The dust has settled on IFA 2023, Europe’s largest technology trade show, held annually in Berlin, Germany. The edge was present at the fair, which ran from September 1 to 5, covering all the big news and device launches. But now that I’m back in the States, I wanted to mention some more fun gadgets and intriguing pieces of technology I saw on (or around) the show floor.
In case you missed it, I’ve already written about SwitchBot’s cool new twist on a robot vacuum that can fill its own water tanks, tested Philips Hue’s expensive but fairly new smart security camera system a bit, and I heard Alexa and Google work very well on a new JBL smart speaker. So, in no particular order, here are a few more gadgets from the show that caught my eye.
This Nanoleaf portable smart light brings fun
Canadian design firm Umbria associate with nanoleaf on two cool new smart lamps. The $95 Pussy It is a portable battery-operated lamp with an X-shaped stand; the $130 Cup It is a corded desk lamp with built-in storage for pencils and other desk items. Both are compatible with Matter (via Thread) and can also be controlled via Bluetooth with the Nanoleaf app. The lamps should be available in mid-October on ca.umbra.com. I’m definitely considering that desk organizer for my home office.
Smart windows are my new favorite thing
I love how sensors can make your smart home so much smarter. They allow you to turn on the lights when you enter a room or turn off the heat when you leave the window open, but I don’t like having white plastic keys stuck to my walls, doors and windows.
He ConnectSense electronic handle is a European-style window handle that solves this with a built-in Z-Wave sensor. It can detect vibrations and the open/closed or tilted position of the window, allowing you to configure numerous automations without eye discomfort. For now it’s only for the EU, but I can dream!
A (simulated) view of the sky.
while we are still While I waited for the Skylight light panels that Nanoleaf announced at CES (and that I glimpsed at IFA), smart lighting company Yeelight showed off the Yeelight Pro P20 Skylight. This very realistic looking skylight mimics the effect of a skylight using nanotechnology-enabled “Rayleigh scattering”. Unfortunately, it is not a DIY installation as it requires assembly. in your ceiling, but will work with Matter like the rest of Yeelight’s Pro and Fun lighting ranges.
Speaking of ceiling lights and Matter, I was able to see Aqara’s T1M ceiling light in person. A trade show floor with 50-foot-high ceilings is not the place to show off a light meant to be mounted on the ceiling, but this RGB gradient-capable smart light still looked quite attractive in person. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see it change color; Aqara blamed the convention center’s Wi-Fi for that.
There is finally a Matter-over-Thread smart lock for Europe
I also got my hands on Aqara’s new U200 Smart Lock, the company’s first designed for European-style mortise doors (it’ll be available in the US if, you know, you have a fancy door).
The U200, a modernized lock, attaches with screws or 3M tape, so no drilling is necessary. You have all the ways to unlock you want: fingerprint, keycode and NFC via the keypad (which is separate from the lock and connected via BLE). The lock is battery operated and the keypad can be wired or battery operated.
Unlike Aqara’s U100 lock, which uses Zigbee, the U200 uses Thread, so it doesn’t connect to an Aqara hub. This means that the Aqara app cannot control it remotely; You have to pair it with a compatible smart home platform. It works with all the big players, both directly and through Matter, including Google Home, Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, and SmartThings. There is no HomeKey support, but Aqara told me they are working on it. The lock will launch on Kickstarter later this year.
Aqara also showed one of the first Matter Compatible Wall Outlets (i.e. not a smart plug but a wired outlet); This is also exclusive to the EU.
Smart charging, heating smarter
Home energy management was a major theme throughout the showroom. But the European smart home company tado had the most intriguing releases: a free Smart charging app designed to save electric car owners up to €300 a year in charging costs and one of the first smart heat pump controllers.
The electric vehicle charging app works with variable rate rates to dynamically adjust your vehicle’s fuel based on the price of electricity. The clever thing here is that it doesn’t require any “smart” equipment. It works by connecting your car’s software to the app and is compatible with almost all makes and models of electric vehicles available (some models require a smart wall box).
Making it easier to manage energy usage is a key feature of the smart home, and Tapo is leading the way in this regard, at least in Europe. The company also launched the Tado heat pump connector (€299), which gives you granular control over how and when your heat pump runs to take advantage of dynamic rates and reduce costs by up to 27 percent, according to Tado. Neither product will be launched in the US; instead, they will be available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain.