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Onelink brings new and innovative features to your smoke alarm

Monday, February 18th, 2019

Onelink by First AlertWhen you are not at home, whether it be for the day or an extended period of time, an area of serious concern is the possibility of a fire in your home. The Onelink by First Alert is a new and innovative alert system for smoke and carbon monoxide detection.

This new model has all the features you would expect from traditional smoke detectors. As well as having a very sleek and modern look to it, a really positive feature is the fact that you no longer have to go through the hassle of trying to change a 9-volt battery every time you change your clocks. The Onelink uses a 10-year sealed battery so that it will last as long as the detector does. When it is time to replace the detector or install your first one, the process is made easy by using a standard hardwire connection.

The device also features the Alexa voice assistant. On the surface that may sound like a crazy idea but it is not. Rather than having to place an Amazon Echo in each room, you get to take advantage of a device that you are already legally required to have in there. So now you are able to control your Philips Hue light bulbs, your Nest thermostat, or any of the thousands of other Alexa-capable smart home devices from your Onelink.

The truly defining feature of the new Onelink is the integration of Wi-Fi mesh. By including this technology, once again you are taking advantage of devices you already have in your home for a new purpose: improving your WI-Fi reception. The mesh means that the alarms will communicate with each other and act as repeaters throughout your home. Now no matter where you are in your house or apartment you can have a strong and reliable internet connection.

The current model of the Onelink Safe & Sound is available now for $249. The mesh model will be available later on in the year. For more information go to their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Phyn can bring peace of mind to homeowners by detecting water leaks

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Phyn PlusOne of the biggest fears for any homeowner is a water leak. In the best case scenario, it can cost extra money every month on a water bill because of a very small leak. Worst case scenario, it can damage floors, walls, ceilings, and even foundations, meaning expensive home repairs on top of expensive plumbing repairs. Coming to the rescue of homeowners everywhere is a solution from an unlikely source.

Phyn is a smart water meter from parent company Belkin that can help identify and stop leaks before they cause any real damage. Using only a single device on the main incoming water line, Phyn is able to detect when standard water events occur, such as flushing a toilet and taking a shower. It is then able to determine when an unusual water event happens, whether it be something as small as a toilet running too long or a broken line because of pipe temperature.

Once Phyn detects a problem, it can act in a variety of different ways. The device can act entirely passively, sending a notification to your smartphone letting you know what it is that the device has discovered. From there, you can make a decision on how to proceed, either shutting off the water or looking into the problem further, yourself or with a plumber. It can also act on its own, shutting the water off entirely to prevent any further damage.

Luckily, the setup for Phyn is fairly simple, and the device even features an LED panel across the front to give feedback. During the setup process, it lets you know what state the device is in. During usage, the screen shows water flow intensity so that you can see how much water is flowing through the Phyn. Once you’ve configured Phyn, the device does all of the work itself, allowing you to no longer fear water damage at home.

Phyn is available now for $850.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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The Wireless Power Consortium is making the kitchen easier to use

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Wireless Power ConsortiumEvery year, we take the opportunity to speak with the Wireless Power Consortium to see what is happening with Qi. This year, however, we had a pleasant surprise: the standard that we have been excited about for years was finally close to ready for the market. This new standard is similar to Qi in that is delivers electricity wirelessly and through surfaces, but it has one major difference: the amount of power it can deliver.

This new standard, which has yet to be named, takes the 15 watts that Qi produces and enhances it to 2,200 watts. If that sounds like a huge upgrade, that’s because it is. The enhancement is essential, as the new technology has a totally different intention. Rather than charging phones and other small electronics, the new standard is designed to provide power for kitchen appliances, which can require a lot of power.

One of the biggest benefits of the new standard is the ability to recover counter space in your kitchen. Imagine not having to have a dedicated stovetop, and getting to have that as additional counter space. Instead, you can simply place your inductive pan somewhere on your counter, turn it on, and start to cook. When done, you can pick up the pan and place a cutting board and cut vegetables without fear. That is because there is no residual heat on the surface itself.

