CES 2016: 10 Gadgets That Will Make Your Home Even Smarter

Home Automation Takes Over CES

A few years ago, home automation was only a concept in futuristic movies,- but the rise of the Internet of Things and connected devices has brought "smart homes" to the consumer market.

The Consumer Electronics Show, held last week in Las Vegas, revealed the popularity of home automation, as dozens of vendors showed off their platforms with innovative security, connected device and sensory features.

Home automation vendors at CES ranged from well-known mobile companies like Samsung and Panasonic to others such as GoControl and iDevices. Following are 10 home automation platforms that stood out from the rest. For more CES announcements about phones, laptops and tablets, check out CRN's website.

Panasonic Ora

Panasonic at CES lifted the curtain on its smart home system, Ora, which integrates endpoints into "smart living experiences."

Ora aims to bring together any device in the house, regardless of manufacturer or operating system. The system will bring together lighting, heating, cameras, motion sensors and smart appliances that can all be operated and customized on a mobile device.

Panasonic has partnered with Xcell Energy to manage energy use in the home automation platform, as well as thermostat maker Honeywell to integrate certain devices into the system. Panasonic has yet to reveal the pricing and availability of its Ora software platform.

Samsung SmartThings

Samsung showed off its SmartThings platform at CES, which lets users monitor, control and secure their homes from anywhere.

As part of Samsung's SmartThings platform, users will receive a "live-in translator" Hub that they can connect to their Internet router. This Hub contains ZigBee and Z-Wave radios and is compatible with IP-accessible devices so users can add as many smart devices as they want to personalize their home. The devices can all be controlled from Samsung's SmartThings' companion app, which is available on Windows, iOS and Android. Samsung's SmartThings Hub is available for $99. Samsung also has a SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit available for $249.

LG HomeChat

LG HomeChat allows homeowners to communicate with their SmartThinq smart appliances simply by sending an instant message on the platform's app.

One cool feature of HomeChat is LG Smart Diagnosis, which helps users quickly and easily troubleshoot any issues they may have through communicating with the LG call center. LG's smart home platform also includes an energy conservation feature that detects when power consumption in the user's area is at its lowest so appliances can operate at lower energy rates.

LG smart appliances also include a super-capacity refrigerator and electric oven.

Elgato Eve Room

Elgato's Eve Room is a small, wireless indoor sensor that helps users keep tabs on indoor air quality, temperature and humidity in their homes. Unlike other smart home platforms, Eve Room does not require a hub, gateway or bridge.

Eve Room connects directly to a companion app available on the iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth Smart technology. Users can ask for the temperature or humidity levels in their homes by talking directly to Siri on their smartphones. Eve Room also connects with Apple's HomeKit smart home tools to provide advanced security with end-to-end encryption between the product and the user's device. The product is currently available at retail stores for $80.

FlowCloud By Imagination Technologies

Imagination Technologies focuses on back-end products that make regular devices connected and can be used for home automation applications.

The company's FlowCloud technology connects devices to the Internet, enabling simplified product registration and updates. This technology provides a comprehensive underlying platform for the construction and management of machine-to-machine connected services.

FlowCloud contains core services and supporting infrastructure to form a set of building blocks enabling cloud-based applications.

iDevices Switch

iDevices exhibited new products as part of its growing connected home lineup at CES, including an iDevices Socket, Wall Switch, Dimmer Switch and Wall Outlet.

iDevices' existing home automation lineup includes Apple's HomeKit-enabled products, such as an iDevices Switch (an indoor connected plug), an Outdoor Switch (a rain-tight, dual-outlet connected plug), and a Thermostat. These products are connected to HomeKit technology, enabling users to control their home's lights, outlets and thermostats remotely with their Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. The companion app that controls these features has a unique ability to support HomeKit-enabled products from other manufacturers, according to iDevices.

The iDevices Switch is currently available for $59, while the products announced at CES range in availability from the first quarter of 2016 for the Socket to the third quarter of 2016 for the Wall Outlet.

Smanos K1 SmartHome DIY

Smanos' K1, which is what the Amsterdam-based company describes as the "ultimate home automation and security center," was on display at CES.

K1 is a smart home do-it-yourself gateway kit that allows users to connect up to 50 wireless accessories to their smart home platform, including locks, cameras, alarm detectors and environmental sensors. Physically, K1 products are round aluminum discs that can be attached to walls, and combine butler-like and guard-like functions.

Also at CES Smanos unveiled a UFO Wi-Fi Panoramic Camera, which will be available in May for $199, and Smart Video Doorbell, available in May for $349, to its K1 platform.

TurkCell Smart Gateways

TurkCell, a provider of wireless chipset solutions for converged communications, launched new services at CES, including Ultra-Low Energy (ULE) technology for home networking, which requires fewer nodes for smart homes and reduces the total system's costs.

Upgrading to ULE SoCs (system on a chip) enables myriad new IoT smart home applications and services, according to TurkCell. In addition, ULE offers lower power consumption and supports two-way voice, audio and video communication over the air.

Kevo Smart Lock

Also at CES was a display of Kwikset's Kevo Smart Lock, which turns users' smartphones into their keys. Through a companion mobile app, users can set up and delete eKeys, which are encrypted electronic keys that reside on the smartphones and can be used to unlock the smart lock. Users can even send them to other users whom they want to grant access to.

On the security front, Kevo tracks user activity in its system, so users know when eKeys have been locked or unlocked, sent out or accepted. Kevo is currently available on iOS and Android devices. Kevo is available at retail stores for $185.

GoControl Smart Home Products

The GoControl smart home lineup includes premium smart solutions that encompass security, lighting, climate and home access through smart garage door controllers, smart thermostats and smart light switches.

These products work with the vast majority of home control hubs that are compatible with Z-Wave radios. For instance GoControl sells the dimmable LED light bulb for smart lighting, a plug-in lamp dimmer that automates lamps with a tap of a smartphone, and a smart home security suite that includes two door-window sensors and a motion sensor.