A Merry Techy Christmas

How finding our fave 2021 tech in our stocking could make our Christmas brighter

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Clever Software Group Christmas Gifts

Our Favourite 2021 Tech for a Merry Christmas and Smarter New Year

It may not surprise you to learn that at Clever Software Group, our team of software developers love how much fun, insights and productivity can be enjoyed from tech gadgets. Technology isn’t just capable of helping out with our day jobs; it can work wonders in our home life too. Since we've been especially good this year, here's a rundown of top tech gadgets and gizmos that we think would get our new year off to a flying start. 

For wellbeing

As with every year, we’ll be starting 2022 with a health-kick and this time we’re hoping to keep up the momentum with the help of the latest wearable health tech. We’ve especially got our eye on the Oura Ring Generation 3, which promises to get to know our body better than we know it ourselves with its 24 hours a day biometric data. Effortlessly worn day and night, the Oura Ring 3 has seven temperature sensors, with special focus given to monitoring our heart rate and blood oxygen levels. Movement and sleep analysis provides key health insights so that we can make better lifestyle choices. 

We don’t mind admitting that there have been times during this pandemic, particularly in Lockdown 1.0 that we avoided looking in the mirror at all costs. Now that we know how important our wellbeing is to surviving these turbulent times, a smart workout Mirror would give our home fitness routine a boost. The 56” mirror from the company aptly named Mirror offers interactive workouts with over 10,000 classes available on demand and dishes out points for hitting targets too. We’ll be asking who is the fittest of them all in no time.

Next year, we’re embarking on the Three Peaks challenge to raise much-needed funds for young persons charity, Tall Ships Youth Trust. We reckon the Garmin Instinct Rugged Smartwatch will be just the helping hand we need to tackle this adventure head on. We’re going to need all the help we can get to guide our way, and the GPS and heart-rate monitoring technology will enable us to navigate our route while keeping an eye on our health too.  Even though we’ll be setting off on our 24 hour challenge in June, who knows what Great British weather we’ll be contending with! Hopefully the fiber-reinforced polymer case to aid durability coupled with the thermal, shock and water resistance of this watch will have our back no matter the weather. 

For working from home

There’s no place like the office but when needs must, our super software development team have adapted to working from home pretty neatly over the last 20 months. These days our home workstations mirror our office desks, and we’re kitted out with our all the coding tech we need but there are a few additional techy things that could make working from home a little easier too.

The Smart Writing Set from Moleskine is a paper tablet that allows all our notes and scribbles to be synced and transferred to our screens in real time via the Moleskine Notes app, which is available on both iOS and Android. With multiple editing and sharing features, the invisible NCoded™ technology embedded within each page enables really clever pen tracking to make our good old-fashioned note taking available as a digital copy in an instant. Remarkable 2, the super thin 10.3 inch digital notebook, also looks like a great eco-friendly option for sharing notes live during online meetings. Run on a Linux operating system, this second-generation model boasts great functionality, better processing and more storage for organising our sketches and plans on the go. 

Something that we’re not too keen about when it comes to working from home is spending our lunchbreaks cleaning up. That’s why a robot hoover to lend a helping hand would be welcomed with open arms. It’s pretty incredible how far these domestic robots have come in recent years. The Ecovas Robot Vacuum OZMO920, for example, not only mops and vacuums simultaneously and responds to direct commands and schedules, it also has inbuilt laser technology to map our home floorplan and to efficiently navigate specific rooms. 

Headphones have become a necessity for online meetings and the latest earbud offering from Sony would make our hands-free calls function pretty effortlessly. The Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless noise cancelling earbuds provide excellent call quality and actually allow the user to cancel specific background noise. Optimised for Alexa and Google Assistant, the earbuds use Sony’s DSEE Extreme audio processor as well as beamforming microphones and a bone-conduction sensor to make conversations precise and crystal clear. 


For relaxing

We can’t be the only ones that fell in love with gardening this year. The health benefits of indoor plants have been proven time and again and now, thanks to the Smart Garden 9 Pro from Click and Grow, we can keep our much-loved house plants alive for longer. This smart self-watering device allows us to keep plants and herbs growing all year round and features an app controlled grow-light as well as offering plenty of advice on how to become even more of a plant expert too. 

