Smart home and tech of the modern, future house
Devices | Smart Home | Tech and Innovation |

A tour of your futuristic smart home at CES 2020

By Luke Hopewell February 14, 2020

2020 is the year that tech takes over your house. From the front door to the bathroom and every room in-between, tech titans are bringing the latest gadgets home for your convenience. Step inside for a look at your smart home of the future.

Welcome home, reader.

You’ve just stepped into the home of the future through a front door that features smart, NFC keys. It’s a comfortable two-bedroom in the suburbs, and thanks to the major tech manufacturers at 2020’s Consumer Electronics Show, it now has all the latest gadgets. From smart fridges to clever household robots that pick up your dog’s business (seriously).

Fancy a tour?

The kitchen

The fridge is more than just a fancy gadget. It’s helped you cut down on food waste dramatically, and has saved you so much time going to the supermarket to pick up groceries. It’s a Samsung unit with built-in Artificial Intelligence that can recognise your food.

It lets you know what you’re running out of, makes suggestions based on what you have and helps you reorder stuff when you’re out thanks to the big screen on the front. You don’t even need to add stuff to your shopping list anymore!

Speaking of food, you’re about to be treated to a dinner designed specifically for you, down to the molecular level. DnaNudge is a new service you’re using that recommends the food you should and shouldn’t be eating based on your genes.

Because you’re the type of person who retains too much salt after eating it, you’ll find nothing too salty in that new smart fridge of yours. They know everything about what’s good for you after doing a cheek swab and sending it back.

When you do have stuff you need to throw away, it’s easier than ever thanks to the Townew trashcan that automatically seals your trashbags for you for more considerate disposal without the unwanted smells.

The sink is fitted with a smart tap that you can speak to via Amazon Alexa. You can ask it to pour you a specific measure of water at a specific temperature for perfect portion control while preparing recipes, and also for cutting-down on wastage.

The bedroom

When you lie your head down at night, you won’t have to worry about your sleep apnoea or keeping your partner awake with annoying snoring. Not since you got the second-generation MOTION Pillow that is. With airbag technology, it intelligently repositions you throughout the night, so your breathing isn’t inhibited. Your phone even charges wirelessly as part of the pillow too so you can see your sleep habits as soon as you wake up.

Of course, before you go to sleep, you want to watch some stuff, and control your content without losing a smart remote in the bed sheets. That’s why you’ve got the Hachi Infinite Projector installed: a short-throw projector that turns your bedroom wall into a touchscreen.

The bathroom

Yep, there’s even tech in here for making your life easier and more connected.

The Moxie Showerhead is from Kohler, and in addition to spitting out water, it spits out tunes and the latest news thanks to an Amazon Alexa integration.

There are touchscreens inside the bathroom mirror so you can keep binge-watching your latest show while brushing with your smart toothbrush, and your lipstick shade can change daily thanks to L’Oreal’s new Perso gadget that mixes you a new shade each day based on what your favourite influencers are wearing. And your skin glows each day thanks to Neutrogena’s new Skin360 app which delivers personalised skincare for your exact needs.

But be careful on your way out: the cat’s smart litter box that analyses its stool for health problems before intelligently cleaning it up is in the corner over there.

The lounge room

Every surface in your living room – from the coffee table to the arms of the chairs – allow for your phone to be charged wirelessly in here. After all, everything in your house is controlled from your smartphone, so why risk it running low?

Plus, all your content and smart home tech is controlled via the phone as it connects to the superfast new Wi-Fi 6 modem router with intelligent cybersecurity controls built-in so the bad guys can’t easily hack your house. You can pair that with the updates to Google’s voice Assistant, which can now schedule actions, read you an article or start a call for you.

“But where’s the TV?”, your visitors might ask in puzzlement. “Oh,” you can respond modestly, “it’s integrated into the ceiling”. At the push of a button, LG’s latest rollable OLED TV unfurls from the ceiling like a projector screen without the projector to deliver dazzling colour and deep blacks.

When buying the TV, there were a lot of considerations in mind. You had to consider whether you wanted either LG’s Real 8K TV, or Samsung’s portrait-oriented Sero TV. Perhaps you even wanted to pair a TCL TV with its new sound-reflecting technology for better Dolby Atmos sound immersion. In the end, however, you decided that technology shouldn’t be the focal point of a room. Rather, it should disappear out of sight when not being used.

All in all, your new home of the future isn’t a bad place to put your feet up.

The future of gaming at CES 2020
Devices | Entertainment | Tech and Innovation |

Games of the future at CES 2020

By Luke Hopewell February 3, 2020

The game has changed. This year’s CES showed off new form factors and wild new ways to play. Here are the three trends we saw and loved.

Games on your face

The next frontier of gaming isn’t so much native 4K or even 8K support. The game is now much bigger, more mobile and more immersive.

A number of manufacturers at this year’s CES shunned occlusive and bulky VR headsets and instead showed off gaming via Augmented Reality glasses.

