Digital Huddle - Technology for the Home

  • Categories:

    Industry Trends

  • Date:

    January 30, 2014

Digital Huddle - Technology for the Home



Industry Trends

This month, in the digital huddle, the team was tasked with finding technologies that fall into the following categories: the "internet of things" and the home. If you missed the recent CES show, there were a lot of great ideas and technologies introduced that fit into these categories. Here are few ideas that caught our attention:

Structure.io

structure-io

Structure.io is a spacial computing hardware and software product that allows users to interact with the three-dimensional space around them. According to the website, the device works by detecting a pattern of invisible laser light projected from the device. This allows for the measurement of thousands of distances simultaneously. It does have an SDK and encourages developers to jump in and develop apps for the device.

The possibilities appear to be limitless. This technology could be leveraged by furniture manufacturers, interior designers and the home security and gaming industries. With so many possibilities, it should be fun to watch how this technology evolves.

 

Smart Locks

smart-locks

Goji™ Smart Lock
Interestingly enough, our team shared two different smart lock solutions. The first technology shared was Goji Smart Locks. As to be expected with this type of product, the device gives the user the ability to access and control the locks on their doors. This lock can be connected to your smart phone, home Wi-Fi or Bluetooth LE. There is a nice bundle of features that include key-less access, programmable fobs for guest keys, a built-in camera that can send photos to the phone and digital keys shared via text message. These features makes this lock extendable and multifaceted.

Here is the product video to learn more:

August Smart Lock
August is a similar player in the smart lock space. It has similarly robust capabilities of the Goji, but additional features make it a different type of offering. The footprint of the device is much smaller and more elegant than the Goji. It does not depend on your Wi-Fi network to function and relies instead on Bluetooth LE. A simple, but intriguing, feature is the EverLock™ sensor that determines when you have closed the door and locks it behind you.

Here is the product video, with a little cheeky twist, describing the lock:

Both are nice solutions. It does appear to be a bit like the early days of the iPhone vs. android--a smaller set of nicely designed features vs. a larger, robust set of capabilities.

Smart Home Accessories

Smart appliances have been available for several years now. From internet ready fridges to thermostats, we have already opened the door to home automation. There were a handful of new smart appliances announced at CES. Here are some fun, exciting, and maybe a little questionable, examples:

  • Bang & Olufsen combined music and a thermostat into one device.
  • Lynx Grills developed a smart grill.
  • Crockpot helps mitigate the frustrations of slow cooking while at work with the Smart Slow Cooker.
  • And, for those in need of dental hygiene support, the Kolibree toothbrush is the world's first smart toothbrush.

Security for the "internet of things"

One thing to consider when you automate your  home is that your data is being shared in the cloud. This is great because it allows you remote access to your home like never before. But, the underlining story with home automation is whether or not companies consider security as they develop these devices.

An excellent article by Rachel Metz  from the MIT Technology Review goes into depth about concerns around accessibility to these smart devices, a call for a common protocol for security and a recommendation to limit the number of items connected to the Internet. Definitely worth the read.

 

Tell us what you think

Which digital products and new technologies are you are exploring? Let us know in the comments below.