2013 Embedded Tech Favorites

Posted by: Kerri McConnell

Wrapping up another busy development year at Datalight, it occurs to us that as much as we love helping our customers with software to handle their critical data needs on things like smart meters, medical infusion pumps, factory controllers, automobile infotainment systems and first responder radios, there are some cool embedded technologies we'd like to have in our personal Christmas stockings in 2013.

Here is a list of some of our favorite uses of embedded tech for consumers in 2013:

Misfit Shine ($119.95): The recent push for devices to help us track our activity and improve our fitness has created a flood of embedded technology hitting the market helping us accomplish all our wellness goals. Started in 2011 by the creators of a blood glucose monitoring system that works with iOS devices, Misfit Wearables is not just focused on fitness but wants their devices to become a part of your wardrobe and a must have accessory. It's easy to see on Kerri McConnell, VP of Sales and Marketing, "I love mine. It's the most elegant tracker I've ever used and combines sophisticated function with understated form". The Shine, launched in 2013, can not only be worn as the traditional bracelet, but also as a broach, necklace or even attached to clothing with a hidden magnet.

Chromecast ($35.00): This July, Google hit the market with Chromecast, turning any TV into a streaming device, making Chromecast a huge hit on the market and an interesting choice for users who needed to update their technology at home. As TV and movie watching turns to the cloud, transferring that data to your older TV sets hasn't always been easy. Rachel Householder, Senior Customer Care Administrator, uses hers to stream music, "We'll create a YouTube playlist and use Chromecast to broadcast it over our home theater system during parties giving us a visual as well as sound. It's a great addition to the festivities!" Chromecast allows users to communicate from multiple platforms, and now using multiple services like Hulu, VEVO and Redbox Instant. Chromecast is compatible with WiFi-enabled Android 2.3+ smartphones and tablets; iOS 6.0+ iPhones, iPads, and iPods; Chrome for Mac® and Chrome for Windows®; and Chromebook Pixel. Shipping for less than $35 dollars from some providers, Chromecast is also a very affordable gadget that embraces all that embedded technology can provide.

TiVo Roamio ($199.99 to $599.99): When you can't be there to watch your favorite TV shows (or in Tony's case, the Seahawks games), the TiVo Roamio has you covered! TiVo has created a device released in August of 2013 that now allows you to have your shows and recordings wherever you go. Currently supporting three different models, the TiVo Roamio has all sort of embedded functionality for the user, connecting to Wi-Fi, built in music servers, photos and home movies. The TiVo Roamio allows you to really have your TV shows anywhere so you don't even have to think about missing your favorite shows and episodes! To quote our Customer Support and Quality Services Architect, Tony Questad, "It's really slick!" With models supporting up to 3TB of data, consistent embedded memory management is a must!

iSmartAlarm ($199 and up): Speaking of things funded by Indiegogo, this company that recently raised money through the crowd-funding site is helping to revolutionize the home security market, moving it from a service based (¶$ 30 / month) model where the hardware is largely incidental to a hardware- and smartphone app-centric solution. With the devices from iSmartAlarm installed on doors, windows, appliances and even pets the user's smart phone can be notified if an unexpected event occurs then get a view of what's happening using installed camera and take some simple actions with their smartphone. Datalight CEO, Roy Sherrill has this on his Christmas list.

Google Glass (pricing not yet available): You can't talk about embedded tech for the consumer in 2013 without talking about the immersive experience that is Google Glass. Google had a great year promoting embedded technology and Google Glass is a great indicator of that. Google Glass is a wearable headset that communicates with your voice and gestures to capture all that you see around and in front of you. Google glass can then transmit or store that data to allow for your access later. The interactive aspect of Google Glass allows you to experience an amplified version of your life, such as directions on a walking path, recipe instructions while you cook and your hands are dirty and even added content when you watch movies, see music concerts or go to museums. Google is currently testing all of the technology on their "explorers" with plans to release the technology as early as Q1 2014. Although we don't have complete specs on the Google glass, we do know that they are running 12 GB of usable memory, synced with Google cloud storage and 16 GB of Flash memory total. It's amazing to know that embedded technology has allowed us to put all that content in something so small!

Don't forget about all the ways embedded technology can help shape our lives in other ways. Diagnostic medical equipment, onboard electronics for automobiles, and manufacturing equipment all use embedded technology, too, creating a smarter and more efficient world that we live in.

Embedded technology is sure to change the shape of the tech market well into and beyond 2014. What are you most excited for next year? What couldn't you live without in 2013? Let us know in the comments!

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