6 GADGETS THAT WILL TAKE YOUR WORKSPACE INTO THE FUTURE

Modern technology is creeping into so many areas of our lives that it makes sense we’d start to see it on the professional level. The enterprise world has always run on certain kinds of technology, but we’re talking strictly about innovative gadgets — many you might see in the IoT or smart market.

You’ve probably heard that the future of modern living lies with the smart home. Well, the same is true of the business world. The technologies and solutions used inside these spaces will significantly improve convenience and productivity, as well as sync up various functions and activities.

Here are six gadgets that will transform your workspace into a more futuristic environment.

1. Interactive Whiteboards

There are few things more valuable in a collaborative space or conference room than the whiteboard. For years, these tools were nothing more than low-tech analog boards that you draw or write on using conventional markers. That’s no longer the case.

Electronic or digital whiteboards  work similarly to a touch-screen tablet. They can record, store and print all content written or drawn on their surface. Not only does this help save time during work sessions, but it also improves collaboration for everyone that has access to the board. Notes can be added, and the final mockup can be sent to everyone on the team via email or internal applications.

These high-tech whiteboards can interface with mobile devices, allow for real-time adjustments and modifications, display presentations and allow multiple users to interact or add content simultaneously.

2. 3D Printing

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, creates several unprecedented opportunities. Prototypes and conceptual designs can be realized quickly, accurately and on-site. There’s no need to send plans to a manufacturer and wait until it produces a limited run. It can all be handled in-house using a relatively inexpensive printer.

3D printers also allow resourceful engineers to create a vast array of goods, items and devices. A printer can be used to create any type of tool, object or gadget you might need at work.

Plus, any office filled with 3D printed goods is going to look futuristic anyway.

3. Modular Office Pods

Cubicles suck, and that’s something pretty much everyone can agree on. They do serve a crucial purpose, though — especially in large corporate office spaces. They give each worker a personal environment to work in, separating them from the rest of their department or team.

A lot of offices have moved away from large, cubicle-filled spaces and instead opt for more open and social areas. When you do need that personal and quiet space to get some work done, queue the SnapCab pods or modular office pods. They are cozy workspaces that personnel can enter alone — or with a small crew — to work in peace. It’s a place to go when you don’t want to be in the open or social.

Their modular nature means they’re easy to install and can be connected with other pods and similar modular walls or surfaces. Another would be the SnapCab Portal, which introduces intelligent and integrated multimedia walls.

4. VR and AR

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) solutions will truly digitize and transform the average in-office experience.

By using VR, workers can immerse themselves in an entirely digital space or environment. Imagine transporting to an isolated beach to get some work done, or demoing a potential prototype in a realistic, bustling world?

AR, on the other hand, involves projecting digital content or experiences in the real world. “Pokemon Go” is an obvious example, but IKEA’s Place app is another. AR will allow workers to project information in front of them as they work or alter the way they interact with their surroundings — like displaying indicators or notifications on real-world surfaces.

5. IoT and IIoT

Just as homes are being made smarter through IoT integration, so are office spaces and corporate campuses. The technology is incredibly broad but collectively syncs up all functions, devices and systems to create a more intelligent, automated and convenient environment. Even something as simple as the office coffee maker can be engaged from a mobile device remotely.

During meetings, your smartphone might record important notes and schedule reminders and appointments automatically. A real-time location system can tell you when a co-worker you need to talk to enters the office or when they have free time. Another one can turn on lights when you walk into a room and off again — with no input from you.

6. AI Voice Assistants

Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant are all voice-enabled AI assistants that can take commands and complete various actions. You can tell Siri and Alexa to turn on additional smart devices in or around your home. While there are many assistants out there, many of them are designed for personal and consumer use. That’s about to change, however.

A company called JLL has created an assistant named JiLL to help out around the office. JiLL is just the first of many as the technology is adapted for work and professional use, in addition to everything else it’s capable of.

Imagine being able to arrange meetings with colleagues, schedule work-related calendar events, send emails and communications, or even submit work orders just by using your voice.

Future offices will be smart, convenient and efficient.

