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    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: A very special edition of the program coming to you today from the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center, where hundreds of thousands have gathered for the granddaddy of tech shows. It’s the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And we are here because we think that homes are going more and more high-tech. In fact, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, who are the backers of this show, American households now have an average of 25 electronic gadgets.

    TOM: That’s a lot of gadgets hanging around. And if you look around your house right now, you’ll probably see something that was first introduced at this show. I mean DVDs, VCRs, high-def TVs, many home computers; they’re all shown here very first to the public. In fact, CDs were born here and CDs have died here, because of the rapid advancements in consumer electronics.

    LESLIE: It’s true.

    TOM: And as you look around here, there are inventors. And manufacturers have figured out, well in advance, what you want for your home to make it more efficient and safer.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And one of the first areas of your home to consider going high-tech is the security area.

    TOM: That’s right. But just because it’s high-tech does not mean it can’t be a do-it-yourself project. Jeremy Stewart is the global marketing manager of Swann Security and is here to tell us about the latest advances.

    Welcome, Jeremy.

    JEREMY: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie. How are you?

    TOM: Well, it’s great to have you here visiting from across the pond in Australia.

    JEREMY: Yeah, I’m from Australia, so I hope you can understand my Australian accent. G’day mate.

    TOM: Well, I think somehow we will get through it.

    You guys specialize in do-it-yourself home-security products. That’s perfect for our audience, because I think security installations are perceived to be very expensive, very complex and can go wrong a million different ways. What have you guys done to make it simpler?

    JEREMY: We really pride ourselves on developing do-it-yourself solutions that are affordable and easy. That’s really our core business. One of the things that our customers are really liking is that they can now install a four-camera system with recording, connect it to the internet and view it on their smartphone.

    And now, the security solution, they can integrate it with their lifestyle, integrate it with their smartphone and when they’re on the go, see what’s happening. It’s really not that complex or that far-fetched anymore; it’s a lot easier and affordable than you think.

    LESLIE: What about the connectivity? Sure, easy to install the camera but the connection process, do they fairly easily speak wirelessly to your home’s router or is it more complex than that?

    JEREMY: Well, most of the systems we sell are actually wired. That’s where you have multiple cameras.

    TOM: OK.

    JEREMY: Typically, four is the number that most people will install in their home. They connect with wires and cables into their DVR unit, which is the recording box, a bit like a DVD player.


    JEREMY: You then need to connect the DVR into the internet. The process in getting installed is not as hard as you think.

    TOM: Got it.

    JEREMY: If you’ve got some basic handyman experience, it’s not that hard to run the cables into the DVR. Probably the hardest part in the process is getting connected to the internet. If you don’t have any experience with that sort of thing, that’s something we can step you through and help you out with our call center. Once you connect it to the internet, that smartphone capability – seeing what’s happening at home live on your smartphone – is what really people are liking the most.

    TOM: Now, can you set up events that might trigger some communication with you, like, for example, kids come home in the middle of the day?

    JEREMY: What you do is you go into the menu within the DVR and set it for motion detection.

    TOM: OK.

    JEREMY: And when there’s actual motion, some sort of activity, it will trigger recording to the hard drive, so you’ll catch that activity.

    TOM: OK.

    JEREMY: You can also set up so that it sends you an e-mail alert, so it’ll actually send you a .jpeg image – a photo of what’s happening in your home – and it will send that to your smartphone, as well. So you can then log on, see what’s happening live or call up someone and get them to come over and take a look.

    TOM: Yeah and hopefully, you’re not seeing somebody in the house that shouldn’t be but that’s also a very good, secure option.

    JEREMY: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, we had an example of a customer in Australia that was on holiday and saw – actually, logged on just by chance – and saw burglars in his home at that very moment and was able to call up a neighbor who came – who actually called the police then.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    JEREMY: The police came and caught the guys red-handed.

    TOM: That would be a really good neighbor. “OK, would you go and tackle the guys in my living room?”

    JEREMY: Yeah. As a matter of fact, actually, the guys were trying to jump out of the window when the police came and they actually got them red-handed. It was great.

    TOM: Wow, that’s terrific.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    TOM: What a cool technology. Jeremy Stewart, the global marketing manager for Swann, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    JEREMY: Thanks for having me.

