The smart home tech at this year’s Mobile World Congress was all about voice-activated automation hubs and connected appliances.
By Rob Marvin
The Mobile World Congress tech conference debuts new connected products from all around the world— including plenty of smart home products. An overarching theme of 2018’s MWC was centralized home automation, where users can control every connected appliance and device in their homes through voice-activated digital assistants, such as Alexa, Bixby, and Google Assistant, via a smartphone or smart speaker.
The big star of MWC this year is Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S9 smartphone, which can also control your entire Samsung-branded smart home through the Bixby voice assistant. The Galaxy S9 comes with a new app called SmartThings. Samsung set up a kitchen at its MWC booth where you could ask Bixby to preheat your oven, and start the washing machine, and activate your robovac.
Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
Samsung also showed off its newest smart fridge, the Samsung Family Hub, which debuted at CES earlier this year. The refrigerator is now powered by Bixby and serves as a full SmartThings home automation hub in its own right. On the door’s large touch screen, users can see what’s inside the fridge and what’s expired, make a shopping list, check the weather, play music, look at photos, adjust the thermostat, and check real-time camera feeds throughout the house.
LG showed its own smart home automation hub, LG SmartThingQ, which now works not only with Alexa but Google Home as well. Through a Google Assistant-connected speaker or the new LG V30S+ ThinQ smartphone, users can use voice-activated commands to control a range of LG connected home devices including smart TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, and microwaves.
Amazon’s New Ring
In the middle of MWC, Amazon announced it was spending more than $1 billion to buy video doorbell and smart camera maker Ring. We happened to stop by the Ring booth right before the announcement to check out its range of smart home products, including floodlight cams, spotlight cams, and more, all of which will likely be integrated with Amazon’s own smart home products and services.
Vodafone V Home
Vodafone partnered with Samsung on its V Home smart home automation lineup. V Home uses Samsung SmartThings to control a range of smart bulbs, door sensors, plugs, sirens, smoke detectors, and more that are connected to the European telco’s network and Wi-Fi products.
The Livin Shower is a smart showerhead integrated with Amazon Echo and Google Home. The connected showerhead lets you personalize your shower settings, including temperature and music playlists, and helps optimize your water use.
Smanos SmartHome DIY Kit
Smanos offers what it calls a SmartHome DIY Kit to let you install and control Android, iOS, Alexa, and Google Home smart home devices. The kit comes with up to 50 wireless sensors to install on doors, windows, and anywhere else in the house, and it’s compatible with both Philips Hue and the Nest thermostat to control smart home devices from different manufacturers.
The Aura smart picture frame syncs with your smartphone and uses a smart curation algorithm to choose and sort through your favorite photos. The HD display adjusts brightness based on its surroundings, and you can change the photo on the frame with gesture control. You can also invite friends and family to contribute their own photos to a frame.
Tend Secure Lynx Solar Camera
Tend already has a great indoor home surveillance camera, and now the smart home company is releasing its new Tend Lynx Solar camera for outdoor use. The new solar smart home camera can turn one day of sunshine into a week of power, controlled through the Tend Android or iOS app. When there’s a power or internet outage, Lynx Solar can store up to three days of data.
PillowSoft, a new smart pillow from South Korea, automatically adjusts pillow height. According to its creators, the pillow can also detect sleep apnea and prevent snoring while using fabric pressure sensors to monitor your sleep and send the data to a mobile app.
Read more: “The Best of MWC 2018”
Originally published at www.pcmag.com.