Gadgets that help nurture your long-distance relationship

It is estimated that 14 to 15 million people in the U.S. are in a long-distance relationship at any given time. While there are many times when this may not seem obvious, there are a few perks that a long-distance relationship has to offer.

With a long-distance relationship, you can enjoy some “me” time, easily avoid having to meet the parents, and bicker about eating the last piece of cake (or pizza, etc.). Even better, you can purchase all sorts of long-distance gadgets that will help enhance your relationship even more.

Friendship Lamps
Chances are most people have seen friendship lamps through various social media sites. Now is the time for you to go ahead and learn about the benefits these can offer.

The way that these lamps work is fairly simple. By using Wi-Fi, any movement that is made across the top of the lamp makes it glow and its mate glow, regardless of how far away it is located. While these were made for helping to connect families and friends, to begin with, now couples in a long-distance relationship are benefiting from what they have to offer.

Touch Bracelets
These work similarly to the friendship lamps mentioned above, but on a smaller scale. Not only are these great for connecting two people, they are also a great looking fashion accessory.

These bracelets are very similar to the popular fitness watches available today, but for those who are in a long-distance relationship, they get their heart racing for an entirely different reason.

Anytime someone wearing the bracelet is thinking of their significant other, they can touch it. When the bracelet is tapped, a sweet and subtle message is sent as the other bracelet vibrates and lights up.

Sleeping Companions
When two people are involved in a long-distance relationship, one of the hardest parts is having to sleep alone. However, thanks to clever and innovative individuals, there’s a remedy for this, too.

There’s a new pillow heartbeat speaker that can be worn on one person’s wrist. It picks up the wearer’s heartbeat and then sends it to the individual’s partner. All this occurs in real-time.

Using this device is simple. The first step is to download the related app. Put the wristband on and then put the included speaker under the pillow. Now, you have the ability to actually fall asleep with your love.

Transferable Kisses
This one may have you scratching your head at first, however, it’s a pretty clever invention. The device allows you to actually transfer your kiss to your partner, regardless of how far away they are.

It was initially launched in Singapore in 2011, and since then has been making its way across the globe. Thanks to the use of a pair of silicone lips, you can hear the kiss from your partner through the speaker and feel it by placing your lips to the device.

From the weird to the wonderful, there are more than a few innovative gadgets that can be used to help enhance your long-distance relationship. If you are looking for options, these should definitely be on your list of possibilities.

KEURIG’S NEW COFFEE MAKER LETS YOU CHOOSE BETWEEN K-CUPS AND GROUND COFFEE

Forget about choosing between K-Cups and ground coffee—Keurig’s new $99 coffee maker lets you do both.

The Keurig K-Duo Essentials Coffee Maker is available exclusively at Walmart for now (which gives you free two-day shipping on it). And since its July 1 release, the K-Duo has amassed a 4.7-star average rating from more than 200 reviewers. And ground beans or K-Cups aren’t your only options here.

You can brew an 8, 10, or 12-ounce cup’s worth of K-Cup goodness as well an 8, 10, or 12-cup carafe-worth of ground coffee .

The included glass carafe will stay warm for however long it takes you to finish thanks to the heating plate.

The water reservoir holds up to 60 ounces and feeds both ends of the machine, keeping everything simple. With other Keurig staple features like auto-pause, energy efficiency, and straightforward controls, this versatile brewer is a perfect addition to any kitchen.

10 DEALS ON COOL GADGETS THAT’LL HELP YOU STAY ORGANIZED

Isn’t it weird how your keys, phone, and wallet always wander away from their designated spots as soon as you need them most? It’s like they know.

To make matters even more frustrating, it turns out all those misplaced items can legitimately cost you: One study estimates that we waste 2.5 days every year looking for our lost belongings, and spend a collective $2.7 billion each year replacing said belongings when our exhaustive searches eventually come up dry (because they always do).

KeySmart Flex (2-pack)
Eliminate annoying pocket bulk with the help of this compact key organizer. Though it’s smaller than a pack of gum, it’s got enough space in its sleeve to hold up to eight keys at once.

