It’s the most wonderful time of the year—at least for tech fans: CES, the annual tech-world adulation event, begins in earnest tomorrow.
Every year the show brings the bombast, with companies in the world of home tech offering higher-resolution TVs, refrigerators with built-in tablets and sensors, and much more.
There is, too, always a raft of smaller companies working to edge out the competition in slightly less sexy fields: DIY home security systems, along with smart thermostats, lightbulbs, and locks are perennial favorites for the mid-sized players.
Below, our guide to what to expect from CES 2017 in the world of home tech, from your bedroom to your living room to your garage.
TVs—and the way we watch and hear our favorite shows and films—will be prominently showcased (it’s up to you whether or not you put said TV above your fireplace). Major tech companies can’t seem to help but double down on 4K ultra-high-resolution displays, curved screens, and other novelties.
We expect more of this, but also some more experimental developments—like last year’s translucent, mirrored, and modular television screens.
On a smaller scale, smart thermostats, lightbulbs, door locks, and all-in-one security systems are always on show, from companies like Ecobee, Honeywell, Netatmo, Philips, August, and more. And with the increased prevalence of HomeKit and the Home app (recently rolled out on iOS 10), tastes—and appetites—for smartphone-controlled gadgets are likely to grow.
The Internet of Things is invading the home—kitchens included. Expect to see new connected, AI-enabled appliances from bigshots like LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool (which has already announced it’s bringing Amazon’s smart assistant Alexa into its lines of refrigerators and ovens.)
Of course, kitchens and gadgets have always gone well together. So there will be no shortage of gizmos promising to trick out your kitchen in ways you haven’t dreamed of. But we predict things will take a turn for the small, smart, and sustainable.
Ah, sleep. A good night’s rest eludes a good share of U.S. citizens each year; can technology help? If you let mattress makers tell it, the answer is a resounding yes.
As in the rest of the house, beds are getting smarter, and we’ll see how exactly industry veterans like Sleep Number and Simmons are pulling it off. There’s also space for newfangled, internet-based mattress companies tend to show what they’ve got.
And then there’s the baby tech. Snoo, "the world’s first smart crib" designed by Yves Behar and so-called baby whisperer Dr. Harvey Karp, will be be at the show, as will, presumably, a ton of other high-tech baby monitors and more.
If this app for pre-heating your shower while still in bed is any indication, the bathroom is ripe for smart home upgrades. The latest and greatest in toilets will definitely show up (but can bidets finally make a splash in the U.S.?), as will next-level washers and dryers that can absolutely be controlled with a smartphone.
Garage & beyond
Autonomous vehicles were a highlight of last year’s CES—and 2016 in general—and they'll keep rolling on in this year. Whether it’s hardware or software, we’ll see the innovations that’ll soon make driverless cars a normal part of life.
And drones, who can ignore them. As the Verge has pointed out, while DJI has carved out a huge lead in the field, there’s lots of room for new shapes, sizes, and features that can unlock new uses for drones, for better or worse.
Also, will there finally be some competition for Tesla in the home battery arena?
Stay tuned—we’ll be reporting on the best and weirdest coming out of CES during the show and in the weeks to come.