Hunter Fan Company Demos Assistant-Enabled Ceiling – CES 2018

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Hunter Fan Company out of Memphis Tennessee is demoing Google Assistant integration for its smart ceiling fan lineup at this year's CES show, making it the first company to have its fans work with all three of the major AI-based voice assistants. Owners of Google Assistant enabled smartphones, Apple devices with Siri, and Amazon Alexa devices can all use Hunter's smart fans. The capability will be coming to the company's SIMPLEconnect lineup in the near future, along with a new entrant in the form of the Advocate. No timeframe was given for Assistant functionality in existing models, but the Advocate will debut this sprint for $349, presumably with Assistant integration in tow. It's not entirely unreasonable to assume that earlier models will gain the capability around that time, if they haven't already.

As for the Advocate model itself, it is poised to be the smallest Wi-Fi enabled connected ceiling fan on the market. Coming in at only 11 inches tall from ceiling to the tip of the centerpiece, and comes in Matte Nickel, Noble Bronze, and Fresh White, to complement almost any interior decoration scheme. The $349 Advocate model will debut at a middling price point compared to some of its relatives, with the rest of the currently available SIMPLEconnect range actually starting at $299.00 and running all the way up to $399.00. Customers who want to use SIMPLEconnect features with an existing ceiling fan, however, can purchase accessories that run from $34.00 to $79.00.

The smart home space is growing exponentially in both scale and scope, with this year's CES event being one of the biggest showcases yet for new home automation devices. This particular announcement marks yet another expansion in the ever-growing overlap between home automation and artificial intelligence, with voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa being at the forefront of the consumer end of the AI revolution. A growing number of smart devices in the home these days can be controlled through voice assistants in some form, and Hunter Fan Company's move to become the first to have a ceiling fan that can connect to all three major AI assistants by voice may well mark the beginning of a marketwide emphasis on consumer choice within each given corner of the home automation space.

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