CES showcases innovations in health, work and entertainment

The CES show in Las Vegas had the ability overwhelm the senses. The 50th anniversary event highlighting what is the next big thing in consumer electronics, which have the potential to be part of everyday lives changing the way people live, work a...

A BeWell robot assists in homes by reminding people to take their medicine. More technology is focused on connecting people at home with their medical providers in hospitals.
A BeWell robot assists in homes by reminding people to take their medicine. More technology is focused on connecting people at home with their medical providers in hospitals.

The CES show in Las Vegas had the ability overwhelm the senses.

The 50th anniversary event highlighting what is the next big thing in consumer electronics, which have the potential to be part of everyday lives changing the way people live, work and communicate.

Andy Isackson, Consolidated Telecommunications Co. marketing manager, and Michael Moroni, CTC sales engineer, attended the CES consumer technology show in Las Vegas and provided feedback for the Dispatch.

"We were warned by previous attendees that when you first walk in, you are overwhelmed with the sheer size of it," Moroni reported. "And that was just the first level of the first hall!"



An integrated self-monitoring health setup integrates with TV services.

"Your TV services would still continue in a picture-in-picture mode, never missing a beat while you take your heart beat," Moroni said.

There's a big focus on driving health care to the patient's home for monitoring purposes, Isackson said. Bewildered Connect by Visonmed is a French company with roots in Boston with some very innovative products coming to the market.

"They offer devices such as glue meters, scales, thermometers, electo-simulators, pulse monitors and more to monitor a patients' health while at home," Isackson said. "What's really cool about what BeWell has focused on is how patients can interact with the hospital. One source being a robot, which can be in the home to ask questions and remind patients to take readings or medication. They also have integrated tech with the patients' TV to send reminders and health updates on their home TV. So the patient will get a reminder on the TV for them to take their blood pressure which will then display the results and send them to their doctor."


A new evolution is adding to sit/stand workstations. Now they have added integrated sensors and apps, which told the user how long they have been sitting or standing.

For work health and fitness, Isackson noted Human scale offers smart standup workstations that have intelligent software and float sensors built into the desk and the chairs to notify employees when it might be a good time to stand and sit, along with proper ergonomics.

"It also ties into many fitness devices such as the Fit Bit so you can track your stand/sit metrics with your other workouts," Isackson said. "The easy-to-use standing workstations come in a variety of options and are very user friendly."


"They had developed daily challenges to remind users that it was time to stand, or to get so many stand/sits in a day," Moroni stated. "And the sensors all connected with wearable device Fitbit. The analytics that you can obtain from these devices were unreal. One could almost imagine competition like settings for a workplace to see who stands the most."

Other items included video conferencing and a new adaptation for laptop users who are multi-tasking and looking for more screen options.

"The first thing that really caught my eye was the Razer laptop with triple monitors," Moroni reported of one such entry. "The monitors will fold out as you need them, allowing you to use one, two, or three monitors. Which is very unique as laptops go."

A video conferencing robot combined long-range mobility with superior audio and video capabilities. Isackson and Moroni introduced to the technology from an exhibitor who was located in Berkeley, Calif. as they walked by a booth only to be stopped by a robot wearing containers of M&Ms on its head. As they walked by looking at monitors on wheels, Moroni heard a voice ask if he wanted M&Ms.

"I look over and see an exhibitor welcoming me and asking if I wanted candy - from her home in Berkeley!" Moroni said. "She explained that she can see what's going on at the show, can communicate with us, move around, and as an added bonus, she could hand out candy."

"We were able to talk to her as if she was right at the show, but she was sitting comfortably in her office in Berkeley," Isackson said. "She could move her video conferencing 'robot' around the conference show floor and interact with the crowd. We then had the opportunity to control a robot ourselves.

"We were in Las Vegas on a laptop talking with and moving around the Beam office in Kansas City. Another nice feature is that it recognizes when there's an obstacle in the way and will slow down to avoid hitting it.The audio and video was very clear and the Beam unit was very easy to use. Surprisingly, these are pretty affordable. They start at $2,000 and also comes in an enhanced version for $4,000. The pro model is the most expensive at $13,000."

Moroni asked if he could drive one and they said absolutely.


Moroni was taken over to a workstation where a laptop had a number of Beams ready for his use.

"We log into one and I immediately see that I'm not in the Vegas convention center anymore, we were in Kansas City! I was able to pull out from the docking station and greet some employees that were in the office. I then navigated my way to the window to see a awesome view of the city. I was able to navigate back to my charging station and easily dock. What a great way to be there-but yet not."


"We saw a monitor on the wall while someone played a game at a table," Moroni reported. "They then introduce a new 'feel' to the game by having the keyboard, while backlit, burst out in colors to alert the player of actions happening on the screen. Next, connected Hue lights surrounding the room started to flash and change colors representing what was happening on the game. The screen, lights and sound immersed the gamer even more into the game.

