If it's Tech it's Here!

CES 2019

DS Services brings IoT to their clean, delicious drinking water

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

DS ServicesThis year at CES 2019, our PLuGHiTz Live crew was on a mission to find unusual and impressive new IoT products. Although we had a feeling that we would find a few silly products that really had no business being internet connected. But we were quite happy when we were able to find some new and useful IoT adaptations, as well.

DS Services was one of the companies that made this list. For many years, they have prided themselves on delivering safe, great-tasting bottled water to homes and offices across the U.S. They also offer their own brewed coffee beverages and office break-room supplies. And, under the Relyant brand, they offer water filtration systems, equipment and services. Here at CES this year, they are showcasing a new technology that is being added to their reverse osmosis water filtration systems.

These new systems offer some great new features that not only provide excellent service for their customers, but also give the company and its technicians the information needed to keep everything functioning properly, at the highest efficiently possible. Provided are a multitude of data that allows each unit to communicate the parameters of the system to the customer, as well as to the technicians. It measures things like the performance of the membrane and the cold and hot water usage. This information can let them know about things like heavy runs or even compressor issues. All of which allows the company to be more proactive, which in turn can provide cost savings for the customers.

The system can also measure how many gallons are going through the system for timely filter changes. Prior to this, the industry standard has been going out to change the filter every 12 months, whether the customer has used the current one to capacity or not. These new units will instead warn the company that a new filter is needed, whether it’s been 3 months or 16, depending upon exact usage. There is also leak detection monitoring built right in. So, in many cases, they will know of a problem with your system before you do and already have a technician dispatched out to get it resolved.

These units operate by sending all data over a cellular network, so there is no concern with any tampering with your personal wireless network. Users have access to their data via a dashboard in their mobile app. DS Services is expecting to launch this new model in April 2019 and they feel it will be a real game changer in the industry. You can find out more by visiting their website here.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

Sponsored by:
Get $5 to protect your credit card information online with Privacy.
Amazon Prime gives you more than just free shipping. Get free music, TV shows, movies, videogames and more.

Keep the party going with these kickin’ speakers from Altec Lansing

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

Altec LansingWhen we’re making our rounds throughout CES every year, there are a few familiar stops that we really look forward to visiting. Alec Lansing happens to be one of them. And, as always, we thoroughly enjoyed taking a tour of their latest and greatest.

Up first were the new Rock Box XL speakers. These fun, waterproof speakers are certainly ready to party. With an IP67 waterproof rating, you can just toss it in the pool and it’ll float up with great sound. And what’s really cool is that they come equipped with LED lights that not only look great as they light up the pool, but they also illuminate to the beat of the music. To top it all off, consistent with the rest of Altec Lansing’s Bluetooth speaker line, you are able to connect up to 50 other speakers in line with each other. So you’ll be able to turn your home into a true party house with connected speakers in the pool, on the deck, in the yard, house and anywhere you need the tunes to flow. Can you imagine a neighborhood block party with these babies? We sure can. You can start planning your festivities now, with the release date of these expected in the 2nd to 3rd quarter of 2019 at the amazing price of $49 each.

Another cool new product being featured this year is the Action Cam Speaker. It’s a Bluetooth speaker that has an action cam built right in. So you’ll be able to take 360-degree video while listening to your favorite playlists. Why on earth would anyone need this type of product combination? Well, it’s also waterproof, allowing it to be mounted on a kayak so you can capture all of the amazing views that you encounter while also listening to your music. It can also be great at a party to catch all of the action, or on a bicycle. The possibilities are plentiful. You can expect these out in the 3rd or 4th quarter this year at a price point of $199.99.

There are a lot of speakers in the complete line with a full range of great features. Prices start at just $29.99 and go up to $299. You’ll surely find something that you will love, so make sure to check out their website to pick out your favorites.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

Sponsored by:
Get $5 to protect your credit card information online with Privacy.
Amazon Prime gives you more than just free shipping. Get free music, TV shows, movies, videogames and more.

