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PicoBrew makes home brewing safer and easier with the PicoStill and Z

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

PicoBrewThe craft brew industry has become increasingly popular over the past decade or so. In fact, it has become so popular that more and more people are looking to make beer and spirits at home. Creating your own means that you can create a flavor that is very unique, and can represent you perfectly. However, the process can be difficult because of its intricacy. Thankfully, PicoBrew has a line of products to help make the process easier.

The newest and most distinct is the PicoStill, an attachment designed to fit with the Pico Model C. While brewing beer or distilling spirits, the Pico C is used to heat the liquid being used in the PicoStill. It makes the process of distilling herbs, hops, grains, spices, water, and more almost as easy as making coffee. More importantly, it takes away a number of the dangers inherent in creating alcohol, by automatically separating the methanol. It also allows brewers and distillers to infuse their creations with oils, including hops, herbs, spices, and even rose petals.

In addition to the PicoStill is the Pico Z, a fully automated brewing appliance. It was originally designed specifically for beer but has been enhanced to be a complete beverage appliance. The new model still supports beer, but adds coffee and kombucha to the mix, as well as doubling as a sous vide machine. Using the Pico Z, you can build your recipes through the website, or use a pre-built recipe, and access them on the machine. The most interesting feature is the ability to expand the Pico Z’s capacity. This is accomplished through the device’s modular design and can support from 2.5 to 10 gallons.

The PicoStill is available now for $349 or paired with the Pico C for $748. The Pico Z is available for pre-order now, starting at $2199. For more information, or to purchase, check out their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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SquareOne is a new way to play board games in a digital world

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Wizama SquareOneIf you are anything like our team, you really enjoy board games. However, sometimes you just want something new that isn’t in your collection. That means going out to a store and buying a game, or waiting for something to be delivered. But, for many games, what you receive has a lot of similarities to other games you have: player markers (or pieces), dice, a board or playing surface. Wizama has taken the common ground between these games and made them digital, for a new type of gaming with SquareOne.

Combining a collection of markers, characters, and cards, all enhanced with near field communication (NFC) with an LCD screen and connected dice, allows gamers to experience their favorite games in a new way, as well as a whole new type of game. For the more traditional, game makers can use the screen to replicate their standard game board. Then, using the connected markers, cards, and dice, can make their gameplay even better.

The really interesting ability of SquareOne, however, is how it can create all kinds of new types of games. For example, using the exact same pieces you are already familiar with, you can play a digital version of air hockey. But, by adding in the NFC-powered cards, you can also play a game that combines the best parts of air hockey and Astroids, called Cosmo Squabble. These are the types of games that used to require something like an original Microsoft Surface (the table version, not the tablet), but now is small enough to be portable.

The SquareOne console will be available for pre-order at the end of 2019, with expected delivery in 2020. The price is expected to be a little less than $500. Right now, they are working to finalize the hardware designed and build partnerships so the console launches with a wide catalog of games. For more information about SquareOne and to follow the product’s development, check out their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Danalock offers flexible access along with superior home security

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Danalock V3The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Danalock, a Danish company that produces door locks that is compatible with Z-Wave technology. Danalock has been in this business for ten years, producing quality home security equipment. They pride themselves on keeping your home safe, even when you are away and with flexible access control. Their exciting new product is a wireless digital keypad that is compatible with their V3 system, which is an automatic lock that can detect your arrival and unlock for you. The new keypad offers wireless versatility and an added way to access the home and can be purchased for only $69 and integrated into your V3 technology, or an entirely new system can be purchased for $149.

There are several advantages to having a wireless keypad. First of all, since there are no wires attached, the keypad can be placed anywhere along the outside of your door, not just on the deadbolt. In this way, you can make your home entrance more aesthetically pleasing. This feature can also increase safety, as the keypad does not have to be in an obvious location. It is not necessary to download an app to work with the keypad, as it functions independently, along with your Z-Wave technology. You need only enter your PIN to gain entrance. Now if you expect guests or maintenance workers in your home, you no longer need to ask them to download an app to be able to unlock your door. Just give them their own PIN, and use your outdoor camera monitor to see that only the correct people are trying to enter your home. No one whom you are expecting ends up stuck outside the door, unable to get inside. It truly offers more flexibility all around.

Danalock is offering the best in technology, making it easier, more convenient, and more aesthetic to secure your home, along with Z-Wave. Information on Danalock products and the products themselves are available on their website. You can get the Danalock V3 and the Danapad V3 now.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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The ZOMEKIT can help building owners save power and generate revenue

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Zome Energy NetworksThe Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Zome Energy Networks, which has a different approach to the ecosystem. While most companies focus on the controllers and devices, Zome focuses on how to use those devices to conserve energy on a large scale and make some money. This is done through a program provided by power companies, where they pay building owners to help conserve power during peak times. Imagine, during the middle of summer in Florida, if the power company could reduce usage just a little, it could make a big difference.

