The first major press event of CES 2015, CES Unveiled gave us a chance to get a sneak preview of some of the cool new iOS accessories and solutions debuting at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Home automation solutions took the forefront this year, with solutions ranging from power outlets, to door locks, to cameras — however more traditional audio solutions weren’t left out of the mix, either.
Brio was showing off new home automation solutions designed with a focus on safety, with a smart power outlet that promises to virtually eliminate shock hazards at the outlet by only supplying power when an appropriate device is plugged in. A network of wireless sensors can also be positioned throughout the home to monitor things like CO, smoke, and water hazards, sending clear and easy-to-understand alerts instantly to the Brio mobile app.
First Alert was showing its new Onelink lineup of app-integrated home automation solutions, including a thermostat, smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, and environment monitor, all Wi-Fi enabled with a companion iOS app. Other interesting accessories included a tracker for attaching to valuables such as luggage or laptop bags, and a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled safe that can be locked and unlocked with your iPhone.
European tech company Invoxia was demonstrating Triby ($200), an interesting new approach intended to facilitate family and home communications in the form of a speakerphone, radio, and digital tablet device designed to hang in a location like the family refrigerator to essentially become the new home phone. Featuring a removable rubber frame, a metallic grid, and a magnetic back, Triby allows users to make phone calls and play music at the touch of a button from a Bluetooth-connected phone, while also providing Wi-FI access to stream Internet radio and even make HD Voice VoIP calls. A companion iOS app also allows you to use Triby as a note board, drawing a note on the iPhone touchscreen and sending it to Triby’s display to leave the digital equivalent of a post-it note on your refrigerator.
We were pretty impressed with Kwikset’s Kevo Smart Lock when we reviewed it earlier this year, and Kwikset has now announced a planned expansion that will add Wi-Fi capability to the Kevo, although it’s going to take the form of an annual Kevo Plus subscription. Expected to sell for around $50 per year, Kevo Plus will provide a Bluetooth LE to Wi-Fi Hub device included in the membership price, allowing users to lock or unlock their door or monitor their lock status from anywhere using a cellular data connection. The service is expected to launch this spring and will be available online from Kwikset’s web site.
Netatmo expands on its weather station products with Welcome, a new home camera featuring face recognition technology. The camera can be placed at an entryway or other appropriate location and will recognize faces and send appropriate notifications, and it’s designed to alert you when an unknown face appears. The Netatmo Welcome includes full HD image capture with night vision capabilities and a 130-degree field of view, and doesn’t require any subscription fees.
SuperTooth was showing off a new multiroom speaker system in the sub-$300 price range. Designed with a more boxy, almost retro look, the Multiroom System supports up to five wireless speakers that can be placed throughout your house to receive streamed audio, and all are preconfigured to provide a seamless out-of-the-box setup experience. A three-speaker system comes in at $299, and the speakers are connected initially via Bluetooth for quick and easy pairing and setup, and an ability to stream music from just about any device or app — not just those that support more complex proprietary protocols. A free Multiroom app promises to provide total control over the system via your iOS device.