Tech Solutions

5 tech releases to help you worker smarter, not harder

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

From the most useful tools and gadgets to have when you’re working on the go to futuristic boardroom projectors, here are the technological wonders that could help you work smarter, not harder.

Three of the latest technology devices showing storage, thermal imaging and qwerty keyboard

1. Typo - QWERTY keyboard iPhone case

If you're a BlackBerry purist that yearns for the tactile feel of QWERTY keys from the pre-iPhone days or if you're someone who still hasn't quite come to terms with typing on a touchscreen, then here's a unique accessory that essentially brings the BlackBerry keyboard to the iPhone.

Typo is a slimline Bluetooth keyboard case that snaps onto your iPhone and promises to bring back the smartphone typing experience of yesteryear right down to the backlit keys. As the name suggests, Typo aims to make, well, typos a thing of the past by providing a butter-smooth, tactile typing experience that also doubles as a handy protective case for your iPhone.

The nice thing about Typo is that you are left with more screen real estate when typing out emails and text messages as the iPhone's on-screen keyboard is no longer needed.

It also comes with its own built in rechargeable battery, so it shouldn't have any impact on the iPhone's battery life when in use.

2. Mophie Space pack - Additional storage for your iPhone

If you're an iPhone owner you’ve more than likely maxed out your storage at some point. With Apple unlikely to reverse its stance on external storage anytime soon, Mophie has come to the table with a unique all-in-one protective case solution that marries both a backup battery and additional storage. The Mophie Space Pack comes in either 16GB or 32GB versions along with a 1700mAh battery which should provide up to 100 percent additional battery.

The additional storage can be used to store photos, videos, songs, documents and even email attachments. Another nice feature is the ability to automatically backup photos and videos stored on your camera roll to the case's storage. Files can be accessed and managed using the Space app with the ability to drag and drop files from a PC via USB.

The case itself is quite streamlined and doesn't add a great deal of bulk to your iPhone, while still offering a decent amount of protection from bumps and scratches. It's not perfect as you can't use the extra storage to install apps and the starting price is fairly steep at RRP USD$150. Still, the Space Pack might just be a worthy investment for space conscious iPhone users.

3. FLIR ONE - Thermal imaging for your iPhone

Military-grade thermal imaging technology will finally be accessible to regular civilians and it arrives in the form of an iPhone protective case. After sliding your iPhone 5 or 5s into the FLIR shell, your iPhone's camera can be used to display a live thermal image of the world, letting you see in the dark and observe the relative temperatures of virtually any object, humans or animals. With the ability to see what the naked eye can’t, the FLIR thermal imaging smartphone case can provide a visual image of minute temperature differences, observe invisible heat sources, compare relative temperatures and even see through smoke.

This could be a handy tool for a mixture of small businesses including electricians and plumbers. For example, thermal imaging can be used for finding the source of leaks or fixing insulation problems in homes. FLIR effectively uses two cameras to produce its thermal magic and is clever enough to recognise and label humans in real time as they are scanned in the environment, making it easier to tell what you're looking at.

The case features a built-in battery that can power the thermal imaging camera for up to two hours and can also be used to charge your iPhone. While no local release information was provided at the show, the FLIR ONE is expected to go on sale later this year in America with a recommended retail price of RRP US$350.

4. Airtame - Beam your PC to multiple displays 

Wirelessly streaming your PC to a projector or television is fraught with compatibility issues and hit and miss results. While Apple nailed it with AirPlay, the streaming capabilities are limited to Macs and iOS devices. Enter Airtame, which lets you stream your PC, Linux or Mac to a television, projector or monitor wirelessly, and also allows you to beam that PC signal to multiple screens simultaneously making it easy to show content to your friends or colleagues.

The PC signal can be duplicated or alternatively you can extend your desktop wirelessly to get more workspace and you can even share your screen to other notebooks so you aren't just limited to projectors and televisions. The demos shown at CES looked virtually lag free even while beaming to multiple displays simultaneously in HD.

The setup is as simple as plugging in the dongle into a HDMI port and power is delivered via the televisions USB port so you won't need access to a dedicated power outlet. Once the Airtame software is installed on the PC, you’re good to go. The device will go on sale from July this year for RRP USD$80. The simplicity in setup and the platform agonistic nature of the device might just make Airtame the ideal accessory for the boardroom or the home.

5. Sony 4K Ultra short throw projector – Design conscious laser projector

At CES 2014 we saw what could be the future of how we view television and it wasn't through a curved screen.

It was a short-range laser projector by Sony that resembled a high end piece of entertainment centre furniture, which can be placed right up against a wall to produce a glorious 147-inch 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution image. The experience was so seamless that the entire setup can really be placed anywhere in the home or boardroom, turning normal walls into fluid displays.

The top cover of the unit opens or shuts automatically depending on whether the unit is turned on or off, keeping the unit inconspicuous and free from dust while the ends of the unit serve as storage space for other home electronics that can be tucked away inside complete with internal wiring.

Unlike traditional projector setups, the unobtrusive design means that you won't have to deal with complicated installation and the impressive light output means that it isn't limited to just dark rooms. Sony demonstrated the projector running 4K videos in brightly lit environments and the image quality produced looked equally impressive.

At RRP USD$30,000, you are unlikely to find this kit inside a boardroom anytime soon, but you can expect that cost to fall dramatically over time. The price push has started and the technology is here. In time, there won't be much need for traditional projectors and 4K televisions, just regular walls that will become virtual windows to our content. 

Prices correct at time of publishing.

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