On the first big day for Virtual CES 2021, there was a ton of news to check out as every major and minor consumer brand tried to take center stage. We’ll be bringing you highlights all week, of course, but to help you make sense of what’s going on, we’re going to focus on key verticals each day.
Let’s dig in.
CommScope is a well-known connectivity brand, often associated with enterprise or industrial IoT, but with two announcements from CES, the company is setting itself up to splash in the B2B2C pool. We spoke with Joe Chow, SVP and home networks segment lead at CommScope, about the companies’ investment in Wi-Fi 6 for the Smart Home, who gave us the skinny on what the company is bringing to the game.
The news centers on two announcements: the NVG578LX GPON home network gateway that is designed to provide gigabit speeds for streaming data; and an expansion of its gigabit whole-home mesh portfolio—the ARRIS SURFboard mAX and the ARRIS SURFboard mAX Express.
The new gateway reportedly handles the delivery of managed voice, video, and data services with improved connectivity via Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5 Gbps Ethernet WAN/LAN (switchable) support. The CommScope NVG578 gateways are all under the PON family of optical networking standards and the company said that the newest member delivers high-speed broadband services via on-board GPON optics up to 2.5 Gbps downstream into the home and 1.25 Gbps upstream on dual-band Wi-Fi 6, which includes the 2.4 GHz 3×3 802.11ax and the 5 GHz 4×4 802.11ax bands.
Also, the company announced an expansion of its gigabit whole-home mesh portfolio with the ARRIS SURFboard mAX and the ARRIS SURFboard mAX Express. These mesh Wi-Fi 6 systems are designed to provide customers with high-end connectivity, CommScope said, turning any home into a Smart Home. The SURFboard mAX is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh system and uses two routers, each delivering up to 6.6 Gbps speeds over an area of up to 5,500 sq. ft. The third band, with 4×4 Wi-Fi 6, provides a dedicated backhaul to ensure the maximum service speeds across the entire home, according to the announcement. The SURFboard mAX Express will be out in the first quarter, CommScope said, and is a single extender unit, bundled with the SURFboard mAX. The wall-plug unit reportedly will offer the Wi-Fi 6 mesh in a smaller size to provide coverage up to 5,550 sq. ft. as a two-unit system.
Procter and Gamble, or P&G, really brought reality to the virtual for its CES experience this week. Built on a gaming platform, the booth, if you can really call it that, is divided into several interactive virtual areas, all staffed with avatars of live hosts and product experts who can interface vocally with the visitors. We got a tour of the Smart Home area, among others, and spoke with Frantz Beznik, R&D senior director for sustainable innovation at P&G, about his vision for the so-called “50-Liter Home.”
“There are three ways to think about water: the first is reducing use, another is removing water, the third is water reuse,” he said.
In the first case, he demonstrated how efficient appliances are reducing use already and, in the second, how products like dry shampoos can remove water use from certain processes.
The third area was the real focus of the display. He talked about creating a circular water cycle within the home, within which “grey water” from shower and sink drains can be reused for toilet flushing or other non-potable uses in the home.
He said P&G is targeting both new construction and retrofit with these initiatives, and although they are mostly focused on consumer cases right now, the company is open to commercial and industrial collaborations in the future.
“I’m pretty ambitious and I want to really raise the bar,” Beznik added. “We want to be aspirational.”
If you’re not familiar with TOTO, you’re missing out on some serious bathroom luxury. The company is focused on high-end design paired with engineering that is pointed toward efficiency, comfort, and cleanliness.
Right now, the company is offering a wide variety of near-IoT options like touchless fixtures and automatically sanitizing bidet toilets, but just over the horizon, TOTO is ready to show off true IoT-enabled Smart bathroom innovations like the Wellness toilet, a prototype project that they showed us today in a briefing.
TOTO says that the Wellness toilet will be able to sense aspects of its users’ physical condition based upon skin scans and fecal monitors (they didn’t offer details and I didn’t ask). Once it has collected data from the… sample… the system processes it against an algorithm and makes recommendations to the user that might include dietary changes or health recommendations, like to drink more water. TOTO says it is coming to market, but there’s no predicted date yet.
There was a lot more going on in Smart Home today, and there will be all week, so even though we’re out of room for today, don’t worry: we’ll be back.