Admittedly, my CES day one goal was to get my press badge, breeze through some of the downstairs exhibits at the old Sands Expo area of the Venetian hotel, and then quickly work my way up to the Venetian suites where the high-end audio manufacturers waited to ply my ears with six-figure demos. I figured I’d just kill a little bit of time at the Eureka Park exhibits, wandering around for a bit to see if there was anything new and cool before I headed up.
But a funny thing happened as one hour dragged into two and then stretched to six. I discovered that I was having a terrific time wandering around checking out the small vendors in Eureka Park and quickly discovered that it was packed with the up-and-coming technologies that we will likely be installing and living with in the months and years to come.
There was row upon row of wearables and technologies designed to monitor your health and well being and track and encourage you to a more active lifestyle. There were sensors to tell you how far you’d run, sensors to track the arc of your basketball shots, monitors to let you know when your heart needed a break, and breathalyzers to let you know when you’d had too much.
I continue to be fascinated by 3D printers and there was no shortage of them, all whirring away, busy making…something. Several booths had full length printed dresses to ensure the modern-day Cinderella would never be without the perfect gown for the ball.
Nearly everything was connected in some manner, and I’m talking items that you would never think needed to be “smart” enabled. Toothbrushes that tracked kid’s brushing time and had games to encourage brushing (Kolibree). Devices that floated in your pool and reported temperature, PH, and chlorine levels that could then suggest the right chemicals to throw in (Sutro). Irrigation systems that monitor weather patterns to determine if they should turn the sprinklers on or not (Skydrop). A high-end home brewing kit that monitors your current batch, suggests recipes, and allows for the perfect hop addition timings and cooking (PicoBrew). A smart battery that turns any smoke detector into a smart device to not only notify you of any fires but prevents the dreaded 3 a.m. chirp (Roost). And a high-end sniper rifle that virtually guaranteed anyone could hit a plate-sized target out to a mile (Tracking Point)!
I met with Savant and got a thorough demo of their new app, which puts powerful customization and scene creation into the hands of homeowners. With the touch of a button a homeowner can take a “snapshot” of their home, label it, add a personalized photo, and have the perfect scene they can recall again at any time. The app is also being released on Android along with iOS for the first time.
I also met with Nucleus, a company I profiled from the CEDIA Rookie Row, and they demonstrated the latest developments of their I-still-can’t-believe-it’s-only-$150 video intercom system, now featuring Nest integration and a smaller form factor.
There were no shortage of companies offering spins on security, but one that impressed me was Brio, an outlet designed to be child safe and that only passes current when something is plugged in. Meaning your little one can jam forks and knives into the sockets all day long with not issues. Brio also sells three very reasonably priced sensors—water, smoke, and carbon monoxide—that can ensure your family is safe.
I finally pulled myself out of Eureka Park to attend a Bang & Olufsen product unveiling, the BeoSound Moment, a new music intelligent music system that caters to the needs of the family. The system includes a way cool two-sided control interface, with the world’s first wooden touchscreen control on one side made from oak harvested from forests near B&O’s Denmark headquarters.
The Moment analyzes music listening patterns and then offers one-touch to the kinds of music you are most likely to listen to at any given time of the day. It also offers a unique mood wheel to let you dial-in exactly the right music for your current mood or gathering. The Moment can beam audio wirelessly to up to eight WiSA speakers or to B&O TVs.
John Sciacca is principal of Custom Theater and Audio in Myrtle Beach, SC.