    LESLIE: Alright. You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. And we are coming to you direct from the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

    TOM: Well, you know, here at the Consumer Electronics Show, there’s about 140,000 people walking around with their eyes on two things: the show and their smartphone. And as they look at their smartphone, one thing continues to happen: the battery drains.

    Our next guest has a solution that’s going to make that process go away for so many people. His name is Ron Rabinowitz. And Ron is the CEO of Duracell Powermat.

    Welcome, Ron.

    RON: Welcome. Thank you for having me.

    TOM: Well, it’s our pleasure.

    Now, you guys have developed a technology here that makes it so much easier and in fact, smarter to charge our smartphones. Talk with me about it.

    RON: That’s correct. I mean one thing we’ve learned is that the more advanced the phone gets, the harder it is for the battery to keep on par with the performance of the phone. People look at their phone every six minutes, one of the statistics we’ve learned.

    TOM: OK.

    RON: And I think we’ve all experienced the tough situation …

    TOM: Every six minutes? I think I’m out of that average. I couldn’t go six minutes without looking at my phone.

    RON: Well, this is average. And we’re becoming more and more dependent on them.

    TOM: Right.

    RON: And I’m sure that all of our listeners, including you and I, have experienced the tough situation in which your battery is about to die.

    TOM: Right.

    RON: And you need to close all the applications, to cut down your call, et cetera, et cetera. And this is what we’re here for. Duracell Powermat has developed a great product, which helps you stay charged throughout the day.

    TOM: Right.

    RON: What we have here – and I’m showing it to you and our listeners cannot see it; I’ll try to describe it – is we have a mat.

    TOM: OK.

    RON: That’s the mat.

    TOM: Yep. And the mat is …

    RON: Just lying on your table.

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.

    RON: And we have a receiver. The receiver is a case, just like any other case for your iPhone or smartphone, whatever.

    TOM: Yep. OK.

    RON: What’s unique about this case, it has an electronic circle. And just by dropping and charge this phone on the mat, which is the effortless gesture that you would do in any case …

    TOM: Right. It’s like (inaudible at 0:07:55) table.

    RON: (inaudible at 0:07:55) charges. Yeah. So both my phone and your phone are now on the table.

    TOM: Right.

    RON: The difference is that your – this touches …

    TOM: My phone’s not charging, yes.

    RON: And this one is charging.

    TOM: Yeah.

    RON: What’s also great, we have a backup battery. This backup battery, it’s a small, round, piece of plastic but it’s very smart.

    TOM: Right.

    RON: And there are a lot of backup batteries out there that could keep you charged throughout the day. What’s unique about this battery is that just like the phone, you drop it on the mat and it charges, right?

    TOM: So, basically, wherever you are and your mat is there, of course, you can charge.

    Now, one thing that’s really unique is a project you guys are undertaking right in our hometown of New York City at Madison Square Garden. Let’s talk about that.

    RON: Yeah. We are very excited about a couple of things we’re about to do. So I described the product. It’s going to get actually far better. Coming spring, with the help of Jay-Z, which we just partnered with, we’re going to start – build the word around wireless charging, not only in your home, also outside of your home.

    So starting with Madison Square Garden, a place that is loved and cherished by everyone, we will start to build into coffee shops and restaurants and more arenas, every public place. In fact, we’re going to let consumers vote where do they want their power. Just seamless, wireless charge wherever you are parked for enough time to drop your phone.

    TOM: Yeah.

    RON: Just like Wi-Fi.

    TOM: Imagine that in every Starbucks in New York City, Leslie, right?

    LESLIE: Right?

    RON: Exactly.

    LESLIE: That’s so convenient.

    RON: That’s very convenient. And we think that in the year of 2012, when you expect to have Wi-Fi internet everywhere, power is actually much more basic. It should be available throughout the day so that you never run out of power.

    TOM: Terrific. Ron Rabinowitz, the CEO of Duracell Powermat. Great product, great technology. I can’t wait to see this start to just pop up all across America.

    RON: Thank you very much. We’re very excited.

    TOM: Our pleasure.

    LESLIE: Alright. You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com, coming to you direct from the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

    TOM: Up next, money-saving devices are always a big hit here. We’re going to talk to the CEO of the NextGen House to find out about the new energy-saving advances that will be on display in homes across America, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.com to learn more.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Coming to you from the Las Vegas Convention Center where hundreds of thousands of folks have gathered to check out what’s new in consumer electronics.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, electronics vendors from around the world have come to the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show to announce and unveil the latest and greatest technology and consumer electronics that they’ve got to offer, including innovations in wireless communications, digital video, high-performance audio and our favorite: high-tech homes.