10 deals on cool gadgets that

KeySmart Leather

Because your gadgets should be as classy as you are: KeySmart also makes a 10-key organizer sporting a sleek exterior that’s crafted from black or brown leather.

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KeySmart Pro with Tile Smart Location

For all you chronic key-losers out there, there’s the KeySmart Pro with Tile Smart Location technology. Its carrying sleeve holds up to 10 keys, and if one of them ever gets lost, you can use the Tile smartphone app to have it pinpointed on a map or make it ring to expose its secret hiding place.

10 deals on cool gadgets that

KeyCatch Magnetic Key Rack (6-pack)

Pro tip: Keys are easier to find when they’re in a spot where you’ll see them. (Groundbreaking, right?) With a KeyCatch magnetic key rack, you can stick your entire keyring on just about any flat surface — even something on the wall, like a light switch — to keep it within view at all times.

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Dapper 100 Slim Keychain Knife (2-pack)

Billed as “the perfect gentleman’s keychain knife,” the Dapper 100 is a sophisticated little folding knife with a loop on the end that allows it to conveniently attach to your keyring.

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Dapper 150 Ultra Slim Knife

Slightly larger than the 100 model, the Dapper 150 pocket knife features a corrosion-resistant stainless steel blade that requires minimal maintenance; it’ll stay sharp even without oiling.

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KeySmart 10,000mAh Portable Charger

If you’ve ever been trapped in traffic, on a delayed train, or on a long flight with a phone whose battery is dead, you know how important it is to have a portable charger on hand. KeySmart makes one with a hefty 10,000mAh battery capacity, and it’s got a dedicated speed charging outlet (in addition to a normal outlet) for all those panicky times you need some juice ASAP.

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Urban 21 Commuter Bag

If more than just your key ring needs organizing, KeySmart has just the thing: It’s waterproof and ventilating Urban 21 Commuter Bag is a portable, all-in-one system with designated protected spaces for your laptop, sunglasses, and valuables.

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Urban 21 Grid Organizer

KeySmart offers two products with which you can upgrade your Urban 21 Commuter Bag, the first being a grid organizer. Rather than shoving everything to the bottom of your bag, you simply attach your tablet, pens, headphones, chargers, battery packs, and other belongings to it using its built-in elastic fastenings. It doesn’t just keep your stuff tidy — it also maximizes your space.

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Urban 21 Pocket Organizer

You could also opt for KeySmart’s Urban 21 pocket organizer, which is super similar to the grid organizer. Instead of elastic fastenings, it’s got expandable mesh pockets in which you can stash odds and ends.

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11 Best iPhone Wallet Cases for Traveling Light

It’s not entirely too much to ask for a phone case that protects your tech while also storing a credit card (or three). Pocket space is limited, and a bulging back pocket isn’t exactly a great look. Leave the chunky billfolds for your dad. Plus, iPhones are so massive these days it only makes sense to cut back on the number of cards and bills you have to carry around on a regular basis. So to help you condense your life, here are the 11 best iPhone wallet cases to check out, whether you need something really slim or something with a little more storage.

Silk
Wallet Slayer Vol. 1

Silk’s simple iPhone case holds three cards and cash while still protecting your device from drops. The sides are textured to make them extra-grippy.

OtterBox
Strada Series Case


Anything but bulky, OtterBox’s folio opens up to reveal a slot to hold a single card or money. You won’t be able to fit all your credit cards in it, but that keeps it on the slimmer side of things.

Snakehive
Leather Wallet with Card Slots


Rugged with soft nubuck leather, Snakehide case is like a cowboy’s saddle. Or something similarly Western. Besides card slots, it has an actual wallet-sized pocket for cash and a stand so you can prop it up for streaming shows.

Speck
Presidio Wallet Case


Speck makes strong cases that last, even in the hands of the clumsiest phone owner. Add a three-card slot to the deal, and it’s an all-around smart choice.

Mujjo
Leather Wallet Case


Tanned leather and suede are used to make this handsome two-card wallet iPhone case. Mujjo also offers it in black, tan, blue, and gray.

