In the spirit of the Fresh Start Effect, it’s not just your health and fitness habits that could do with a long, hard look now it’s January. We’ve seen a bunch of exciting smart home announcements and collaborations come out of CES and the first few weeks of 2016 in time to spruce up your dumb, boring place.
Here’s our pick of the most interesting hubs, beds, bulbs, thermostats and yes, smart showers that will be invading your homes in 2016.
New HomeKit friends
In true Apple style, it didn’t turn up to the world’s biggest tech expo in Vegas but there was still plenty of Apple related news by way of HomeKit compatible devices.
Here’s a select list of new HomeKit devices and existing products that now play nice with Apple’s smart home API which is aiming to put your iPhone at the centre of your smart home.
Read this: The best HomeKit ready smart home kit
Smart thermostats, switches and more
Honeywell’s new $249 version of its Lyric smart thermostat was announced at CES – it supports geofencing for location based adjustments and ships at the end of January. It joins the ecobee3 which joined HomeKit back in July 2015.
Elgato’s Eve smart, energy monitoring plug and light switch are now on board with Apple’s standard and can be turned on and off with Siri though Elgato’s smart light bulbs themselves aren’t HomeKit friendly yet.
All manner of other less well known home gadgets on show at CES announced that HomeKit is on the horizon including Symphony and Signal ceiling fans, Lutron Electronics’ smart window blinds, ConnectSense’s smart water sensor and OneLink’s Wi-Fi connected safe.
Amazon also had a pretty busy CES in smart home terms even though it didn’t actually launch anything at the show.
Philips Hue, Belkin’s smart plugs and Wink’s home automation have already announced Alexa and Echo integration and they are now joined by devices such as Invoxia’s Triby connected speaker and connected ceiling fans from the wonderfully named Big Ass Fans.
Whirlpool also showed off a new smart washing machine with an integrated Dash button which auto orders your detergent online. Amazing. Plus GE talked the talk about adding Dash replenishment tech to its appliances in future. It looks like 2016 will be the year of HomeKit vs Nest vs Alexa, then.
Smart bulbs get smarter
Sony Multifunctional Light
As well as being a smart ceiling light, Sony’s Multifunctional Light is about 2,000% more exciting than its dull name suggests. This do-it-all hub can detect that you’re home, turn on gadgets/your TV/your heating and control music, too.
It’s all set up and tweaked via a smartphone app, of course, and Sony’s clever light fixture is coming to Japan in the first half of 2016. Hopefully the rest of the world will follow because Sony didn’t actually announce anything new in terms of smart home tech during its CES conference.
There was some seriously pretty smart mood lighting from Nanoleaf at CES this year. Aurora is a modular, flat panel system made up of triangle shaped panels that can be configured to exactly suit your TV/windows/pretentious art and up to 30 can be connected in one group.
Change colours in the app and also take advantage of the HomeKit compatibility with Siri commands for dimming, turning on or switching hues. No. Switches.
This NFC enabled ‘smart candlestick’ from French company Ubiant is actually just one aspect of a whole smart home system. It shows you, via different coloured lights, how much energy you’re using in your house and how much people around you are using.
Plus Ubiant hooks the smart bulb up to its AI, cloud software and partner sensors around your pad, which can be paired with one tap of the Luminion.
And the (somewhat wacky) rest
SensorWake alarm clock
This bonkers olfactory alarm clock uses smells, not sounds, to wake you up in the mornings. Its scent cartridges can provide you with coffee, croissant or even cash money smells, whatever works, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign last summer, it’s now selling for €89.
To be quite honest, the power of the smell of bacon sandwiches is one of the most efficient ways to get us out of bed in the mornings so SensorWake might be onto something.
This robotic food-maker would be a fun, if potentially hazardous, addition to a smart kitchen. The Cooki is supposed to add your ingredients into a pan for you and stir them with its robotic arm.
We’re tempted to try one out just for the comedy chaos that would ensue if it runs into trouble. Sadly, Indiegogo thinks otherwise as Sereneti failed to make any dint in its $100,000 goal and closed the campaign on 9 January – it’s relaunching in a few months. For new kitchen hijinks, see also the OneCook robotic chef.
Sleep Number smart bed
Each half of Sleep Number’s smart It bed can be adjusted, measure your movements and molded to your bod separately.
Metrics tracked by SleepIQ include heart rate, breathing and restfulness and integration with fitness apps – so the mattress can tweak its settings after a long run – is on its way. When it arrives later this year, it will come in six sizes and retail for about $1,000.
Hydrao Smart Shower
Why would you possibly need a smart showerhead? Well, Hydrao is designed with four LEDs which change colour when you use too much water. It’s aimed at anyone who is worried about waste so the base will glow green if you’ve used less than 10 litres of water, then purple to 30 litres, then orange until you finally hit red at 50 litres.
Apparently the average American uses 75 – 80 litres per shower so if you find yourself losing track of time while scrubbing, this could be a neat way to glance at your info. Hydrao is the work of French design firm Start and Blue and will go on sale for $99 in March.