The lack of compatibility has created long-term issues. An Apple-compatible lock isn’t useful for the family member or future tenant who prefers Android. It would also be more convenient one day if our home devices could actually talk to each other, like a washing machine telling a dryer that a large load was ready to be dried.
This year, the tech industry’s biggest rivals — Apple, Samsung, Google and Amazon — are playing nice to make the smart home more practical. They plan to release and update home technology to work with Matter, a new standard that enables smart home devices to talk to each other, regardless of the virtual assistant or phone brand. More than 100 smart home products are expected to adhere to the standard.
“We’re all speaking a common language built on already proven technologies,” said Samantha Osborne, a vice president of marketing for SmartThings, the home automation company owned by Samsung.
This means that later this year, when you shop for a product like an automated door lock, look for a label indicating that the device is compatible with Matter. Then, in the future, your smart alarm clock may be able to tell your smart lights to turn on when you wake up.
3. Connected health.
Fitness gadgets like the Apple Watch and Fitbit, which help us track our movements and heart rate, keep getting more popular. So tech companies are experimenting this year with smaller wearable devices that gather more intimate data about our health.
Oura, a health tech company, recently introduced a new model of its Oura Ring, which is embedded with sensors that track metrics including body temperature to accurately predict menstruation cycles. This week at CES, a tech trade show in Las Vegas, Movano, another health tech start-up, unveiled a similar ring that stitches together data about your heart rate, temperature and other measures to inform a wearer about potential chronic illnesses.
Medical experts have long warned about the potential consequences of health tech. Without proper context, the data could potentially be used to misdiagnose illnesses and turn people into hypochondriacs. But if the widely sold-out Covid rapid test kits are any measure, more of us appear ready to be proactive in monitoring our health.