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TechMamas Startup Preview: Enjoy Personal Commerce Platform

Disclosure: This is a press post. Check bottom of the post for Giveaway.

 

Many industries have recently been disrupted with new technology and products including transportation, food delivery,  beauty services and manufacturing. One area that is ripe for disruption is assistance with purchasing and installing technology. Consumers have a wide selection of sophisticated technology available to them complemented by extensive product documentation and videos. While 90% of consumers start and finish purchases online, many customer returns consist of products that have never been used. That confirms just how challenging it can be for the customer to learn about product  features and comprehend how to use products to their fullest.  When I received a press release and invitation to meet with a new startup named ENJOY, a Personal Commerce platform bringing a human touch to technology by pairing expert help with new technology customers, I was intrigued to learn more.

 

ENJOY, a Personal Commerce platform

Photo Credit: Enjoy

 

Here are more details from the press release about GoEnjoy.com : “In personal, tailored sessions lasting up to one hour (‘Visit’), trained ENJOY Experts help each customer get the most out of their new products purchased at GoEnjoy.com right from the start – all for free. (For help with technology products they already own, customers can schedule a customizable, paid ENJOY Visit for $99). Visits can be scheduled at a location of customer’s choosing: home, work or even the local coffee shop. ENJOY is available beginning today in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City* (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island City and Astori). ENJOY has partnered with the world’s best technology brands, including AT&T, Sonos, GoPro, Boosted, DJI, HP, Lenovo, and Specialized Bicycle. Select partner products will all be available on GoEnjoy.com; AT&T will be ENJOY’s first integrated partner, offering smartphones paired with a free ENJOY visit through their own site at AT&T.com.

 

How ENJOY Works:

 

What is an ENJOY Visit?:

 

 

This is even more relevant for me because I just bought a new phone and spent 2 hours purchasing and setting it up. AT&T is one of Enjoy’s partners so when you buy a phone from AT&T and live in the areas covered, you have the option to have your phone hand delivered (and get this..) set up for NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE! In some areas, the timing could be as soon as 4 hours from purchase to installation. Enjoy provides this service to their partners and the partners cover that cost.

 

ENJOY, a Personal Commerce platform

Photo Credit: Enjoy

 

The partners also provide training to Enjoy Experts so consumers get the value of having a knowledgeable resource. Partners are the first channel while next channel is the purchase of premium products (like Sonos, GoPro, Microsoft, Lenovo, Bang & Olufsen) directly from the customer website and delivered to the location of your choice for set up. The Enjoy experts are also employees trained by the manufacturers of the products. With 10-12% of capacity used for many products, having an Enjoy expert help will increase the ability for consumers to fully utilize the products at the convenience of the location of their choice. For parents that means assistance for things such as establishing parental controls and training the family on using the products (without arguments from trying to read user manuals!).

 

I had the opportunity to visit the Enjoy office in Menlo Park with my teen son to learn about their new service. We were thrilled to have a session with an Enjoy expert named Daniel (see picture above) who helped my son learn all about flying a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Drone.  Here is a video with more information about Daniel:
 

 

Watching my son learn about features in such an in depth way – in only 15 minutes and then watching him fly the drone effortlessly – showed me the great value the Enjoy Expert concept. My teen is my video editor and prides himself on learning how to use any technology quickly and (like his mother) without the need to read the user manuals. While we have been able to quickly ramp up on using any technology product, not being trained by the manufacturer and not reading the user manual does leave us at an disadvantage in understanding all the features. So there is great value to everyone, from novice to advanced technology enthusiasts,  to work with a product expert  I look forward to watch as Enjoy grows to different markets.

 

ENJOY, a Personal Commerce platform

 

 

 

Disclosure: This is a press post.

 

 

Gift of Healthy Smile: Oral-B PRO SmartSeries 5000 Electric Toothbrush with Bluetooth

Disclosure: Sponsored post. 

 

An important area of health that is also one of our biggest family challenges is dental health including making sure everyone in our family is brushing their teeth properly. No matter what I do, my tween boys still need reminders, cajoling and sometimes threats for loss of screen time if they don’t brush their teeth. When they do brush their teeth they only do it for a few seconds instead of for a full 2 minutes.  I am tired when I go to sleep at night and wake up early to get my kids to school. Sadly, I also don’t think I am brushing properly.

 

Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Connectivity

Photo Credit: Oral-B

 

Oral-B just came out with the Pro SmartSeries 5000 Electric Toothbrush with Bluetooth Connectivity. Combining the Bluetooth 4.0 technology with this sleek electric toothbrush and the enhanced Oral-B App provides real-time guidance while brushing and records brushing activity that we could share with our dental professional. Everyone in our family has fitness trackers to keep our exercise routines on track, so having the combination of the technology and app of the Oral-B Pro 5000 SmartSeries will help create smarter routines to keep brushing on track. Most of all, I could have automated help to make sure I am brushing well with an app that would also allow me to step out of the process of nagging my kids – which is a great gift (hint hint, Mother’s Day)..

 

Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Connectivity

Photo Credit: Oral-B

 

Here are some of the key features of the Oral-B Pro SmartSeries 5000 Electric Toothbrush with Bluetooth Connectivity :

  • The toothbrush Oscillates, rotates and even pulses with a brush head that is replaceable.
  • The handle is waterproof and has a 2 minute timer (to make sure no one is taking short cuts).
  • There is a charge level display and portable charging station.
  • There toothbrush is compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 devices and has an iOs app and an Android app.

 

The Oral-B app can show if we are brushing too hard, long enough and if our habits have improved over time with a weekly and monthly tracker of brushing habits:

  • Brushing “coach” that has a timer, alert if to reduce pressure when brushing too hard and guide to help with brushing.

 

Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Connectivity

Photo Credit: Oral-B

 

 

  • The summaries show if all of the brushing steps were done (to remind myself and my kids to floss!)

 

Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Connectivity

Photo Credit: Oral-B

 

 

  • Weekly and monthly tracker to monitor brushing habits.

 

 

Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Connectivity

Photo Credit: Oral-B

 

 

 

 

The Oral-B Pro SmartSeries 5000 Electric Toothbrush with Bluetooth Connectivity makes a great Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or just a present to the whole family to help promote a healthy smile. Oral-B is already the toothbrush my dentist gives me after each checkup, so it is a trusted brand for our family.

 

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CLICK HERE www.orab.com/coupons to see the digital coupons offers posted#oralb

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, all of my words are my own.

 

 

 

 

Trend Update: Are Digital Consumers Happy With Smart #Tech Devices?

What factors and usability issues need to be overcome for consumers to adopt technology?
 
 

User Experience Smart DevicesI have a simplistic attitude towards consumer technology that stems from my background in programming, database design, usability testing and technical project management: the device have a good interface and fit in the workflow of my daily life. This sounds easy but in reality has been my biggest challenge. I have experienced usability challenges on everything from smart watches that are not smart, which this BGR blog post documents very well, to smart devices, which  TechCrunch also identifies as a usability mess. As pointed out by Fast Company, Millennials are looking for personal technology to be meaningful and impactful. “This is the thing which is now scarce, because when we can easily acquire anything, the question becomes, ‘What do we do with this?’ The value now lies in the doing.”

 

With IoT (Internet of Things) being one of the top buzzwords connecting smart consumer electronics, are customers today able to fully utilize ” the ability to connect devices, systems, and services covering a variety of protocols, domains, and applications” with interfaces that are user friendly? If not, what factors and usability issues need to be overcome for consumers to adopt this technology?

 

Common Set Of Protocols?

