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Technology Today - February 2016 - Pepcom's Digital Experience

By Robert Sanborn

CES is just too big to cover. The show formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas boasted over 175,000 people visiting (not sure if it included the many thousands working the floor), and space that would take up the equivalent of 42 US football fields in size; including the end zones.

So what makes it much more valuable to me is to spend my time in off floor events like Pepcom’s Digital Experience where I get to go to a hotel ballroom (and they do get pretty large), and see a lot of new and old companies without getting shoved out of the way.  So, here are some things there that caught my eye; in no particular order.

SanDisk has a USB memory stick that is wireless. Imagine carrying around 200GB of data that is instantly available to your mobile device. The only time you need to plug it in is to charge it. Wirelessly save and access photos, videos, and data files from anywhere. SanDisk about $119.

Roost  One company there, Roost, has a new electronic replacement for the 9 volt battery you place in smoke detectors. Yes, these are the ones that once a year, you are supposed to go around the house and change all the batteries in. And of course, most people don’t. The concept sounds quite neat. Replace the battery with an electronic version of itself that will not only last five years but will also let you know when it is time to change it. I had to see for myself.  See the review here.

Stack Lighting has a unique twist on the LED lightbulb in that it is adaptive to your living.  It automatically senses your presence and turns on the light when you are near; will automatically dim and brighten depending on the ambient light around it, and of course, is connectible to integrate it with other home sensing devices. It also utilizes sensor technology to maximize energy savings as well.  Stacklighting $150 for a starter pack of 2.


Catalyst Lifestyle

I have long been a fan of the Catalyst Lifestyle line of waterproof cases and while I had my Apple iPhones, it was one of the cases I always kept the phone protected. Whether you are standing out in the rain waiting to connect to your Uber driver or standing on the deck of the Maid of the Mist at Niagara falls taking a close picture of the water, the waterproof case was something I was really happy to have. Catalyst Lifestyle

Cujo is a business level internet security device for your home that will protect every single device you have on your Wi-Fi network including smartphones, connected devices from the home, the internet of things, and of course, your computers. It uses a three prong approach protecting against hackers, viruses, malware, malicious websites and other intrusions. For around $95 at Cujo

Cujo Network

One of the products that looked pretty cool is one that I am now seeing television ads for all over the cable. Ring has a video doorbell replacement and both the ads and website is quite well professionally done. Your video doorbell is connected to your smartphone and you can monitor it and answer it from anywhere you are; whether you are at home or not. With an HD camera and optional cloud recording. For $199 at Ring.

Stanley tape measures have long been the choice of carpenters and do it yourselfers everywhere but now they have moved it into the modern smartphone era with a device that is a tool and app both that connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone to measure areas that are photographed and give you the correct dimensions.  See it here at Stanley’s website. At Amazon for $112. Stanley Tape Measure

Back to securing everything in your home and network is another device from Securifi, a blazing fast Gigabit Wi-Fi (11ac), a built-in smart home hub with an interactive mobile app that secures the home as well as provides a wide ranging Wi-Fi hotspot for the entire home. Since it is meant to be out in the home, it has an app that can show weather and time on the touchscreen interface to make it a very useful device. Available on Amazon for around $119. See Securifi

For those of you who don’t know me, I tend to visit Starbucks a lot and when I saw someone giving away Starbucks gift cards, naturally I had to stop even if it was just a $5 card. Having said that, they did have a pretty cool product, the perfect mug. Where the premise is that temperature does matter. So to make it matter, you rotate the dial at the bottom of the mug to adjust the temperature and it will keep it there for up to two hours and if you use the charging coaster, it can do it all day long. Also included is an app to create presets for several different drinks. From Embertech for $129. Embertech

I have seen smart pens come and go and fondly remember my Logitech Io personal pen from near fifteen years ago and saw one that caught my eye at Pepcom from Livescribe. It is an electronic pen connected to an app paired with the Moleskine Notebook (one of my favorites for years that I still use), to allow you to capture your notes and drawings on your smartphone or tablet. The Moleskine Edition is $229 from Livescribe.

As you can see, Pepcom is has a lot of really neat products to see and i barely touched the surface of what they had. I still have USB memory stick with press comments and a small pile of papers to read and companies to call. This was an event well worth taking the time for.

More from CES later.

Robert Sanborn

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