Smart-home products were on broad display at various venues across Las Vegas at CES 2014. At this coming show, the smart home gets its own dedicated exhibit space as part of a new convention area in the Sands Hotel dubbed Tech West. We'll still be running all over town to meet with various other smart-home vendors, but having an official, Consumer Electronics Association-sanctioned home at the show is at least one indicator of this smart-home category's proliferation this past year.
Scan the exhibitor list for the smart-home section at Tech West and some notable vendors stand out among the 62 listed currently. German-appliance maker Bosch is the chief sponsor. You'll also find , , , tech-provider Unikey and First Alert showing off connected-household products.
While the companies on that list have put out some interesting devices and services over the last year or so, some larger names in the smart-home space are either showing their wares elsewhere, or they're not listed as official exhibitors at all.
and have smaller meeting spaces set up at the Venetian. and are showing on the primary Las Vegas Convention Center floor. Quirky/Wink, and recent are all absent from the exhibitors list. I'm surprised that Quirky especially doesn't have a larger presence given that it just made . All of those vendors could still make news, but the various display strategies suggests different readings into the value of joining the officially boxed-off smart-home product section.
The most conspicuous absence from the Consumer Electronics Show is always Apple, of course, although this year Apple may have the largest indirect impact on the smart-home category. 11:30 a.m. PT press session (PDF). Expect other vendors to join iDevices in finally bringing HomeKit to consumers., the company announced its plans to embed a smart-home interface directly into its mobile iOS operating system via a software protocol dubbed HomeKit. Per an announcement from Bluetooth kitchen thermometer-maker , we'll see on Monday, January 5, at the company's
Any connected-home discussion must also address the larger kitchen appliances which, until, has been siloed off from the greater, small device-focused smart-home universe. Samsung, LG and others have made connected-appliance news at CES in the past, although last year no one really broke new ground here. Connected appliances from Bosch seem likely given that it's spearheading the official smart-home booth. The company announced back in September, so we'll be looking for it to continue along that theme here.
For other manufacturers, GE won't have a large appliance booth at this year's show, and Electrolux has told us it won't be attending. Whirlpool usually goes long on, but given that it has to include Nest, we may see some more real-world product announcements. One company we'll also be watching is Haier. The Chinese manufacturer sneaked under the radar last year that hinted at Apple's larger smart-home plans. Now that HomeKit is out in the open, I wouldn't be surprised to see even more large appliance manufacturers embrace it.