 

 

One factor challenging personal technology adoption is the lack of a common set of protocols for new smart device infrastructure and platforms. Smart watches, for example, can communicate to apps and other connected devices such as smart phones – but via different operating systems such as iOS (Apple) and Android.

 

 

Belkin WEMO Home Automation

Photo credit: Belkin

 

Many smart systems use Bluetooth, WiFi and wireless (such as 3G, 4G) but have their own apps and connected devices. For example, Belkin WeMo Home automation has multiple home device sensors and apps including connected crock pots and coffee pots, Phillips (Hue) has a smart lighting system and Nest has smart thermostats. Examples of companies that have frameworks for communicating and controlling connected devices in the home include Control 4, and Apple with HomeKit. At CES, I learned about both the Zwave alliance, which is a wireless communication technology and Zigbee which is an wireless open standards based solution controlled by the ZigBee Alliance.

 

 

Zigbee IoT Smart Home Automation

Photo Credit: Zigbee.org

 

 

Verge reported that “Today, the A4WP and PMA have signed a preliminary agreement to each adopt the other’s technologies, effectively merging into a single wireless standard. That leaves Qi as the only other competitor.“ But the Qi Standard is being used now by many smart devices including Ikea that just announced a furniture line that utilizes Qi wireless charging. Even though Ikea earns points in my eyes by incorporating wireless charging design, the usability is a different challenge. As Wired points out, “The biggest problem is that it’s (wireless charging)  been kind of kludgy…..wireless charging is arguably less convenient at this stage than faster charging, and wireless accessories can’t match the amps or speeds of some modern wired components.”

 

Data and Diagnostics?

 

The next factor: diagnostics and data.. In an NPR article Alexis Madrigal  explained “… diagnostics are only one part of what data will do for these household objects. The other thing is that tracking data at least offers the opportunity to optimize a routine“.  Smart devices will really show their power in helping our daily lives when they can take the data they gather, diagnose to improve our situation and then make suggestions or even adjustments on the data analysis.

 

Product Design?

 

Another factor is product design.  For example, while the Apple Watch is being advertised with a 2 page spread in Vogue, a fashion expert interviewed on Fast Company said it looked like a “computer on your wrist”.  Another Fast Company article pointed out that the current reports explain that the Apple Watch could have a battery problem because the charge only lasts 2.5 hours. I tested out a smartwatch that I saw at CES 2015 that had a watch battery that lasted up to six months, but the interface did not seem user friendly. I have yet to review a smartwatch that has a good interface and battery life (but I am hopeful and will keep testing).

 

After reviewing consumer devices for years I found that very few passed my personal usability standards even though many had a great technology features. This is why I started turning down opportunities to review products where I felt I would be spending more time beta testing usability than actually taking the product for a test drive. The graveyard of failed smart devices in my office is used as props by my kids when filming homemade superhero movies.

 

The Big Secret (unveiled):

 

The big secret discussed by technology journalists every time we get together is that while we use the newest technology for our work, we have not fully implemented the newest technology in our personal lives because of problems with usability. So I wondered: Are technology journalists the only ones frustrated by consumer technology usability issues?

 

The Answer:  Consumers Reporting Problems With Smart Devices

 

The answer recently became clear to me at the opening press event of the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show where Accenture was sharing their recent research on today’s digital consumer. Their report hit the nail on the head, describing what I have been thinking for years: There is a usability problem in consumer electronics, devices and apps which is affecting consumer adoption and longevity.

 

Technology User Experience Problems

 

 

EXCERPT FROM ACCENTURE REPORT “Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World.”
 
“Most Consumers Encounter Challenges Using New Types of High Tech Devices, Accenture Survey Finds.  NEW YORK; Jan. 5, 2015 – Most consumers experience challenges using several new types of smart high tech devices, according to a new report from Accenture titled Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World.
 
Overall, 83 percent report various problems when they use new device types such as wearable fitness monitors, smart watches, smart home thermostats, in-vehicle entertainment systems, home connected surveillance cameras and security systems, and wearable health products. The biggest challenges consumers face are that the smart devices are “too complicated to use” (21 percent), “set-up did not proceed properly” (19 percent), and “did not work as advertised” (19 percent).
 
“For these new connected device categories, high tech companies need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their product development approaches to focus on the entire customer experience,” said Sami Luukkonen, managing director for Accenture’s Electronics and High Tech group. “They should make fundamental strategic changes that no longer focus on product feature differentiation but rather holistic, digital experience differentiation.”
 
Accenture’s annual consumer survey, extensively researched with responses from approximately 24,000 consumers in 24 countries covers both emerging and developing global markets. Their methodology took into account the fact that the online population starts at age 14 (sometimes younger) and demographics were  split male/female across all age groups.”
 
I had the opportunity to discuss the report with John Curran, managing director for Accenture’s Communications, Media, and Technology group. He viewed the consumer devices and the consumer Internet of Things (IOT) as a significant and central theme of CES that raises important technology adoption questions:
 

  • What are people expecting and what are companies delivering?
  • What does it takes for these new devices to be adopted and used loyally?
  • How important are in vehicle entertainment, fitness monitors, home surveillance systems, smart thermostats and smart watches to the electronics consumer?
  • What factors are most important to consumers when they are making purchase  decisions?

 

In their survey, Accenture asked users of connected consumer devices to describe their experience. The findings indicated overall ownership in the low single digits for some leading technology. Overall, these owners are early adopters, the most tech savvy of all consumers. They are also the ambassadors for mainstream product adoption, sharing their opinion with others, stating, “You need to try this”, “It is amazing” or “I have to hold off…”

 

Results from the Accenture survey demonstrate that the most important product benefit to consumers is ease of use (more than features and functionality). Consumers readily see the product’s value and potential but need help developing confidence that the product can be easily used. While the tech industry focuses on features, customers desire a seamless, easy to use set of capabilities.

 

In the survey, only 17% said they did not experience challenges in using devices. As mentioned above, this means that 83% of consumers are experiencing challenges. The encouraging news from this  Accenture survey is that even with these challenges many early adopters have future plans to buy smart devices:
 
In the next 12 months:
 

  • 12% of consumers plan to buy a wearable fitness monitor, rising to 40 percent within 5 years.
  • 12% of consumers intend to buy a smartwatch, rising to 41 percent within 5 years.
  • Other the next 5 years:
  • 41% have strong purchase interest for connected home devices including home connected surveillance cameras and security systems
  • 39% plan to purchase smart thermostats
  • 37% have interest in connected car entertainment systems
  • 35% have interest in buying home 3D printers and wearable heads-up display glasses

 
Here are some of the other findings discussed with John Curran, managing director for Accenture’s Communications, Media, and Technology group:
 

    • Even more troubling is that most of their complaints reflected on the ‘out of box” experience:  21% said the product was too complicated to use, 19% said setup did not proceed properly, 19% responded that the product did not work as advertised and 19% could not connect to internet. Right out of the box, consumers faced disappointment that jeopardized product adoption. That created a high barrier for them to promote or recommend the product to others.

 

    • With IOT (Internet of Things), the consumer’s expectation is that product, hardware, software and services will work together seamlessly across a broad intersection of devices. Companies who have been successful with one element of the solution now need to focus across multiple technology competencies. For example, it used to be good enough to produce a great TV. Now that most new TVs are connected, product manufacturers need to connect to the clouds managed by several different content providers as well as support Bluetooth connections to wireless speakers, and streaming content from various companies. Product design has become more complex in order to deliver that seamless experience desired by consumers. Companies need to go back to drawing board and create products that work in this seamless world. They need to rethink engineering, hardware, software and user interface to deliver a consumer-driven out of box experience and ongoing product usability throughout the product life cycle that encourages interaction and connection.

