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Technovator XE: Wireless Device Charging

September 14, 2015 Comments off

Technovator XE ProductI recently had the opportunity to interview Technovator CEO, Ivan Chuba about his new wireless charging technology solution, known as XE. The solution consists of a device case, a charging base station, and an app that handles the connection between the two devices.

This is a transcript of that conversation.

1. Can you tell us a little about you, your team and the company?

I have been actively engaged in programming and electronics for over 17 years, but familiarity with the computer (the legendary ZX Spectrum) and soldering happened early, professionally for more than 10 years. As I remember myself I always like to create something new. My first creations were power supply unit and detector radio receiver, toy car with engines from the tape recorder. First programs were calculator, of course and small games.
I began to observe the development of hardware startups practically with the appearance of crowd funding platform – Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Two years ago I became co-founder and CTO of startup Concepter, one of the most famous products of external flash for smartphones. The idea of creation of new project was appeared a year ago, but I understood that the existing team couldn’t implement new project due to many factors. I gathered a team Technovator who share with me my ideas and ready to new achievements.

2. What motivated your team to develop this technology (Wireless Energy Transfer), how did it all begin?

With possibilities of wireless transmission of electricity I’ve faced 17 years ago, collecting a radio detector receiver. I have often observed how many users often look for a charger cable for smartphones. Moreover, the number of devices increases and all require a power or charger. After this observations – idea of a wireless power transmission creation appeared. A search showed that no existing solutions and technologies.
The first few months of development I have studied materials and different theories and tested features. By the time I realized on how many all is real and what qualification required for engineers who have to bring my assistance. As a result we were looking for engineers who previously addicted to electronics and at least conducted experiments with wireless transmission of electricity and understand the capabilities and solutions. So Roman and Vladimir joined our team Technovator with a good theoretical and practical level in electronics.

3. Who are your competitors and what’s radically new about your solution compared to existing competitors?

There are already companies that work in direction of wireless power transmission, but each team works under own technology and with own specific. I think it’s too early to compare, because they and we do not have finished product. If you compare the prototypes, we have a fundamentally different scheme of work, built on the unique transmitter and receiver.

4. What advantages does your XE product provide to consumers?

Our technology is fully safe for people and all living; the transmitters can be placed in all areas of your home or office, where most of time a user spends with his/her Smartphone. As a result, smartphone is always fully charged, regardless of activity of its use.

5. Is this technology patented?

We constantly improve our technology, changes are inevitable. We have already begun to prepare documents for patents.

6. Please describe the design features and tell us which mobile devices you can use with XE.

Our system consists of two parts: transmitter and receiver. The receiver is an independent module that can be integrated in any device. Firstly, we plan to release case for Iphone 6/6+, and further models. Also we are considering possibilities for integration into the case for other manufacturers.

7. Is this technology safe for consumers health in daily use?

Our technology is fully safe for people, animals, environment and surrounding electronic devices. This technology is originally designed in accordance to requirements of health safety. We have already conducted required tests.

8. Have you received any certificate or confirmation of the safety of this technology?

We are still planning to conduct additional professional researches and tests that would consumers have full confidence in their security. Also we are going to obtain the corresponding certificates.

9. On what distance is possible to charge mobile devices and what is the maximum number of devices can be charged at the same time?

We have reached a distance of 5 meters (15 feet). And we still work on the improvement of efficiency and size reduction, so we do not plan to increase the distance at this moment, but in future, of course. At the same time you can charge up to 2-3 devices.

10. Can you tell us about the actual efficiency and the charging time of the mobile device using the XE system?

Current tests show high efficiency, the obtained figures will be announced later. You can view the calculated indexes in a table below:

iPhone 6/iPhone 6s

iPhone 6 Plus/iPhone 6s Plus

Smartphone battery capacity

1810

mAh

2915

mAh

Average wireless power transfer, max

2.5

W

2.5

W

Average time to full recharge of phone battery by wired charging

1.81

h

2.915

h

Average time to full recharge of phone battery by wireless charging

4

h

6

h

11. How is your startup funded?

Our project is financed by our own resources, but we are going to attract additional funding for our further research and development. Implementation of this project will give great prospects for the electronics industry development.

12. Do you plan to improve the charging efficiency or the distance and what are the prospects of its development ?

We plan to improve our technology, to increase a distance, to reduce the size and maximize efficiency. Today, there are many devices around us that require wireless charging.

13. What’s your opinion on how your technology will affect mobile industry development?

I believe that our technology will influence on final devices, they can be made more compact with small accumulator without connectors.

