Ditch the Treadmill Desk and Chair-ser-cise!


Working out is hard. Sitting down is easy. How about we combine the two? Yes, please.

That’s the mindset behind the creation of the Tao Chair from Tao Wellness. The Tao Chair exercises are a series of pushing and pulling on the arms of the chair to help work your muscles through a variety of exercises. The tension on the arms of the chair is pretty tight and having sat in the chair myself I can attest that the idea of “chair-ser-cising” is not easy.

The Tao Chair has embedded sensors that also track how many calories you’ve burned based on the type of exercises you’re doing. According to the people I spoke with at CES, the Tao Chair works out different muscle groups all over the body using the Variobics system which was specially designed for all Tao products.

So the next time you’re ready to binge watch House of Cards on Netflix you could make the excuse that you’re “working out” if you had a Tao Chair in your family room.

Check out all the amazing home tech we’ve uncovered at this year’s CES by visiting blog.coldwellbanker.com/ces.

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Smart Garden: The Grassroots Movement

GreenIQ Photo - 3

What if your garden was smart enough to know exactly when it needed to be watered? Well, the Smart Garden has just become a reality thanks to fresh ideas that took root at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.

Smart Garden Hub
Did you know that more than 50% of the water we use is for outdoor purposes like watering the lawn? And fifty percent of that outdoor use hydration is actually wasted water. The average household spends approximately $170 on wasted water due to over-watering.

Well, as you may have guessed, there’s an app for that. The Smart Garden Hub from GreenIQ, which retails for $249, offers a solution to intuitive irrigation. The Hub connects to the internet to collect information about past, present and forecasted weather from the nearest weather station and controls your sprinkler system based on the weather.

Using unique weather algorithms which takes into account temperature, wind speed, sun radiation, the Hub uses them to create highly efficient water plans. So for instance, if tomorrow it is forecasted to rain, the system may choose not to irrigate today. The Hub connects with other smart garden products like the netatmo or the Parrot FlowerPower to associate up to 6 sensors or zones. What’s more? The Hub can also control your garden lighting based on sunset and sunrise schedules.

The Droplet

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Taking things one step further, the Droplet robotic sprinkler system uses biological plant data to determine exactly how much water your garden needs by plant type. Like the Smart Garden Hub, the Droplet also analyzes weather data to ensure proper watering schedules, but incorporates plant-specific information to know that your rose bushes may not need as much water as your tomato plant. While standard in-ground sprinkler systems can run about $2,500, the Droplet retails for $299 and can spray up to 30 feet in any direction.

The netatmo Weather Station

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Want to know the weather conditions just beyond your front door with the touch of a button? The netatmo Weather Station monitors temperature, humidity, air quality, barometric pressure and weather. All of this data feeds into the netatmo app, accessible via your Apple or Android device. And, as is the beauty of the “Internet of Things” you can integrate your netatmo Weather Station with the Smart Garden Hub for hyper-local weather data.

For more fresh ideas on Smart Home innovations, follow the conversation by searching for #CBCES or visit http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/ces.

Header image courtesy of GreenIQ

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“I Want To Be With You Everywhere”: How Smart Watches Will Create Connectedness


Having just wrapped up a thought-provoking session at #CES2015, “The Market for Smart Watches,” my mind is now racing into the possibilities of this futuristic technology. In truth, I’ve been a skeptic of smart watches. Why would I settle with a baby screen on my wrist when I could take in the majesty of my smart phone retina display? However, having heard the input and ideas of the industry’s leading minds — including the likes of Dennis Miloseski, VP, Design at Samsung and Jeff Bonforte, SVP, Communication Products at Yahoo — I now realize my skepticism has been resting on the wrong question.

The usefulness of the smart watch will not be determined by its screen; it will be determined by the extent to which it connects you to your own life. Smart watches will not challenge your smart phone. If they tried, they’d fail. At most, smart watches will act as extensions of your smart phone (at least in the beginning).

The Perceived (and Moderately Far-Fetched) Power of Smart Watches

Think about this through the lens of recent progress in the smart home arena—appliances, televisions, and other devices all connected and controllable with your phone or computer. Both Dennis Miloseski and Jeff Bonforte foretold that smart watches (or other forms of wearable accessories) may soon act as triggers to auto-direct various tasks in your home.