Panasonic, for example, showed off a pair of steampunk glasses, while a company called Nreal showed off AR glasses that plug into your phone for gaming support.

We can’t wait to see if this takes off in 2020!

PC gaming goes more portable

Nintendo’s Switch revolutionised mobile gaming with a nifty handheld that also becomes a fully-fledged console for your TV. Now that the console has experienced incredible success, other manufacturers want to get in on the portable form factor, specifically for PC gaming.

Alienware showed off an incredible concept at CES called the UFO: a handheld gaming PC with an 8-inch screen and detachable controllers for fully-portable mobile gaming.

It’s not going into production just yet, but Alienware says that its designers have already invested thousands of hours making handheld PC gaming feel just right, and we think they’re onto something!

If you still want your gaming to feature a keyboard and mouse, your experience is set to get way more portable in the future.

Gaming rigs typically pack in an incredible discrete graphics card (or GPU), but all this graphic performance sacrifices portability. If you’re looking for a laptop that can do what a desktop gaming rig does but still can slip inside a backpack, you’ll love the new Lenovo Legion external GPU.

An eGPU outsources the job of intensive graphics processing to an external box that plugs into your laptop when you want to game. This way you can have a thin and light laptop during the day while still having a fast gaming computer when you need it!

Having it all

Of course, you don’t always have to choose your platform. What if you wanted PC gaming and console gaming in the one box? With Origin’s Big O machine, the dream is a reality.

Originally outed as a concept last year, Origin is now flogging its incredible custom gaming PC that crams a console of your choosing into the one impressive gaming box that sits on your desktop. That makes it the perfect gaming PC – if we can even call it that now – to sit alongside the TV in your lounge room.

Unfortunately, you do have to make a choice between having an Xbox or PlayStation version in the same machine, as the two still don’t get along under the same roof. But with the monstrous machine starting at $2499, you can probably still afford to pick up another for cheap.

Maybe even with our Xbox All Access deal?

LG TV 8K - CES 2019
5G | Tech and Innovation |

Smart, stylish and state of the art – the latest tech to deck out your home

By Campbell Simpson January 18, 2019

There’s no place like home, especially if it’s a smart home and CES 2019 proved that almost everything can and will be connected in our pads of the future. Some won’t break the bank either!

Viewing pleasure

The TVs of the very near future are getting bigger, have ultra-high resolution, respond to your voice commands and can even roll away out of sight!

Most of us have heard of 4K – the current pinnacle of display resolution. Well, now 8K is coming, doubling the number of horizontal pixels and creating another evolutionary leap in image quality. Considering a standard 4K movie is an estimated 100 gigabytes, you can only imagine how big an 8K movie will be to stream or download, which of course will require a fast connection.

More TVs, at all price points, are also including support for connected voice assistants, like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple Homepod, allowing you to change channels and search for content just by talking. Great for when you can’t find the remote!

We flagged this in an earlier blog but it’s worth another look. Who would’ve thought – a TV that actually rolls away out of sight when you’re not using it. LG made a huge splash with their first rollable TV, which is expected to hit the market later this year. They even use these new versions to create an amazing TV tunnel.

Our not-so-humble homes

Our humble home appliances and fixtures keep getting smarter, even the toilet.

A number of big name brands unveiled updated connected fridges, washing machines and ovens. Fridges can now write to-do lists, which can then be shared to all of your family’s devices, check the contents of your fridge remotely and ask for cooking tips. Your phone will even get a ping if you’ve left the door open. Many now come with voice assistant support for when your hands are full of dirty laundry or dishes.

Meantime, Kohler unveiled a voice-enabled throne at CES 2019. Using Amazon Alexa, you can tell it to raise or warm the lid and play music. Most importantly, you can tell if to flush afterwards.

Smart shade

Even Ikea got in on the act at CES 2019, unveiling a series of low-cost smart blinds which allow you to raise or lower them using your home voice assistant, smartphone or provided remote control.

Now, if only they could find a way to make their flatpacks build themselves.

Immersive gaming

Our PCs continue to keep powering up to handle the size and complexity of the latest games, and new accessories are hitting the market to create even more immersive experience.

Audeze will soon release its motion-aware headphones for first-person shooter fans. They detect and recreate the movements of your head. For example, you’ll be able to peek around a corner just by moving your head.

More “reality” is being added to virtual reality games too, with Cybershoes showing off shoes that allow to walk yourself through the virtual world.

Just imagine all of these things in one home. It’s a lot of connected tech and, as we continue to add more things to our home networks, fast and reliable connections will be a must.

Virtual Reality unplugged – how 5G will unleash VR
5G | Tech and Innovation |

Virtual Reality unplugged – how 5G will unleash VR

By Campbell Simpson January 16, 2019

As predicted, two symbols were the talk of CES this year – 5G.

At the biggest consumer technology show in the world, we announced Telstra customers will soon get exclusive access to 5G commercial devices thanks to a series of partnerships with some of the world’s biggest brands.

We also got our first look at some of the inaugural phones and devices that will be powered by this revolutionary mobile technology.

