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CNET Bought a House in Kentucky to Test Smart-Home Gadgets of the Future

Procter & Gamble, Coldwell Banker, Travelers are sponsors

CNET is testing how homes of the future will function. Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Source: CNET, Getty Images

Today CNET is launching a smart home in Louisville, Ky., where its editorial team can see how the homes of tomorrow will function—like a test kitchen for the Internet of Things.

The popular product-review site bought a four-bedroom, four-bathroom house with a swimming pool and a three-car garage for the endeavor. There, CNET's staff can tinker with the various gadgets home owners are expected to buy over the next three to five years, like smart kitchen and laundry appliances that could help reduce water and energy consumption.

As part of the project, it launched a hub for all of its smart-home reviews. 

"Today people have a piece or two of smart technology," said Eric Johnson, evp and general manager for CNET Media Group, CBS Interactive. "As we've seen, technology has become the driving factor in every bit of our lives. The notion of a smart refrigerator five years ago was that there was an LCD screen on the front of the fridge, but we think it's going to be a lot more than that."

For example, "people are going to be connecting their washer and dryers to the electric grid to set it so they can get the best rates and be using them when the power grid isn't stressed," explained Johnson. 

The home is sponsored by Proctor & Gamble, Coldwell Banker Real Estate and Travelers. But sponsors don't get to choose which products the editorial team tests, said Johnson. Instead, they'll get to tap into the consumer perspective.

"We see this as an innovative living laboratory where we'll learn a lot about what is needed and desirable to improve consumer experiences in these new home environments," said Sundar Raman, vp of Procter & Gamble in North America, Fabric Care, in a statement. "Above all, this is an opportunity for P&G to expand our knowledge base of consumer insights which we see as foundational to our ability to continue to provide meaningful innovation." 

Generally the tech inside the smart home will focus on giving consumers a peek at how they can make their homes more secure, energy efficient and comfortable. Like what CNET calls "ambience-enhancing lighting and temperature systems that coincide with the time of day or your state of mind." 

The home will also feature:

  • Windows with sensors that adjust to the changing seasons and time of day, which promise to keep "the house energy efficient and a cozy or cool temperature."
  • Water-saving sprinkler systems, soil sensors and a gutter-cleaning robot that do the bulk of your Saturday yard work.
  • Facial recognition security and smart lock solutions that could replace digging through your pockets for the house keys.
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