smarthome tech from international shows
Following hard on the heels of CES comes the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago in early March. International Home + Housewares Show might not have the same reach as its counterpart in Vegas, but you might be in awe at some of the tech on display. This annual trade show attracts 60,000 visitors from the industry. This year, over 2000 exhibitors showcased products from 50 countries. Rather than giving our predictions for this event, we want to bring you a collection of the best kit suitable for your connected home. We took look at some of the best smart kitchen appliances for 2019. At Home + Housewares, unsurprisingly, there was an emphasis on intelligent gear for the kitchen. Not limiting the tech to smart kitchen devices, though. At the Innovation Theater, there were 21 insightful presentations touching on the future of the connected home from the likes of Smart Design. From smart locks to increasingly intelligent robotic vacuums, here are 10 of the neatest new products to liven up your home this year.

1) A New Generation of Smart Locks

Maybe you’ve got a smart lock already and you love it. Perhaps you’ve thought about smartening up the entrance to your home but haven’t made the plunge. Either way, you’ll likely be sorely tempted by the facial recognition lock rolled out by US:E at International Home + Housewares Show 2019. The release is slated for May of this year but how does it differ from the smart locks glutting the market right now? Well, there’s a trio of forthcoming models to choose from depending on your preference:
  • 3D Face Recognition Smart Lock
  • Wireless Doorbell and Smart Lock
  • Fingerprint Smart Lock
US:E, created by Elecpro Group Inc, is another successful Kickstarter project now just about to stutter into life. If you’re reluctant to install a smart lock for fear of being locked out of home, US:E addresses that fear head-on. You can unlock your door using a password, mobile app, specialized fob, and regular key. Pioneering 3D facial recognition technology will make you feel like you’re in Minority Report as you stride up to your entrance. If you prefer using your fingerprints, the alternative model uses AI to optimize your prints even if your hands are soaking wet. There’s room to store up to 300 users so there’s no chance you’ll run out of space. With full encryption and a high pass rate, you’ll have no security concerns and no frustrations with rejected fingerprints either. With both of these smart locks, you’ll also be able to access them more conventionally with an app on your smartphone. We bet, though, you’ll be far more inclined to use these more advanced methods of entry. All the tools you need for installation are provided and the lock is expected to retail at a fraction under $400. The doorbell and smart lock combined embraces fingerprint recognition while offering remote unlocking in-app. Two-way communication is crisp and clear with sharp video and the ability to record footage. Check out a demo video of this smart lock in action right here. Prepare for fireworks in the smart lock arena as we edge toward 2020.

2) Traditional Parcel Storage Smartened Up

Do you like the idea of allowing a courier into your home with a parcel yet harbor reservations about strangers in your property? If so, and if you receive lots of parcels when you’re out, the Danby Parcel Guard might plug the gap nicely. You’ll get the benefits of a traditional-style outdoor safe along with the smarts required for a third-party to use it. This smart mailbox is certainly has a chunky footprint, but if you’ve got the space you’ll be mightily impressed with this theft-proof box. All your courier needs to do is push a package into the wide slot at the top. This then slides nearly down into a chamber so it’s not accessible by anyone else. From this point, the smarts kick in… The IP camera takes a snapshot of your delivery and the WiFi-enabled storage box will whizz an alert to your smartphone. Then IP Camera stores images in the cloud for a week free of charge, ideal if you’re busy and away on vacation. To open the box, use a regular key or use a scanned code in-app on your Android device or iPhone. In the event of any attempted security breach, a piercing alarm sounds. The box itself can either be bolted in place or weighted down with space provided for sandbags or similar down below. The Parcel Guard is available now for pre-order at $399.

3) Heat Sensors for the Kitchen

From Samsung SmartThings sensors through to water leak detectors and smoke alarms, security in your connected home is about far more than wireless cameras. With so many devices and so much heat in the kitchen, it makes sense to keep this room fully protected. There are few products catering to this need, though but EyeTemp’s WiFi Temperature Sensor plugs this gap nicely. Temperature monitoring keeps you informed with phone alerts if any appliances are left on too long or overheating. The sensor can also pick up heat from a neglected candle in your oil burner, always potentially hazardous. If you lead a busy life and you’re often on the road, you can arrange for emergency contacts to be notified when you’re away. This is a nice touch and gives you precious peace of mind when you’re on vacation. Geofencing also alerts you if you leave home without switching off appliances so you can double back and take care of this immediately. There’s nothing worse than arriving at work wondering if you’ve left the coffee machine boiling away. Now you won’t need that to happen anymore.

4) Smart Touchscreen Irons

We know, ironing is certainly not the most glamorous job. A pair of touchscreen irons from ReliableCorporation and CHI will make your life easier while injecting at least a little fun into proceedings, though. Both were rolled out at International Home + Housewares Show to quite some fanfare. Both irons serve up automatic programming and pack digital displays. Steaming, pressing, and ironing are just a single push of a button away even for absolute beginners. It won’t do the job for you but the age of the household robot is not too far off now. Next week we’ll be looking into the LG CLOi range of robots so pop back to see how things are evolving on the AI front. Both models feature all the usual hardware you’d expect from a conventional iron, too. The CHI Touchscreen comes on sale in April with the ReliableCorporation offering delayed until July.

