The Latest in Smart Tech Innovations in Las Vegas

Oct 09

If you are interested in Smart Home or Smart City technology, then the CES 2019 was a place you definitely went to. Considered to be the largest gathering of all the world’s foremost business leaders and the finest forward-thinkers of this generation, this year’s edition honed in on a crucial theme, which was resilience.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) — which is the owner and producer of the show that draws in more than 180,000 attendees — describes resilience as “the place where technologies are going to help keep the world healthy, safe, warm, powered, fed and secure,” making the event especially relevant to the Smart Home domain, where tech has stepped in and stepped up to give mankind all of the above.

The event occurred in January in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Sands, Level 2, Halls A-D. The CES Smart Home marketplace featured the latest, most novel technological innovations from vendors offering everything from security monitoring to smart appliances, lighting, window coverings, irrigation, entertainment systems and more.

This year’s event was loaded with highly engaging sessions and innovations, as well as the most promising CES Smart Home startups from the 4,500 exhibitors coming to the show from 155 countries.

With more than 26 billion connected devices set to be installed globally before this year ends, the IoT (Internet of Things) market is a thriving industry, and it makes perfect sense when you consider just how helpful a lot of these gadgets are – they can turn your dumb home into a smart center, one that can turn your thermostat up, lock your doors, and play your music with a simple voice command.

CES is, of course, one of the best places to come upon emerging smart home devices. Here is a list of the best smart tech innovations that came out of Las Vegas this year:

1) Lenovo Smart Clock

After the success of its Smart Display, Lenovo announced to the public three smart devices to add to its Smart Home Essentials product range at this year’s CES. This included a Google Assistant-enabled smart alarm clock that is dubbed as the Lenovo Smart Clock.

This nifty device features a 4-inch touch-enabled IPS display that can wake you up with light, just like how the Philips Hue smart bulbs do when you set up a “wake up” routine. This allows for a more gentler wake-up call than your usual alarm or the one on your smartphone.

You can also set sleep routines and regulate your smart-home setup with a “Hey Google” or “OK Google” voice command, listen to your favorite music while you lie in bed, and charge your handheld devices, all thanks to a rear USB port.

And because of its 6W speaker, you can also play tunes through the smart clock, as well as watch your favorite shows and movies on streaming services straight onto your television by linking it to a Google Chromecast.

2) Mui Smart Display

One of the more odd-looking devices that were placed on display at the CES 2019 was a plank of wood. And no, we are dead serious about this.

Shaped like your common, run-of-the-mill wooden plank, the Mui smart display actually packs a punch as it has a touch-sensitive interface on the surface of the wood, letting to display visual data outputs and touch-control functions like a thermostat, clock, weather information, dimmer controls for your lights, text-based messages or slogans, and even a way to access your voicemail. It has even built in a Google Assistant, with the option of having the voice assistant's responses displayed in text on the display or read aloud.

The Mui smart display was slated to start shipping to supporters of its Kickstarter campaign later this year.

3) Capstone Connected Home Smart Mirror here

Capstone Connected Home revealed its Google-enabled Smart Mirror, with both voice and touch screen capabilities at this year’s CES. The Smart Mirror lets you access Google Assistant, learn more about the weather and traffic before you go out for the day, and stream YouTube – all handy features especially if you find your daily skincare routine to be a bit of a drag.

You’ll also have the ability to access social media feeds, and “run downloadable applications”, according to Capstone Connected Home, although more information on which Google Play applications would work with the Smart Mirror is limited right now.

Having Google Assistant built into the mirror means you can even access Google Drive and type out emails through the touchscreen, which basically means you can get a head start on your work before you’ve even brushed your teeth.

The Smart Mirror should blend in seamlessly to any home, as it appears to be very much like a normal mirror when it is not being used. Capstone Connected Home says that it would also be available this year although purchasing cost and other vital information have not been made public.

3) Klipsch Bar 48W soundbar

Klipsch launched five new soundbars at CES 2019, that ranged from 40 inches to 54 inches in width. The smallest one, the Klipsch Bar 40G, comes with Google Assistant built-in, while the Bar 48W features a bevy of options, with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple's AirPlay 2.

4) House of Marley Get Together

House of Marley (which specializes in high-end audio kit made from sustainable materials, and was established by the son of the late, great Bob Marley), announced its first smart speaker at CES 2019.

The Get Together Mini with Google Assistant is the latest member of the House of Marley's line of Bluetooth speakers, and is made of bamboo, aluminum (easily recycled), and the company's patented Rewind fabric (a combination of organic cotton, hemp, and recycled plastics).