Staring at the same walls can feel a little tedious and painting the town red may not be on the horizon anytime soon, so a Philips Hue Play Light Bar to set different moods with their amazing light experiences would help to mix things up a little. An incredible 16 million colours are available to programme to create different ambiances for different moods and times of day. Smart lighting can be synced with our home devices to change light settings with a simple voice command so we can brighten a room without even being in it.  

With the ever-changing, uncertain climate we’re living in, sleep has evaded us at times this year. Thankfully there’s a growing market of sleep aid devices to help settle our racing minds and send us to sleep more quickly. The Dodow Sleep Aid Device, for example, is a neat metronome with a light system that trains us to fall asleep naturally. Compact enough to rest on our bedside table, the Dodow has been proven to get users to sleep 2.5 times faster. 


For making life a little easier

With may tabs open simultaneously in our brains, we need all the help we can get to multi-task our way through the day. 

Our smartphones allow us to be more productive in our home lives and 2021 treated us to the release of some brilliant new phones. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and iPhone 13 offer better processors than their predecessors (try saying that after a couple of mulled wines!), longer battery life, and superb picture quality. We're particularly excited to try out the new Google Pixel 6, running on Android 12. The most marked difference with Google's first phone in two years is Tensor, their custom-built chip for greater AI, security and an impressive all-round performance. Most impressive is the camera innovation of the Google Pixel 6 with an ultrawide lens, a new and improved image sensor and ablility to capture 150% more light than the Google Pixel 5. Plus the Magic Eraser tool apparently makes it's a doddle to remove photobombers from your pictures too. Bonus! 

Thanks to the advanced functionality of home automation technology, our homes are becoming more connected, secure and energy efficient. Not only does the Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) provide a speaker for helping to cook, shop, meditate, learn, get organised, and stay connected with friends and family, it is also geared up to help achieve a smarter home. Compatible with multiple smart home brands, the Google Assistant can help monitor security cameras, adjust home temperature, turn off lights, the works. The newest Nest Hub includes motion sensor and improved base and tuning software to set your home up to be the cleverest it’s ever been. 

We also think that the new Apple Airtags will help us to keep on top of home life. This ultra-smart button-shaped object tracker uses Bluetooth, and a U1 chip with ultra wideband technology to locate lost items using our iPhone. Household items can be easily located nearby with your iPhone providing onscreen prompts to seek out your misplaced keys, bags and wallets. Use the find my app or get Siri involved in the search utilising sound, haptics, and visual feedback all while using end to end encryption to keep location data private. 

 

For fun

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some light relief to take the edge off. And we’re a little big giddy to use our time off to rack up some gaming hours on the Xbox Series X. Promising a unique gaming experience, the custom designed GPU processes an amazing 12 trillion operations per second. Cutting edge technology, including hardware accelerated Direct X raytracking, takes console gaming to whole new levels. Offering a more lifelike and immersive gaming experience, it may take quite some convincing to believe we’re not actually part of the Halo universe!

When we need to wake up dad from his after-dinner nap on the big day, we think that the latest VR headset from Occulus Quest 2 will do just the trick. With blazing fast processor, next generation graphics,  and fantasy lands ranging from Star Wars to Jurassic World, the latest Occulus from Meta will have us on the edge of our seat. 

One of our favourite gadgets of all time has been reimagined for the digital age and will be perfect for when we need to snatch a few quiet moments amongst the Christmas chaos.  As software developers we are natural problem solvers, so we're pretty excited that the Rubik’s Cube, once the ultimate problem solving gadget now has an app-enabled speed Cube. The Rubik's Connected Cube is equipped with advanced sensors and connected through Bluetooth 4.1 to the Rubik’s Connected app, promising to help us improve our game as well as compete with cubers from around the world. 

So, there you have it, our top picks to have yourself a merry techy Christmas! We love the power of tech to help us escape, make us smarter, have us enthralled and keep us connected. We're already excited for all the tech releases of 2022! 

In all honestly, we'll be happy for a healthy festive season and to make up for lost time with our loved ones. We wish you a wonderfully Merry Christmas! 

From Team CSG

P.S. If you have any downtime this holiday, have a read through our Think Tank articles for all our latest news and reviews from an exciting year!

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AccessAble

AccessAble is an online resource providing Detailed Access Guides all about a venue's access facilities ahead of their visit. The company's suite of applications used by surveyors all over the UK needed ongoing software support, data management and development as part of their rebrand and new website.

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