This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence IoT Briefing subscribers hours before it appeared on Business Insider. To be the first to know, please click here.
The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is underway in Las Vegas, and tech companies of all stripes are unveiling their latest smart home devices.
The show offers these companies a platform to lay out their vision for the future of the connected home ecosystem and to broadcast how they're planning to evolve their devices to anticipate and meet customer demand.
From the myriad announcements coming from the show, a few broader trends about the overall smart home market stand out as developments that will define the segment for the year.
Here are the three biggest trends that have emerged from CES, so far:
Companies are finding ways to integrate AI voice assistants into the home without dedicated devices. They're inserting these assistants into everything from bathroom lights and toilets from Kohler to mirrors from SimpleHuman, and even pet-monitoring cameras from Petcube. These devices are built with either Amazon's Alexa or Google's Assistant â€” or both â€” into their hardware with microphones to record and transmit voice commands. This builds on frameworks and software tools introduced by Amazon and Google over the last year and will help both tech giants to further entrench their AI assistants into the lives of consumers by making it simpler and less intrusive to have access to a voice assistant.
Despite the rising prominence of voice, it isn't always enough, and companies are responding by building screened smart home devices. Voice-first interfaces provide simple ways for a user to give a command quickly, but they're not particularly well suited to displaying large amounts of information, adjusting a range of settings at one time, or conveying persistent instructions like in a cooking recipe. That's why screen-equipped smart devices have proliferated at CES, ranging from a wooden touch-sensitive smart home display from Mui to a Google Assistant-powered screened smart speaker from KitchenAid and a home security organization tablet from ADT.
More companies are supporting all of the major smart home ecosystems. GE, for instance, is adding support for Google's Assistant ecosystem to its C by GE lineup, which builds on existing support for Alexa. The biggest move, though, is from Apple, which added a raft of supported devices to its HomeKit ecosystem by working with partners including Netatmo, Belkin, ConnectSense. These devices are able to work with HomeKit thanks to a change on Apple's part over a year ago, which dropped a requirement for dedicated hardware to make devices compatible with the smart home ecosystem.
Smart home devices of all sorts are evolving to incorporate the latest technologies, consumer feedback, and findings from purchasing habits.Business Insider Intelligence forecasts that total smart home devices will exceed 1 billion in the US by 2023.
This growth will depend on companies continuing to innovate and build links between various devices, so that the smart home isn't just a jumble of technology, but rather a coherent tool to organize a home teeming with connected devices, orchestrated by an AI-powered voice assistant.