5 Innovative Home Trends from CES 2018

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegascontinued the trend we’ve highlighted in years past towards new and exciting connected devices for the home. Of particular note this year is the integration of other key technology segments.

Voice Assistants

TCL’s Roku-Enabled “Alto” Smart Soundbar

As evidenced by the proliferation of Amazon Echos and Google Homes throughout the world (not to mention the iOS counterpart, Siri, introduced over 6 years ago), the sprint towards Star Trek-level voice control continues unabated. CES this year highlighted hundreds of devices powered primarily by Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa (with Microsoft’s Cortana bringing up the rear and Apple’s Siri practically non-existent), with one of the most practical and useful being a Roku-enabled Smart Soundbar by upstart manufacturer TCL. Instead of stumbling with multiple remotes to control the volume, picture settings, or navigation on your connected streaming devices, you can simply ask Roku to “watch Netflix” or “play Pandora” and it will immediately perform the command and control any devices needed to do so.

Augmented & Virtual Reality

Rokid’s AR Glasses

Augmented Reality (AR) is taking a huge step forward this year, with new phones and tablet devices making the most out of the technologies being built by Google and Apple. At CES, this is reflected in some new gadgets, including a pair of glasses from Rokid that will combine voice control, artificial intelligence, physical gestures, and facial recognition to create an immersive Heads-Up Display (HUD) to push forward the wearable AR world forward.

Not to be forgotten, Virtual Reality is still a major influence this year, with one of the most enticing additions also being one of the most obvious – wireless VR headsets. HTC, with their VIVE line of devices arguably the current leader in the dedicated headset space, announced the availability of a wireless adaptor that will allow full, untethered motion. Given the VIVE’s truly impressive picture fidelity, adding this freedom of movement will contribute tremendously to a fully immersive VR experience.

Smart Lighting

Vivid and Customizable Wall Panels by Nanoleaf

While the aforementioned Echo and Home devices have brought the ability to control your lights with a simple phrase to the masses, the application of smart lighting is still fairly simplistic. While Philips was one of the first manufactures to bring color control to the masses with their Hue kit, at CES a company called Nanoleaf is looking to transform not just your lightbulbs, but your walls into an infinite palate. An update to their existing Nanoleaf Light Panels (formerly Aurora), their new offering is a square LED panel that can be arranged across a wall to offer full visual and color control. The most obvious initial application would be storefronts and nightclubs, where you can imagine a color visualization synced to pulse-pounding music. However, the end goal is to apply to the home, where the application could have a dramatic effect on the mood of the user and the style of the living space.

Ultra High Definition TVs with High Dynamic Range

HDR Enhances the Home Viewing Experience

With Apple coming into the 4K fray late last year, 4K content, displays, and devices continue to be the big thing in home entertainment. While resolution tends to be the preferred talk track of manufactures (and CES had its share of niche 8K displays as proof-of-concepts), there’s also been a shift towards content and displays that take advantage of High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR essentially allows for an incredibly large color palate when compared to previous video formats, showing more realistic colors from the darkest blacks to the brightest whites. As Consumer Reports describes it, while traditional non-HDR displays can show up to 17 million unique colors, displays utilizing HDR can reveal up to 1 billion colors (that’s billion, with a ‘B’).

Sony’s New AF8 Bravia OLED UHDTV

Sony was one of many TV display manufactures to showcase their new 4K HDR TVs, which now include support for the recently announced HDR 10 standard, which will bring an even larger range of colors to content moving forward. Their AF8 Bravia OLED UHDTV is one such example, and even has a unique approach to sound – instead of having a dedicated speaker system, the TV uses the display itself to project the sound outward.

“Out-of-the-Box” Gadgets

The wildcard technologies are often the most fun at CES. Some interesting ones this year included:

Folding clothes will never be the same…

Not all of these are fully practical, but there is one that every home in the world will want – FoldiMate, a machine that will fold your clothes for you. It supports shirts and pants in children’s sizes up through XXL, as well as sheets and pillowcases, and provides them to you in a neat, single pile that you can place directly into your closet or drawer.

