Smarter Homes for 2017

January brings the world’s most innovative brands and businesses to the bright lights of Las Vegas. CES 2017 (Consumer Electronics Show) is an annual four day techfest where new players and established brands go toe-to-toe to bring us the latest groundbreaking innovations from ever part of our digital lives.

As always this year’s Consumer Electronics Show has generated scores of headlines and thousands of tweets. This years show continued the general push of the past few years to make our homes 'smarter' as the Internet-of-Things reaches further into our homes and lives in general. From driverless cars to the CD, CES has a long history of giving us first looks into revolutionary technology.

Whilst this year brought the usual array of concept devices, from LG's wallpaper TV to Sony's paper thin E-Ink watch; other gadgets are ready to revolutionise our homes as everything from hairbrushes to toasters get 'smart'. Here is a roundup of great tech on offer at this years show.

Every home needs a heart

The connected home needs a hub or a brain to manage all your new connected devices through the Internet-of-Things and at this years CES Intel launched their tiny pocket size computer which can keep your smartphone company. The 'Compute Card' is a 9.5 cm by 5.5 cm device which features a fully fledged processor, input/ output port(s) storage, memory and wifi. Intel is marketing the device as both capable of replacing your home PC, when docked, and as a way to make 'dumb' machines such as your fridge or washing machine 'smart'.

The Compute Card is a fully functional PC capable of doing everything you currently do through either your Desktop or Laptop with the added portability of simply undocking the credit card sized device. All your data, settings and apps are right in your pocket, without the bulk or weight of a traditional device.

More things on the Internet

The Internet-of-Things (or IoT) is a concept which has been gaining ground for the past few years and this year we saw a plethora of new products and concepts to add to our 'smart-homes'. In the past few years we've seen the growth of wearables but today the big developments are in getting more everyday appliances connected and improving our daily experiences of them. Griffin took the IoT concept to the next level with their 'Connected Toaster'. With the 'Connected Toaster' your toast will never be undercooked or overcooked again as you can 'micromanage' your level of tastiness via a smartphone app which sends you alerts when your toast is ready. You can also save preset setting and timings to get the perfect toast every time.

Home managers and companions

Right now the market for home automation robots is dominated by Google Home and Amazon's Alexa devices. Mayfield Robotics is looking to shake things up and debuted their voice-controlled robot, Kuri. The little robot looks a little like a droid from Star Wars and is fitted with wheels, eyes and a 'voice' which is more than a little reminiscent of R2-D2. The debut iteration of Kuri features a 1080p camera and mapping software which allows it to self-navigate around your home.

"A home robot should feel like closer to a pet or companion than an iPad ever could"
- Chris Matthews, VP of marketing at Mayfield spoke to The Verge.

Beautiful intelligence

Does your beauty regime feel old or a little stuck in the 20th century? Well L'Oreal would like to drag your beauty regime into the 21st century with their Kerastase smart hairbrush. L'Oreal's smart haribrush will be packed with extra features and tech, including an accelerometer, gyroscope, load sensor and even a microphone. All these features and extra tech will be able to tell you how healthy your hair is as well as analysing your brushing technique and giving you feedback.

Your new smartbrush will give your hair health a score out of 100, track your brush intensity and angle to help you improve your overall hair care routine. Why might you need a smarthairbrush?L'Oreal tells us overly forceful brushing can damage your hair. L'Oreal's main aim is to educate users on how to better care for their hair.

Powering your home

As our homes become smarter and we integrate more and more connected, digital and electronic devices into our daily lives we are drawing more and more power. Having everything from a connected fridge to a smart washing machine, digital hairbrush and home assistant can be great, but it can also put your energy bill's up. Most of us are out during the day whether at work or other activities so when we come home in the evening we are charging up more and more devices over night. Switching to a better energy plan, such as Economy 7 can be a great way to keep those bills low.