This is the season of tradeshows! From CES to MWC. One theme from the CES show that I’m sure will be echoed at MWC is the growing types of connected devices. As I walked around the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, I started to envision what a day in my connected life could look like in the near future, with my smartphone at the hub:
I wake up after a good night’s sleep on my Sleep Number x12 bed. I check my companion sleep number app and see that total time in bed was 7:44 minutes, of which 6:53 minutes were restful, and during the night my heart rate and breathing rate were both normal. Good start to the day! I step on my Archos Connected Scale and I can see last night’s dinner didn’t put me over the edge. Double good start!
A quick tap to turn on my smartphone’s Pandora radio app and I step into the shower listening to Coldplay streaming over the Braven Mira waterproof Bluetooth speaker. I wrap up my morning routine with the Kolibree smart toothbrush, whose app rewards me with a badge for good brushing. While I’m at it, I check to see how my son brushed yesterday with his Kolibree, and looks like he needs a reminder to slow down.
In the kitchen, I gather ingredients for chili and fill up my Wi-Fi enabled Belkin Crock-Pot SmartSlow Cooker so that I can turn it on during lunchtime and have dinner ready when I get home.
On my way out, I set my Trane XL824 Smart Control for away mode to conserve heat and electricity, and I activate my Goji smart lock on the front door, whose Bluetooth capability will recognize my mother-in-law using her smartphone when she arrives later and will automatically let her into the house. Then I get into my AT&T 4G LTE-connected Audi A3 and seamlessly navigate through traffic while listening to my Twitter feed, all while arriving at work on time.
Ah, what a perfect connected life, putting aside that it will cost tens of thousands of dollars to buy all of these connected devices (and maybe a hotline to Geek Squad). But what’s needed next is moving beyond connectivity to collaboration in order to be more than a connected device, rather a smart device. These “things” need to talk to each other and share useful information in order to improve my daily life. Like my toothbrush knowing where to focus its brushing based on what I ate for dinner. Or my bed knowing to add firmness under my shoulders because I spent hours gardening.
Qualcomm’s AllJoyn, now under the auspices of the Linux Foundation, could make an impact in bringing players together across the ecosystem, particularly in the smart home arena. But I think more importantly, efforts like AllJoyn and the smart home consortium formed by Cisco, Bosch, LG and ABB could play a vital role in spurring innovation. While all the major OEMs were represented at CES, what I really noticed were the hundreds of smaller and emerging companies launching the next great thing. If they are going to have a chance to innovate and make an impact, the industry can’t let connected homes turn into “branded” homes controlled by one or two companies. I’m already looking forward to CES 2015!