CES 2023: Top Trends to Broaden Your Smart Tech Portfolio

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a great place to pick up on trends shaping the CE industry. Much of the debuts are conceptual, pie-in-the-sky, wishful thinking that’s interesting to ponder but never really takes root in the residential market. This wasn’t the case at the Venetian exhibits, where practicality prevailed at CES 2023, held earlier in January in Las Vegas.

This venue, home to smart solutions for residential applications, was a treasure trove of technology that simply makes sense, is within the financial reach of mainstream consumers, and here’s the real clincher — is available now or at least in the next couple of months. Even more encouraging, many of the products bring exciting new applications to the smart home community, giving systems integrators a great opportunity to expand into new markets with some very tangible and meaningful tech.

After a full day of perusing the show floor at the well-attended event, three distinct themes emerged: smart plumbing, smart exterior doors, and health and wellness tech. Here’s a wrap-up of some of the most innovative introductions in these up-and-coming categories:

Smart Home to Smart Yard, Water Innovations Cover the Bases

The benefits of smart plumbing extend way beyond efficiency, giving systems integrators plenty to sink their teeth into. Technologies applied to plumbing can prevent freezing pipes, automate irrigation (without or without a conventional irrigation system) and maintain better control over consumption. There were myriad solutions focused on water use at CES 2023, demonstrating the remarkable versatility and market opportunities of smart plumbing. Here are a few of the standouts:

  • Kohler H2Wise & Moen Smart Water Network

Ask homeowners what their worst home nightmare is or ownership experience was, and you’ll likely hear “flooding.” Anyone who’s ever dealt with it knows how detrimental it can be. Although simple water leak detectors certainly help, Kohler’s and Moen’s solutions are more proactive, stopping the problem before it starts and focusing on mitigating arguably one of the most damaging of water issues: frozen pipes that eventually burst.

Kohler’s H2Wise runs a diagnosis of a home’s plumbing system to detect hidden issues. Should it notice that a pipe may be freezing, it instructs Kohler Konnect fixtures to open briefly to relieve pressure and minimize potential damage. Moen’s Smart Water Network shuts off water to the home instead.

  • Rachio Smart Hose Timer

Rachio’s Smart Hose Timer takes the tedium out of lawn and landscape maintenance for folks like me who don’t want to invest in a traditional irrigation system. The Rachio Smart Hose is super easy to install, super affordable at $99 and does a far better job of keeping the vegetation green than other options.

Even better, it curbs water usage, sending a drink only when plants need it, saving money. The Smart Hose Timer attaches to an outdoor faucet where it receives instructions via Wi-Fi from a free Rachio mobile app. The app carries out customized watering schedules; when it rains, the Smart Hose Time skips the watering cycle.

CES 2023 Welcomes Bells-and-Whistles Turnkey Smart Doors

  • Masonite M-Pwr Smart Door

There is a good reason why people like all-inclusive vacations. When “everything is included,” it’s so much simpler. Masonite follows this line of thinking by developing an exterior equipped with all the in-demand and stylish bells-and-whistles — an Amazon Ring Video Doorbell, Yale Door Lock, and LED welcome lights.

A turnkey solution, the first-of-its-kind M-Pwr Smart Door installs like any other door except for an electrician to wire it in — the built-in tech runs off 120-AC instead of batteries. This feature alone could be all the incentive your clients need to drop about $6,500 for this turnkey, trouble-free smart door. There are no batteries to replace and even if the power goes out, the M-Pwr Smart Door remains operational. An emergency backup battery can sustain system power up to 24 hours.

From a companion app, users program and control the motion-activated LED lights and confirm whether the door is open or closed. Masonite made sure to combine beauty with the M-Pwr’s brains. The solution, which was shown at CEDIA Expo 2022 last fall, is a premium, beautifully built and designed door that comes in a variety of styles, colors and finishes.

Next-Gen Biometric Fingerprint Readers Unlock Digital Lock Growth

Biometric fingerprint readers on door locks are nothing new, but it seems to be gaining popularity based on the number of manufacturers promoting the feature at CES 2023. It’s a wise addition. According to Global Industry Analysts and Technavio, biometrics will play a significant role in global market growth of digital door locks, a category projected to reach $17.9 billion by 2027. Some of the most interesting applications of biometric fingerprint readers were introduced by Lockly and Securam.

  • Lockly Flex Touch Pro

The Flex Touch Pro from Lockly adds a fingerprint reader to an existing deadbolt, making it a great solution for renters and those who’d rather not change their current lock. It comes with a Secure Link Wi-Fi Hub to augment the capability of the lock, enabling features like remote control and real-time monitoring from anywhere, as well as voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant.

  • Securam EOS Wi-Fi Fingerprint Smart Door Lock

Securam has designed its EOS Wi-Fi Fingerprint Smart Door Lock to integrate with a Wi-Fi Smart Wall Switch that provides advanced laser light motion detection and lighting control. When the EOS is unlocked, the Wall Switch can activate select lights and turn them off when the EOS is locked. The Smart Wall Switch can also monitor the area for motion, utilizing more accurate laser motion detectors instead of common PIRs. 

Fostering Better Health & Wellness from Entry-Level to Elite

Of all emerging smart home categories shown at CES 2023, perhaps none spans the price spectrum more widely than health and wellness products. Big names like Moen and Kohler showcased a huge assortment of therapeutic solutions designed to recreate a spa experience at home — some inexpensive and retrofittable, others uber-expensive and best for new construction.

  • Kohler Sprig Shower Infusion System

The Sprig from Kohler lets anyone in need of a little pampering bring some of the spa experience into their homes with ease, without busting the budget or eating into a busy schedule. In the time it takes to shower, the entry-level Sprig, which retrofits onto an existing showerhead, infuses the water stream with a scent of your choice. A variety of infusion pods are available; you simply place a pod in the integrated basket, turn on the water, and breathe in.

At $139, the Sprig is a small price to pay to enjoy a spa-like atmosphere every time you step into the shower.

  • Kohler Stillness Bath

At the other end of the price scale, is Kohler’s $8,000-to-start, freestanding, luxurious Stillness Bath. Unlike other relaxation tubs, this one comes without jets. It’s made for Zen-like soaking; recirculating and reheating the water continuously so it never gets cold. The water fills from the bottom of the basin, overflowing into a hinoki wood base to create the look, feel and sounds of an infinity pool. Colored lighting, fog and aromas add to the effect.

From a remote control, users can choose a preset “journey,” which adjusts the water, lights and audio to simulate experiences such as walking along a beach or forest. (In the smart plumbing category, the company is also now shipping its ultra-high-end Numi toilet.)

CES 2023 Gives Glimpse to Capitalize on New Categories

Rachio wasn’t the only manufacturer focused on trouble-free, efficient lawn maintenance at CES; nor were Masonite, Lockly and Securam the only companies debuting technology geared towards exterior doors. Kohler and Moen, too, weren’t the only health-and-wellness games in town with its spa-like technologies.

The market trends in 2023 seem to be leaning toward smarter doors, enhanced health and wellness, and smart, efficient and safe water use. For systems integrators looking to expand and broaden their offerings, these categories would be great places to start.