CES News Roundup


The 2014 Intl. CES this week in Las Vegas may as well have been a show focused on the Internet of Things when you consider how many connected gadgets and services were on display. This year’s show featured more than 3,200 exhibitors, many of which were excited to show off new Internet-enabled devices.

The connected car played a major role, as carrier AT&T, www.att.com, announced a new connected-car center in Atlanta called the AT&T Drive Studio, as well as a new automotive platform called AT&T Drive. The center will serve as a lab and exhibition space for connected-car technology, including garage bays, showroom, and speech lab.

The AT&T Drive platform will allow automakers to choose the services and capabilities they want, says AT&T. Connected car services available through the platform will include global SIM and global provisioning; billing solutions; safety, security, and diagnostics solutions; voice enablement/safe driving solutions; and secure firmware updates, among others.

Wearables were also a hot topic during the show. Some of the fitness-related news included Hothead Technologies, www.hotheadtechnologies.com, announcement of Spree, a fitness monitor that tracks body temperature, movement, and heart rate using a headband. The data is collected in realtime and streamed to a smartphone app. Another provider, Fitbug, www.fitbug.com, announced a series of personalized coaching aids for use with its tracker devices, called Kik Plans, as well as new products in its Orb line of fitness trackers. GPS giant Garmin, www.garmin.com, launched the Vivofit line of smartwatches.

Connected-home technology was also center stage. Broadcom Corp., www.broadcom.com, announced a new software development kit for its WICED (Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices) portfolio that aims to help devices work together to stream media. The Audio SDK (software development kit) will allow OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to wirelessly send audio content to speakers from any device connected to the Wi-Fi network.

Samsung Electronics, www.samsung.com, got in on the action with its Samsung Smart Home service, designed to enable smart TVs, home appliances, and smartphones to be connected and managed through a single integrated platform. Samsung says it will work with third-party partners to allow the Smart Home service to extend to their products.

Various IoT (Internet of Things) devices were also on display. Belkin, www.belkin.com, made news with the announcement of a connected Crock-Pot. The company announced a number of new products for the connected home using its WeMo brand, and the WeMo-enabled Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker is the first WeMo-equipped product that has come out of Belkin’s collaboration with Jarden Consumer Solutions, a family of household appliance brands.

The Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker is a smartphone-controllable slow cooker that allows the user to adjust its settings remotely. Users can receive reminders, change the cooking time, adjust the temperature, or check the status of the dish using the WeMo app.

Even beds are getting connected. SLEEP NUMBER, www.sleepnumber.com, released details on the x12 bed, which is the first to offer the company’s SleepIQ technology. This system is designed to track the user’s sleep patterns, including average breathing rate, movement, and average heart rate. The system analyzes users’ quality of sleep and provides a SleepIQ score for each sleeper. Trends are monitored over time to help users select the best sleeping conditions.

Overall, connected products ruled at this year’s CES. The question now is which of these devices will capture consumers’ interest during the coming year?

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