 

  • To do this, there are three sales factors to consider. First is “relevance”, accomplished through branding and marketing campaigns in order to create product awareness. Second is “inspiration”, resulting in the “I gotta have it” attitude. The third factor is “confidence” convincing the customer that the product is easy to use and will deliver on promises made during the sales process.

 

If 83% of early adopters are experiencing product problems then do you need to fix it? And what do you fix?  Products must work within a company’s internal parameters (product and services) as well as broader industry infrastructure (protocols, API’s, platform requirements). Companies should determine their most important qualities and out of the box experiences to “delight consumers” and what can they enhance over time.  Products should also not only work within current trends, such as wearables, but look ahead to solve complex problems (such as wearables that can save lives) and incorporate user friendly interfaces.
 
Smartwatch TechMamasI recently bought a Samsung S5 Active smartphone because it was water resistant, tough (I already dropped it multiple times and it survived) and has an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer and heart rate monitor for fitness apps. Then I bought the connected Gear Fit to experience a smartwatch in my own busy daily schedule. While the Gear Fit was helpful to show the time and when I am getting calls and texts on my watch (except when I am driving, then it is annoying), the step and calorie tracking pedometer did not match with my other fitness apps on my phone. The fitness tracker’s step tracking features also did not work if I am riding a bike because the motion tracking is based on my wrist. I did see some exciting new smartwatches at CES 2015 that have solutions around my smartwatch issues, but then I also read that Samsung did not announce a new watch at Mobile World Congress 2015 because they are going back to the drawing board to develop the perfect “smartwatch”.
 
Maybe companies are getting the hint that product design and “re-design” with user feedback is important? What do you think?

 

 

The articles linked to in my post are curated on my Tech: User Experience Magazine on Flipboard
View my Flipboard Magazine.

 

Lenovo #CES2015 Showcase Tour

At CES 2015 this year we were excited to attend a lunch organized by Techlicious.com  and work on a sponsored project to share all of the announcements for Lenovo at CES 2015. I have been following Lenovo’s products with great interest after I saw their first Yoga Laptop come out years ago with multiple form factors ranging folded up as a tablet to a laptop with a keyboard and screen upright.  This flexibility is an important feature I look for in devices so I was excited to hear their new 2015 announcements.

 

The first announcement was that Lenovo is celebrating the milestone of 100 million ThinkPads sold.   The next announcements at the Lenovo CES 2015 showcase included the new Yoga convertibles, tablets, mobile devices and accessories. We had the opportunity for a tour that we captured on video:

To add more details of the products discussed during the Lenovo showcase tour, here are some of the key announcements from the Lenovo CES 2015 press releases:

 

 

YOGA Tablet 2 family announced in Fall 2014:

The YOGA Tablet 2 8-in has four unique modes:  Hold, Tilt, Stand and Hang, Wolfson Master Hi-Fi noise reduction, Dolby audio, long battery life of up to 15 hours and is equipped with two front facing speakers. With Windows 8.1, its 8-in FHD display and Intel® Atom™ processor, users can strike a great balance between work and play. Lenovo AnyPen Technology lets you use any ballpoint pen or graphite pencil—really any thin metal tip.   

 

Lenovo CES 2015

Photo Credit: Lenovo CES 2015

 

Lenovo YOGA 3 “features powerful up to 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processors, stereo speakers, Waves audio and the classic YOGA two-hinge design allowing 360° flexibility with four special modes – Laptop, Stand, Tent and Tablet. Lenovo refined the hinge to now open and close more smoothly and also allow the screen to lay flat at 180°.

 

The Yoga 3 11-in model is just 15.8mm thin and 1.1kg (lightest convertible in the YOGA family). The new Yoga 3 14-in model has a backlit screen, envelope-thin design and measures 18.3mm thin or less. Lenovo includes Harmony intelligent software. Colors are Clementine Orange, Platinum Silver, new Chalk White or Ebony Black. Lenovo includes Harmony intelligent software which helps users discover and customize applications and includes automatic brightness adjustment when reading a book, enables motion control or optimizes audio settings in specific modes and recommends new apps.”

 

 

ThinkPad YOGA for businesses and pro-sumers:

“ThinkPad YOGA 12-in, 14-in and new 15-in convertibles with powerful up to 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processors,  large storage up to 1 TB , Dolby Home Theatre v4 and new ActivePen technology in select models.  Lenovo’s SHAREit app to share files easily between devices. Lenovo’s first 3D camera in a laptop (Built-in Intel® RealSense™ 3D camera) comes optional on the 15-in model.  3D cameras are being used by businesses for more personal video conferencing and scanning small objects for 3D printing applications.

 

The YOGA 12 continues to offer a digitizer/pen option that provides an internal garage for the pen. ThinkPad is creating an innovative hardware and software pen experience, regardless of pen technology Thin and light at just 19mm thin and less than 1.5kg on the 12-in model, these stylish convertibles come in black with an attractive backlit keyboard as well as FHD touch screen display.”

 

Lenovo LaVie Z Ultraportables (Available May 2015):

The LaVie Z HZ750 13-in convertible PC (Available May 2015) is just 2.04-lbs, has powerful up to 5th Generation Intel® Core i7™ processor, Microsoft Windows 8.1, 128 GB SSD storage and 360-degree hinge pioneered by Lenovo in its original YOGA family of convertibles.  It is just 16.9mm thin, uses a specialized magnesium-lithium (Mg-Li) body construction, which is 50% lighter than aluminum (which apple used in earlier Macbook models). New IGZO LCD display (Indium Gallium Zinc oxide) provides additional weight savings.”

 

Lenovo CES 2015

Photo Credit: Lenovo CES 2015

 


The LaVie Z HZ550 13-in laptop PC is just 1.72-lbs.

 

Among the many other innovative products announced, a few more caught my eye:

 

The Lenovo Vibe X2 Pro Mobile Phone was announced with accessories such as the VIBE Band VB10 wearable. What I found interesting about the VIBE Band VB10 was that it not only has up to 7 days’ battery life, phone–finding feature, 1.43” E Ink display, alerts (phone, SMS, and social notifications), measures fitness (steps, calories, distance, and sleep time) but that it also meets IPX7 waterproofing standard.

 

Lenovo CES 2015

Photo Credit: Lenovo CES 2015

 

But one of the most unique was the compact selfie flash listed below.

 

Compact SELFIE FLASH for the VIBE X2 PRO: “Plugs directly into the VIBE X2 Pro’s audio jack, works great in low–light conditions, Delivers natural color tones, 100% shutter sync – never miss that perfect selfie and up to 100 selfies on a single charge.

 

Lenovo CES 2015

Photo Credit: Lenovo CES 2015

 

 

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All of my words are my own.

 

 

 

 

Panasonic Booth Tour #CES2015

My favorite Consumer Electronics Show (CES) activity is roaming the showroom floor and seeing all the new technology. This year I was excited to work on a sponsored project for Panasonic and Techlicious.com that included video coverage of the CES 2015 Panasonic Booth. I have been going to CES for years and always find time to tour the Panasonic Booth.  To get ready for CES this year we (my video Director Ben Blecherman and I) decided that we needed a new travel camera to capture pictures and video. I reviewed a selection of great cameras but was really looking for one that had a good price and was available in a bundle with accessories. We chose to buy the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000K 4K QFHD/HD  because it was one of the top rated travel cameras that not only shot great pictures but also up to 4K video. We used that camera to shoot our Panasonic CES 2015 Booth tour video. So here it is!