    TOM: And one of the reasons high-tech homes are making their way into the mainstream is because of the work done by our next guest. Paul Barnett is the CEO of the NextGen Home Experience and has constructed an entire home here showcasing new ways to save energy.

    Welcome, Paul.

    PAUL: Well, thanks very much. I really appreciate the chance to chat.

    TOM: It’s our pleasure to have you. And you guys have been doing this at trade shows for a long, long time, haven’t you?

    PAUL: This is actually our eighth edition of the NextGen Home here at the Consumer Electronics Show.

    TOM: So you build an entire home here. You’re featuring the latest in home technology and you’ve actually brought one of the next-to-be-introduced products with you here. I’m holding the Philips LED light bulb. And this won, actually, a very, very special prize, didn’t it?

    PAUL: Yes, it did. This light bulb was the winner of the U.S. Department of Energy challenge for bulb manufacturers to come up and meet a spec that they had defined as the ultimate light bulb. Took three years of people developing their technology and Philips won the $10 million prize.

    TOM: Wow, $10 million light bulb, Leslie.

    LESLIE: That’s amazing.

    TOM: It doesn’t cost nearly that much, though, right?

    LESLIE: Right?

    PAUL: No, it actually will be introduced mid-February. And 50 percent of light bulbs bought in the United States every year are the 60-watt.

    TOM: Right. Right.

    PAUL: And that’s what this replaces and it’s where – it lasts for 25,000 hours.

    TOM: That’s a long time.

    LESLIE: Wow, that’s great.

    TOM: So talk to us about some of the other technology that you guys are displaying at the NextGen Home.

    PAUL: What we are doing this year – we believe that building products are also a technology. So working with the U.S. Department of Energy, our mandate here at the CES is to showcase – this house is the first time we’ve brought in a totally made-over house. It was an existing house. We’ve totally made it over from A to Z and we’re showcasing technology. Yes, of course, all the sizzle that you would expect at the CES but also building products, because they’re also a technology product and there’s …

    TOM: You don’t usually think of a building product as a technology product but it is, in fact, a technology product.

    PAUL: It totally is. And what the Department of Energy asked us to do and which – what we have here at the CES – we’re showcasing practical things that any homeowner can do this week at their local DIY hardware store to more involved products – next-generation tankless water heater to save the 50-percent energy on your hot water – to more elaborate investments that might involve HVAC, windows and what have you.

    TOM: Right.

    PAUL: Well, so there’s something here for everybody. And the Consumer Electronics Show, as you know, is the most media-covered event in the country and it’s a great place to show the combination of consumer electronics and building products working together to make your home more energy-efficient.

    TOM: Yeah. And building products that have technology behind them. For example, Icynene. There’s a product that is pretty smart: a spray-foam insulation that expands to seal every cavity, keep the drafts out. Vinyl siding is even on the list here. What makes vinyl siding high-tech in NextGen’s definition?

    PAUL: It’s interesting. The vinyl siding has a foam backing to it, which actually gives you a little bit higher energy rating for the exterior of your home. And when you combine it with all of the rest of the building envelope – the insulation and what have you – it’s just one more nod towards efficiency. So there’s a foam-core backing that helps keep the cold air out.

    TOM: Terrific. Now what happens to these homes after you construct them, Paul?

    PAUL: This particular home is a little unusual. For example, we’re in Las Vegas now. We’ve donated three homes to a local charity here.

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s great.

    PAUL: This house will be used as a roadshow house. It’s going in a hardware show and going to other events in 2012.

    LESLIE: Oh, good. So we’ll have a chance to see it again.

    PAUL: Yes, you will.

    TOM: Terrific. Paul Barnett, CEO of the NextGen House. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit, Paul.

    If you want to check out this house, then you really should go to their website. It’s well done and you can really learn a lot about the home technologies of the future and also a few ideas for the existing home, don’t you think?

    PAUL: Exactly.

    TOM: Yeah.

    PAUL: And we do have the whole house controlled by an iPad, so we do have some tech in there.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    TOM: Alright. Terrific. Paul Barnett from NextGen, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    Their website is NextGenHouse.com. That’s NextGenHouse.com.

