The smart home showing at CES 2017 lays out the future of the smart home industry --interior designers and architects will be called upon to join forces with technologists, much in the way that fashion designers and gadget developers have been co-creating wearables in recent years.
During my time as a consultant with Intel, I was witness to one of the first true wearable collaborations of a Silicon Valley technology company, Intel, and a high-end NYC fashion company, Opening Ceremony -- both at the top of their game in respective industries. The combined intelligence of these leaders developed in the co-creation of MICA, an intelligent smart bracelet with style. The luxury bracelet - made from materials including watersnake skin, pearls from China and Madagascan lapis stones - acts as a subtle personal assistant of sorts: alerting of pre-selected incoming calls, recommending restaurants nearby, and even notifying the owner when it's time to leave an event for the next appointment based on travel time.
Collaborations in the smart home space have been brewing, such as Lutron's smart shades and lighting switches integrating with music system Sonos and voice technology Alexa by Amazon. The 360-degree integration allows users to leverage custom keypads and voice-activated controls in order to create lighting and music scenes to their liking, such as a wake up call with accompanying lighting and music scenery.
Where voice technology and IoT are concerned, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) -- also the producers of CES -- released a new report in anticipation to the conference, stating that smart homes would be the "most popular means of Internet of Things engagement."
Ikea's smart charging furniture integration, which launched last year, is an example of what a mass-market IoT design consideration looks like. Designed with form and function in mind, IKEA has developed a smart phone charging pad built into a table lamp. As technological capabilities grow exponentially, it will be the designer's role to incorporate meaningful and user-friendly integrations into our everyday objects.
Scandinavia is synonymous with design. Petrus Palmer, CEO of HEM, a design studio based in Stockholm, Sweden, has been considering the role technology plays in the design industry.
"In the same way as no one normal wanted to wear the Google Glass, no one will want to sit in a sci-fi sofa. And so, tech in furniture will surely be commonplace, but it has to be seamlessly integrated." Palmer tells Inc.
An innovation in line with this sentiment that smart home creators are striving toward is Hyundai's "Mobility Vision," which debuted at CES 2017. The imaginative -- albeit symbolic futuristic illustration -- smart car model is designed to exist as an extension of a home's living space, blurring the lines between utility, form and function. Hyundai is re-imagining not only the automotive model, but also the meaning of personal space.
Including a seating area, speaker system and detachable interior furniture, the reimagined automobile seamlessly docks as a living station in your home. Hyundai says their vision is to "blur the line between mobility and living and working space, integrating the car into the daily lives of users."
Innovation requires collaboration -- incorporating consideration from experts in a diversity of relevant disciples -- along with a holistic point of view. Just as designers have continued to create designs to suit evolving living spaces, technologists have been developing code to improve the human experience. When the two train of thoughts combine, we will see the smart home market reach its full potential.