One of the key technology trends at CES was 4K, which is a resolution level of 3840 x 2160. Having a high resolution means more “pixels” in the display which in turn makes the image appear more clear and crisp then lower resolution displays. Panasonic had many announcements including cameras, home monitoring, kitchen technology, personal grooming, TVs, and stadium screens. But one of the most exciting was the 4K infrastructure they announced at CES this year:

 

 

 

Panasonic 4K Ecosystem CES 2015

Photo Credit: Panasonic

 

 

Other Panasonic CES 2015 announcements included new cameras, home monitoring, kitchen technology, personal grooming, TVs, and stadium screens. Listed below are more details from the Panasonic CES 2015 press releases.

 

4K TV

 

The CX850 series of VIERA Smart TVs offers high quality 4K Ultra HD images with color expressions enriched by a new phosphor technology that expands the range of colors. Incorporating Firefox OS, the TVs also make it easier for users to access quickly the content they want. The CX 850 series features the Xumo Discovery Home Screen for seamless enjoyment of various VOD services.”

 

Panasonic also showed an 8K TV at CES!

 

Panasonic has developed the world’s first* 55-Inch, 8K (7680×4320 pixels) liquid crystal display, realizing the superior reality of 8K in a 55-inch screen, the size versatile for many B2B applications. The display features high contrast ratio of 1500:1, wide viewing-angle of 178 degrees, and high frame rate of 120 Hz, using Panasonic’s unique IPS-Pro technology. The 55-inch display can show four pages of full-sized broadsheet-size newspaper in one screen, convenient for CAD work. The 8K displays are shown in two formats, wall-mounted and table-top.    * As of January 6, 2015

 

 

Blu-ray 

 

Panasonic has developed Blu-ray Disc playback technology that supports the latest technologies such as 4K and High Dynamic Range that are expected to be included in the next-generation Blu-ray Disc standard.”

 

Kitchen Tech  

 

Panasonic announced the debut of its Cyclonic Wave Microwave Oven line at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).   Panasonic’s Cyclonic-Wave technology evenly distributes microwave energy to ensure that foods are perfectly thawed and evenly heated and cooked. Panasonic Cyclonic-Wave Microwave Ovens can be installed as countertop or built-in units and features electrostatic glass touch control panels, 1250 watts of cooking power, multi-stage cooking, 20 programmable sensor cook and reheat options, and a turbo defrost mode.  The SE985S features a 16.5-inch turntable diameter and the SE785S offers a 15-inch diameter.”

 

Panasonic unveiled its 2015 Bread Maker featuring a gluten-free baking mode at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  The Panasonic Bread Maker is part of Panasonic’s expanded line-up of healthy-lifestyle small home appliances.  Unlike standard bread maker models which offer only one rise mode, the Panasonic Bread Maker offers a short-rise feature which enables users to also bake gluten-free foods using a wide range of recipes.  The bread maker (SD-YR2500) will be available in September via panasonic.com and other retailers.  Pricing and additional availability details will be announced at a later date.

 

Adventure

 

Panasonic introduces adventure products for outdoor activities including 4K wearable cameras and ruggedized compact digital still cameras.  (One Example is) The Panasonic TS6, a rugged water-, dust- and shock-proof compact digital still camera, and water and dust resistant 4K wearable cameras that allow for hands-free shooting of 4K30p video on active scenes.

 

Imaging

 

“Panasonic introduced new styles of photography and video expressions such as the “4K photos” function that enables the user to capture a still photo from a frame of 4K video and “hybrid photography” that combines still images and moving images. LUMIX cameras including the CM1 communication camera, which is a full-fledged digital camera with high-speed mobile communication capability (LTE), as well as new mirrorless single-lens system cameras and compact cameras. Panasonic also announced that it has been named a 2015 CES Innovation Awards Honoree for the LUMIX LX100 Digital Camera. The LX100 is also capable of smooth, high quality video recording not only in Full-HD 1,920 x 1,080 60p but also in 4K (QFHD 4K: 3840×2160, at 30 fps(NTSC) in MP4).  The LX100 is available at www.shop.panasonic.com and valued channel partners. ”

 

Panasonic CES 2015

 

 

Connected Home

 

Panasonic announced a new Home Monitoring System that offers the latest in wireless communication technology and is extremely easy to install. The kits allow you to remotely activate appliances, lights and devices in your home, perform surveillance and monitor your baby or pet. Powerful and compact, the DECT-enabled hub unit connects enabled devices to a secure long range (up to 1000ft.) platform which can be placed in any room or space.  It connects in seconds to your Wi-Fi router with the push of a button enabling you to control the system from your smartphone, tablet and system handset. There is no Ethernet cable necessary; as the hub operates completely on Wi-Fi. There is also no need for a PC to set-up the Wi-Fi connection as you only need a smartphone or the system handset. Unlike other systems, there is no monthly fee as remote monitoring and control is free of charge.  Including The Baby Monitoring Kit (KX-HN6001), DIY Home Surveillance Kit (KX-HN6002) and Home Monitoring and Control Kit (KX-HN6003) The Home Monitoring System is available immediately at Panasonic.com.
Automotive Solutions

 

Panasonic’s latest in-vehicle solutions, included infotainment system SYNC 3 to be delivered to Ford Motor Company and an Internet radio service, AUPEO!.”

 

Green Mobility

 

Panasonic’s green mobility solutions using its 18650 size, cylindrical lithium-ion batteries are showcased here, with vehicles powered by them. (1) Electric vehicle – Tesla Motors’ Model X, an SUV with benefits of a minivan, is on display as an example of the partnership between the two companies.  (2)  Electric scooter – Gogoro’s SmartscooterTM makes a world debut here. The company aims to achieve a smart city transformation with its electric scooters and battery-swapping infrastructure. More information can be found in Gogoro’s press release: http://www.gogoro.com/press/2015-01-05-gogoro-smartscooter-launch/. (3) Electric assist bicycles – Panasonic’s premium electric assist bicycle “Titanium Flat Road EB is on display.”

 

Salon

 

Panasonic also showcased an interactive mirror (prototype) that can check skin conditions, virtual makeup, make-up navigation and provide skin care advice when you simply sit in front of it. Men can try on virtual beards and mustaches that suit on the facial contour. Panasonic’s shaver featured “close-fit tracing head” that gives a smooth feel after shaving; five Japan-made blades that enable fast and deep shaving; and a “skin and beard sensor” that reduces burden on the skin. Panasonic introduced hair dryers equipped with its nano-e technology that allows for smooth passing of fingers through hair by balancing the moisture of the hair. Combined with optimized grip and operability and a quick drying nozzle, the nano-e dryers make it easy and quick to dry hair by untangling wet and clustered hair without the need for the user to shake the dryer.”

 

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All of my words are my own.

 

 

 

 

CES2015: LG Electronics Home Technology Announcements

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by LG Electronics.
LG Electronics #LGMomCES

 

One of the key technology areas relative to families is home technology. LG Electronics invited a group of journalists covering family tech to a breakfast at CES 2015 Family Tech Summit to discuss their new product announcements.  When it comes to being a parent I appreciate technology that helps me manage my busy household. LG Electronics introduced updated and advanced versions of appliances that have unique features which offer great value to families.

 

The first announcement is an update which would help save energy, maximize cold air conservation and make it very convenient for my three boys to reach food when they raid the fridge multiple times each day.

 

 

LG DoubleDoor-in-Door Refridgerator

Photo Credit: LG Electronics

 

 

From the press release: “LG MEGA-CAPACITY DOUBLE DOOR-IN-DOOR REFRIGERATOR: LG is taking its award-winning “door-in-door” concept to the next level with the introduction of its new double Door-in-Door® mega-capacity refrigerator. With two independent Door-in-Door® compartments, this model offers the ultimate in convenience – better organization and easy access – while maximizing cold air conservation. The right Door-in-Door® is accessible from both the outside (with the push of a button) and from the inside, making it easy to load with often-used items like snacks, drinks, lunches and more. The left Door-in-Door® provides additional easy access storage space via a trigger on the bottom of the door. By using the Door-in-Door® feature on the new model, which is expected to be ENERGY STAR® certified.

