Category Archives: CES 2015

Hostaway is making private vacation rentals easier to manage

Hostaway Private Rental ManagementThe business of vacation rentals has grown quickly in the last few years. Platforms like Airbnb, Expedia, and more have made it easier for people to bring attention and customers to their private rental properties. However, the process of running the business is far more difficult than bringing in customers, and it only gets more difficult when you’re managing more than one property. You have to interact with tenants, possibly on multiple platforms. You need to have the property cleaned after each visit. You have to deal with maintenance requests promptly. These are exactly the challenges that are being addressed by Hostaway.

Hostaway is a platform for vacation rental property managers designed to bring all of the regular tasks that are involved in the running of the business into a single management dashboard. It integrates with all of the essential tools of the trade, including Airbnb, Expedia,, and more. That means that the tasks that happen through those platforms can be generalized, reducing the need to bounce between sites. Now you can interact with the tenants in a single dashboard, no matter where they booked. But it also integrates with other tools that are designed to improve your tenants’ stay, like smart locks, allowing the tool to change the lock code between visits.

On the inside of the business, Hostaway also allows you to manage contractors, like cleaning services, repair services, and more. Schedule your cleaning service based on booked stays, schedule repairs when visitors have a problem. By creating efficiencies around all of these regular tasks, property managers can save a lot of money, resulting in lower prices and higher profits.

Hostaway is available now for managers to try out. To book a demo or learn more about the service, check out the website.

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GenM connects small businesses and potential marketing professionals

GenM Marketing ApprenticeshipsStudents who have graduated or are about to graduate from college have a leg up on the job market with a platform called GenM. It is an education marketplace where students can come and work with small business owners for training for workplace specifically in the marketing field. Moe Abbas, CEO of GenM refers to it as a digital apprenticeship.

You don’t have to be a student to take advantage of this fantastic program. People who want to make a career change or who want to learn about digital marketing or expand their knowledge in that field are excited to learn about this. Applicants are precisely matched with an appropriate company and receive free courses from vetted business owners for expanding their education. While it is free for students, the cost of the program is $49.00 for the businesses per month.

In an internship program, many times the intern or student is required to travel and can be working up to 40 hours a week and requiring out-of-pocket expenses. This is a 10 hour a week commitment and is a remote relationship where the student can continue their classes or work their regular job without interruption and it is put on their schedule. This alone reduces the stress of being an intern by itself.

Coming into a specific job market is difficult at best because of the inability to show having had any job experience to speak of. This is a real Catch 22 for the student. There are 380 million small businesses and 200 million post-students who need each other. This is a wonderful way to have people who are entering the job market to get their much-needed experience.

The company is presently focused on digital marketing only but has plans to expand to other areas in the future. For more information go to their website.

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You Can Feel It with Ultrahaptics at CES 2018

Ultrahaptics LogoPlaying games using bare hands for controllers goes back as far as the Eye Toy for the Sony PlayStation 2 but it was really Microsoft’s Kinect that brought gesture recognition mainstream. Fantastic as these cameras were, players only received visual feedback, e.g. the in-game character moved in the desired direction. But what if there is no TV screen to show feedback? How could the user know that they’ve pressed the right button? That’s where Ultrahaptics come in with their ultrasonic speakers. Todd gets a feeling for the tech with Heather.

Simplistically, Ultrahaptics uses ultrasound to project sensations onto a hand. Small highly controllable speakers can focus sound waves to make a hand feel on object that’s not there. It’s pretty clever technology but what it means is that a hand action can receive feedback directly, without needing a screen.

Heather splits the use cases into two, controls and experiences. Want to turn on a light switch? Feel the imaginary switch and flick it up. For experiences, a two-dimensional object could be given three-dimensional properties. Think of a film poster that responds to a hand approach it. The force awakens!

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at

Your Time is Important to theCut

theCutIn this age, we are all busy. When a man wants to get a haircut, he usually walks into a barbershop and sits down and waits to be called. With theCut, he can book an appointment, pay for it and even tip at the touch of a button. This is a mobile app made for barbers and barbershops. It eliminates the need for carrying cash and the frustration of not being allowed to use your card or having to make a run to the ATM.

Since barbershops have evolved into a total grooming centers, they do more than just cut hair and shave your face. This app allows the business to list all of their services available to their clients and promote those that they specialize in, such as fades or shaves. In turn, the customer can search for a specific barber that offers the specialty service that they are needing, and thereby filtering out those that don’t offer what they want. There is also the capability for the client to leave reviews.

This app is currently being marketed to New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Cleveland and Los Angeles. It is ready to go now for barbers nationwide.

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Lego Education Builds a Future Through its Famous Blocks

legoeducationIdeas and inventions, like those shown off this year at CES, need people to first come up with the concepts that will be brought to life. There is a good chance that future presenters may have had their minds shaped by Lego Education.

Out to show that the simple building blocks can be used for more than just constructing a simple car or a complex castle, Lego Education announced at CES its WeDo 2.0, which is designed to bring science to life in the classroom through robotics. According to senior segment manager Leshia Hoot, WeDo 2.0 was put together with elementary-age students in mind and teaches them the basics of things from coding and programming to working with motors and sensors. The concept was kept simplified to make it accessible to both students and teachers, with easy-to-use software that is icon-based drag and drop.

According to Hoot, the core set of WeDo 2.0 retails for about $160 and comes with several projects, access to the software and a curriculum guide with 40-plus hours of activity. More information can be found at or if you are outside of the U.S.

