CES 2015: Connected “things” dominate pre-show event

If the official pre-show showcase was any indication, the Consumer Electronics Show really is going to be dominated by the Internet of Things.

At the CES Unveiled event on Sunday afternoon, companies exhibited a wide range of everyday gadgets that were notable for their inclusion of sensors and ability to connect to other devices. On display were everything from fitness bands and smartwatches to connected coffee pots and even bike pedals.

Among the more notable or unusual products on display:

* A “smart” air vent from a company called Ecovent that, in conjunction with temperature sensing power plug, will open and close automatically to adjust the temperature in particular rooms. The vent and the power plugs can communicate with smart thermostats such as Nest’s or with a smartphone app.

* A WiFi-connected tea kettle from a company called Smarter that allows users to get their tea water hot before they get out of bed via a smartphone app. They can also program the kettle to turn on when they arrive home or pull up in the driveway.

* “Smart” binding clips for snowboards from Japanese company Cerevo that records users’ weight balance on the board and the movement and vibration of the board. Users can download the data to a smartphone app, allowing them to analyze and visualize their runs.

* A connected plant pot from Parrot that detects moisture in the soil and will automatically water plants within it with water stored in a container built into the pot itself. The pot can also give owners updates on when it has watered their plants and on soil conditions.

* A “smart” bike pedal called the Connected Cycle that can track the location of the bike and movement, serving as both an activity tracker and an anti-theft device.

CES Unveiled is the annual event at which the Consumer Electronics Association, which sponsors CES, touts innovative products and gives the press a small preview of what they’ll see when the big show officially opens on Tuesday. Typically there are around a hundred or so exhibitors.

Many analysts believe that the Internet of Things will be a major theme at this year’s CES. With sales growth of smartphones and tablets starting to flag, the electronics industry is hoping sales of such connected everyday devices will jump start the tech business.

Photo of Smarter’s wifi kettle by Troy Wolverton.


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