Quarter of Card Payments Contactless in UK



Fresh figures from the UK Cards Association shows that a quarter of card payments are now contactless in the UK. With 325 million purchases made using contactless debit and credit cards in November 2016, this accounted for 25% of all card payments.

Contactless payments are growing rapidly in popularity as it was only in August 2016 that the 20% barrier was broken. It’s impressive growth and no doubt helped by the 102 million credit and debit cards in the country. For comparison the contactless payment rate was 11% in November 2015, more than doubling in a year.

Interestingly, the average payment was GB£8.95, which reflects the convenient use for low cost items. The maximum for contactless payment is GB£30. Anything above that requires a PIN.

On a personal note, two out of my three regularly used credit/debit cards are now enabled for contactless payment and it is convenient, though I have to admit that I never saw putting in a PIN as very onerous or time consuming; it takes longer for the receipt to come out….now that would be a service improvement – imagine you could tie your email address to your card and that instead of printing a receipt, it was emailed directly to you. Genius!.

The UK Cards Association is the trade body for the card payments industry in the UK. The full press release is here. Safe PIN Entry image courtesy of UK Cards Association.


GNC #1170 I’m Back!



Are you ready for the CES content. All of our recorded interviews are on their way to the editor and we should have fresh content for you next week. I talk about the show and what comes next. This is not a show you are going to want to miss.

For CES Coverage this website, TPN.TV and my Facebook page is where the action will happen.

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It’s Decluttering Time!



After the excess of Christmas, guilt often brings us round to New Year’s resolutions. It goes without saying that I’m going to lose weight and become fitter (I’ve a new Fitbit Blaze to help); spend more time with my family and friends; and not be late for events or appointments. All laudable goals.

In addition to these stalwarts of January, I’m going to commit to de-cluttering my life as much as possible. I’m not aiming for full out austerity but if there’s something that I’m never likely to use again it’s going. Boxes, bags, clothes, toys, tech, whatever. If it’s taking space without giving value, it’s time for it to find a new home outside of mine.

I have crates of old tech for that possible future when I resurrect a couple of 90s-era PCs to play Star Wars: X-Wing v Tie Fighter in head-to-head mode. Serial cables, gender changes, 10base2 network cards, floppy drives. Seriously, it’s never going to happen. Time to dump the lot and stop hoarding.

In addition to the physical, my digital life needs a good tidy too. My inbox is full of adverts and promotions from shops and stores trying to sell me more stuff which I don’t need. I’ve had enough. Instead of wasting twenty minutes of the day deleting unwanted emails, I’m ruthlessly unsubscribing and unless I’m actually going to read the email, it’s gone.

Social media…..what a time sink! For starters, all notifications are going. If I log on (at a time of my choosing) and see new pictures, great. Otherwise, I don’t want an email, alert or other distraction imploring me to DO IT NOW. Whatever it is, it can wait. Sorry Google+, Ello and Pinterest, but I’m slimming down on my social exposure and you’re out of here.

Finally, having a OnePlus 2 with 64GB means that in well over a year of use, I’ve never had to worry about running out of memory or storage. The downside is that my smartphone is full of apps and media, many of which never get any screen time. Some apps haven’t been used in months, so it’s time to uninstall those and reclaim the launcher space.

It’s a digital declutter! What are you going to do differently this year?


ECOVACS is Cleaning Up CES 2017 with UNIBOT



EcovacsWho’s ready to leave the housework to someone else? I know I sure am. Unfortunately, my life choices haven’t really worked out in such a way that I can afford to pay for housekeeping. Regardless, we are now truly entering the World of Tomorrow here in the 21st century. And that means robots. More specifically, robots that will clean your house. The future is indeed a wonderful time to be alive!

Robotics company ECOVACS returned to CES this year to show off its latest creation, UNIBOT:

UNIBOT combines floor cleaning and air purification with aspects of household monitoring and security, as well as the control of various household devices in the owner’s home. The new home management robot combines quality and efficiency with cutting edge technologies from existing floor cleaning modules, home management modules, air purification modules and humidification modules into a single, programmable, versatile unit.

So, this UNIBOT is like a Roomba combined with an air filter and a humidifier? That’s a pretty versatile thing to have around the modern home:

…floor cleaning robot, and is further enhanced with other modules to create a totally customizable, intelligent and novel customer experience. This allows ECOVACS to advance to the next stage in its long-term plan – that is, household appliances which are no longer just single-function tools, but are now multi-functional home management systems.

Looks like UNIBOT isn’t the full solution for all of your housekeeping needs. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction. No information is yet available as to when UNIBOT will be on the market or how much it’ll cost.


