The smart home had a turbulent 2014. Google kicked it off by acquiring smart-thermostat maker Nest Labs back in January. Then Nest itself, Samsung, GE, and others either carved out partnerships or made acquisitions of their own. Apple has enticed developers and consumers with its voice-driven, iOS-integrated HomeKit developer software. We've seen the expansion of multiple manufacturer consortia, along with a handful of developing connectivity standards. Even venerable Mr. Coffee came online.
All of that news came amid an ever-growing landscape of smart products. Many of those products are exciting, and bring potentially useful new capabilities to our doors , our lights , our yards , our garages and even, yes, our refrigerators .
The smart home also brings the potential for confusion. When you bring home that new connected lock or that new smart light, chances are you've also bought into one or more ecosystems of devices. With the category developing so rapidly, it can be hard for consumers to make informed decisions, especially if they want to ease into the smart home one device at a time.
How will the industry help consumers navigate those complexities? What smart-home devices do consumers really care about? When will consumers really wrap their brains around everything the smart home can do?
We'll be exploring those topics and more at our upcoming smart home panel during CES 2015.
Just like last year (as shown in the video at the top of this post), CNET Reviews Editor in Chief Lindsey Turrentine will moderate a discussion among some of the most prominent leaders in the smart home industry. Here's who we'll be talking with.
I'll be chiming in too as a consumer/editorial representative (with my colleagues in our Louisville office, I've spent the last 18 months testing smart-home devices).
The event kicks off at CES 2015 at 10:15 a.m. PT on Wednesday, January 7, in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. If you're in town, we hope to see you there. For those who aren't traveling, we'll post the full video of the panel here shortly after it ends. We hope you'll tune in to what promises to be a fascinating conversation.