If we had any question that smart homes and cities are gaining ground, the 51st annual Consumer Electrons Show (CES) in Las Vegas put those doubts to rest. From Jan. 9-12, the event showcased 20,000 products across 2.75 million square feet of exhibition space, launching new technologies from companies small and large. A connected future holds possibilities of more efficient ways of interacting with the technology in our homes, workplaces, and even our urban environments. From the Internet of Things (IoT) to artificial intelligence in healthcare and self-driving cars, more and more products are touting wireless communication with each other and its users.
ARCHITECT has selected eight architectural products designed to keep their users connected at all times.
HomeHawk Front Door HD Camera, Panasonic
Part of Panasonic's KX-HN7000 series, this remote home monitoring system can be installed right above the main entrance, offering a 172-degree, bird's-eye view of the immediate outdoors. The camera operates on rechargeable batteries and connects to a wireless hub equipped with a 4 gigabyte secure digital (SD) card for up to nine hours of record time. The device features full-color night vision and two-way audio with built-in speakers and microphones. The system connects to a smartphone app, and is compatible with Google Home and Amazon Echo Show. panasonic.com
Capable of clamping onto any surface, the second generation of Humanscale's split docking system eliminates desktop cable clutter by organizing wires under the desk. A USB hub is the only component that remains visible above the working surface and can be placed around a computer monitor arm for even less desktop clutter. The new version is equipped with an audio jack and USB-C ports, and is backwards compatible with USB 3.0. The system supports two 4K resolution monitors or one 5K resolution monitor. humanscale.com
This smart shower personalizes the user experience by adjusting water temperature and providing timed showers via voice command, a 8.6"-wide-by-3.3"-tall control panel, or a smartphone app. U is offered in two- or four-outlet shower valves in a terra beige finish, and has a standard maximum temperature setting of 115 F, which can be increased to 120 F through the app. The digital, wirelessly connected shower can start or pause water flow for efficiency. U is currently compatible with Amazon Alexa; compatibility with Apple Homekit and Siri will be available in the second quarter this year. moen.com
Though it may look like a conventional streetlamp, Intelli-Station is a smart city system that offers far more than just illumination. Fitted with LEDs, the fixture can monitor its environment through integrated motion sensors, cameras, speakers, and microphones. The fixture can also wirelessly connect to devices through 2G, 5G, LTE, and the IoT, using an integrated Zigbee control module. wi-fiber.us
Numi Smart Toilet, Kohler
Equipped with the Kohler Konnect smart home system, the Numi toilet caters to individual users needs with features like integrated sensors, Bluetooth technology, and personalized presets. Boasting a heated seat and warm-air dryer, Numi automatically flushes and operates the lid through sensors. Customizable LED lights can help guide users to the bathroom in the dark, while embedded speakers wirelessly stream music. Numi is compatible with Amazon's Alexa and can be controlled through voice command, the Kohler Konnect smartphone application, and a remote. us.kohler.com
LG InstaView ThinQ Black Stainless Steel Refrigerator, LG
The lovechild of a smartphone and a refrigerator, LG's new connected kitchen appliance features a 29" touch LCD display that transitions from a screen to a translucent glass window with two knocks. Because this fridge knows the groceries in it you better than you do, it can suggest recipes according to the available ingredients, while the integrated Amazon Alexa feature can talk you through the recipe steps. Users can also peruse the 30-cubic-foot-capacity appliance remotely through the wide-angle Panorama View camera inside the fridge and the company's SmartThinQ app. The door-in-door fridge can also stream music on integrated speakers through Bluetooth technology. InstaView ThinQ has a fingerprint and smudge-resistant finish. lg.com
Google Assistant, Google
The omnipotent tech giant made moves to expand the reach of its virtual personal assistant at the 2018 CES show, announcing partnerships for voice-activated speakers with electronics companies Anker Innovations, Bang & Olufsen, JBL, and others. Later this year, Google Assistant will also be available on smart display touchscreens from LG, Lenovo, and Sony. The expansion of this service strengthens Google Assistant's rivalry with Amazon Alexa, leaving attendees buzzing with questions of which offered wider functionality. blog.google.com
Amazon Alexa, Amazon
Featured in almost all connected products at CES 2018, it is safe to say that Amazon Alexa has successfully broken free of the company's Echo speaker—its first official platform—and branched out to availability on a range of appliances and devices from showers to cars. amazon.com