Native Union
Click Card Leather Case


Native Union’s card-carrying case is minimalist design exemplified—even more so because you won’t be able to see much of the cards you tuck inside the back pocket.

Nomad
Rugged Folio

Nomad’s Rugged Folio is very nearly a wallet itself, what with all the space for up to six cards and an extra-large pocket for cash (or whatever else you need to store). But it keeps it all compact in leather casing, with drop protection to boot.

Ted Baker London
Faux Leather Folio Case


Though subtle navy blue on the outside, this folio is bright orange on the inside—a welcome break from all the neutral leathers of the iPhone case world. It also has a card slot on the inner flap.

Marc Jacobs
Snapshot Leather Phone Case


Marc Jacobs’s iPhone case has is style-conscious without being conspicuous. It comes with four card slots and a magnetic closure.

Building Block
Large iPhone Sling


This is hardly a wallet. But it will hold a larger phone and at least two cards, all while keeping your hands (and pockets) free.

Saint Laurent
Grain Leather Case


Saint Laurent paired class with functionality for this two-card iPhone case, with noteworthy grained calfskin leather construction.

8 GADGETS MADE IN LAST 50 YEARS THAT NO LONGER EXIST

Technology is rapidly changing and we are barely keeping up with all the advances. New gadgets are constantly being developed — but some of the ones that were considered new and breakthroughs not that long ago are already on the scrap heap.

Not many people still use DVDs or buy digital cameras, for example. The mp3 will soon be history and in just a few more years, dozens of other items will join the ranks these eight gadgets list below. They were all made in the last 50 years and no longer exist or barely exist, as listed:

Walkmans. It is hard to believe that just a few decades ago, the Walkman was one of the most popular devices around. From teens on skateboards to businessmen riding the bus to work, almost everyone had the personal cassette player. Then in 2010, Sony stopped producing new Walkmans as MP3 players took over.

Pagers. A gadget popularized in the 1990s, no professional business look was complete without one of these devices clipped to the belt or pocket of working professionals. That was before the days of cellphones. Nowadays, pagers are sometimes still used by emergency services but other than that they have vanished.

Nintendo Game Boys. In 1989, Nintendo developed the Game Boy — a gaming device that went on to sell millions. It outsold its better competitors right up until the early 2000s, when it was discontinued.

Motorola RAZR flip phones. Before the iPhone there was the Motorola RAZR, the most popular flip phone. More than 130 million were sold within the four years of its 2004 release. However, the iPhone made this gadget obsolete.

Dial-up Internet. Back in the 1990s, the beeping sound of dial-up internet induced sheer excitement. The internet was a new concept that offered countless possibilities. It all began in 1989, when the first commercial provider of dial-up launched. Research shows that only 3% of Americans still use dial-up at home.

Typewriters. Before computers there were typewriters. Developed in 1867, the machine dramatically impacted communication at the time. From professional documents to letters and even newspapers, the typewriter paved the way for modern times. The computer has since taken over but there are still a handful of romantics who continue to make use of the typewriter.

Payphones. Not long ago it was still common to see payphones lining the streets. Then toward the end of the 2000s amid the rise of cellphones, they all but disappeared.
Answering machines. It is easy to take for granted the power of texting and of the missed call, but years back the frustration of missing an important phone call was very real. Enter the answering machine. Smartphones have since rendered these gadgets obsolete, but for a time they were an important part of life.

Smart gadgets to help you keep your weight in check

While there are plenty of fad diets out there, health professionals know that the only way to hack your weight loss is to make positive changes and stick to them. From eating better to working out more often, technology is here to help you with your weight loss journey.

Check out these eight smart gadgets to keep you on track for your goal weight.

FitTo Vibrating Weight Loss Device
Sleek and modern, this wearable keeps you mindful about the nutrients you put into your body. It supplements your knowledge about being fit and expands on what you already know, such as exercising and eating better. FitTo fills in the gaps by helping you resist the temptation of food through the use of gentle vibrations. Pairing with an app, you simply input the times that you want to eat and let it do its work.

