MENU

 

22-Jan-2018

Consumer Electronics Show 2018 | Part Two | CES 2018 and IoT

By Doug Harriman (Chief Technology Officer)

The Internet of Things (IoT) was front and center at the Sands Convention Center at CES 2018. Based on the dedicated floor space, IoT was one of the most represented technology areas at the show. To be clear, many items exhibited were little more than simple devices with wireless connectivity. The lamps, light fixtures, security cameras, locks, and other home security devices shown, were too numerous to count.

A very popular feature for these devices was integration with Amazon Alexa and/or Google Home. While present, connection with Apple Homekit and Siri was not touted as widely.

Pets were not left out of the move to integrate more technology in our lives. PetWalk exhibited an IoT smart pet door so that Fido can let himself out. Of course, a mobile app is available to let you configure, control, and monitor what’s going on with the door. The aptly named Litter Robot sifts your kitty’s litter for you, and lets you know when it’s time to dump the box.

An interesting and understated series of products were exhibited by Koehler. From a touchless operated kitchen sink faucet with a volume dispense mode (think: I need 2 cups of water, and that is exactly what it gives you), to a bathtub that you can tell to fill remotely, to a commode with a heated seat, nightlight, and even music, to name a few.

The IoT Home Ecosystem

Many of the smaller players look to the big companies such as Google and Amazon to support the integration of disparate devices into a usable system. Using the open API’s of these systems, device capabilities are exposed to the voice control interface that they provide. This is a great start to leveling the playing field for inventive devices.

Bigger players such as Honeywell had large pavilions showing off a full ecosystem of IoT devices for the home, Honeywell was not alone in this approach. The number of players trying to be a one-stop shop was evidence of the current fragmentation in this market segment. A concern about these types of systems is vendor lock-in. If one is going to make a significant investment to fully update their home with IoT devices, it would nice to have some assurance that the latest widget can be added down the road. That sort of issue is being attacked by the CES exhibitor Open Connectivity Foundation. They’re seeking to create standards to allow interoperability between devices. Their standards cover a range of connected devices, handling all the major wireless protocols such as WiFi, Bluetooth, BLE, Zigbee, and Thread. They use lower level standards to offer higher-level services such as device discovery, resource management, and security. And, luckily some of the major players like Honeywell and LG have already joined the foundation, with Samsung expected to join soon.

The Power of IoT

$16,000 for a laundry folding machine? I think it may be worth it! Partially because I hate doing laundry as teenage kids really churn through clothes. Both Foldimate and Laundroid have developed machines that fold laundry for you. However, there are many differences between them. The one relevant difference for this discussion is the IoT capabilities of the Laundroid that seem to be missing in the Foldimate.

In addition to connectivity, Laundroid has a machine vision system. This combination is extremely powerful. Like iTunes’ capability to catalog your music and find other artists that may be of interest to you, the Laundroid sees your clothing, and can thus catalog that. It knows how often you wear clothing items (assuming you regularly wash them) and can let you know which items in your closet are underutilized.

The Laundroid ecosystem extends this capability much like online music services. Using their “clothing concierge” they can help you pick out outfits from your closet based on the color you want to wear that day. In Japan, they’ve partnered with a clothing rental company that will let you extend your wardrobe by renting items that will work with things you already own. By cleverly leveraging the data needed by the machine to fold your clothes, this IoT device provides other benefits to the customer, as well as potential revenue streams to the manufacturer. This sort of extension is an excellent example of the leverage offered by IoT devices.

For more on that, see my blog about “What is a Robot?”.

Internet of Active Things

The Laundroid demonstrates how we’re moving from passive internet enabled devices such as sensors and displays, to devices that can actively participate in our lives. As Simplexity’s CEO Dorota Shortell put it, “The true innovation is happening with other connected devices that are doing active things.”

