Smart homes to get smarter

Smart homes to get smarter

Editor's Write

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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CES 2021 went virtual this year, a historical note in the 50-year history of the world's biggest consumer electronics show. The products which were on show point to an immediate future where many humans are freed from mundane functions and allowed to enjoy comfort and security in their homes.

The showcase included smart upgrades along with new and exciting introductions from the world's top brand names and start-ups working to build new fortunes. Going virtual for the first time expanded the audience from thousands trolling the convention floor to a worldwide one tripping the light fantastic envisaged in science fiction.

All this happened amid a pandemic that should have dampened spirits but instead generated a new optimism. It represented the human spirit at its best, digging deep for a fresh response to a challenge. CES« 2021 was a digital convention of businesses, thought leaders, policymakers, media and the broader tech community to launch products, build brands and form partnerships.

The unveiling of the world's best technology for the consumer also saluted the absolute best, with the CES Innovation Awards honouring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products. CES also included a conference programme with the world's business leaders and pioneering thinkers addressing the industry's most relevant issues.

However, the emphasis on technology for consumers was fascinating. Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant, released its latest home robots. The JetBot 90 AI+ — the world's first smart robotic vacuum, powered by Intel« AI — gives your floors a fantastic clean with minimal effort. When finished the unit heads back to its Clean Station, Samsung's disposal system, where it empties what is collected into a bag that you only need to replace once every two to three months. Samsung Smart Dial technology intelligently learns preferred cycles and settings, then sets priorities.

Alarm.com's Touchless Video Doorbell not only chimes when its camera detects visitors standing on your doormat but shares their temperature, a guard against COVID-19. Alarm.com claims this is the “first commercially available video doorbell that rings without requiring any contact”, and that it aims to “reduce public health risks and make home visits and deliveries safer for all”.

At CES 21, HD Medical Inc introduced HealthyU™, an intelligent remote patient monitoring device, in response to the ongoing challenges of remote telehealth, cardiac care, and wellness during the pandemic and beyond.

CES has always been the place to announce many new TVs, and CES 2021 does not look different. Samsung unveiled a bendable OLED TV — designed for gamers — that can produce sound without speakers and is the world's first eyesafe-certified TV to reduce blue light emissions, along with its TV software webOS 6.0 for the 2021 TV line-up. There was a slew of Wi-Fi 6e routers from the likes of Linksys, TP-Link, and Netgear. These are all great devices to power your smart home. Plus, we are now seeing global availability of Belkin's Wi-Fi Wemo Smart Plug, and Lutron announced a new outdoor smart plug while OneLife showed off a Siri-enabled air purifier, another tool for better health.

The showcase, made available to millions worldwide in real time, demonstrates the CES organisation's determination not to lose the momentum which has come from previous conventions. It further indicates that the march to increase technology in the home matches the changing environment. Even more of us are destined to be at home for work and entertainment, and our families' education and access to more of the products for living will increase.

All these products set the stage for transforming our homes, a prospect demanding a set of decisions regarding affordability and necessity. Much like the digital divide we now experience in some quarters, access to these products will depend on whether they are affordable and available in our markets. Therefore, it could be some time before we can boast of having a high number of smart homes.


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