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Every six months, I re-evaluate the configuration of my home office workstation for improvements and enhancements. Admittedly, my specific needs skew to the higher end that the typical home office worker would require. I host a video podcast every week and need simultaneous and convenient access to both my MacBook Pro and Dell Minitower.

While I spend most of my daily time using my MacBook Pro for video editing, blog creation, presentation development, and other productive work, I use a Dell Minitower because it’s the only one on the market for its Nvidia video card and awesome Broadcast app. is the current solution. Correcting eyesight during video podcasts.

From my point of view, the ability to make eye contact is an essential ability that enhances my professionalism. No comparable solution exists in the macOS world, although Apple may address it at its upcoming WWDC event in early June. But for now, I’ll have to use a Windows-based system with a suitable Nvidia graphics card.

Still, switching display inputs back and forth between these two systems using the manual physical buttons on the back of my existing 38-inch monitor is a significant pain point. This inconvenience is compounded by the need to use a second keyboard and mouse to operate the Windows system, which creates widespread clutter in my office.

Enter HP with its new E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor, which I received about a week ago. It’s hard to overstate the positive impact this extra-large display had on my overall work productivity, after only using it for a week.

The HP E45c is usefully ultrawide

One screen really is enough for many productivity power users. An ultrawide monitor may be needed to meet your demands, but more home users need regular access to multiple PCs, whether it’s a home and company-supplied laptop or, in my case, Mac and Windows PC both.

The latest HP flagship display, the E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor features a 45-inch dual QHD display. It includes a single curved widescreen panel with a resolution of 5,120 by 1,440 pixels, essentially two 2,560-by-1,440-pixel displays combined. You’ll need a significant amount of desktop space to use it, preferably in a corner of your home office.

The monitors act like two 24-inch displays, without the split or bezel in between that you’d find with a traditional twin-display arrangement. The size, shape and 32:9 aspect ratio of this monitor offer plenty of screen area that lends itself easily to really useful multitasking.

The 1500R curvature of the E45c helps you become more immersed in your work by taking in a larger field of view. However, HP’s Super Screen has other tricks up its sleeve beyond its sheer width.

It is at this point that the fun begins. Although ultrawide displays are nothing new, some are designed to work with laptops, particularly those that employ Thunderbolt 4 or DisplayPort over USB-C.

The HP E45c is the first device of its size and resolution to support dual-display input via a single USB-C connection. When plugged into a wall socket, it supplies power to the laptop via the USB connection, charging it while it works.

HPE45c G5 DQHD Curved Display Rear Ports

The HP E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor has two USB-C ports that provide up to 65W of power each to two computers, or 100W of power to one computer and 30W to a tablet or phone. (Photo by the author)


When I plugged both my MacBook Pro and Dell PC into the monitor’s respective USB-C and HDMI ports, I automatically displayed both system desktops in a 24-inch side-by-side format (as shown above). is) back-panel buttons without the need to fiddle with it as is the case with other widescreen displays.

But it does more.

Device Bridge is a home run

The HP E45c also features Device Bridge 2.0, an updated version of a function that was previously only available on HP’s premium display range. Device Bridge is a version of what the industry calls KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) functionality, although I’ve never seen it implemented so smoothly and seamlessly.

Clearly, HP is showing off its software development and implementation chops. Using a single keyboard and mouse, I could operate the desktops of the different computers displayed on the screen. I transferred files and data to my MacBook Pro and Dell PC by dragging and dropping them between the side-by-side displays. Additionally, the update has a security feature that disables Device Bridge when necessary.

Using this functionality, you can control two Windows PCs, a macOS system, or one of each machine.

Although I haven’t tried this for a final workspace, HP claims you’ll be able to daisy chain another UltraWide monitor to mimic up to four displays on two screens.

Sonos Era 100 speakers level up your home workstation

Truth be told, Sonos speakers were never targeted at the PC market. When used with a TV or as part of an entertainment system, the company’s soundbars, subwoofers and even portable ROMs sound quite enjoyable, as do the older Play Series speakers.

However, the technology hidden behind the Sonos speaker’s grille is its major selling point. Its multiroom system functionality is the most practical way to hear everything, everywhere. It boasts connectivity with Alexa, Apple, Google and practically any music streaming service.

Now, with the New Era 100, Sonos finally crushes rivals from a sound quality perspective.

sonos era 100 speaker

The Sonos Era 100 is a single speaker that easily competes with anything but more expensive two-speaker systems thanks to dual tweeters and more refined room adjustment capability. (Photo by the author)


When used as a pair, the Era 100 is undeniably the most incredible little all-in-one speaker I’ve ever heard.

I was concerned that its Bluetooth connectivity would create latency challenges, but I never experienced any video/audio synchronization issues streaming video or editing for my podcasts, even when I didn’t have speakers connected directly to my MacBook Pro audio port .

The Era 100 speaker is available in black or white. You don’t need to take out your phone to perform basic functions as it has a volume slider and a play/pause button. The rubberized bottom of the speaker is an improvement as it adheres to almost any surface and helps reduce acoustic vibrations.

A button on the back of the speaker next to the USB-C connector allows you to manually turn off the built-in microphone if you don’t like the voice assistant.

Impresses Easy Setup

Setting up and pairing two Era 100s is fairly simple. Both speakers work together when paired, though only one needs to be physically connected to the 3.5mm audio port on my MacBook Pro with the Sonos USB-C to Audio Port Adapter, which costs $19 and It is sold separately.

