The Best Smart Home Devices From CES 2022
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The Best Smart Home Devices From CES 2022

Here’s the tech you’ll be coveting in the year to come.

By John Elliot
Wed, Jan 12, 2022 11:53amGrey Clock 4 min

It may have been a smaller CES this year due to the ongoing and evolving coronavirus pandemic, but that didn’t stop developers from going big on innovation. The annual affair is a smorgasbord of high-tech gadgetry—some conceptual, some on their way to market—and 2022 was no different.

And as happens each year at the convention, smart-home products take centre stage, giving us a glimpse of what the home of the future may look like.

Here are the in-home, intelligent devices that caught our eye.

Kohler PerfectFill Bathtubs

Kohler

Once merely a CES concept, Kohler is finally ready to roll out its PerfectFill bathtubs. As you might have guessed these are tubs built to alleviate the worst part of the bathing experience—waiting for the basin to fill at the appropriate temperature. PerfectFill technology allows users to dictate—yes, you can speak the command to your tub—your ideal temperature and depth, and the Kohler bath will begin filling, alerting you when the ideal settings have been achieved. For owners who feel awkward talking to appliances, the same features, and additional monitoring, will be available via the Kohler app. Getting out of bed on a cold morning may be more acceptable if you knew you could slip right into a warm bath.

Kohler PerfectFill Bathtubs will be available in May 2022 and costs $3742

Toucan Video Conference System HD

Toucan

As the ongoing pandemic has made work from home the new norm, video conferencing has grown in importance, and for workers who are looking—finally—for a decent setup, Toucan is coming to the rescue. The Toucan Video Conference System HD is a desktop smart speaker with removable 1080P camera attachment that allows users to present themselves in professional quality video and audio, wherever they may have set up to work in the home that day. The Toucan System features four built-in echo-cancelling microphones and a camera with an 89-degree field of view, allowing for multiple, socially distanced, parties to be captured on screen. Toucan makes connecting to your computer a breeze, with a simple plug-and-play interface, as well as the option to connect the speaker via Bluetooth, or the removable camera via USB, if you’d like to try out some different angles. And while Toucan can’t do anything about the piles of laundry or screaming children in your background, it can ensure that they are faithfully rendered to all your co-workers.

Pricing and release date for the Toucan Video Conference System HD have yet to be announced.

Samsung Freestyle

Samsung

Of course, it’s not just the realm of work that has been transformed by the pandemic—trying to find some downtime while surrounded by family every moment of the day can also be a tricky affair. Fortunately, Samsung is bringing forth the ever-flexible Freestyle. Looking something like a stage lamp, the Freestyle is an ultraportable mini projector that lets you turn any surface into a TV screen. The Freestyle’s cradle stand provides 180-degrees of rotation (yes, you can turn your ceiling into a TV), while the device itself can project anywhere from 30 to 100 inches at 550 lumens, complete with 360-degree sound. Best of all, however, the Freestyle is outfitted with Samsung’s smart TV platform, allowing users to stream Netflix (or dozens of other services) directly from the device. And at under two pounds, you won’t find the Freestyle cumbersome to lug around your home to whatever space is empty at that given moment.

The Samsung Freestyle is currently available for pre-order for $1246

Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni

Evovacs

CES is never complete without a new crop of floor-cleaning robots—and this year’s class shows promise, particularly the Deebot X1 Omni from Evovacs. Not only does the Deebot compose intricate and detailed maps of your home’s floor plan, but you can tell it to focus on those especially tricky spots, like the hard-to-reach patch under the couch or a stretch beneath the cabinets and refrigerator. In addition to the standard robo-vac features we’ve become accustomed to (voice command, on-demand cleaning, app control, scheduling), the Deebot features one potent new addition—it vacuums and mops. And it takes care of itself. When the Deebot is full of dust and debris it will take itself back to its charging station and unload. When it’s finished mopping, it will return to the dock and have its mop heads washed and its dirty water replaced with clean water (thanks to built-in water reservoirs) so it’s ready to go for the next job.

The Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni will be available in March 2022 for $2145

Reprinted by permission of Mansion Global. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: January 11, 2021.

 



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Is ‘Rizz’ the Secret to Getting Ahead at Work?

Whether you call it charisma, charm or magnetism, some people seem like naturals. Good news: It can be learned.

By Rachel Feintzeig
Mon, Jul 22, 2024 4 min

Great leaders have it. Gen Z has a new word for it. Can the rest of us learn it?

Charisma—or rizz , as current teenage slang has anointed it—can feel like an ephemeral gift some are just born with. The chosen among us network and chitchat, exuding warmth as they effortlessly hold court. Then there’s everyone else, agonising over exclamation points in email drafts and internally replaying that joke they made in the meeting, wondering if it hit.

