Turns out not many people stay for the weekend. Attendance really dropped down as the weekend approached. Made me think it would be good to go to sessions the first couple of days and the exhibition over the weekend. Especially since I didn’t care too much about bringing home stuff (though I did enter for a chance to win a Tesla… I mean… why not!) So let’s dive into to what I did on day 4.

I went back to a few of the places I had visited before to ask more questions or to just ponder what it was they were selling and how it might look in 3-5 years. Take Moen for instance. They are getting into the Sprinkler business, which I think is pretty interesting. I have a sprinkler system (Rain Bird) myself and it’s OK. The app is sufficient, and it does what I need it to do. It has a sensor so it won’t water the yard if it rained the night before. But what about being able to predict the weather. No use watering the yard – or maybe delay a day if there is rain in the forecast. But more importantly, will these devices start working like thermostats do?

Some thermostats will communicate with the power company to reduce home usage when commercial usage is high to reduce demand and stress on the system. What if these new watering systems will be able to not only save fresh water but also react to synoptic weather forecasts. This is a cool one to watch to see how it will impact our fresh water supply.

It seems to me Rain Bird or another company like it would have made a decent acquisition as you’d already have your distrubution supply chain and partnerships with sprinkler installation and maintenance companies. Then add on things like the Moen dirt sensor to help add more data to the system

So this is where I start REALLY getting opinionated. As you’ve seen from previous days and this post, there are a lot of companies that are doing portable power which is essentially just a big ol’ box o’ batteries. While it is cool to make these batteries, what happens when they are at their end of life. The company in the photo to the right is very new, but they said the didn’t have anyone qualified to break down the welds and do any kind of replacement. They were honest, and they are young, but that’s not a great excuse for not thinking about the future.

I’m going to pick on Jackery here for a bit, mostly because they claim to be the top selling brand, have 2 million sold, and have been doing this for over 5 years. I went to their booth and asked them about their recycling program.

  1. Stumped the first guy, then passed over to PR
  2. Stumped the PR lady, then got passed over to… I don’t know who
  3. Stumped the last lady too.
How many batteries would that be? Yikes!

They have no plan for what to do with these batteries when they are done. There isn’t an upgrade, trade in or any kind of recycling plan. This supports one of my biggest take aways from CES is that many vendors are concerning themselves with getting products to market, in the hands of consumers and then walking away. That isn’t only about materials, but also cyber security (but we’ll focus on that later).

I went over to the Kenworth to look at their new EV truck. The thing looked like any other tractor / semi, except instead of cylindrical diesel gas tanks, just batteries.

I asked the person in the booth what the life span of the batteries is. He said about 6-7 years, but that they have an 8 year warranty. Those numbers actually changed a bit as I was talking to him, I think he was also realizing that normal wear and tear on the battery might not be covered under the warranty.

I asked what happens to the batteries at EOL (end of life). He said that Kenworth didn’t have any plans, but during a swap out they would take ownership of the old batteries (which is great as they won’t just end up in a dump). But then he said… I think there is a guy in Texas who will do the recycling. I couldn’t tell if that was an actual plan, or just someone who wandered into the booth.

I’m going to close this thought with Nespresso Pods. These are small, tiny and numerous items that Nestle is actually doing a pretty good job recycling those pods. These batteries have a lot longer useful life than a pod, so I get that we haven’t done a lot of thinking on this subject, but if these batteries decompose and their heavy metals get into our dwindling freshwater drinking supply, it’s going to be a serious issue.

Let’s get back to smart homes! I have a lot of Z-Wave at home, and I thought I usually stay pretty up to date on all things smart home but I see now from CES, and continuing updates from my son, I am clearly falling behind. One of the things I learned about at CES was Matter. This is an open source high level protocol designed to bridge all these different protocols being in the home. I can tell you, I have at least 4 in my home, and I’ve tried to keep it to one, so you can see how this can get out of control quickly!

