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At CES 2020, the advances and limits of the connected home

At the stand of the Korean group LG, at the Consumer Electronics Show, the global mass for consumer electronics, in Las Vegas on January 6. STEVE MARCUS / REUTERS

A robotic arm that helps in the kitchen, a mirror that gives advice on make-up and clothing, a secure and refrigerated device allowing the delivery of groceries in lockers placed at the entrance of the house… This is the image of the he future of interiors that takes shape by browsing the aisles of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which opened on Tuesday, January 7, in Las Vegas, in the United States.

In the world's largest consumer electronics fair, the main manufacturers of household electronic products have made the connected home their axis of development for the years to come. And for good reason: according to Research & Markets, this market should grow by 16.5% per year by 2025, to reach a turnover of 144 billion dollars (130 billion euros).

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However, what has been the benefit of home appliance connectivity so far? According to the Korean group LG, which invited a group of journalists in Nevada, it brought more efficiency, by allowing to control certain devices by voice or with their smartphone, and sometimes a part of personalization, as on the brand's televisions, capable of detecting favorite programs.

From there to seeing home appliances acquire more autonomy, interact and even anticipate consumer needs, there is still a long way to go. It may lead to this vision exposed by Samsung, where a robot barely larger than a tennis ball tosses coffee or tea on waking, monitors the dog in the absence of its masters and orders the vacuum cleaner to go behind him if he knocks over his kibbles …

Modification of the consumer report

Currently, commercially available products are already taking advantage of their connectivity, such as the LG washing machine, which can analyze the contents of the drum for itself to choose the best program. Or the fridge of the same brand, the user of which can view the contents remotely through an application when shopping.

On the same type of device, the latest version of the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator is able, thanks to its smart cameras, to already recognize around forty fresh products and over a hundred packaged products, which allows it to suggest recipes and initiate adequate preheating of the oven, once the choice has been made.

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If this type of service, rather reserved for high-end household appliances, allows manufacturers to justify an additional cost compared to traditional models, it also induces a significant change in the approach of the sector. It's less about thinking about individual products than about a home ecosystem in which devices interact. Electrician Legrand offers a water heater that goes to sleep when other devices consume electricity, to limit overall consumption.

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