Today marks the opening day of the exhibit halls at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017. Thousands of new products will be launched in these venues, many of which have been engineered and designed to make your home a better place to live in. Even common products like light bulbs and mattresses have raised their IQs in preparation for the show, and here are few of our favorite finds:
Dish Adds Voice Control to its Hopper
We’re only a few days into 2017, but so far Dish has the best news of the year – at least if you’re me, a Dish Hopper DVR user and Amazon Echo devotee. Amazon’s Alexa speech-recognition engine now works with Dish, the first TV provider to integrate directly with the Amazon service. And by “directly,” the two companies mean you don’t need a third-party mediator like IFTTT.
“Amazon is excited to be working with DISH to develop an Alexa skill that offers a hands-free television experience …,” says Amazon Alexa director Rob Pulciani, in a statement. “You no longer have to set down your popcorn to change the channel, or spend time searching for what channel the game is on – just ask Alexa to do it for you.”
Starting in the first half of this year, users can ask Alexa to navigate, search and play TV content on a broadband-connected Hopper DVR (all generations) based on channel, title, actor and genre.
The press release announcing the new service offers scant details. From the list of sample voice commands (below), it is clear that Alexa can be used to navigate through Dish’s electronic programming guide and on-demand content; however, it’s unclear if it can also navigate through the user’s recorded DVR content.
We also don’t know if users can issue voice commands to control the TV or other connected devices, given that Dish’s handheld remotes can be configured to operate these third-party products.
Finally, can you use Alexa to record shows?
Regardless, Alexa integration is a welcome amenity for Hopper DVRs. Dish’s own voice-controlled remote, while useful, falls way short of what Alexa can do.
- “Go to ESPN”
- “Show me football games”
- “Tune to AMC”
- “Play the Warriors game”
- “Change the channel to NBC”
- “Watch Game of Thrones season 1, episode 2”
- “Turn on channel 200”
- “Find Matt Damon movies”
- “Find The Voice”
- “Find comedy movies”
Sylvania Launches HomeKit-enabled, Multicolor Light Bulb
Many products can be controlled in a smart home, but doing so often required the help of a home control hub. Sylvania does away with the hub completely by integrating all the smarts into a light bulb that can be controlled via Siri and Apple’s Home app. Additionally, Sylvania Smart Multicolor A19 bulb is HomeKit-enabled, which means it can be synched with other HomeKit devices, including thermostats, electronic door locks, and more.
“For more than a century, consumers have looked to the brand SYLVANIA for innovation, and this announcement represents another exciting advancement,” says Aaron Ganick, who heads up the Smart Home Americas group at LEDVANCE. “For us, making the Smart Home a reality for consumers is all about quality products and strong partnerships with leaders in the industry. By working with Apple to provide smart lighting that works directly with the Home app, we’re making it easier for Apple enthusiasts to seamlessly integrate quality lighting into their Smart Home, bringing convenience and simplicity to their daily lives.”
In addition to using the Home app, you can control your lights using voice commands with Siri. For those times when you are away from home, Apple has also made it possible to control HomeKit-enabled products like the Sylvania Smart Multicolor A19 bulb using an Apple TV or iPad running iOS 10 as a home hub. This allows consumers flexibility when deciding how to control their HomeKit-enabled products. You can also set lighting scenes and combine activities with other HomeKit-enabled devices to create custom experiences through the Home app. For example, turning on the lights, unlocking the front door and turning on the heat can be accomplished simply by speaking voice commands to Siri such as, “I’m on my way home.”
The HomeKit-enabled SYLVANIA Smart Multicolor A19 bulb will be available on Amazon in early 2017 in the U.S. LEDVANCE is also looking to expand products that are compatible with HomeKit throughout 2017.
Sleep Number Introduces the Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed
We’ve all dealt with sleepless nights. Whether stress or a chronic snorer is keeping you awake, there might be a solution to your sleep deprivation. AT CES 2017 Sleep Number unveils a smart bed that intuitively senses and automatically adjusts comfort to keep both partners sleeping soundly all night.
Powered by SleepIQ technology – the latest in biometric sleep tracking – the Sleep Number 360 smart bed features the following:
Self-adjusting comfort throughout the night. As sleep positions change during the night, each partner can sleep comfortably. ResponsiveAir technology adjusts the bed’s comfort in real time via the two air chambers inside the mattress – gently contouring to each partner’s side, back or stomach profiles.
Automatic snore detection and adjustment. Sensing SleepIQ biometrics, the adjustable base automatically adjusts to each sleeper’s ideal position throughout the night. For example, if someone is snoring on their back, the base automatically raises the snorers’ head seven degrees to help temporarily relieve the symptoms of common, mild snoring in otherwise healthy adults.
Foot-warming to fall asleep faster. Research shows that people fall asleep faster when their feet are warmed. Through SleepIQ technology, the Sleep Number 360 smart bed knows a sleepers’ bedtime routine and warms the foot of the bed automatically with Rapid Sleep Onset technology.
