Toss your remote in three easy steps with PUCK!

22/01/2018

Toss your remote in three easy steps with PUCK!

Hate remotes? Get PUCK and toss out outdated technology forever in just three easy steps!

Step 1)
Attach PUCK on or near a device that uses an Infrared remote

Step 2)
Download and pair with the free PUCK Remote App for iOS and Android

Step 3)
Toss your remotes!
https://getpuck.com/

Live-action shot from SmashToast’s PUCK booth at CES 2018!

10/01/2018

Live-action shot from SmashToast’s PUCK booth at CES 2018!

The activity around the CES2018 SmashToast and PUCK booth is electric! Here’s a live-action shot of our dedicated team in action – fielding orders, inquiries, and excitement around one of most affordable smart home gadgets on the market. We will continue to bring live shots from CES2018 to our clients and supporters from around the world the rest of the week!

The SmashToast team has arrived: CES 2018 – Las Vegas, Nevada!

9/01/2018

The SmashToast team has arrived: CES 2018 – Las Vegas, Nevada!

The team at SmashToast enjoyed incredible start CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada! New vendors, investors, and curious crowds lined up at our booth to discover one of the most affordable, innovative, and effective smart home innovations on the market – PUCK .

Consumers and technology-aficionados are providing incredible feedback on PUCK’s usability and cost-effectiveness; and they are enthralled by the fact that we manufacture in the U.S.A.!

We will continue to keep you updated with photos and news from the excitement of CES 2018 in Las Vegas!

 

CES 2018 – What to expect

2/01/2018

CES 2018 – What to expect

It’s January, which means that Las Vegas, or the bit that pretends not to be Las Vegas for tax reasons, will play host to CES. The Consumer Electronics Show is the event that kicks off the technology world’s annual calendar, and 2018 will see thousands of companies descend upon Nevada to show off their wares. Many will claim to have the solution to whatever problem you may have, but we’ll be on the ground to peer through their flashy promises.

If last year’s CES had a theme, then it was an attempt to broaden its horizons beyond smartphones, tablets and TVs. Technology companies have mined every last drop of good ideas from the traditional gadget world, which is why many chose to try something new. Our Best of CES winners from last year included a smart bra-style breast pump, a self-balancing motorcycle and smart tech that will help farmers. CES will set the tone for the next year in technology, so while we make our way there, here’s a quick run-through of all the things we’re likely to find in the desert.

Personal Computing

There won’t be millions of laptops launched at CES, but you can expect plenty of talk about the devices that are coming. The theme is likely to be low-power, super-efficient devices that can truly be described as having an “all-day battery” without lots of caveats. In December, HP and ASUSlaunched Snapdragon-powered Windows 10S laptops that can even be upgraded to the full-fat version of Windows. These devices will also come packing always-connected LTE modems, as the worlds of smartphones and laptops start becoming one. Intel, which is feeling the pinch from ARM chip makers like Qualcomm, will probably have something of its own to show off, even if it is just a concept device.

Mobile

If you’re looking for the next blockbuster phone you want to buy, then CES probably isn’t the show for you, since we’ve got Mobile World Congress coming up shortly afterward. For a brief second, there was a rumor that Samsung would shock everyone by announcing the Galaxy S9 at the show, but that was rapidly quashed. But what you can expect to see are plenty of budget handsets that will offer up features from last year’s flagships at cheaper prices. Huawei’s sub-brand Honor will be doing something at the show, and it’s plausible that ZTE will do the same. Oh, and we’ll keep our eyes peeled on Sony’s corner because it’s always turned up to CES with something nice in its back pocket.

Wearables

After a disastrous 2017, it’s looking to be a quieter year for wearables since the industry has failed to convince mainstream users to buy smartphones for their wrists. It’s possible that we’ll see Android Wear devices from more fashion brands, especially since the Fossil Group produces timepieces for so many top-tier houses. If you’re looking for big innovations in the smartwatch world, then you should probably gear yourself up for some disappointment.