14. Are you going to expand the scope of this technology in the future? If yes, in what areas?

The potential of technology lies in integration of receiver into devices. As a result, the devices will no longer require power connector leading to size reduction of the devices. You can use this technology in all areas that related to electricity and charging.

 

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Quiller: Your private Journal App (Review)

August 12, 2013 Comments off

app_iconQuiller (App)
Journaling App for iPad
From Passion to Purpose, LLC.
$1.99 Apple App Store
Follow: @quillerapp

Remember Doogie Howser, MD. pecking away at the end of every episode in the obscure blue-screened word processor to record the day’s thoughts, hopes, and dreams? Sure you do. Primitive wasn’t it? Well, if Doogie inspired you to begin journaling back then but you never did anything about it, let Quiller bring that inspiration into the 21st Century as an iPad app.

When questioned, something to the tune of 85% of all people want to write for publication but sadly, or maybe happily for writers like me, fewer than five percent ever become published in any kind of forum. But you don’t have aspire to be the next Hemingway or James Joyce to enjoy putting your own thoughts down onto electronic paper or into an electronic journal.

You, like many others, can journal for the therapeutic value or for posterity. But whatever your reason for doing it, Quiller can make it easy–far easier than using a word processor or Big Chief tablet. If you know what a Big Chief tablet is, bless you. If not, it has nothing to do with what you call a tablet today. This one is made of paper and has lined pages. I’m pretty sure that it was the substrate onto which many novels and journals were written. I digress.

Quiller is the new genre of journaling. It is a prompt-driven journaling program that helps you collect your thoughts, navigate the app, and even apply an emotion (via emoticon) to the day.

You can create multiple journals, each with a different look, and you can password protect them too–each with a different password, if you prefer. This also means that if you share a single iPad in your family, each of you can have your own password-protected journal. How do you know which journal is yours? You engrave your name on it. Nice.

Figure 1: Creating a new journal.

Figure 1: Creating a new journal.

Oh, and if you forget your journal password, you can have it reset via email, so that you never get locked out of your journal.

To understand what’s meant by “prompt-driven,” refer to Figure 1 that shows you what a new journal looks like when you open it for the first time.

Figure 2: Starting your new journal.

Figure 2: Starting your new journal.

As you can see from Figure 2, there are more prompts once you open your journal and begin or continue writing. My daughter left me a message back in June. Yes, I’ve been a bad boy in not getting this review finished months ago. Apologies all around. Better late than never.

To use the journal, simply follow the on screen prompts. It really couldn’t be any easier than that.

Figure 3: Your Personal Stats Page.

Figure 3: Your Personal Stats Page.

There is a very interesting additional detail that the designers put into Quiller: Personal Stats. To get to your personal stats, go back to the home area by tapping the Home icon in the app. Now tap the Person icon at the top of the screen to see a page similar to that in Figure 3.

The other very cool feature shown on this page is that you can export your journal entries as PDF or TXT files. This is an extremely valuable feature if you ever decide to publish or self-publish your writings.

Quiller, at $1.99, is not the least expensive app on the market but it’s certainly one of the finest that I’ve seen at any price. No ads to bug you or distract you. That’s worth 99 cents all by itself. Remember that any “free” apps that you get will probably have ads and those annoying “In App” purchase prompts.

Remember Quiller is prompt-driven not ad-driven.

Why it’s frugal: Quiller is a quality app that helps you get your thoughts down on “paper.” You might not save a bundle of money by using it but if your writing is good and you stick with it, you could become a published writer, if that’s your thing. Buying a quality product that doesn’t constantly tap you to buy something else is worth something.

Since you can create multiple journals and password protect them individually, you only have to buy Quiller once. That’s pretty frugal.

The only features missing from Quiller are the ability to allow you to write with a stylus–or something other than the keyboard and the ability to embed pictures or graphics either from external sources or from your own scribbles.

Review: 9/10

Recommendation: Buy it and write, write, write.

The Diamond Multimedia PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit (Review)

August 12, 2013 1 comment

Pic1PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit
Live video security camera hardware
Diamond Multimedia
$119.99 Retail/$94.66 Amazon (Prime)
Product Spotlight Video

Like all Diamond Multimedia products, the PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit (PlugnView) is a high quality, low cost product. Diamond succeeds in putting a lot of ‘bang for the buck’ into every one of its devices. And you know that you have a Diamond Multimedia product because it has all the familiar design features: small footprint, abundant ventilation slots, highly visible labels, status lights, attention to details such as furniture-protecting rubber feet, and high impact plastic construction.

