Security tech stands out at CES 2014

Many of you may know that the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up a few weeks ago. The show has transformed from a tradeshow to an all out spectacle of billion dollar companies, along with small startups, competing to see who can debut the biggest, newest, and most innovative technology. Not only has the show’s popularity grown, so have its categories, and two of the most rapidly growing areas are security and home automation. This year, these two categories overlapped with multiple products, which shows us exactly the direction security will be taking in the future.

One of the biggest companies making breakthroughs in home automation is ADT, which is working diligently to produce a fully automated homeA big upgrade to Pulse that debuted at CES is voice control, so users no longer even need to press a button. They have also come out with a smartphone app called Canopy, which provides customers with live monitoring when they choose. In addition to partnering with Samsung, ADT also announced partnerships with McAfee which will provide their customers with digital-security services, and Ford, which allows them to use voice controls for their Pulse system in vehicles equipped with the Ford Sync AppLink. ADT Senior Vice President Arthur Orduña said in a press release regarding their CES 2014 presence: “As a pioneer in the home security and automation space, ADT is focused on evolving the security industry by developing new ways for consumers to integrate our products seamlessly into their everyday lives. This is an important strategic shift for ADT, as we are no longer solely protecting a home or business, we’re now protecting people and their digital assets.”

Another potential game changing product that debuted at CES was the Knightscope K5, a security robot. In an interview with Forbes, Knightscope CEO, William Santana Li said he was inspired to create the robot after realizing that most private security firms have disproportionately high employee turnover rates, and that it is also his belief that when the world’s population reaches 8 billion, law enforcement and security companies won’t be able to properly keep up. The technology that makes K5 a security robot include GPS, 3D mapping with thermal imaging, HD video cameras with audio and video recording, behavior analysis software, proximity sensors, and biological, chemical, and radiological detection. The Knightscope K5 will be going through beta testing for the next year and might reach the marketing in 2015 or 2016.

The devices likely to have the biggest impact, and go into the most homes and businesses, however, are Internet-ready home devices. Often controlled through a tablet or smartphone, these automation devices are meant to be sleek, streamlined and as simple as possible to use. In a surprising move last year, office supply company Staples debuted their Staples Connect system, which features a $99 hub able to connect to through internet routers to control lights, security systems, and thermostats. This year they announced that their system will now work with nine other companies’ products, including smart door locks from Goji and Withings. It’s a step towards not only an automated security in homes or businesses, but systems that are entirely self-customizable. Staples’ Director Peter Gerstberger also stated that the company isn’t even close to finished yet. "Staples Connect is already the most aggressive and interactive retail initiative to bring the connected home and office to the mainstream consumer,” said Gerrstberger. “We look forward to continuing to expand the device support and system capabilities over the coming weeks and months."

It’s an exciting time for the security world, since items that were only pipe dreams a few years ago are on the market, with more innovations to come. With all of this new technology comes a need to fully understand the best ways to implement and use it. Doing extensive research on which options work best for each client’s needs is still the only way to truly know which systems are appropriate for any home.

About the Author: Elizabeth Eckhart is a Chicago-based writer who has interests in home automation, especially the technology which contributes to a greener, safer, and more efficient house. She can be followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart.

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