Instead, it’s entirely possible that we’ll see wearable companies branch out further into the broader health and fitness world. Withings / Nokia Health already has a whole ecosystem products, from a sleep sensor, weighing scale and wireless thermostat to a smart hairbrush. Don’t be surprised if other companies try and move in a similar direction in 2018, or even pivot toward the serious healthcare market.

Since the consumer-level watch world has slowed, many companies — including Apple and Fitbit — are looking to more serious projects. Both companies are running studies to examine if fitness trackers can detect heart conditions, and we’ve already seen others building blood glucose monitoring devices. We’re on the lookout this year for plenty more of these, which will likely wind up being bought via your HMO.

TV and Home Entertainment

US-IT-LIFESTYLE-CES

No matter how far CES broadens its horizons, it’ll always have a large space reserved in its heart for the TVs of the future. This is, after all, the show where the latest and greatest displays make their debuts in the hope of winning over a prime position in our living rooms. And 2018 looks to be the hottest contest for the public’s affections since Edward and Jacob went toe-to-toe in Twilight. (As an aside, shortly after Twilight was published, the big blows between HD-DVD and Blu-ray raged at CES 2006, a fight that many are embarrassed to have been invested in).

In the sparkly vampire corner is team OLED, backed by LG and Sony, which both offer 4K TVs that harness Dolby’s Dolby Vision HDR standard. Samsung is the hairless werewolf, packing QLED TVs that offer HDR10+, a rival standard designed to help Samsung avoid paying Dolby royalty cash for its research.

Of course, if your wallet won’t stretch to a ticket that reaches the rarefied air of a premium set, don’t be too disheartened. Lower-end manufacturers, like Vizio, TCL and Hisense, are now knocking out respectable, realistically-priced sets that you aren’t ashamed to have in your home. Not to mention that, in the last few months, we’ve seen TVs from Philips and RCA launch with built-in Roku streaming. So expect to see plenty more displays that offer decent quality and excellent streaming for very little cash.

But for those who just want to ogle the flashiest TVs out there, CES will probably have something to whet your appetite, too. At 2017’s show, LG debuted a TV that was just 2.6mm thick, making it so thin it had to be wall mounted, because it couldn’t stand up on its own. LG also showed off a display that had speakers built into the screen, reducing the need for an additional soundbar, a feature that Sony has also embraced.

Cars

Traditionally, cars aren’t considered consumer electronics, but as they get smarter and get electric motors, their justification for being at CES increases. Ford CEO Jim Hackett is the show’s keynote speaker this year, and you can expect that a lot of mobility companies will be showing off their wares. And there’s plenty to be excited about, with a whole raft of tech startups looking to supercharge the staid world of automotive engineering. We’re expecting to see companies building new driver-safety AI systems, cheaper LIDAR sensors and smart-charging devices. All of which will contribute to the infrastructure necessary to make electric, self-driving vehicles cheaper, faster and better.

Similarly, it won’t just be electric skateboards that fill in the void around personal electric transportation at the show. We’ll be looking out for electric scooters, self-balancing hoverboards and other gear to help you get around cities faster. We already know that OjO is teaming up with Ford to produce a range of electric scooters, and would be certain that we’ll find plenty more battery-powered transports at the show proper. Not to mention all of the concept vehicles that we can expect to see, complete with futuristic blue LEDs that make sure you know that it’s… you know, futuristic.

Gaming

CES has played host to a few big gaming launches over the years, like the Xbox and Oculus Rift, but it’s hardly a gaming show these days. That said, we can expect to see plenty of gaming companies appearing, even if they will keep the bulk of their powder dry for E3 later on in the year. Beloved brand Razer normally makes a big splash at the show, but that may not be the case this year — after all, it only recently released its first smartphone.It’s likely that all attention will be on its foray into the mobile space and encouraging users to treat it as a gaming device in its own right. That said, we may see some accessories for the Razer Phone, since the company is all about building ecosystems around its products. In addition, it’s plausible that we’ll see another of the Razer’s “project” devices, which aim to push the boundaries of what gaming can do. In recent years, we’ve seen triple-screened laptops and modular PC components make their bow in Las Vegas.

Of course, it’s likely that we’ll see plenty of flops and pixels being doled out from the back of NVIDIA’s truck, but that’s not where the gaming world is focused right now. Since so much of the hard work — and money — is sloshing around the eSports world, we’re expecting that to be a big focus of the show. In the last year, we’ve seen a host of big names launch eSports projects, from Nickelodeon and the NBA to… Fernando Alonso.

VR may not have set the world on fire just yet, but it’s likely that we’ll see something from the AR and VR space at the show. Microsoft, which is pushing its Mixed Reality Platform, already has partners in HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Acer, ASUS and Dell, and more could be on the way. We’ll also wait with baited breath for developments from both HTC or Oculus, both of which are leading the charge in the space.

Smart Home

We already have smart doorbells and smart thermostats, but what about making other parts of our homes as smart as that? It’s likely that CES will demonstrate plenty of cheaper and better-looking spins on existing ideas, but perhaps the biggest change will be on the inside. After all, Google and Amazon have spent the last few years trying to make Alexa and Assistant work with as many devices as possible. It’s probable that we’ll see a whole new raft of gizmos that integrate with your favorite voice interface. LG jumped ahead of the CES line by unveiling its ThinQ speaker with Google Assistant integration, and we’re expecting plenty more where that came from.

Amazon has already shown off its own home-access platform for deliveries, so why not widen that to third-party hardware? And since it’s a neck-and-neck race between these two companies, expect Google to follow suit, letting you open your front door simply by speaking. Not to mention all of the see-through fridges, connected crockpots and smart bathroom facilities that are likely to be on show. We’re also expecting, like at IFA last year, to see a big push in the smart appliance space, such as the third-generation LG Styler and even more comprehensive smart control systems.

Everything Else

CES is a grab bag of technology that is designed, by and large, to make our future better, so there’s always room for a surprise. Honda has already revealed that it will be bringing a quartet of robots to the show — including a smart wheelchair to help folks get around and an autonomous delivery robot. Last year saw a surge in companies offering next-generation WiFi gear, including ASUSNorton and Linksys. We’d expect to see plenty more to come, with a focus on keeping your Internet of Things devices secure, and ensuring your kids can’t Google anything too erotic when you’re not looking.

Away from the hardware front, we’re expecting to see plenty of debate about how much political and social power technology companies currently hold. Many are anxious about what Silicon Valley can do, and has done, over the last few years, with blind optimism giving way to mistrust. Consequently, CES is playing host to several hand-wringing seminars where technologists debate the best way to move forward.

Some of this is playing out in the startups that are exhibiting at the show, a handful of which are looking to tackle online bullying and digital extremism. There will also be some talk about how technology companies can do better, although much of this talk will be for naught if the heavy hitters — Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Twitter, amongst others — aren’t at the table.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

SmashToast: A Culture of Customer Service

29/12/2017

SmashToast: A Culture of Customer Service

We love to hear from our customers about the ease and efficiency of PUCK and our culture of high quality customer service at SmashToast.  Here’s an excellent review on Amazon we just received from a kind client:

“What a clever device! No need to look for remotes or point them at the TV. The Puck communicates regardless of where I am in the room. By purchasing from the creator, SmashToast, I’ve had excellent customer service. Would recommend to anyone with a smart phone.”

‘Lt. Dan’ gives smart homes to wounded vets

28/12/2017

‘Lt. Dan’ gives smart homes to wounded vets

‘Lt. Dan’ gives smart homes to wounded vets

Most moviegoers know the award-winning actor Gary Sinise for his memorable roles as Lt. Dan Taylor in the 1994 classic Forrest Gump and as NASA astronaut Ken Mattingly in Apollo 13. But most fans might not know that this actor is quietly building a legacy by gifting new homes embedded with smart home technology to war veterans.

The Gary Sinise Foundation was founded in 2011, and the nonprofit’s mission is to “serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. We do this by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.”

