Smart homes win centre stage at CES 2019

The dust has settled in Las Vegas and the tech world is breathing a sigh of relief, so what were the highlights of CES?

There were the usual flying cars and ping-pong playing robots; impressive but still a long way from consumer adoption. Take Continental’s robot dogs for last-mile package delivery, it’s a thought provoking concept and perhaps a slightly creepy addition to our streets but certainly won’t be a real service any time soon.

There were also the stalwart tech brands who used their platform not only to release their latest innovations but also to champion their brand ecosystems and brand ambitions. Pharrell Williams, for example, took to the stage to announce Sony’s 360 Reality Audio, showing Sony’s ambition for their products to “connect creators and users by enabling people to enjoy content at the highest possible quality” (CEO Yoshida).

And, of course, there was Google. Google was (unsurprisingly) battling it out to be the top dog in smart homes. From deploying Google employees to other companies’ exhibits to talk up the features they offer on third party devices, to creating a Google Assistant Ride, they were pulling out all the stops. And I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with their launch of the Tardis-like interpreter mode.

The effort that Google went to championing their voice assistant speaks of a significant trend from CES this year: the proliferation of connected devices. Though this might not seem as exciting as the robo-dogs, this is the trend to watch. (Or shout about.)

From the Google Assistant to Lenovo’s smart clock and Capstone’s smart mirror to home security, health and smart planks, our smart homes are starting to wrap us in connected bubbles. Add in 5G’s imminent superfast out-of-home data and our connected bubbles will soon be following us everywhere, and will know us better than we know ourselves.

For any Space Odyssey fans…

You: “Open the garage doors, HAL.”

Your house: “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that…”

So, settle in. The smart home ride is about to begin.

By: Rachel Ballard

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