Eighty-five years later school children wear GPS watches and their parents are using their own wrist watches for so much more than simply telling time.
As technology catches up with fantasy, the latest and greatest gadgets, cellphones, rides and technology seem to fit naturally into a never-ending quest to power productivity, improve health, answer the need for speed, save time, stay safe, live healthy lives and have fun doing it.
A majority of the “must have” gadgets are centered around improving already busy lives. Fortunately for everyone, there are plenty of new products to make life easier, safer and less stressful.
“Technology is embedded into our every day experiences at a much faster rate than ever before,” said Krista Bourne, president, Verizon South Central Market. “We become reliant on the latest and greatest as soon as it hits the market. With so many options available, it’s easy to find something that fits your lifestyle.”
Better Time Management
The busier we are, the more we feel the need for tools and tricks that boost productivity and aid organization – and there are lots of options.
The Apple Watch was the center of attention when it was released in April 2015. Now smart watches accompany smart phones, from Samsung to Moto. The age old wrist watch was declining in popularity as new generations looked to their phones to tell the time. However, with the advent of connected watches, the wrist accessory has made a comeback now that it allows wearers to track appointments, send and receive emails and text messages, consult their calendars and pay for lunch. The fashion component – size, color, style – isn’t lost on users, nor is the ability for parents of young children to track their offspring with the kid’s GizmoPal watch, complete with GPS and limited calling ability.
Fitbit and other fitness bands have also soared in popularity and now offer watch options. Different bands have different functions, including GPS, step, mile and heart rate tracking, as well as tracking sleep habits.
Sleep tracking functions allow users to track when they’re getting their best sleep. For Jaimesen Mapes, director of marketing, Town Square, that allows him to work in the evening, aware that his best sleep is after midnight, so he can be productive at night without sacrificing rest.
“There’s a lot more technology out there, more than ever before, that allows you to spend more time doing what you want to do as opposed to what you have to do,” said Mapes.
By way of example, Mapes uses the Apple Pen Tool to edit creative content, get proofs from advertising, make corrections, changes and additions directly to documents.
“To me, that’s awesome. Not only better for the environment because I don’t have to print anything, but it frees up time I can use to do other things,” said Mapes.
When time is of the essence, many executives have oft wished for the ability to be in two places simultaneously. Well, now they can. Apple’s Double 2 Telepresence Robot looks a bit like someone integrated Apple’s FaceTime with a Segway.
“Imagine a business executive using that if they’re doing a lot of overseas stuff or long distance conferences, or having fun with their teams. It’s a way to have a presence at all meetings where they need to be,” said Greg Eroe, general manager, The Summit Reno.
One time-saving trend that may be unique to Town Square is a salon for male grooming that offers a subscription service. For $49 a month, men can get as many haircuts and trims as they want, along with manicures and pedicures. No need to make an appointment that just has to be rescheduled if something comes up. Creative solutions such as these are part and parcel to the changing times and, while the concepts are sometimes simple, the execution is revolutionary. In many cases, consumers have proven to be willing to pay slightly higher fees for the convenience these new services can offer.
Futuristic Home Security
Technological “must haves” include innovations that can keep even the busiest life running on time, with organization and safety. New technology in smart homes, for example, can free people up to do more of what they want to do, rather than what they have to do, while providing the freedom to leave home knowing everything is safe and secure.
For those who want to monitor school age children who are home alone, there are programs that connect with smart phones and allow users to view the house inside and out: check on the dog in the yard, the kids in the house and track deliveries coming to the front door. Trusted service providers can be given a temporary security code to enter and perform work, without the home owner needing to change all the security codes afterwards.
Smart homes aren’t one size fits all. Technology now allows connectivity between devices so a smart phone can connect with a camera security system and features that control lighting, thermostats, door locks, window treatments.
Active Outside of the Office
In terms of items flying off the shelves of shops inside Town Square, there’s a trend toward fast fashion: people buying what they’ll wear to go out that night, and buying based on fit and feel rather than fashion and label.
Another type of fast fashion seen at The Summit is a line of menswear button down shirts and dress slacks created from fabrics that allow them to double as yoga clothes. Imagine going to a business meeting in dress slacks and heading out immediately after to yoga class.
For those heading out to ski, mountain bike or run, who want to record their athletic endeavors, the DJI Phantom 4 camera drone will record it all. Throw the drone up into the air and it will follow, creating a video – your own personal paparazzi that you can easily switch on or off.
Other personal fitness items range from wireless blood pressure scanners to fitness apps, each designed to help users live healthier lives.
KitchenAid is coming out with a line of blenders that rival the Vitamix for the health-conscious who want to mix healthy smoothies. For those heading out into nature, Orvis has come out with the Helios 2, a feather light fly fishing rod with the strength of an I-beam, a steel beam used in civil engineering and construction for their strength and stability.
The Suunto Ambit GPS watches, another iteration of the fitness watch, include two models, one for tracking speed, pace, distance and elevation gain for runners, and another for sports like kayaking, mountain and road biking.