  1. For instance, your watch may sense your body temperature climbing and consequently instruct your home to lower the temperature in a particular room.
  2. It may feel your blood pressure rising and cue the audio system to play something relaxing.
  3. It may recognize your imminent proximity to the living room and fire a signal to power on television and subsequently flip to the 6 o’clock news, recognizing it’s nearly 6 PM.
  4. It may receive and display a notification encouraging you to switch the laundry into the dryer the very instant the spin cycle comes to a stop (assuming your washing machine even uses water, but you get the idea).
  5. It may be programmed to send a tailored message, such as, “I love you” to your wife, by simply tapping the glass in a certain sequence—like Morse Code.
  6. And in the future, as the prospect of self-driving automobiles transition from fantasy into reality, the smart watch may even alert the car you’re headed for the front door (as though to leave) causing it to switch on, exit the garage to an apt pickup spot at front driveway, and auto-open the driver-side door as you near the vehicle.

Miloseski also captured my interest when he described his ability to still feel technologically connected on his morning run when only accompanied by a smart watch. It linked him to maps, messages, and other basics — and what’s more — freed him from the burden of toting around a cumbersome smart phone. While this scenario makes a case for the convenience smart watches may provide, it also points out the infantile nature of these devices—there’s still a long way to go.

Getting a Little Sci-Fi

Perhaps Jeff Bonforte’s remarks aroused my curiosity most of all. Jeff spoke of a concept called “network effect,” which suggests that the perceived value of a product (like a smart watch) is contingent on the number of others using it. If this seems complex, think about the conventional phone. It’s only useful if all your friends and family can be reached by dialing their respective numbers. If you can’t call anyone, what good is owning a phone? That’s network effect.

Bonforte awakened the science fiction enthusiast in me when he shared possible situations for which families and close friends might become more deeply connected though mutual use of smart watches. He conceived of a husband’s smart watch literally becoming cooler in temperature to signal him that his wife, wherever she may be, is feeling cold. He called this “intimacy.” Perhaps that seems creepy or downright weird, but it indicates Yahoo’s interest in the sensory capabilities of wearable accessories.

The All-Encompassing Connectedness of Smart Watches

Ultimately, all of the ideas and possibilities shared throughout address a larger theme of emergent technologies, which involves prospective connectivity between smart (and foreseeably wearable) devices and everyday objects like cars, appliances, and so forth. So, if you think a smart watch is just a small touchscreen display on your wrist or a mere timepiece, you’d be mistaken—just as I was. While the future of the smart watch is indefinite, what is clear now is that it will be hinged on the notion that it be worn at all times in order to do the many marvels I have described. So I guess you could say, in the words of Fleetwood Mac, it wants to “be with you everywhere”—especially at home.

For more realtime content about CES, visit http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/CES and follow along via social media using #CBCES!

Smart Watch rack CES

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LG’s Innovative Vacuum Technology Puts A New Spin on Cleaning


While coming home to a lint and crumb-free living space is ideal, I fully admit that I dread vacuum days. Tripping over the cord, or having to unplug and re-plug so my vacuum can reach every corner of my home can make the cleaning experience somewhat frustrating. Thankfully, LG is working hard to make vacuuming much easier, and your life much more convenient. Here are two of their innovative designs:

LG Bedding Cleaner

While your bed is probably one of your most-loved spaces in your home, it’s also a place which collects dust mites, lint, and stray hairs. The LG Bedding Cleaner is the perfect solution for sanitizing your mattress. It’s compact in size, and conveniently docks into its charging station for easy storage in any corner of your bedroom. DualPunch technology means the bristles of the vacuum vibrate 8,000 times per minute, so any dust that happened to be on your mattress or sheets doesn’t stand a chance at sticking around. The Bedding Cleaner also has built-in UV sterilization system inside which kills any harmful germs or bacteria, so you can rest assured you are sleeping on a hygienic bed every night.

2in1 Hand Stick

The LG 2in1 Hand Stick is giving you the freedom to clean each room in your home without worrying about tripping over the cord. Its Dual Power Pack ensure longer run-time, and you can pop out the motor and use it as a hand-held vacuum if you only need to clean one small area of your home. We were able to test out this vacuum at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, and it worked exceptionally well at handling tough messes.

Would you purchase either of these vacuums? Tweet us using the hashtag #CBCES and let us know which vacuum you’d love to have in your home and continue to follow our CES adventures at www.blog.coldwellbanker.com/ces.

Header image via LG.com

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Vinyl is the New Black at CES 2015

At the Consumer Electronics Show it is all about the future. From 4K TVS to virtual fitting rooms, innovation is a term that seems to enter just about every conversation on the trade show floor. And while some of these products seem unobtainable due to cost or the fact that they are simply prototypes, there are some products that you just want to hand over your credit card and bring right home with you. For me, it was seeing a blast from the past -a staple of home entertainment – married with a new look that boasts an edgy design and nostalgia; it was the Crosley Turntable.

