CES 2015: There’s no place like (the high tech smart) home

January 8, 2015
droplet sprinkler

This post was written by Mike Lizun, Senior Vice President

Ten years ago, my wife and I had our first home built in a rural area of New Jersey. Wireless Internet was pretty new at the time and the technology was weak. So I opted to have the entire house fully wired for everything in every room. We wired for cable, phone, Internet, and every other eventuality we could think of to, ahem, future-proof my home. Let’s just say the electrician was none too pleased to have to figure it all out for his first time. No worries, I figured it out for him. It wasn’t easy. We added a hub in the basement, then chases, a PVC pipe to the attic to drop wires in each room from above. Same thing for the first floor, but feeding from the basement instead. New construction made the work tedious but doable. I can’t imagine the hassle of wiring an existing home back then…the drilling, cutting and snaking wires here and there.

Once done, it was awesome, and I was able enjoy all this smart tech in my home for…one year. Well, a year and half. We sold the house and my wife and I, along with our 1-year-old, moved to the Philadelphia-area for a new job. That brings me to today. Fortunately, because I work in PR for tech companies, I get to preview the latest and greatest technology each year at The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Well, me and 160,000 other people who attend, as well as the millions who learn about the show through the media.

And this year, the smart home — a real smart home, not the kind of jerry-rigged years ago — is all the rage at CES 2015. Literally, hundreds of companies are here showing off smart home technology. I am like a kid in a candy store, but with champagne tastes and a beer-budget wallet (although the beer doesn’t come cheap in Las Vegas). So I decided to seek out some less expensive home devices and technology that might be easier to manage but still add to the quality of my home life. Fortunately, I am in luck. Along with the high end, full home systems on display, there are tons of simpler gadgets that won’t break the bank, but still deliver on the promise of home smart.

To give you some flavor, here’s a visual tour of smart home CES:

The PowerCost Monitor measures your home’s electricity usage and cost, so put those old bills and that calculator away. And as you measure, you’ll better understand what small changes can save you money.

ALLIE is a 720-degree portable video monitoring camera, and it was named an honoree of the 2015 CES Innovations Award in both the Digital Imaging and Smart Home categories. ALLIE can scan from floor to ceiling in all directions, and you can remotely view the footage through a secure app.

The ALLIE

The BEKEY, one of the new electronic locks, replaces physical keys with a high level of security. BEKEY is installed on the inside of the door, and when you need to give others access to your home, you simply send a digital “key” to your visitors, all via a free mobile app.

The BEKEY

Plugo is an entire smart home kit: The hub, switches, LED light bulbs, IP cameras, door locks, and Bluetooth and WiFi-controlled drapes and blinds all work together to make any home into a smart home.

The Plugo

Let’s not forget about the robots! The Droplet is a robotic sprinkler. On a dry summer day, when my yard is more brown than green, I could turn on the sprinkler from my phone. Yes please.

So there you have it. A handful of smart home products from CES 2015. It’s easier, cheaper, and smarter than ever to make your home smarter. And today, because most of these innovations are DIY, you won’t have to pay for most of the installation, and if you move from home in a year and half like I did, you just take it all with you.

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