Smart home hubs, cleaning robots and stylish wearables at CES

Smarter homes that clean themselves and stylish wearables for when you’re out and about – here’s what you need to know about the smart tech at CES

07 Jan 2016


Smarter homes that clean themselves and stylish wearables for when you’re out and about – here’s what you need to know about the smart tech at CES...

A few years ago the Internet of Things (IoT) seemed ultra-futuristic but it’s quickly becoming a reality. With the likes of Bosch, Samsung and Nexia all announcing new smart home ecosystems at CES – the smart home is being brought to life.

What is the IoT?

You’ve probably already synced your phone, tablet and laptop. But what about taking it one step further and using your wireless connection to control your lighting, fridge and front door as well?

The logic behind IoT is that other appliances and devices around your home can connect for a ‘smart’ home. Control them from anywhere using your phone to:

  • turn on the heating on the train home
  • dim the lights for a movie without leaving the sofa
  • monitor your empty house while on holiday
  • check on the kids sleeping upstairs

Control everything in your home – without leaving the sofa

Managing all your smart devices from one place has never been easier thanks to Samsung. It’s announced that all 2016 Samsung smart TVs will be compatible with SmartThings – its smart home hub.

Control smart gadgets around the house, right from the comfort of your living room. With it you can:

  • keep track of your security cameras
  • set the mood for movies by controlling lighting and sound
  • open the front door to guests without lifting a finger – perfect if you’re immersed in a gripping Netflix marathon

How about a virtual assistant that looks after your smart home for you?

Amazon has teamed up with Nexia to bring smart control functions to Alexa – the personal assistant service built into its Echo speakers.

Manage all your Nexia smart devices – just by talking to your Echo speaker. Set it up to carry out regular functions like switching your lights on when you get home. Or shout out one-off tasks like turning on the TV when you want to kick back.  

And keep an eye on your house too

Home security has come a long way thanks to smart tech. And now Netatmo has delivered a security system that can tell the difference between people, pets and passing cars – so you won’t be woken up by Fluffy triggering the floodlights again.

With Netatmo Presence you can avoid constant reminders or annoying false alarms. Set it up to:

  •          know what’s normal activity around your place
  •          recognise suspicious behaviour – and only alert you if something’s not right
  •          keep tabs while you’re out by syncing it with you smartphone 

Clever tech for shopping and cleaning

Fight the war on waste and make doing the weekly shop a breeze with clever fridges that are fitted with inside cameras.

Samsung and Bosch have both showcased smart fridges that link to your phone – use them to see what’s in your fridge while you’re out and about, so there’s no more panic over whether you’ve got enough milk.

Or to take the hard work out of dust-busting with LG’s vacuum that cleans where you tell it to – just by using your smartphone camera.

How? Simply take a picture of a dusty spot and watch it work its magic. The Hom-Bot Turbo+ uses augmented reality to find the area and clean it. You can also set it up to clean when you’re at work.

Smartwatches that are big on style

Over on the wearable tech front, smartwatches continue to get slicker and more responsive. So if you haven’t joined the wearables club yet, 2016 could well be the year you do.

Getting fitter has never looked so good with the launch of Fitbit Blaze – a fitness-tracker-meets-smartwatch.

Like other Fitbits, you can use it to monitor your activity, heart rate and steps and sync data with your phone.

But it’s swapped the basic strap and face on its old devices for a more fashionable look. The new features include:

  • slimmer, lightweight design
  • swappable bands – choose from different colours to customise yours
  • option to alternate between a stainless steel and gold casing
  • first-ever colour touchscreen

Samsung also has a super-luxe offering, with two new editions of its Gear S2 watch on the way. They come in a premium 18K rose gold and platinum casing.

You’ll also be able to customise it with a bigger range of watch straps and face options. And for style-conscious wearers, Samsung has created an exclusive range of straps featuring artwork from the likes of Keith Haring.

It’s functional, too – Samsung announced Gear S2 will be compatible with Samsung Pay. It will be available to Gear S2 users starting in the U.S. early this year. 

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