Las Vegas's Consumer Electronics Show sets the mass-market digital agenda every year in early January. Once confined to computers and smartphones, digital connectivity is now being brought to all segments of the economy. Insurers are taking greater notice of the Internet of Things, and each new announcement provides some opening to carriers for new ideas. Following are some of the day-one announcements for insurers to keep an eye on.
Flo by Moen
Plumbing-fixture manufacturer Moen has announced a partnership with Flo, which makes devices for detecting water leaks. Flo by Moen calculates water pressure, flow rate and temperature within your home’s water supply system while using AI to differentiate normal water use from abnormal use. Homeowners can control the water supply from their smartphones in case of a weakness. Notably, the devices come with access to Flo's subscription-based protection service -- not an insurance product in the traditional sense, but among other benefits, Flo will pay up to $2,500 towards a homeowner’s insurance deductible if the tech fails.
Amazon-owned Ring is going beyond doorbells: The company is launching a line of sensors to detect smoke, carbon monoxide, flooding, freezing temperatures, or intruders, as well as Alexa- and smartphone-app-enabled locks from third-party manufacturers. Given Amazon's rumored interest in entering the home insurance sector by leveraging its connected-home technologies, this development may indicate another step forward for the digital giant.
Samsung is partnering with a computer-vision company called Eyesight to integrate the latter's driver-monitoring software into cars. The system monitors a driver's gaze direction, pupil dilation, eye openness, blink rate and head position, with algorithms designed to detect levels of drowsiness and distraction. Cars can do everything from sounding an alarm to alert the driver, suggesting a rest, or activating more self-driving features. With insurers taking distracted driving more seriously, it's not hard to imagine this development being of interest to carriers.