The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is wrapping up, and as you might expect smart home tech was prevalent this year. In particular, devices with voice assistant integrations (Alexa, Google Assistant, and to a lesser extent Siri) were everywhere. Here are a few of the upcoming products that I find most interesting, exciting, or just plain weird.
First Alert Onelink smoke detector with Alexa/Google Assistant
First Alert, one of the biggest manufacturers of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, has announced the Onelink Safe and Sound, a detector with Alexa and Google Assistant built into it, as well as the requisite remote monitoring capabilities you would expect from a connected smoke detector.
Personally this is one of the few products from CES this year I can see myself buying. Having voice control of my home in every room via a ceiling-mounted device — out of the way and unobtrusive, instead of having to stick them on a side table — is a very attractive prospect (and very Star Trek!). Also, smoke detectors are things you have to replace every ~5 years anyway, so unlike some of the other products we saw at CES (shower heads, refrigerator, etc) that you would expect to have much longer lifecycles I wouldn’t worry too much about “embedded obsolescence” with these.
Shower with Siri and Alexa
Moen wants you to shower with your voice assistant. They’ve introduced a shower head system that includes voice control, via Siri or Alexa, that allows you to start the water flow and set it to a specific temperature.
No word on whether it will offer opinions on your singing in the shower.
Kohler smart toilet with Alexa
In case you didn’t think showering with Alexa was weird…I present to you the $6,000 Kohler Numi “intelligent toilet” with Alexa. It is packed to the gills with tech, and will do things like automatically raise and lower the lid, heat the seat, customize your…uh…”wash profiles,” and of course — like everything else this year — it has Alexa built in. So you can literally talk to your toilet, and it will play music to you, which is something I never knew humanity was lacking.
Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
Smart fridges are, to me, the “flying cars” of the home tech world. We’ve been promised them forever, and it seems like a great concept, until you consider the practical issues. For one thing, do you really want smart home tech, which radically evolves every year, to be embedded in a very expensive appliance that you only replace every 10-15 years? And the theory of having a smart fridge that can inventory its contents sounds great, but until every food product (and tupperware container) has embedded and standardized RFID chips or something (which is WAY off) I don’t think that’s really going to happen.
Samsung, however, is not giving up. Their latest Family Hub refrigerator is packed with a ginormous Android-based touch screen, and better integration with SmartThings so you can control your whole house from it. The fridge itself, in terms of being a fridge, isn’t that smart though, so I’m not sure why you would get this; in a few years you’ll just have a fridge with a giant obsolete tablet on the front of it.
Of course there was lots more. Smart speakers too numerous to mention, a number of new home control hubs (think SmartThings) that honestly I don’t expect to go very far, and Toyota announced that Alexa is going to be integrated into Toyota and Lexus vehicles starting later this year (hopefully replacing the awful voice recognition system that comes standard with most cars these days). Ford and BMW already announced similar plans late last year.
If you saw some cool smart home tech come out of CES, drop a comment below!