 

My husband and I do lots of loads of laundry each day. This new advancement would really help save time by enabling two loads of laundry to run simultaneously!

 

 

LG Mini Washer

Photo Credit: LG Electronics

 

 

From the press release: “LG TWIN WASH™ SYSTEM + MINI WASHER:  LG introduces an entirely new category of washing machine with its revolutionary TWIN Wash™ System, which enables two separate loads of laundry to run simultaneously. With a new, separate mini washer in the pedestal, cycle times are reduced, fewer loads are needed and energy efficiency is increased.  TWIN Wash™ System: LG’s mega-capacity 30-, 29- and 27-inch washer-dryer pairs are the first to offer the game-changing TWIN Wash™ System. These new models feature 5.6, 5.2 or 4.5 cubic feet of capacity in the front-load washer. Placed under an LG front-load washer as a pedestal, the separate Mini Washer is designed to provide additional, simultaneous cleaning to smaller, more delicate loads of laundry like lingerie, delicates or active wear. By combining the Spin and Rinse cycles, LG’s new and improved Turbo Wash™ technology makes for a substantial time saver.

 

The next announcement is home technology that would not only save time from my many trips to the dry cleaners, it would help freshen up clothes quicker then waiting to make it to the dry cleaner!

 

LG Styler

Photo Credit: LG Electronics

 

 

From the press release: “Equipped with a range of features not found on any washing machine, the latest LG Styler freshens up clothes and fabrics both quickly and conveniently. The LG Styler’s Odor Removal feature uses steam to help remove unpleasant odors left behind by smoke, food and sweat, and, depending on individual tastes, users can choose between two different aroma sheets that provide refreshing, subtle scents. The Quick Refresh function keeps clothes looking, feeling and smelling fresh, while Moving Hanger Action gently shakes steamed items to remove everyday wrinkles. The new LG Styler also  features a built-in heat pump, which generates and maintains warm air at a low temperature to keep clothing from shrinking or being damaged while drying.

The LG Styler also provides effective sterilization with TrueSteam™, LG’s hot steam spray technology, which LG pioneered in washers and dryers. With a simple touch of a button, hot steam is released to eliminate 99.9 percent of the germs and bacteria that can live deep inside clothes and soft toys. The LG Styler features Smart Diagnosis™ and NFC tagging. Smart Diagnosis alerts the user via their smartphone when the unit needs maintenance or repair, and NFC allows users to down- load specialized cycles to their smartphones, which can then be uploaded to their LG Styler with a single tap of the smartphone to the appliance.

 

What home technology are you excited about?

 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by LG Electronics.

 

 

 

 

Holiday #Gift Ideas At @MicrosoftStore #Sponsored

Microsoft Store Holiday Gift GuideAfter countless experiences of giving my kids gifts they were asking for (even begging for), that they then abandoned after a short time – I pledged to try to buy gifts that last. During the holidays some of my favorite gift ideas (that last throughout the year) are technology devices and accessories. I was excited when SocialMoms and Microsoft asked me to participate in a sponsored blogging program to discuss holiday gift ideas at the Microsoft Store because they have such a wide range of technology devices and accessories gift ideas under one roof!

Here is a video that shows my fun adventure at the Microsoft Store checking out gifts that satisfies everyone from tech beginners to tech savvy, gamers, fashionistas, busy professionals, students and technology for the whole family.

Some of the great gifts I checked out at the store you can also check out online first, then head to the Microsoft Store to have your gift in hand for the holidays. If you don’t know exactly what they want, you can get gift cards for the Microsoft Store, XBox  or Skype. But there are also a range of phones, unique family touch enabled All-in-One desktops like the Sprout by HP, laptops like the Lenovo Yoga 2 in 1, tablets like the Surface Pro 3 Bundle or HP Stream 7 tablet (currently only $99!).
Microsoft Surface 3 Pro Bundle

 

 

All types of cases like  Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag , Greene & Gray Device Purse  or the Knomo Foley Device Cross Body Sleeve.

 

Knomo Foley  Cross Body Device Sleeve

 

 

Wearables are another hot gift idea such as FitBit and stylish Misfit Shine that monitor activity, calories and sleep. But there are also many other app-enabled accessories to choose from!

 

Misfit Shine and Sport Band

 

Entertainment gifts such as the Jawbone Mini wireless speaker, XBox One Plus Kinect  and maybe a stocking stuffer of a new XBox Wireless controller.  “Makers” may want the gift of MakerBot-Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer that can inspire all types of creative projects or the Go Pro HERO3 to unleash video creativity on the go.  I know that my kids are asking for some new video games but I also have some on my list including the Nike + Kinect Training and Just Dance 2014!

 

Xbox 360 Chrome Series Wireless Controller

 

Don’t forget tech toys such as the remote controlled aircraft like the Parrot AR Drone2.0 that performs smartphone-controlled acrobatic tricks.

 

Parrot MiniDrones Rolling Spide

 

 

 

What are you shopping for this holiday?

 

 

Disclosure: This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Microsoft blogging program #MSFTHoliday . The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

 

 

 

Tech To Prepare For Severe Weather Like #BayAreaStorm

Growing up in the East Coast helped me prepare for extreme weather. As a kid the school closing for a snow day was so exciting because it meant a day of sledding with my friends. But as an adult I have seen how dangerous extreme weather can be. In California we have had droughts the last few years which was dangerous in it’s own way. But it almost made me forget the steps to prepare for Winter weather.

 

Tech For Extreme Weather #BayAreaStorm

 

The good news is that today is big rainstorm (#BayAreaStorm) in a state that has been suffering a terrible drought.  The bad news is that rainstorms in my area of Northern California can lead to flooding, dangerous driving conditions, power outages, trees falling down and more. The current #BayAreaStorm has heavy rain and wind gusts. We dropped our kids to school this morning but there was flash flooding and road closures I had to watch out for on the way home. We started preparing last night for the storm and all the research inspired me to create a post to share some of my steps we did to prepare for our storm.

 

Step 1: Setup Up Websites, Apps and Alerts To Automate Monitoring Weather Conditions:  We find it important to always monitor weather conditions and with all of the websites, apps and alerts there are many ways to do that.  Websites such as the National Weather Service are used as basis for apps like the WeatherSphere Weather Alerts and other products and Simple Weather Alerts. States also have Emergency Services pages with sections for Floods and other weather emergencies. Weather.com and Accuweather have weather updates and alerts on their websites and apps. I like to sign up for alerts so I get updates for emergencies such as flash floods. There are alerts that appear on apps but also text alerts.  Luckily there are local emergency services that also automatically send out alerts because I received a text on my phone this morning about a flash flood that was not something I had signed up for. There are also websites such as Nixle that gather information from “over 7,000 public safety and government agencies at the local, county, and state level”.  Many phones or tablets enable you to load a weather widget on your home screen which automatically shows the weather each day.

 

 

NOAA Weather Alerts - Severe Weather Push Notifications & Warnings

NOAA Weather Alerts – Severe Weather Push Notifications &Warnings

 

 

Step 2: Charge Up Smartphones, backup batteries and gather charging supplies: As soon as we heard about the Bay Area Storm, we set up a plan to get ready. First we made sure we had enough flashlights, batteries for flashlights, candles & matches, backup batteries for the phones and emergency supplies up to date.  The day before we charged up all of our phones and computers but also multiple back up batteries to use if power was out for an extended time.