What About the Flying Cars?
When drones aren’t being flung into the air to follow athletics or busy delivering packages for Amazon, they may someday, in the not too distant future, be carrying humans.
This past January, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a Chinese company called Ehang presented 184, a drone equipped with a pod capable of carrying a human. So far the range isn’t great – battery life lasts about 10 miles or 23 minutes – but the cool factor arises from the ability to use a smart phone and an app to program an autonomous aerial vehicle to transport a human.
Tom Wilczek, Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) industry specialist in aerospace and defense, spoke with the Ehang COO about eventually flying the 184 in the United States – and testing in Nevada. Ehang and GOED were able to execute an agreement in principle to work together through the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) testing and licensing requirements.
“The key parameter of the 184 is that you don’t have to be a pilot,” said Wilczek. Step into the comfortable, padded interior, plug in your iPad and the app comes up. GPS knows where you are – you provide your destination. “You don’t have to pilot [the drone].”
Which is both good and bad in the FAA’s view. All of the technology already exists to operate the 184. It’s the licensing and regulatory concerns that will take time as the FAA looks at completely new modes of transportation. Human pilots have to be certified. Certification for technology is at least already being considered via the small unmanned aerial vehicles already testing in Nevada.
Flying on Land
So when can the general public take a ride in a drone? Not quite yet; the FAA still needs to test, license and regulate. But there are different ways of flying. Like keeping a vehicle on the ground, and going fast.
New luxury cars are creating turbo engines that are more powerful, fuel efficient and have lower carbon emissions that are environmentally friendly, said Carolynn Towbin, chairman/dealer principal, Towbin Automotive.
They’ve also got improved driver handling with updated electronics for traction, braking and anti-slip control.
“And we’re talking about that because when mentioning features with high performance cars like Ferrari, what people are most interested in is increasing horsepower and under three second zero to 60 acceleration,” said Towbin. “These are people really interested in the performance of the car. They want to go 400 miles per hour.”
So how does a driver stay safe in a high performance car capable of doing 200 miles per hour plus? Technology helps. All models of Ferrari come with Apple CarPlay, which connects the iPhone’s functions with the car’s built-in display to provide functionality without significant distraction.
Ferrari is also integrating racing technology with street performance to produce a combination of electronic traction, handling, braking and safety features among the most advanced in the industry. That’s a good thing, considering the newest Ferrari model, the GTC4Lusso which features four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering and the capability of going 218 miles per hour.
Don’t feel like doing the driving? Autonomous vehicles are being tested in Nevada and a newcomer to the scene, Faraday Future, broke ground on its Southern Nevada plant in April. A spokesperson for the company said principals see an incredible opportunity to deliver a new age of mobility driven solely by electric vehicles, with autonomous functionality, seamless connectivity and electric range being the key features driving demand for such vehicles.
Faraday Future vehicles will be autonomous ready, electric vehicles with extreme technology capable of such things as alerting the driver before a trip to traffic issues and alternative routes, and determining preferences within the vehicle based on use.
Make Time for Fun
Aside from the productivity enhancements of technology wearables, the safety features provided by smart homes and the exciting changes to transportation, entertainment options are also getting an upgrade. While movies and shows aren’t disappearing anytime soon, new options for downtime are opening all the time.
One of the newer offerings is Top Shot Las Vegas, a non-lethal simulated shooting experience for locals, tourists, executives and families – pretty much everybody. The facility is unique in that it’s more than a classic gun range, and users learn about gun safety and handle actual guns and assault rifles with specially made non-lethal rounds making the experience safe for even those new to weapon handling.
Top Shot provides corporate team building opportunities and offers everything from simulated shooting with zombies to training for law enforcement.
Parent company Ultimate Training Munitions or UTM, originally produced non-lethal ammunition for military training use, the most realistic training possible without live ammo. Military and law enforcement can use the technology to learn how to clear a room, go through a shoot out, address an active shooter or a robbery scenario, with a gun that operates like live fire with shell ejection, recoil and simulated noise. The projectile is safe – a laser – and results register on a screen.
“We’ve found some of the major security people in Las Vegas come down and want to try it out,” said Fergus Connon, director, Top Shot Las Vegas. “They plan to use the facilities to train their personnel because it’s the closest reality can get to the real situation.”
Another, possibly less intense range experience, depending on who you go with, is the newly open facility, Topgolf.
“Topgolf is a driving range mixed with an elevated entertainment experience,” said Gilbert Medina, A/V manager. Where typical driving ranges are all about hitting a ball into the outfield, Topgolf features specific games and microchip-equipped golf balls that track how close players come to specific targets. In the signature game, players score by hitting microchipped balls into any target, and there’s more than one way to play. Team building and corporate events can reserve meeting rooms and golf bays.
From fun to functionality today’s toys and technologies may be gadgets, cars or apps, but they share a sense of longing for “seamless connectivity” between health and fitness, safety and speed, productivity and fun and busy work and home lives.