New features for the smart home

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The Consumer Electronics Show, held annually in Las Vegas, drew the usual crowds as companies unveiled gadgets and software that they hope will become the next big thing in our daily lives. Here are five innovations for the home that could be coming to a property near you.

The Smoke Alarm

The Halo smoke alarm doesn’t need clouds of smoke to detect there’s a problem, its sensors can identify smoldering fires and flash fires before they worsen. It can also detect elevated carbon monoxide levels and will monitor the weather service for dangerous weather alerts such as tornadoes.

Users can adjust the alarm’s settings via an app and can receive notifications of threats. The alarm can also be integrated with a range of smart home systems.

The smoke alarm is hard-wired for power but includes a battery backup that lasts seven days.

The Toilet

The Neorest 750 is the latest offering in the Toto line-up of high-end toilets. The futuristic device features a heated seat, personal cleansing and drying systems that reduce the need for toilet paper, a flush setting that uses only 0.8 gallons of water and a lid with a built-in UV light that kills bacteria and breaks down waste particles when the toilet is not in use.

The Washing Machine

The Marathon Laundry comes from a product designer whose resume includes stints at Apple and Adobe. It`s therefore an appliance as much concerned with aesthetics as practicality.  The Marathon washes and dries in the same drum. If you connect it up to the internet it can also track your energy usage, remember your user preferences, and run your machine when energy costs are cheapest.

The Faucet

The SmartFaucet replaces the knobs and handles on the average sink with an electronic touchpad. The big draw is the preset temperature feature. Instead of running the water while you wait for it to reach a particular temperature, you simply preset it for different activities. The savings pile up like a stack of dominoes: the preset temperature saves water, therefore the gas or electricity used to heat the water, thus the money spent on buying all those utilities, and if used on a mass scale, could save millions of gallons of water across the planet.

The SmartFaucet also allows users to preset the length of time the water will run for ie a couple of seconds to wet your toothbrush. Again, the savings add up.

The Keys

The Kevo Smart Lock turns the user`s phone into an eKey. It uses bluetooth technology to connect either a Bluetooth-enabled phone or a fob via an encrypted electronic key. Once installed the user simply needs to touch the lock with their device to unlock it.

Users can set up or delete eKeys via an app, they can send eKeys to people who need access to their property and the smart lock will track if doors are locked or unlocked and who has access at any given time.

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