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SureCall Boosts Phone Signal in the Home

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SureCall’s EZ 4G is a user-installable mobile phone signal booster for homes and offices that unlike most other products does not require an outdoor antenna. The EZ 4G consists of large receiver antenna which is placed in a window or other surface where there is at least some signal. A second smaller transmitter connected via coax cable then rebroadcasts the signals within the room. Don Baine chats with Frankie Smith to get some more details.

The EZ 4G works with all carriers and technology from 2G to 4G to deliver improved indoor mobile phone signal coverage for all phones or SIM-equipped devices within range of the transmitter and works with both incoming and outgoing calls. If there’s any kind of signal in the area, the EZ 4G will boost it.

The EZ 4G system will be on sale in January for US$399 MSRP from good online retailers and big box retail stores. SureCall has a full range of signal boosting systems for homes, offices and vehicles.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and gives lectures at

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Stand Alone Smartwatch with No Phone Required

burg-pink-watchWearable devices are becoming a huge sector of the consumer electronics marketplace and at the International CES show in Las Vegas this year the Tech Podcast Network saw that again and again. Health Tech Weekly host Jamie Davis, the Podmedic and host Nick DiMeo were manning the booth and interviewed Steven Jay, VP of Marketing from Burg watches.

Burg makes high-end designer watches and have introduced a new line of connected watches with notifications from a built in wireless chipset. You don’t have to connect your other smartphone to this watch, it is its own smart connected device.

Smartwatches are now more than just a geek gadget. Smartwatches have the future! More and more people now see how clever it is to have your phone strapped around your wrist for a quick check, whenever you want, wherever you are. Imagine being able to look at your wrist instead of your phone to check that message or to watch your favorite clip.

Make sure you follow Jamie’s picks and coverage over at and the Tech Podcasts Network live CES 2015 coverage over at during the show where our entire CES team will be bringing you the best, the most innovative, and newest tech gadgets to you from the conference! And don’t forget to check out his shows for at, and the brand new Health Tech weekly show at

D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router

D-Link LogoWith wifi routers and access points, there’s a subtle game of one-upmanship based on the number of aerials sprouting from the device. If unit has only one aerial or it’s embedded in the unit, it probably comes free from the broadband or cable provider; two aerials is soooo 11g, three aerials and the router’s got some chops; six aerials….now you’re getting serious. Todd gets up to speed with the AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi router from Daniel Kelley, VP at D-Link.

The AC3200 is a serious piece of kit. To start with, it looks like something straight out of a sci-film, a red stealth fighter fully armed with six laser cannon. And while the laser cannon are really aerials, you get the point – it means business. The AC3200 is a tri-band router using one set of frequencies in the 2.4 GHz range and two sets in the 5 GHz. It intelligently assesses the bandwidth and QoS (Quality of Service) demands of the connecting devices and allocates them to the most appropriate channels, and if necessary, can aggregate all three bands giving a maximum theoretical transfer rate of 3.2 Gb/s. No matter that the actual data rate will be much lower, it’s still screaming fast.

Additionally, the AC3200 uses beam-forming technology to focus the wifi signal to where it’s needed, rather than transmitting uniformly everywhere. On the wired side, there are four gigabit ethernet ports and two USB ports (one USB3, one USB2) for connecting up storage (DLNA server built-in) or printers. The AC3200 can be the hub of a connected home.

The AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (aka DIR-890L/R) is available now on-line for around $300. It’s pricey, but you get what you pay for.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.


Kinivo Music and Video Gadgets at CES

Kinivo LogoKinivo have a range of consumer-oriented music products from headsets to speakers, including several with Bluetooth. Don chat’s with Henry Wong, Kinivo’s Director of Product Management to find out more.

All of Kinivo’s products are competitively priced – for example the ZX100 Mini Portable Speaker with rechargeable battery costs less than $20. The BTH360S Bluetooth Stereo Headphones which supports wireless music streaming and hands-free calling costs $69.99 so these are good value products. There’s also an interesting HDMI switcher, the HS420 which has four inputs and two outputs, at just under $65. Could be very handy for advanced gaming or home cinema setups.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor for the TechPodcast Network.


On3 PowerCliq Smart Battery Case

PowerCliq LogoCombo battery cases for the Apple iPhone are commonplace from no-name clones to well-known manufacturers whose brand is almost synonymous with the product. On the other hand, combined case, battery and Bluetooth headset packs with smart battery management are really quite rare. In fact, On3‘s PowerCliq is the only one I know of, so watch Don get a hands-on demo from Brad Yasar of On3.

The PowerCliq is a 2700 mAh battery case for the iPhone which has two additional features. The first is a Bluetooth 4.0 headset that slides into the back of the case for both storage and charging. The second is that the charging features of the external battery can be controlled by app on the iPhone. When plugged in, most battery packs simply charge until the smartphone is fully charged and then keep it topped up; there are some schools of thought that suggest this can be detrimental to the long-term performance of the battery.

On the PowerCliq, the app can be used to set a minimum battery level such that the recharging doesn’t kick in until the iPhone’s battery falls to that level and once fully charged, turns off. This larger discharge / charge cycle is supposed to improve the life of the battery.

The PowerCliq is fundraising on Kickstarter with early birds getting in at $88.  Update: since CES, the Kickstarter campaign has been cancelled. There’s a note on Instagram saying that this is to allow for new developments and the campaign will restart soon.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor for the TechPodcast Network.