In 2012, the foundation launched its cornerstone program, R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment), which builds specially adapted smart homes for severely wounded veterans nationwide. Each one-of-a-kind home is customized to match the capabilities and challenges of each family, as well as to ease the everyday burdens of veterans and their family and caregivers. So far, the foundation has donated more than 60 homes to wounded heroes around the country, all mortgage-free.

While each home is unique, they generally include a security system, lights, and automatic blinds that can be controlled from an iPad, as well as more basic features like ramps and lower countertops, and more complex additions such as a therapy pool or an elevator. Other features include entertainment systems, as well as retractable cooktops, cabinets, and shelving.

In the Memphis, Tennessee. home of Marine Cpl. Christian Brown, for example, an audiovisual and automation system based around an Elan Entertainment and Control System was customized and installed by local home automation designer Electronic Environments. Through the system, Brown can operate the home’s Pulseworx lighting, thermostat, Qmotion window shades, security cameras and video recorder, automated door locks, and a Holovision door station integrated with an Elan intercom. A Panamaxpower management system not only protects the ELAN system from power surges but also allows Electronic Environments to monitor and troubleshoot all the connected equipment remotely. Brown’s home even features a customized woodworking shop so he can pursue his hobbies.

Each one-of-a-kind home is customized to match the capabilities and challenges of each family.

The foundation has deep pockets — its most recent IRS filings show total assets of nearly $30 million — but it’s also smart about seeking out partners. Corporate sponsors include heavy hitters like American Airlines, Sysco, and General Electric, while nonprofit partners include well-known institutions like the Home Depot Foundation, Wounded Warriors Family Support, and the United Service Organizations. The Gary Sinise Foundation saves about $150,000 to $200,000 per home thanks to donations from national sponsors, accordingto Executive Director Judith Otter. And that doesn’t even count the more than 35,000 private donors who have contributed to the cause.

R.I.S.E. isn’t the only program of the Gary Sinise Foundation. Others include Relief and Resiliency Outreach, established to provide complete support to those recovering from trauma, injury, or loss in times of urgent need; Independent Spirit Festivals to bring military communities together; and Arts and Entertainment Outreach, which takes veterans to free performances at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, which Sinise founded along with two friends in 1974. The foundation’s latest enterprise is Soaring Valor, which brings World War II veterans to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Sinise says that he learned what it means to serve from the veterans in his own family. He also directed a play written by Vietnam veterans and solidified his bond with wounded heroes through his Oscar-nominated performance in Forrest Gump, a role which introduced him to wounded heroes around the world. He still makes time to regularly attend the openings of new homes, as well as gatherings and festivals, often at the head of the “Lt. Dan Band,” a wide-ranging rock-and-roll band that has performed more than 400 concerts around the world.

It’s a mission that has earned the actor and philanthropist many accolades and honors. In addition to more traditional recognition like a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sinise earned the Director’s Community Leadership Award in 2016 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on behalf of his foundation, and in 2008, he was given the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor, which is bestowed on citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. He is only the third actor to receive the honor. In 2018, he’ll be the Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

In 2014, Sinise gave a speech to the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Dedication that captures his commitment to his cause.

“We can never do enough for our nation’s freedom providers, our heroes, but we can always show them we appreciate what they have fought and sacrificed for, by doing a little bit more to give something back to them,” he said

The PUCK Remote App – a simple but powerful framework!

22/12/2017

The PUCK Remote App – a simple but powerful framework!

The PUCK Remote App – a simple but powerful framework – free for iOS and Android!

  • The simple remote interface has been designed to access the most used features on a variety of devices.
  • Easily switch between active remotes by swiping left or right
  • Access the number pad by pressing the # symbol in the bottom left of the simple remote interface
  • Easily search for commands not on the simple remote interface. Most used commands auto populate to the top!
  • Our customer service center in Austin, Texas is always ready to help with any setup issues!

 

The Future Of The Smart Home: Smart Homes & IoT: A Century In The Making

21/12/2017

The Future Of The Smart Home: Smart Homes & IoT: A Century In The Making

Predicting Our Future is a podcast about the next revolutions in technology, as seen through the eyes of a serial entrepreneur. Below is an edited transcript excerpt from Episode 10: “Smart Homes & IoT: A Century In The Making” — the first episode in a 7-part series on the future of the smart home.