 

Today (day of the storm) we are keeping our phones plugged while at home to keep the charge going.  We also made sure we had extra backup phone chargers and a full tank of gas just in case we did need to leave the house for an extended time. The type of extreme weather we prepared for is just power outages and minor flooding. I know friends in locations all over the world that have different steps and supplies for their weather emergencies. So it important for everyone to check with their local emergency services website or office to get the right list for their area.

 

 

 

Step 3:  Organize alternative WiFi and Devices:  Because extreme weather can effect home WiFi, I like to have another backup WiFi source.. For example, I use the AT&T Unite Pro as my alternative WiFi device that I can also take on the go which is important especially for emergencies.  Radio Shack has a great supply of weather radios that are important to have if all WiFi and cell coverage is down.

 

 

Eton weather radio

 

 

PLEASE SHARE YOUR TIPS IN PREPARING FOR EXTREME WEATHER! Every area has unique weather conditions to prepare for.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday 2014 Tech and Shopping Deals

Holiday Shopping Deals

This weekend starts what shoppers have been waiting for: Black Friday, Cyber Monday and December sales (also called “Cyber Month”). As I explained in my last post, “best time for holiday shopping deals“, deals are not only happening across the weekend and into Cyber Monday – but throughout the season. For those who enjoy shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend, then go for it and enjoy! For those who feel stressed, my advice is to pick a list of items you are looking for and then shop online over the next few weeks to find the best price. For some bigger priced items you can even wait for the “New Years clear inventory” sales that happen around the New Year. I purchased a TV for our garage/boy cave during a New Years sale and got a price better then I would have during the holiday sales.

 

For those braving the sales this weekend and want to shop online, a good place to start is your email inbox newsletters. If you signed up for any newsletters for the stores or brands, they have already probably sent out their Black Friday, Cyber Monday or holiday sales email newsletters.  For example, I shop at Athleta for fitness wear and when I checked my inbox I saw an email from them sharing their 20% Black Friday shopping code FIT20. Some of the other email newsletters, such as the one I received from Sur Le Table, talked about their in store discounts.  Many of the big retailers have in store sales that are not listed online so if you don’t mind shopping in crowds and have a big shopping list, it is a good time to stop by your favorite retailers.

 

I would also suggest supporting small businesses in your area by stopping by their stores or shopping online. Saturday (November 29) is a great day to celebrate small business owners by shopping on “Small Business Saturday #shopsmall“.  Etsy and Great.ly are sites with stores for small businesses. Huffington Post even has a post sharing “36 Black-Owned Etsy Stores For Black Friday“.  I also like to support women founded businesses such as Epiphanie and many others.  For example, a great local Silicon Valley designer of comfortable & versatile work clothes for women is Camilla Olsen. She has some of her designs on sale including the Maverick Dress.

 

Camilla Olsen Work Clothes For Women

 

 

There are websites such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday that aggregate deals.  When it comes to shopping blogs, my go-to website is Cool Mom Picks. The Cool Mom Picks Black Friday post listed a discount code for Epiphanie bags.  Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Tech also lists Cyber Monday deals. The teal Epiphanie tech/camera bag I had been coveting for some time was on clearance + 15% using the code in the Cool Mom Picks post!  What I like about the Epiphanie bags is that they are stylish and can hold tech gadgets securely. While my tech is getting lighter and lighter, I still need a secure bag to carry devices in so I am excited to try it out. Cool Mom Picks also has gift guides along with a site called Maker Mom which covers STEM gifts. Radio Shack has a great DIY section of the store for STEM holiday gifts and they have great holiday sales.

 

Epiphanie Tech Bag

 

For tech deals, I still suggest making your list first then looking at the deals. For example, I am interested in purchasing the Canon EOS 70D DSLR to capture high quality pictures and video on travel blogging trips. For now, the price is out of my budget even with the Black Friday sale prices of $200 off.  I did find budget friendly tech devices and accessories on sale as holiday bundles. For example, Costco, Amazon and other retailers has a great list of camera’s on sale for the holidays that come bundled with lenses and accessories that really make it a deal. But there are many categories of tech on sale so if you are looking check tech blogs such as CNET, The Verge, Tom’s Guide, Ubergmizo for Apple – Samsung & Lenovo, Chip Chick, Cool Mom Tech and more for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday tech deals. The Rather Be Shopping blog has great tips for Cyber Monday including using the Black Friday sales as a benchmark. Gizmodo has a post with The Best Cyber Monday (tech) Deals“. Fashion and shopping bloggers also have curated Cyber Monday and holiday summaries like this one from my friends at Lunchpails & Lipstick.

 

Calvin Klein Women's Long Packable Metallic Down  Coat While on the Amazon website looking for tech deals I also saw a jacket I was coveting in their fashion section on sale (Calvin Klein Women’s Long Packable Metallic Blue Down Coat – great for my business trips because it fits in a bag). During NYFW 2014 I remember Sarah Jessica Parker wearing a metallic blue Calvin Klein trench coat. While designer collection jackets are not in my budget, this jacket was with a sale price $100 off the regular price. I purchased that as well as finding a great selection of sales clothes for my kids online. This is a good time to find clothes and shoe sales for the whole family. On my post from a recent tech show called Pepcom, I also listed some of the new cool technology that would be good to look out for holiday sales. That post also listed a new app called Totspot that offer the ability to sell gently used kid’s clothes (that your kids grew out of) if you want to fund new purchases or find a fun assortment of kid’s used clothes for the holidays.

 

Another category to keep an eye on during holiday sales is home improvement. Do you need a new appliances, rugs or home electronics? Do you want to automate home processes with some smart home tech? The Nest Thermostat that is $50 off and now works with Life 360 to allow you to turn on the heat when the kids come home! Belkin has sales throughout the holiday season and their WEMO Home automation works with appliances like a crockpot and a coffee maker!

 

Another type of gift either for yourself or a loved one is the gift of learning. Curious.com has online video lessons include a range of subjects from tech to how-to DIY projects and an active community.  Their current holiday sale ends Cyber Monday.

 

Here are some of the other tech deals:

 

 

Along with your regular shopping, Amazon devices are also on sale via their press release. Giving the gift of reading devices is a gift that keeps on giving!:

  • Kindle (deal running 11/27-11/29): All-new Kindle – featuring a touchscreen display, a 20% faster processor, and twice the storage. Kindle e-readers are lightweight and easy to hold, measure battery life in weeks, not hours, and allow for reading with no glare even in bright sunlight. 
  • Kindle Paperwhite (deal running 11/27-11/29) : Kindle Paperwhite is one of Amazon’s most popular Kindles, with a touchscreen that has no screen glare in bright sunlight, a battery that lasts for weeks, not hours, and a built-in light that allows you to read without eyestrain.
  • Kindle Unlimited/Kindle Bundle (deal running 11/27-11/29): Better together: Get the $79 Kindle and 6-months of Kindle Unlimited for just $79 or Kindle Paperwhite and 6-months of Kindle Unlimited for just $129. Kindle Unlimited offers unlimited reading from over 700,000 books, including best sellers like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Landing page:
  • Fire HD (Fire HD 6 deal running 11/27-11/29; Fire HD 7 deal running 11/27-12/1): The new Fire HD tablets are available in both 6” and 7” and five color choices – black, white, cobalt, magenta, and citron. The new Fire HD, features a quad-core processor, front and rear-facing cameras, an HD display and a world-class ecosystem of exclusive features, services, and content.
  • Fire phone (deal running 11/25-12/1): The Fire phone is now available unlocked.  The unlocked Fire phone works with GSM carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro PCS and Cricket and for a limited time only is only $199. Fire phone includes a full year of Amazon Prime membership for access to Amazon’s vast digital ecosystem and unlimited photo cloud storage as well as exclusive features like Mayday, Second Screen and X-Ray.

