New solutions and products in the Smart Home market were strongly in evidence at Mobile World Congress 2016 with the Ultra-Low-Energy standard making its presence felt.
At the start of the year, household names like Samsung and Panasonic as well as less known companies such as GoSun presented their latest smart home products at CES in Las Vegas.
Whilst Samsung showcased their impressive but also expensive ‘Family Hub Refrigerator’, which features a huge built-in touchscreen, other companies such as the Intel, Dialog, DSP Group, VTEch, Crow, and Gigaset presented much more affordable smart home products.
Together, the companies highlighted the advantages of the Ultra-Low-Energy standard ULE, which is deemed to be particularly secure, environmental-friendly and ideal for connecting devices from different vendors to one network.
Since the ULE Alliance launched the ULE-certification programme in 2015, more than 30 ULE-based devices have been certified. By 2017, the not-for-profit organisation - which announced a new partnership with Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) at CES - expects that over 100 certified products will be available.
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the focus once again turned to the latest smart home developments. In addition to the familiar faces at MWC, companies such as the FRITZ!Box manufacturer AVM showcased their solutions for the very first time.
Germany’s market leader for broadband devices had chosen the slogan “Broadband meets intelligent Networking” to show how FRITZ! products bring mobile terminal devices and the broadband technology of tomorrow together.
Many FRITZ!Box routers come with a built-in DECT base station, thereby allowing not only a wide range of telephony services, but also the integration of the smart home into the home network.
The FRITZ! range, which also includes smart plugs, cordless telephones (that can also be used as a remote control for the smart home), Wi-Fi repeaters and powerline adapters, is becoming more and more popular outside of Germany. With the launch of its latest model, the FRITZ!Box 5490, AVM now offer a FRITZ!Box router for every internet connection.
At MWC, the company provided detailed information on how its products are enhancing G.fast, VDSL 35b (supervectoring), DOCSIS 3.1, fibre optic and LTE. “With our new FRITZ!OS software, our customers can setup and control their entire network intuitively, even via their smartphones and tablets,” said Janis Engel from AVM.
“Automatic updates bring new functions and provide for security. And our new FRITZ!Apps keep you informed and control the devices intelligently - even when you're away from home.”
As Apple and Google didn’t announce any big news at MWC 2016, the smartphone was - for once - not at the centre of attention in Barcelona, although Samsung and LG presented their latest models like the Galaxy S7. In addition, the Chinese brand Xiaomi introduced a new flagship model.
However, the Chinese market leader, which sold more than 70 million smartphones in 2015, has also taken steps into the smart home market with new devices. It’s going to be interesting to see if the smart home will soon become reality for the majority of consumers in one way or the other.