PuddingBeanQ is a Robotic Companion for Kids at CES 2017



RooboOne of the promises of the 21st century is a world full of robots. While we haven’t exactly made it to that automaton-filled vision yet, artificially intelligent technology is becoming more and more commonplace in our everyday lives. This has definitely been evident during this year’s CES show. One of the latest robot-inspired devices to debut at the trade show is PuddingBeanQ, billed as a robotic companion for kids:

…small robot, PuddingBeanQ, that can answer those innumerable “why” questions from young children at the CES 2017. According to company sources, PuddingBeanQ answers the questions under eights ask of life, the universe and everything. It also teaches music and basic maths and will understand up to 50 languages.

PuddingBeanQ harnesses the power of the internet to access various types of stories and education material. This large knowledge base allows the little robot to keep kids’ minds engaged, helping them to grow and learn:

Roobo has established a strategic partnership with Nuance to integrate learning and data-driven AI to create a conversational interface and encourage human interaction.

PuddingBeanQ has rich, human-like emotions that appeal to young kids and will react to human touch, plus instigates interactive games that encourage movement.

Roobo is expecting to officially launch the PuddingBeanQ product line in March of 2017. No word yet on pricing for this robot.


SCOSCHE Launches MagicMount CHARGE at CES 2017



SCOSCHE Industries, innovators of award-winning consumer technology and car audio products and accessories, has combined the latest in advanced wireless charging technology with its award-winning MagicMount series of magnetic, cradle-less mobile device mounts and announces a major new addition to the MagicMount line-up – MagicMount CHARGE.

MagicMount CHARGE will be available in two models – for car (MPQWD) and for home/office (MPQHD). Touted the number one mount brand un the U.S., SCOSCHE’s MagicMount now integrates the latest in Qi wireless charging technology and performance with its multi-award wining mounts line, providing Qi-Certified 15W of charging power, three times the charge power of most wireless charging products. MagicMount CHARGE is designed to work with an array of Qi-Enabled devices, including phones, cases, receivers, and battery covers.

MagicMount CHARGE (MPQWD) uses SCOSCHE’s stickGRIP suction base to secure a driver’s mobile device to their vehicle’s window or dash, allowing them to keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while making hands-free calls, activating Siri or Cortana, and carefully navigating via GPS. Equipped with the latest Qi 15W wireless charging technology, the mount eliminates the need to plug a mobile device into a car charger or to use a USB cable.

It also features an open design for full access to all controls and ports and a four-axis adjustable angle, allowing for different viewing angles, and a lock-nut for securing positioning. The versatile mount enables drivers to select the optimum location to securely mount virtually any mobile device for maximized visibility and significantly enhanced safety on the road. The MagicMount CHARGE (MPQWD) includes a metal plate with 3M adhesive plus you get a free, interchangeable, low-profile dash mount option. The unit is backwards compatible for phones that charge at less than a 15W rate.

MagicMount CHARGE for home/office (MPQHD) offers a wide variety of home and office uses by those who crave less wires in their space. It offers quick and easy magnetic mounting and rapid wireless charging. The stickGRIP suction base provides a strong hold to any desk or kitchen table and boasts an open design for full access to all controls and ports. The four-axis adjustable angle conveniently allows for different viewing angles, and its lock-nut keeps user’s mobile devices securely positioned. The MagicMount CHARGE for home/office includes a metal plate with 3M adhesive and is backwards compatible for phones that charge at less than a 15W rate.

MagicMount CHARGE models will be available in Q1 2017. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Visit SCOSCHE at CES 2017 at LVCC North Hall booth #7900.


Extreme Flyers Demonstrate Micro Drone 3.0 at CES 2017



Extreme Flyers is the creator of Micro Drone 3.0. They are at CES 2017 showcasing four new features of Micro Drone 3.0, which is at the forefront of drone technology.

Micro Drone 3.0 made crowdfunding history in 2015, becoming the highest funded Drone campaign of all time on Indiegogo. Micro Drone 3.0 is an advanced, sophisticated and personal Drone, with a HD camera that allows you to stream live video directly to your smartphone. With its completely modular design, Magnetic Wi-Fi Camera and cartridge battery system – Micro Drone 3.0 is totally unique.

Micro Drone 3.0 has four new features:

Wide Angle Camera Lens

The new module incorporates a wide-angle lens and auto light balancing; allowing pilots to capture the best footage and adjusts to their environment. This snaps on much like the original camera module.

Micro Gimbal

After two years miniaturizing the technology, Extreme Flyers will be showcasing Micro Gimbal at CES. It is the world’s smallest gimbal, combining an integrated camera, gimbal, compression engine, and Wi-Fi Module (that synchronizes sensor data with video footage frame by frame) to create smooth aerial shots.

WiFi HD Downlink

Extreme Fliers new WiFi HD Downlink feature allows pilots to wirelessly transfer raw HD footage to their smartphones. This app update does away with the need for any wired connections, as SD card footage can now be downloaded directly to your phone over the air.