Because of this. Zome Energy has built a Z-Wave gateway, called ZOMEKIT, that is powerful enough to control an entire building. This system can be installed by apartments, office complexes, and more, with only a single ZOMEKIT needed to cover the entire building, rather than needing one in every individual unit. Once installed, the gateway can be used to turn off power-hungry products, such as water heaters and air conditioners, allowing two of the highest consuming appliances in the house to get a rest. That rest translates into power savings, which the power companies reward with a financial bonus.

Right now, the ZOMEKIT is in a private beta testing phase in a small number of buildings. The company is currently accepting interested parties to expand the beta program, as well as interest for after launch. For more information on the ZOMEKIT, check out the company’s website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Jasco makes your movie night better with a wireless Z-Wave hub

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Jasco ProductsThe Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Jasco, one of the most diverse manufacturers of Z-Wave products. Whether you are looking for lights, switches, outlets, or alarms, Jasco has got them for you. While you may not immediately know the name, you have likely encountered their products. This is because they hold licenses for GE, Honeywell, Energizer, and Philips. While they may make a lot of products, there are a few true standouts this year.

The first is a lightswitch that doubles as a motion sensor. The motion can be used to turn on the light that is attached to the switch, or it can be used for occupancy. These switches have become popular for assisted living facilities because they can help staff know when a room has been empty or without any motion for an extended period of time. Second is their door and window sensor. The sensor uses a magnetic contact that is so small that it can actually be hidden right into the frame of a door or window, making it far less of an obvious addition. The third is a leak detector designed to alert you when a surface gets wet. It is definitely a perfect pairing for your water heater, where a leak can flood a whole house.

The product line that really stood out for us, however, is the portable remotes. These products can attach to the wall, like a standard light switch, or be popped off and brought with you. It’s the perfect accessory for use in a living room, where you really don’t want to open your phone to turn off the lights. It’s also great for the bedroom, where you can make adjustments to brightness and more. There are two versions of the switches, one with standard hub controller, and one with full scene control capabilities.

Jasco products can be found at retailers worldwide, with some of the newly announced products coming soon.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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QOLSYS has a better way to easily control all your smart home devices

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

QOLSYS IQpanelThe Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is QOLSYS, a company which has developed a seven inch HD touchscreen that is an all in one platform, called the IQpanel. It eliminates the need for multiple protocols to run all of the smart products within the home. “You’ll find a lot of people touting their latest, greatest solution, and many times those solutions are based on a single protocol… We believe that interoperability is very important,” says Jeremy McLerran, Director of Marketing.

It is capable of commanding seven different wireless protocols. It can be responsible for your home security system, as well as countless other functions, such as lighting, thermostat control, locking and unlocking doors, controlling garage doors, motion sensors, and communication from different parts of the home. The great part is that almost any systems you may already have in place can be integrated into this system, keeping you from purchasing new, unneeded hardware and software. It can play as big or as small a part within the home as you wish and can be linked by Bluetooth to each family member’s smartphone. It is possible to add to its capability by purchasing additional devices as the need arises. Local suppliers offer monthly subscriptions or one-time purchases of the hardware.

The benefits of this technology are countless. The platform has the potential to cut your energy bill in half. It also provides handy monitoring of other rooms in the home, which comes in handy if you have children. There is the capability of having a photo sent to your phone every time a family member enters the home, while you are away. You can order and install the system yourself or have a representative come and install it. Once you get it in place, you’ll love all of the extras. Imagine having your phone set to shut down your lights, change your thermostat, lock your doors, and raise your garage door as you are leaving home. All of these tedious tasks and many more can now be handled from one platform, saving you time and the stress of wondering if you have forgotten something.

QOLSYS simplifies the process of day-to-day life and has the advantage of integrating almost any systems you may have already purchased, making it a great deal, which builds on the hardware you may already have in your home. To learn more about all of their products and services, visit their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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The new & improved Sleep Number bed means no more need to count sheep

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Sleep Number smart bed“We make sure we know more about sleep than anyone else,” says Pete Bils, Vice President of Sleep Science and Research at Sleep Number. Sleep Number is on the cutting edge of sleep technology, with all their beds now produced being smart beds. But what does it mean to have a “smart bed?”

Some key benefits to this type of technology are sleep quality tracking, sensors that adjust the bed every time you move, and even a setting to have a foot warmer turn on thirty minutes before you enter the bed. The smart bed issues a report each morning to let you know how you have slept. In this way, you are able to track your specific sleeping habits and eliminate factors which contribute to a less restful night of sleep. To accomplish this, the bed tracks such factors as heart rate, amount of movements, wakefulness during the night, and whether or not you exited the bed. Logging your daily activities into the tracker and comparing them to the sleep report gives you an idea of your ideal sleep situation.

