Appliances and the smart home at CES 2014: A deluge, a glut
Smart houses, smart fridges, smart everything else. The connected home is poised for a big show in Vegas this year.
Surely you've heard the term "Internet of Things" this year, and perhaps you're even intrigued by the concept. Smart devices ranging from thermostats to locks to light bulbs captured our attention this year. The reason in part is because adding some connected smarts to these household basics offers up benefits that are easy for consumers to understand. Whether you want to monitor the comings and goings in your home, save energy, or simply glide through a fully-automated world of connected devices, the appeal is clear.
Extend that idea to large appliances and the benefits become less apparent. What's so "smart" about an Internet-connected washing machine if you still have to manually deal with the clothes? That murkiness didn't stop LG and Samsung from launching complete lines of connected smart appliances at CES 2013. Whirlpool, GE, Dacor, and others have also joined in, either with one-off smart appliances or complete lines of connected products.
None of those vendors will tell you that smart appliances make up a significant portion of their sales. Most will even admit that they're still trying to understand what consumers really want from a connected refrigerator. Despite that uncertainty, at least some of these manufacturers, and likely others, will launch large smart appliances at this year's CES. We'll be paying special attention to whether they make the benefits more attractive to consumers.
Here's what else we expect from smart home products at this year's show:
The separate components in this post are worth tracking individually, but the real money in the smart home, much like with computers, will flow to whoever can establish the first popular eco-system. This will be a popular technology topic for the next few years, and we will see plenty of companies, both expected and otherwise, use CES to jockey for position.
DIY home security
We reviewed a user-installable, Internet-connected security systems this year. You'll find some nice diversity among these products, but whether it's an all-in-one device like
Philips established an early lead in 2012 with its
Our most frustrating review at CNET Appliances this year was the
Here's another smart home category with a ton of obvious appeal. Nest and its
Smart everything else
Hence the title of this post. Everyone has a crowd-funding campaign to build the next smart whatever. Cheap sensors, and ubiquitous Wi-Fi and smartphones open up the potential for all kinds of experimentation around connected home products. Quirky's