The Govee (which I also learned is pronounced Go Vee, not like a short governor) is a line I’ve been using in my house. Their thermometer / hygrometer over wifi combo has helped me track temps in multiple parts of my house from the fridge to the furnace. Great device, and seeing even more from Govee is great. Though, like many smart home displays, it seems it’s all about lighting – almost absurd color lighting, security or… Yeah, that’s about it. Anyway, if you are going to acquire more equipment, I’d make sure it is Matter compatible before your purchase, that will help ensure you can tell your Alexa to activate your light through your google home! One other cool thing it will do, is allow the use of Apple Home Kit stuff by other vendors without those vendors having to pay the absurdly high Apple licensing fees (which I heard from many of the smart home vendors at CES).

Here are a few quick links to get you smart

  1. https://csa-iot.org/all-solutions/matter/
  2. https://www.androidpolice.com/matter-smart-home-standard-explained/
  3. https://www.cnet.com/home/smart-home/matter-smart-home-devices-dominated-ces-this-year/

Is it time for a drink?! I think so too

I saw one of these in the award pavilion, so I was happy to see one and be able to ask questions. I REALLY hate to boil it down to this, but it’s Keurig (who is owned by Dr. Pepper, did you know that?) for booze

I have been looking at these systems even since the “do it at home” versions. Most of those had a problem though. You’d get 2 liter bottles or something and add in your juice, mixers, booze and it would mix you a drink. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years… Mechanical parts and sugar DO NOT LIKE EACH OTHER. Keeping that stuff clean is tough.

Now if you are a McDonalds, those tubes are ALWAYS filled with sugary goodness. But if all you do is use this for the occasional fun, flushing all that stuff out of the tubes is a CHORE! Forget a little bit, and you now have a sugary stuck valve.

So here is the bartesian which puts all that sugary goodness into a pod, and then all you do is add the booze to the glass jars on either side. It comes in a 2 booze and 4 booze model. Put in the pod, it will start pumping out the booze into the pod, and then dilute with water (since the pods are concentrated).

You can even set 3 different levels on how strong you want the drink to be.
Can’t make your own pods. They do have some partnership opportunities (expiring and in the works) with spirit vendors and signature cocktails from popular restaurants.

So now that we have a cocktail, let’s watch the robots do some house chores.

This was one of the window cleaning vendors at CES, but this one was operational. There were also a lot of vacuum (non robotic) there too. Watch these two battle it out for how much window they can clean.

I’d consider getting one of these especially for 2 story homes where getting up to clean the outside of a window is a bit dangerous. Not sure how that one on the bottom would get to the corners though.

My friend Alex R. points out though, that there are a lot of single use robots out there. It’s a good point. Hopefully with all this innovate we’ll start to see some consolidation and weeding out of the not so great products. Much like Govee does a good job of making their app simple for all their devices, it would be great to have one robotics vendor where I can control the windows, pool, floors and lawn all in one.

Speaking of robotics company doing 2 products, I went back to the lawn mower company (biggest mow booth there) and looked at their floor model. $1400 for the device and it maps out 3 locations (floors) does carpets up to 2cm. Looking at the demo it did a good job wandering around obstacles.

I tried to get a picture of the device and the cut away of the base. One of the interesting discussions I got into with the rep there was about what data is provided back to the vendor. Maps of the house? Any images (since it has cameras)? Lifestyle (are these messy people?)? She said that most of the data stays on the device which seemed like a great answer.

Time for another beverage?

Well let’s at least keep it fresh. This really doesn’t have a lot to do with Cybersecurity but a little on sustainability. This is a cool new concept for a lid that will keep your beverage fizzy even after opening it. You flip it open from the back. The whole operation pivots (it actually does pivot) on that yellow sealed disc on the bottom forming a seal against the aluminum top of the lid. I asked about pricing since cost per unit on a beverage when you are making MILLIONS of them is an impact. She said it was 10% of the cost of the beverage. That doesn’t seem like it would be a good enough price point.