    LESLIE: Well, here at the Consumer Electronics Show, there have been many inventions that help improve the experience of sound. Perhaps none quite as comfortable as the product created by our next guest.

    TOM: That’s right. It’s a unique acoustical chair shaped like an egg and it allows you to do things like blast your music without ear phones and yet not disturb anyone else about it. The product is called Sound Egg and here to talk about just that is Doug Cochran of Acousticom.

    Welcome, Doug.

    DOUG: Hi. How are you today?

    TOM: This is a pretty interesting device, because it’s so kind of far-out and cool-looking, very sort of space-age, isn’t it?

    DOUG: Yeah. It’s the latest technology in personal surround-sound experience.

    TOM: Yep. So it totally – it’s a comfortable seat to sit in, yet the speaker system is sort of surrounding your head and playing just to you. Why is it that no one outside of that space can hear it?

    DOUG: Well, because of the shape of the chair, it’s an acoustical shape and what it allows is the sound or gaming or movie volume to be controlled inside the chair.

    TOM: OK.

    DOUG: And then it keeps the outside noise out as not to disturb the individual inside. The shape of the chair and the acoustical foam that’s inside is what helps to achieve the deed of the sound-keeping.

    LESLIE: And I understand that you can match the color of the chair to pretty much any décor or design, correct?

    DOUG: That’s correct. You could go to your local lumber store or paint store and pick out a paint chip that’ll match the interior of your house and then let us know that chip number and we’ll match it with a chemical facility. And then we send it to our molder and they’ll mold it to match your interior.

    So, not only will it be appeasing for the man in your life but it’ll also make the woman (inaudible at 0:17:09).

    TOM: I don’t know. There’s some guys out there that care what their space looks like, as well.

    DOUG: Yeah, yeah.

    TOM: Now, how do you actually hook up the Sound Egg to your actual audio device?

    DOUG: The chair comes wired in what we call 2.1. And most personal listening devices are 2.1 sound.

    TOM: OK.

    DOUG: If you want true 5.1, the chair comes 5.1. Then you need a 5.1 amp, which you can have of your own or purchase one of ours.

    TOM: Let’s break this down for our listeners.

    DOUG: OK.

    TOM: What’s the difference between 2.1 and 5.1 when you talk about that technology?

    DOUG: A 2.1 sound technology is more like personal listening, like an iPod or an iPad.

    TOM: OK. OK. Got it.

    DOUG: And then …

    TOM: 5.1 then is more high-end?

    DOUG: 5.1 is more Blu-ray and a gaming-type thing.

    TOM: Got it. A little more theater experience.

    DOUG: It gives a much more separation of channel.

    TOM: Got it. OK. So how do you actually physically connect it? Is it a wired connection or …?

    DOUG: It is a wired connection. What you do is you hook your devices up to the back of the amplifier like you were hooking it up for your TV at home. The speaker leads come out the back of the amplifier and go into the back of the chair. You have six pairs of speaker leads, thus separating each channel.

    LESLIE: And I’ve got to tell you, it’s a pretty cool chair. If you go to the website, you’re going to see a cool electric-blue chair with the red foam interior. And it’s kind of fun.

    DOUG: That’s what’s great about it because, again, we’ll match any home interior or color on the outside and I love the colors of foam chair on the inside. And you can get vinyl-covered seats or leather-covered seats. We have articulated arms for TVs.

    TOM: Good, terrific. Doug Cochran from Sound Egg, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    DOUG: Alright. Thanks for having us today.

    TOM: For more tips on Sound Egg, visit their website at SoundEgg.com.

    Up next, tell me you haven’t dreamed of having a robot in your home to help with the cleaning.

    LESLIE: Oh, I definitely have. But you know what? It turns out it’s not such a crazy dream. I mean who doesn’t want their very own Rosey from The Jetsons? We’re going to hear about home robots as The Money Pit continues our broadcast from the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And the show is coming to you today from the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This show covers an area the size of 30 football fields, so it’s definitely the biggest show of its kind. And I think it might be the biggest trade show in America.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And there are 2,700 exhibitors here and 300 of them are here for the first time ever. And we think it’s important for us to be here, because Americans have an average of two dozen consumer electronics inside their homes and are expected to spend $190 billion on a few more this year.