While this would be great in just about any kitchen, it is especially useful for people with small kitchens. If you live in a small apartment, or just have a small kitchen, you know that counter space is a premium. Being able to recover that much counter space, and to turn some or all of the surface into a multi-purpose, powered counter, the possibilities are nearly endless.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chef Carla Hall is cooking up something truly Yummly with Whirlpool @ CES 2019

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

YummlyEvery year the house gets just a little smarter, and the kitchen is really starting to feel the love. Whirlpool and KitchenAid have been adding more connectivity to their appliances, with the ability to monitor and control items, including your oven and stove, remotely. One of the more interesting ways to interact with your appliances is through the Yummly app, an app designed to help you learn to cook, as well as automate certain aspects of the process, assuming you have the appropriate appliances.

Recently, Yummly has added Pros to the platform. This feature brings a talented chef into your kitchen with you to help guide you through a recipe of theirs. One of these new Yummly Pros is Chef Carla Hall, best known for her time on Top Chef. Chef Hall joined the platform because it affords her the ability to dive into recipes that she could never have done on television, such as bread or collard greens. While it may not make for great broadcast television, it does make for a great experience to follow along with and learn from an expert.

One of the most interesting aspects of the app is the integration with the appliances. Chef Hall talked to us about how, through the app, she could help home cooks get a better grip on more complicated cooking requirements. For example, if a recipe requires that you cook on high heat for 15 minutes, then on medium heat for 10, then return to high heat for the final 10 minutes, most home cooks will leave the oven on high for the entire time. While this may work, it won’t be perfect. With the integration between the app and the oven, Chef Hall can help you pre-program the oven for the correct temperatures and durations without you having to work too hard.

Yummly is available now for iOS and Android, and Chef Hall can regularly be found on GMA and Food Network.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Kohler Has Super Technology For You and Your Home

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Kohler KonnectSuper technology in the home is not a thing of the future, but what is happening now. Kohler has been providing your home with everyday necessities for over 100 years, and now they are updating those products with their line called Kohler Konnect. This line of products is about moments made better, with control exactly how you want it. You can control these products manually, through the app or with your voice.

The Verdera Lighted Mirror is activated with built-in Amazon Alexa voice control. With the voice control in the bathroom, you can direct your wishes to start your shower with the proper temperature and desired spray choice or a combination of sprays. The morning shower person might want a quick awakening-type of shower and the bedtime shower person might want a more massage-type, relaxing kind of shower. Verdera is equipped with integrated lighting, 2 microphones and 2 hermetically-sealed speakers, so that you don’t have any extra clutter on your counter.

In the kitchen there is a touchless faucet that is perfect for people who just want to wave their hand to turn on the water and not touch the faucet. You can also use the voice control to tell your faucet to fill your coffeepot with a pre-set amount of water. Except for Verdera, all of these products are platform-agnostic, making it very compatible with Amazon, Alexa or Google Assistant.

These products are available now except for the voice command mirror which is coming out in March. For more information go to kohler.com.

Interview by Chase Lowery of PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.
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The Sunflower is The First Autonomous Shade in The World

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Sunflower Robotic Sun Shade by ShadeCraftShadeCraft Robotics is a start up company in California that has made it their mission to improve human interaction outdoors through connected devices and robotic technology. One of their greatest examples of working toward that mission is called the Sunflower. The Sunflower is the world’s first autonomous shade that keeps your space completely shaded for the largest part of the day by automating its movements along with the sun’s movement. It also generates and stores renewable energy using solar panels to bring the mechanism to life.

The Sunflower has speakers for any type of music from your own device and a microphone for AI commands through your smarthome system through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built-in capabilities. But it doesn’t end there! This shade goes above and beyond for any outdoor space with an HD camera and controlled lighting. You can easily use the Sunflower as the center piece from a party to a relaxing day to yourself.

Preorders are available now on the ShadeCraft website for $6900 until the end of March when the retail price increases to $8700.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.
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