Growing up my taste of music was always a little different from my friends. While they listening to the Backstreet Boys (cringe) I listened to Carlos Santana and Jeff Beck. While they blasted Britney Spears I was searching Napster for Led Zeppelin and Uriah Heep. My love for music came from my dad who owned a recording studio in NYC. Music has always had a very special place in our home and entering the Crosley Booth as CES brought back a wave of nostalgia like a warm blanket.

The turntable has made a strong comeback over the past few years and I predict the trend will only continue. So what makes Crosley so special? First, let’s start with their legacy. Like Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Crosley has been around for quite some time. With 95 years of business under their belt, I have admiration for their ability to evolve with the times. Let’s be honest, in a world filled with iPods and every type of music playing device imaginable, it took perseverance and a dedication to their craft to ensure their products stood the test of time.

Next up, their design. Crosley turntables are sleek, colorful and retro chic.

Not only have they made their design simply gorgeous from a color perspective but they have also realized the importance design plays with consumers, like millennials, who didn’t grow up with or even know how to use a turntable. While I am most certainly not a One Direction fan I think it is genius they are licensing their product and using the band’s mega-popularity to gain awareness in a market that is completely new to them.

And while they look like strictly turntables they also function as digital media players. Yes, that’s right you can plug in your iPhone and play mp3s. Some might see this as a sell out, I see it as adapting with the times.

The final thing I like about the Crosley turntables is the price. With most of their products under $100 it is refreshing to see affordable tech in an often wallet crushing arena.

So if you are looking for home technology that is affordable, beautiful and a little retro, a Crosley Turntable is the perfect item to add to your home.

Want to read more about what we saw at CES? Click here.

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The Future of the Laundry Room

LG Styler
While most of us hope that the future of the laundry room involves a robotic butler to sort, wash and fold for us, the modern-day improvements to the laundry room featured at CES 2015 have taken at least some of the dirty work out of chores for us.
At Home Dry Cleaning
There were two at-home clothing cleaning systems that really stood out at CES: the SWASH Express Clothing System and the LG Styler.

The SWASH Express Clothing System, which runs on the equivalent of a K-cup of detergent, eliminates clothing wrinkles and odors in just 10 minutes. You simply use the clothing clamps to stretch a piece of clothing into place, slide the door shut and run the Swash cycle. According to Swash, “people who dry-clean at least once a month spend about $758.26.” With the SWASH™ system, which retails for $499, you can cut your dry-cleaning bills by 50% by using the appliance to dewrinkle, refresh and restore clothing without ever leaving the house.
The LG Styler uses TrueSteam™, LG’s hot steam spray technology to give up to 4 pieces a quick refresh, reducing the number of trips to the dry cleaners. Unfortunately, it is not a replacement for the dry cleaners as the system only uses steam and no detergents to wash clothing. With a price tag around $2,000, this clothes management system is not intended for residential use; however, we may see these installed in ritzy hotels in the future.
The Anywhere Washer & Dryer
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Whirlpool also stole the show at CES with their ventless washer and dryer combo, the new Duet with Hybrid Care, which allows a homeowner to move the laundry room wherever is most convenient. Perhaps the laundry room is located on the ground floor of a two-story home and the new homebuyer prefers to have the washer and dryer located closer to the bedrooms for more convenient laundering of sheets and towels. The ventless technology of this Whirlpool appliance line allows homeowners flexibility to relocate the laundry room, while not skimping on efficiency.
Leak Detection
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If you’ve ever had a washing machine hose burst, you know the potentially devastating damage that mishap can cause. Lowe’s Iris Home Management System, which allows you to manage your lighting, doors, security system and beyond, has also developed a potential solution to this homeowner nightmare. The Utilitech Water Leak Detector, designed to detect indoor leaks by alerting the homeowner of water on the floor. Install this device near a washing machine or toilet to be alerted via the Iris app should a leak occur. One step further, the Leak Smart electronic Smart Valve serves as an automated water shut-off valve. Set up a rule within the Iris system to ensure that when a leak is detected in your laundry room, your main water valve shuts off even if you’re not home.
To see more about the future of home, follow the conversation by searching for #CBCES or visiting http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/ces.

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The Home of the Future Needs an Operating System


While people claim that they are an “Apple household” or a “Windows house” the question I am posing at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is “Does your home need its own operating system?”

