Ad Age @ CES: 5 Things We Learned About Connected Home at CES

By Brian Braiker and Megan Graham | January 10, 2018 |

Greetings from CES, where the rain has broken a 116-day drought and the strippers are robots. Ad Age spent theaday with leaders in tech and marketing to talk about what's next in connected homes. Check out the full video above. Some highlights:

1. Smart home? Not quite yet

More people are using smart devices to control lights and temperature. Toasters can send a notification when breakfast is ready. But that's still kid stuff. "In a lot of ways, the smart home is kind of dumb right now," says Ted Booth at Honeywell Connected Home. "To get really smart, that's about the data analytics, the AI, all that kind of stuff."

2. Insurers get in on the action

Insurers' main interaction with consumers is reminding them to pay their bills. Smart homes present the opportunity for deeper ties, says Jennifer Kent at Parks Associates. "There are connected sensors that can detect if there's a water leak and smart water shut-off valves," Kent says. "A lot of insurance providers are heavily researching whether or not providing these devices to consumers, or offering discounts, or getting them to better maintain and proactively control what goes on in the home can lower the cost for insurance providers."

3. Smart cities will be a bigger topic of conversation

As smart homes spread, they'll need cities with the infrastructure to support them. A full 70 percent of the world population is expected to live in cities by 2050, so governments will need to innovate around managing those populations, infrastructures and services, says Bill Holiber at U.S. News & World Report. Cities like Fujisawa in Japan are already tackling transportation, sewage, water treatment and carbon emissions in new ways.

4. Bad day? Your home is there for you

Smart devices get intimate details about the products we use and our preferences. Someday, they'll likely be able to read the context behind our requests, and offer up suggestions. If you're stressed, that could mean suggesting an order of comfort food from the restaurant around the corner. "Understanding the emotional side will hold some interesting nuggets for brands to play with," says Cindy Gustafson, chief strategy officer at Mindshare North America.

5. Opting in to less privacy

Of course, sharing all those intimate details with our devices remains a spooky prospect for a lot of poeple. Privacy is top of mind for everyone when it comes to connected home. So how can devices get to know us without being creepy? Gustafson says consumers will buy in if they know what they're getting themselves into. "People want more personalized experiences and are willing to give over data for that," she says. "They just need to know that they're doing it."