It’s that time of the year again — the exciting rush right after the holidays and fresh on the heels of 2015 International CES in Las Vegas. As we look back at the last few years, the smart home category has always been prominent, particularly in 2013 and 2014.
Room by room, appliance by appliance, it’s becoming clearer than ever that our homes are becoming increasingly more connected. With major backing from corporations like Apple and Google as well as an onset of smart home startups on Kickstarter, it is clear that the market is ready to grow at a rapid pace. From security systems and meters to remote controls and utensils, a new generation of intelligent products is set to power and revolutionize our daily lives.
As we head into 2015, we will undoubtedly see the rise of the connected home and a variety of products infiltrate new markets, not to mention existing ones as well. We will see once ordinary household items become Internet-enabled, which not only converges both our digital and physical worlds, but will usher in a more intuitive and automated home. From the living room to the kitchen to the garage, a multitude of trends were certainly apparent on this year’s CES show floor.
In the living room
Never leave the sofa again. Speakers connected through Wi-Fi, ZigBee-controlled smart light bulbs, motion sensors on windows and universal remotes that command all your entertainment devices, touchscreens on the wall, thermostats that adjust to your preferred temperature…what more could you ask for?
In the bedroom
Not only enhancing your day-to-day functions while awake, there will also be a wide-range of connected devices designed to aid users sleep – these include smart gadgets that monitor and analyze sleep patterns to those that enable you to wake up smoothly at the optimal time of a sleep cycle.
Outside the front door
Smart cameras and burglar deterrents are ushering in an entirely new realm of home security. Cameras won’t only be capable of recognizing faces, but sounds and voices as well. This connected equipment will accurately detect those approaching your home, while also allowing you to see and speak to them using your smartphone. Meanwhile, other devices can learn and replay lighting patterns while you’re out of the house, which give off the impression of a lived-in home. Pretty soon, you’ll have your own smart bellhop and security guard.
In the garage
CES 2014 demonstrated that the futuristic automotive features had indeed arrived. The era of constantly connected vehicles are headed into the fast lane, with a number of carmakers looking to smartphone integration and more dynamic interfaces. Expect to see more capacitive touchscreen, smartphone-like dashboards and enhanced app integration. As we look ahead, we are inching so close to the day of self-driving vehicles, which will most likely be more prevalent in the coming months. Furthermore, keyless entry, passive start and vehicle-to-vehicle communication will all play an integral role in 2015. Soon, Disney won’t be the only place to find talking cars.
In the closet
2014 was a significant year for wearables, particularly wrist technology However, don’t be too surprised over the next 12 months if you see the tremendous growth of smart garments as well as devices that clip and attach. The technology is out there and being quickly adopted. Meanwhile, there will be a number of new devices looking to set the tone for health and fitness technology, while smaller companies will emerge — evident by the sheer volume of recently-launched crowdfunding campaigns. Talk about smarty pants!
Staying ahead of the curve
Back at CES 2014, we saw what the mere beginnings of curved screens through televisions. As we get closer to Jan. 6, you can expect to see a couple curved and bendable smartphones throughout the show floor. Companies are getting closer and closer to developing a truly flexible display that would let a user fold up their phone and contort it into whichever shape to easily slide into a pocket. We’re bringing flexy back! Yep!
DIY at home
Another CES, another year closer to ubiquitous 3D printers, home-brew smart devices, DIY drones in the backyard, and customized robots navigating around the house. In fact, this year’s show will see a much larger presence located inside its Robotics Marketplace. One day, we will have more open-source, programmable and autonomous bots carrying out our daily tasks, capable of observing, listening, feeling and reacting specifically to various environments. Additionally, with the widespread adoption of development platforms like Arduino, expect to see more Makers create their own web-connected projects – from home automation to smart remotes.
Securing the house
A trend that we’ll continue to see when discussing the smart home is the world emerging with security and connectivity. As the Internet of Things continues to emerge throughout our products and appliances, the need for security has never been more important than now due to the rapidly expanding number of IoT devices, which drastically multiplies the potential exposure points of attack.
This article, written by Atmel VP of Marketing Sander Arts, originally appeared on ECNMag.com on January 2, 2014. Those heading to CES 2015 can discover all the latest innovations around the smart home at #MP25760 in South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as explore next-gen wireless and lighting solutions in the Sands Expo at both the ZigBee Alliance Pavilion located in booth #71023 and the Connected Lighting Alliance in booth #70432.