All posts by PLUGHITZ Live

Steve Winter discusses CES and the future of trade shows @ CES 2021



Brotman-Winter-Fried ConsultingEvery year during CES, we expose a little bit of inside baseball about how our show or the industry works. This year, we got the opportunity to speak with Steve Winter, president and founder of Brotman-Winter-Fried Consulting. Steve has been a long-time friend of the Tech Podcasts Network team, and we feature several of his clients annually. This year, Steve brought us 5 companies: Cutii, Domalys, Publidata, GoSun, and Clean Air Zone.

But, as we have worked together for years, the conversation naturally went to the future of trade shows. With CES going virtual, we experienced new problems. Depending on the length of the lockdowns, there is a possibility of a lot more like this. Different events are planning to address them in different ways. Some are looking to follow CES’s lead. Others are looking for virtual equivalents of physical shows. Both have their ups and downs, and only time will tell which works best. Fortunately for us, the way CES decided to handle virtualization worked well. However, exhibitors might have preferred a closer to traditional representation.

One thing we noticed was that there was a lot less news during CES 2021. Steve pointed out that, under a normal CES there are around 4200 exhibitors. This year, the number was just under 2000. With fewer exhibitors, you can expect less news. But, we saw more than a 50% decrease. This suggested to Todd that those who were participating were not taking it as seriously as in years past. Steve points out that, with so many unknowns, companies spent extra time preparing their presentations. Todd and Steve present an inside view of the future of conferences, with decades of experience between them.

To learn more about Steve’s work or to engage his PR services, head over to the Brotman-Winter-Fried Consulting website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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iStaging is bringing the conference feel into the virtual @ CES 2021



iStaging virtual conference platformVirtual reality, and its flat-screen equivalent, have seen an increase in popularity in recent years. One of the places that we have seen this technology take a strong position has been in real estate. The ability to virtually explore a new house, apartment, or condo ahead of a visit can help prevent spending time seeing a place that doesn’t fit your needs. iStaging started in that space, but has recognized a new need and is applying its technology to this new market.

The new market in need of virtual space technology is trade shows, like CES itself. Some shows have taken a simplistic approach, where it’s more like browsing a standard website. Some shows, though, have looked to keep the feeling of an in-person event while still being virtual. That is where iStaging’s new offering is really standing out. The app creates virtual meeting venues and experiences by putting control in the hands of the owner.

The system is designed to give full control to the conference owners. There are no hard and fast pre-existing layouts that you are forced to conform to, making it different from in-person events. You can create DaVinci-era open-air amphitheaters for presentations. You can create custom presentation spaces for each exhibitor. You can even create a virtual meet-and-greet area, where people can walk around and meet other attendees. In fact, you could even create a “chill zone” featuring music, artwork, and more.

Obviously, nothing is going to replicate the feeling and energy of a traditional conference in every way. However, with technology like iStaging’s virtual expo venues, we can get as close as possible. If you are planning a virtual event and are looking for a VR-style experience, you can learn more about features, processes, and pricing by heading to the iStaging website.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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RoboSense solid-state LiDAR drives next-gen autonomous cars @ CES 2021



RoboSense solid-state LiDARCassie Gong, Overseas PR Manager for RoboSense, was at CES 2021 to share the company’s latest developments in LiDAR technology.

Founded in 2014, RoboSense (Suteng Innovation Technology Co., Ltd.) is the leading provider of Smart LiDAR Sensor Systems. The systems incorporate LiDAR sensors, AI algorithms, and IC chipsets that transform conventional 3D LiDAR sensors into full data analysis and comprehension systems. The company’s mission is to develop outstanding hardware and artificial intelligence capabilities to provide smart solutions that enable robots (including vehicles) to have superior perception capabilities.

The RoboSense product line includes various Smart LiDAR perception system solutions, including the MEMS and Mechanical types LiDAR HWs, fusion HW unit, and AI-based fusion systems. At CES, the company announced the SOP version of their automotive grade high-performance solid-state LiDAR, which is also the world’s first mass-production ready solid-state automotive LiDAR. The solid-state system, says Gong, serves the critical automotive industry need to achieve large-scale commercialization of autonomous vehicles with a new generation of high precision 3D environmental sensing.

The high resolution, high reliability, and low cost of the system make it attractive to the automotive industry, as does the fact that MEMS technology has been long used by companies like Texas Instruments for a long time, making it a mature technology in terms of therefore it is very mature in terms of production, cost, and performance

RoboSense technology has earned the AutoSens Award, Audi Innovation Lab Champion, and the CES Innovation Award twice. To date, RoboSense LiDAR systems have been widely applied to autonomous driving passenger cars, RoboTaxi, RoboTruck, RoboBus, automated logistics vehicles, and intelligent road by domestic and international autonomous driving technology companies, OEMs, and Tier1 suppliers.