Smart alarm feature awakens at the optimal moment. The newest advancement of SleepIQ technology understands a sleeper’s bedtime routine, and knows when they would like to wake up. For example, an alarm will sound when they are in their lightest stage of sleep during their desired wake-up time window.
The Sleep Number 360 smart bed was named the CES Innovation Awards “Best of Innovation” Honoree in the Home Appliances category, an award given to only the highest-rated product or technology in the category. The Sleep Number 360 smart bed also was named an Honoree in both the Smart Home category and Embedded Technologies category. The annual CES Innovation Awards celebrate outstanding product design and engineering in brand-new consumer technology products.
GE Appliances Connected Ovens Work With Nest Protect
The scents of roasting, cooking and baking are never far away, but sometimes those scents can be accompanied by less appealing ones—smoke and burnt food. It’s not only displeasing to your nose, but also important to deal with immediately. That’s why GE Appliances has designed a new oven that works with the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm to better detect fires in an oven and quickly alert the homeowners.
Nest Protect thinks, speaks and alerts you in real-time and on your phone when it detects smoke or CO. It also gives homeowners an early warning of an issue and lets them know where in the home smoke has been detected.
“Cooking should be an enjoyable experience, but we know that sometimes there are mishaps in the kitchen,” says Paul Surowiec, vice president, cooking products, at GE Appliances, a Haier company. “Our integration with Nest Protect helps us ensure that our connected oven owners are safer when cooking, especially when the oven is left unattended.”
Once enabled, if Nest Protect detects smoke while the connected oven is on, GE Appliances will send a command to turn off the oven. The Kitchen app will then also receive a push notification, letting them know that the oven has been turned off.
If the oven is turned on and Nest detects you are away, Nest will send a command and GE Appliances will send a push notification to the connected user’s phone.
In addition to integrating with connected ovens, Nest Protect offers additional features:
· Split-spectrum sensor uses two wavelengths of light to look for both fast- and slow-burning fires.
· App Silence allows homeowners to silence an alarm from their phones when everything is under control.
· Product lifetime of up to 10-years offers worry-free use.
· Safety Checkup allows homeowners to test the sensors, power, Wi-Fi connection, horn and speaker on all alarms, right from their phone.
· Automatic speaker and horn sound tests once per month.
DIY Smart Home Kits from Interlogix Offer Lots of Cool Control Options
For a do-it-yourselfer one of the most appealing aspects of a smart home system is the ability to grow its capabilities over time. Being able to start out with basic features and add on as the budget allows or needs change ensures that a system stays fresh and relevant, adapting smoothly to changes in the household dynamic. At CES 2017 Interlogix will introduce new features and functions to its UltraSync SmartHome system that will provide avid DIYers with more options for home control—and help from a professional when they need it.
The UltraSync SmartHome system provides home automation and professional-grade, UL-listed security features to keep homeowners in touch and in control. Its built-in Z-Wave radio allows control of a growing number of devices, including compatible lights, thermostats, locks and other appliances. The system can also view live video and replay captured alarm or action-triggered video.
Select devices and controllers from Aeon Labs, an in-home automation products company, are now compatible with UltraSync. “We continue to look at new ways to offer homeowners innovation in the smart home. This includes expanding automation device compatibility with UltraSync,” says Shin Voeks, Intrusion and Alarm Monitoring, Interlogix. “As a security manufacturer, it’s also important to us to ensure that UltraSync provides professional grade security options for home protection that offers added peace of mind.”
The latest release of UltraSync SmartHome offers a variety of enhancements that include:
- A secondary 7-inch touchscreen offering system programming and control
- Automation routines made even simpler with sunrise/sunset triggers and timers allowing homeowners to delay activities and keep devices on for a selected amount of time
- Interface with the ecobee3 Wi-Fi thermostat as well as the BryantÒ HouseWise smart thermostat
- The UltraSync Indoor Desktop IP/Wi-Fi camera, which allows it to be placed on desktops or bookshelves or mounting on walls and ceilings.
- Selectable backgrounds – even the homeowner’s own pictures – for the UltraSync mobile app
A limited edition smart home kit with basic self-monitoring capability will also be available to homeowners next year. The UltraSync SmartHome kit with DIY installation offers comprehensive control accompanied by telephone support from a professional security and smart home expert. The kits help homeowners who want to save money but also have the peace of mind that technical support is available when they need it.
“With a professional only a phone call away, the pro assist kits offer flexibility and cost savings. It’s an option for those who like to tackle projects themselves and have some basic technology know-how,” says Voeks. “It also provides the homeowner the option to add professional emergency monitoring as well as upgrade their system in the future.”
The DIY pro assist starter kit includes the self-contained UltraSync Hub, two door/window sensors, a motion detector, a smart appliance outlet and a smart trigger button to initiate system automations. A deluxe kit adds a secondary 7-inch touchscreen control center and extra door/window sensors, appliance outlets and trigger buttons. Both kits will be available in select cities across the U.S. in early 2017, starting at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $199.
Home technology is always moving, always improving, always promising to provide ease and convenience to our lives. Can you benefit from new smart home technology?
Answer the following questions to determine if your home is a good candidate.Download checklist