Next gen. home automation goes beyond the on/off switch
Video contribution by Travis Arbon & Tishin Donkersley
Home automation definitely made a huge presence at CES this year, so much so, that a plethora of companies popped up from last year and, at times, the products became repetitive without many distinguishing features. Fortunately, among the clutter, we did find a few products that stood out and could make your life a bit more manageable from a distance.
While most home automation services sync to an app that enables people to turn on their lights before getting home, open their garage from down the street or send an alert to your smartphone when you have a CO2 gas leak, the features that stood out at CES went a bit further than a simple on-and-off switch.
Lowe’s Home Improvement was in full force at CES with their own makeshift house that showcased their autonomous smart home technology, Iris. Iris is a comprehensive home automation system that does everything from lowering window blinds to lighting the fireplace. Though, the most interesting feature is the Iris Senior Pendant.
A notification alert of an elderly person falling wasn’t the only innovative feature of home automation at CES this year. Smart locks were all the rage with Kwikset touting their touchscreen deadbolt lock. Lock and unlock your front door with simple gestures and a passcode by using Kwikset’s HomeConnect™ technology.
Another innovative smart home product that stood out were smartplugs. Zuli, a San Francisco company, created their own smartplug that sync to any household item and can be controlled with an accompanying mobile app. It functions like an on-and-off switch for everything from lights to timers to music and can even turn off items that are not being used. With the use of Bluetooth LE (low energy), Zuli doesn’t require hubs or routers so that you can form a mesh network.
Though, unlocking doors with a touchscreen was just the beginning for home automation. Zipato, a Croatian company, constructed a modular-designed smart home controller that allows functional expansion and works with dozens of other home automation companies’ products. Just like legos, you can easily expand onto your module and integrate smart home technology throughout your entire house without having to stick to one company’s products. The Zipabox and Zipato’s other products are avilable in the U.S. through San Diego company Home Controls, Inc.
While this company didn’t show at CES, this Arizona company, Keasy, a mobile app enabled deadbolt lock that uses light from ones’ smartphone to open the door. Made with the house rental business in mind, Keasy uses an autonomous app to allow users to send e-keys to renters, relatives, and friends straight to their smartphone. Then, when they leave the property, the owner can delete the e-key and start anew. Watch co-founder Meghan Martinez demo Keasy.
Although there were repeats and copycats, home automation technology isn’t going anywhere and we’ll be seeing smarter homes in the near future.