So, what does the upcoming CES have in store for the smart home? We don't know for sure, but it's going to be big if last year's show was any indication. Here's a look at smart home and appliance trends we think we might see at CES 2018.
By "voice assistants," I don't mean new AI platforms to compete with Alexa, HomeKit and the Google Assistant (although that's entirely possible too). I instead expect to see something of a repeat from CES 2017 -- announcements of new and existing smart home products adding Alexa, HomeKit and Google Assistant voice functionality.
Where last year was heavily weighted toward Alexa integrations, I expect to see more HomeKit and Google Assistant announcements in 2018. Apple's
smart speaker might have missed the holiday season for this year, but that won't stop third-party device makers from extending support for Siri.
Beauty and fashion products
We've also seen an uptick in smart beauty and fashion devices lately. Simplehuman sells a couple of different smart mirrors, designed to help you optimize your look whether you're spending the day in natural or fluorescent light.
I'd be surprised if we didn't see a few new products in these categories at CES 2018.
We saw robots in droves at CES 2017 and the fascination will likely continue into 2018. But the smart home bots we've seen so far have been pretty hit-or-miss. Jibo (pictured above) is kind of cute, but it doesn't do much -- including move, beyond panning and tilting its head and an admittedly endearing, but stationary wiggle-dance. It also costs a whopping $899. Panasonic showcased a mobile mini fridge-bot at IFA 2017 that will bring you chilled sake, no effort required.
Others, like Kuri by Mayfield Robotics, can actually move around and claim to recognize faces, but we haven't had the chance to test them out just yet. It would be exciting to see new assistant robots at the show in January.
We're also seeing an increase in home security cameras supporting "person alerts." Person alerts can't tell you who they see, but they should be able to distinguish between a person and your neighbor's cat -- and send you a notification about it. At CES 2018, I expect to see even more manufacturers introduce facial recognition (or person alerts) as a feature.