Easy setup only required taking out my phone, installing the Sonos app, and registering the speaker with my account. The Sonos app allows you to connect to all your favorite streaming services, create groups of multiple speakers, and specify where the Era 100 is located in your home.

I appreciate the simple integration with my streaming provider, the voice assistant, Spotify, and Alexa. The Era 100 replaced an older Amazon Echo speaker in my nearby kitchen, and it picked up my orders better than it did when it was farther away. The speaker also has a great mic for voice control.


Like advanced microphones, many of the Era 100’s best improvements are hidden from view. Still, you’ll notice them as soon as you start playing music and participating in video conference calls.

Sonos boosted the woofer by 25% and added two angled tweeters for authentic stereo sound. Previously Sonos speakers of a similar size and shape could only play mono music.

The speaker includes a 47% faster CPU, which may extend the time it takes this speaker to receive software upgrades compared to previous versions.

Interestingly, Sonos claims to have “over-built” the processing into these speakers to potentially improve performance in the future. Although I’ve tested several Sonos speaker models side-by-side over the years without ever detecting any latency, it’s comforting to know there’s room for improvement.

closing thoughts

While the overall PC market continues to struggle with top-line unit growth that won’t subside for several quarters, if not a year, the peripherals category for large, widescreen displays and docking stations remains a bright spot. happened.

Manufacturers are beginning to understand that workers need multisystems at home. While it may not be uncommon to have multiple displays in an office, home users have limited desktop space in their home offices and prefer to avoid cable clutter.

At $1,099, the HP E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor is more affordable than you might think when considering the typical cost of two premium 24-inch displays. This monitor’s superb Device Bridge functionality avoids the need for a secondary keyboard and mouse input device that multisystem workers will drool over.

The plethora of integrated ports on the HP E45c will provide docking station-like capabilities for all but the most advanced users. This monitor has changed the way I work at home and has dramatically increased my productivity.


As for the Sonos Era 100 speakers, I didn’t anticipate how its great sound would enhance my overall work productivity experience. Especially with the regular videoconferencing calls I participate in over the course of several hours during the day, I found the Era 100 speakers to deliver surprisingly distinct and clear sound from each speaker during the call.

On top of all those items, the Sonos Era 100 is more than satisfactory for streaming music and video. The speaker has some features to adjust its output depending on the acoustics of your room, as is the case with most premium speakers on the market, and its clean and balanced sound makes it suitable for listening to different music genres .

At $249 each — or $498 for a pair — Sonos is targeting these speakers to compete with Apple’s new $299 HomePod, announced in January. Still, as mentioned above, they are more suitable and functional for home office users.

Frankie, it’s hard to overstate the impact these new HP and Sonos accessories will have on your home work productivity. With hybrid working likely to be with us in the near future, these products are modest investments that make working at home more efficient, affordable and enjoyable.

Smart home gadgets do much more than just turn your lights on and off or play your favorite music when you wake up. They can also help you save energy by telling you how much power you’re using and how you’re using it. Smart home appliances can give you the information you need to make wise choices to save energy and money.

Everyone is feeling the pinch of rising electricity prices. According to a report, more than 75% of Americans are worried about their ability to pay utility or electricity bills. Economists say consumers should expect their electricity bills to keep rising.

You need information to make wise choices about how to save energy in your home. Data is power. Here’s how to get started.

smart plug and play

Get started with a smart plug with an energy meter. Choose an appliance, install a smart plug, and start monitoring your power consumption. It’s as simple as starting to take control of how much you spend on energy.

For less than $30, a smart plug can collect data about your energy consumption and allow you to control lighting, heating, or any other connected electrical appliance. For example, you can plug a standard space heater in, and you can turn it on and off from anywhere via an app on your phone, and the process is very user-friendly.

Shelley Smart Plug

Style Plus Plug US


Smart plugs with energy meters provide real-time power consumption data and work with voice assistants like the Amazon Echo. You’ll see easy-to-read bar graphs on the Smart Plug’s app that show how many watts an appliance is using at any given time.

You will want to download data using a PC to keep records of your energy usage. You can use an electricity bill calculator to get an idea of ​​how much you are spending on energy for each appliance.

what to measure and why

You will want to plan what to measure over a given period of time. Smart devices collect data about your habits and give you the information you need to decide when you should set your timer to take advantage of non-peak times.

Cooling and heating are where homeowners see their most significant expenses. The water heater is a power-hungry appliance. In the average home, water heating is responsible for about 20% of total energy use.

However, connecting your water heater to a smart device enables you to measure how much energy it is using. It also allows you to turn off the water heater when you’re on vacation. If you can calculate how much hot water you use, you’ll have the information you need to improve your efficiency and reduce your bills.


According to the US Energy Information Administration, one of the largest single uses of electricity is cooling with fans and air conditioning. You can monitor how much energy you are using to cool your home and identify when you are using the most electricity. You’ll know when to adjust the temperature based on your habits and how long it takes to cool your home.

Based on the information you collect from your smart device, you can set up a routine to adjust the temperature when you’re out of the house so you don’t waste the A/C or heat all day. Everything can be set on a timer to turn back on before you return home so the temperature is nice and comfortable when you arrive.