The company expects to be able to get the cost of their solid-state LiDAR system to $700-$800 per unit, with the goal of getting it in every autonomous vehicle in the near future, to provide a safe and reliable drive. To learn more about the technology, head to the RoboSense website.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Quantum Operation is removing needles from blood glucose @ CES 2021



Quantum Operation blood glucose monitorFor those living with diabetes, one of the most difficult aspects of maintaining your health is the constant use of needles. There are needles for insulin injection and needles for blood glucose level readings. Many people have a problem with the idea of needles, with a strong concentration in children. But, with diabetes, there is no way around it – they are a part of your daily life. But, a new wearable device from Quantum Operation Inc. is looking to ease that stress, especially for children.

Wearable technology has become a normal part of our lives, and many have a strong focus on health and wellness. However, this new wearable device adds to those features by being able to calculate your blood glucose level without the requirement of a needle or actual blood. This is a literal game-changer for those with diabetes. No longer do you need to stick your finger several times per day in order to get your level.

But, it is important to note that this is not a single-minded product. It is, in fact, a full fitness tracker. It offers temperature, step counting, heart rate, blood pressure, and pulse oximetry. Several of these are features available on many mainstream devices, while others are highly unusual. The idea that a watch can regularly track your blood oxygen levels is fantastic. This is a metric that is important in the COVID-19 era, and usually requires a special device that you stick your finger in. Being able to track it more regularly could mean you can spot a problem earlier.

The product is currently in a prototype phase with very positive results in early tests. The system still requires clinical trials in multiple countries, including the company’s home country of Japan, before it could be made publicly available. However, you can still get more information and follow the device’s development process by heading to the Quantum Operation Inc. website.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Stern Pinball launches new titles for iconic pinball fun @ CES 2021



Stern Pinball Led ZeppelinZach Sharpe, Director of Marketing at Stern Pinball, joined us at CES 2021 to tell us about some of their newest machines and what makes them stand out in the arcade market. Stern Pinball, Inc. (“SPI”) is the oldest and largest designer and manufacturer of arcade-quality pinball games on the planet, churning out eye-catching pinball machines for more than 30 years.

Pinball is the universal language of fun, says Sharpe, bridging generations and cultures across decades. For 2021, Stern Pinball released some iconic titles including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Stranger Things, Avengers, and their amazing Led Zeppelin, complete with Immigrant Song and 9 other songs, which took years to acquire the rights to use in the game.

SPI offers a full line of commercial and consumer pinball games, merchandise, parts, and accessories that are sold to pinball operators, enthusiasts, and fans around the globe. Each of their cornerstone titles is available in Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition models. Pro is the coin-operated machines players will typically find in bars and arcades. Premium and Limited Edition models are found more commonly in private collections and typically feature a few more moving parts, such as the Electric Magic Device found in the Led-Zeppelin machine. The device rises from the floor of the machine and features a spinner and ball capture that literally changes the whole trajectory of a game.

The Premium and LE models also incorporate an Expression Lighting System with nearly 100 intelligent LEDs that simulate a graphic equalizer choreographed to the music. With their new Spike 2 technology, the machines are also easier to maintain and repair, with less complexity, fewer components to break and easy serviceability.

Visit the company’s website to see the full collection of SPI machines, as well as to access their Pinball Locator so you can find Stern Pinball machines out in the wild to play.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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ResiTire has a new airless replacement for traditional tires @ CES 2021



ResiTire airless tiresOne of our favorite contingencies at CES is always the group from Case Western Reserve University. Over the years we have seen the school present innovative new products and services from students, faculty, and alumni. We’ve had the opportunity to speak with representatives from several of the new companies, and in this installment, we got to speak about ResiTire.

ResiTire is offering a new take on an everyday necessity idem – tires. Rather than being a standard rubber tire filled with gas, the new approach is actually made of interlocking metal rings. The metal, called Nitinol, is actually designed by NASA, and the design is licensed from NASA, which calls it Superelastic Tire technology. While the technology was originally created for use on other surfaces, ResiTire has adapted it for terrestrial use.

The tire that we see during the conversation is actually only part of the equation. This strangely shaped device has an elastic style design to it because of the interlocking rings. Because of this, it allows the tire to operate similarly to a traditional rubber tire, with the same grip capability. However, because there is no gas or destructible surface, this technology makes it possible to produce a tire that is able to eliminate leaks, slashes, tears, and more.

To be clear, this is not a “run-flat” tire. One of the biggest problems with the current “run-flat” concept – nearly no one actually replaces one with another one. This means that you only get the benefit for the first few months of owning the car, and never again. The company is currently focusing on the tire market but intends to use the elastic properties of the metal to produce other items in the future.

To learn more about ResiTire and how it can be used, head over to the company’s website.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Zhiyun Tech makes professional quality gimbals affordable @ CES 2021



Zhiyun Tech camera gimbalsPhotography and videography have become more popular pastimes over the past year. But, most of the new products that have come out in support of the content creator community have been focused on the static shot, intended to help improve the experience of streamers. But, Zhiyun Tech has a collection of camera gimbals for content creators ranging from home users to professional production rigs.