Samsung had a prototype smartphone on display, safely behind a glass case.

And Netgear, which powers our Telstra Netgear Nighthawk M1, unveiled its 5G hotspot.

5G will power so much more than phones and internet hotspots though. One of the other uses is Virtual Reality (VR), with nearly 400 VR exhibitors on show at CES 2019.

Cutting the cord

High-endd VR headsets have had to be connected via cables to a computer, until now.

The Oculus Quest is a wireless all-in-one gaming headset, allowing players to enjoy their game anywhere.

From a tech-spec perspective, it’s not as powerful as its brother, the Oculus Rift, but cutting the cable is considered a major step in releasing VR into the mainstream.

Going wireless of course requires a wireless connection and, as games continue to increase in size, complexity and resolution, fast speeds and low latency will be a must.

VR in the back seat

This would definitely keep the kids entertained on those long road trips.

Audi, Disney and startup Holoride have teamed up to develop an in-car VR game. From the back seat of the moving car, you help Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy shoot asteroids and drones.

The VR experience is intended to visually match what the passengers feel as they ride – e.g. the VR environment will mirror any turns, acceleration or brakes the car makes.

Smart specs

Google had an unsuccessful crack at this a few years ago, but smart glasses could be making a comeback with Vuzix now taking orders for its Blade AR glasses.

It projects a semi-transparent and rectangular screen on one of the lenses to mirror phone notifications and run apps. In the future, these types of glasses could enable facial recognition, send live feeds from their inbuilt cameras or run 3D simulation apps.

All of these types of applications will require the speed, capacity and low latency 5G will deliver.

Bell Air Taxi - CES2019
5G | Tech and Innovation |

CES 2019: What you could soon be driving, riding, even flying

By Campbell Simpson January 14, 2019

How we get around will very soon fundamentally change in a number of ways, and we’re not just talking on the road – it’s in the air and the water too. Your home and work are also set for further shake-ups as robotics technology continues to advance.

Last week in CES, the world’s biggest consumer technology show, the vehicles and robots of the future were unveiled.

They all had different purposes but one thing was the same in all of them – they were connected and 5G will play a major part in powering these new technologies at scale.

Riding into a connected, electric future

When the iconic Hog goes electric, you know it’s a road revolution.

At CES 2019, Harley-Davidson announced it has started taking pre-orders for the LiveWire, its all-electric motorcycle.

The bike will go from 0 to nearly 100 km/h in around 3.5 seconds, with 100 percent of the motor torque available instantly. Unlike regular motorbikes, there’s no clutch or gear shifting – it’s just twist and go – and the famous Harley road roar has been replaced by more of a “zoom” sound.

It also comes with a host of connected features and an app, giving you the ability to check your battery charge remotely and get an alert if someone’s tampering with your ride.

Flying taxis: closer than you might think

You couldn’t miss Bell Air Taxi’s hybrid-electric flying car at CES. Using six tilting ducted fans, it’s designed to take off and land vertically from a rooftop or launch pad.

Initially capable of carrying four passengers and a pilot, the plan is to eventually make them autonomous (self-driving).

The military aircraft manufacturer has partnered with Uber and plans to roll out these air taxis to cities by the “mid-2020s.”

Never leave home, even on the road

When it comes to the cars of the future, dashboards could be replaced by mega touch screens and remain connected to your home, even when you’re out and about.

We’ve all probably been in this situation: you get home and you’re hungry only to find you’re out of bread or that key ingredient. Samsung’s connected car concept at CES allows to you to check what you have at home via their smart fridge so you know whether you need to stop at the shops on the way home.

Meantime, Chinese EV start-up Byton has unveiled an electric car full of screens, including a huge 49-inch screen that spans the entire width of the windshield.

That’s just one of five touch screens, that can show maps, car telematics and entertainment, when in autonomous driving mode of course.

Smart boats making waves

A yacht launched at CES for the first time this year.

The 78-foot Adonis concept by Furrion comes with its own “virtual concierge” voice and facial recognition system, called Angel. As well as allowing you to control the vessel’s lights, blinds, media and climate, she can even deliver an order to the kitchen (because you’ll have your own chef on board, of course!), including reminding them of any dietary restrictions you may have.

Angel is so intuitive, she can even monitor your weight and skin moisture levels (time to hydrate, cool down and swim off some calories).

Robots providing assistance and comfort

There were more than 344 robotics exhibitors this year as a future where robot assistants are common continually comes closer to reality.

This year, they were showcasing assistants that lift, bake, shop, dance, play ping pong, and even help cure loneliness.

Lovot has developed what’s been described as an advanced Furby (remember those) with fur, wheels and flippers as well as sensors that detect touch, thermal cameras, and an impressive range of animated emotions.

LG also showed off concepts specifically developed for use at hotels, airports and supermarkets which deliver food and refreshments, carry luggage and help shoppers find products.

Of course, there was also no shortage of fun and cute robots that dance and do tricks, which have been around for a while but continue to advance and evolve.