Diamond Multimedia (DMM) puts a lot of thought into its products. The PlugnView is standard high quality fare for a DMM product, which is worth noting here.

Pic2Included in the kit is everything you need except the apps, which are available through Apple’s App Store or through Google Play. You get the PlugnView camera, a HP500AV Home Plug Adapter, a Quick Start guide, and a three-foot Ethernet cable.

DMM also has a reputation for making products that are very easy to setup and use. The PlugnView follows that time-honored tradition too.

To setup the PlugnView, attach the Ethernet cable to the HP500AV, plug in the Ethernet cable’s free end directly into an open slot in your router or into an open slot in your network switch, and plug in the HP500AV to electric power. The HP500AV has to access your network via the Ethernet cable and then it attaches to your PlugnView camera via wireless. All three lights should be green, when properly connected.

Plug in the PlugnView camera to electric power and aim it at whatever you want to view. The camera swivels left and right on its base plus you can adjust the vertical (up and down) pitch as well. These adjustments are manual. You can’t move (pan) the camera electronically to scan an area.

Next, download the PlugnView app from the Apple App Store or, if you have an Android device, from the Google Play Store.

Open the app, tap the Plus (+) button to add a camera. On the next screen, select the way you want to add your camera to the app: via QR code on the bottom of the camera, local network search, or manually. I suggest that you attempt to add your camera first by searching. If that doesn’t work, then scan the QR code on the bottom of the PlugnView. Finally, if those two fail, add it manually. But one should work and adding manually is a pain because of the length of the ID and the password. You can change the password later in the app.

Figure 1: A live video view using the iPhone PlugnView app.

Figure 1: A live video view using the iPhone PlugnView app.

A local network search should find your camera within a few seconds. Once it does, you’ll see the cryptic identification code for your camera. Tap the found camera to edit its properties. Name your camera. I named mine “camera”. Leave the Camera ID as is. Enter the camera password from the bottom of the camera. Be careful to type it in exactly as you see it. Tap Save when done. Tap the Done button when your camera light in the app turns green.

Tap the camera that you just setup. You’ll see a “connecting to camera” message and then in a few seconds, you’ll see what the camera sees. You can also take pictures by tapping the camera icon on the screen. See Figure 1.

If you tap the Edit button (upper left corner), you can change the configuration of your camera, such as enhanced night vision, frame rate, resolution, and a few other details.

I suggest changing the frequency from 60Hz to 50Hz for better viewing inside your home. 60Hz probably works better outside. I also like the highest resolution and best quality picture available. You’ll have to experiment a bit for your surroundings and lighting conditions. Once you change something, tap the Apply button for it to take effect and then evaluate the results.

The PlugnView has pretty good resolution for the cost. Remember that this camera is not high definition video capable. It is what it is, which is an inexpensive, easy to setup, easy to use security camera. If you need something with higher resolution, sound, faster frame capture, and a panning camera, then you’ll have to spend a lot more money. For around $100, I doubt you’ll find anything better.

The PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit will keep you aware of what’s going on inside or outside your home. The PC software that you can download from DMM’s site is quite good. You can monitor multiple cameras at once with it but the app is a quick view used for occasional monitoring from your mobile device.

My overall impression and evaluation of the PlugnView Home Monitoring Kit is favorable. I like the ease of setup, the product quality, and the mobile app combination.

Why it’s frugal: The PlugnView is inexpensive but it’s more than price. If you need a decent quality home security camera, it fits that bill. You have night vision that is quite good, live video, snapshots, and good resolution. It is a good value and a good product.

Review: 8/10

Recommendation: Buy it with an understanding of its limitations and its features.

Diamond Multimedia Wireless Range Extender and Router WR300NR (Review)

August 11, 2013 Comments off

NR_2Wireless Extender and Router WR300NR
Wireless Router – Bridge – Repeater – Access Point
Diamond Multimedia
$49.99 Retail/$39.99 Amazon (Prime)
Product Spotlight Video

Diamond Multimedia offers a variety of wireless devices to extend your wireless networks, provide additional security to your wireless users, and to provide some advanced home networking features at a very low cost. The WR300NR (NR) is a sophisticated but inexpensive 4-in-1 wireless networking device. It can act as a router (default), a bridge, a wireless access point (hotspot), and a range extender. You can check out my review of a similar 3-in-1 product (range extender, bridge, wireless access point) from Diamond Multimedia–the WR300NSI Wireless Range Extender for comparison.

This review is not a comparison of the two products but rather a focus on the WR300NR’s router capability, which generally sets it apart from the WR300NSI.

