Home automation and wearable computing hits at Pepcom

7 January 2013 by Steve Blum
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The FitBit is the bit that fits inside the wristband.

Along with Alabama, Pepcom was a winner tonight. The second of the three major press group gropes at CES, it featured a tailgate party theme and the Notre Dame/Alabama game on big screens. Nearly 200 companies set up small displays at the MGM Grand, showing new products and new brand positioning.

Nexia was in the latter category. It's a re-branding of the Schlage Link home automation system. By establishing an independent brand identity, it can better position itself as a home automation platform for any Z-Wave compliant product.

Other home automation plays included…

  • Arrayent, a middleware company that's protocol agnostic and works directly for manufacturers, who then set up whatever relationship they want with consumers. More about them later.
  • Whirlpool, which is taking a well-considered step backward and focusing on networking appliances for truly useful reasons, rather than just slapping stuff onto refrigerators and washing machines.
  • Nest, which makes a thermostat that connects via WiFi to a server and watches what you do. The end result, they say, is that it learns your habits and adapts accordingly, eliminating the need for consumers to program it.

There were some interesting wearable computing products. Fitbit is an accelerometer that snaps into a nice enough looking wristband and monitors your fitness activities over the course of the day.

Basis was showing a wrist device that monitors your daily activity too, as well as your heart rate, perspiration and skin temperature, and gives you a health assessment via an app or web portal. And Martian Watch is a cool accessory to your smart phone. It sits on your wrist and lets you give voice commands and receive text messages via Bluetooth.