AD: Cox Smart Home Event showcases home of the future

Exterior of the Buffington Homes house outfitted with Smart Home technology by Cox Communications

Photo: Fayetteville Flyer staff

Panoramic wifi. Plants that water themselves. Smart toothbrushes that tell you how well you’re brushing your teeth.

Robot dogs.

All of these may seem like items you’d find at some kind of crazy science-fiction-style home of the future, but thanks to the Smart Home event set up in Northwest Arkansas on Thursday by Cox Communications, we found out today that the future is, apparently, now.

Cox has been touring the country setting up Smart Home exhibits to showcase some of their capabilities and new technologies, and the tour stopped in Northwest Arkansas this week at a Buffinton Homes property in Bentonville.

Cox had outfitted the home with their Panoramic Wifi, and set up more than 60 smart devices running simultaneously, and seamlessly, on the system for the event.

Virtual greeter outside the smart home

Photo: Fayetteville Flyer staff

Exhibits included a smart kitchen set up by food blogger and cookbook author Whitney Bond, including an Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker, a WeMo Smart Slow Cooker, and a Behmore coffee maker that you can start over wifi. Bond also had an Amazon-enabled device set up that would allow you to pull up her video recipe demonstrations hands-free using voice commands that will walk you step-by-step through the process of cooking her culinary creations.

Cox also had their own Homelife security and automation system in place which was incredibly impressive. The system offers 24/7 security monitoring of your home featuring live HD video and the ability to lock doors or turn off lights remotely using their secure app. The Homelife system also allows you to set up practical automations, like the ability to adjust the thermostat and turn off the lights every time you leave your home in order to save energy.

Professors from The Tesseract Center at the University of Arkansas were in attendance as well with some pretty incredible Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality headsets to showcase what they are doing to re-invent the way students are learning at the UA. One VR mod they had set up that we experimented with allowed us to virtually walk-through a simulation of Van Gogh’s painting The Night Cafe. That was a pretty surreal experience.

A home health demonstration by Trapollo, LLC and Mercy Virtual

Photo: Fayetteville Flyer staff

There were some other incredibly practical, but useful, exhibits set up as well. One potentially life-saving example of this was set up to showcase technology developed by Trapollo, LLC and Mercy Virtual that connects patients with chronic or complex medical issues with clinicians or physicians day or night using a secure video-conferencing system. The idea is to allow individuals that would otherwise basically live at the doctors office the freedom to be monitored and cared for in the comfort of their own homes.

Steve Auchterlonie of Cycling Performance Lab had a bike trainer set up and connected to a Zwift indoor cycling system that allowed attendees to choose their course and race against other virtual-riders from all over the world.

Upstairs in the home, Crystal Bridges was demoing some of their software used in online courses for kids interested in curatorial arts from high schools to community colleges that allows students to discuss their favorite art pieces, and build their own exhibits in a virtual gallery.

A VR demonstration by The Tesseract Center at the University of Arkansas

Photo: Fayetteville Flyer staff

There was also a room set up with multiple 3-D printers by NWA3D, an orgnization that sells 3D printers but also trains kids on how to design their own objects and bring them to life.

Are you familiar with augmented reality technology? That’s kind of what Trifecta Communications specializes in, and they set up a demo of some really cool things they are working on, including interactive children’s books integrated with smart phones and tablets that come to life with stories and songs.

Violinist Jason Yang, who tours the country performing with Madonna for part of the year, was set up in an upstairs bedroom giving demos on how he teaches music lessons remotely to kids and records violin parts for producers all over the world from his home studio using video conferencing technology.

There were plenty of other gadgets on display as well. A Roomba. Several Amazon Alexas. A smart mirror that can show you what you’ll look like in different light before you go out.

Trifecta Communications demonstrates some of their augmented reality work

Photo: Fayetteville Flyer staff

All of it – more than 60 devices connected at once – was running on Cox’s Ultimate High Speed Internet package, offering download speeds of 300 Mbps.

And we didn’t see a hiccup.

It was fun geeking out for the morning with all the technology, and if smart homes like this one are the future, the future looks pretty exciting indeed.

More photos


Photo: Fayetteville Flyer staff

Smart cookies (just kidding, they were regular cookies) by food blogger / cookbook author Whitney Bond

Photo: Fayetteville Flyer staff

Violinist Jason Yang

Photo: Fayetteville Flyer staff

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