Smartphones

How high-tech connectivity is changing our lives

Matt Finn reports from Las Vegas

 

Say Goodbye to room keys. Starwood Hotels is introducing a touchless entry system on many of its guestroom doors.  Starwood president and CEO Frits Van Paasschen says in the future guests will get a text a few hours before they arrive to confirm the room. It will give the details about the room and allow guests to walk right past the front desk, to the room and open the door with a mobile device. A quick wave with the cell phone in front of the door will let customers in and they do not have to worry about keeping track of those pesky key cards.

This technology is available for your home as well. The "Kwikset Kevo" pairs with your smartphone and with a quick touch you can lock or unlock your door. You can even share your e- keys.  Marty Hoffmann, Kwikset’s vice president of marketing, told FoxNews.com that e-keys are a useful tool if you want to limit the times various people come to your home. "If I have house cleaner who I only want to come by Mondays one to four, that's the only time they'll have access to my home," he said.

Related: Wearable tech trend expands beyond adults

Reality TV hosts Jonathan and Drew Scott say investing in technology that lets you turn your lights and security on and off from a smartphone will pay off. “If you have these sort of features in your place you can brag about that in a listing and buyers will pay for it," said Drew Scott.

A thermostat can easily be upgraded and some "learn" your lifestyle, figuring out when you are home and when you're away.  Honeywell and Nest say their connected heating and air controls will help you save on your utility bills. There is even an intuitive toilet, made by Kohler.  It has the bidet features, a heated seat and a setting where you can put a little heated blower on at the bottom to keep your feet toasty.  If you prefer something simpler like bathing yourself in music or the morning news there's even a Bluetooth-enabled showerhead - also by Kohler. Another surprising synched-up gizmo is an Oral-B toothbrush that tracks your brushing habits. It tells you how much pressure you're applying and allows you to share that info with your dentist.

If your green thumb needs some fine-tuning then the Flower Power gadget might be the tool for you. It tracks everything from soil to sun and will remind you to water your plant or move it inside in case of cold weather.

Home entertainment is one of the most popular areas of technology. The market is saturated with speakers. Gwen Paja, the editorial curator for Gifts.com, told FoxNews.com that this is the banner year for Bluetooth-connected gadgets and around eighty to ninety percent of today's hottest tech has built-in Bluetooth so you can play music right from your smartphone.

The tech trend isn't limited to gadgets for your home - wearable devices are also hitting the market. Research firm Strategy Analytics predicts that nearly 50 million wearable devices such as fitness bands and smartwatches will be sold in 2015. 

Microsoft, Motorola and Fitbit are just a few makers that say they can help improve your health by measuring everything from exercise, fitness and your sleep cycle.

And it is not only for adults, Sproutling is a band for your baby set to hit the market next year. It tracks your newborn's sleeping habits and vital signs, and for the four-legged family member there's Whistle which monitors your dog's daily activities.

Tracking technology has even paved the way for a virtual coach. 94Fifty is introducing the world's first smart basketball that tells you how hard you are dribbling and if you are able to keep control of the ball. It also looks at how hard and high you shoot and whether the ball comes in softly to the rim.  Some NBA and college teams are even using the technology. "We've got teams like the Boston Celtics, and Toronto Raptors, and Sacramento Kings, and Wisconsin Badgers,” said Michael Crowley, CEO and founder of InfoMotion Sports Technologies, which developed the ball.

And if you want to improve your game on the green, Zepp has a small sensor you can attach to a golf club and then see how you stack up against the pros.

 

 

Matt Finn is a Fox News correspondent based in the Chicago bureau. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFinnFNC