Gerard’s Thoughts on Smart Home Developments at CES 2015

So; the Smart Home played center stage at this year’s glitzy CES 2015!

Well did it? Not so sure; here are brief thoughts on the various announcements…

BELKIN WEMO – OPTIMISTIC

Really like this one; Belkin the company that owns WeMo, has been doing some good stuff over the past two to three years.. and is starting to build a nice little smart home ecosystem.

At this year’s show, they showcased a handful of smart home security sensors.

Although sensors are everywhere I felt that this new generation of the door, window, and motion sensors from WeMo could fit nicely into a Smart Home 2.0 environment.

Let’s see… and if Mr. Belkin is reading this article – you forgot a WeMo enabled siren!

Useful when the ‘Baddies’ come into our houses!

WeMo Smart Home Security
Interesting Belkin WeMo Security Sensors

HOMEKIT – LACK LUSTRE…

Lots of expectations that Homekit would steal the show! I’m afraid it turned out to be a bit of a damp squib.

The first batch of HomeKit-enabled devices did launch..but the most Homekit could muster up was a couple of plugs, a garage opener and a smart lock – well kinda…

Watched one of the CNET videos on the Homekit announcements and the big sell was the possibility of using Siri to turn a smart plug ON and OFF.

Cool, but voice recognition is not exactly a rip-roaring success…..

Also, nearly forgot that INSTEON is on board with HomeKit…

Homekit Enabled Smart Home Plug
Apple enters the Smart Home Market…

NEST – INTERESTING PARTNERS BUT NO NEW PRODUCTS

Nest came out of the gate on day #1 and announced some new partnerships for their’Works with Nest’ program.

Products such as Philips Hue, August Smart Lock, and LG…

All good news, but to be honest, I was expecting to see at least the release of an iteration to an existing product (An outdoor Dropcam for Wet Irish weather for instance!) or even a new product.

Tony what happened to the Dropcam Tabs 🙂

HONEYWELL – MAKING SOME PROGRESS

From what I can see the Lyric Smart Thermostat is making some in-roads and probably not a bad idea to come up with some supporting hardware.

So at CES, the company announced Lyric enabled alarm products.

Since security is an integral part of companies’ DNA, such a move was to be expected.

Let’s see how the brand competes with the NEST ecosystem in 2015!

New Honeywell Lyric Smart Home Alarm Products
New Honeywell Lyric Smart Home Alarm Products

IP CAMERAS – GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

CES 2015 also ushered in some really cool and powerful IP cameras.

Next-generation Smart Home 2.0 cameras from the likes of Piper and Netatmo support a raft of features, including:

  • Face recognition
  • Text notifications
  • 180-degree day/night vision
  • HD quality video
  • Controllable on an App etc…

You get the point.

Netatmo Smart Home IP Camera
Cool looking Netatmo Smart Home IP Camera & Tabs!

SMART BULBS – ON A STEADY TRAJECTORY

I must admit that I have a bit of a grá (Irish Gaelic meaning of the word affection!) for Smart lighting.

So we had companies such as TCP, Centralite, and Osram announce newer and better smart lighting solutions.

SMART HOME ALARMS AND LOCKS

As mentioned WeMo has entered this space.

Another name that’s starting to catch my eye – iSmartAlarm.

At the show, they announced some new sensors and are big fans of the Z-Wave protocol.

With regards to smart locks; Goji won some type of award, Schlage embraced Homekit, August became part of ‘Works with Nest’, OKIDOKEYS added some colors, and Yale made its locks more intelligent,

LET ME NOT FORGET SAMSUNG!

As expected Samsung did a big splash at this year’s event and launched the next generation SmartThings Hub and service.

Could I ask Mr.Samsung to release their hub to the 300 million people that live in Europe also?

THE SMART KITCHEN

One of the many topics I and Olive (the boss of the house :-)) spoke about in recent times was upgrading some of our expensive Neff kitchen appliances to something else!

As such, I have been keeping an ear to the ground for announcements for various flavors of Smart Appliances.

Nothing overly significant this year; FirstBuild touted its smart fridge and Whirlpool made some announcements on the washer/dryer front.

Smart Kitchen Appliances
Whirlpool Appliances for the Connected Kitchen

INSTALLER TYPE SMART HOME PRODUCTS

In addition to the traditional players in the custom install space; I am also a bit of a Fibaro fan.

They always win awards for their sensors and manufacture a hub that is aimed at high-end DIY’ers and installers who want to make money from installing smart home connected products.

Installer Friendly Fibaro Ecosystem of Smart Home Sensors
Installer Friendly Fibaro Ecosystem of Smart Home Sensors

FINAL THOUGHTS

So overall, the smart home is officially a multi-billion dollar business!

And there is little doubt that the groundwork is in place to support the mainstream adoption of smart home products over the next 5 to 10 years.

ICT professional, author, serial Internet entrepreneur, investor, and of course, a smart home enthusiast!

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