“Well, this is awkward,” Mike Rizzo, the head of a community for marketing operations professionals, says of rizz being crowned 2023 word of the year by the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s so close to his last name, but so far from how he sees himself. He sometimes gets sweaty palms before hosting webinars.

Who could blame us for obsessing over charisma, or lack thereof? It can lubricate social interactions, win us friends, and score promotions . It’s also possible to cultivate, assures Charles Duhigg, the author of a book about people he dubs super communicators.

At its heart, charisma isn’t about some grand performance. It’s a state we elicit in other people, Duhigg says. It’s about fostering connection and making our conversation partners feel they’re the charming—or interesting or funny—ones.

The key is to ask deeper, though not prying, questions that invite meaningful and revealing responses, Duhigg says. And match the other person’s vibes. Maybe they want to talk about emotions, the joy they felt watching their kid graduate from high school last weekend. Or maybe they’re just after straight-up logistics and want you to quickly tell them exactly how the team is going to turn around that presentation by tomorrow.

You might be hired into a company for your skill set, Duhigg says, but your ability to communicate and earn people’s trust propels you up the ladder: “That is leadership.”

Approachable and relatable

In reporting this column, I was surprised to hear many executives and professionals I find breezily confident and pleasantly chatty confess it wasn’t something that came naturally. They had to work on it.

Dave MacLennan , who served as chief executive of agricultural giant Cargill for nearly a decade, started by leaning into a nickname: DMac, first bestowed upon him in a C-suite meeting where half the executives were named Dave.

He liked the informality of it. The further he ascended up the corporate hierarchy, the more he strove to be approachable and relatable.

Employees “need a reason to follow you,” he says. “One of the reasons they’re going to follow you is that they feel they know you.”

He makes a point to remember the details and dates of people’s lives, such as colleagues’ birthdays. After making his acquaintance, in a meeting years ago at The Wall Street Journal’s offices, I was shocked to receive an email from his address months later. Subject line: You , a heading so compelling I still recall it. He went on to say he remembered I was due with my first child any day now and just wanted to say good luck.

“So many people say, ‘Oh, I don’t have a good memory for that,’” he says. Prioritise remembering, making notes on your phone if you need, he says.

Now a board member and an executive coach, MacLennan sent hundreds of handwritten notes during his tenure. He’d reach out to midlevel managers who’d just gotten a promotion, or engineers who showed him around meat-processing plants. He’d pen words of thanks or congratulations. And he’d address the envelopes himself.

“Your handwriting is a very personal thing about you,” he says. “Think about it. Twenty seconds. It makes such an impact.”

Everyone’s important

Doling out your charm selectively will backfire, says Carla Harris , a Morgan Stanley executive. She chats up the woman cleaning the office, the receptionist at her doctor’s, the guy waiting alongside her for the elevator.

“Don’t be confused,” she tells young bankers. Executive assistants are often the most powerful people in the building, and you never know how someone can help—or hurt—you down the line.

Harris once spent a year mentoring a junior worker in another department, not expecting anything in return. One day, Harris randomly mentioned she faced an uphill battle in meeting with a new client. Oh!, the 24-year-old said. Turns out, the client was her friend. She made the call right there, setting up Harris for a work win.

In the office, stop staring at your phone, Harris advises, and notice the people around you. Ask for their names. Push yourself to start a conversation with three random people every day.

Charisma for introverts

You can’t will yourself to be a bubbly extrovert, but you can find your own brand of charisma, says Vanessa Van Edwards, a communications trainer and author of a book about charismatic communication.

For introverted clients, she recommends using nonverbal cues. A slow triple nod shows people you’re listening. Placing your hands in the steeple position, together and facing up, denotes that you’re calm and present.

Try coming up with one question you’re known for. Not a canned, hokey ice-breaker, but something casual and simple that reflects your actual interests. One of her clients, a bookish executive struggling with uncomfortable, halting starts to his meetings, began kicking things off by asking “Reading anything good?”

Embracing your stumbles

Charisma starts with confidence. It’s not that captivating people don’t occasionally mispronounce a word or spill their coffee, says Henna Pryor, who wrote a book about embracing awkwardness at work. They just have a faster comeback rate than the rest of us. They call out the stumble instead of trying to hide it, make a small joke, and move on.

Being perfectly polished all the time is not only exhausting, it’s impossible. We know this, which is why appearing flawless can come off as fake. We like people who seem human, Pryor says.

Our most admired colleagues are often the ones who are good at their jobs and can laugh at themselves too, who occasionally trip or flub just like us.

“It creates this little moment of warmth,” she says, “that we actually find almost like a relief.”

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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