written by:
January 9, 2015
From the Internet of Things to connected cars and 3D printing, one of the masterminds behind the Beats by Dr. Dre headphones runs down the hottest trends at this year's CES.
Works With Nest

The world of smart home technology is rapidly changing. We'll call upon the greatest minds in the industry—and draw on what we learned at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show—to sort out what will become integral to the 21st-century home. 

For more information on Dwell on Design, visit our Onstage schedule.

Courtesy of 
Nest Labs
1 / 4
Beats by Dre Studio headphones

Studio headphones by Beats by Dre. As Beats Electronics' first employee and CEO, Susan Paley helped establish the company's headphones as a fashion statement. 

Courtesy of 
Beats Electronics
2 / 4

Canary's smart HD camera, which also tracks motion, temperature, humidity and other environmental conditions, is one of the many home-security products at CES that was designed to offer peace of mind to homeowners.

Courtesy of 
Canary
3 / 4
Susan Paley

Susan Paley is a veteran of the consumer technology business and was the founding CEO of Beats Electronics.

Courtesy of 
Susan Paley
4 / 4
Works With Nest

The world of smart home technology is rapidly changing. We'll call upon the greatest minds in the industry—and draw on what we learned at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show—to sort out what will become integral to the 21st-century home. 

For more information on Dwell on Design, visit our Onstage schedule.

Susan Paley, who helped turn the Beats by Dr. Dre headphones into a wildly successful personal fashion statement, knows a trend when she spots one. As Beats Electronics’ first employee and CEO, she played a major role in redefining headphones as a status symbol—one for which people were willing to pay $300 or more—by incorporating superior audio in a striking package, and placing the product over the ears (or simply around the necks) of celebrities like LeBron James, Eminem, and Lady Gaga. Since then, she has advised startups as well as established companies like General Motors, for which she has served a consultant on its connected-car concept.

We sat down with Paley at the International CES expo in Las Vegas—on the floor at the Sands Expo (sensible seating can be hard to find at the world’s largest trade show)—to discuss the connected home, 3D printing, and other trends that were the talk of CES, which ends on January 9, 2015.

What stood out to you about this year's CES?

The quality of a lot that was being presented was fantastic. It's amazing, this is really the do-it-yourself generation. Think about 3D printers. You can print your own circuitboards, so to rapidly prototype products now, it's accessible; you don't have to go to China, you can do it in your garage. I was talking to a guy and he said it's almost like when you would go to Radio Shack to buy transistors, but it's like that on sterioids because so many more people are doing it. So you've merged do-it-yourself wth craft and tech. It's incredible.

A lot of the buzz here has been about the connected home—the so-called “Internet of things.”

The whole show is the Internet of things. And it’s the Internet of things for the value chain; it’s the end device, the enabling software, the cloud-based services. Back in the early days, it was all about “walled gardens,” or closed ecosystems. This year, the nice thing that I’ve seen is that most of the home-automation companies—Lutron, for example—have their devices playing on multiple software platforms. You see a much more inclusive ecosystem so you don’t have to make a choice between this or this. So you see all these devices that are playing with each other, because no one can develop everything for the home, and until everything shakes out, everyone’s kind of hedging their bets. And that’s great for the consumer because they’re not forced into an ecosystem. They get to see how it’s all going to play out, and they’re not going to have the same obsolescence.

Is that what we’re seeing with Apple’s HomeKit—hubs that can control smart-home gadgets developed by multiple companies?

Yes, and there’s Wink, too. This is an area where Apple doesn’t have a clear dominance. You’ve got all these players—GE is involved with Wink—who have been established in the home, because the connected home really starts with safety, security, and utility-type situations, like doorbells, lights, and garage-door openers. So that’s not Apple’s coveted, beautiful art objects. It feels almost weirdly democratic, which is nice.

Does any company stand out as a particularly savvy operator in this realm?

Nest really set the standard because they came up with an object with a beautiful interface that you can show off to your friends. The interfaces are so much better and so much more sophisticated than they used to be, and the apps are so much better and so much cleaner. It’s funny, because I think the idea for home automation is to have things disappear. Everything works. From a design standpoint, to me, it should be minimalist; you don’t notice it and it delivers all of that function.

Security seems to be a big driver in home connectivity this year.

It really is, and it’s remote security, for when people are away. It’s monitoring. The difference between last year and this year is incredible. Last year, everyone was talking about home automation, but what does that really mean? This year, we’re seeing that safety and security are the first emerging areas in which people are trying to put a consumer value proposition on why this should matter to people.

And it’s not just about someone breaking into your house. It’s peace-of-mind stuff, too.

Right. You have a cat. You’re away for three days and your air-conditioner breaks. You can monitor if there’s excessive heat in your house, or if there’s a gas leak.

Where are we in the evolution of these concepts?

I think it’s going to take a couple of years because it’s really about starting with the home first, where people are making long-term purchasing decisions. It’s wiring the whole network. I’ve done a lot of work with the automotive companies, so they all want to get to the point where you drive into your driveway, or you drive out, and you want to be able to access all that information on your dashboard. “OK, I’m home. I want the lights on, I want the heat at this temperature, I want the door open.” And we’re getting there. Car companies have four-year design cycles or three-year design cycles, but those are being broken now. They’re much faster. So with Google and Apple getting into the car much quicker than anyone expected with Android Auto and CarPlay, I think in two years you’re going to see exponential leaps. The car, which has really been the last bastion in terms of being its own private universe, is going to get connected in a much more meaningful way.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016