Velco brings fantastic navigation systems right to your bicycle

Monday, February 4th, 2019

Make any bike smart | VelcoWe’ve all seen numerous TV shows and news reports that show how much congestion there is in big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The standstill traffic seems endless. A lot of us cannot even imagine being in those situations in a taxi, let alone maneuvering our own cars around in them. Many people who live in large cities like these throughout the world keep their daily living circles tight, with home, work, groceries and bars/restaurants within walking distance. Bicycling is also a very popular mode of transportation in these urban settings. Not only does it provide exercise and health benefits, but also allows for an extension of their usual walking radius.

Velco is a French tech company that has the simple, yet earnest vision to create an environment for smarter and more personalized urban mobility. They have a true understanding of the real issues in the various urban mobility markets as they are surrounded by cycling organizations and businesses. As delivery companies, bike sharing services, tour operators and even police forces utilize bicycles more and more in their daily operations, they need to have many of the same, easy to use modern conveniences that we do in our vehicles. As a result, they are designing and marketing connected solutions for mobility professionals all over the world.

We stopped into the Velco booth at CES Unveiled 2019 to get a closer look. CEO, Pierre Regnier showed us a couple of their new products. First off is a navigation device called Tom-E. It offers a unique, intuitive and universal navigation system that is based on light signals. This system basically revolutionizes the daily commute on your bicycle or really any preferred means of transportation. It is simple and compact. Just enter your destination, lock your phone, tuck it away and let yourself be guided.

Also being showcased was the Wink Bar, a connected handlebar that will absolutely revolutionize daily cycling. This smart handlebar can be installed on any bike and connects through your smartphone. It enables riders to now enjoy intuitive GPS navigation while en route. Features include Track & Trace anti-theft as well as powerful integrated headlights.

These innovative new products bring familiar conveniences to our bike riding experience, whether for work or leisure. Riders are able to utilize them while maintaining safety. Prices start at $79.00 for the Tom-E and $279 for the Wink Bar. To find out more about the company and their product line, visit their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

Sponsored by:
Get $5 to protect your credit card information online with Privacy.
Amazon Prime gives you more than just free shipping. Get free music, TV shows, movies, videogames and more.

Altec Lansing makes listening to your music in style a breeze

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

Altec LansingWhile a lot of audio companies are producing headphones that sound good, very few combine great audio with the ability to express your style. Altec Lansing, however, produces products with just that combination. Whatever your style and plan of use, Altec Lansing has a headphone for you.

Likely the most unique product in the line is the Glow Run earbuds. These earbuds are designed for use when running and feature an illuminated wire. Obviously, one purpose for the illumination is for fun and style, as the earbuds come in a variety of colors. However, there is a safety feature included, since running outside at night gets a lot safer when you have a light on your body. It’s pretty common for runners to carry a light on their waist, but with the Glow Run, you’ve got it all in your earbuds. The Glow Runs will retail for $49.

Another popular product in headphones this year is True Wireless, and Altec Lansing has enhanced their EVO line of earbuds to feature several models. The standard EVO model runs $59 and features 5 hours of playtime and 3 additional charges through the case. The EVO+ model runs $99 and adds Qi charging to the case and an additional full charge and comes with a Qi charging pad. The EVO Sport runs $119 and extends the playtime of the earbuds to 6 hours and offers 5 full charges in the case. The EVO ANC runs $149 and adds active noise cancelation to the mix, which is perfect when you’re in a position with a lot of background noise, such as on an airplane.

In addition, there is the more standard line of headphones, all of which feature Altec Lansing’s great sound quality and variety of colors, styles, and materials to make the headphone experience your own. You can see their full lineup on their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

Sponsored by:
Get $5 to protect your credit card information online with Privacy.
Amazon Prime gives you more than just free shipping. Get free music, TV shows, movies, videogames and more.

