Future Technology Trends Demonstrate A Continuation of Household Connectivity
CES (consumer electronics show) is one of the biggest annual displays of emerging, innovative and future technology. This year’s show was primarily dominated by familiar trends in drone tech, autonomous car development, and upgraded wearables. However, the standout theme for a large population of the newest gadgets centered around the idea of an increasingly connected home. A favorite (and fairly overused) equation seemed to consist of taking “X” and applying Amazon’s Alexa to it. Whether that came in the form of exact copies of Amazon’s Echo by Lenovo, or as a standalone Alexa-enabled washing machine, the trend of making the average household “smarter” prevailed.
The concept of applying artificial intelligence and Internet connectivity to household objects is nothing new. Even before the Internet existed, science fiction writers dreamed up houses full of robotic, autonomous, and connected appliances. And now, this type of future technology is edging closer and closer toward our doorsteps. While the newest gadgets in the smart home realm aren’t entirely mind-boggling, they do provide a promising glimpse at what is still to come.
We’ve outlined a few of our favorite standouts from CES 2017 below. These products are more than just nifty pieces of hardware. They’re representative of concepts that have fostered the development of future technology for years. They’re tangible conjuring of an innovative spirit that consumers and engineers have a nearly equal stake in. And, at their core, these products are simply very cool.
Using wearable tech to amass personal data on daily activities has been in practice since the late 1970s. Since then, Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly, along with other collaborators, has proposed the goal of a completely “quantified self”. This is based on the idea that tracking every part of our existence is conceivably advantageous. And while this concept might seem slightly invasive to some, Kelly and his cohorts believe that the potential benefits of self-tracking far outweigh any of its fear-based downsides.
If future technology promises anything, it’s that big accumulations of data will be incredibly useful for predictions, diagnoses, and treatment suggestions for the individual. Having months or even years worth of data on your daily activities will enable machines to determine problems and solutions with incredible accuracy. With recent developments in wearables, daily self-tracking is easier and more common than ever. There are apps and physical products for tracking nearly everything about yourself. The dream of the completely quantified self is slowly crawling toward reality. Here’s the newest gadgets in self-tracking tech from CES 2017:
Motiv Smart Ring:
The Motiv Smart Ring provides the functionality of a wearable fitness wristband with the discreet style and comfort of a ring. It tracks your daily steps, distance walked, heart rate, sleeping patterns, and GPS location at all times. It’s waterproof, bluetooth-enabled, and has an impressive 5 day battery. With a $200 price tag, the Motiv Smart Ring certainly isn’t the cheapest wearable available. Although, it just might be the most sleek and stylish.
Willow’s Smart Breast Pump:
Willow’s Smart Breast Pump is perhaps the least anticipated and yet most talked about gadget from CES 2017. It’s a relatively slim product that slips into a woman’s bra and enables her to pump breast milk while on-the-go. They have adjustable suction settings, a very simple and modern design, and a companion app for tracking the quantity of milk pumped. While the pumps don’t monitor the milk’s quality or micro-contents just yet, it’s easy to see where this future technology is headed.
Proof is a wearable band with a disposable insert that tracks the amount of alcohol in your perspiration. Consequently, wearers are able to privately monitor their blood-alcohol levels while out drinking. You can preemptively select a desired BAC level and the Proof band will alert you once it’s reached. The band estimates when you will be sober again if you were to stop drinking, hopefully leading to a reduction of over-the-limit drivers. And the companion app even has an invite-page where you can add friends and monitor live updates of each other’s BAC level.
Every year at CES, major television innovations compete for center-stage. These screens are often complimented by the future technology of streaming devices. The overarching trend in home entertainment continues to be the “cutting” of cords, the amalgamation of viewing options, and of course, the thinnest hardware possible.
Regardless of the platform, streaming is the undeniable new king of media consumption. Yet, despite valiant efforts from streaming services and set-top boxes, cable television refuses to die. For now, the on-demand entertainment hardware and companion services are forced to live side-by-side with traditional cable setups. It’s unclear whether or not cable TV will ever be completely eradicated from the home entertainment realm. As it stands, manufacturers are figuring out ways that enable streaming devices and cable to coincide symbiotically.
