The smart home battle at CES 2020

CES 2020 does what CES does best: previews crazy future products and while shiny new gadgets sure are exciting, it’s what those products tell us about the future that matters most.

It promised to change the way our devices connect, but 5G was a let-down of last year’s CES. This year the voice assistants in all forms are the rage, from showerheads to ovens, voice control is taking over. The rivalry of the three smart assistants: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri, is still growing in 2020, with all three releasing privacy-focused news this week.

CES 2020 is closing today on January 10th, be the first to peek into the future that is definitely voice activated!

Here are the best smart home announcements of CES 2020:

Amazon Alexa

Amazon announced before the start of CES that there are now “hundreds of millions of Alexa-enabled-devices” worldwide, a massive increase from the 100 million last January. It looks like it took Amazon four years to spread 100 million Alexa-powered devices, but just 2019 to double that number.

Amazon announced that the Ring security camera is adding the Control Center feature that offers users more control of their devices. One of the bigger announcements came from Lamborghini, which claimed it will be one of the first car manufacturers to integrate Amazon Alexa in its vehicles, alongside Toyota and Rivian. Alexa is also teaming up with ExxonMobil and Fiserv to let customers pay for gas at the pump just by saying “Alexa, pay for gas.”

Google Assistant

For the third year running, Google built a massive booth outside of CES, complete with a colorful slide and a ball pit. The words “Hey Google” are plastered all over buildings in Las Vegas show Google’s grand ambition - to fill up every inch of your life.

On Tuesday they have announced new features such as timing reminders, scheduling certain tasks (“Okay Google, turn on the washer at 6 a.m.”), uploading contacts from your phone to your Google Nest Hub and leaving notes on the smart display. Also, within the Google Home app, you can now control more than 20 new devices, including AC units, air purifiers, bathtubs, coffee makers, vacuums and more. Google also added two new voice commands for people to better control their privacy, for example they can tell Google Assistant to forget what it just heard by saying “Hey Google, that wasn’t for you.” This doesn’t tackle the previously mentioned security flaws that follow all three popular voice assistants.

The biggest announcement however was the monthly user figure of 5000 million people.

Apple Siri/HomeKit

Since 1992, Apple hasn’t been a part of CES, but announced their products at its own events. The company’s rare presence at the show on Tuesday shows that they’re stepping up their game alongside Amazon and Google.

While it doesn’t have the amount of accessories available as its competitors, Apple’s HomeKit smart home platform provides users with an unmatched mix of privacy and convenience. This year’s CES had showcased a lot more HomeKit-enabled devices than last year.

2020 product announcements:

  • August WiFi Smart Lock

Compatible with: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

August has announced the latest addition to its line of retrofit smart door locks. Unlike other smart door locks, which require you to replace the entire deadbolt, the August WiFi Smart Lock locks bolts onto the back half of the lock, which allows you to keep the same design and keys on the front of the door as you already have. Controlling the lock is done through August’s smartphone app, and it also supports all three of the popular voice assistants.

  • Kohler Moxie Voice

Compatible with: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Enter the Kohler Moxie Voice series, which is a high-end shower head that incorporates an Alexa-powered smart speaker created by Harman Kardon. Singing in the shower is enabled for five hours with one full charge. This is a great hands-free way to integrate music into your daily routine.

  • Sengled bulbs (Filament LED and candelabra bulb)

Compatible with: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

You could already control Sengled bulbs with Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. Now, you can use Siri, too, if you upgrade your hub. They are introducing two new bulbs, the vintage-style filament mimics and a color-changing candelabra bulb. Both are cheaper than their alternative by LIFX and Philips Hue.

  • Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera

Compatible with: Apple HomeKit

The new device integrates a wide floodlight onto the recently introduced Arlo Pro 3 camera. Since it’s based on the latter, it has many of the same video features, including 2K HDR video, 160-degree field of view, two-way audio, and a built-in siren. It will be available in Spring 2020 for $249.

  • Kwikset Halo Touch

Compatible with: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Kwikset released a smart lock with a fingerprint reader that you can install yourself, and it comes at a very reasonable price of $249. The lock can hold up to 100 fingerprints, or 50 users max (two fingerprints for each user). Since it integrates with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, it’s one of the most fully featured smart locks currently on the market.

  • Vayyar Walabot Home Monitoring System

Compatible with: Amazon Alexa

This device by an Israeli based company can detect medical dangers through a series of sensors around the home. At CES, they’ve revealed their motion sensor Walabot that tracks movement in the home from people of all ages. It can detect a fall, if a child was left in a hot car, and more. All that without needing to wear anything, the house does it all for you.

  • Nanoleaf hexagonal lights and Learning Series family

Compatible with: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Nanoleaf brought a lighting solution that learns behaviors over time to reduce human interaction and react to users in the home. This time in the form of a hexagonal-shaped tiles that react to music, rouch and features other modes that makes them super fun to use. At CES 2020, they’ve also announced a family of devices that include a traditional smart light, a learning switch, buttons and a gateway called “Learning Series”.

  • Abode Outdoor/Indoor Smart Camera

Compatible with: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

It’s a compact camera "roughly half the size of a deck of playing cards”, and features a PIR motion sensor, an IR light for night vision, two-way communication, 1080p video capture, and a 152-degree field of view. It’s also water-resistant with an IP65 rating.

  • Philips Hue Outdoor collection

Compatible with: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Philips Hue showed off a range of new outdoor smart lights at CES 2020, as well as new voice control features for Play Sync. The new outdoor lights include wall-mounted fixtures and pathway lights, with each supporting the ability to display 16 million colours and 50,000 shades of warm-to-cool white light. The new Hue outdoor lamps are listed here:

  • Philips Hue Appear
  • Philips Hue Resonate
  • Philips Hue Attract
  • Philips Hue Daylo
  • Philips Hue Nyro

  • Suunto 7 Smartwatch

Compatible with: Google Assistant

The Suunto 7 is perfect for anyone who likes to keep active. It has built-in GPS, heart-rate monitor, it’s water resistant up to 50 meters, and even offers the ability to download offline outdoor maps for free (that’s a first for any Suunto watch). This means it’s not only designed for the gym, but it’s also a suitable companion for hiking and exploring.

  • Ring Smart LED bulbs

Compatible with: Amazon Alexa

Ring has just introduced its very first smart bulb, which doesn’t sound that exciting, but it is! There is one feature that sets Ring’s bulbs apart from others, and that’s seamless integration with various Ring security products. For instance, you can connect your bulbs to your Ring system and program them to turn on when one of your Ring cameras detects motion.

  • C be GE’s smart switches

Compatible with: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Smart switches are a great way to have the convenience of smart lights without buying individual smart bulbs. They’re also helpful if you have a light that doesn’t use a traditional light bulb, such as a fluorescent bar-style bulb. C by Ge’s set of smart switches bring the smart home technology to everyone, even those with older homes, as it only needs three wires - line, load, and ground.

  • Lockly Vision Smart Lock

Compatible with: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Lockly’s new smart locks adds a built-in video doorbell, so you can see real-time video of your porch in the Lockly app, and save videos locally to the cloud. You can also take advantage of the two-way talk feature to speak to your guests via the app whether you’re sitting on your couch, or you’re away from home.

Who knows what 2021 will bring, as voice-recognition technology is maturing and smart homes are gaining more flexibility with the integration of different IoT devices.

Many of the stars of this year’s CES might be one hit wonders, but as the smart home owners are living in their homes and learning about their own needs, so do manufacturers which are trying to adapt those with their own features.

We are keeping our ear to the ground and listening to our own users to look into the future and develop for it as well.