This sweet and cuddly little robot might just melt your heart

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

LOVOT: powered by loveAre you thinking about how you really want a new puppy, but don’t want to worry about housebreaking. Or maybe a cute little kitty, but there’s no good place to put the litter box? And those baby goats that are all over your social media feed doing yoga certainly are cute, but oh wait, they might eat the couch. Wouldn’t it be great to have a cute little pet without all of the hassles?

Well, we stumbled upon a new robot while at CES Unveiled 2019. This really wasn’t anything unusual for us. In the last several years, it has become quite common to be introduced to various bots that provide everything from home surveillance to learning and game programs for the kids. And to be honest, when we first encountered these new little guys, we actually smiled and walked on by. But after seeing them rolling around the show floor and interacting with the crowds at the booth, we soon realized that there was something a little different with them, and we went back to take a closer look.

And lucky for us, we did cause we got to meet LOVOT, a new home robot by the Japanese company GROOVE X that is designed to be as sweet and fun to have around as a pet. Now, admittedly, on the surface, it kind of seems unlikely that this kind of droid could capture our hearts and become part of the family, as a pet would. But I have to say that the longer we were around LOVOT, the more we fell in love. The realistic shape of his eyes enables him to easily display emotion and the way he interacts with the environment around him is quite endearing. When he rolled up with that sweet look and held up his flippers, indicating that he wanted to be picked up, I have to admit that I instantly wanted one.

The company’s goal was simple, to create a robot that makes people happy. And as we can attest, when you interact with it via touch, embrace, even simply watching it, you’ll find yourself smiling, relaxing, feeling better. This is because they used technology that was not meant to improve convenience or efficiency but to enhance levels of comfort and feelings of love. LOVOT accomplishes this by reacting to your mood, learning, and bonding with you over time and recognizing different individuals for separate interactions. Plus, they are capable of interacting with each other, like pets do, when there is more than one in the household. Also, they are soft and warm and, as the product line develops, will have fun accessories and wardrobes to go with any personality.

LOVOT is currently available for pre-sale in Japan. A launch date has not yet been announced for the US, but the anticipated price will be approximately $3,000. To learn more, make sure to visit both the Lovot and the GROOVE X websites.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

Sponsored by:
Get $5 to protect your credit card information online with Privacy.
Amazon Prime gives you more than just free shipping. Get free music, TV shows, movies, videogames and more.

Voyager can take you where you want to go in a fun, new style!

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

Voyager BicyclesIn the last few years the skateboard, the scooter, and the bike have practically been totally transformed. These recreational products have come a long way since they were invented. We spoke to Lloyd Gladstone, head of Product Development for Voyager, who produce a number of products in this area. For example, the company makes a line of electric skateboards, branded Tony Hawk model and Voyager. They have a 6-mile range on a charge and can go 12.5 mph. Price points range from $149-$199.

The focal point of the product line, however, if their line of electric scooters and bicycles. All of these products feature a Qi-enabled phone holder, as well as Bluetooth controls, allowing you to interact with the device’s controls and GPS without ever taking your eyes off of the road. These features not only add smart capabilities but also make the products smarter. The Voyager line offers a number of scooter options ranging from $299 to $499.

One of the more interesting features of the bicycles we saw was a hidden motor. Rather than looking like a regular electric bicycle, this model had the motor hidden in the wheel and the battery hidden in the frame. Another model offered the ability to remove the battery, allowing you to have more than one, so you can charge one while you use another. Both of these models can run for around 30 miles on a charge up to 20 mph.

In addition, he showed us several really interesting hoverboards. One, in particular, is called the Glowboard, which is lighted and makes it safer at night and also has a color-changing feature. The other one has a strobe effect and lights up your path and also flashes strobe lighting. Extending the hoverboard idea is the Space Shoes. These are somewhere between a hoverboard and roller skates. The ride is more challenging than a traditional hoverboard, but once you get the hang of it, you can do some pretty cool tricks. All of these products feature gyroscopic stabilization, making it easier for you to stay standing up.