These deals are available while supplies last. For additional information and a full list of Amazon Black Friday deals, visit www.amazon.com/blackfriday.”

 

Dyson:

 

Dyson Black Friday

 

 

 

Target:

Target black friday

 

 

Microsoft:

  • $100 off Surface Pro 3 i5: Available through Microsoft retail stores, Microsoftstore.com, Best Buy and other select retailers.
  • $150 off Surface Pro 3 i7 or Surface 2: Available through Microsoft retail stores, Microsoftstore.com, Best Buy and other select retailers.
  •  $99 Lumia 830 Fitbit bundle: The new Nokia Lumia 830 is available in the U.S. at www.att.com and in AT&T retail stores, and at MicrosoftStore.com and Microsoft Store retail locations. For a limited time, while supplies last, customers who purchase a Lumia 830 also receive a free Fitbit Flex ($99.99 value).
  • Xbox One available starting at $349: This offer is available nationwide at participating retailers. For more details on this promotion, visit Xbox Wire or contact your local retailer.
  •  $99 ASUS EeeBook X205TA: Available at Staples.

 

The press updated shared that the Fire Hose Blog has information holiday season’s deals and to check back for more details on Cyber Monday offerings.

 

The  YouGov holiday survey commissioned by Microsoft had some interesting information about electronic etiquette:

 

Electronic Etiquette

  • 41% of Americans confess to secretly checking their phone under the table during a holiday gathering
  • 33% of American parents try to limit their kids’ technology use during the holidays. However, 75% of American parents are likely to post to social media during a holiday gathering.
  • 42% of Americans say thank you for a gift they received via text or social media instead of mail or email.

 

My last tip involves not only setting up time for the important shopping but also setting up time to relax, enjoy friends/family and unplug during the holidays.  Turn off notifications for all smart devices and leave smartphones in your wallet, bag or pockets when socializing. Unplugging from shopping and tech is important to make sure we are spending uninterrupted time with family and friends or just spending time being mindful to do events in real life that cause you joy. As a parent I realize that I am a role model for my kids so I need to help them adjust to their connected world by teaching them the art of unplugging as well.

 

 

Happy shopping and but also happy “unplugging” this holiday weekend. We are off to do family exercise and then working on building some new wood chairs for our back yard. Yesterday we had all three boys helping cook Thanksgiving dinner from scratch (cooking is a great family activity to unplug).

 

*I will add more information about holiday sales below as I find them! Please share your favorite deals!

 

 

 

Pepcom Holiday Tech Showcase 2014

Pepcom Holiday SpectacularAt CES and holidays I am always excited to head to Pepcom events to check out the new technology related products out. On the night of the World Series I braved the traffic to head to San Francisco for the Pepcom Holiday Spectacular. Because the holiday season is so busy I have not had a chance to review any of the products but here are some of the interesting ones in the family technology area.

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Pepcom Holiday Spectacular! Exhibitors:

24/7
24/7 is a medical grade sleep and activity tracking application, their new new features include giving users more insight into their sleep than ever before.

 

 

ArcSoft
ArcSoft will be showing Simplicam powered by Closeli, a home monitoring solution with facial detection. They also had information on Perfect365 – which uses Face Detection technology to scan a photo and automatically map a person’s eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth and hairline. Then photos are treated with touch-ups, using nearly 20 tweaking tools that whiten teeth, brighten eyes, remove blemishes and other editing. They can also choose from dozens of pre-set makeup templates.

 

 

Belkin
Belkin International showcased a great selection of holiday tech products from its three brands, Belkin, Linksys and WeMo.  I was especially interested in their WeMo family of products that offers home automation, such as in a remote controlled Crock Pot!

Crock-Pot® Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo  Belkin

 

I also learned about their Linksys Dual Band WiFi router and how I could possibly swap that out for the default router my home WiFi provider gave us to help power up our wireless reception (and maybe also using a WiFi extender to help rooms far away from the router).

 

Belkin Linksys

 

Belkin also had some gift guide suggestions:

 

GIFTS UNDER $50
Metallic Lightning Cables
$24.99 – $29.99
Vent Mount $24.99
Phone Accessories
$24.99 – $34.99

 

GIFTS UNDER $300
Thunderbolt™ 2 Express Dock HD
with Cable $299.99
Linksys WRT1900AC $249.99
Linksys EA9200 AC3200 Tri-Band Smart Wi-Fi Router $299.99

 

GIFTS UNDER $150
Crock-Pot® Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo® $129.99
QODE™ Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air $149.99
WeMo® LED Lighting Starter Set $99.99
Mr. Coffee® 10-Cup Smart Optimal Brew™ Coffeemaker with WeMo® $149.99
Linksys Dual Band Wireless AC Range Extender RE6500 $99.99

 

 

Chamberlain Group – MyQ Garage
Chamberlain Group showed MyQ Garage, the connected home device for controlling home entry. “A smart home with MyQ ensures people never forget to close the garage door and can open, close and monitor it from anywhere in the world from a smartphone. MyQ is integrated with Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat, multiple home devices through the WinkApp, and other popular connected home apps.”

 

 

Channel Master
Channel Master debuted new features and services for the DVR+ platform, as well as a new ultra-low-cost outdoor television antenna. They were also the most popular table because they had the World Series on! Channel Masters new features for its subscription-free DVR+ include YouTube access and an enhanced DVR feature to record only new episodes of a series. The company also added the new low-cost STEALTHtenna to its metro/suburban-centric Everyday Series antenna line along with a consumer-friendly Antenna Selection Guide.  Coming in November, the YouTube streaming feature will appear in the DVR+ program guide.

 

 

 

Cobra
Cobra Electronics showcased “the addition to the company’s Drive HD Dash Cams series, Cobra CDR 825, utilizing a 2.7 inch screen, the largest in the dash cam family, along with the ultra-compact Cobra JumPack, a pocket-sized, portable charger for mobile devices and vehicle jump-starter.” Cobra also displayed some Walkie Talkies that I know my boys would have loved to try.

 

 

Creative Labs
Creative Labs has home, mobile, and gaming audio products. I was especially interested to hear about their E5 product that can be used an microphone to capture audio for me when I do video. Here is more information from their press release:

Their Professional-Grade Sound Blaster® E5  is a “24-bit/192kHz 120dB High Resolution USB DAC and Portable Headphone Amplifier for Smartphones, Tablets, PCs & Macs:

 

  • Digital High-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity to PC/Mac as a powerful external Sound Blaster
  • Digital USB Host connectivity to select iOS/Android models for direct high quality, lossless audio streaming*
  • Built-in rechargeable 3200mAh lithium polymer battery provides users up to 8 hours^ of playtime while on the go
  • Features wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy connectivity and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for one-touch Bluetooth pairing and control
  • Supports HD audio codecs such as aptX® Low Latency and AAC for a wireless connection as good as a wired connection
  • Connects to entertainment devices such as televisions and game consoles via the optical input jack
  • Features a line-in option for analog connectivity to other various audio sources
  • Dual headphone jacks allow for simultaneous audio listening

Compatible with:      

– iOS devices using Lightning connector (iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, iPad Air, iPad Mini)

– Android devices (Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, Note 2, Note 3; Google Nexus 5, Nexus 7; Sony Xperia Z Ultra; Xiaomi Redmi, Redmi Note, Mi 3; LG G2)

**Actual battery life will vary with usage scenarios, settings and environmental conditions

 

The new flagship product is an extension of Sound Blaster’s E-Series line of compact portable USB audio solutions.  Launched in May 2014, the Sound Blaster E-Series includes the Sound Blaster E1 and Sound Blaster E3.”

