Technology

Technology–personal and otherwise–that’s changing our future.

  • Essence Group: Seamlessly “Smart” February 24, 2017

    CES attendees outside CES exhibit area

     

    Essence Group is all about answering one main question:

    How could smart-home technology work best for you?

    Rafi Zauer is the Head of Marketing at Essence Group, an Israel-based connected-living technology company.  After CES® 2017, we discussed the ways Essence Group is making the Internet of Things accessible–and helpful–in everyday life.


    Currently, they’re marketing two smart-home systems.   Essence Group’s “WeR@Home” can give you the ability to remotely control your home’s lights, unlock and lock doors and monitor the temperature.  It also shows what’s happening at your home, in real time, when you’re away.

    Meanwhile, the “Care@Home” system is designed to allow senior citizens to continue living independently, and safely, in their homes.  Using sensors, “Care@Home” monitors a senior’s well-being, issues preventive alerts following a change in health, and calls for help in emergency situations.

    Rafi explained how Essence Group’s connected-home technology works, talked about their “Voice Panic Detector”, which won the IoT Breakthrough Award during CES® 2017, and offered a preview of the areas Essence Group may be pioneering in the future.

    On this edition of Over Coffee®, you’ll hear:
    • How Rafi’s background led him to work with the Internet of Things and connected homes;
    • How Essence Group is expanding their Internet of Things system to enable customers to manage their homes remotely;
    • Some of the voice-enabled capabilities the WeR@Home system allows users;
    • How WeR@Home enables you to give short-term access to a visitor while you’re absent, while still keeping your home secure;
    • How Rafi has seen customers’ attitudes change towards the Internet of Things, during his time at Essence;
    • The journey Essence has taken to create both the WeR@Home and Care@Home systems;
    • How WeR@Home helps to protect senior citizens as they continue to live independently in their homes;
    • How Essence’s award-winning “Voice Panic Detector” feature works, in the Care@Home technology.
    • What Essence is doing to keep these technologies secure against hackers;
    • Some of the main challenges from the early days of Care@Home and WeR@Home;
    • How the Care@Home eldercare system reduces “false emergencies” to protect a senior’s privacy;
    • How Care@Home gathers preregistered “rules” to avoid reporting false emergencies.
    • Rafi’s vision for future connected-home technology.
    • The experience that showed Rafi and the Essence team the value of Care@Home in a user’s life.

     

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  • “Putting a Ring” On Innovation February 17, 2017
    The Muse Ring team: Mary Siragusa, Mike Warren, Ceasar Harbar, Oddie Leopando and Francesca Siragusa

    The Muse Ring team: (l-r): Mary Siragusa, Mike Warren, Ceasar Harbar, Oddie Leopando and Francesca Siragusa.
    (Photograph courtesy of Muse Ring, and used with permission.)

    Muse Ring is set to make wearable technology smaller, more compact–and strikingly beautiful.


    As a “smart” ring, it can act as an activity tracker, health monitor and emergency alert.   It’s designed by a master jeweler!

    Muse Ring at CES 2017: blue, gray and green rings

    At CES 2017 in Las Vegas, we met Mary and Francesca Siragusa.  They’re mother-and-daughter branding experts and visionaries.  Both have solid business-development and marketing backgrounds.

    Prior to joining the Muse Ring team, Mary and Francesca founded Fort Lauderdale’s first gluten-free restaurant, Fresh First.   Combining their skills as a chef and nutritionist, respectively, they operated Fresh First for more than six years before selling it in 2015.

    Today, they use their branding and business development skills to promote this striking wearable, which Pennsylvania jeweler Mike Warren designed.  A crowdfunding campaign and a shipping date are in the not-too-distant future.  (Follow their social media for updates: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!)

    After the show, Mary and Francesca talked about Muse Ring, their CES experience and the ways their time at Fresh First translated into success in developing Muse Ring’s brand.

    On this edition of Over Coffee® you’ll hear:
    • How Warren Jewellers founder Michael Warren came up with the concept for his smart ring;
    • Some of the ways Muse Ring’s Bluetooth-enabled technology could allow it to interact with other devices;
    • How a wearer can program the ring to call 9-1-1 in emergency situations;
    • The projected shipping date;
    • How to find out more about Muse Ring’s upcoming crowdfunding campaign;
    • The branding lessons Francesca and Mary brought along from their days as restaurateurs;
    • The process behind developing the logo and slogan for Muse Ring;
    • How Mary and Francesca took the smart ring beyond the traditional “technology” look;
    • The creative elements that made their CES display a standout;
    • What Mary and Francesca had to keep in mind about branding the ring;
    • How rebranding a four-decade business led Mary and Francesca to their current project;
    • Resources that worked well for them, in the branding process;
    • One of Mary and Francesca’s favorite stories from CES 2017.

     

     

     

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  • Vocademy: “Playing”–to Win February 10, 2017

    Vocademy founder Gene Sherman at Vocademy exhibit

    “This is a movement of play,” said Vocademy founder and CEO Gene Sherman.  “Everyone here is playing.”

    Gene was delivering a keynote speech at the 2016 Southern California Maker Convention.   In the course of his talk, he explained the factors that had led him to create the world’s first education-focused maker space.


    Vocademy – The Makerspace,  in Riverside, is unique: it combines the best elements of trade schools, shop classes and research-and-development labs.  Students of all ages, from all walks of life, get to explore different hands-on skills: 3D printing, woodworking, metalworking.  And some schools and colleges now use their facilities for their hands-on training programs.

    Gene says his ultimate goal is to open “a thousand Vocademys”, to share maker skills, nationwide.  His next step towards that goal happens later this year: he’ll be opening a second location in Southern California.

    And this September, Vocademy’s scheduling a maker faire in downtown Riverside.  Any makers who have created a really cool project are cordially invited to find out more about exhibiting!

    Vocademy founder Gene Sherman keynote speech at soCal Maker Con 2016

    A maker from the start

    Gene’s interest in the maker movement had its roots in his childhood.  His dad’s machine shop introduced him to hands-on skills, early on.   Shop classes, during high school, would help him hone those abilities.  Ultimately, Gene’s aptitude led to a career as a machinist, inventor, manufacturer and 3D designer.

    “I came out of high school with fundamental skills that made me more valuable to the world,” he said.

    And what he saw happening, as high schools began eliminating shop classes in the 1990s, would result in his creation of Vocademy.

    “All these companies I used to visit would call me up and say, ‘Hey Gene, where are the people we need?'”, Gene said. during his keynote presentation.

    Manufacturing jobs were going unfilled because job applicants lacked the necessary skills.  With ten years of teaching experience, plus his three decades of machining, manufacturing and 3D design, Gene opened Vocademy – The Makerspace in October of 2013.

    Gene talked about his background, the process of creating Vocademy and his goals for the future.

    On this edition of Over Coffee® you’ll hear:
    • How Gene’s growing-up years gave him a “maker” mindset;
    • How Gene’s experiences in manufacturing and as a university teacher led him to come up with the concept of Vocademy;
    • Gene’s memories of the first days of Vocademy;
    • How Vocademy works with schools, companies and nonprofit organizations;
    • What an average student’s experience is like;
    • Some of the “crazy projects” students are currently creating;
    • Gene’s favorite memories from attending the first-ever White House Maker Faire as an honored maker!
    • How a local community college is setting up a “mini-makerspace” through Vocademy;
    • More details on the Inland Empire Maker Faire, happening in late September.

      And, if you’d like to know more about creating a makerspace for your school or organization:

    Gene, and Vocademy, have some information for you, on what’s involved.  Here’s a link to their page where they’ll step you through some of the considerations.

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