Your refrigerator is another important appliance that you can monitor; That data over time can help you decide when and if it’s time to upgrade to a more energy-efficient model. If you have a home theater, you can monitor how much energy you use on your toys, such as a gaming system or AV receiver (AVR). In terms of lighting, most bulbs now sold are LEDs, which use at least 75% less energy, and last up to 25% longer than incandescent bulbs.

You can compare energy usage before and after installing smart devices. For example, let’s say you track the energy consumption on your water heater over three months with a smart device. Then make adjustments for three months based on that information. You’ll start to see if there’s a return on investment or if you need to make more changes.

knock out vampire power

Vampire or standby power sucks energy out of your devices even when they are not in use. It is estimated that these energy vampires can account for up to 20% of your monthly energy bill.

Everything from your TV to your coffee maker uses an electric current even if they aren’t on if they’re still plugged in. , One or two devices or appliances may not seem like a lot, but with a whole house full of electronics, it adds up. A 2009 study by McKinsey & Company found that Americans spend $130 billion annually on wasted energy.

Style's smart relay product line for measuring and controlling energy efficiency.

Style Smart Relay products monitor energy efficiency and control the power consumption of appliances and equipment.


To identify phantom devices, take a power inventory using the information you collect from your smart devices. Once you know where the vampire energy is coming from, make adjustments.

A simple solution that can help reduce vampire power is to use power strips, including smart power strips. Power strips can shut off power to various devices at once—essentially, unplugging them when they’re not needed.

You can also program smart devices to send you push notifications to alert you when your power consumption is higher than normal. If you’ve accidentally left something on when you’re away from home, a smart device can trigger a notification. Some changes can help reduce the vampire power consumption.

make a detailed electrical plan

Knowing your energy consumption can result in significant savings on your electricity bill. Start with smart plugs with energy-monitoring capabilities to watch specific appliances and devices one at a time. But smart home automation is a journey, and there are affordable options when you’re ready to take energy monitoring to the next level.

Driving efficiency can start with tracking your entire home with a whole-home power monitoring solution. Some devices run as low as $150, plus the cost of having the device professionally installed in your electrical panel. With one device, you can view the total electricity consumption for the entire home on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.


An electrician installed a smart device in his house. Within 20 minutes, he was able to gather data that showed him where excess power was being wasted and used real-time power consumption to identify 618 watts of energy when he left for work. .

With that information, they found that some fans and phantom devices were operational. Turning off those devices resulted in a 40% drop in out-of-home electricity consumption.

tax breaks for energy efficiency

Starting this year, homeowners can get new tax credits and rebates for making their homes more energy efficient. The Inflation Reduction Act provides a 30% tax credit – up to $1,200 annually – and may also pay up to $150 for a home energy audit that assesses your home’s energy use.

You can start with a plug-and-play device that monitors your power, then dive a little deeper with more smart plugs or whole-home monitoring solutions. From there, you can make wise choices about when to use your equipment and how to cut down on phantom drains. Otherwise, you’re just guessing.

It’s not just about saving money; It’s about being a good steward of the planet. The energy-saving information you collect will enable you to make decisions to increase energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint. Data is power.

I’ve been mulling over the concept of digital views for some time now. With issues surrounding climate change, living where some of the best views exist is not only expensive, but with rising sea levels and the potential for flooding, ocean views also come with undesirable risks. I once dreamed of living where I could see and hear the surf. Now? Not so much.

But what’s worth seeing? All else being equal, a space with a view will cost more than one without a view. But what if you could buy the scene and put it in any home? That’s what Liquid View has to offer. Depending on how large a scene you want, for between $25,000 and $100,000, you can purchase a stunning digital scene and place it in any home, regardless of location.

Let’s talk about that this week, and we’ll close with our product of the week, a new backpack from Dell’s Alienware unit that could be the perfect solution for someone who travels with a gaming laptop.

The promise of a digital scene

Growing up, one of my favorite books was by Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Door Into Summer”. The title comes from the main character watching his cat during the winter as he tried every door in the house. Knowing that it is cold outside, the cat keeps looking for the door that opens in summer, where going out does not threaten its existence.


One of the largest affordable apartments I lived in when I first moved away from home was great, but the views were terrible. It had a washer and dryer, a large kitchen, two large bedrooms, and a nice living room, but the view was onto a small, fenced-in yard, and the back of the apartment was decidedly industrial and not attractive at all. However, it was convenient and cheap for my workplace.

Later, I moved to a smaller studio apartment with a nicer view because, for me, that view was important to my state of mind. That latter apartment had two-story-high windows that looked out onto an almost exclusive small pool and garden-like common area. It was one of my favorite places to stay, even though it was quite small.

The idea of ​​being able to pipe a view into any home has long fascinated me, so a few years ago, I invested in the Atmoof Window 2, a 27-inch display you can hang from your wall And can feed in remote scenes – some streamed in real time, others taped. I still use this window that shows views of the International Space Station, views of famous landmarks, and even the undersea view that James Bond’s Dr.

But 27 inches isn’t too big for a window. You can buy and link up to three of these displays to create a bigger view, but even then, each window is very small.

Atmoph displays windows 2 - 3

Atomof Window 2 | image credit: atomof


At around $350 for a single panel it was affordable, but while attractive the result doesn’t really provide the virtual viewing experience I thought was possible. Oh, and you’ll have to pay a modest monthly fee to access over 1,000 viewing options.

liquid view

I recently heard about Liquid View, a much larger 75-inch and far more expensive Sony commercial-grade solution, but the result is very close to the Virtual View concept I was looking for. What makes this solution more expensive is the larger panels (again, up to three) with professional-quality displays. The difference between consumer and industrial displays is that consumer displays are not designed to run 24/7 as they will wear out, whereas commercial displays can run all day if necessary.

