Getting back on track, CES, 2018 smart home predictions, and more
While I didn't post officially here on smarterhomelife.com regarding the content "pause", I definitely needed to post something new here in 2018. As I talked about in the Thank You video, I've had to take a break from, and re-structure Smarter Home Life. But that certainly doesn't mean it's over. Smarter Home Life's content will slowly return in the coming weeks and months, but for now, let's talk about CES.
I will be "lightly" covering CES this year, as quite a bit of my time is spent working for a smart home startup named Lynky...who found me from Smarter Home Life's content last summer. I will be part of their team at CES, doing product demos at the booth and speaking with the press. If I can produce a "CES Wrap-Up" article or video, I will, but no promises.
What to expect at CES 2018? Voice-assisted everything! Anything and everything is the smart home world, and even just random home appliances and gadgets, are being outfitted with microphones and speakers so you can talk to them. Also, any remaining smart home products that don't have compatibility with Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit will most likely gain it. (Shameless plug, Lynky's signature product is a smart home hub with Google Assistant.)
2018 will be the year of integration, and the year of better compatibility between smart home devices and systems. We saw this trend really start to take-off last year and it will continue this year as companies work to ensure that their products work with the "big three" voice platforms. Cortana and Bixby are certainly in last place at this point, but they'll definitely be vying for integrations with the rest of the industry. We'll see more products get HomeKit support, as companies have had more than six months since Apple announced that devices could gain HomeKit functionality through software updates vs creating new hardware.
The other part of the home automation universe that -should- start to get easier in 2018 is the setup and daily routines of our smart homes. Now that every conceivable connected device has seemed to have come to market, consumers still face an uphill battle once they get smart home gadgets home. Basic setup is beginning to be streamlined, but the creation of automations and scenes, and making thoughtful and useful home automation can still be daunting. Many consumers watch YouTube videos of fancy connected, automated homes and think "I want THAT!" But they usually don't understand that automation that "just works" and that essentially hides in the background can be quite difficult to get running smoothly.
Through machine learning and/or artificial intelligence, and consumer trust, the smart home will start to become truly smart. Vivint started down this road with their AI-based Sky monitoring and management system that debuted at CES 2017, and they are rolling into Best Buy stores with dedicated smart home "mini stores". Amazon, Google and Apple will slowly start to roll-out their own intelligence this year to assist smart home newbies and advanced users alike, but their strategies will certainly differ. I wrote an entire piece on this topic late in 2017.
All in all though, 2018 will probably still be a bit confusing for consumers with all of the smart home options, and with five major companies all vying for consumer attention with their voice assistants, and intelligence systems. Once we get to the end of 2018, many connections will have been made across these so-called smart devices, and hopefully these gadgets will let us do more with our lives and spend less time yelling at them when things don't "just work".