This year’s edition of the Consumer Electronics Show — CES 2019 — is currently underway in Las Vegas. Amid the huge and hyper-expensive 8K TVs, outrageously powerful gaming laptops and 5G hype, virtual assistants are in the spotlight in a big way.
The companies that make consumer electronics (and many previously low-tech home products) are happy to oblige. At CES 2019, the rise of the virtual assistant as the machine intelligence that rules your increasingly smart home is on full display.
Here are 10 products from the Consumer Electronics Show that display the increasing reach of Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and yes, even Bixby.
CES 2019 (Virtual Assistants Everywhere): Instant Pot Smart Wi-Fi Pressure Cooker
The Instant Pot has been an incredibly popular way to cook meals with zero fuss. At CES 2019, the Instant Pot Smart Wi-Fi Programmable Pressure Cooker with Google Assistant support was announced.
No more touching appliances with your dirty hands, no fumbling with an app, and no worries about getting to work and realizing you forgot to start dinner.
Just say “Hey Google, set the program on my cooker to rice” (or whatever you had planned for a meal out of its 750 pre-programmed recipes), to a handy smartphone or Google Home speaker and the Instant Pot will start cooking.
CES 2019 (Virtual Assistants Everywhere): Altro Smart Lock
Over the past few years, smart door locks and smart doorbells (with integrated video cameras) have become increasingly popular. Amazon even got in the game in 2018, acquiring smart doorbell startup Ring.
It was only a matter of time before the two security devices were combined. At CES 2019 we got the Altro Smart Lock, a battery-powered, connected deadbolt with integrated video and two-way voice communication.
You can lock or unlock your door from anywhere by voice using Alexa or Google Assistant, while also keeping a wary eye out for porch bandits.
CES 2019 (Virtual Assistants Everywhere): Eve Power Strip
Smart power outlets that let you plug in lights and small appliances, then remotely turn them on and off are handy. But the new Eve Power Strip takes smart to the next level.
Plug in a regular, everyday light, radio or whatever and it acts like a power bar, expanding a single electrical outlet into three. It even has a surge protector, and the smarts to monitor power consumption.
The $119 Eve Power Strip also lets you switch the devices that are plugged in on and off with your voice (using an iPhone or HomePod speaker), thanks to integrated Siri voice control.
CES 2019 (Virtual Assistants Everywhere): Orbit B-Hyve Hose Faucet Timer
Are you going to just stand there with a hose and water your lawn like someone from the 1950s? Not in 2019! Tell Alexa to do that.
Orbit’s B-Hyve smart hose faucet timer has been a popular choice among tech-savvy homeowners because it turns a simple garden hose into a lawn-saving, water-saving automated sprinkler system.
And at the Consumer Electronics Show, Orbit was showing off the B-Hyve, now with both Alexa and Google Assistant support, so you can water your lawn with a simple voice command.
CES 2019 (Virtual Assistants Everywhere): GE Kitchen Hub
GE threw just about everything but the kitchen sink into its Kitchen Hub. This is a ventilation hood that fits above a standard range. That doesn’t sound so impressive, but there’s a lot more.
GE stuck a 27-inch smart touch screen on the front, with dual HD cameras, a microphone and integrated Google Assistant.
The Kitchen Hub can be used to control connected smart appliances, control streaming music playback, have a video chat, watch videos and even share video of what’s cooking on the stove (one of those cameras faces down).
CES 2019 (Virtual Assistants Everywhere): Samsung Family Hub Smart Fridge
Samsung continues to push its Family Hub line of smart fridges, with integrated touchscreen displays.
At CES 2019, the emphasis was on the latest models and their deeper than ever Bixby integration. That’s Bixby — Samsung’s own virtual assistant — not Google Assistant, Siri or Alexa.
Owners can talk to their Samsung fridge, asking Bixby for recipe ideas, the weather and news. Bixby can also be used to control supported smart devices by simply telling the fridge what you want done.
These connected fridges feature interior cameras so you can see what’s inside from a remote location, for more efficient grocery shopping.
CES 2019 (Virtual Assistants Everywhere): DUX Bed with Alexa
Consumers are more aware than ever that Amazon is not perfect, and personal information from its Alexa-powered Echo smart speakers has ended up in the wrong hands. So would you buy a bed with integrated Alexa support?
DUX thinks so. The luxury bed company showed off the new DUX Bed with DUX Smart Module, for “the ultimate sleep environment.” That Smart Module is mounted beneath the bed and includes speakers and Bluetooth (for wireless music) along with Alexa voice control so owners won’t have to leave the comfort of their covers to adjust the thermostat or lock their front door.
The privilege of having Alexa hanging around where you sleep runs $4,950 for a king-sized bed.
CES 2019 (Virtual Assistants Everywhere): Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Hi-Fi Assist
This $400 smart mirror is actually multiple devices combined. It’s a mirror, perfect for looking at yourself. But it’s also an LED smart light, able to simulate natural sunlight plus modes that replicate candlelight and other effects.
It’s also a wireless speaker, with a 2.5-inch acoustic driver and the power to stream music to fill an entire room. As if that’s not enough, the Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Hi-Fi Assist also has integrated Google Assistant.
This could be the closest thing yet to the evil Queen’s magic mirror from Snow White.
CES 2019 (Virtual Assistants Everywhere): Moen Smart Shower
If having a virtual assistant in your bedroom isn’t pushing boundaries enough, how about the bathroom? Moen has offered an app-controlled smart shower for several years now.
But at CES 2019, the company announced that the U by Moen Smart Shower now supports voice control for all of the three big virtual assistants: Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.
One command and you can start your shower and even set the temperature, without setting foot in the bathroom.
CES 2019 (Virtual Assistants Everywhere): Kohler Veil Lighted Smart Bathroom Collection
Finally, an even more extensive (and expensive) smart bathroom option with virtual assistants onboard.
KOHLER is at the Consumer Electronics show displaying its Veil Lighted Smart Bathroom Collection. This includes options like a voice-activated mirror with smart lighting and a speaker, a smart bathtub (with lighting effects and PerfectFill technology), and the $7,000-plus Numi 2.0 smart toilet –with integrated Amazon Alexa.
So you can control everything in your smart home by voice, from the best seat in the house …
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.