5) Smart Knife Sharpener

If you want a job doing well, look for a specialist, not a generalist. WorkSharp has a well-earned reputation for producing precision-engineered sharpening equipment. With their culinary range, they up the ante and deliver a superb tool for keeping those chefs knives perfectly honed. Sharpening your knives too much can be just as damaging as not keeping them sharp at all. Why leave things to chance when you don’t need to? With the programming feature on this potent automatic sharpener, you’ll take all the guesswork out of things. The method used involves the abrasive belts used when knives are made and each of these belts is good for 100 uses. If you’re worried about the mess spilling out into your kitchen, you needn’t be. A mini onboard vac sucks all the metallic shavings back in leaving your knives like razors and your kitchen spotless. In the spirit of all good smart home tech, this sharpener combines convenience with performance and makes your life a whole lot easier.

6) Easy-Measure Coffee Maker

Mr. Coffee produces a wide and capable range of coffee makers that just got a shot in the arm at International Home + Housewares Show. If you love to grind your own beans for the freshest coffee, you’ll know the pain of trying to dial in exactly how much coffee to use. With this upcoming Easy Measure Coffee Maker, the name doesn’t disguise the key selling point. While the color-coded measuring scope might be decidedly low-tech, it’s also remarkably effective. Choose the number of cups you want to brew and you’ll see precisely what quantity of grinds works best. The intelligence kicks in with the innovative freshness indicator at the base of the machine. There’s nothing worse than drip coffee gone stale. That won’t happen with this pocket-friendly coffee maker due to hit the shelves at the end of March.

7) Robotic Vacuum with AI and Visual Interpretation

We took a detailed look at whether robotic vacuum cleaners are worth it. The answer is a qualified “Yes.” At International Home + Housewares Show this month, Evovac enhanced the intelligence of their robot vac by combining AI and Visual Interpretation technology (AIVI) in fine style. Smart homes these days tend to have lots of clutter lying around. From cables and chargers to remotes and, of course, those omnipresent toys, you don’t want to go on a cleaning mission before cleaning. After all, getting the job done for you is one of the major attractions of a robotic vacuum. With the Deebot Ozmo 960, you can let the small, low-slung robot scurry around any rogue objects without sucking them up or getting bogged down and obstructed. Robotic vacuums are not cheap, but this is one area where we’d suggest you pay as much as you can afford rather than hunting down a bargain. There are plenty of cheap smart home devices, but an inexpensive robovac is a recipe for disaster. Don’t be put off, though. When the Deebot rolls into production in the summer, it should come in at less than $1000. Compare that to the ongoing cost of a maid service and it suddenly seems like a sound investment.

8) Smart WiFi Cookers

International Home + Housewares Show 2019 was the forum for a range of great WiFi-enabled cookers to whet your appetite. With your home overspilling with devices, any product bundling multiple functions into one is always welcome. Gourmia demoed a pair of smart cookers, the Chill Multicooker and the Chill Pressure Cooker. Just because you have a hectic lifestyle, there’s no reason to compromise on food. With slow cookers, you can make use of the downtime when you’re at work and let your dinner safely cook itself in your absence. Both of these devices harness onboard refrigeration so your meal is kept chilled until the programmed timer triggers cooking mode. Since both these devices are fully WiFi-enabled, you can fine-tune cooking remotely rather than leaving things to chance. 11-in-1 functionality gives you a broad spread of cooking methods at your fingertips all wrapped up in a single sleek unit.

9) Digital Toaster Oven

Air fryers are an exercise in marketing hype. They don’t really fry things at all but act as mini induction cookers. This has not stopped them continuing to gain currency but we prefer the more honest approach of this toaster oven from Cuisinart to overblown hyperbole. Equipped with a digital screen and a single dial so simple even total novices can comfortably use it, you can fit a substantial 3 pounds of food inside. Whether you’re preparing dough for a cake, dehydrating vegetables, toasting, roasting or broiling, you’ve got all bases covered. Temperature hits a high of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, more than enough for any reasonable recipes.

10) Vacuum-Sealed Auto Blender

Blenders are always a winner in the kitchen. Whether you enjoy regular smoothies or you’re a fan of juicing, blenders come with an inbuilt problem… They’re noisy. Very noisy. Kuvings tackled this issue admirably with the SV-500 Vacuum Sealed Blender. While you’ll get an impressive 1700-watt power plant, the blender is almost preternaturally quiet in operation. The motor is well insulated while the container itself is fully vacuum-sealed to keep the noise levels down to a whisper. The tech extends to foam separation so you can sup your concoction straight out the blender without any taint or bitterness. 6 heat-treated blades carve through anything you throw inside and there’s a robust 7-year warranty as crowning glory.

Final Word

Hopefully, some of these upcoming products have piqued your interest. Later this week, we’ll be bringing you the very best smart home tech from Design and Construction Week 2019. Come back soon as we bring you not just great products but also the most recent smart home news so you can keep your finger firmly on the pulse.

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