"Then, they fired up the new Ariana projector. Suddenly, the entire wall surrounding the monitor becomes part of the screen and gaming experience. While the primary action is still happening on the monitor, the rest of the wall has additional action happening, almost as if giving a wider view of the game. This was an awesome presentation to the next step of gaming."


LG showcased their OLED (Organic LED) displays along with their Nano Cell ultra high definition 4K displays.

The Nano Cell is an advanced LCD or liquid crystal display. LG reports the Nano Cell absorbs unwanted light, which means it improves color and accuracy delivering vivid and accurate colors at wider viewing angles.


Samsung also had a large presence at CES with their QLED technology.

"Quantum Dot is the next generation display of nano sized materials," Isakson stated. "Nanoparticles change light into billions of colors (similar to LG). They also introduced a universal remote, less cables to connect to the TV and an Over the Top applications to make their TV more user friendly as part of their Q-Style release."

At CES, CNET reported "Samsung is the No. 1 TV maker in the world, but when it comes to luxury, high-priced televisions that pack the most prestige, and profit, LG is coming on strong.

To battle LG's OLED televisions, which deliver the best picture quality we've ever tested at increasingly affordable prices, Samsung brings its A game in the form of Q."

Samsung introduced its new QLED TVs CES.

"Sony had one of the more beautiful displays at the show with their OLED TV," Isakson reported. "They also showcased their ultra slow motion 4K video. Sony showcased a lot of video and camera equipment this year along with their TVs."


"Samsung' Family Hub 2.0 is very cool," Isackson said. "With a large touch pad on your refrigerator you can talk to your fridge, order items with voice command, access a family calendar, play music, add items to a to-do list and access a whiteboard for family notes."


Whirlpool had some very cool tech at the show, Isackson said.

"The first was a food recycler for your kitchen," he said. "Put your excess food in and in 24 hours it will turn it into fertilizer for your garden or yard.

Isackson said his favorite item may have been the all in one washer and dryer that was also WiFi connected so cycles could be controlled with a smartphone.

"If you have delicates you'd like to take out before drying just pause it, or tell it to notify you after the wash cycle is completed."

The Geni Can is a new device for garbage cans that will scan the item you are discarding and make note that you have to order more. It also syncs with Amazon Dash so you can have Amazon order it for you.


Lending context to the most transformative trends to watch, a panel presented by Shawn DuBravac, Consumer Technology Association's chief economist; Vice President of Research and Standards Brian Markwalter; and Jack Cutts, director of business intelligence, discussed U.S. Consumer technology sales and forecasts.

Cars are getting redefined in the tech industry. That technology can even customize the scent in a car to match the owner's preferences. The main objective with self-driving cars is to help drive down deaths on the road via vehicle crashes. Many artificial intelligence integrations are overlapping to give a better experience. Some AI integrations watch and learn from other cars, and some integrate to watch the driver itself and learn their tendencies.



"My last major noteworthy item was IQbuds by nuheara," Moroni stated. "While a primary focus was a new Bluetooth connection for audio and calling, they found that they can also assist with hearing. With their (smartphone) app, a user can set it up that they can block out ambient noise, and focus on a conversation that you may be having with someone in a noisy environment. I find this highly intriguing, as I know myself, with many concerts, and years with loud stereo systems, my hearing is not up to par anymore. General release is set for end of March. You can guarantee that I will be trying these things out with a full review soon!"

Not only are these great for listening to music, but very helpful in noisy rooms where people may want to hold a conversation with someone but are having trouble hearing with the noise around them.

"You can control each ear independently and it has different settings available depending upon if you're outdoors or in a restaurant," Isackson said. "The buds have many different size settings for your comfort, but some have found them to fall out occasionally when working out. These will be release in March 2017 and will retail for about $299."

Also noteworthy was "the Smart Bottle for saving water up to 36 hours while charging your cellphone and had a built in Bluetooth speaker, but it didn't seem to hold a lot of water and if you lost it, not only would you misplace your water bottle but also your smartphone!" Isackson said.

"Neat concept, but the bulkiness of the item left me wondering where the market was ... personally," Moroni said.

The Pico craft Brewer also caught their eye.

"It allows you to brew your own beer from your kitchen," Isackson said. "Choose any beer style and brew your first pint in as little as a week. You can also select recipes from over 150 breweries across the world. With online access you can modify receipts and perfect your brews. Another wrinkle on the Proof wristband that keeps track of how much an individual has had to drink and monitors their blood alcohol content is that individuals can share their results with friends and vice versa to keep everyone honest on how much they have been drinking.

"Next, I see a company I would have never thought to me at the consumer electronic show: the USPS," Moroni said of the U.S. Postal Service. "They had a number of things. For one, they have a shipping label that prints a QR code on it with a five-second video you can record for it. It gives the person you're sending it to a personalized video message they can access through the QR code on the label.

"They also had new packaging boxes that had built in polyurethane protectors to ensure your smart devices shifts safely. In the "Future" of the USPS, they had Wi-Fi enabled mailboxes and collection boxes that will help communicate to you and your postmaster of mail you take from you mailbox or leave for delivery."

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