Mr. Bils says that in the beginning, Sleep Number’s goal was to eliminate factors which made it hard to sleep. Now they are distributing technology that actively helps you fall asleep and stay asleep, such as the foot warmer. Science has shown that warming your feet at bedtime does help you fall asleep faster. Plus, this feature produces a whole new level of comfort. Their previous beds could be set to your ideal sleep number, and they remained there. The new, smart beds’ sensors actively adjust the mattress every time you move to keep all points of your body experiencing support during the night. And it has already been proven that setting the bed at your ideal sleep number lends itself to less tossing and turning, to begin with.

Sleep Number is moving mountains in the area of healthy rest, all the while providing you with the comfort they have long been famous for. This technology paves the way for a more productive, well-rested society.

After you watch the full interview, be sure to check out their entire product line on their website, or visit one of their dedicated stores.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Gerber Prime allows you to customize how you control your smarthome

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Gerber PrimeThe Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Gerber Prime, a company that has taken customization to a whole new level. Their PrimeSwitch products allow you to create a, not only a completely custom panel setup but a custom plate itself. Here’s how it works: each plate has 9 buttons. Each one can be programmed to perform nearly any action. This is possible thanks to the nature of the switches themselves. Using control modules, you can add capabilities for a relay, curtains, and more.

In addition to the electronics, you can also completely customize the wall plate. Whether you want only a single touchable button, or want to expose all 9, you can purchase a plate in the configuration that you want. Just as importantly, however, is the ability to have the plates designed to your specification. You want to get a particular color, possibly to match your room decor? No problem. You want the lights on the buttons to be the color of your corporate logo? No problem. You want the buttons themselves to look like little dolphins? No problem.

The company has recently taken the idea of the modular system and brought it to a whole new controller. Rather than a wall plate, you can also use their modules to create a large, programmable control unit. The PrimeBox allows for modules for control, as well as different technologies, including Z-Wave, Zigbee, and more. This is a perfect solution for a large implementation, such as a television studio, or large office.

The PrimeSwitch is available now with prices dependent on configuration. The PrimeBox is coming soon. Both products can be found on the company’s website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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The iota security hub makes protecting your home incredibly easy

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Abode SystemsThe Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Abode Systems, makers of the iota, a small, tabletop all-in-one security system. In the box, which is only about the size of a standard Wi-Fi router, is a full Z-Wave security hub, as well as a security camera, motion detector, two-way voice communication, and audible alarm. The package also ships with a standard door/window sensor and arm/disarm keyfob.

In addition to the included hardware, there are a variety of ways to connect the iota to both internal and external networks. The device includes Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and cellular data connections, allowing you to get notifications on your mobile device whether you are home or not. As a member of the Z-Wave Alliance, you can add to the system a variety of additional sensors and devices, both from Abode and other partners.

When it comes to monitoring, there are two distinct options. The fairly standard way with do-it-yourself home security systems is to self-monitor, which means that when something goes wrong, you get a notification and must act on it yourself. However, with the iota, you get the option for professional monitoring, as well. You can sign up for constant monitoring, allowing you to let someone else always be in charge of the process. You can also purchase service for short periods, such as a vacation or business trip.

The iota is available now, either the standalone device for $299 or with a year of service for $329.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Aeotec reimagines the door and window sensor by predicting break-ins

Monday, March 18th, 2019

AeotecThe Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Aeotec, a brand that makes a wide variety of smart home accessories. In fact, the company offers a line of 44 different products. However, at CES this year, they are really featuring their Door/Window Sensor 7. We were surprised by this, as it seems like a door and window sensor is a technology that is so established that it is unlikely to be improved upon.

Aeotec, however, has a totally new approach to this technology. Traditionally, these sensors are designed to send an alert to a security system when the two magnets separate. The idea is to alert during the process of an entry event, either purposeful or forceful. That’s useful, but not ideal. The ideal situation is to alert before someone breaks into the building. That is exactly what the Aeotec sensor does: alerts you before there is a problem.

Rather than just being a pair of magnets, the Door/Window Sensor 7 uses some additional sensors built into the device, as well as a proprietary algorithm, the sensor is able to detect behaviors that indicate the beginning of a break-in. For example, there is a certain amount of force required to break out a window or door, and the sensor is able to detect that force. It is then able to notify the central hub, and therefore additional Z-Wave devices, that a break-in is being attempted. The system could then turn on lights, sound an alarm, and more, to notify the intruder that you’re aware of them.

The Door/Window Sensor 7 is expected to hit the market in the near future and will be available from Aeotec and more.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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