    TOM: And many of these devices exist to serve us, some quite literally through the many advances in robotics. iRobot is a company that’s been on the cutting edge of that technology for many years. And Senior Technical Product Manager Craig Henricksen joins us now to talk about some of the latest advances.

    Welcome, Craig.

    CRAIG: I’m happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

    TOM: You guys have been making robots that make life a lot easier around the house, haven’t you?

    CRAIG: We have been, yeah. We’ve been doing this for over 21 years and really we’re the focus on practical robots.

    TOM: You are the personification of Rosey the Robot Maid from the old Jetsons cartoon series, you know?

    CRAIG: We’re doing our best, yeah.

    TOM: Yeah, you’re not serving us but you’re cleaning the bathrooms and the kitchens and vacuuming the floors.

    LESLIE: And isn’t that a service, really, Tom?

    TOM: Yeah, I guess it is. I guess it really …

    CRAIG: It’s a great service. How many people really like mopping your floor, for example? Yep.

    TOM: Well, I meant – well, exactly. But didn’t Rosey used to like fly out with the service tray and give you drinks and things like that?

    LESLIE: Completely.

    CRAIG: She did, yeah. In fact, Rosey has made our job very difficult, yeah.

    TOM: Yeah, absolutely. So a high standard to live up to.

    CRAIG: Yes, exactly.

    TOM: Now, you guys have a new product that I saw at your booth the night before last, I think it was. And it’s a robot that actually mops your floor for you.

    CRAIG: Exactly, yeah. Actually, we launched our first Scooba Floor Washing Robot in 2005.

    TOM: Great name, by the way, too. I get Scooba, yeah.

    CRAIG: Yeah. And so that’s been on the market for a while and I think our customers told us pretty quickly, “Hey, this is great but there are places in my house where maybe I don’t like cleaning or maybe it’s too tight to get into, such as next to your toilet. What if you could help us there?”

    TOM: Right.

    CRAIG: And so the Scooba 230 was designed with that in mind, which is to get in those tight-to-reach areas or maybe those areas where you don’t actually want to go.

    TOM: Or touch.

    CRAIG: Or touch, exactly. So the Scooba 230 is brand new. It’s 6½ inches wide and you put water in it. You put it down on the floor, let it go. It runs around the floor and mops your floor for you. It’s really great.

    LESLIE: So, now, what other things, if I don’t want to clean myself – like, say, my gutters. Is there a robot that can help me with that?

    CRAIG: Yeah, we have a whole suite of products now and ever expanding. And the one you’re talking about there is a product we call Looj and it is a …

    TOM: Great name, again.

    CRAIG: Good name, fun name. And it – you put it up in your gutters and it runs around and whips all the dirt and debris out of your gutters for you.

    TOM: And it climbs over the ferrules and hold the gutters that …?

    CRAIG: Yep, it’ll take care of that. So it can run back and forth – it has a little remote-control handle that you can help guide it.

    TOM: Right. Right.

    CRAIG: And it has this really powerful auger that rips all that stuff out of the gutter.

    TOM: Wow, that’s really cool.

    Now, you guys are also probably most famous for your hard-surface vacuum product. That’s Roomba, is that correct?

    CRAIG: Exactly, yeah.

    TOM: Yeah.

    CRAIG: I think iRobot is best known for the Roomba, really.

    TOM: Right.

    CRAIG: It’s been on the market for a long time; it’s been a really great success and we’re now on our sixth generation of Roomba.

    LESLIE: Terrifying dogs everywhere.

    CRAIG: Terrifying and befriending dogs everywhere, depending on your dog, yeah.

    TOM: That’s right. Yeah, exactly.

    CRAIG: So, yeah, so we just launched the new one. It’s called the 700 series. It’s our top-of-the-line – from start to finish, it’s our best one yet. Has new cleaning technologies in there, new cleaning brushes, new capabilities of detecting dirt and making sure it returns home safely.

    TOM: And it maps the floor. Does it matter if the chair is under the table or pulled out from the table? It just knows every square inch to cover?

    CRAIG: Yeah, it uses something that we – it’s an adaptive cleaning algorithm that we call iAdapt. But basically, as it sounds, it’s always sensing the environment and adapting to the conditions. So if it bumps into a chair leg or bumps into your foot, it’s smart enough to know what to do and continue along and clean your floor very efficiently.