Modius Weight Loss Headset
Get a naturally healthy body with the Modius Weight Loss Headset. Developed by neuroscientists, this innovative and patented device is a non-invasive solution to weight management. The weight loss wearable stimulates the part of your brain associated with fat storage and metabolism to help you achieve a healthier weight. The brain recognizes the stimulation as physical activity, resulting in a leaner and more toned body.

Lumen Metabolism Tracking Device
Connecting to an app, this clever device takes all the guesswork out of your nutrition. Lumen works by analyzing your breath. With a single breath, Lumen can tell if you’re burning carbs or fat. In addition, the app prompts you to continue your progress. It’ll give you tips such as doing a boot camp workout, adding some extra sleep into your day, and more. Lumen helps you understand not only what to eat but when to eat with a daily meal plan.

Fitbit Aria 2 Wi-Fi Smart Scale
Easy to set up and use, this sleek device measures your weight, body fat, BMI, and lean mass. Utilizing Wi-Fi connectivity, Aria 2 automatically syncs your stats to the app, allowing you to see how your lifestyle affects you. Just step on the Wi-Fi smart scale for it to display your weight stats on the screen. In addition, you can see your body fat percentage directly on the scale.

Outdoor gadget upgrades for an easy summer

Make the great outdoors even greater with cool gadgets to make life easier so you can further enjoy all of summer’s awesomeness.

Yes, we know that you may get outside to get away from technology, but items like a Wi-Fi barbecue thermometer means you can check on dinner without having to step away from your guests. A robot lawnmower will quietly cut the grass so you can get more hammock time.

Be the coolest of them all

The Coolest cooler has a 60-quart capacity and keeps ice cold for four to five days. But it also has a splashproof and shockproof speaker, a secret compartment to hold small items (like a phone), bottle opener, corkscrew, plates and other picnic needs. Lids can be customizable to add a blender, bar-top table or a solar-panel lid to charge cell phones.

Italian-style pizzas at home

Smart design and material use are why you can cook four pizzas at once in 90 seconds with the Alfa 4 Pizze Copper Top Wood Fired Oven. The oven’s interior is designed to efficiently circulate heat, letting the oven reach higher temperatures, faster, while multiple layers of European ceramic fiber surrounding the oven are heat-resistant to 2000 F. Compact enough to use on balconies or terraces.

I, Robot

Hate mowing the lawn? New versions of robotic lawnmowers do the dirty work for you, quietly and efficiently. Husqvarna’s Automower 430XH cuts up to 0.8 acre, and automatically recharges.

High-tech BBQ

Want the incredible flavor of wood-fired BBQ, but the ease of technology? Traeger Grills new Pro 780 lets consumers control their grill’s temperature remotely. The WiFIRE technology means a faster startup time and keeps temperatures constant. The app also comes with recipes.

Watch dinner from anywhere

Maverick’s Wi-Fi digital thermometer lets you monitor your food from anywhere via their app. Comes with two meat probes and is water-resistant.

Scram, skeeters

Trap and quietly kill mosquitoes and more, up to one acre, with the Dynatrap insect trap. The trap uses UV light and produces carbon dioxide (the same gas we emit when we exhale) to attract the pests, and sucks them up with a quiet vacuum.

Grill smart

Lynx Grill’s sleek SmartGrill is an internet-connected gas grill that automatically cooks foods based on user preference. Smart grillers can use their smart device or voice commands to find recipes and cook perfectly with Trident infrared burners, similar to what professional chefs use.

5 BEST SMART SENSORS TO SECURE AND PROTECT YOUR HOME

Keeping your home safe and secure used to rely on expensively installed alarm systems – no longer. These days, you can simply fit inexpensive – and wireless – door, window and motion sensors yourself and be alerted on your mobile device should anything untoward happen

Most of the sensors we’ve chosen here are part of larger smart home systems from big-name brands such as British Gas’ Hive, Samsung and Philips, although Eve’s sensors rely on a fourth-generation Apple TV to act as a gateway or hub when you’re away from home.

Assembled here then are our top five picks. Install them now for instant smart home gratification.