When framed in a wall, large displays appear more like windows and better convey the illusion of a realistic scene. Like the Atmoof product, they have a variety of visual options. Once professionally installed (hiding the power cord to hide the fact that it’s a display), you end up with something that looks and feels like a real window Big enough to be seen.

Liquid View Windows

Liquid View Windows | Image credits: LiquidView


With the advent of generative AI, there is future potential for these windows to display both the real world and computer-generated scenes. For example, how about a view to or from Hogwarts? Or a view from a window in Titanic looking out to Atlantis, or a fictional steampunk moon colony?

Often when you walk into an office, the scene establishes how impressive the person you are meeting is. Offices have visible status symbols. I once gave up going into the office from a large cubicle because the view from the cubicle was incredible (it was of an amusement park), while the office’s view was of the rest of the office (no exterior windows).

When I was at IBM, to prevent people from fighting to see the cubicles and offices, they built a giant glass building with walls inside of glass, so no one could see outside that solid wall except pedestrians. Neither got the view. The exterior of the building was stunning; Inside it was like a gloomy tomb. It was a terrible place to work which could be changed if employees could be provided with a digital view of their choice away from the windows.


I can imagine a future where a real view is less valuable than a digital view, and some kids who grew up with a digital view are upset that they can’t change the window view in their next house. Can

Although the cost is not trivial. A single panel costs around $25,000, and a three-panel solution, which is where this technology really shines, costs around $100,000. Plus, if you can’t find an empty wall that could use a window, retrofitting can be a problem.

I would expect this solution to be best where it is designed into the house, condo, or apartment rather than retrofitted because the $100,000 added to the cost of a house would increase to offset the value of the property to see otherwise Should pay the cost. But it can be difficult to remove existing windows to install digital windows in a home.

Additional Benefits

The cost of technology depreciates over time. Were this view solution to cost close to the cost of a glass double- or triple-pane window and were widely used in homes, you’d get some secondary benefits.

One is that windows leak heat badly, so losing them should save a lot on cooling and heating costs and reduce the load on your heater and air conditioner. In areas with extreme wind, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., often the reason a house explodes is due to window failure causing excessive pressure on the house. If you don’t have windows, your home is more likely to survive a high wind event.

Finally, if the front door is secured, thieves use windows to case and break into the home. Losing the windows would make the house more physically secure. Furthermore, as we move toward 3D-printed homes, dealing with the structural issues of installing windows will reduce construction costs and significantly increase construction speed.

However, you need to take into account the reduced ability to get out of the house in case of fire. That issue will need to be considered in the design of a house with a digital view.

wrapping up

The Metaverse is talked about often – more so this month, given that Microsoft just exited the segment. But what if you had digital windows and a view into this rendered world so you could create any scene you wanted, and your only limit would be your imagination?


Imagine a plant manager working remotely, with a view from their home of digital twins that represent the inside of the plant they manage. Or a port manager can remotely view the port they manage from their home office as if they were on site with a large window. Alternatively, they can watch their home, pets or children while in the office for peace of mind.

Or, if movement is detected, you can automatically transfer the living room view to security cameras around the house.

I have a large window in my home office, but the view of the river flowing behind my house is on the opposite side of the house from my office. With a digital window, I could move that view to look at the river instead of my driveway, which I do now.

I expect virtual visuals to be our future, and companies like Atomof and LiquidView are creating that future for us today.

tech product of the week

Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18

Gaming on the road is potentially great. With increased bandwidth on airplanes and Wi-Fi readily available in airports and hotels, being able to pass the time gaming should be one way we stave off the boredom and homesickness and distractions on the road. Can stay outside

However, there are some issues. We still don’t have much room on a plane for a gaming laptop and a mouse, and gaming laptops tend to be large and heavy, making them a problem to carry.

I once carried a large Gateway gaming laptop that was so heavy that when I took the backpack out of the car and slung it over my shoulder, the zipper ripped open, and the computer went flying across the parking lot (which ended well for him). Did not happen) laptop). Recently, I traveled with the latest Alienware 17-inch laptop. When I packed it up and its power supply, I didn’t have room for anything else, so I had to put the laptop in a bag.

The Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18, priced at $149, is the closest thing to a complete gaming backpack I’ve found so far.

Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18

Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18| Image credit: Dell


It has strong zippers that shouldn’t rip, is large enough to carry a gaming laptop and power supply, with enough room for clothing and travel essentials, and is attractively distinctive with the Alienware logo — but not so much that You would be embarrassed if your boss or co-workers saw you with it.

This backpack also has an RFID-protected pocket where you can keep your credit cards to protect them from being scanned remotely.

Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18 RFID Safe Top Pocket

Image credit: Dell


It’s weather-resistant (water and laptops don’t mix), shockproof, has excellent shoulder padding, TSA-friendly, and has a scratch-resistant interior which is great because large laptops can really make a mess inside an otherwise nice There are bags. TSA-friendly means you can open the backpack without removing the laptop to pass TSA screening, which is a lot less hassle when going through the TSA scanning process.

The Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18 is well designed and meets the needs of a mobile gamer, and it’s my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

While watching the live stream of last week’s formal announcement of the Matter Smart Home initiative, I couldn’t resist recalling Samuel Beckett’s classic existentialist drama, “Waiting for Godot,” where the two characters wait for Godot in a series of discussions and conversations. Participate in encounters, for a proxy god, who never comes.

After all, the Matter initiative was made public by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly Project Connected Home over IP) almost three years ago in December 2019.

Matter is a royalty-free home automation connectivity standard that requires manufacturers to fund certification costs. Despite numerous delays over the past three years, Matter has attracted support from a number of smart home heavyweights, including Amazon, Google, Comcast, Apple, and the Zigbee Alliance.

Matter’s mission is undeniably important to the future development of smart homes as it seeks to reduce the well-known fragmentation across multiple vendors and achieve interoperability between smart home devices and Internet of Things (IoT) platforms from different manufacturers. wants.

In theory, Matter certification would allow consumers and businesses to not worry about smart home devices from Amazon, Apple, or Google (just to list the big hitters) working with each other. At least that’s the promise.

thing draws a veil

Last week in Amsterdam, CSA and Groupe Developing Matter announced that it had formally released version 1.0 and that scores of smart home products — several hundred, in fact — were certified. The implication is that the market should soon see products with the “Matter” logo on shelves, though perhaps after the holidays.

The launch event showcased an impressively wide spectrum of smart home solutions ranging from motion blinds, occupancy sensors, door locks, smart plugs, lighting and gateways. CSA claims that 190 products have either received formal certification or are awaiting testing and certification.

what does all this mean

Refreshingly, Godot may finally appear on the smart home stage. The delay in genuine Matter-certified solutions coming to market hasn’t slowed the pace thanks to industry support and initiatives. If anything, many leaders in the smart home space continue to double down on their support for Matter.

For example, Amazon used the launch event to announce that it would have 17 different Echo devices, plugs, switches and bulbs (albeit with Android support) working with Matter in December. In fact, some smart home devices have already been released or are being updated with Matter recognition.

One of Matter’s promises, beyond the interoperability benefits, is that it should enable entirely new use cases and experiences that weren’t previously thought of. Several major “component” companies, including Infineon Technologies and Silicon Labs, are in the process of integrating Matter support into their chips. This fact should allow device makers to bring new iterations of Matter-compatible devices to market faster.

Matter-Certified Smart Home Appliances

Sample Matter-Certified Smart Home Appliances | Image credit: Connectivity Standards Coalition


In addition, companies such as Schneider Electric that provide smart home energy management systems to consumers and businesses believe that Matter devices will ultimately facilitate lower energy bills through better energy monitoring, control, and optimization. will do.

Finally, Matter Certification has wisely considered the security and privacy requirements in its spec. While ease of use and interoperability underscore the mission of Matter Spec, the security features should allow a more robust security perimeter for bad actors to hack into consumer and business networks via IoT solutions.

Analyst Tech

It’s hard to deny the pace of the industry behind the Matter initiative. Plenty of money, resources and intellectual capital are the undeniable tailwinds that increase Matter’s chances of success. Nevertheless, the technical standards have a notorious history, and the delay of the noted case has raised some solid doubts.

However, despite the in-fighting in the industry that sometimes plagues these standards bodies, Matter has been remarkably drama-free. This initiative has only grown into overall industry support, and that’s a good thing.

But bringing Matter-certified devices to market is only the first challenge the CSA and its consortium members will face. Initial reviews of Miter’s functionality and usability across key devices will take center stage in the coming months, and pundits will be watching.

Does the interoperability work as advertised? Will the baseline functionality of Matter-certified devices be sufficient that the user does not need to use the manufacturer’s native app to enable specific differentiated functions?

Overall, smart home manufacturers differentiate their products. For example, not all smart door locks are the same. From a manufacturer’s perspective, mater can have a commoditization effect, reducing a manufacturer’s ability to market the distinctive features of its offerings.

Finally, there is also the recent appearance of the Home Connectivity Alliance (HCA), yet another standard unit focused on the interoperability of smart appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers.

HCA appears to have a complimentary purpose than Matter, but with members like LG, Samsung, Haier and Residio, don’t rule out the potential for consumer confusion.

Regardless, hope is eternal that after New Year’s Day, the market will finally see the goods and whether the wait was worth it. I certainly hope that, as the smart home space needs it, mainstream users without strong technology skills can take advantage of its potential.

In the meantime, I’ll have some hot chocolate waiting for Godot to arrive.

Last mile delivery of products ordered online is a serious problem for merchants and consumers, and it is even more challenging for food retailers.

The innovative Phononic EV could drive a new solution to efficiently and sustainably deliver groceries, rivaling Amazon’s planned aerial drone package delivery system.

Phononic unveiled its electronic vehicle for permanent last mile delivery on August 31 at the Home Delivery World Show in Philadelphia. At this point, the vehicle is a functional proof of concept. It is not available in the market.

What happens next is in Sortimo’s hands. The two companies formed a partnership to fit the Ford E-Transit (Extended Edition) with reconfigurable shelving to create cold chain transport vans for grocery retailers without the risk of food spoilage on e-commerce Can go

Phononic’s new approach integrates thermoelectric-based cooling solutions into customized shelving. This partnership created the first truly sustainable cold chain grocery transport by turning an electric van into an all-electric tri-temperature vehicle.

