Messy wires and fiddly batteries are a thing of the past with invisible infrared charging from Wi-Charge.
With the growing number of smart devices comes a drawback: the wires and batteries needed to charge them can be the bane of beautiful homes. Enter the emerging technology for wireless charging, from providers like Wi-Charge. Its R1 ultra-compact chargers plug into light or power sockets, or the technology can be embedded directly into devices by partnering brands. It powers with pinpoint accuracy at 30-foot (9 m) range via infrared beams, so charging is literally of sight, out of mind.
The TV of the Future
The winner of a CES 2019 Innovation award, LG’s forthcoming Signature OLED TV R is a futuristic voice-control set that’s so much more than a television. It’s a dashboard with Google Assistant and Alexa built-in, and five other modes including music, mood, and lighting. The feature that really sets it apart is the hidden 65-inch (165 cm) roll-out screen which can turn your room into a home theater and shrink to Line View mode, a compact bar, so you can enjoy the panorama while you play music or check the weather.
Line View mode allows this LG OLED TV R to shrink down to a compact bar when playing music and expand to a movie screen at the touch of a button.
More Intuitive Kitchens
The latest in smart kitchen fit-outs offer hidden technology and learning capabilities to make cooking and entertaining more intuitive. Italian brands Pedini and Tipic—which has a partnership with Offmat—have developed AI features that respond to voice and gesture respectively. You can ask the Hi Pedini app to change mood and lighting, open cupboards, and even update you on what you need to add to your grocery order. The Tulèr concept kitchen has integrated modular technology, so you can open drawers or activate countertop scales with just the brush of a hand. From Moen, the U smart faucet is the first of its kind: a hands-free faucet that can dispense as little as a tablespoon of water, at the desired temperature.
Homes that Set the Mood
Brad Russell of Parks Associates predicts that ambient voice control for the entire property will be a growing trend for luxury homes in 2020. Residences with up to 1,000 built-in devices will be able to orchestrate all systems as one by using Savant or Crestron Home systems. Ask Savant’s Multistat control to call up custom in-app “scenes,” like “relax” to simultaneously dim the lights, lower the shades, cue your chosen Sonos playlist, and light your gas fireplace all at once, or hit &ldquoodnight” to shut down your whole house.
The U smart faucet from Moen can dispense as little as a tablespoon of water and is the first of its kind.
AI Personal Assistants
The most exciting reveal from CES 2020, the consumer technology fair that took place in Las Vegas in early January this year, was Samsung’s tennis ball-shaped robot Ballie. This smart-voice assistant is capable of making real-time decisions based on its owner’s mood and previous requests, such as taking a picture when the lighting is good, or cleaning up dog mess before it is asked to do so.
Elsewhere and already on the market, voice assistant Josh.ai uses natural language processing, which means it has the potential over time to predict behaviors and make complex decisions. “A truly smart home needs to utilize machine learning to improve and personalize based on the owner’s preferences,” explains Parks Associates CEO Alex Capecelatro. “We’re working to bring about a future where your home is predictive, helps improve your sleep and eating habits, makes sure you don’t forget something, and overall helps you to feel more content and at peace when behind closed doors.”
Thirty-five percent of US broadband households faced a data security problem in 2019, according to Parks Associates, which included the hacking of smart doorbells and other security devices. So, systems that identify individual family members have obvious benefits. Most “biometric” security systems are by commercial brands, but more consumer solutions are coming to the market. For example, Kwikset has just launched the Halo Touch fingerprint-enabled lock, which needs just your digit to give you access and can hold as many as 100 profiles from 50 users.
AI personal assistants such as Josh.ai are becoming increasingly adaptable, and their minimalist design fits in perfectly with any style of decor.
Self-Sustaining Smart Homes
Homeowners value energy efficiency more than ever. “With the growth of zero energy homes and increased connectivity in the home, there’s an opportunity to create a holistic home energy management system,” explains Chris O’Dell from Parks Associates. This is an area already tapped by S²A Modular Advanced Construction, whose Green Lux home is billed as “the first electrically self-sustaining, custom luxury home.” With tailor-made features, high-end materials, and smart-connected living, it has the style to match its high-tech spec, and even has the potential to produce “surplus energy income” by overproducing electricity, which could—in theory—be sold back to the grid.
Personal trainer unavailable at short notice? Peloton’s new app for Amazon Fire allows you to connect with personal trainers and classes all over the world at a time that suits you.
The Virtual Reality Home Gym
For those with new year fitness and wellness goals, it’s the perfect time to explore the latest smart exercise devices. NordicTrack’s X32i treadmill can reach an incline of up to 40 percent and offers on-demand class settings or virtual trails in locations around the world. A personal trainer on the other side of the screen will auto-adjust variables like speed and push you towards your goals. For yoga or meditation fans, fitness platform Peloton’s new app for Amazon Fire enables users to join interactive classes from elite trainers in any room with a smart TV.
What is the future for our connected homes? The ultimate promise is devices and appliances able to adapt to the behavior and preferences of a whole family and their network. “As various artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics technologies mature, we will move towards a smart-home experience that is increasingly more personalized, predictive, and proactive,” says O’Dell. “These technologies will allow an experience that identify individual household members and tailor responses with minimal engagement.” While seemingly small, these new technological leaps should allow for big changes to everyday lifestyle and convenience in the connected home.
On the Market
An award-winning property designed by renowned architect Eric Daniel-Lacombe on the banks of the river Seine, this four-bedroom home benefits from 4,305 square feet (400 sq m) of gardens, with a terrace featuring an adjustable height swimming pool. This intelligent feature creates varying depths for swimming, paddling, or diving, perfect for young families.