Now that CES is basically over, I wanted to give my thoughts on all the smart home related announcements that we saw this week.
I was initially going to do a top 10 favorite announcements, but looking back at the week, I struggled to really care about almost any of the announcements.
If you want a recap of all of the smart home announcements, check out the link in the description below.
So really, I’m going to highlight 3 brands/products that I thought were more interesting that others, and I’m also going to give my thoughts on what CES 2020 has shown us about the upcoming state of the Smart Home.
Smart Bathroom and Smart Kitchen
First up I want to talk about the Kohler and Moen Kitchen and Bathroom smart products.
They both announced several products, including a showerhead with a built in Alexa speaker, because why the hell not.
I’m more interesting in their smart faucets and digital shower systems. The think that intrigues me about the smart faucet is the ability for it to release specific amounts of water at a time.
So if you’re cooking and you need 2 cups of water, you can just ask it to pour 2 cups of water, and it will give you exactly that.
The digital shower systems though, are next level. Basically you can use Siri, or your phone to start the shower, and even change the temperature of the water.
Admittedly, this is not something I will be purchasing, nor will you I imagine. These types of smart home systems will be installed in homes that you would see on Million Dollar Listing, but I think they are pretty cool nonetheless.
Maybe one day us mere mortals will be able to have Siri warm up the shower for us, but probably not anytime soon.
Ambient TV lighting from LIFX
Next up is the new TV and Monitor focused lightstrip from LifX. It comes in two sizes designed to fit behind a TV or a monitor, and supports multicolor on one strip. While none of this is new per se from LIFX, it could mean that they will come out with some sort of HDMI Sync Box, similar to the one Philips Hue released a few months ago.
If they can come out with a both that performs similarly, but all you need is 1 lightstrip to get the full syncing effect, that would be a big blow to Hue.
My main criticism of the Hue HDMI Sync Box was the cost of the whole setup. For all 4 sides of your TV you would need to spend close to $500, which is a crazy amount of money.
If LIFX can deliver a product at around $200, you’ll be able to achieve the same thing for half the price. And I imagine a lot of people would like that.
Learning Series by Nanoleaf
Finally we have Nanoleaf. Everyone has seen pictures of their triangles and hexagons spewn across walls adding unique accent lighting to rooms.
They announced the Learning Series at CES this year. Including a Smart switch, light bulb, button, and hub/gateway.
None of these devices are unique on their own, but the fact that Nanoleaf is investing the LEARNING part of their ecosystem is big to me.
All of these devices are just “connected” not smart, if you still have to manually control them. Obviously setting automations makes them more qualified to be “smart” but if they can really learn your habits and basically anticipate your need for light, that will be a big step in the actual “smart” part of your smart home.
So those are the three most notable Smart Home products from CES for me, even if the LIFX one is more of an anticipation than a product.
Now what the rest of the smart home announcements at CES have told me is that the industry is slowing down a little in terms of hardware.
Each company is filling out their product lineup, and maturing their products to be well built and reliable. But no one is really coming out with something new.
Companies are trying to come out with entire ecosystems, in hopes that their brand will be a one stop shop for a smart home setup, or at least a certain portion of it.
While this will breed competition which is great, I think consumers should also be aware of ecosystem lockins and know to avoid false promises of features down the line etc.
And that’s fine, as I see it, more of the smart home innovation will be on the software side of things, with the development of AI and machine learning.
We’ve also seen a whole bunch of WiFi devices, which I’m not thrilled about.
Honestly I think until the new standard that Apple, Amazon, Google, and Zigbee are working on becomes available, we will continue to see WiFi and Bluetooth devices, with the odd sprinkling of Z wave and Zigbee here and there.
So for the rest of 2020, I’m not anticipating any crazy new hardware, mostly just iterations of devices that already work well.
However what I would like to see, and what I will provide for you guys, is a more cohesive picture of how to build out a smart home, and how you can make all these devices work together to actually make your home really smart.
Let me know in the comments below what devices you guys were excited about at CES, and what some of your smart home goals are for 2020.