Our pick of the top smart home security sensors

1. British Gas Hive Window or Door Sensor

Tell when doors and windows have been opened – in an instant

Specifications

Detection range: not statedField of view: not statedSensor type: not statedConnectivity: not statedDetection time: not statedDimensions: Sensor: 2.3x7x2.4cm; Magnet: 1.2x7x1.5cmWeight: Sensor: 24g; Magnet: 24g

Reasons to buy

+Easy to fit+Simple to use+Added peace of mind

Reasons to avoid

-Battery, rather than mains-powered-Needs Hive Hub to work Door and window sensors are a perennial favourite among home security folk, since they’re less likely to be triggered by errant pets or things like billowing curtains. In a nutshell, they usually come in two parts: one attached the door or window frame; and the other attached to the door or window itself.

When the door or window is closed, the circuit between the two parts of the sensor is complete and so is marked as ‘closed’ – as soon as a door or window is opened, the circuit is ‘broken’, so triggering an alert.

The Hive Window or Door Sensor is part of British Gas’ popular Hive smart home system, which also includes the Hive Smart Thermostat and other goodies. Like most of the other sensors here is relies on a central hub to work (rather than connecting to your smartphone or tablet individually) so you’ll need to factor in these additional costs at purchase time.

Of course, as most of us live in homes with multiple doors and windows you may need to buy several Hive Window or Door Sensors to cover your living space – and British Gas sells them in both packs of three and five, as well as as individually, so you’re covered. A Hive Window or Door Sensor is also included in the Hive Starter Pack.

In practice, however, you probably only need to buy door or window sensors for the most vulnerable doors and windows, with wireless motion sensors (see below) covering other spaces.

Fixing the Window or Door Sensor requires no special skills – you just attach pop in a lithium battery, make sure the sensor can be picked up by your smartphone or tablet, choose a location name (‘front door’, for example) and then attach each part of the sensor to the relevant part of the door or window frame using the self-adhesive pads.

From now on, every time the door or windows is opened, you’ll receive an alert telling you what’s happened. You can also use the Hive smartphone app to quickly check all the doors and windows fitted with a Window or Door Sensor are closed before you leave home.

It’s a simple system that works well.

2. British Gas Hive Motion Sensor

Keep a virtual eye on your home – even when you’re not there

Specifications

Detection range: Up to 6 metresField of view: 110 degreesSensor type: Passive InfraRed (PIRConnectivity: not statedDimensions: 2.4×8.5×2.5cmWeight: 62g

Reasons to buy

+Easy to install and use+Offers peace of mind+Smart notifications

Reasons to avoid

-Battery, not mains powered-False alarms possible -Needs to be sited correctly

Another home security favourite, motion sensors use infra-red technology to detect movement within a room or space, triggering an alert when it is detected. At one time motion detectors had a reputation for creating false alarms, although technological improvements now make that less likely. Most motion sensors are adjustable too, so if you do have a false alarm you can adjust its sensitivity so it doesn’t trigger next time.

As you’d expect, the British Gas Hive Motion Sensor does send a notification to your smartphone or tablet every time it’s detects movement, just as it’s supposed to. However you will need to partner it with a Hive Hub for it to work – so it’s best fitted as part of a whole Hive Smart Home system.

The Hive Motion Sensor itself is easy to set up – simply pop in a battery, register the device and its location using the Hive app, then place it in a suitable location – either using the sticky pads on the back of the device itself or by placing it free-standing on an object such as sideboard or table.

Like most Smart Home systems you can use the Hive Motion Sensor to trigger further actions – such as automatically switching on a light when it detects movement, for example.

You can also track movements picks up by the sensor over time. Handy if you’re keeping a virtual eye on a elderly relative, for example, and want to check that they’re active without actually ‘spying’ on them.