These products will probably be available in the summer of 2019. For more information, check out their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

Sponsored by:
Get $5 to protect your credit card information online with Privacy.
Amazon Prime gives you more than just free shipping. Get free music, TV shows, movies, videogames and more.

Cleer has a wide range of speaker and headphone options for everyone

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

Cleer AudioThe show floor at CES has certainly gotten crowded with quality audio products. As more companies up their game in sound quality, the individual products have to differentiate themselves in new and interesting ways. One of the companies that exemplifies that need is Cleer, who has a whole line of products that certainly stand out from the crowd.

The most distinctive product in their lineup is the Mirage, an Alexa-powered smart speaker. What really sets this speaker apart is that it features a flexible AMOLED screen that wraps around the cylindrical body. On the screen, you can play all sorts of content, including music videos, as demonstrated in the video. In addition to the Alexa control, you can also interact with it using the ring around the top. The bottom of the speaker features an ambient light source, making it a multifunctional device. This speaker is so unique that it was a CES 2019 Innovation Award Honoree.

Not to be left alone, the Mirage has a sibling: Connect, another speaker featuring a screen. Unlike the Mirage, however, the Connect has a traditional screen across its front. Connect’s screen is adjustable, meaning that you can put it on your bedside table, or any other surface, and adjust the angle of the screen depending on what you are doing and where in the room you are. It also has a camera, so you could use it for video conferencing, making it a good accessory for your office, as well.

Adding to Cleer’s speaker lineup is the Halo, a unique little pair of speakers designed to be worn around the neck. While they may look like headphones, they are definitely intended to have the option to share your music with the people around you. The speakers have magnets on the inside, allowing you to snap them together for easy storage and transportation.

Some of the products featured in the video are available now, while others will be made available throughout the year.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

Sponsored by:
Get $5 to protect your credit card information online with Privacy.
Amazon Prime gives you more than just free shipping. Get free music, TV shows, movies, videogames and more.

Klipsch is the best choice for the sound quality you deserve

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

KlipschOne of the most innovative sound companies for speakers and headphones, Klipsch, has introduced an exciting new line of products. We spoke to Mark Casavant, who is the Senior Vice President for Global Brands and Business Development. The Klipsch company has been very well-known for exceptionally high-quality sound for your music, videos, and television.

They are the first to have a complete WiSA system for high performance, which they demonstrated at CES in partnership with LG. WiSA allows you to have a full surround sound system without the need for a receiver, as the television has that technology built-in. Klipsch has always been keenly aware of what the consumer is looking for and has always strived for excellent results. Their soundbars and wireless earbuds are far superior to others on the market because they feel that if you are going to listen to music, then you should always get the best quality available.

One feature of their wireless earbuds that sets them apart and shows off the company’s dedication to detail is the carrying case. Like many true wireless earbuds, the case acts as a charger for the earbuds. But, in Klipsch’s case, the case is also made of a high-quality metal that is very reminiscent of the Zippo lighter. Also, like all Klipsch earbuds, the fit of the earpieces is among the best available.

There are many reasons that Klipsch is set apart from the others. Paul Klipsch was considered a founding father in the Hi-Fi industry. He did much research before he even produced his first speaker. He was able to identify all kinds of distortion that had previously been ignored by the audio industry, such as harmonic and modulation. The design philosophy of Klipsch is the relationship between efficiency and distortion and their approach to the electromechanical design of the transducers. The more efficient the product design, the less distortion exists. Minimizing the distortion to the way we hear music will result in a powerful dynamic range that is unlimited because it is so clear and crisp even at a very low volume, which is the reason people buy sound bars as TVs have small speakers. While he Tractrix horns may be one of the defining features of Klipsch speakers, it is a means to an end. It is the lack of distortion produced by these horns that really brings the sound to life.

One of the things Mark emphasized was that the Klipsch company is very attuned to the consumers’ comfort and satisfaction. They aren’t concerned with the convenience at the expense of quality. They want the consumer to be able to get a level of performance that defies the price point and goes up against prices that are double, but yet they aren’t the lowest either.