    TOM: Very, very cool. Craig Henricksen from iRobot Corporation, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    Take a look at their website; take a look at these amazing products. The website is iRobot.com.

    Thanks, Craig.

    CRAIG: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Alright. The Money Pit is coming to you from the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

    TOM: Up next, are home phones catching up with the technology of mobile devices? We’ll have the latest on a very smart home-phone system, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.com to learn more.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Broadcasting a special edition of The Money Pit today from Las Vegas. We’re checking out the latest developments in high-tech homes at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And the average American household is expected to spend $1,500 this year on consumer electronics. And many of them are going to be home-related.

    TOM: And speaking of which, the advances in mobile phones over the last few years have been nothing short of sensational. But what about home phones? Well, perhaps not so much and that is until now.

    ARCHOS is introducing a smartphone for your house and here to tell us about that is Craig TerBlanche, the director of marketing for ARCHOS.

    Hey, Craig.

    CRAIG: Hey. How’s it going?

    TOM: It’s going really well. And it is true that there’s been sort of this confluence of whether or not we still really need a home phone anymore. There’s many people who have been deciding to disconnect their home – their wired home phone – and just sort of run with the iPhone or the Blackberry or whatever their phone is of choice, sort of 24-7.

    CRAIG: Absolutely.

    TOM: I mean my kid goes to sleep with his, I think, in his pajama pocket. How are you able to kind of merge those two worlds?

    CRAIG: We’re able to merge those two worlds two ways. So we have two really great products designed for the home: one is, you mentioned, is the home smartphone, which is basically a DECT protocol phone. Works with any DECT protocols and it is Android-based, 2.3, which is Gingerbread.

    TOM: OK.

    CRAIG: But the beauty of the product is that it is slim, it’s sleek, it looks like a mobile phone and it acts exactly like a smartphone. So you’re going to be completely connected: internet, e-mails, your social media, Android Market for apps. It’s going to be a great device. And then, of course, you get all your home-phone calls on it.

    TOM: Well, now, one thing your home phone doesn’t have is an app, right?

    CRAIG: Correct. Absolutely.

    TOM: There is no app for that.

    CRAIG: There is no app for that.

    TOM: Right. But it seems like you are able to sort of take some of that technology and bring it into the home. So, OK, so how do I not lose it? Is this like a portable phone that’s going to be slinging around my house?

    LESLIE: What do you mean lose it? I’m going to put it in my purse and take it with me to the store. That’s what’s going to happen.

    CRAIG: You know what? I don’t think it reaches that far but that’d be really neat. It’s a 4-inch unit, so it looks very small.

    TOM: Right.

    CRAIG: It’s going to look exactly like a smartphone.

    TOM: Yep.

    CRAIG: It’s got a really unique base that it’s going to sit into and you can have four phones in your house connected to this one central DECT unit. They’re all wireless.

    TOM: So it’s almost like a charging station, kind of?

    CRAIG: Yeah. Well, it’s actually a wireless connectivity station, so you can have them in your bedroom, in the kitchen, in the office and in the living room. And you’re going to have four different stations all unwired.

    TOM: Right.

    CRAIG: You’re going to only have one plug-in port and that’s wherever you decide to plug it in.

    LESLIE: When you get an app for your home smartphone, does it sort of go across all of those four phones themselves or is it to each individual unit?

    CRAIG: Well, you can program it either way. You can either have everything copied to the same – to all four devices – or you can program each phone individually. So you can have a personal one for your children, you can have one for you and you can have one for your wife. And you can kind of personalize them or they could all mirror each other.

    TOM: You guys also are bringing out a new alarm clock called the ARCHOS 35 Home Connect, Android-powered, 3½-inch touch screen, web radio. We love that. Very, very cool product. Craig TerBlanche from ARCHOS, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    To learn more, visit ARCHOS.com. That’s A-R-C-H-O-S.com.

    Thanks, Craig.

    CRAIG: Thank you for having me.

    LESLIE: Well, I’m very happy to report that even among all the boys’ toys we’re seeing here at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, the softer side of high-tech home improvement is being represented equally well.

    TOM: That’s right. Because now there is an affordable, easy way to have beautiful remote-controlled window shades in just about every single room of the house. Joining us to talk about Serena Shades is Melissa Andresko, the public relations manager for Lutron.