I had a great conversation with Nidec, a leading manufacturer of small electric motors used in all sorts of devices. They explained how Nidec sees great opportunity for their motors in IoT, as more active devices proliferate. Working for a company that specializes in designing exactly these sorts of active devices, I’m excited to see how IoT helps move mechatronic and robotic devices even more into the mainstream.


Subscribe For More

To receive more articles like the one above in your inbox, sign-up to our newsletter below.

Blog Posts


Better Firmware Faster

19-Nov-2018

Demystifying What it Takes to be a CEO

18-Oct-2018

Considerations for Code Refactoring

24-Sep-2018

American Association for Clinical Chemistry Annual Meeting

30-Aug-2018

Simplexity's Answer to Growing Pains

09-Aug-2018

Consumer Electronics Show 2018 | Part Three | So, What is a Robot?

29-Jan-2018

Consumer Electronics Show 2018 | Part Two | CES 2018 and IoT

22-Jan-2018

Consumer Electronics Show 2018 | Part One

15-Jan-2018

Why on earth are heavy weights being suspended from this printer?

22-Dec-2017

10 Best Places to Buy Parts for Product Development

29-Nov-2017

Robust Firmware Stack Sizing

08-Nov-2017

Senaptec Strobe: A Study in Simplification

19-Oct-2017

Treatment, Prevention, and Medical Engineering Solutions

04-Oct-2017

Options in Product Development Models: Internal, CDM, or Design Specialist

20-Sep-2017

Designing Thermal Control Systems

30-Aug-2017

Simplexity’s 7 Steps to Simplification©

15-Aug-2017

Battle of the Buttons: UCSD vs. PSU

02-Aug-2017

Considerations For Medical and Biotech Designs

13-Jul-2017

Risk Mitigation in Product Design: Part 2

11-Jul-2017

Risk Mitigation in Product Design: Part 1

28-Jun-2017

San Diego's Biotech Consortium

09-Jun-2017

Appropriate Models for 3D Motion Analysis: Part 3

25-Apr-2017

University of Oregon’s Product Design Program Is One of a Kind

19-Apr-2017

Appropriate Models for 3D Motion Analysis: Part 2

14-Apr-2017

From Engineer to Leader: How Do You Get There?

12-Apr-2017

Appropriate Models for 3D Motion Analysis: Part 1

06-Apr-2017

Why Engineering Still Matters in Product Development

29-Mar-2017

How Mechatronics Improve Drone Technology

16-Feb-2017

Why You Need a Gyro to Measure Position

20-Jan-2017

Why I, As The CEO, Get The Same Bonus As All My Other Employees

13-Dec-2016

Mechatronics Aids In Embedded System Design

07-Dec-2016

Top 10 Tips for Designing Injection Molded Plastic Parts

22-Nov-2016

British school kids and car hackers: the widespread appeal of open source

14-Nov-2016

When should you consider designing custom gears?

07-Nov-2016

Conference Report: Open Source Hardware Summit

31-Oct-2016

What is a Motion Control System?

20-Oct-2016

The Top 10 Questions to ask a Product Development Firm

05-Oct-2016

The Potential of the Apple AirPods To Disrupt A Whole Industry

12-Sep-2016

How to Use Open Source Hardware in Product Development

01-Sep-2016

What is the mech in mechatronics?

16-Aug-2016

3 Tips for IoT Product Success

02-Aug-2016

When Should I Start Designing For High-Volume Manufacturing?

19-Jul-2016

Designing a 3D Printer for the Home

29-Jun-2016

It Turns Out That EMC Is Not Black Magic

22-Jun-2016

Selecting the correct motor type and size

06-Jun-2016

When brainstorming fails, throw an imaginary cat

18-May-2016

Five Tips for Mechatronic System Integration

09-May-2016

Three Tips for Designing High Volume Mechatronic Products

28-Apr-2016

What Is Mechatronics?

18-Apr-2016

If I could only do 3 things to simplify a design, what should they be?

06-Apr-2016