3. Eve Motion

Triggers awesome actions for HomeKit users

Specifications

Detection range: Up to 9 metresField of view: 120 degreesSensor type: Passive InfraRed (PIRConnectivity: Bluetooth LEDetection time: Less than 2 secondsDimensions: 8x8x3.2cmWeight: not stated

Reasons to buy

+Easy to set up and use+Powerful range of actions+Water resistant

Reasons to avoid

-Battery, not mains powered -Only works with Apple HomeKit

This square-shaped motion sensor is part of Eve Systems’ smart home range, which is aimed at Apple users. As such it relies heavily on Apple’s HomeKit. While the Eve Motion can send alerts to you when you’re at home using Bluetooth, when you’re away it relies on the 4th-generation Apple TV (or an Apple HomePod) to send alerts outside the home. And that may be a deal breaker for some.

Having said that, the Eve Motion is a powerful piece of kit. It’s easy to set up and use, with the accompanying Eve app for iOS 10.3 or later enabling you to use the Eve Motion to set a complex chain of events in train – automatically switching on lights, heating, etc., when you get home using other compatible devices.

The Eve Motion also has a longer viewing distance than the Hive Motion Sensor (9m vs 6m) and a slightly wider field of view (120 degrees vs 110). We also prefer its more elegant design.

4. Fibaro Motion Sensor FGMS-001

Keep an eye on what’s going on – literally

Specifications

Detection range: Up to 7mField of view: not stated: Sensor type: Passive infraRed (PIR)Dimensions: 4.8×4.4.6×4.6cmWeight: 18.1g

Reasons to buy

+Easy to fit and use+4 sensors in one+Compact design

Reasons to avoid

-The ‘eyes’ are quirky, and a bit off-putting-Needs either a Z-Wave or HomeKit compatible hub

If you’re looking to keep an eye – literally – on the goings-on in and around your home, then the Fibaro Motion Sensor is for you. Powered by a CR032 battery and totally wireless, the 5cm semi-spherical ‘eyeball’ sensor can be placed almost anywhere and has four main functions: it can detect movement, temperature, light and vibration and then tell you either via the free Fibaro app, or by flashing its multi-coloured ‘iris’ blue, green, orange, violet or red, with the colour of the iris serving dual-purpose as a temperature indicator. Innovative then, but a bit weird…

There’s more to the Fibaro Motion Sensor than that, though… it can automatically fire up your smart home lighting, or switch it down or off when it detects movement, and can also be set to switch lights on or off automatically by detecting the amount of ambient light in a room. You can also include it in any smart home ‘scenes’ you’ve created – so you could have it automatically set the lights to come on when at certain times or day or night, for example.

The Fibaro Motion Sensor is available in two different versions – one for Z-Wave compatible systems (including Amazon Echo and Samsung SmartThings) and there’s a HomeKit version for Apple fans.

5. Samsung SmartThings Presence Sensor

Find out where your loved ones are

Specifications

Detection range: 27mField of view: not statedSensor type: not statedConnectivity: ZigbeeDetection time: not statedDimensions: 4.9×2.5cmWeight: 11g

Reasons to buy

+Works with Samsung SmartThings products+iOS and Android compatible+Compact and easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-Slightly stalkerish-Requires other SmartThings products-Limited battery life

The Presence Sensor is one of the smarter smart home objects for a very simple reason. Resembling the Tile’s wireless key finder, it’s a Zigbee-enabled key fob that you can attach to or place inside a loved one’s belongings and then have it trigger an alert every time they either arrive at or leave home. On the face of it, this sounds slightly stalkerish, but the Presence Sensor is also a little cleverer than that.

For one thing, the Presence Sensor is part of Samsung’s SmartThings smart home range, which includes things like smart plugs and motion sensors, so it can be used to trigger custom events – such as automatically switching the lights on when your partner or other members of your household nears home.

It’s also handy for keeping tabs on pets or elderly relatives who have a tendency to wander from home.

Keeping Up With Millennials

Take a look around your office. How many millennials do you see? More than half of the global millennial population—those born between 1981 and 1997—lives in Asia, and makes for a big percentage of employees in the region. Over 85 million millennials, also called Gen Y, will be in the workplace by 2020, and in the next five years, they will comprise three-quarters of the global workforce. Small wonder then employers are looking for ways to attract and retain millennials and create spaces that speak to the generations’ desires, while fostering productivity, efficiency, connectivity and community.

