At CES, many new companies sprouted in the Connected Home category, the goal of which is to enable ordinary consumers to install connected devices without the hassle of professional appointments and labor charges. I see it as the home upgrade for dummies, a concept I can stand behind. Below, I take a quick glance at several connected home items from CES, all of which are easily installable and operate via iOS…
With the tagline “advanced security made easy,” Swann is right on track to help the home install noobies, like me. With a connected security line up from simple in-home monitors to advanced full HD commercial grade recording systems, there is an item for everyone at Swann. I met with the marketing representatives at CES and received a walk through of their current product line.
For the average home user, you will want to check out the ADS-450 Wi-Fi network camera with cloud storage capabilities. The camera boasts 12′ of night vision, onboard microphone, pairing compatible for additional units, and iOS monitoring with notifications. I have a unit for testing and a future review will be coming.
The iSmartAlarm is a new company to hit the market at CES and I was able to meet with the founder, Raymond Meng. Currently seeking funding on Indiegogo, as a marketing jump starter, the alarm system will launch this year for around $250. Unlike other devices, iSmartAlarm is not only a camera monitor, but also tracks window and door openings with installable tags. The system appears to be easily installed based on my hands-on experience at CES and allows monitoring and activation or deactivate through an iOS app. Simply place the monitoring tools around the home using an adhesive, preventing nail holes or screws, and plug in the base unit. For more details view their introduction video.
I have been interested in the WeMo system since its launch last year. Currently, the system offers Wi-Fi-enabled motion sensors and AC wall outlets. At CES, Belkin introduced their newest member to the WeMo family, a Wi-Fi-enabled light switch. All of these devices can be monitored from the companion app and offer easy installation. While the outlet is merely an additional plug and the motion sensor is a stand alone unit, there will be some installation for the light switch, but nothing I would fret over. Look for the switch to be available this summer.
GreenWave invests in home management solutions, particularly in lighting platforms. Their new internet connected energy efficient bulbs allow control from iOS devices or any web-enabled items. The lighting solutions can be integrated with in-room motion sensors to dim or turn off lights when there are no occupants, even changing the lighting based on current weather conditions. However, lighting is not the only piece to the GreenWave system.
Additional GreenWave technologies allow remote thermostat controls, scheduling, and heating/cooling solutions. Home security is also a connected option with video cameras and alarm systems. What GreenWave is trying to prevent is the fragmentation of easily installed, automated home monitoring. While the items in this article are all a individually connected home solution, GreenWave is trying to pull all of these separate control systems into one integrated option. This prevents installing multiple platforms and loads of iOS apps to control items around the house. With a GreenWave solution, the whole home would be monitorable from one app or web browser and easily installed by the end user. For further information watch their product video.
Seagate Wireless Central
Having met with several of the Seagate VP’s at CES, I am very pleased with the upcoming lineup for 2013. I am sure you have seen wild coverage of their new Central, which will replace the Seagate Home. The Central is an excellent new addition to the Seagate home connected option. It is, at its core, a NAS device, but thanks to new software development, the unit is not a complicated mess to use. With the goal to be up and running in a matter of minutes, gone are the days of mounting network drives to your file structure.
Powering on the Central and connecting it to the network will only take a matter of minutes. Again, thanks to a push from the software engineers, there is no included software or downloadable drivers to make all of the magic happen. Once connected, the Central is accessible via iOS, a web browser, and even select home media devices like Samsung televisions and any other devices with DLNA access.
We are luckily heading into a future where all of our electronics can be accessible via web enabled options… and why not? Like I heard at the NETGEAR press conference, why shouldn’t all of our electronically powered in-home items be connected? I completely agree. It looks like we are headed that direction and the easier it is to install all of these items, the better. Why will my washer/dryer not send me a push notification when the load is complete? My hot water heater should be able to tell me what percent of my hot water is left. Turning lights on at this point seems to be the basics.
What do you think? Do you have any connected items up and running in your home? What is your biggest connected wish?