The electric vehicle is free from environmentally harmful, artificially produced refrigerants called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

“We can see the potential for customer delivery by using EV vans equipped with Phononic technology for tri-temperature cooling in 2023,” Dana Krug, Phononic’s vice president and general manager, told TechNewsworld.

a peak inside

Phononic’s first electric vehicle is equipped with the company’s Activity Cooled Tote. Sortimo’s customized FR5 and SR5 van shelving is designed to be an optimal and efficient way to store chilled, frozen and general merchandise orders in one vehicle during grocery delivery.

With the SR5, shelves can be configured to fit any location to optimize payload and cargo capacity. As online ordering has become the preferred choice of consumers, all-electric technology can help grocers to grow their last-mile delivery fleet in a sustainable manner.

Phonetic Temperature Controlled Totes for Food Safety

image credit: phononic


According to Krug, it provides increased customer loyalty and access to same-day delivery while driving a stronger ROI with increased levels of consistency. Its technology is naturally a great mobile platform.

The delivery van uses proprietary solid-state cooling technology instead of existing compressor-based mechanical systems that can fail. Its system’s compact heat pump allows for greater capacity in a single space. Controls reduce energy requirements.

on demand heating up

Market studies show that the demand for online food purchase is increasing rapidly. Online grocery ordering and delivery is here to stay, making last mile execution even more important.

“Maintaining the right temperature for a range of food – frozen, chilled and ambient – ​​is forcing grocery retailers to rethink their entire operations,” Krug observed.

“As online ordering becomes the preferred choice for consumers, all-electric technology can help grocers grow their last mile delivery fleet in a more sustainable manner, driving a stronger ROI with improved customer loyalty and increased levels It provides access to same-day delivery and stability,” he said.

As the demand for grocery deliveries increases, the need for more vehicles to perform those deliveries will increase. Industry reports estimate the number of delivery vehicles on the road to increase by 36% by 2030.

“We give retailers the option of using electric vehicles that can be connected to our solid-state cooling technology. This reduces the total global warming potential (GWP) rather than compounding the problem with combustion-based vehicles fitted with compressor-based high GWP refrigerants,” he said.

If retailers want to remain relevant and competitive, the current grocery delivery process is not sustainable for longevity, Krug said. Today’s grocery delivery requires a new approach that is sustainable and cost-effective.

Expect Phonetic Fleet

Eric Nelson, Director of Sales Fleet Mobility Solutions at Sortimo, said the goal is to develop innovative mobility solutions that help solve issues plaguing the environment.

“Working with Phononic to fit this one-of-a-kind, eco-friendly, all-electric vehicle has allowed us to be part of designing the first wave of truly sustainable grocery delivery,” he offered.

Phononic is still testing the van to understand its impact on the vehicle’s range. But Krug expects the effect to be less.

The Tri-Temperature EV was designed to increase the route density of delivery for retailers. Its unique design allows retailers to add general merchandise and temperature controlled items in addition to groceries to optimize routing for fewer total delivery miles.

Phononic does not plan to sell the actual van, Krug said. By partnering with Sortimo, his company sees an opportunity to refit not only the Ford E-Transit but other vans.

how it works

A possible solution is Phononic’s cooling technology, which uses naturally available CO. Uses water mixed with2, Krug explained. Solid-state technology, portable freezing and refrigeration are now a reality, and the combination keeps anything cold anywhere.

Truly portable freezing and refrigeration has never been possible due to environmental challenges such as shock and vibration, weight, size and availability of power. Its DC-powered refrigeration is controlled by solid-state technology and can enable battery-powered refrigeration.

This method provides consistent, reliable cooling over a long period of time. This reality gives food traders confidence that the ingredients will be kept safely at the required temperature.

Phononic refrigerant system uses only CO2 and water

Phononic’s cooling technology is only CO. makes use of2 And water, as a refrigerant, eliminates environmentally destructive HFCs. (image credit: Phononic)


The system is monitored via Wi-Fi or cellular data to verify cold chain compliance. Solid-state cooling can respond to remote commands for complete temperature control anytime, anywhere.

An important advantage is the ability to reduce the temperature of the entire cargo container or specific compartments inside the vehicle as needed. This optimizes energy use while keeping the rest of the space at a standard temperature.

Thermoelectric technology has been around for more than a century. Until now, what was missing, according to Phononic, was integrating the engineering disciplines of pumping, moving, and controlling heat to create a new thermoelectric system that is powerful, flexible, and efficient.

About vehicle customization

Phononic started its EV delivery van project in June 2021. This vehicle is a fully functional test model, but can be adapted for other vans that require eventual cold chain delivery.

Sortimo’s FR5 shelves are foldable and designed specifically for courier, express delivery and parcel services. SR5 shelves provide the flexibility to develop the interior of the vehicle into any configuration that benefits delivery operation. Combined shelving options allow the transportation of chilled, frozen and general merchandise orders in one vehicle.

Ford’s E-Transit offers up to 487.3 cubic feet of cargo space inside the high ceiling. It has an extended wheelbase configuration and a range of about 126 miles on a single charge.

The market has seen a clear advantage for EV vehicles as compared to combustion based vehicles in distribution solutions. This is one reason you’ve seen announcements from major retailers with multiple EV companies for thousands of EV vans used for grocery delivery, Krug argued.

“Adding a tri-temperature cooling solution from Phononic gives retailers a cold chain solution that eliminates the need for dry ice or other passive cooling options, as well as the high GWP figurines used in compressor tri-temp delivery vans. ,” They said.

