Building a smart home used to be like battling an octopus with the amount of wires that you would have to wrestle to hook everything together, but CES 2017 harboured visions of a brighter, more wireless future when it comes to home automation. Like an estate agent taking you around George Jetson’s futuristic family pad, join us as we tour the best smart house technology and gadgets from the show.
Room: Probably the kitchen or living room
Ok, it might seem like a bit of a cop out to start with a product that has been hitting the headlines for a year already, but at CES the pure potential of Amazon’s Alexa came to the fore with nearly every IoT device of note supporting the intelligent personal assistant. The device has definitely stolen a march on its rival Google Home, whose presence at the show was limited and isn’t even available here in the UK. The convenience of being able to command any device in the home wasn’t lost on anybody – “Alexa, illuminate…”
Keys are so retro even cars have been losing them recently. Kevo gets rid of them almost entirely for your house, connecting to your mobile phone when within range and opening the door with just the touch of your finger, handy when you’re lugging shopping. It can send temporary keys to guests’ phones when they visit, as well as playing nicely with other smart devices like nest, ring and IFTTT. And just to allay any fear, there is also a key for when your mobile goes kaput.
Room: Utility room
Anyone with a cat knows there is one daily task that really stinks; emptying the litter tray. Fortunately technology has a solution – get a robot to do it. The Litter-Robot is a pod that detects when kitty has done her business and automatically rotates and sifts her little gifts into a drawer, alerting you when it’s full via the connected app. It’s a positively luxurious experience compared to getting on your hands and knees with a scoop.
Sevenhugs Smart Remote
Room: Probably the living room
What would a smart home be without having a really smart remote to control everything? Claiming to be able to control tens of thousands of devices, the Smart Remote by Sevenhugs will automatically adapt to whatever you are pointing it to. So for instance you can set it up so that when you point to the TV it shows the TV remote, point it towards the light and you can change the hue, or point to the door to order an Uber. We had a go at CES 2017 and it worked splendidly, so it can point to a big thumbs-up from us.
Room: Living room/Kitchen
Talking to Alexa is a very convenient way to control your smart house but sometimes you need something a little more visual. The Zipatile is an Android device that fixes to your wall and gives you the power to control and tweak your house to your heart’s content. Everything from the video intercom to the heating can be edited so long as it uses the Z-Wave protocol, and a powerful online editor helps you create advanced automations.
We need to talk about radon. The inert gas causes over 1,100 deaths from lung cancer each year in the UK, significantly more than those who die in house fires or from carbon monoxide poisoning combined. The Airthings Wave plans to combat this in the same way you would protect against fire, with a small, wall-mounted device that will provide real-time alerts when radon levels are high. It might not be the most glamorous smart device, but it could be a lifesaver.
Room: Whole house
With the amount of devices on offer for the modern smart home it’s a wonder how they can all speak to each other (unless you have Alexa, of course). Oomi is a suite of products, sensors and devices that all hook up to the brains of the operation, Oomi Cube, by tapping the NFC dot on all the devices. It’s probably the simplest way to get your house super smart, super quickly.
Room: Dog room
Smart homes need smart pets, or at least well-trained ones. The Petcube Bites is a wifi camera overflowing with delicious treats that you can unleash on your pet from afar using the accompanying app. With a wide-angle, HD, night-vision camera and two-way speakers you can tell Fido to quit gnawing on the sofa leg, even if it’s in the middle of the night. As an added bonus you can automatically top up the tasty snacks you’ve dropped with Amazon Dash Replenishment.
April 2017, £TBC, petcube.com
Sleep Number 360 smart bed
How often you wake up truly refreshed in the morning, despite a strict no-iPad-after-8pm policy, white noise on the stereo and the prospect of a lie-in in the morning? Turns out it could be the bed that is causing you issues, so the Sleep Number 360 is packed full of features to help you snooze. As well as adapting its comfort levels in real time to help support your body, it’ll also warm your feet to help you doze off quicker and senses snoring (on you or the other half) and adjusts the bed accordingly. Over time, the smart bed will track your sleep quality and give you a SleepIQ score, taking in factors such as diet and exercise. It’s making us just want to dive under the covers just thinking about it.
Available 2017, £TBC, sleepnumber.com/360
Room: Wherever you do your beauty regime
Staring into the mirror for hours wondering whether there is a spot brewing or if the bags under your eyes are getting bigger is a rite of passage for most of us, but ultimately any feedback is either going to be highly subjective or excessively critical depending on your own narcissistic tendencies. The HiMirror Plus puts a wholly more scientific spin on things by using big data to analyse all the blemishes, wrinkles, spots and splodges that appear on your mug so that you can tailor your beauty regime to target specific problems and track progress. It’s gesture controlled, can keep track of all your beauty products and offer suggestions on alternatives if you run out, and works with the companion Smart Body Scale for all-over body analysis.
Having a bath is supposed to be one of life’s little luxuries, but getting to the point of true relaxation comes with the stresses involved with filling the bath up to the right level and temperature. Sounds like a real first-world problem, but trying to dip your toes in a scalding bath is no way to unwind. The bathomatic, which you might remember from this awkward Dragon’s Den moment, not only keeps your bath water at a specific level and temperature, it can also infuse it with oils for you to reach your inner zen. Controlled with a touch-screen interface or via the app, you can even retrofit it to your old dumb-bath.