The Sleekest Smart Home Tech at MWC 2018
By Rob Marvin, PCMag, 1 March 2018.
By Rob Marvin, PCMag, 1 March 2018.
Mobile World Congress plays host to new connected tech from all around the world, including plenty of shiny new smart home products.
The big theme this year was centralized home automation, where users can control every connected appliance and device in their homes through voice-activated digital assistants like Alexa, Bixby, and Google Assistant using a smartphone or smart speaker. We scoured the Fira Gran Via show floor and found everything from smart refrigerators and home security cameras to connected lights, pillows, and showerheads. Take a tour through the smart homes of the future below.
1. Samsung SmartThings
The big star of MWC this year is Samsung's new flagship Galaxy S9 smartphone, which can also control your entire Samsung-branded smart home through the Bixby voice assistant. The Galaxy S9 comes with a new app called SmartThings, available in March. Samsung set up a full-blown kitchen at its MWC booth where you could ask Bixby to do everything from pre-heating your oven and starting the washing machine to activating your robovac.
2. Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
Samsung also showed off its newest smart fridge, the Samsung Family Hub, which debuted at CES. The refrigerator is also now powered by Bixby and serves as a full SmartThings home automation hub in its own right. From the large touch screen on the door, users can now see what's inside the fridge and what's expired, make a shopping list, check the weather, play music, look at photos, or even adjust the thermostat and check real-time camera feeds throughout the house.
3. LG SmartThinQ
LG showed off its own smart home automation hub, LG SmartThingQ, which now works not only with Alexa but Google Home as well. Through a Google Assistant-connected speaker or the new LG V30S+ ThinQ smartphone, users can use voice-activated commands to control a range of LG connected home devices including smart TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, and microwaves.
4. Amazon's New Ring
In the middle of MWC, Amazon announced it was spending more than $1 billion to buy video doorbell and smart camera maker Ring. We happened to stop by the Ring booth right before the announcement to check out its range of smart home products, including floodlight cams, spotlight cams, and more, all of which will likely be integrated with Amazon's own smart home products and services.
5. Vodafone V Home
Vodafone partnered with Samsung on its own V Home smart home automation lineup. V Home uses Samsung SmartThings to control a range of smart bulbs, door sensors, plugs, sirens, smoke detectors, and more that are connected to the European telco's network and Wi-Fi products.
6. Livin Shower
The Livin Shower is a smart showerhead integrated with Amazon Echo and Google Home. The connected showerhead lets you personalize your shower settings including temperature and music playlists, and helps optimize your water use.
7. Smanos SmartHome DIY Kit
Smanos offers what it calls a SmartHome DIY Kit to let you install and control smart home devices from Android, iOS, Alexa, or Google Home. The kit comes with up to 50 wireless sensors to install on doors, windows, and anywhere else in the house, and is compatible with both Philips Hue and the Nest thermostat to control smart home devices from different manufacturers all from a single app.
The Aura smart picture frame syncs with your smartphone and uses a smart curation algorithm to choose and sort through all your favorite photos. The HD display adjusts brightness based on its surroundings, and you can change the photo on the frame with gesture control. You can also invite friends and family to contribute their own photos to a frame.
9. Tend Secure Lynx Solar Camera
Tend already has a great indoor home surveillance camera, and now the smart home company is releasing its new Tend Lynx Solar camera for outdoor use. The new solar smart home camera can turn one day of sunshine into a week of power, controlled through the Tend Android or iOS app. If there's a power or internet outage, Lynx Solar can store up to three days of data.
PillowSoft, a new smart pillow from South Korea, automatically adjusts pillow height. According to its creators, the pillow can also detect sleep apnea and prevent snoring, all while using fabric pressure sensors to monitor your sleep and send the data to a mobile app.
The Best Products of MWC 2018
For more, check out the gadgets that won our Best of MWC awards this year, as well as The Wackiest Wearables at MWC.
Top image credit: Pixaline/Pixabay.
[Source: PCMag. Top image added.]