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Can tech simplify a person’s life? In our evolving digital world, anything is possible

Trackers, buttons, trays, and something to let Fido come and go as he pleases are all coming to market

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Photo (c) Gary Guthrie
During ConsumerAffairs’ trip to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we were reminded that the cornucopia of consumer tech gets larger every day. Whatever a consumer wants can be had. For consumers who aren’t all that into tech but merely want devices that will simplify their lives, they’re in luck, too.

Here’s a quick rundown of products ConsumerAffairs thought hit close to that simplicity target.

One-button tech

A gadget that is literally a button? Yep, not a box or a gadget that sits on a table, but a small, round “smart button solution with endless possibilities.” It’s called Flic, and the brains behind it might be onto something.

The company claims a user can control thousands of devices and services like Sonos streamers and e-lightbulbs. As an example, with one push of the button, a user could start their favorite playlist on Spotify; with two clicks, they can turn on the lights; and with three button pushes, they can close the blinds.

Tray tech

If you’re a consumer who likes doing their personal internet-of-things from the bed or sofa, ConsumerAffairs found a tray -- the Intelashelf -- that could be right for you. 

With the product, a person can charge their (Wireless Qi compatible) phone, plug into two USB connections, access a holder to put their drink in, use two wireless speakers on each side of the shelf, fold the tray up or down, and slide the tray into the crease beneath a mattress or cushion. Before long, consumers will have access to a video projector add-on that pairs with the built-in wireless speakers and works in parallel with intelligent smart home assistant products.

Someone who’s on bedrest or a college student with limited space in their dorm room might be perfect candidates for the tray.

Where’s my stuff?

From bicycles to guns, it seems like there’s been ways to lock things forever. But what about all those devices we have in our lives these days? How do we track the whereabouts of all of those?

ConsumerAffairs happened by the informu booth at CES 2020 and found Mu Tag, what co-founder Lang Mei claimed is the world’s smallest loss prevention device. The device uses a rechargeable Bluetooth smart tag that users can attach to any personal item so that they can track it via an app.

The Mu Tags on display at CES and at the company’s Indiegogo site also came in sets, so a consumer can tag their hearts out across their collection of devices for as little as $30 per.

No more going home to let the dog out would be nice

Pet owners can often be away from home when it’s time to let in or take out their pet. Running home, letting them out, and running back wherever they were can be a hassle. If you’re someone who fits that description, having a way to open and close your sliding glass door so your pooch or kitty can go outside would be nice, wouldn’t it?

If so, say hello to Wayzn, an automatic, app-controlled pet door with added security features that can easily be installed on any sliding glass door.

The biggest benefit for the consumer? “Freedom for yourself and your pet, too,” Adam Smithline, the co-founder of Wayzn, told ConsumerAffairs. He also pointed out that Wayzn doubles as a metal sliding bar that can keep intruders out. 

There’s a bunch of consumers who think the product is worth their investment. Close to 1,000 of the units have been backed on the company’s Indiegogo site.

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