When I installed panels on my San Jose house in the early 2000s, I was an early adopter of the current generation of solar technology, only to see a rapid decline in yield from those panels over the next 20 years.

At our latest home, we use current generation LG panels that promise to hold over 90% of their production capacity for the same amount of time. However, not only am I unable to get the Tesla batteries I ordered last year (I’ve been told I can get them by next summer), I know I’m wasting a ton of energy because of my energy consumption. Usage is unregulated.

A truly green home isn’t just solar. It has a managed energy system so you can optimize usage. But home energy management systems that work well with solar are extremely rare, and I’ve been disappointed with everything I’ve tested.

Lunar Energy, run by former Tesla executive Kunal Girotra, appears to be one of the first next-generation solar companies to focus more on electrical efficiency than generation.

Lunar Solar is an early version of an upcoming wave of companies that will rapidly branch from solar production to energy management, providing a strong ROI for their products.

This week let’s talk about how we manage electricity, and how appliances are made by moving to solar power. Then we’ll end with our product of the week: the new Dragonfly Folio from HP.

problem with solar

Solar energy is cheap. In fact, it’s free but, sadly, the technology we need to use is next to nothing. My previous installation, which was heavily subsidized by the California and US governments, still cost me about $30,000 – even after subsidies – and my current system is closer to $100,000.

The direct benefit is that my electricity bill has gone up from $700 a month to less than $50 during the summer. But winter is a different story. You see, solar energy is powered by the sun. In winter when the sun is low on the horizon, it doesn’t power the panels as much, but you still need the energy to heat the house.

Admittedly, most of my house is now heated with gas, but I would like to go completely electric. It still cut my energy bill by about two-thirds, but the solar only works during the day and when the sun comes out. So, if you don’t want to go dark at night or on cloudy days, you need some sort of alternative power source.

If you are connected to the grid without a battery, you will still lose power if the power goes out on a hot summer day (as happened to me the other day). Batteries are not only expensive, but you must also draw enough electricity to charge them and power your home during the day, increasing the need for more solar-sourced electricity.

Now if you live on-grid, you will not have to pay this every night, but only if you discharge the battery during an outage. If you go off-grid, that means you’ll need about 30% additional capacity.

But what if you also focus on improving efficiency?

Firms like Lunar Energy promise

This is where these next generation solar companies are focused: less on generating energy and more on increasing the efficiency of energy use. While Lunar Energy is working on more efficient whole-house batteries, initially their overall effort is focused more on efficiency than production.

If you can make your home more efficient, you don’t need as much solar or as many batteries. This efficiency focus works whether you are solar powered or powered from the electric grid. You can use an energy management system no matter where you source your power.

You can also potentially do things like power down your chargers when the battery they’re charging is at full capacity and only turn them back on when those batteries are below 50%. This will help the battery last longer and potentially reduce daily energy usage.

In the past, tests of the Energy Star rating system showed huge holes in their process. This manageability will also expose devices that are idle, forcing equipment manufacturers to improve their energy efficiency, and catching people who may still be gaming the system.

next generation solar devices

There are now companies like Sundanzer that have built appliances for off-grid homes over the years, but the features and capabilities of these appliances remind me of what my grandmother had in the 1960s. Manual defrost, no cold water or ice-making capabilities, limited capacity and, for the most part, nothing you’d call attractive. But they are incredibly efficient.

What I anticipate with the next generation of devices from companies focused on solar homes blends the efficiency of off-grid offerings with the capabilities and presence of the current generation of modern appliances – so we can have the features that An off-grid product we want close to efficiency.

wrapping up

Lunar Energy is one of the first generation of solar power companies to focus more on efficient use of energy than its own generation.

I expect that by the end of the decade we will see entirely new companies in the market with increasingly efficient appliances, more advanced home energy management systems, better whole-house battery solutions, and a more comprehensive approach to green energy generation and use. Will see you come

We are just at the beginning of this solar energy wave. Over the next 20 years, kitchen and home designs will change, appliances will change, and we will use AI to ensure efficient use of every watt of energy we generate. Overall, this effort should result in a significant reduction in greenhouse gas formation and a major step towards combating global climate change.

Technical Product of the Week

HP Dragonfly Folio G3

I get to review a lot of laptops over the course of a year, and the one that has consistently been my favorite is the HP Folio. This line has gone through several iterations. It started out as a consumer-focused device, went into business with the Elite Folio, which I’m used to writing this, for the launch of its successor: the HP Dragonfly Folio G3.

The Elite Folio fixed my biggest complaint with the Folio was the contrasting colors. It came in brown and burgundy, and I’m sure the ’80s wanted their color back. But the previous generation, HP went black, used updated Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and graphics, and improved the pen dock and SIM slot. With all this, the Elite Folio becomes my favorite laptop of the year.

Well, I just recently got the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 and now my old Elite Folio is sadly out of date.

HP Dragonfly Folio G3 Notebook

HP Dragonfly Folio G3 / Image Credit: HP


HP found that IT buyers just didn’t want to risk a Qualcomm product. While that chip worked fine for me—and I really appreciated the massive battery life—other users complained about it getting worse. This is due to running an x86 emulator which pulled performance from the part that was performance-constrained.

In addition, Intel has reassured IT buyers that they need vPro, although most don’t currently use that capability (Microsoft is working to make Windows work with ARM that will eventually match performance with Snapdragon). should solve the problem).