I’m starting to think the answer is yes.

Home automation is by far the most popular topic at this year’s CES. There are hundreds of booths touting how they can help you manage your home’s temperature, appliances, lights and even water from an app on your smartphone. I’ve spoken to dozens of these companies and I ask them all the same question, “What makes yours different than the others?”

They always have an answer, but when you get past the sales pitch the truth is the differences aren’t that distinctive. The variety of options available is eerily similar to the choice between apps inside the App Store on my iPhone. If you search on the App Store for “photo editor” you will get back thousands of results. Each app will do something slightly different or have a different layout or a special feature, but they all do the same thing: edit photos. What ties all these apps together is the fact they run on the same operating system of either iOS or Android depending on what phone you have.

With a myriad of home automation choices now hitting the market, will the time soon come that our homes will have its own operating system that will allow us to then manage it based on the app of our preference. I’m talking about a hardwired system that is part of the infrastructure of the home. These would be the digital pipes in our walls that we know help the house run.

The Sage home security and automation system from Hughes is close to achieving that. Their home automation system runs on both your TV and mobile devices while aggregating the different services into a singular screen. Instead of looking at one app for monitoring electricity usage and then having another app for security, Sage allows access to all these features from a central hub, but I see the potential for them to possibly open up their system for others to add functionality through a Home App Store of sorts.

I like the idea that Sage is using the TV and mobile devices, especially as the adoption of HD video cameras for security or seeing who’s ringing the doorbell becomes more prominent. I also wonder if the likes of Google or Microsoft jump on this opportunity sooner and work with home builders to start laying a foundation (puntastic!) for this function to be embedded in homes when they are first built.

While people often reference The Jetsons as an example of how this home automation will work, I actually think we’re closer to having something like Jarvis from the Iron Man series. If you’re not familiara, Jarvis is artificial intelligence that Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man) speaks to in his home as well as while in his Iron Man suit (think car for us in the real world) to help him achieve various tasks. Jarvis responds to voice commands, but also knows and learns Tony Stark’s habits and adjusts things for him based on his habits and preferences.

Your home will eventually have a Jarvis. For right now though, I think an operating system with a home app store should be something companies work on for CES 2016.

Be sure to check out all our CES coverage by visiting blog.coldwellbanker.com/ces.

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Take Driveway Basketball to a Whole New Level

Some of the best memories are made shooting hoops in the driveway or in a backyard with family or neighborhood friends. 94Fifty, one of “Time’s” top inventions of 2014 – will guarantee you take your driveway basketball up to a whole new level. Here’s a short interview with Founder & CEO Michael Crowley who gives us the scoop on the award winning innovative product.

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The Future of Makeup & Fashion at Home

The future of makeup, hair and beauty at home is luxurious and innovative. The common theme? Virtual reality. There were two products at CES that really stood out to us: Panasonic’s beauty mirror and Toshiba’s virtual fitting solution.

Our very own Social Media Specialist, Alexandra Kozinski (the makeup guru who blogs at The Bloginista), was able to try out both of these fresh new beauty products.

Panasonic Beauty Mirror

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, which brand at CES had the coolest mirror of them all? The answer is hands down Panasonic. Every woman knows that feeling of doing their makeup and realizing they picked the absolute worst shade of lipstick or a less than flattering bronzer. The struggle is real. With this innovative mirror you can try on different shades of eye shadow, lipstick, blush, etc. virtually and even see how it will look in different types of lighting. In addition, you can search for tutorials if you aren’t quite sure where “the apples” of the cheeks are for ideal blush application or what eyebrow shape is right for your face. Some other cool elements included a skin IQ feature that can scan your face and detect wrinkles, smile lines, pores, translucency and spots and then recommend the best products for your face. Last but not least, the mirror allows you to try out different hairstyles to avoid those awkward moments when you come home from the hairdresser realizing that bob cut you found on Pinterest was way cuter in the picture than in reality. See Alexandra and the live demo from CES below:

Toshiba’s Virtual Dressing Room

Ladies, remember the last time you were getting ready for a special night out and you spent more time trying to decide on an outfit than actually getting ready? We’ve been there too and are quite familiar with the piles of rejected outfits laying on the floor. Much like the Panasonic beauty mirror, Toshiba’s virtual dressing room takes the guesswork out of finding the perfect look for any occasion. Check out Alexandra trying out some “interesting: outfits:

We bet virtual beauty and fashion at home will become the standard in Coldwell Banker Previews International homes around the world in the next few years.

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