Kicking the year off with CES 2018

What is CES Bal?

CES stands for the Consumer Electronics Show, and is held early January, every year…. where all the top folk who are interested in everything that is electronics (technology) related, gather for a few days…. oh… and, it’s usually held in Las Vegas.

Now, this year – is no different.

There’s various top speakers….

There’s various categories…. (for example, cars)

That’s right- anyone, anywhere, who’s doing something with regards to technology…. is there.

It’s great for people to share… collaborate and educate.

Now, as this goes on for a few days, and there’s all sorts of workshops, presentations, meetings, etc… taking place…. I’ve been doing my research, and found the top 3 items, what people are talking about (and the ones which have been winning awards!)

First up…. we have Sony, and their pet dog. Say ‘hello’ to Aibo, the pet robot dog…

Have a dog? Tired of washing it… picking up its poo….? Well, guess what… for a cool $1,800 you could have this robot dog.

Packed with various sensors on its back, chin, head, etc…. camera in it’s nose (to recognize family members) and OLED eyes…. it seems to be the perfect family pet to have! 2 hours of play… 3 hours of charge… and it even has a camera on it’s back to navigate it’s way to the charging station.

Oh, it’s also got 22 actuators… which means… it’s moving and shaking, in a very realistic manner – or at least, better than any previous models.

Sony are shipping this lovely creatures… can I call them that? – anyway, they’re being shipped with the price tag and a monthly subscription of $27. I personally don’t know the cost of owning a ‘real dog’, but… just the element of not having to pick up poo is warming to me….

Up next… Transportation… say hello to Bell Helicopter, the first flying taxi (in partnership with Uber).

That’s right – step into the first flying taxi.

Uber have been saying for a while – how they’ve been looking at Uber helicopters… Uber planes….. Uber Ice Cream vans…. (we’ll save that for another day). But it looks like their partnership with Bell is ringing in some alarming changes to the way we travel today.

Who needs roads anyway? So congested all the time! – forget that… hit me up to the skies. Bell, bought their cabin to the CES to show, the art of the possible and what they’ve been working on.

Matter of time these electronic helicopters will be cutting down our travel time….

Up next… we have The Wall! – no, not from that obstacle course show from TV… (Ninja Warrior)… but this is from Samsung.

A 146 inch… micro-LED modular built TV.

Built of lots of little micro-LED’s… allows Samsung to vary the size of the TV… So, throw out that little 32 inch you got in the corner of your living room, and start making space for The Wall!

No pricing yet from the fridge and washing machine manufacturer but we’ll soon be seeing these on the high street… or at least on their website, for on-line ordering.

There you go… my top 3 from the CES this year.

Usually, Vegas is sunny and lovely during Jan… I know, i’ve been… but this year, there’s been rain! – That’s right.. the Gods above us, have showered Vegas with some droplets… which have caused blackouts… parts of CES being closed, and therefore – people missing presentations and meetings.

It’s put a little ‘damper’ on the whole event… but with that out of the way, there’s plenty of great stuff going on… even having Alexa sing… ‘I can see clearly now… the rain has gone….’

Any Ideas for Christmas Presents, Bal?

Well, I did say a few weeks ago – I wouldn’t be going down the road of recommending what tech items you could buy for Christmas… mainly because a) you’ve got Philip Schofield (for those in the UK) – who’s presenting a great series on TV which is all about – ‘what you can buy for Christmas 2017’ and b) i’d be here all day, because there’s so much out there you could buy!

But you know what… after speaking to a friend of mine, who’s just moved into his new home… and how it could be a ‘Smart Home’… I’ve decided to share with you the Top 5 Smart Home Items you could buy for Christmas.

Coming in at Number 1…

Amazon Echo.

I feel it’s the natural first step into making your home, ‘Smart’.

You can say, ‘Alexa…. ‘ (followed by a command, question, etc..) and then have an answer or action performed.

For example, Alexa tells me jokes…. sets a timer for me…. plays music… answers questions (by finding answers on the world wide web)… turns the lights on and off… heating, up or down…. milk into my shopping basket…. etc..

You could have a few around the house if you wanted…. perhaps the Echo Dot in the bedroom? – it is a little thing.

I feel ‘Alexa’ is like someone who is really close to me. Does so much for me… but doesn’t spend all my money. And doesn’t love me. I’ve asked it….

Moving on… and coming in at Number 2….

Nest Home Heating.

Once you’ve brought Alexa into the house… you want to pair it up with something. And I would suggest… as the winter months are here, maybe something to keep you warm?

Okay, the Nest, itself, won’t keep you warm… but it’ll talk to your heating system… and make life so much easier for you… and warmer.

That’s right – it’s a little device, that connects to your home heating… and not only can you control it via your phone… you can control the heating by connecting the Nest to your Echo….it can learn your heating habits… be optimized for when you are away from home and so much more….

There are other, similar, Smart Heating solutions available, for example, Worcester Bosch have their equivalent… named the ‘Wave’. I would suggest, talk to your local heating expert to find which one is the best match for your current heating system.

Coming in at Number 3….

Hue Lights.

So, you have a Smart Voice Controlled Personal Assistant (Echo) in your house, and you’ve got Smart Heating (Nest)… now for some Smart Lights.

Philips, in my opinion, are leading the way with Smart Lights. The Hue… from Philips, is great. You get a ‘bridge’ which talks to your Wifi and the Light Bulbs around your house.

Control the lights via your phone… and/or Alexa…. programme light timers… connect it to IFTTT (If This Then That)… put on location  – so the lights come on, when you’re near home…. there’s alot you can do.

You can get bulbs which do different colours…. mine only do white. You can dim the lights… you can have different settings for different rooms… etc…

Now we’ve got some ‘light’ on this topic… Coming in at Number 4…

Ring Door Bell.

Now, for a bit of home security… Ring Video Doorbell. Does exactly that, it’s a door bell, with a camera, that’s all connected…. and you can view who’s on your doorstep from your phone.

Why would you need this?

  1. If you’re lazy, you can sit on the sofa… see who’s outside, and then decide if you need to get up from the sofa or not.
  2. You know who’s come to your house…and when.
  3. If it’s a delivery… you can provide them with instructions where to leave items…

To make you even more lazy…. And finally, in at Number 5…

Wemo.

For those items.. like your TV, Kettle, etc… you can make them Smart also! – How, Bal?

Well… Belkin have a device called the Wemo. You plug it into your normal socket. Turn it on. Then plug your device into the Wemo device… which then, when all connected – you can view & control your devices on your phone!

There you go.

My Top 5… Smart Home… Christmas Present ideas.

There are different variations, makes and models available to those I’ve mentioned above… for example, Google have an equivalent to the Amazon Echo…. there are many (and probably cheaper) alternatives to the Belkin Wemo.

I’ve recommended the above… because they’re the ones I have or have used.

I would always suggest, you go and research… see what would work for you… your environment… your style and most importantly… your needs – I researched and tested a number of items before settling on the ones above.

Have fun shopping! – and making a house… a home. Smart Home.