From robots to voice assistants, this year is set to see a boom in smart home products. Earlier this month, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 concluded a record year with more than 1,000 speakers and close to 200,000 attendants over the course of four days. Held in Las Vegas, CES is one of the largest tech shows in the world, and, at this year's event, smart home products had a far greater presence than at any previous CES event.
Here's our list for the top smart home trends to look out for in 2018, based on products presented at CES:
All four of the trends on this list aren't new products or ideas by any means, but in 2018 you should expect to see interest in these tech trends really heat up. That goes for voice assistants. Some of the most popular tech products of last year were the Amazon Dot and Alexa. That's not exactly what we're talking about here—instead, look out for voice functionality to be incorporated into a wide range of products this year. From speakers to dishwashers, many existing smart home products will be adding Alexa, HomeKit and Google Assistant voice functionality.
Photo: Associated Press
The beauty category has the most wildly varying set of technologies currently being introduced to the market. From the Kerastase Hair Coach to Amazon's Echo Look, there were many different technologies brought to market in 2017 and we should expect to see even more advances this year. One of the most intriguing trends we've seen are smart mirrors; several were presented at CES, including the HiMirror Mini (pictured above) which analyzes your face and gives you a score based on how many wrinkles and blemishes you have. Other notable examples come from Simplehuman, and MAC, which has begun installing AR mirrors in their stores so people can try on makeup without actually "trying on makeup." It's a safe bet that 2018 will be an interesting year for smart beauty technology.
Peloton has been getting some serious competition lately in the smart home exercise equipment arena. The category has become more and more popular, and brands like Flexispot, with its exercise desk bike, could soon give the connected indoor bicycle company a run for its money. Flexispot's desk bike won a CES Innovation Award this year. Peloton, however, answered back at CES this month by unveiling the Peloton Tread ($3,995). The smart treadmill (pictured above) is similar to the company's bikes in that it includes an HD touchscreen for watching classes taught by instructors live from New York. And, at 32 inches, the treadmill's touchscreen is more than double the size of the bike's. Look out for more eyebrow-raising technology and price tags in the exercise equipment space this year.
One of the more intriguing categories, but one that we likely won't see much movement in this year, are smart appliances. Like the name suggests, these are larger appliances—washer machines, refrigerators, etc.—that are integrating smart technology. There are already a handful of these appliances on the market that incorporate voice functionality or can be controlled remotely via an app; however, this is another smart home trend that you should wait and see with.
One thing's for sure: There is a lot more smart home tech to look out for in 2018 than in previous years—some of it may be worth a purchase, but all of it will be interesting.