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Essence Behaviour Analysis for the Smart Home

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Essence LogoComing from a background in home securityEssence have used their understanding of monitoring to develop a range of products for the smart home to enable independent living for those people who might otherwise have difficulty looking after themselves. Jamie and Daniel find out more from Rafi Zauer, Essence Head of Marketing.

The smart home market is exploding at the moment and there are hundreds of companies peddling hubs and sensors. What sets Essence’s SmartCare apart is a focus on unobtrusive monitoring and pattern analysis to detect when a dependent person’s daily routine changes, potentially by illness, in order to alert family members to a problem.

By using PIR motion detectors and door sensors, a pattern of behaviour is built up and deviations from the pattern can be escalated to relatives to follow-up. It’s all passive detection; there are no cameras and as such this provides an important level of privacy. Data is passed to a cloud service which in turn passes alerts to an app on a tablet or smartphone.

With an increasingly older population who want to remain in their own home, these kinds of systems will be increasingly relevant.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist.
Daniel J Lewis dares you to get started in podcasting with The Audacity to Podcast.

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StoAmigo’s TackApp Gives You a Personal Cloud

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

StoAmigo Logo

StoAmigo gives people a personal cloud with access to their files at home or back in the office from anywhere there’s an internet connection. Todd sits down on the sofa with Randy Creighton, VP Legal and Business Affairs at StoAmigo and talks through some of the background to the products and the key benefits of StoAmigo and the TackApp.

StoAmigo firmly believes in the benefits of the cloud but unlike many other cloud storage vendors, StoAmigo thinks that control and ownership of the data and files should remain with the individual, using storage that is already available. Wherever the information is held, it should still be possible to get to it from all over the world.

StoAmigo brings together storage from multiple sources into an “access anywhere” cloud and key to the ecosystem is StoAmigo’s TackApp which joins local device storage from PC, Mac or Android into the cloud. All the software is free to download so there’s no risk in trying it out.

As expected from a cloud service, files can be shared securely with other people too. StoAmigo takes this a little further than others, providing information on when files were accessed and whether they were viewed or downloaded. This gives even greater control and ownership over the data.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com, and special thanks to our CES partner, StoAmigo. Download and try out TackApp for free for Windows, Mac and Android from the links here.

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Iris by Lowe’s Has Unique Uses for Health and Safety

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

IRIS-Lowes-LogoIris by Lowe’s Companies Inc. is a do-it-yourself home automation and security system that ties hundreds of sensors and products together in one easy to control and monitor system. Health Tech Weekly host Jamie Davis, the Podmedic chats with Kris Bowring from Iris Home Systems at Lowe’s at CES 2016 about the unusual and inventive ways their customers are using the Iris system to monitor and manage the health and safety of the customer’s loved ones.

This is a trend we are seeing more and more often at CES. Consumers are not just using the electronic technology they see there but also adopting the technologies into new and inventive uses. For example, you are worried your elderly mother lives alone. She won’t get a monitoring service to notify responders and you if she falls or has a health emergency. That’s okay, you have access to the customizable Iris System.

You get a couple of motion sensors to place around the home in strategic locations. Then you add a few door/window sensors and place them on the medicine cabinet doors and kitchen cabinet doors to make sure that not only is Mom moving around her home but she’s taking her medicine and making food for herself.

All of this is monitored by a mobile app that unobtrusively lets you know when the system is activated at any time you want. Your mother gets her much-cherished independence and you get the peace of mind knowing that she is okay and doing well each day, throughout the day.

This is just one example of how the Lowe’s Iris Home System customers are using creative and unique solutions using common home monitoring and safety tools. Check out the whole video below for more about this amazing story and learn how others help their loved ones in interesting and unique ways.

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Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly which can be found at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic, and health journalist.

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CES 2016 Wrap Up Show & TPN Picks

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

The TPN Team present their 2016 TPN Picks to 10 companies that we felt had the best new products at CES 2016. Off the 1000’s of companies booths we walked by these 10 where tops by our team.

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CES 2016 Primer

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central gets our CES channels fired up with a primer of what is to come in the coverage department from the 20 team members of the Tech Podcast Network who start preparing to head to Vegas in a couple of days.

Can I WeMo That? Yes, I Can

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

WeMoHome automation is a growing and popular category of tech, but the problem still persists that most of the products out right now are fragmented, in that they don’t speak to each other or to one universal system. There are only a handful of solutions doing that, and we can now add WeMo to that list.

WeMo is a home automation system under the Belkin umbrella. With over 25 products under its belt already, ranging from switches to lighting to sensors and coffee makers, you can absolutely WeMo anything. The difference with WeMo is that you don’t need an overly-expensive kit to get started. You can simply begin with the devices that you want and grow from there.

Beyond the simple light switch turning on and off, WeMo is scalable so that if you want your electricity, temperature and even water being monitored and controlled by WeMo, it can all be achieved, giving you a fully smart home.

All of the products live in the same WeMo app. By partnering with top manufacturers in several categories, WeMo can make the smart features for the product, while companies like Osram Sylvania can continue to make the best lights, which is what they’re good at. It doesn’t stop there, as appliances like coffee makers, crock pots, heaters and air purifiers can now all be smart with the help of WeMo.