The NR provides you with an extra layer of security as a router that you really need when using public Internet connections such as those in hotel rooms. You can read elsewhere about how non-secure public WiFi hotspots are. The NR protects you by adding a barrier or Firewall between you and the outside world.

NR_1Setup is easy with the NR.

To start, plug in the device into any standard electric socket. Use the included RJ-45 network cable to plug into the LAN side of the device and the other end into the network card (NIC) in your laptop or desktop computer.

Restart the computer that’s connected to the NR or disable/enable the NIC to refresh its connection so that the NR supplies your computer with an IP address.

Open your favorite Internet browser application (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc.) and point it to http://192.168.10.253.

When prompted, enter admin for the username and admin for the password.

The initial screen opens for you. Note the navigation area on the left side of the screen. See Figure 1 for reference.

Figure1

Figure 1: WR300NR Main Setup Screen

Use the included instruction booklet and the Wizard selection from the web page’s navigation menu to setup your NR. Router is the default setting. Click NEXT to continue.

If you’re setting up the NR to be your Internet gateway, then you’ll need to refer to your Internet provider’s documentation to tell you what kind of connection you have so that you can set your NR’s router mode: Fixed or Static IP Address, Dynamically assigned IP Address (DHCP), or an ADSL dialup (PPoE).

You can also setup your SSID, channel (Auto is fine), and security mode (Disabled, WPA, WPA2, or WPA/WPA2 mixed). I suggest WPA2.

NOTE: Do NOT leave your router in Disabled mode (default). Always use security on your home network so that passersby, neighbors, and criminals can’t piggyback onto your connection and potentially get you into trouble by downloading or uploading illegal files or participating in other illegal behavior at your expense.

That’s all there is to it. Basically one step with a few subparts. Click SAVE & REBOOT to save your settings and reboot the device.

For advanced users, there are many tweaks and settings to alter. You can configure the Firewall to meet your needs, change the Wireless settings, and edit just about every possible parameter.

Don’t worry about messing up or configuring yourself out of the device completely, since you can always reset the device to factory defaults by pressing the RESET button with an ink pen located on one side of the NR. Remember that if you do this, all of your changes will be gone. You will also have to reconnect to the device as described above by pointing your browser to http://192.168.10.253 and using username admin and password admin to return to the configuration screen.

Also, you’ll want to change the username and password for your router from the default. You don’t want to leave it as admin/admin. To change the username and password, click Management in the navigation pane. Why do this? Because if someone attempts to hack into your network, the first username and password combination he’ll try is admin/admin.

Remember to change the username and password if you travel and have to reset the NR. For $40, you could always buy two: One for home and one for travel.

The NR is a very capable router and firewall. For the money, it might be the best I’ve seen. There are many devices in this group from which to choose but none as small (2.9 x 1.9 x 1.6 inches), as feature-filled, or as competitively priced as the WR300NR.

Why it’s frugal: You could spend more for a larger device with the same or similar features and pay a lot (2-3X) more but why would you when the NR has everything you need? For $40 and free shipping from Amazon (For Prime members), it doesn’t make sense to buy anything else.

Rating: 9/10

Recommendation: Buy it. Use it at home and take it with you on the road. 

Overcoming the barriers of going global through cloud and mobile technologies

August 6, 2013 1 comment

going_globalIn a previous post, “Transforming your company with cloud, mobile and MSPs“, I stated that these technologies level the playing field for companies wishing to break into a global marketplace. And it’s true, it does but barriers still exist, although the barriers are far lower than they were prior to the new “cloud revolution”. One of those barriers is expertise. Technology expertise, or the lack of that expertise actually, prevents many entrepreneurs and existing companies from taking that big global leap. There’s an excellent article by John Mason,  General Manager, Midmarket Business, IBM, on this very topic titled, “When Small Businesses use Cloud and Mobile to Go Global.

In the article, John describes the relationship between cloud and mobile technologies and how companies can harness these to launch their businesses on a global scale.

The problem that entrepreneurs face in their global business quest is that there is a clear disconnect between the technology and implementation of that technology towards a new market strategy. In other, more simple terms, there are no clear cut road maps to making that transition.

But it’s not all gloom and doom for the would-be global entrepreneur. Help is available.

In fact, John’s group at IBM can help with that. He speaks from a position of knowledge, authority, and history on the topic of global business and global opportunity. IBM, after all, since its official founding in 1911, was one of the first, if not the first, international (global) technology company. Additionally, it was also IBM that pioneered the technologies that we now refer to as “cloud computing”.