 

 

ecoATM
ecoATM showed their “automated e-waste recycling kiosk that accepts cell phones, tablets and MP3 players from consumers in exchange for instant cash.” Listed below is an image they shared on what you could buy for holiday gifts from what you get back from trading in specific devices. I have not tried the service but I think trading in old devices are a great way to earn money to buy new devices instead of them sitting in a cabinet collecting dust! ecoATM, the nationwide network of 1,510 automated recycling kiosks, give’s users instant cash for their phones, tablets and MP3 players.

 

ecoATM

 

 

 

Fitbug
Fitbug Orb is a fitness, sleep and activity tracker.  They unveiled Kiqplan, a library of interactive coaching programs that use activity data from almost ANY activity tracker, smartphone or watch to build actionable 12 week plans around specific wellness goals.

 

 

Fujitsu
Fujitsu showcased their ScanSnap product lineup, including the new mobile and completely wireless scanner, the ScanSnap iX100. Included in the ScanSnap family line is the ScanSnap iX500 desktop scanner.

 

 

Kensington
Kensington has USB Hubs, Adapters, USB Chargers and Universal Soft Sleeves as well as new iPad Air™ 2 Keyboard Cases. Their PresentAir Pro Bluetooth® 4.0 LE Presenter “offers three different function modes to support different types of activity presenting, controlling media, or editing and offers one of the slimmest presenter designs on the market. The free downloadable companion app, PresenterWorks, allows users to set buttons to the functions of their choice for greater flexibility and efficiency.”

 

 

Kingston
Kingston Technology showcased holiday gifts ideas including the MobileLite G2 wireless media reader, SD and Micro SD cards and a HyperX Cloud gaming headset that offers extended hours of game play.

 

 

KODAK PIXPRO
KODAK PIXPRO featured cameras and wireless devices including the new SP360 Action Cam, an HD action cam designed to capture 360-degrees of video without the need for multiple cameras.

 

 

Lenovo
Lenovo had a few tables filled with their newest devices.

 

Lenovo at Pepcom

 

 

Some of the devices I spent time looking at where the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 and Tablet 2 Pro, B40 All in One, Y50 Touch mobile gaming and multimedia notebook. But the one I drooled over was the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro because it has powerful features but is thin, light and so fancy!

 

Lenovo Yoga 3

 

 

LifeTrak
LifeTrak showcased their line of wearables, including the new LifeTrak BRITE R450, that features light exposure monitoring, smartphone notifications, advanced sleep monitoring and fitness tracking, is waterproof and requires no recharging. The battery used for the device is a watch battery!

 

LifeTrak

 

Logitech
Logitech will be showcasing its latest in gaming, music, tablet, Harmony and PC accessories.

 

 

muvee
The new iOS app TWINE “makes short split-screen videos. Capture opposite or parallel moments in time and TWINE automatically stitches them together“.

 

 

Otterbox
OtterBox will be showcasing protective cases for the recently released iPhone 6, GALAXY Note 4 and more.

 

 

Parallels
Parallels Access app (for iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and phones plus Kindle Fire) “lets you access everything on your PC or Mac just like it was made for your touch-based device (a way to run Windows on your Mac without rebooting).

 

 

Plantronics
Plantronics will be showcasing its new line of consumer, stereo and Bluetooth products including the new BackBeat PRO – wireless, active noise canceling stereo headphones with mic.

 

 

Plantronics Backbeat Pro

 

 

RadioShack
RadioShack has the latest in sound, toys, power and smart tech for gifting or for upgrading your own tech this holiday season.  I went to the press event to celebrate the interactive remodel of San Francisco Bay Area (and other locations) Radio Shack stores.  I was really impressed with the selection of tech in the new design. Especially their DIY section that had so many DIY tech projects that my boys could keep busy for a long time!

 

Here is information about the Radio Shack store redesign:

  • Innovative products from startups and inventors, such as mobile device-controlled robot ball Sphero, educational magnetic circuit boards from littleBits and Lively’s activity sensors that create a smart home for older adults to log daily routines
  • An interactive speaker wall where customers can shop and compare different speakers using music installed on in-store tablets
  • Experiential displays that enable shoppers to find and compare products, including headphone demo stations where they can listen to leading brands like SOL REPUBLIC, Skullcandy and Beats by Dr. Dre; in-demand devices from Apple, Samsung and HTC; a remote control (RC) toy exploration center; and a GoPro camera display demonstrating the capabilities of several models of GoPro cameras
  • Technology that makes shopping interesting and playful, like touchscreens and apps that help shoppers understand the benefits of products
  • Full mobility offerings from top mobile carriers such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon with flexible financing plans available all under one roof
  • Helpful, informative RadioShack staff who can answer shoppers’ questions about hundreds of products and services and direct customers to the items that meet their specific needs.

 

 

ResMed
S+ by ResMed: a non-contact sleep system that monitors, analyzes and provides personalized feedback to help improve your sleep from the first night.

 

 

Ring
Ring Video Doorbell “lets you answer the door from anywhere using your smartphone. It features an HD camera with night vision, providing a clear view from your front door, day and night.”

 

 

simplehuman
simplehuman builds smart home-tech that is “simple, functional, and built to last“. I tested the sensor trashcan they had on display and it really was able to tell the different between me waving my hand to open the trashcan versus just walking by. The other brand sensor trashcan I tried kept opening up when I would just walk by it.. Next time I will try simplehuman!

 

Simple Human

 

 

Speck
As a leader in slim protective cases for mobile devices, Speck will be showing its latest bulk-free cases in smashing good looks. Their candy shell smartphone cases have been great protection in the past when I dropped my phones (just a few times…).

 

Speck

 

 

TiVo
TiVo showcased the TiVo Roamio OTA, the over-the-air DVR and TiVo Mega.

 

 

Totspot
Totspot is a mobile shopping app for moms to buy and sell gently used kids’ clothes.  I think this is a great tool for families to control clothing budgets for their kids – who grow out of clothes so quickly. And also to find great clothes for their kids!  “Totspot solves the age-old challenge every parent faces when outfitting their growing soccer stars and fashionistas – kids grow, clothes don’t. The free app has an intuitive interface designed to be simple and fast, and supports easy mom-to-mom mobile retailing, giving families a simple way to cash in their kids’ closets and keep little ones toddler-trendy and fashion-forward. Totspot (http://www.totspot.me) is currently available as a free app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and Android.

 

Totspot

 

Totspot

 

 

TripIt
TripIt booth is a trip planner keeps travel plans in one spot with features such as custom itineraries, sharing features, travel alerts, alternative flight info,  flight refunds and a travel dashboard.

 

 

Velvetwire
Velvetwire showcased the Powerslayer Blu – an Bluetooth-connected charger with built-in software that “reduces energy waste and promotes battery health”.

 

Velvetwire

 

 

ZAGG
ZAGG Inc highlighted their newest accessories for protecting and enhancing handheld electronics.

InvisibleSHIELD GLASS and HDX: Features HD clarity and 3X greater shatter protection for even industry-leading smartphone glass.

  • GoLite power series: A family of portable batteries will charge any device that utilizes a USB, including smartphones and tablets.
  • iFrogz InTone earbuds: Feature a smooth surface which rests comfortably on the ear while their 14mm driver delivers vibrant sound.”

 

 

Disclosure: This is coverage of a tech press event.