CES 2017 Report: Voice Control Rules

Voice Control at CES 2017Well, the annual CES confab is over for another year. It was, as usual, a whirlwind of activities and a very busy time for Arrayent. But we like it like that! It was a banner year for meetings with customers, partners, analysts and press for us. Traffic at our booth was strong and steady, and even mobbed at times. It certainly helped that our category, consumer IoT/Smart Home products, continued to dominate show buzz—along with self-driving cars, 3D printers, and drones.

There was a lot of interest in our own EcoAdaptor announcement that we are enabling interoperability between products within environments and through other major cloud ecosystems such as Nest, Amazon Echo/Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, Amazon DRS (Dash), Salesforce and WeChat. And, we were delighted to once again present Febreze Home™ as a key demo partner in our booth, showing off new capabilities that will be coming soon with its compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT.

The Febreze Home demo garnered attention in a Wall Street Journal article on non-tech companies at the show, and earned us a KCBS radio news report by CBS tech industry commentator Larry Magid.

Amazon Echo/Alexa and the new voice control interface category was clearly the star of this year’s CES. Nearly every booth—from cars to appliances to toothbrushes—seemed to incorporate Alexa. We enjoyed the shout out by Stacey Higginbotham in her Internet of Things Podcast Episode 94—the post-CES analysis of how Amazon Echo and AVS are defining the interface for voice services with some help from consumer platform companies like Arrayent that make it super easy for brand manufacturers.

But there was also a lot of attention being paid to Amazon’s formidable competitor, Google Home, as well as new entries in the voice control/speaker arena emerging from LG, Lenovo, Baidu, WooHoo, Olly, and Mattel (for the kids) to name a few.

In general, interoperability among the key IoT ecosystems was a major topic at the show. It was also a theme at Parks Associates’ Connections Summit at CES where Arrayent participated by having our VP Engineering, William Oget, speak on a panel. In addition to our own contribution of expanded Arrayent EcoAdaptor services, there were different takes by the Zigbee Alliance with ‘dotdot’ and new Z-Wave S2 specifications.

IoT security was another big focus. There were new smart home security product announcements from Symantec, Intel, Bitdefender Box, and for a number of smart routers. Interestingly, the FTC announced a new competition with prize called the Internet of Things (IoT) Home Inspector Challenge. The FTC is asking people to come up with a technical solution to guard against security vulnerabilities in smart devices connected to their homes caused by out-of-date software. There’s $25,000 in prize money for the person—or the team—that comes up with the best technical solution.