Idea of Connected Home Nears Reality as Companies Show Off Myriad of New Products

Products for the connected home will get a big push this holiday season as companies look to get into this new and growing market.

The big question, though, is where the real traction will start.

And marketers promoting their wares at Pepcom’s Holiday Spectacular, a large consumer electronics trade who w held in New York City on Monday evening, say they have the answer.

Denmark’s Poly-Control is trying to use that consumer uncertainty about the connected home to its advantage. The company, which has been making traditional locks for over a decade, is now rolling out Danalock “smart” lock.

“It’s a great entry to smart home,” says Kelli Horner, a principal at Zebra Partners, a marketing and PR firm working for the company.

The Danalock allows users to unlock their front door with their phones either manually or automatically, using a proximity sensor. But it goes further than that, Horner says. Users can also add friends and guests, allowing specific visitors to come and go for a specified time period. That feature is aimed at people renting out their homes on services like Air BnB or who have housekeepers and need to give strangers access their homes but may be wary of handing out a key.

The software also records when people come and go, allowing users to see if, for instance, a housekeeper is coming at odd hours. Danalock has both Z-Wave and Bluetooth-comparable versions and integrates with other smart home systems.

One Canadian-based company was also showing its smart home product in New York. Ottawa’s Piper, which was acquired by Icontrol Networks in April, launched its namesake device on Amazon last week.

The camera-equipped device offers a home security solution at a lower price than traditional alarms but its numerous sensors and Z-wave compatibility allow it to pair with other home automation accessories and devices.

When it comes to the connected home, “the market is real,” says Russell Ure, who cofounded the company that invented the device. “We’re still early.”

“Smart home isn’t about turning the light on,” he says. “It’s about anticipation, that’s what we’re all working on.

But for one smart home company, turning the lights on, or rather off, seemed like a good place to start.

Velvetwire’s Powerslayer USB charger is intended to “kill” vampire power – the electricity consumed by plugged-in electronic devices even when they’re turned off.

The Powerslayer can also tell when a device it’s charging has a full charge and can stop charging – preserving battery life. It also charges devices 33 per cent faster than a traditional USB charger.

The device is also compatible with Apple’s Homekit and the company is also rolling out a power strip that uses the device – which can make dumb electronics smart.

Users can turn on a fan a lamp that’s plugged in to through the system using their phone. Jason Champaign, who designed the aesthetics of the product says he uses it to turn on the light for his dog when he works late.

Because it’s saving power, there’s also an environmental aspect to the device.
“I’m not super green,” Champaign says, “but I’m conscious.” And by making it easier, he says that people like him will be more inclined to conserve.