Verizon Wireless at CES: Practical Innovation
The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is always a great place to see the tech trends that will shape our lives over the next 6-18 months. Some products, like the giant TV screens and concept automobiles, are more about what’s possible than what’s practical, but other exhibits place the emphasis squarely on the present, showcasing products that are ready to enhance our lives and make us more productive.
As a mom, I believe the Verizon Wireless booth displayed the perfect blend of the present and future – devices and services that will slip seamlessly into our connected homes and mobile lifestyles, and innovative ideas that will totally revolutionize the way we live, including how we educate and entertain our kids and how we care for our aging parents.
Here are just a few of the products that make CES such a fascinating experience:
Have you ever found yourself hoping for a quick and easy way to print your kids’ vaccine records to send to camp? Or that recipe you just spotted on your favorite blog? Well now there's a solution. One of the great things about today’s mobile devices and the cloud is that we can take our files with us wherever we go but printing them is still a challenge. As part of their Innovation Program, Verizon has teamed up with HP to promote the ePRINTit Kiosk, a stand-alone printer station that prints documents anytime, anywhere.
Just download the free HP ePrint Service app, get an ePRINTit code for your document, and enter that code directly into the Kiosk. Verizon’s 4G LTE network will wirelessly connect the Kiosk to your document in the cloud and provide instant printed copies. The ePRINTit Kiosk has already been installed in Canada and is expected to roll out to locations in the U.S in the coming months.
Livestream Broadcaster LTE
While the demo at CES focused on the potential of Livestream technology for streaming live sporting events, another possibility is the power to transform distance learning. You could finish your degree, attend live conferences and lectures and, yes, stream your kid's HS football game live for their grandparents.
The Livestream Broadcaster LTE connects to the HDMI port on a video camera, allowing that camera to stream directly to the Web over the Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Live video over cellular service – wow!
We have heard a lot about wearable computers in the past but most products have been gimmicks or too impractical for commercial success. CES has hosted a Tech Fashion Show for two years in a row and frankly the word “fashion” is too generous for what we have seen walk down the runways!
Yet thinking of safety, one of my favorite demos at the booth included the Motorola HC1 Headset Computer and the Golden-i by Kopin Corporation. These fully wireless headsets allow everyone from repair technicians to first responders to view documents, watch video, and collaborate with colleagues in real time. Wearers of the headsets can use voice commands or just tilt or turn their heads to activate the controls, making the headsets completely hands-free. The ability of first responders to find missing children while navigating a mall on a Segway for example is fantastic. And yet I would certainly not want to see our kids embracing these as their new favorite gadgets!
Find Those Keys!
This is a running joke in my house – how often I lose my keys and apparently I am not alone: every year the average American spends 1.5 hours looking for their keys. The Item TrackR app from Phone Halo can be used to find any item that has been fitted with a small low-energy Bluetooth tag. The two-way locator includes an audible alarm if you leave your keys behind and mapping feature to show your keys last-known location.
While finding those car or house keys is an obvious benefit, the Item TrackR app can be used to find anything that has been Bluetooth-enabled – which these days is just about every accessory we use. Item TrackR is available for iOS devices, with an Android version coming later this year.
The Connected Car
You’ve found your car keys now find your car! Delphi and Verizon have teamed up to provide the ground-breaking Vehicle Diagnostics device, which allows me to control a variety of features, including remote locking and unlocking, vehicle tracking, and a real-time diagnostics check. The playing-card-sized device plugs into a car’s OBD2 port, which is usually located under the dashboard. The device then connects with my smartphone or computer through a companion app or web portal.
As well as providing tracking and diagnostic information, the Delphi device can provide parents with a warning alert if the car leaves pre-set geographical boundaries or exceeds certain speed limits – the ideal in-car monitor for teen drivers!
The Connected Athlete
If we can track cars, then why not track humans! Verizon and Cisco demonstrated a range of sensors that can be used to monitor athletic performance. These include ‘smart-insoles’ that can provide athletes and trainers with real-time analysis of motion and pressure to help performance and prevent injury, and sensors that can be placed in helmets to help identify or prevent the kind of concussions that have caused moms so much concern on the football field. Verizon’s 4G LTE network and the cloud enable the sensors to stream real-time data to a variety of connected devices.
So many of these technologies from the eyes of parents can be lifesaving and provide much needed peace of mind to protect our kids.
What new technologies would you like to see soon to enhance your family’s lifestyle? Share them with us here.