer, where pictures of scanned food items appear on the screen and cooking times are initiated automatically.
- The significance of displays in home appliances is the increased AI and functionality they bring to these devices. One example is the Watch&Touch oven from Candy, which replaces the traditional oven window with a 19-inch touchscreen. These larger screens are changing the way consumers interact with major home appliances in the kitchen.
Manufactures put their own spin on the guided cooking experience
Guided cooking reached new heights at CES this year. Nearly every major home appliance maker showcased appliances that can follow along with recipes and how-to videos. For example, when the cooking instructions say it’s time to preheat the oven, the oven can be preheated directly from the guided cooking screens, so the cook doesn’t have to physically set it.