In this episode of Predicting Our Future, I trace the history of the smart home and try to contextualize where the smart home movement sits in the larger technology category, the Internet of Things.

The Long Awaited Smart Home Revolution

It’s the dead of winter and you’re driving home. In my case, it’s to my house outside of New York City on the eastern end of Long Island. I remember coming home in the dead of winter and huddling with blankets on the couch until the place warmed up. The use case for a thermostat that could be accessible over the Internet was so obvious, I wondered why it took until 2011 for Nest to launch. It would have been prohibitively expensive for me to heat a weekend home throughout the week, and a timer wouldn’t work, as I was never really sure I was going to be at the house on a weekend. The perfect solution: a thermostat that could be remotely accessed from a smartphone over the Internet to turn on the heat as I’m on the highway and still a couple of hours away from getting home.

That’s what Nest does. It’s a thermostat that is connected to the wireless network in your home. There’s a corresponding downloadable app for your Android or iPhone that, when you open it, shows you the temperature of the room. If you have multiple zones in your house, you can see the temperature in each zone. You can even see the temperature outside of your house. Best of all, there’s a friendly interface that allows you to adjust the temperature upwards or downwards. In my case, I typically pull over in traffic on the Long Island Expressway about an hour away from my home to adjust the temperature.

You’d be forgiven if you thought that the Nest was the first instance of a connected device that was part of the smart home. The truth is that people have been talking about and building some variation of a smart home for decades. When I refer to a smart home, I’m referring to a house featuring “intelligent” technology that simplifies and automates everyday activities such as turning on lights, locking the door, lowering shades, and, yes, changing the settings on your thermostat. You can call any device “smart” that is capable of doing something autonomously. A smart thermostat automatically adjusts the heat downward if there isn’t any motion in my house. That’s what makes it autonomous.

Smart devices are almost always also devices that are connected to a network. The first connected locks and light switches introduced to the home more than a decade before Nest weren’t even connected to the Internet. They were connected to a stand-alone device in the house (called a bridge) that you could operate remotely only if you were in the house. The catch: they were connected from the lock or the light switch to the bridge using protocols like Z-Wave and Zigbee. Think of a protocol as a language for one device to speak to another. WiFi is also a protocol, but it couldn’t be found in these early devices. In 2004, you could operate connected locks and connected lights from a mobile device, but not an iPhone, because the iPhone wasn’t launched until 2007. It’s not hard to see why your average consumer had difficulty getting excited about this type of configuration. First, you needed a dedicated remote control to make these devices work. Second, they only worked when you were inside of your house.

Fast forward to 2011 and Nest and a time when most people you knew had a smart phone. While Nest wasn’t the first smart thermostat, they captured the tech community’s imagination with a clever interface and by putting a WiFi chip inside their thermostat that connected it to the Internet. I could finally heat up my house from the road. Big companies and startups alike began to focus on what other devices, if connected to the Internet, could capture the public’s attention and gain mass adoption.

The Smart Home and the Internet of Things

The smart home space fascinates me — first, because it promises to transform the way we live. Second, because it has been at the cusp of taking off for decades. And lastly, because it represents big business for technology companies and tech startup entrepreneurs.

Think about smart homes as places where people live that contain devices connected to the Internet. Companies write software to program these devices all with a design to make your life easier. Let’s imagine for a moment all of the places you might want connected devices outside of the home. A car could have a device that monitors where it goes and the wear and tear on the wheels. This would all be reported back to the cloud, sharing with the driver at some later date that’s it’s time to realign or change the tires. Machinery within a factory might send out a report of their performance and then be adjusted to increase the output of whatever the factory is making. The Fitbit bracelet on your wrist captures your steps and can suggest what you need to do to improve your health. All of these examples are smart devices. And all of them, including devices that make up the smart home category, are part of the bigger category the Internet of Things, or IoT.

