Smart Home takes centre stage at CES 2016

Ludger Voetz, freelance journalist and consultant from
Münster, Germany

Smart Homes were one of the main topics at this year’s CES. Manufacturers like Samsung presented a wide range of new products and solutions such as the intelligent ‘Family Hub Refrigerator’, whilst other organisations like the ULE Alliance or the DSP Group announced new partnerships.

Not many people will be able to afford a smart fridge that costs US$5,000, says Ludger Voetz – even if they fall in love with the massive built-in touchscreen and all the features that come with the new ‘Family Hub Refrigerator’ from Samsung. The $600 price tag of the new solar-powered outdoor grill from GoSun might also be slightly higher than most consumers had wished for. The interest in new Smart Home solutions was obvious, though, as many of the 170,000 visitors at CES 2016 had a close look at the latest security cameras, heating & cooling systems as well as smoke and motion detectors for today’s Smart Home.Samsung_Family-Hub-Refrigerator

The good news is that not all new products will be as expensive as Samsung’s new smart fridge. Chip manufacturers and other companies such as the DSP Group, Intel, Dialog, VTEch, Gigaset, Crow, and Panasonic are all focusing on affordable Smart Home solutions which are based on the new ULE (Ultra-Low-Energy) standard. “Over 30 ULE products have successfully been certified since we launched the ULE certification programme at CES 2015, and we expect to reach the 100-mark by 2017,” explained Avi Barel, Business Development Director of the ULE Alliance.

At this year’s CES, the ULE Alliance – which has already established partnerships with other organisations such as AllSeen – announced a new liaison, this time with Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC). By joining forces, the two organisations want to help all parties involved to improve the interoperability and the management of ULE-based Smart Home devices and solutions.

Mike Richmond, executive director, Open Interconnect Consortium, commented on the new partnership: “With this active liaison, we are taking an important step toward broadening the adoption of IoT. Interoperability and cooperation between standards organisations is of paramount importance in enabling practical implementations of IoT,” said Mike Richmond.ULE-Alliance_at_CES2016_with Avi_on_the_left

Also at CES, the DSP Group announced the launch of Turkcell’s IoT services – the first ULE-based commercial IoT deployment. “With DECT connectivity already embedded in our CPEs, it was a natural step to upgrade to ULE to offer a new scope of IoT services for our customers,” said Anıl Gül, director of Terminal and Mobility at Turkcell. “ULE is not just another technology in the burgeoning market of smart home applications. With its outstanding range, interference-free operation and self-install capabilities – ULE is the ideal platform for a smarter home,” concluded Aydın Özyavaş, Connected Home Products Manager at Turkcell.

“We’re pleased and proud to lead the ULE revolution, and look forward delivering Turkcell subscribers ULE’s unparalleled technological merits and low Total Cost of Ownership,” said Ofer Elyakim, CEO of DSP Group. “ULE continues to prove itself as the technology of choice for IoT services at home, and a unifying force in the home automation market,” added Raz Kivelevich-Carmi, VP marketing and business development, ULE Product line at DSP Group.FOX-Business_interview_with_Avi_at_CES2016

Judging by the latest developments, it seems likely that we will see even more – and more affordable – Smart Home products over the next 12 months.

The author is Ludger Voetz, a freelance journalist and consultant from Münster, Germany. He lives in London from where he writes about the latest developments in IT, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, home networks and consumer electronics.

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