    Welcome, Melissa.

    MELISSA: Hi, Tom. Thank you.

    TOM: Now, you guys have a new remote-controlled system called Serena Shades. Very affordable. And you’re displaying that here in a very, very special house. With us to talk about that is Pat Hammond and she is the director of communications with Reliant.

    So welcome, Pat.

    PAT: Hi, Tom.

    TOM: Now, let’s talk first about the house itself if you could set this up for us, Pat. You guys have a mobile, smart-energy home – saving home kind of on wheels.

    PAT: We call it the Smart Home on Wheels and it actually demonstrates a lot of new technologies that consumers have for actually controlling their energy usage, where there’s so much new mobile technology that it really is giving consumers lots of different options for controlling electricity usage.

    TOM: And speaking of which, Serena Shade is a perfect example of that: an affordable, easy way to have automatically controllable shading inside your house. Talk about Serena.

    MELISSA: That’s right. Lutron has been in the dimming business for many years and the shading business, actually, for about 20 years. And so …

    TOM: Yes. Not only do you control the lights, you control the sun.

    MELISSA: Exactly. We’re very magical.

    So, we’ve been doing the shading business now for 20 years and like most products, people at all price levels want to be able to easily adapt them into their homes. So the Serena Shade is our answer to that. We have an affordable, battery-powered, wireless remote-control shading system that’s going to help with temperature control, keeps the heat in when you want it in, keeps it out when you want it. So you’re going to benefit from temperature and energy and it just is a great way to enhance your space, you know?

    LESLIE: And I have to tell you, Melissa, I have a decorating business, as well, and motorization – and the price point that generally goes along with it, especially when you customize a shade for a client – is still immensely popular regardless of the price point. So for the fact that you’ve made a great shade at a very reasonable price, that’s huge.

    MELISSA: Yeah, thanks. Leslie, it’s exactly to that point. We wanted to be able to bring this technology to every home. And let’s face it, everybody’s got a TV in their house. Most of those TVs are in rooms with windows. You get a little bit of sun glare on the TV, it can ruin your experience. Being able to remotely close off the sun so that you can enjoy that home-theater experience and being able to bring it to people for $299 starting price point is just something that we’re – we really believe will be in every home in America in no time.

    TOM: And really, another way to manage your energy, which is what the Smart Home is really – that you guys have brought, Pat – is showing us so many different technologies in ways that we can really sort of eat away at that electric bill. For so many years, we’ve been getting the electric bill at the end of the month and going, “Huh. I guess that’s what I use. I did good; I didn’t do so good.” But you can really tell a lot more today, can’t you?

    PAT: Absolutely. In Texas, we have about 5 million smart meters installed. And smart meters are really providing consumers with brand-new options. And Reliant has developed a suite of products and services that give consumers information about their electricity usage through mobile apps, also through a weekly e-mail that actually tells them how much electricity they’ve used that week. Every day gives them an amount that they used and the dollar value that – what it costs and then compares it to the previous week.

    TOM: Right.

    PAT: So, we’ve got mobile apps that provide that same information, a weekly e-mail. We’ve got the ability to compare your usage to your neighbor’s usage. And all of this is really being enabled by the smart-meter technology.

    TOM: That’s interesting. When you say compare it with your neighbor’s usage, you can almost have a little bit of a green contest going on amongst your particular street to see who’s doing the best in terms of energy efficiency.

    PAT: I’ve definitely heard consumers come to me before and say, “I am determined. I am not going to let my bill go over a certain amount.” And I can see that getting a friendly spirit of competition among neighbors.

    TOM: Now, Melissa, part of Lutron’s mission has always been the ability to control the lighting in your house through really smart circuitry. And you guys have developed the technology that takes the energy-efficient bulbs that we have today and really makes it possible to run those through really any type of technology, so if it’s an LED or a CFL. Talk very quickly about those dimmer controls.

    MELISSA: So, the new C•L collection, like you said, not only allows you to dim CFLs and LEDs but it lets you dim them well. So people who are making that switch, they don’t have to give up the luxury of dimming; they can still dim all the new bulbs.

    TOM: Terrific. Pat Hammond, Melissa Andresko, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    MELISSA: Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Leslie.

    PAT: Thank you, Tom.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, The Money Pit Radio Show is coming to you today from Las Vegas, the site of the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show.