I’m also trying to figure out how this is better than buying a bottle with a screw cap on it. The gas will still diffuse into the non pressurized space in the beverage. Anyway, neat idea.

And now..> WOW… Lasers!

I saw a tiny little booth called Kyocera at one of the far corners of the exhibit space. A not so great space, and almost hidden behind another taller booth, but I saw their sign hanging from the top.

They probably should have had one of those spotlights because that’s the amazing tech this company was putting out. Just amazing light, and everyone in the booth was super friendly too.

So I’m going to talk about these lasers for a bit. Much like the proximity sensor I mentioned on a previous day, this might not be useful to you now, but it sure is interesting! So if you look at this image you can see a typical white LED on the right, and Kyocera Laser’s light on the left. It’s actually two light sources in one.

They can shoot a laser at a piece of phosphorus (P), excite the P and then it emits light in a bunch of desired wavelengths. Lidar, white, infrared, whatever you need. Because the pad of P is so small, the light is very specific. They had a demo where they broadcast the light into fine printed filter. With the regular light on the right it was a blur, but with the one on the left you could see the pattern actually broadcast on the ceiling.

They had a diagram on how it works, let me try to explain it like 2 PhDs did to me (they were so nice explaining it to me).

Actually, that really explains it all.

The cool thing about this is that you can put different wavelengths in the same device. For instance, in a headlight, and they are the high beams for one of the BMW vehicles, you could put emitters for both white and infrared light so you can shine it ahead of you to look for obstacles and stuff. Check out this headlight. They are just the high beam all the way to the right, but they could be every kind of beam from the low beam, to the fog light to the high beam to the infrared / lidar emitters.

They continued to entertain my curiosity (again so nice, as I wasn’t going to be buying laser light any time soon) by showing me how they can both transmit and recieve data over their light systems.. but without fiber. A really cool application for this was in the turret of a vehicle… with … a turret. How do you get sensor data – which is probably low voltage through a rotating ring that can just continually go around and around. Power – sure, that can jump a pretty big gap, and you don’t worry too much about electrical noise. But what about signal? Put a fiber optic emitting ring (thing back to the Govee booth above) that is transmitting data, and then some receivers across the gap that is looking at this data. Don’t assume this is going to be some kind of disco light show as the whole thing can operate in human safe but invisible spectrums.

If you look below on the left and right you can see their data transmission system which was moving a LOT of clear video across the link. I of course put my hand in it and disrupted it. I think I upset the desktop sharing video more than the actual data link stuff. Then above it is a system that is emitting LiDar, infrared and white light (off at the moment). There are 4 emitting devices on this setup and each device has 2 lasers capable of individual wavelengths. So you could be transmitting data on 8 channels, or you can be pouring light at different wavelengths on your target.

You can see in the center image here that there is someone behind me to my right, but you barely see that in the infrard. Then in the infrared you can make out my hand and phone and a lot more detail.

While they were explaining all of this to me they mentioned they were acquired by Kyocera about 2 years ago. They were a startup that had as one of (the co-founders?) employees the guy who won the noble prize for blue LEDs which led to the ability to make white LEDs.

I really wish I was in the market for amazing lights, laser, LiDAR and other solutions, as the knowledge, friendliness and amazing products coming out of this booth were top notch.

OK, let’s wrap up this CES already! I mean, I’m writing this from the plane, so it’s time to sit back and relax in my massage chair

Which could have been located in my pre-fab mini home:

But one thing is for sure, when you see the giant screens on the floor being used to watch the game, you know the conference is over.

Thanks for reading along my friends. I appreciate all the comments (in person, on LinkedIn) encouraging me to keep writing these. I know they are long, but hopefully they were easy and fun to read.

Until the next time, and yes, if you look before CES, you’ll see that blog-wise, I never came back from Vietnam, so I’ll continue back up with those posts soon.

You might also enjoy:

1 Comment

Leave a Reply