LG’s OLED ‘W’:
LG’s OLED ‘W’ is almost unanimously considered 2017’s TV winner. The ‘W’ aptly stands for wallpaper, as LG’s newest TV is only 2.6mm thick. It includes a sound-bar for audio and inputs, produces incredibly bright and high-quality images, and supports 4K and HDR video. The ‘W’ is supposedly so sleek and high definition that a passerby could mistake it for a window or a printed photo hanging on the wall.
The AirTV casts a large net designed to catch all types of home entertainment consumers. This future technology includes an antenna for receiving traditional TV broadcasts, while offering a Sling TV app for premium networks, and a flurry of other apps for subscription streaming services. The AirTV attempts to solve the problem of users having to switch between their cable box and their streaming devices. It has 4K compatibility, an Android TV interface, and a competitive price tag of $130. While the physical design isn’t anything special, the overall concept demonstrates a push for an easier, cable-free existence.
The newest gadgets in smart home technology all seem to include voice-commands, a companion app, and some form of learnt automation. As we mentioned above, Amazon’s Alexa truly dominated the field of voice-controlled A.I. at CES 2017. Rather than build their own A.I., many manufacturers found it easier to simply add the infamous assistant’s software to their hardware. Still, the prevailing theme of smart home future technology isn’t artificial intelligence or even automation. It’s connectivity.
The ideal for the future of smart homes is unabashed connectivity. With each device or appliance in your home connected, you can live within a personalized network that learns and adapts to your lifestyle. At the moment, this connectivity is propagated by adding A.I. and WiFi to nearly everything. However, if we look beyond automated appliances, we can see a smart home future that involves less tangible forms of connection and unification.
The Eugene is a trash can scanner. It’s something that you probably would never anticipate needing. However, the Eugene has the potential to be incredibly beneficial in your home. It works by scanning the barcode of every item that you throw out. It then tells you if that item should be recycled and monitors your most frequent items. Consequently, Eugene can order more milk for you or provide you with reward points from companies that you buy from often. While Eugene isn’t the most necessary smart home device, it can help homeowners become more environmentally aware at the very least.
LG’s Smart InstaView Refrigerator
The InstaView is a prime example of successfully taking “X” and applying Amazon’s Alexa to it. This fridge includes a large touchscreen display for a surprisingly powerful computer. Using touch or voice command, the InstaView can automatically order groceries, present relevant recipes based on current ingredients, and show internal cameras to view compartments without having to open the door. The display itself can also turn into a transparent window to view the internal contents analog-style. With a price tag of $4,600, this smart fridge probably won’t be appearing in the average consumer’s household.
Younity – Home Media Server
Is younity one of the newest gadgets to hit CES 2017? No. Is younity even a piece of hardware? No. Then why is it on this list? Because younity embodies the future of the connected home.
As a home media server software, younity provides unprecedented connectivity between all of your computers and mobile devices. It creates a personal and private network for accessing all of your files across every device that you own. There’s no need for manual transferring, uploading, or syncing of any kind. With younity, you can truly move effortlessly and seamlessly from device to device.
How Does It Work?
The younity app works by scanning your computer(s) hard drive and “serving” the files to the desktop and mobile app. You can then use any of your devices to access, stream, download, or share files stored on any computer. There are no file type restrictions or storage limitations. As long as the file is on one of your computers, you can access it using younity.
younity makes the devices in your home more unified and connected. With your own personal and private file-accessing and media streaming network, your digital life will become automatically organized, seamless, and completely stress-free. Using younity’s beautifully minimalist interface, you can remotely browse files, cast and stream your media, and privately share your content with friends and family.
younity is working hard to carve out its place within the sphere of the connected home. Sure, at the moment younity is a file-accessing and media streaming software. There isn’t a “younity refrigerator” or “younity trashcan” making waves at CES 2017. However, if you compare younity to Amazon’s Alexa, you can start to imagine the benefits of taking “X” and applying younity to it. And that is exactly what the younity team is envisioning for the future. There is so much that younity can already do, and even more in store for its future. Stay tuned for the future of home media!
Click here to learn more about younity.