New technologies: Reflect in my beautiful mirror, connect to the washing machine?
Mirror to my beautiful mirror, will you join the washing machine?
Ideas abound at CES, the technology show in Las Vegas, but they will still be a long way from consumer reality.
A TV that alerts you when the dryer has finished spinning, a mirror that heats the water in the shower and starts the coffee maker: the so-called “smart” home is taking shape at the Las Vegas tech show CES, but it still remains largely detached from reality.
French company Baracoda has been transforming the bathroom for years with discreet wellness products integrated into everyday items.
BMirror, a new connected mirror prototype, can collect data and swap with a scale, toilet, or toothbrush to make recommendations to household members, such as drinking more water or seeing a dermatologist because a mole has changed color.
“We immediately see if we’re brushing our teeth well or if we should be wearing sunscreen,” said Baptiste Quiniou, the company’s product director, in an interview at CES, which ran from January 5 to 8.
But for optimal performance, you need to use compatible devices made by either Baracoda or partner brands.
“Before, when you bought a webcam, you had to check if you could connect it to your computer. Now you don’t ask yourself any more questions.
For startups and multinationals that have been designing and marketing connected objects for years, interoperability is critical.
“These devices can do incredibly useful things, but if they don’t communicate with each other, data is lost,” notes independent analyst Avi Greengart.
Amazon, Samsung, Apple, Google: each of the tech giants has built its own ecosystem of devices, often around a voice assistant like Alexa or Siri.
“They hoped to attract enough people into their orbit and grow at the expense of others. But in the end, they all stagnated”, the expert emphasizes.
The major groups agreed, and this fall, after three years of work, they created a communications protocol called Substance.
“We can think of it as the USB port of the connected home,” concludes Mark Benson, director of Smart Things United States, Samsung’s connectivity subsidiary.
“The problem is data. Companies, by their very nature, don’t want to share.”
“Before, when you bought a webcam, you had to check if you could connect it to your computer. Now you don’t question yourself anymore,” he explains.
Matter facilitates the digital installation of different equipment: it is no longer necessary to download a different program for each of them.
But ecosystems do not disappear.
“The cooperation is not technically complicated. The problem is the data. Companies by their very nature don’t want to share,” says Jeff Wang.
Therefore, each brand is trying to convince the public to adopt its own mobile application (Smart Things, Google Home, etc.) to centralize the control of home appliances.
In the vision of the South Korean group presented at CES, the consumer has a TV, an oven, a washing machine and a refrigerator made by Samsung.
Through the Smart Things app, he monitors electricity consumption or cooks chicken while watching a movie on TV that tells him his laundry is done.
At the Google booth, just “Get started!” say to lower the blinds and start the essential oil diffuser.
Currently, consumers have mostly adopted inexpensive connected speakers and use them for timers or listening to music.
“More than half of American households have a connected device,” said Mark Benson. “And more than half of them made their first such purchase in the last three years.”
The CTA association, which organizes CES, believes that the Matter standard will advance the connected home market during the recovery of the real estate sector.
The spokeswoman told AFP that these technologies “will have a difficult year in the US due to the decline in home sales”.
However, CTA expects about 5 million connected thermostats to be sold in 2023, up +15% year over year, as consumers become interested in the prospect of energy savings.
The American company Savant has developed a combined protective case to eliminate this concern.
“It’s probably one of the last things in the home that we haven’t thought about making ‘smart’ yet,” notes group vice president Ian Roberts.
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