Never has the future felt so useful.


Posted on January 18, 2018

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The Best of Island Living

Turquoise waters, breezy sea air, sun soaked beaches and lush greenery are part and parcel for the idyllic island jaunt, but there are tropical escapes, and then there are tropical escapes.

Once you decide to own a slice of paradise, the details of island living become that much more nuanced. It becomes about sun and shade cycles, open-air living, a welcome dose of privacy, and views whenever possible. Warm wood adds a beach-hut feel, sweeping white walls offset pops of topical color, and washed stones evoke nearby shorelines. Couple those trappings of good taste with resort-like amenities and you may never leave the island.

Castillo Caribe, Grand Cayman

$39,950,000 USD | Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands | Cayman Islands Sotheby’s International Realty

The Caribbean’s year-round sunshine and bright culture are nearly eclipsed by the oceanfront majesty of this Cayman Island retreat.

Castillo Caribe’s boutique hotel–like features make it an unforgettable spot to retreat with friends. A grand front hall presents woven-style ceiling details, recessed lighting, and a sweeping wood staircase, all of which get a splash of the island’s natural elements via indoor palms and two-story floor-to-ceiling windows.

Here, classical features and decor outshine typical nods to beach living: a long table dining hall with elegant chandeliers, an expansive chef’s kitchen with multiple prep areas, and a master bedroom with beautiful wood ceiling inlay. Then there’s the wine cellar, games room, home theatre, gym, outdoor pool and private grotto. Cap that off with the Cayman Islands’ tax-neutral environment for the ultimate break from normalcy.

Makena, Maui

$26,995,000 USD | Makena, Hawaii | Island Sotheby’s International Realty

Look out across the endless Pacific Ocean from one of the most beautifully constructed, custom-detailed homes in Maui. Perched upon one acre of land, this 10,500-square-foot residence is an exemplary model of indoor-outdoor living.

Custom wood detailing runs through every area, including the eight bedrooms. Rippling fountains keep relaxation dialed, and a home theater is at the ready when you need a break from the sun. Or maybe you’ll prefer to soak up that movie in the open night air—an outdoor theater rises from the pool deck.

The nearby pool house accommodates any additional guests, and the nearly 4000-square feet of deck is perfect for large celebrations and star-gazing alike.

Sentosa Cove, Singapore

$19,900,000 SGD | Singapore | List Sotheby’s International Realty

Incredible modern architecture defines this rare oceanfront residence in Singapore. The lure of a marina resort meets high residential integrity here—a marriage of raw wood, polished steel, fair-faced concrete, and tropical sea air.

Views of the water rush into grand rooms at the rear of the home, while front rooms face the waterway. Flow, light, and open space are abundant, as is indoor-outdoor living. A timber bridge intersects the main staircase, giving way to a covered terrace so you can comfortably enjoy the local climate out of the sun’s rays (a dip in the pool will also do nicely). Sliding and folding glass doors expand the living and dining spaces for breakfasts and dinners al fresco. Whether you’re upstairs in a private, inviting bedroom or taking in the tranquility of the courtyard, this Sentosa Cove stunner is open and alive.

Mahoe Bay, Virgin Gorda

$23,000,000 USD | Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands | British Virgin Islands Sotheby’s International Realty

Beachfront living just doesn’t get any better than this. Stunning local stonework, warm woods, Travertine marble, and sandy shades of upholstery line the rooms of the villas at Aquamare.

Three 8,000-square-foot villas, equipped with 30-foot vaulted ceilings and beautiful indoor-outdoor detailing—including hammock seating—can house up to 12 guests each. Each also has its own private waterfront infinity pool with clear views of Drake’s Channel and upscale beachside lounging. A manager’s villa is partnered with the property, making large celebrations and group gatherings easy.

Elevated island homes offer the ideal blend of private retreat and resort living, where tempos slow and lapping waves provide the soundtrack to your days—your own personal paradise.

Discover luxury homes from around the world on sothebysrealty.com

Posted on January 15, 2018

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