Briefs: CES, Universal Electronics, BT, Parks Associates

At CES 2017, which is set for Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas, Universal Electronics Inc. will unveil several new solutions, including QuickSet 4.0. That’s the company’s advanced platform with Control+ Engine and IP Services, which is said to bring content to the foreground by extending discovery and control with rich metadata.

UEI also will showcase its latest remote controls including voice-enabled remotes and new design and finish options. The company’s display will also feature “Designovation,” which is an annual tradition to show off new features in remote controls, including UEI Core, a remote design with expanded customization capabilities; UEI Adapt, a remote that “simplifies” itself for efficient use with any entertainment device; and UEI Reflex, a remote that delivers intuitive control in a 12-button package designed for the growing control needs of the smart home and IoT devices.

Universal Electronics will also feature home sensing, monitoring, and control solutions ranging from intelligent door and window sensors, to flood/freeze sensors, to automated light switches, and more. The company will also feature its portfolio of wireless home controllers designed for some of the world’s largest consumer HVAC brands.

According to a report in Bloomberg, the U.K. government is clawing back 292 million pounds ($360 million) in subsidies from BT Group Plc to reinvest in spreading super-fast broadband connections to businesses and homes in remote areas. BT reportedly receives taxpayer funds to support super-fast broadband deployments, which are defined as 24 Mbps or more. It returns some of the subsidy when more customers than expected sign up.

The clawback from BT and savings from efficiencies in the delivery of the program release 442 million pounds to be reinvested in broadband, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday.

“Health and wellness applications and services will play a large role in the smart home in 2017, driving innovations in security, wearables, and interoperability,” Harry Wang, senior director of research at Parks Associates, says. “The growing maturity of the smart watch ecosystem will fuel innovations through many of these applications and services. Apple watches and other fitness devices are popular gifts this holiday season and beyond, so their role in the connected home will continue to evolve and expand.”

Parks says currently 11 percent of consumers in U.S. broadband households own a smart watch, up from 6 percent at the beginning of 2015. The IoT research firm will discuss the role of the smart watch in the connected health market and the connected home experience at its annual Connections Summit at CES, Jan. 5 in Las Vegas. Among smart watch owners, 57 percent use the device to receive notifications such as SMS and Facebook updates, and 9 percent, just over one million people, use a smart watch to control devices in their home.