A new blender would never set fire to the internet, but when Philips unveiled a number of new health-oriented smart household appliances this year LIKE A trade expo in Berlin, it begged the question: what do we use smart devices for?
Even within technological circles it can be difficult to define the smart home market exactly – and it can be just as difficult to determine when a & # 39; stupid & # 39; device a & # 39; smart & # 39; is becoming. But the general development towards more connectivity and the ability of devices to talk to the internet – and each other – makes the idea of a smart home dependent on a general increase in the intelligence of our goods, not necessarily a certain function or function.
Smart speakers have really taken the lead here, with the prominent presence of the Amazon Echo convincing countless third-party manufacturers to fit the smart Alexa assistant into their products. Now your Echo speaker or Alexa alarm clock can access your lighting system or speak to your fridge.
The ease of use seems to have the greatest attraction: an ecosystem where everything you own is part of the same network, which means that your home is smart & # 39; enough to put together all the components and pass your instructions from one device to another.
There is work to be done and the increase of several smart assistants and software platforms makes it difficult to guarantee compatibility. But even with a seamlessly interconnected smart home, the focus on broader opportunities often ignores the potential of smaller, qualitative interactions: those who try to actually improve your quality of life.
Take care of yourself
Philips went on stage at IFA 2018 to announce three new products that are designed to help you sleep better, eat better, care for you better & # 39 ;. The first, Philips SmartSleep, is a headband that uses dual sensors to monitor your sleep level and delivers quiet audio tones that reportedly "sleep & # 39; can extend.
Whatever the success of the audio feature – Philips claims 70% of the trial users have had an advantage after two weeks of use – the main draw of something like the SmartSleep may be that you pay more attention to your sleep, and how much rest that you really need. All your sleep tracking information is detailed in real time in a smartphone app, so by the time you wake up, you will have a lot of information about how well you have slept.
The second is the Intelligent Blender: essentially a food processor with modern smart options. It comes with a built-in scale for weighing ingredients and is directly connected to a NutriU app for smartphones with nutritional information, calorie and sugar intake and a large number of recipes and dietary advice.
Together with a smart DiamondClean toothbrush and dentistry-focused Sonicare app, which analyzes your brushing technique and provides personal consultations based on selfies of your own teeth, Philips brings smart home improvements to places where the impact on your life can be felt. . Maybe more than that you can yell at your loudspeaker to change songs.
All three products see a broader global release in 2019, although SmartSleep is already in Germany and the Sonicare app currently lives in the United States.
However, there is a danger of so much thought about your daily habits. When we were the HiMirror Plus + Earlier in 2018 we noticed that it is capable of assessing skin care problems and giving tips for maintenance. Although it might be useful, finding & # 39; flaws & # 39; with your appearance to repair a difficult rabbit hole.
And for each smart care device, you only get something out of it if you are willing to invest your time and money. The SmartSleep is expected to sell for $ 399 (around £ 310 / AU $ 550), while the latest HiMirror Mini is at $ 119 (around £ 90 / AU $ 195).
For all the hype of the market, we are still at the beginning of the smart home era, and it is difficult to tell how household life will change even in the coming years. But if we can focus on encouraging thoughtful lifestyles, and limit the impulse for self-criticism, then we have been smart about it.