EDITORIAL: CES 2016; smart belts and even smarter fridges

smart beltThis editorial was first released on Monday 11th January. Contactless Intelligence Weekly News Review Editorial – Week 02, 2016:

First of all, a belated Happy New Year to our readers and subscribers. This time of year all eyes turn towards Las Vegas and the wealth of useful (?) and amazing (??) technological achievements built into everyday items that we will most definitely be using in the near, near future (???). Or so we are lead to believe.

Some are unusual, but I can see them taking root in the family home. For instance, the Smart Fridge from Samsung coupled with a MasterCard app called Groceries that allows the owners to order new food items while actually standing in front of the fridge. “Groceries”, claims MasterCard, “will redefine the family grocery shopping experience by allowing households to share, build, manage and modify their grocery lists and shopping carts throughout the week”.

Groceries was developed in partnership between MasterCard Labs and Samsung and will come preloaded in Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator. At launch, consumers will be able to shop and select their needed items and favourite brands from leading online grocer and key integration partner FreshDirect, and ShopRite, the largest supermarket cooperative in the country with more than 250 stores in the Northeast. Fridge plus the Groceries app will only be available in the States for the moment but I can see it catching on in Europe. This is a potential winner. See the fridge is empty, order via the in-fridge app and the groceries will be delivered to your door.

Alternatively at CES we can move into the real ‘contactless’ technology sphere of in-car gesture commands delivered by BMW’s AirTouch platform. BMW describes their system as “Intuitive control of entertainment, navigation and communication functions using simple gestures made with a flat hand. AirTouch allows the display in a vehicle to be operated like a touchscreen without actually having to make contact with the surface. Sensors record the hand movements in the area between the central console and the interior mirror. This enables drivers or passengers to change the focus on the surface of the large panorama display. Simple confirmation selects the relevant menu item or activates an icon.”

As a driver, I am aware of the amount of hand gestures that happen while navigating traffic on the roads but not all of them are going to work a panoramic display. Still, I mention it as gesture movements have been suggested in the past as the way forward for payments. Let’s see how BMW gets on with this new field first.

My CES coverage last year was concerned with the smart belt that was being launched at CES 2015. I was pretty sarcastic about it as a wearable that was unlikely to catch on. Once again, what do I know? This year we have the WELT – a ‘smart wearable healthcare belt’ from Samsung.

WELT is a smart-belt that looks like a normal belt, but offers users a more ‘discreet way of using smart sensor technology’ to monitor their health. WELT is capable of recording the user’s waist size, eating habits and the number of steps taken, as well as time spent sitting down. It then sends this data to a specially-designed app for analysis, where it is digested (like what i did there?) and a range of personalized healthcare and weight management plans are then discharged…

The belt may indeed be discreet but anyone in a relationship knows that it’s the job of your partner to tell you that you are fat and unhealthy – I don’t need a smart-arsed belt to nag me about it. I could burn calories and get some exercise by going shopping for the food.

Oh, wait a minute – Samsung and MasterCard have already got that covered.

Finally, we still have a little ‘wriggle’ room in terms of timing for any companies looking to enter the CMA’s for 2016 but we ask that you put your nominations in before the end of this month. Further details on categories can be found by following this link and the link to the nomination form can be found on the same page. I’ve said it before but time is really running out now – so please, act soon to avoid disappointment!

And, of course, if it is not already in your calendars – please note the date of the 2016 Contactless Intelligence Conference, taking place in London on April 26th and 27th. Registration is now open so please check on the Contactless Intelligence site for more information.

Steve Atkins
Contactless Intelligence

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Categories: Editorial

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