The Consumer Electronics Show, always the first convention of the year, is set for this week in Las Vegas. It’s a massive affair. For that reason, there almost certainly is more than one big story or theme.
With that caveat stated, it is fair to say that home automation will get its fair amount of attention at the show. In general, when there is a flurry of news surrounding a particular topic before a big show, it is a sure sign that it will emerge as a topic of importance. There has been an inordinate amount of home automation news so far in 2013, so it undoubtedly will be a big topic at CES.
Last week, CNBC and other sites reported that Microsoft has acquired the oddly named id8 Group R2 Studios Inc. The company was launched in 2011 by Kirk Krikorian, who launched Sling Box. Id8 Group R2 Studios offers an application for control of home heating and lighting via an Android-driven smartphone.
IT World offers a closer look at what will be offered in Las Vegas. The list is impressive – and almost certainly not comprehensive. Two powerhouse companies – Cisco and AT&T – will launch a service in eight markets in March and 50 more by year’s end that use various wireless techniques to allow control of in-home devices and systems. The piece also reports that Alarm.com will use CES to showcase its smart-home and tablet-driven home security systems. Lowe’s, a home improvement retailer, will discuss new partners for its Iris home automation service and Netatmo demonstrated its home weather stations.
Lights, not surprisingly, are perhaps the main focal point of the home automation trend. Gotta Be Mobile describes Belkins’ WeMo Light Switch. CNNMoney offers a video that features a couple of companies. One of these – Spark – markets a smart socket that enables a smartphone to control a light. CEO Zack Supalla said he developed the device because his father is deaf and he wanted a way to signal him that a text has arrived.
Still another piece of home automation news from CES will be the launch of the Zonoff Distributed Radio Architecture (ZDRA). The press release says that the ZDRA, coupled with the company’s Sentry wireless radio platform, will enhance the flexibility of home automation services.
There no doubt will be other pieces of news from this sector at CES. The bottom line is clear: Home automation – which is a potential gold mine for service providers and vendors – is winning a tremendous amount of attention at the start of 2013.