Gadget Weeks Part #4

I present my experiences with six very exciting smart home gadgets, which I have tried out at our ICT-WG.

During the last few days I have tried out five very different gadgets, which I would like to present. All of them were so exciting that I could write an own blog entry about each product. However, I will be brief and write about the most important features of the products and my experiences.

Rocki
Rocki is a smart wireless music device, which connects loudspeakers and older audio systems like my JVC Boomblaster with smartphones. By using Rocki and the Spotify App my smartphone became a remote control for my five years old Boomblaster. The gadget works with even older audio systems as long as they have an audio in port. Firstly, Rocki should be physically connected to the 3.5 mm audio plug and supplied with power. However, it is possible to use the integrated battery from Rocki if there is no power socket. Secondly, Rocki features 802.11 b/g/n access and has to be added to the local WLAN by using the Rocki App. That’s it. Rocki enabled me to listen my favorite Spotify Playlists on an old audio system. I only have to open my Spotify App and choose Rocki as loudspeaker. My conclusion, very simple and powerful gadget if you do not want to spend a lot of money for a new audio system.

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Flic
Flic is a small Bluetooth button with countless use cases. I connected it within seconds with my iPad. Afterwards, it is possible to add up to three actions and define what should happen after clicking, double clicking and holding the button. By clicking once, the Sonos loudspeaker in my room starts or stops playing the last song or radio station I was listening to. With a double click I control the Philips Hue light bulb. I think it is very practical that I do not have to take the smartphone out of my pocket for such simple tasks. In my view, the disadvantage of flic is that the button has to be coupled via Bluetooth to another device. I usually have Bluetooth switched off and turn my iPhone on flight mode during nighttime. Therefore, I use an iPad as hub, which works fine.

KADDZ – smart cat collar made in Switzerland
Since we sadly do not have a pet at our ICT-flat I went to my sister’s place. She and her boyfriend take care of two cats. One is called Sophia and supported me during my test in return for some ham :-). Firstly, I charged the smart cat collar and then put the cat collar on her. She looked not that happy and had balance problems. But after a few minutes she accepted her new collar and I started testing some features with the KADDZ app. KADDZ is basically a GPS tracker for cats. In addition, the cat collar has an integrated LED and buzzer. In case the cat got lost, the app enables users to switch on the LED or buzzer. Although flashing Sophia looked during my test a little bit funny, this feature may save her life. Based on the data from the GPS, acceleration, motion and two light sensors the app creates many different analyses, which are very interesting for cat owners. I realized for example that Sophia went for a long walk in the morning hours (left screenshot), Sophia was quite lazy in the afternoon until my sister came home and fed her (central screenshot) and Sophia was caged up in the garage.

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The slate from iskn
The slate enables me to instantly digitize my paper drawings. All I need is the slate, my favorite or the provided pen, an iPad and paper. Firstly, I switched on Bluetooth, downloaded and connected the App with the Slate. The installation was very easy and done within less than a minute. Secondly, I put a blank piece of paper on the Slate and started drawing/writing. The lines appeared simultaneously on the iPad and could be saved. In addition, it is even possible to delete certain lines or change the color of the digital pen. The interworking between the slate and the iPad was perfect. According to the webpage 32 sensors detect the ring, which covers the pen. Although, I had the feeling that my handwriting was not as beautiful on the iPad as it was on the paper. I could imagine that the slate is something for creative types and illustrators, which prefer drawing on paper.

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The stone from Pebblebee
The stone is very similar to the flic button. It is also installed within seconds and the button is connected through Bluetooth. It is not possible to stick the stone to a wall or an item and there is no double click trigger. But in addition to the click and hold trigger it is possible to set “in range alerts”, “out of range alerts”, “motion alerts” and “temperature alerts”. This is quite useful, if you have the stone for example in your wallet and get an alarm if you leave your house without it. Additionally, the app shows the room temperature. At the moment, I use the stone for taking selfies. Clicking on the button triggers the selfie mode on my iPhone.

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PIQ
PIQ is actually not a smart home gadget, but since Swisscom had invested in PIQ we had the chance to test the promising multisport sensor and did not want to miss that opportunity. The ultralight sensor can be used for golf, tennis and ski. We decided to try out the ski version, which was developed in collaboration with rossignol. The parcel contains the the sensor, a mobile charger and a special strap that can be attached to ski boots. Unfortunately, my first experience with PIQ was not that good. During my journey to Laax I paired the Sensor through Bluetooth with my iPhone and was really exited about using it. But after pairing I had to touch the sensor with a card to install the ski driver. Unluckily, the card was at home at our ICT-WG. The weekend after I started another attempt, installed the driver and took the cable car to Chäserugg in the Toggenburg. I recorded a session and was quite surprised how many metrics like top speed, rotation, vertical (difference in altitude), number of starts and stops, jumps or turns PIQ collected. Based on the data PIQ generates detailed statistics (see pictures below). It is either possible to transfer the data via Bluetooth to the smartphone immediately after a run or do it later. Additionally, it is even possible to compare these with other PIQ users. I especially liked to see how fast I skied, that PIQ realized when I started or stopped and that PIQ consumed almost no battery during my test.

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Disrupter Game
Disrupter Game is even less a smart home gadget than PIQ. It is a card game, which is designed by a Swisscom colleague. Since I like to play cards and the game is about creating digital products, we tried it out as well. I will not bore you by explaining the rules, even tough there are not many. Basically, each player has to launch a digital product and therefore collect a marketing, a product and a business card set of cards. By playing a rare disrupter card one can steal someone else’s set. The rules are very simple to comprehend and the game was especially for me as a Business Innovation student fun to play. If you want to play disrupter as well, get in contact with Daria.

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