Last thursday marked the end of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and like many years prior, this year was filled with big news and exciting developments – especially for the home. For the past two weeks, the conference highlighted some of the most exciting up-and-coming products in consumer technology, from virtual reality and wearable tech to advances in healthy and science.
Aside from self-driving cars and audio equipment, smart home accessories and smart home security were among the most common exhibits this year at the event, so if this is a glimpse at the year ahead, there’s certainly a lot to look forward to.
Here’s a quick recap of the hottest smart home technology you can look forward to this year.
For friends that are constantly misplacing their phone, wallet, and keys, the Tile Tracker will be a gift they'll love to use almost every day. If you can't find your phone, you just have to press on the tile and a jingle will sound. If you can't find your keys, the app will send a notification to the Tile on your keychain which will ring with a pleasant tune. Tile Trackers usually retail for around $30 and can be found at Best Buy or online at TheTileApp.com.
This high-tech thermometer will keep track of your Turkey and send a notification to your phone when it’s reached a certain temperature. There are a few different brands out there and they are fairly easy to find in most houseware stores. Smart Locks Know someone who’s constantly forgetting their keys? They might benefit from the security and convenience of a smart lock! August, Kwikset, and Weiser are currently the top manufacturers of these Bluetooth and WiFi enabled locking devices.
Using your phone as the key, they can sense when you’re nearby to unlock the door, and similarly lock it when you’re away. You can also grant temporary access to a contractor or family member if they need to swing by your home while you’re away, and track who’s recent come and gone. Some products will also include a small camera so that you can discretely see who’s at the door before answering it. Smart locks typically retail for over $200 but they can be a great investment for large families and rental properties.
The leading-edge virtual assistant from Amazon is limited to its core programming no more. Several of the vendor displays at this year’s conference highlighted the connectivity between their products and Alexa, making it become one of the most versatile additions to your connected home. From robotic butlers to fridges and air quality regulators, it’s clear that the industry is shaping itself around this innovative system. Here’s just a sampling of what Alexa can do:
Let you know what traffic and weather will be like for your commute.
Stream music from your favorite apps.
Set alarms and timers.
Answer questions and read out headlines.
Connect the various devices in your smart home.
Amazon is not the only company in the race to create the best virtual assistant. Google’s Google Home and Apple’s HomeKit.
Robotic Personal Assistants
The tech world has been trying to make robots play a bigger part of our everyday lives for many years now, and it seems that this year is no different. One of the most exciting products unveiled this year is the Kuri, an adorable robotic companion that can do everything from playing music to watching the house while you’re away and notifying you when the kids come home from school.
Comprehensive Smart Home Kits
Over the last few years there have been countless product released to automate nearly everything in your home, from thermostats to lighting and growing plants to unlocking the door. Each device comes with a wealth of perks, except that each requires its own app and they don’t always play nicely together – that is, until now.
What the smart home industry lacked was a selection of centralized hubs that could unite the various products to seamlessly automate your home like its own ecosystem. While the hubs themselves are not actually that new, the ability to sync with other products is. And like a good scotch or cheese, it’s only going to get better with time.
Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Google Home, and Apple’s HomeKit can sync with various products, including:
Various environmental sensors, including air purifiers, smoke alarms, CO2 sensors, and thermostats.
Home security and smart locks
Home audio systems and televisions
Smart thermostats are the best way to manage your home’s temperature 24/7. If you’re away, you can use the app to turn down your heating system when you’re away from the home, or let it use its sensors to autonomously adjust as needed. The two most popular brands right now are Ecobee and Nest, and you can order them online or find them at Best Buy and Home Depot. Smart thermostats typically retail for about $200 to $250, but can easily pay for themselves in time with the energy savings they provide.
One of the most exciting parts of CES is the selection of new and nifty home appliances that you didn’t think you could ever need, and frankly, some of them you don’t.
Whirlpool made a big splash this year with the announcement of a new way to cook your favorite packaged meals. Their new line of connected microwaves and ovens will offer a scan-to-cook feature that you can use to scan the barcode of your packaged meal and the cooking instructions will be sent directly to the correct appliance via Whirlpool’s new app. Popcorn, anyone?
Also coming to the next generation of Whirlpool appliances is Alexa. This means that you can verbally give directions to your oven, dishwasher, microwave, and fridge. Need to preheat the oven but your hands are covered in dough? Just say the word, and Alexa will make it happen.
You can instantly change the mood of any room with these vibrant, color-changing bulbs. The Stack Alba can sense when you’re in the room to turn on and off or change from soft to hard white, depending on the room.
Wifi Plug Module & Wifi In-Wall Outlets
This simple module can turn almost anything into a wireless accessory, including lamps, coffee makers, kettles, you name it. You could turn the coffee pot on from the warmth of your bed, or turn a space heater on before you get home. These typically retail around $50 and can usually be found in Home Depot, Staples, and online at Amazon.
These are perfect for friends and family that want to grow their own herbs but have had difficulties in the past. The Smartpot dispenses water and nutrition so that you can set it and forget it! Pick your favorite herbs, flowers, or fruits from their online store and they planter will take care of the rest. The Smartpot is currently only available in Click & Grow’s online store.
When it comes to finding the perfect home, let the MilitaryHomeSearch.com team guide you through the process. From the initial consultation to finding the right fit and closing the deal, let us help you with every step of the process. Send us a message or give us a call for more information about the Colorado Springs real estate market.
Lauren Schneider, Real Estate Agent and Military Relocation Professional (MRP)
Lauren Schneider has lived in Colorado Springs for nearly 20 years and knows that the military is what keeps this town ticking, which is one of the reasons she's chosen to pursue her dream of helping military families with all of their homebuying needs. Learn more about Lauren or start your home search now.