So, the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 has improved the camera, added a privacy screen option, and while it has taken a battery life hit, it’s noticeably faster (the Snapdragon part of Qualcomm leads the industry in battery life).

In short, HP took my favorite laptop and made it better, so I’m in love again, and the HP Dragonfly Folio G 3 is my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

According to a new report from Parks Associates, the home security systems market continues to grow despite concerns about false alerts.

The report noted that security system ownership is at an all-time high in many areas, with more than a third of US broadband households (36%) having home security systems and 41% of multi-dwelling unit managers with systems in their common areas. are installed. and parking garage.

“The market was stagnant, making about 20% penetration for decades,” said Yaniv Amir, president of Essence USA, which is part of the Essence Group, a global technology company.

“Over the past five to seven years, we’ve seen significant growth as security has become a part of home automation,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It reached the mid-thirties.”

The report noted that the past several years have been good for selling systems in the small and medium business market. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it explained that the spring and summer of 2020 were characterized by social and political unrest, resulting in increased concerns about safety and security.

false alert problem

According to the report, despite promising growth, accurate detection of security threats remains a problem. False alarms are a threat to user satisfaction with their systems, it maintained, with two out of three security system owners paying fines for false alarms with an average cost of about $150.

“In America, false alarms are a really big deal,” Amir said. “It causes a lot of people to turn off their alarm systems, making them nonfunctional.”

He said one way to avoid false alarms is to use artificial intelligence to trigger the alarm from a single detector. “If you have multiple sensors, an intruder is likely to hit more than one sensor, so an alert from a single sensor is likely to be a false alert,” he explained.

“More advanced systems can use facial recognition to determine whether a face belongs to someone living in a household,” he said. “More advanced technologies can also identify unusual behavior – for example the owner of the house was being attacked.”

Chris White, senior analyst at Parks, told TechNewsWorld that effective monitoring is the best way to avoid false alarms. In addition, he continued, new video and audio analytics will help.

“Device makers are increasingly using AI powered by the cloud or more powerful EDGE to analyze video and audio data collected by cameras and microphones around the residence and verify that the detected event Instead of a pet walking on the porch or branch, there is a danger in the strong wind,” he said.

AI to the rescue

Believing that better analysis will help eliminate false alerts, Mark N. Venna, president and principal analyst at SmartTech Research in San Jose, Calif., said AI will ultimately do the best job of reducing false alerts. “This would allow the cameras to ‘learn’ about a homeowner’s specific environment,” he explained.

“This technology may be integrated at the device level, but it may also surface in Wi-Fi 6e or Wi-Fi 7e routers which can contribute by dramatically reducing latency along with improved bandwidth,” They said.

IDC senior analyst Adam Wright said vendors can do things to improve smart security systems, but it is the user’s responsibility to configure the system appropriately.

“This is one of the drawbacks of adopting a do-it-yourself approach to building a home security system – setting up, setting up and configuring all the necessary rules and sequences can be cumbersome,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“An advantage of professional installers is that they can customize the security solution to the needs of the home and help the user set up the correct configuration to ensure that the system works as intended and avoid false alerts and Minimizes other disruptions,” he said.

integration headache

False warnings aren’t the only problem with home security systems. “Reliable connectivity is a big limitation,” argued Wright. Often network-connected devices become unresponsive or offline, and troubleshooting isn’t always straightforward or easy.

“Furthermore,” he added, “integration with third-party devices remains problematic. For example, dragging a video feed onto a smart display can cause a number of errors and delays that can disrupt the experience.”

Vena agreed that it’s difficult to integrate multiple brands of appliances with many existing home security systems.

“Some of the better home security systems, though not all, do a fair job of integrating devices from different manufacturers, playing an agnostic role,” he said, “but user frustrations can be high when they determine a device that needs to be installed.” He has bought. Do not operate within the home security system’s ecosystem or integrate with your Master Control app.”

He sees future security systems departing from the use of video. “I’m most optimistic about ‘Wi-Fi Sensing’ technology, which allows every Wi-Fi device in your home to use the Wi-Fi signal to determine fall detection, break-ins, and so forth. is,” he observed.

“Acoustic sensing technology can also help detect glass breaks or screams that can be used to send alerts,” he said. “These latter capabilities also have privacy benefits because they don’t use video to make these determinations, something that’s as appealing as an indoor sensor.”

DIY Monitoring

The Parks report also noted that an important new factor in the security sector is the increase in self-monitoring security systems. These self-monitoring systems send alerts to users’ phones for a low monthly fee.

“Self-monitoring has the benefit of lower monthly costs, but it also requires the homeowner to act on alert and contact authorities if a break-in or intruder is detected,” Venna said. Vena said. “It’s a significant disadvantage, because most people don’t want or can’t have their homes monitored.”

Wright said one of the biggest benefits of self-monitoring is the peace of mind that the system won’t falsely trigger a response from emergency services, which can be disruptive or costly.

“However, the disadvantage is if an alert or alarm goes undetected,” he continued. “For example, if the user is not near their phone at all times, or there is a connectivity issue with the phone that does not receive alerts. Then the incident will go unanswered which could mean that emergency services are not dispatched in time.” Huh. “

According to the report, 33% of self-monitoring security system owners told park researchers that they intended to switch to a professional monitoring service because they were not available when a security incident occurred, and that they could not take appropriate action.