By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine
CES 2017 (#CES2017) – the annual international consumer electronics tradeshow -- kicks off this week in Las Vegas. In this year's show, home product debuts are taking up even more of the spotlight with smart home technology and household robots taking center stage.
Here are a few of the product debuts we’re watching at CES this year that could influence home design or how a home operates in the future.
Welcome the era of the “smart mirror.” The company EKKO is touting the world’s first connected mirror that not only reflects your image but also your digital imprint too. The mirror can play music, TV shows, stream YouTube videos, display weather and news feeds, and even allows you to quickly scan your emails too. The glass technology allows information to be digitally displayed at the bottom of the mirror. Miliboo is debuting prototypes of the smart mirror during CES. Such interactive mirrors could revolutionize that bathroom mirror as we know it today.
Your at-home robot
Robots are expected to be a big buzzword at CES 2017, and manufacturers are showing off more for the home. Meet Kuri, the newest robot friend expected to enter more households in the new year. Kuri, a 20-inch, 14-pound robot, is debuting at CES this year from Mayfield Robotics. Kuri features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 1080p camera, and full iOS/Android app control to help connect you to your devices and even monitor your home while you’re away. Kuri also can understand the context and surroundings around it and even recognize specific people and respond to questions with facial expressions and head movements. Kuri can follow homeowners around the house and play podcasts/music or even read a bedtime story to the kids. The robot can connect to other smart home devices in the household as well. It is expected to be available in the fall of 2017 for $699.
LG is also debuting multiple robots for the home during CES 2017, even a gardening robot to tend to the home’s outdoors.
Talk to your home
Tech manufacturers are encouraging you to talk to your home. Your devices can now hear you. More voice-activated devices are entering smart home tech, allowing you to use your voice to control everything from powering on and off the lights to operating the TV and appliances. Amazon’s voice-activated assistant Alexa debuted at CES 2016 and its popularity has only spawned greater offerings of vocal commanding devices this year. Voice-activation is entering practically every household device. Samsung, for example, is debuting POWERbot VR7000 vacuum cleaner, which is compatible with Amazon Echo and allows consumers to control it using vocal commands. Also, Somfy, a maker of automatically retractable awnings, is showcasing Somfy One, a new voice controlled, all-in-one home security system. SmartBeings’ WooHoo uses both voice and facial recognition in its interface. It can follow voice commands to adjust the thermostat or lighting, for example, or create to-do lists and control the home’s electronics. It also features a 360-degree rotating 1080p HD camera that has facial recognition, as well as infrared night vision and motion detection, to help protect homes from intruders
A Fridge With More Than Just a Door
Whirlpool is showing off a French door-within-door refrigerator. The double doors can help keep milk and other drinks extra cold with its door-within-door cooling system.
Also, tech and appliance manufacturers continue to focus on smartening up that fridge door.
Last year, Samsung Electronics debuted its Family Hub fridge. This year, it has gotten an upgrade: Family Hub 2.0. The fridge features a 21.5-inch LED touchscreen on the front door, allowing families to conduct food management through app integration, access recipes, update calendars, and stay in touch with family and friends as well. Samsung also added voice technology into the fridge this year too, allowing users to now use voice commands to learn the weather and time, for example, or to add products to their shopping lists or order groceries online.