    TOM: Up next, we’re going to learn about smart-home automation systems that you can use to manage from wherever you are in the entire world, to help bring safety, comfort and energy efficiency together under a single roof.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Hometalk.com. Join Tom and Leslie on Hometalk.com and log on to become part of the community of folks who love taking care of their homes, at Hometalk.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Broadcasting a special edition of The Money Pit today from Las Vegas, the site of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show.

    LESLIE: That’s right. There’s lots going on and lots to tell you about from a show that covers an area that’s about the size of 30 football fields. That is a lot of ground to cover in this high-tech Mecca.

    TOM: As our blisters show, for sure.

    Now, you might be thinking that high-tech equals high price tag. And while there are certainly consumer electronics here that you could expect to spend some money on, many of the products here are geared towards saving money.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And of course, one way to do that is to make your home more energy-efficient. And now there’s a new way to do that from just about anywhere. It’s sort of like a universal remote for your home.

    TOM: You can control everything from heating and cooling to door locks in one place. It’s called Nexia Home Intelligence. And Scott Martin, the vice-president of marketing for Ingersoll Rand, is here to tell us all about it.

    Welcome, Scott.

    SCOTT: Thanks. Good morning.

    TOM: Had a chance to go by your booth yesterday and check this out. Very, very impressive. You can control energy, you can control your shades from Pella, your locks from Schlage, your heating, your cooling system all under sort of one monitoring system. And I think that’s been so important for consumers, because it’s been sort of hard to cut through the white noise and figure out what’s the best system to sort of invest in.

    SCOTT: That’s right. I mean the key is there are all these things that we want to do in our home, that we need to do in our home whether we’re there or away.

    TOM: Right.

    SCOTT: So now you have this ability to do what we call “run your home from wherever.” And you’re able to do that off of one kind of web experience from your iPhone or an iPad or a laptop, while you’re on the go or even if you’re in the living room and you want to turn the A/C down without getting up.

    TOM: Very cool. Let’s talk about some of the individual elements to this. Maybe we can start with locks, for example.

    SCOTT: People have to go in and out of the house. Their kids have to go in and out of the house throughout the day. You let cable people in or phone people in. You used to have to race home to get that 30-minute window where they were going to be there.

    TOM: Right.

    SCOTT: Now you don’t have to worry about that. You open up the door, even from work, using your computer or your phone.

    TOM: Right.

    SCOTT: You let them in; they’re able to do their work and then they’re on their way and you never disrupt your day.

    TOM: Very cool. HVAC?

    SCOTT: You know, the thing with HVAC is we have a tendency sometimes to forget to lower the air or we programmed it not according to what today’s weather …

    TOM: Or like Leslie and I, we have kids that forget.

    SCOTT: That’s right. So, we’re running a lot of heat and we don’t need to. So now you have the ability to – if I forgot to do something, you can quickly get on from wherever you are and go, “I need to lower the heat. I don’t need to run it at 78 right now. It can go to 68.”

    TOM: Yeah. All from a web interface.

    SCOTT: That’s right. So it really takes a lot of the worry away from what – you used to leave the house and you’re like, “What did I forget? What did I forget?”

    TOM: Right. Right.

    LESLIE: And what is the setup involved? Like how do you get everything to speak to one another? Is there a basic system that you need to speak with your router system? How does it work?

    SCOTT: What’s unique about us is we’re very much a self-install. You can do it yourself for the most part. There is a little bit of a thing we call the “bridge,” which communicates to all the different things in your home. And you connect them like you would sync any kind of device. And once you’ve done that, there’s a web interface that you can go in and click and move things. It’s very friendly; it’s very much what you would see on an iPad today or a tablet.

    TOM: And I’ve got to say before we run out of time, the energy-monitoring system here was very cool. You basically figured out a way, through an induction system, where basically you clamp the wires inside your panel. They feed to the control and you can literally monitor every circuit in your house. Really smart system.

    Scott Martin from Nexia, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    SCOTT: Yeah.

    TOM: Go to the website, NexiaHome.com. That’s N-e-x-i-aHome.com. Check it out. Fantastic system.

    You’ve been listening to The Money Pit broadcast, live from the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information on this show and the many products and innovation we’ve learned today, head on over to our website at MoneyPit.com.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.


    (Copyright 2012 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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