The speaker has Chromecast for multi-room playback, and even functions as a USB power bank for charging your phone.

5) Evovacs Deebot Ozmo 960 robot vacuum cleaner

Evovacs has unveiled its smartest robot vacuum model yet: an AI-powered bot that uses machine learning to keep your floors clean, without accidentally sucking up articles such as socks that will prove bad for its digestion.

While the concept was initially displayed at IFA 2018 in Berlin, the Deebot Ozmo 960 is now ready for release into the wilderness of consumers’ homes everywhere. It uses AIVI (Artificial Intelligence and Visual Interpretation) technology to produce a bespoke cleaning plan and identifies objects like clothing and cables so it won't get stuck trying to such up a pair of discarded pajamas.

At the moment, the Deebot Ozmo 960 can identify around 500 objects, and the company bared that it has plans to add more obstacles to the Deebot Ozmo 960's database over the months to come, so it'll become even better at avoiding everyday household hazards as time goes on.

Evovacs says that the super-smart cleaning bot would be released later this year, but haven’t provided a firm release date or prices as of yet.

6) Eve Light Strip

Most times, it is Philips Hue that shines the brightest when it comes to the world of smart lighting, but at this year’s CES, that distinction belonged to Eve Light Strip as it quite literally outshone the rest of the competition.

The Apple HomeKit-compatible LED light strip is a 2m long bendable strip of LED lights, and with 1800 lumens (compared to Philips Hue’s 1600), Eve asserts that it is in fact, the brightest HomeKit light strip to date.

Priced at $79 in the US, the light strip comes with adhesive on the back so you can attach to various parts of your home for that added flair, whether that’s under your couch, shelves, kitchen countertop, or behind your computer or television.

The Eve Light Strip works with the Apple Home app and Siri thanks to its HomeKit compatibility. You can effortlessly modify the colors with your iPhone, as there are pre-sets within the Home app, but like many smart lighting gadgets, the entire spectrum is available in the native app.

7) Philips Hue Outdoor Sensor

Lest you thought that Philips Hue was just going to lay down, it launched a number of new products as part of its outdoor smart lighting range at CES 2019, with the new devices geared to welcome you home and lend some ambiance to your outside space.

The new range includes the new Philips Hue Outdoor sensor, a battery-powered motion sensor that detects you as you near your home, and switches on your lighting system.

You can fully personalize your lighting system via the Hue app, picking which lights (indoor and outdoor) switch on when someone approaches your home and triggers the Outdoor sensor. Aside from giving you a warm welcome home, you can use this system to make it look like someone is always home and deter potential intruders.

8) Ring Doorview Cam

Smart home security company Ring raised the curtains on grand a total of 13 new products at CES 2019, but one of the favorites was definitely the new Door View Cam.

It functions very much like Ring’s previous doorbell cameras, but instead of taking the place of your doorbell, it replaces your front door’s peephole. It's completely wire-free thanks to a battery that sits on the inside of your door, the Door View Cam requires no permanent alterations, making it a great option for renters.

Like the Ring Doorbell 2, the new peephole camera provides motion detection and streams 1080p video straight to your phone via the Ring app, as well as allowing you to talk to whoever is standing on your doorstep.

What sets it apart from old models is a built-in impact sensor that can automatically detect when someone knocks on your door. If you think you’d miss your old fashioned peephole, worry not: the Door View Cam can be utilized just like an analog glass peephole should.

9) Arlo Security System

If you’re looking for a smart home gadget that will keep your home safe and secure from any threat, then the Arlo Security System is designed for you. It features an all-in-one Multi-Sensor that detects windows and doors opening and closing, motion, smoke, carbon monoxide, water leaks, the sound of gas leaks, temperature changes and so much more. If anything at all deviates in your home, you’ll be immediately informed about it through the Arlo app on your phone.

You can also set the Multi-Sensor to initiate other Arlo devices connected to the Arlo Smarthub. For example, you could have a camera start recording if it detects motion in your living room. It even converses with certified third-party smart home devices so your lights could switch on automatically when you stumble into the kitchen in the morning, bleary-eyed and incapable of finding a wall switch.

The new Security System also features the Arlo Siren, which is battery-operated and suitable for use outdoors. You can place it anywhere within range of the Smarthub, and it should deter would-be intruders with a red strobe light and blaring alarm.

If you’re feeling more subtle, you can replace the siren with other audio (such as a dog barking or TV noise) to give the impression that you’re at home when someone approaches your front door. The home security company has yet to announce any pricing, but it says that the Arlo Security System would be available to consumers this year.