Mark told us that there isn’t a specific release date because they will be released throughout the year. For much more info you can go to their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

Sponsored by:
Get $5 to protect your credit card information online with Privacy.
Amazon Prime gives you more than just free shipping. Get free music, TV shows, movies, videogames and more.

You won’t believe what you can see with DeepRay’s advanced AI tech

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Cambridge ConsultantsAs Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes more and more commonplace in our daily lives, there are those who aren’t quite sure of the abilities of this technology in more advanced applications. Sure, it all sounds good, driverless cars and advances in medicine. But there are so many real-world distractions and distortions at play at any given time, how can any artificially created intelligence possibly understand and mitigate for them all? We had the opportunity to speak with Thomas Carmody, Head of Transports and Infrastructure for Cambridge Consultants, about their newest technology that will definitely help to get Artificial Intelligence to that next level of universal application.

Cambridge Consultants is a technology development organization that works on approximately 400 technology projects per year with numerous customers. Here at CES 2019, they are showcasing DeepRay. This is a technology that their AI Engineers have developed and its purpose is to remove distortion from images. At first take, you might not realize the impact that this can have, but the potential uses are actually quite far-reaching. This ground-breaking Artificial Intelligence technology is able to create clear and undistorted views of the real-world from a damaged or obscured moving image. And it can do this in real time as it is able to cope with the variables of light and moving distortion. With the recent advances in deep learning, DeepRay has the power to see clearly in difficult, unpredictable situations could transform numerous machine vision and imaging applications, from autonomous driving to empowering healthcare professionals with more accurate medical imaging.

This breakthrough technology is more important now than ever and there are numerous applications for it. As you can imagine, in our near future, there are going to be a lot of robots all operating in multiple aspects of our lives. They will all rely on cameras which will encounter everything from dirt and weather to cracked and broken lenses and images. Deep Ray will allow them to make sense of the world around them for accuracy as well as safety.

Deep Ray is available for implementation right now and the company is looking for partners to help take it to the next level. They are also looking for customers who are looking for solutions to real-world problems in their industries. For more information, visit their website here.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

Sponsored by:
Get $5 to protect your credit card information online with Privacy.
Amazon Prime gives you more than just free shipping. Get free music, TV shows, movies, videogames and more.

3dRudder frees up your hands to play VR games in a more natural way

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

3dRudderAs the world of virtual reality gaming gets more sophisticated, so must the control systems that make the games possible. If you have played any VR games, you know that the current methods of controlling your position within the virtual world are both unnatural and self-defeating. Trying to use a standard controller to move around takes you out of the VR experience and reminds you that you are not actually experiencing those actions and activities.

Fortunately, the team at 3dRudder have created a paradigm that allows you to control your character’s position with your feet. This means you can move without feeling like you are exerting an outside force on the game, but instead feeling like you are moving more naturally within the world being created for you. The product looks a little like a smaller BOSU ball, allowing you to place your feet on the platform and move in all directions simply by using your feet. Obviously, this is a far closer approximation to reality than using a controller, keeping you in the virtual reality.

While the 3dRudder has been available for PC for a while, the big addition this year was support for PlayStation VR. Combining the PlayStation Move controllers with the 3dRudder really brings gameplay far closer to reality. Being able to control your movement with your feet, while aiming and firing, punching,m etc., with the PlayStation Move wands is an incredibly accurate and realistic control system. And, by combining these two on the PlayStation, it really just makes the game more fun.

While there is obviously a lot of talk around using the 3dRudder with VR, there is no requirement that you use it within a virtual reality experience. In fact, you can use the 3dRudder with any game that accepts controller input. Now you can separate your hand controls from your foot controls on PC games, freeing you up to move around and fire quicker.

The PC and PlayStation versions of the 3dRudder hardware are available now on their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

Sponsored by:
Get $5 to protect your credit card information online with Privacy.
Amazon Prime gives you more than just free shipping. Get free music, TV shows, movies, videogames and more.