Let’s Talk Basics First
Critics say millennials, with their stubbornness, haughtiness and smartphone-obsession, are going to doom us all. Some say their laziness will kill the economy. Matthew Ashes, associate director (people, performance and culture), at consultancy firm KPMG Australia, doesn’t believe so. “They are as hardworking as any other generation. They are motivated, passionate and caring, and are easily integrated into established teams with multiple generations,” he says, adding, “Millennials are highly innovative and are always looking to enhance and improve.”

A report by CBRE, a real estate company that has 80,000 employees spread across the world, too shatters many of the preconceived notions about millennials. Its “Millennials: Myths and Realities”, which surveyed 7,000 CBRE staff members and 13,000 millennials in 12 countries, found that while much has been made of millennials’ supposed tendency to switch employers regularly, majority—62 per cent—would ideally prefer to change jobs as infrequently as possible.

Generally, millennials appear to highly value the quality of their workspaces, says Foo Mao Gen, head of Southeast Asia for Qualtrics, the US-based software company that became part of SAP earlier this year. In an internal study, Qualtrics found that millennials, who represent around 80 per cent of their 2,000-plus workforce, place significant value on training and career progression.

To satisfy this need, Qualtrics developed personalized training sessions, in addition to placing a high emphasis on personal goal-setting. “We also equip our leaders with the capabilities they need to meet this specific need of millennial workers. We also found that giving employees autonomy over their work, and fostering a collaborative and innovative culture, can go a long way in ensuring employees remain motivated,” says Foo.

The Magic Trick
What keeps the millennials happy the most, says Ashes, is a work culture where they can experiment and continuously learn. “They want to be part of brands that take corporate responsibility seriously and can demonstrate how they have a positive impact on the world around them. The best candidates have their pick from a wide variety of companies, so the hiring decision is as much the candidate choosing the company as it is the company choosing the candidate. Millennials want to know their leaders are committed to ongoing professional development, a culture of diversity and inclusion, and workplace flexibility,” he explains.

Keeping flexibility in mind, Benjamin Twoon, chief operating officer and co-founder of Singapore-based investment marketplace Fundnel, started a policy that allowed its full-time employees to take unlimited leaves. “The nature of work at a start-up often means that every employee—from investment analysts and software engineers to the co-founders—plays a pivotal role in the daily grind. To ensure we didn’t lose great talent to burnout, we implemented this policy,” Twoon explains.

Though many questioned the effectiveness of such an arrangement, Twoon was certain of its success. “If taking a short break every other month recharges you, allowing you to return to work refreshed, delivering better performance and greater ideas, how could I refuse? To date, the system has never been abused,” he claims.

With millennials, trust matters. “They desire a career that is compatible with the lifestyle they wish to lead, and this is different for each employee. A single parent would value the ability to work remotely more while a part-time student would desire flexible working hours. Understanding what your employees need and fulfilling that desire leads to employees being more satisfied with their work life,” insists Foo.

Change is Here
Compared with their older generational counterparts, millennials are hungry to be constantly challenged. This penchant stems from the effects of having entered the workforce against the backdrop of a volatile economy and a rapidly evolving business landscape, says Twoon. “This may have led to the adoption of a mindset within millennials where self-development is prioritized, a move to ensure they will continue to remain relevant in an environment where a stable job is no longer a given in most situations.”

To accommodate millennial working styles and beliefs, Qualtrics last year started offering an “experience bonus”, worth US$1,500. “We created this based on the insight that our employees value experiences. It should be used to fund a ‘dream’–something people would not otherwise try on their own. For example, we’ve seen employees use it to attend the FIFA World Cup or build orphanages in the Philippines,” informs Foo.

Millennials consider themselves to be innovative, and expect their companies to be so as well, says Ashes. “Millennials are digitally savvy and expect their workplaces to provide tools that promote productivity and efficiency, and, more importantly, a better life,” he says.

It’s no longer about work/life balance, but work/life integration, adds Foo. “The company that offers more of it wins because above all else millennials want to be a part of making the world a better place and the work they do must reflect this.”