Professor John Barrett is the Head of Academic Studies at the Nimbus Centre at Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland. I was drawn to him after watching his TEDx talk on the future of IoT. Not surprisingly, while connected devices have become very visible recently, work on these devices (or, as John refers to them, “sensors”) has been going on for a long time.

John Barrett:

“The Internet of things, in a way, is not a recent concept, in that there has been research on wireless sensor networks for decades, and the Internet of Things is fundamentally a wireless sensor network that is now connected to the Internet. The activity of the Nimbus Centre has grown out of research that we were doing for quite some time in the whole area of wireless sensor networks for various forms of monitoring. But these usually connected to a dedicated non-public wireless network, whereas the Internet of Things connects the sensors effectively to the public Internet . . . . [T]he research community is increasingly referring to it as ‘cyber-physical systems.’”

One of the interesting insights from my conversation with John was his perspective in not focusing on the individual functionality of a device, but on the societal benefit of connecting certain devices to the Internet.

John Barrett:

“Approaching it from a national or government point of view, you have major problems like global warming, national security, and energy management. Conceivably, the Internet of Things can help, if not to stop them, to at least improve things. . . . If you have some ability to monitor groundwater levels, river flows, rainfalls, you have some ability to perhaps be able to predict in advance when and where flooding is going to occur. If you can manage energy better and increase energy efficiency, you can reduce energy consumption and therefore the impact on the environment, and perhaps hold off global warming or at least slow it down. With the growth in international terrorism, some of it caused by the Internet itself, the ability to be able to better monitor what’s going on is a major market.”

The IoT space is already huge. Total global spending on IoT devices and appliances across all environments (work and home) was an estimated $737 billion in 2016 and is projected to reach up to $1.4 trillion by 2021. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, IoT is projected to have an economic impact of somewhere between $4 to $11 trillion on the global economy by 2025, when factoring in its impact in sectors like manufacturing, health, retail, and the smart home. I wanted to know: how did John think of the smart home in the broader context of the entire IoT space?

John Barrett:

“I guess the current perception of the smart home is one of gadgets, one of what would be seen as home automation, more and more home automation, and things like the smart speakers . . . smart appliances, smart security, smart energy management, all sorts of individual gadgets that can allow you to do one thing or another. I don’t think that is the long-term evolution. . . . [T]here are two separate questions. What will the smart home be? What would I like the smart home to be? It’s very difficult to predict these days even five years into the future, never mind 10 or 20, but I could say where I would like it to go. It’s not just a home of gadgets. It’s a home that’s embedded in a wider smart community. That I think is a wider concept, which needs to be taken into account for the long-term evolution of smart home technology.”

John gave me one intriguing example of what a smart home community could be capable of, if all the homes were connected to a central network and communicating with one another.

John Barrett:

“Perhaps water levels are rising in one part of the community. The smart home detects it. There are water levels beginning to rise. You spread an alarm to other areas of the community. As it propagates through different houses, it can map out the direction of propagation, where it’s rising fastest, predict down the line, ‘It’s unlikely that this street or this street will need to evacuate. It’s headed in your direction. Be prepared.’ The homes begin to form a network that looks after the people.”

Here’s another example of how, in John’s view, the smart home is more effective if it is integrated with connected devices not in the home.

John Barrett:

“[T]here is no reason, if I’m wearing a health monitor, why my car can’t communicate with the health monitor and pass the data upwards to some data analytics service that is monitoring how my heart is behaving. I move from my car to my home, I’d want the home to take over that role. I move from my home to somewhere else, I would like for that data from me to still be uploaded seamlessly so that, in a way, we’re not looking at a smart home. We’re looking at a smart life, because the home is the people who live in it. The smartness is something we should be able to carry with us. It’s not just a matter of there is just this single smart home that does something, and that’s where we are at the moment.”

The History of the Smart Home

I was curious where this idea of a smart home originated. Intelligent home devices have long included some type of computational power to reduce manual work. The idea of reducing work using machines has been part of the American consciousness for more than a hundred years, well before the technology existed to implement any of the devices coming online today. Think of the conventional washing machine, which, with the press of a button, automatically soaks, cleans, and wrings out water from a load of clothing.

