Life Tech From ovens to toilets and mailboxes, nothing is safe from the ‘smart home’ trend of 2020
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From ovens to toilets and mailboxes, nothing is safe from the ‘smart home’ trend of 2020

Whirlpool's 'smart' oven promises never to overcook your Sunday roast. Photo: Whirlpool
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In 2019 we all became comfortable with talking to our speakers, from weather queries to music requests.

In 2020 we’ll be able to do a whole lot more, but are you ready for it?

From the bathroom to the kitchen, no area in our home is safe from the quest to make it “smart”. This week, companies from around the world converged on the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to demonstrate products we didn’t know we needed.

Waynz has modernised the doggie door. Photo: Waynz

Decades ago, the doggie-door became a popular, and simple, way to allow our pets to enter and leave the home whenever they chose. Today, with the prevalence of glass doors and heightened concerns around security, we are forced to open and close the door at our pets’ command. Wayzn has developed a product that changes this. Easily installed on any sliding door, this smart door opener will open and close whenever your pet approaches. The Wayzn could be used for humans too and can be controlled by an app on your phone from anywhere in the world or through a voice assistant such as Google or Amazon.

The Moen faucet gives the tap a tech makeover. Photo: Moen

Our kitchen sink hasn’t seen a major evolution since the combined hot and cold tap. Now, the faucet itself has been upgraded by Moen. Walk into your kitchen, ask your nearest smart speaker for 200ml of water at 80 degrees, approach the sink, place the bottle underneath and you’ll receive it as ordered. What is most impressive is that you can request a specific amount; that’s the measuring cup gone. Plus, you can also specify the temperature. The Moen smart faucet can be programmed to remember the size of a water or baby bottle, so you can simply command that it “fill the water bottle” without having to specify measurements.

The oven has also been tweaked, with Whirlpool getting rid of the traditional dials. There are no more function or temperature dials to be found, just a touch screen, an app and voice integration. The Whirlpool oven is connected to the internet, so you could scan a frozen pizza at the supermarket with your phone, and the cooking instructions are automatically sent home. This means the oven is preheated by the time you get home, and the cooking time set for when you put the pizza in. For those who prefer a roast, a temperature gauge can be inserted into the leg of lamb or pork loin and the oven will cook it to perfection. No more burning the Sunday roast, or undercooking it, as the inserted gauge communicates wirelessly to the oven.

The ‘Numi’ smart toilet. Photo: Kohler

Moving on to the bathroom, because no place is sacred, the shower and toilet have also been smartened up. Kohler have been making baths, toilets and shower fittings for years and they have now embraced the smart home. The Numi is a throne that is overflowing with features. The toilet provides ambient lighting once you’re nearby, welcomes you with a heated seat, and you can even have the news, traffic, weather or your favourite Spotify playlist streamed through the speakers while you’re taking care of business. A built-in bidet assists with the cleaning, and the toilet flushes automatically. The seat also closes itself once you depart. These functions can also be controlled by voice via an app on your smartphone.

Kohler has put a smart speaker in its ‘Moxie’ shower head. Photo: Kohler

The shower experience isn’t spared from a tech upgrade, either, with a new showerhead, called Moxie, from Kohler featuring a built-in smart speaker. You can control the entire smart home with this speaker or have it stream music, news, weather and help arrange your day. The waterproof speaker is removable if you’d like to take it with you, but runs on a battery so needs to be recharged. A plumber or electrician is not required for installation.

The Danby Parcel Guard replaces the mailbox with a smart system. Photo: Danby

Many of us are awaiting Boxing Day sales deliveries, and we’re also returning to work. Missing a delivery can mean extra travel time, or a a longer wait to receive our parcels. Danby has launched the Parcel Guard which aims to replace the traditional mailbox with a smart system. The Parcel Guard looks like a two drawer filing cabinet and has a camera on the front to alert you of motion, a pin pad for security to open the delivery section and a secure location to store your packages once deposited. The Parcel Guard also allows two-way communication with you and the delivery driver via your smartphone, helping to ensure deliveries are placed in the box. Further, if you have a courier coming to pick something up, the pin pad can be used to guarantee the collection goes to the right person while also being recorded on  camera.

Geoff Quattromani travelled to CES in Las Vegas as a guest of Uber, Jabra, HERE Technologies and LG.

You can follow Geoff on Twitter @GQuattromani

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