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CES 2018: 10 New Smart Home & IoT Devices + Their Prospects for Success

CES 2018 Innovation Awards include usual smart-home winners like Nest, Ring and Arlo, but also interesting newbies boasting AI, security, home automation, lighting control and more. Will they make it?

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Cognitive Systems' Aura home automation with spatial analytics

Their Words

Easily monitor your home from your smartphone. See when and where motion happens, get notified as family comes and goes, and receive alerts if motion is detected while you are away.

My Words

I met Cognitive Systems a couple of years ago for a private demo, when they had their hearts set on making chips and software. It looked interesting, but I asked them to let me know when the technology was actually implemented into a product. Well, I guess I wasn't the only one. Cognitive ended up making an end product itself, Aura Home, and I saw it in action at CEDIA 2017 in September.

The technology is useful -- monitoring the disruption of Wi-Fi and other RF waves to detect activity, and then analyzing the data to determine exactly who is doing the activity, what they're doing, and if they should be doing it. It's like a smart camera without the intrusion on privacy. 

Unfortunately, this is a technology-development company, not a consumer-electronics firm, so the messaging isn't right. The CEDIA demo was underwhelming (it didn't have to be), and you can tell by the Innovations blurb they need a little help in the marketing department. 

The product comprises a hub and "beacons" that can sit anywhere, forming a mesh that covers the area between the beacons, with no line-of-sight required. A $2000 sf home can get by with a hub and three beacons for $400.

Do I want it? The application doesn't seem ready for mass consumption, at least not with all the functionality that the technology can actually deliver. Perhaps it will serve as a decent proof of concept for a consumer-electronics manufacturer.

Will it make it?  RF-disruption technology is known broadly as spatial analytics, and the field is becoming somewhat crowded. I doubt Cognitive can or wants to support a mass-market consumer electronics product. The technology will likely get acquired. I don't see the Aura product being a long-term thing.

Aura Home

CES 2018 Booth: TW, Venetian, Suite 30-130

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