When filming motion, the only way to get great, smooth video is with a gimbal. These devices attach to your camera and give you more control over the picture. For all cameras, they offer a gyroscopic stabilization system that helps to keep the lens of the camera pointed in the same direction, despite the motion of the camera itself. So, if your arm moves around or shakes a bit, the stabilization system will help to keep the picture as steady as possible. Large motions, like tripping, will not maintain a steady shot but will produce a smooth downward motion.

For larger cameras, an added bonus is additional points of contact. You can use a larger rig with two hands, separated from one another for added stability and less strain on your arm muscles. With really big rigs, you can lean them into your chest, providing a third point of contact. The style of gimbal you need will depend on the type of camera work, the size of the camera, and the length of the shot.

In addition to the gimbals, the company also offers a video transmission technology for live broadcast, streaming, and camera previewing. Simply plug it into the video out on your camera and you can get up to 100 meters of transmission with only 60 milliseconds of latency.

To learn more about the products available, you can check out the Zhiyun Tech website.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Lify Wellness puts healthy tea options at your fingertips @ CES 2021



Lify Wellness medicinal tea systemOne of the big trends for CES 2021 has been home health and wellness products. These products go above and beyond the monitoring technology we’ve seen for a few years, and extend into the prevention space. One of the more interesting products we saw is the Lify Wellness smart tea system.

Unlike some of the products we saw, Lify Wellness is designed to be an integral yet casual part of your day. The things we drink during our day can be a general afterthought or a byproduct of a desire for energy, or even simply a habit. But, being thoughtful about what we drink can make a big impact on our general wellness. But, most of us know little to nothing about what teas can do what, and how best to make them.

The Lify Wellness system combines knowledge and technology to help maintain your health. First is the brewer, which takes only about 40 seconds to make a small carafe of tea, which holds around 2 standard cups. You simply place one of the discs into the machine, and it does all of the work. It knows the right temperature and time, producing the perfect cup every time. And the discs are designed differently from the popular coffee pods, because they are intended to be fully biodegradable, making them environmentally friendly as well.

Of course, even more important than the technology is the tea itself. The blends are all specifically planned and balanced by professional medicinal practitioners, herbal scientists, and tea masters. This means that the teas will be more likely to produce a proper response in the body. You can even get recommendations about which tea to drink, based on your body conditions, the current weather, and even your mood.

To learn more about the Lify Wellness system or to purchase one for yourself, you can head over to the company’s website.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Fixbid wants to save you from bad home renovations @ CES 2021



Fixbid contractor hiring toolFinding a quality and trustworthy contractor can be an absolute nightmare. Almost everyone who has done home remodeling work has a story about someone involved in the project who was or caused a problem. When my family built an add-on to the house, we ended up with a large collection of issues (we still have one door we can’t use nearly 30 years later). But, the mobile app Fixbid wants those issues to be a thing of the past.

There have been contractor rating platforms before, but they never quite work. The problem has always been that the scores come exclusively from customers. And who takes the time to review someone? Unhappy customers or people being incentivized. Joe Lycett showed just how easy it is to become the top water purification system on Trust Pilot without ever having a product. The process is far too easy to game, making the scores fairly useless.

Fixbid set out to fix this problem by using actual certification metrics. Rather than just hoping that customer reviews are accurate (which they are not), Fixbid uses the American Rating Company as its basis. All contractors that are listed on the system are all Diamond Certified Contractors, giving a higher level of confidence in hiring them.

Of course, the goal of the platform is to help you pair up with a contractor that offers the service you need, whether it be electrical, plumbing, solar, and more. You can find, communicate, and even pay for the services all through Fixbid.

The service is currently available in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, with plans to expand that service area in the future. To learn more about the service or explore the available contractors, head to the Fixbid website. From there, you can register and download the app.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Tanoshi computers are a perfect school companion for kids @ CES 2021



Tanoshi kids' computersHaving a computer for children went from a nice to have in 2019 to a near necessity in 2020, and that requirement seems to not be slowing down. Of course, not all computers are great for kids. Either they’re too fragile, too easy to use for unapproved reasons, getting into unsafe places, and more. Over the years, kids’ computers have been a thing, but they always focus on very young kids. But, the Tanoshi computers have a wider range of ages.

The Tanoshi computers take some inspiration from the Surface product line, being able to use as both a full laptop or as a tablet. In laptop mode, you get a full hardware keyboard complete with a touchpad and emoji key. For tablet mode, the screen detaches from the keyboard and continues to function as a complete computer. When doing schoolwork, this gives the student the ability to choose where and how to work. After school, they get the ability to take it with them and explore.

The computers feature Android, as opposed to Windows or ChromeOS. With Android, they get access to the Google Play Store, but in a limited way. The computer features a robust parental control system, so parents can approve and deny apps, monitor screen and app use time, set approved usage hours (like turning off at bedtime), and more.

Of course, as a kids’ computer, there are some things that will make the experience better. For example, the durability is impressive. In fact, during the conversation, you can see the screen literally thrown across the room and continue to work. It is also available in a choice of bright colors, which will be appealing to kids.

The Tanoshi 2-in-1 is available for $199, and the new Tanoshi Scholar is available for $299 (with a special at $249 as of this writing). To learn more or purchase one for your family, head to the Tanoshi website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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