If this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is any indication, your home is going to get smarter and smarter. The idea is that the things you used most can help you become better at what you use them for. If they can all communicate with each-other they can do even more, including lower your energy use and costs, increase convenience, and educate you and your family. Check out some of the smart home products, some great, some kind of silly, that you may be buying in the next several years.
The smart mirror is a connection hub for you to start your day with the info you want to see most. You set it up to show you what you’d like to see. Maybe your instagram and twitter feeds, perhaps you want to know the weather or news, or just watch your favorite YouTube channel. The smart mirror will respond to your hand gestures or voice commands to provide you with the convenience level you desire.
Sleep number is at CES showing off their smart bed. Yes, apparently a bed can be smart. This bed will warm your feet, decrease the mattress firmness if you toss and turn, and even tilt your head up if you start to snore. You didn’t know you needed a smart bed did you?
File this one under more stuff you didn’t know you needed. A smart hairbrush will track your hair brushing technique and teach you how to brush your hair better. The designers of the brush say it will help keep your hair healthier and look better. Maybe this will go in the “stuff you definitely don’t need” file. That’s just my opinion though.
This toothbrush has computer components built in that will track your brushing habits and give you recommendations to do a better job. The verge’s article says it’s “you-missed-a-spot for dental hygiene.” For someone like me who thinks brushing my teeth is boring, it’s a struggle to do it for as long as is recommended. A smart toothbrush would be pretty good accountability for me. Plus, since I’m a tech nerd, it would probably make me a bit less annoyed to stand in one spot for two minutes with a brush in my mouth.
Toothbrush Game Controller
There’s also a smart toothbrush option for the kids but theirs has a game built in. I know, the kids get all the good stuff. The game helps coach the kids to brush all of their teeth and take all the time necessary. It will distract them from the time they are spending brushing by letting them battle monsters by moving the brush to different areas of their mouths. The app on a phone or tablet provides the instructions and how well they follow those instructions will determine if they win the game or not.
Another major product being featured at CES is the connected appliance. I wrote about the washer and dryer yesterday but there are refrigerators, ovens, trash compactors, dishwashers, and even a toaster that will communicate with each-other and allow you to control them from your smartphone or other controller. The apps will let you adjust settings on your washer and dryer, monitor your home while you’re away, and even turn off the off the oven if you’re coming home late. It’s all connected and it’s becoming the majority of what these appliance companies are producing.
Should Your Family Be So Connected?
I look at a smarthome like social media. There are things that make sense for some folks that don’t for others. Is it cool to be on the fringe beginnings of the latest trend? Sure it is, but it isn’t always practical. I, for instance, use Facebook to promote our ministry and this blog and I use Instagram to keep track of friends, Twitter is where I turn for professional growth and information. These smarthome and connected appliances fall into a similar category for me. There are those who are going to feel like they need a smart hairbrush, I will never see the need but some will. I may like having my kitchen all connected and controllable from an app on my phone but you may not. Chalk it up to “different strokes for different folks.”
As for safety and security, the more connected you become, the more you’ll have to keep an eye on how you’re protecting your family. This entire site is dedicated to the fact the being connected online comes with risks. While your oven may not lead your kids down a road to temptation, what if you daughter uses that smart mirror to compare herself with photos of people she thinks is more beautiful? What if your son is using it to watch videos you wouldn’t normally allow him to watch. Some of these smart products are just new screens and new screens mean new parental controls to set up. Do you know how to do that? You should.