The underlying technologies might not interest you as a business owner or global business entrepreneur but what you need to know is that to overcome the remaining barriers to global business, you need a company, and its partners, behind you that blazed the global business trail.

But how can cloud computing and mobile technologies help launch your business into the global business arena?

John gives multiple examples in his article of how it works. For example, he states, “More and more small farmers are today harnessing the power of mobile to help them connect to agricultural services, information and markets. With a few taps, farmers in remote areas can obtain information about the optimum time to plant their seeds, the right way to keep pests at bay, or the best market in which to sell their crops.”

The keywords in his example are, “the best market in which to sell their crops.” What is the best market? Domestic? Foreign? If it’s foreign, the farmer has to connect to those markets. He has to schedule delivery, negotiate pricing, and then deliver the crops. How does a small farmer make that transition?

The answer is technology.

To overcome the barriers, you have to engage expertise that you don’t have. You have to find someone who’s been there and done that. And you have to find someone who’s done it many times before–successfully.

Moving to a global marketplace has never been easier but there are still barriers. You need a partner who knows the way.

IBM for Midsize Business

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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Categories: Articles, Cloud, IBM, Mobile

Transforming your company with cloud, mobile and MSPs

August 6, 2013 1 comment

coffeeI just watched a video where IBM and two IBM partners discuss Managed Service Providers (MSPs), cloud, mobile, and transforming your business with technology. The video is part of a new IBM series targeting SMBs and demonstrating how cloud, mobile, and their MSP partners can transform or launch your business for very little money. They call the series Coffee and Conversation. It’s a casual and relaxed conversation over coffee about technological transformation. The two companies represented in this first video are CloudView and WakaDigital.

The message of the video is clear: MSPs can help transform or launch your business for little money and give you the global exposure and agility required to succeed in today’s market.

It sounds simple and it is simple.

Personally, if I were to launch a new business today, I would not lease office space. I wouldn’t buy or even lease a bunch of hardware for my own server room. I certainly wouldn’t go into massive and crushing debt to acquire the hardware, software, support staff, maintenance contracts, and the myriad of costly services and personnel required to run the business.

I would work out of my home, comfortably in my home office, and use an MSP and cloud technologies to empower me to:

  • Appear as a larger company.
  • Quickly spin up a usable computing infrastructure.
  • Enable my customers to interact with me via mobile and cloud technologies.
  • Allow customers to purchase my products and services securely online.
  • Be everywhere at once.

Now I know that sounds far-fetched but it isn’t. Finding the right business partners is essential to your success. Your MSP is your business partner. It provides everything you need to run your business from a technology perspective.

All you have to worry about is how to manage your supply chain, contingent workers, and accounting. But guess what? IBM has a solution for all of those problems too. Their partners cover the gamut of every needed service and possible line of support that you need.

As Leila Ashley (CloudView) says in the video, this new agile business model “levels the playing field” for SMBs who need to compete with hungry start-ups, as well as, established, well-funded enterprises. Ms. Ashley goes on to zero in on an important aspect of this new business model by stating that they can launch an e-commerce site in a day’s time instead of a week. What she’s telling you is that you can effectively have an idea at 8AM and realize that dream by 5PM the same day.

You don’t have to wait for proof of concepts, ordering new hardware, procuring software, installing, patching, and updating any operating systems or applications. You have an agile, automated solution waiting for you with very few obstacles and very low entry barriers.

Business is different today than it was even ten years ago. Cloud technologies and agile systems allow us to respond to changing business needs, to test new products and new markets without a heavy capital investment, and without long delays. We can now respond within the windows of opportunity that present themselves to us. That is true agility.

And what about businesses that can’t make the transition?

Denise Garth (IBM) makes an excellent point in the video by observing that businesses either will transform or possibly become irrelevant.

Forty years ago, you weren’t relevant if you didn’t have a Yellow Pages ad. Ten years ago, you weren’t relevant if you didn’t have a website. Today and tomorrow, you might become irrelevant if you can’t meet the challenges of a transformed business. Sure, some might say that business is business and people don’t change but, on the other hand, technology has transformed the customer into a technologically-connected buyer. That’s relevant to any business.

Businesses must transform to meet the needs of the new customer paradigm. Online, agile, cloud-oriented, connected, mobile, and social media-savvy is the new business paradigm.

IBM’s MSP partners can help you transform your business. Level the playing field by contacting IBM and its partners and go have a cup of coffee.

While you’re sipping on that hot cup of bean juice, take a look at how other companies just like yours are being transformed.

IBM for Midsize Business

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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