Just aren’t all that exciting…
The biggest consumer electronics show in the world has just wrapped and the good folk at online publication CNET kindly put together a complete slideshow of the hottest smart home gadgets.
But instead of mind-blowing, the goodies are distinctly underwhelming.
There are a lot of familiar household devices which appear to have had a WiFi connection added to them, along with some control software accessible over the internet. Many have embraced the latest buzzword to enter the lexicon, Artificial Intelligence (AI), with assurances that this gadget or that has sentient capabilities.
In reality, however, intelligence is still a long, long way away from items which are most certainly of interest to the window and door manufacturing industry. It’s also just as far from the reach of the blenders, vacuum cleaners, fan controllers and other gadgets.
For better or for worse, AI today is nothing more than software which is programmed to handle a wider range of inputs with appropriate outputs. The particular set of machines on display at CES, in other words, is not about to take over your job or that of anyone else. And they’re a long, long way away from Skynet!
With that said, there are some bright spots in the 52 slides of digital wizardry presented by CNET. Consumer electronics such as camera-equipped digital doorbells – not new in concept or execution, it must be said – or biometric locks are becoming commonplace. A neighbour near you is likely to have one and there are plenty to choose from.
Lighting systems like the one offered by GE, could be great for automating an element of energy management in the home or office, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen systems like this.
The Savvy Mirror is an interesting one, as building it into a window is quite conceivable, in addition to its present incarnation as a restroom display solution. So, too, is the Somfy Scene Launcher, which could integrate with domestic fenestration systems for automatic control of the blinds and therefore lighting within the home.
Among the more outlandish ‘latest and greatest’ consumer electronics, there is a laundry folding robot, which if dependable, reliable and capable would be welcomed into any home, and a slew of connected kitchenware including a crockpot, blender and kitchen scales.
Bathrooms are in the ‘smart’ crosshairs too, with one such offering including a toilet with connected features.
Common to many of the devices on display is the integration of popular voice activated services from Google and Amazon. This provides the basis for the sort of system integration highly desirable in the workplace, but now eminently possible in the home – for those who see the value in a hyperconnected personal space.
Will our lives be any different?
It is hard to come away from the best of CES2019 thinking the near future of our species is going to be all that much different to how it is right now.
It’s not that the vacuum cleaning robots, the dedicated displays for kitchen or shower which will never supplant the deeply ingrained iPad, the smart pillow, a kettlebell that counts reps or an infrared hairdryer aren’t pretty neat. It’s just that they’re not ground-breaking.
Take a look at CNET’s full coverage of CES2019 here and see what you think.