This idea of a home that could minimize work for its inhabitants was sold en masse to American homemakers in the beginning of the 20th century. It came in the form of the world’s first vacuum cleaner in 1901, followed by the electric washing machine in 1904. In the following decades, the clothes dryer, clothes iron, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and other appliances would be introduced. The time saved by these automated appliances can’t be understated when compared to doing these tasks manually, although it’s hard for us today to imagine living without such modern creature comforts.

This idea of a home that could minimize work for its inhabitants was sold en masse to American homemakers in the beginning of the 20th century. It came in the form of the world’s first vacuum cleaner in 1901, followed by the electric washing machine in 1904. In the following decades, the clothes dryer, clothes iron, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and other appliances would be introduced. The time saved by these automated appliances can’t be understated when compared to doing these tasks manually, although it’s hard for us today to imagine living without such modern creature comforts.

The first instance I could find of a science fiction vision of the smart home was E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops,” published in 1909. Forster portrays humanity as an underground-dwelling race that depends on a machine to fulfill all their bodily and spiritual needs. That story predicted such advances as instant messaging and video conferencing. In 1948, the book, 1984, by George Orwell depicted every home with a connected telescreen and a voice-controlled device called a “speakwrite,” which today we would think of as a voice assistant.

Interestingly, there are other industries that are being disrupted now that have also been part of the collective consciousness for over 100 years. The first crude version of an electric car was invented by Robert Anderson around 1832. This next fact shocked me. By 1900, almost a third of all cars on the road were electric. It was surprised because it’s hard to imagine that we went from having electric cars to virtually abandoning them for over a century while we polluted the world with gas guzzling vehicles, only to begin the return to them over the past decade. The problem with the electric cars that were used in the early 1900’s was their speed and distance.  They were extremely slow at 20 mph and could travel a very short distance of 30-40 miles before the batteries needed to be recharged. The earliest versions of the electric vehicle were doomed by the introduction of Henry Ford’s affordable Model T in 1908 and the relatively cheap cost of gasoline due to the unearthing of Texas crude oil. By 1935, the electric car was disappearing. It wouldn’t reemerge again until 1997 when Toyota released the Prius, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle. It wasn’t until 2008 that Tesla began producing luxury electric vehicles that could travel up to 245 miles on a single charge.

The history of the smart home has had similar false starts. We think of computers in the home today as useful for surfing the web or writing documents and building spreadsheets. But in 1966, the first home computer, the ECHO IV, was built by a Westinghouse engineer on his own time with permission from his employer. The ECHO IV was designed to accomplish, among other things, tasks like computing shopping lists, controlling the temperature of your home, or turning your appliances on or off. The ECHO IV never commercially shipped. As the decades passed, the promise of technology in the home seemed to arrive in slow motion, even while there was a general awareness that this was an area with immense potential. In 1984, the National Association of Homebuilders coined the term “smart home” as a niche group that advocated for integrating technological solutions into the homebuilding process.

Want access to the full podcast episode? Experience Smart Homes & IoT: A Century In The Making” in its entirety.

PUCK – The Power of Discrete Automation!

20/12/2017

PUCK – The Power of Discrete Automation!

PUCK – The Power of Discrete Automation!

A smart home does not have to be retrofitted with imposing technology. We engineered PUCK to discretely merge with your existing appliances without disrupting your style.

Give the gift of the smart home with the most affordable, discrete, and easy-to-use technology on the market! www.getpuck.com

 

The Affordable Digital Home is Now a Reality!

19/12/2017

The Affordable Digital Home is Now a Reality!

The Affordable Digital Home is Now a Reality!

The digital home of the future is now a reality – and, at SmashToast, we engineered PUCK to make the advanced technology available to as many incomes, ages, and abilities as possible.

Why? Because we believe the future is one where the benefits of digital technology – the time, energy, and efficiency savings – are spread to everyone!  www.getpuck.com

 

 

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