Unlike most systems, WeMo uses if this then that (IFTTT) technology, which it will be rolling out to almost all of its devices throughout the year. Using IFTTT, WeMo’s Insight Switch allows you to monitor energy usage, which can be activated based on different events, like it being too hot outside.

Lastly, WeMo Water is a device that installs easily under your kitchen sink without any professionals required. It monitors your water usage from one single point in your home, including all your sinks, toilets and even sprinklers. WeMo Water can also detect leaks, which is especially useful while a user might be away from their house and not have the ability to get home right away. Home automation is not only convenient, but it keeps you safe.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

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Kiband Helps Keep Your Child Close to You

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

kibandA trip through Eureka Park at any CES is always bound to lead to new and exciting products and individuals who are passionate about those products. That’s the exact case with Kiband, a company that formed around a direct necessity and problem that impacted its CEO.

Kiband started with its CEO that lost his child at a 4th of July event for about 15-20 minutes. After trying leash solutions and other methods that really didn’t work out for him, he created his own company to try a change up the market.

The key with Kiband is prevention and less of informing you of when your child actually gets lost. Using the parent’s phone, the Kiband sets up a local geofence around the smartphone, and as the child approaches the perimeter set by the parent, the Kiband will first vibrate. If they then venture outside of the proximity, the device will then use an audible tone to alert the parent.

The distance is totally customizable by the parent and allows them to give the child as much leeway as they deem safe. The Kiband is also easy to set up, as it instantly connects to the phone and the app is made for those who are less tech savvy.

Still in research and development, the kids who have tested the device have really taken a liking to it and didn’t want to remove it because it looked cool and was minimally invasive. Pricing will be around $100 to $120, with pre-orders available through an Indiegogo campaign, and delivery estimated to be in the summer.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
Follow F5 Live: Refreshing Technology on Twitter: PLuGHiTzLive; Facebook: F5 Live; Google+: PLuGHiTz Live

Crosley Mixes Old School and Today with New Line of Turntables

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

CrosleyThe retro-style record players are coming back with a bit of flare, all thanks to Crosley, a name that has been around since the 1920s. During the ’20s through ’40s, it was pretty much the household brand when it came to spinning some vinyl. The brand was then sold and brought back as a retro radio company, and now has started to join in on the resurgence of vinyl in the new millennium.

At CES 2015, Crosley launched a couple of new products aimed at getting people back into records again. First, the Cruiser turntable will make it easy for someone who wants a plug-and-play way to enjoy their favorite records. No longer do you have to buy components and piece them all together. The Cruiser comes in dozens of colors and styles, and some even feature your favorite cartoon characters or TV shows. The turntable will generally run you about $69 and is available at all major retailers, including specialty stores.

For those who want more added functionality or features, Crosley has launched a myriad of different turntables to fit different needs and styles. Things like Bluetooth, CD players, nicer speakers, wood housing and more can all be found in several different product lines from the company. Prices range depending on the flavor, but typically run between $150 and $400. All of the products can be found at Crosley’s website.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
Follow F5 Live: Refreshing Technology on Twitter: PLuGHiTzLive; Facebook: F5 Live; Google+: PLuGHiTz Live

iSmartAlarm Intelligent Home Security

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

iSmartAlarm Logo

When it comes to making a house a “smart home”, there’s no shortage of products on the market. Many are piling into the space in an unfocussed way, without clearly thinking through what problem needs to be solved. Contrary to this scattergun approach, iSmartAlarm identified a problem, solved that and then expanded out to make a home smarter. Don discusses iSmartAlarm’s approach with Zac Sutton.

While home security systems with external monitoring can provide reassurance, the reality is that there’s a costly monthly fee, alerts are often triggered by false alarms and by the time the monitoring company has gone through the list of keyholders, any housebreaker will be long gone. The iSmartAlarm is an expandable home security system, built around a central hub (“CubeOne”) which can be expanded with cameras, motion detectors, magnetic sensors and smart power switches. It’s all wireless and it’s very easy to setup.

Alerts are sent to the home owner via several different methods, including email, push notification and texts. If present, the camera can be reviewed remotely to see if it’s the dog, a child arriving home from school or a ne’er-do-well taking off with their belongings.

The iSmartAlarm can be purchased now with second generation products becoming available soon, including smoke alarms and multi-sensor units. The “Preferred Package” costs $199, which includes the central hub, motion sensor and door/window sensors.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor for the TechPodcast Network.

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Oort SmartHub Integrates With Bluetooth

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Oort Logo

Smart homes and the Internet of Things are very much in vogue at CES this year with vendors offering a wide range of products, some of which hardly deserve the name “smart” and others that are genuinely innovative. In the latter camp, there is Oort which tries to “make your world smarter”. Don learns more from Radek Tadajewski, Wizard of Oort.

The difference between Oort and many of its competitors is that Oort has been designed to work openly with Bluetooth devices from the start. By using Bluetooth profiles as the integration mechanism, Oort can use any Bluetooth device that has the necessary profile. To get you started, there’s a $350 starter kit which includes the Oort hub, light bulbs, sockets and a tracker beacon though other devices can be added as needed. As you’d expect there’s a smartphone app for Android and iOS which communicates with the hub and the connected  devices. You can view the status of devices and sensors through the smartphone app, whether you are inside the house or sitting in the office, and you can turn devices on and off as needed.

There’s more in the interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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