Tom Kraeutler: This is The Money Pit’s top products podcast. I’m Tom Kraeutler coming to you from the Consumer Electronic Show 2016 in Las Vegas where smart home is all the rage. Among all the things you have in your smart home, you will now find smart batteries thanks to the experts at Black & Decker. With me to talk about the new Smart Tech battery line is Sarah Windham. Tell me about Smart Tech.
Sarah Windham: Smart Tech technology is a Bluetooth battery platform for power tools and outdoor products, and that allows it to connect with your tools and outdoor products to alert you to battery charge, battery health, tool location, things like that.
Tom Kraeutler: You told me that millennials are very interested in this technology. Why is that?
Sarah Windham: I think millennials are interested in anything that’s more connected to their daily lives. Everyone’s on their phones all the time and it’s easier to see what you have available to you for your DIY projects, whether you’re Pintersting or whether you’re working in your garage on your car. It’s nice to have that available to you so you know what’s around.
Tom Kraeutler: Okay, what kind of information is important for me to know when I’m monitoring my battery power? Now, of course, so many tools today are off of the cord and onto the battery and batteries have come a long way. You can do a lot more with a lot less. What kind of information do I need to know to be able to manage the power and get the jobs done that I need to?
Sarah Windham: Anything from the level of charge, so that you don’t get out there and you realize your battery’s completely dead, to the location of the battery. What happens a lot of times is it’s in a garage, it’s back in the corner, you don’t know where it is quite yet. With the Smart Tech app, you can actually find your batteries with a beeping sound and the blinking light, so it’s really easy to get to your stuff. It saves time. The last thing would be to lock it on or lock it off. If you have kids, lot of millennials, as we get older, we’re trying to make sure everything’s safe around your children. Especially with outdoor products, you want to make sure that your [spring 00:01:53] trimmer or your hedge trimmer aren’t available for them to use, so you can actually lock it. That’s kind of fun when you have a neighbor who’s asking to borrow it. You can shut that off as soon as you don’t want them to have it anymore.
Tom Kraeutler: Sarah, with batteries, they tend to overheat sometimes. Does Smart Tech also alert us if the battery actually gets too hot and can potentially become dangerous?
Sarah Windham: Yeah, so battery health, one of the things it looks at is temperature and if it’s in a hot garage or sometimes people keep them in sheds and those things become ovens in the summer. This will tell you, “Hey, by the way.” It’ll actually notify you, “Your tool’s getting too hot. Your battery’s getting too hot.”
Tom Kraeutler: What Black & Decker products will feature the Smart Tech batteries?
Sarah Windham: The Smart Tech batteries will be integrated into power tools and outdoor tools, but the Smart Tech feature set will also be integrated into home products. Home products actually have integrated batteries and so they’ll have features that are related to smart aspects, so whether that’s sensing, whether it’s on carpet or hardwood or tile, it’ll adjust to your power level accordingly.
Tom Kraeutler: That’s another important feature. It’s basically to manage the power, so it makes the battery last as long as possible. If you’re on a hardwood floor, the vacuum doesn’t have to power it the same level as if you’re on carpet, right?
Sarah Windham: That’s exactly right. If you’re going into a hard pile area and you want to really kick up the power, your vacuums will know, “Okay, I’ll kick it up a notch,” and then you get to use it for longer. These are all cordless, really helpful for especially smaller homes, millennials. It’s nice to have that available to you, so you don’t have to move the cord around every two seconds and it keeps your charge longer.
Tom Kraeutler: There’s almost no reason to have corded product anymore.
Sarah Windham: No, I don’t have one. Why would I?
Tom Kraeutler: Because you’re a millennial.
Sarah Windham: That’s exactly right.
Tom Kraeutler: Sarah Windham of Black & Decker. Thanks so much for filling us in on the new Smart Tech battery line.
Sarah Windham: Thank you, Tom.