Carbon Fibre Racing Kit

Building on Micro Drone’s modular design, Extreme Flyers have developed a new Carbon Racing kit to allow all Micro Drone 3.0 users to place their existing Flight Board and motors into a limited edition carbon fibre frame. Alongside a new Analogue camera, users will now be able to take part in professional FPV Racing.

Extreme Flyers are at CES 2017 in the LVCC South at Booth #21764.


Polaroid Debuts Polaroid Pop at CES 2017



Polaroid celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2017, and they are kicking off their milestone year with the debut of the Polaroid Pop. It is the latest camera in the Polaroid Instant Digital Print line, and it pairs wireless technology with the iconic Polaroid 3″x4″ print.

The Polaroid Pop instant digital camera combines a sleek, modern design and digital technology with the classic 3″x4″ instant print format that is reminiscent of the brand’s iconic legacy instant print cameras.

Just like the Polaroid Snap and Polaroid Snap Touch instant digital cameras and the Polaroid Zip instant photoprinter, at the heart of the new Polaroid Pop instant digital camera is an integrated printer using ZINK Zero Ink Printing Technology. This gives users the ability to automatically print full color photos in the iconic 3″x4″ format with the Polaroid Classic Border Logo resulting in a 3.5”x4.25” print.

The Polaroid Pop also featured a traditional camera experience. The camera includes a 3.97-inch touchscreen LCD for framing shots and navigating the camera’s menu, a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor and dual LED flash for high quality images, image stabilization, as well as 1080p full HD video recording capability. All images and video are stored on a micro SD card (up to 128GB).

The Polaroid Pop can quickly and easily connect to a mobile device using a dual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip, transforming the camera into an instant photo printer. Via the Polaroid print app, available free for iOS and Android, users can edit and enhance their prints with a number of creative filters, digital stickers, effects, and controls. No matter what device they use to capture images, users will be able to share the fun with their own creative flair. The Polaroid Pop is ideal for today’s selfie shooters thanks to a self-timer. Additionally the Polaroid Pop has three color modes – black and white, color, and vintage sepia to give users that iconic Polaroid look and feel.

Visit Polaroid at CES 2017 in Central Hall at the Polaroid booth #16614.


NewTek and Wowza Deliver Joint Streaming Device



NewTek and Wowza Media Systems announced the immediate availability of MediaDS, a revolutionary real-time encoding and live streaming video delivery system.

MediaDS is a hardware and software solution merging NewTek’s industry-leading live production technology with the powerful, proven Wowza streaming software in an IRU footprint. The result is the industry’s first end-to-end streaming solution to allow producers to launch their own multi-channel content networks from their production site and deliver a live video stream directly to their viewers.

For enhanced scalability, producers can also create a virtual CDN or edge network by connecting together multiple MediaDS  – either through a local area network, or remotely over IP to cross wide geographic boundaries. Video production to content delivery over IP makes enterprise deployments effortless.

MediaDS also organized to extend their brand beyond actual video content. The system not only acts as a media server, but also will host all required content – including web pages which are independently customizable – for audience viewing, to ensure that the on-screen experience adheres to organizational brand guidelines. Embed codes are also available to insert the Wowza Player into existing webpages to complement your current web presence.

MediaDS ensures the optimal audio-visual experience for viewing audiences right from the system by introducing another layer of quality control into any signal flow. With support for dedicated multiviewer monitoring, a local operator can observe all video streams in real time or focus on a specific channel full-screen, and manage image and sound quality with integrated waveform and vectorscope displays, independent of color correction tools, and multi-channel audio level control available for every stream. Producers can also stack multiple channels from the same source, and encode them into different renditions as a grouped stream to enable adaptive bitrate streaming.

MediaDS is available immediately for $11,995 USMSP. International pricing may vary.


D-Link Delivers Simplified High-Speed Whole Home Wi-Fi System



D-Link is a global leader in connectivity for home, small business, mid to large-sized enterprise environments, and service providers. D-Link made several announcements at CES 2017 about their new products, including the Covr Wi-Fi System and the Covr Powerline Wi-Fi System.

The Covr Wi-Fi System (DKT-883) technology transforms the traditional router-extender solution into an easy to use Wi-Fi system that blankets the entire home with a fast, reliable, signal. While other mesh network solutions rely on multiple access points, a premium router is the backbone of the Covr Wi-Fi System. Combined with the seamless extenders to cover hard to reach areas, the system delivers a Wi-Fi signal to all areas of the home including upstairs, basements and backyards.

The Covr Powerline Wi-Fi System (DHP-732AV) is one of the first Wi-Fi solutions to utilize PowerLine technology as a foundation. Covr uses the existing home router and a set of adapters to create a comprehensive Wi-Fi coverage solution. PowerLine users the home’s existing wiring to transfer network data, essentially turning electrical circuits into a high-speed network The Covr PowerLine System extends Wi-Fi coverage to hard-to-reach areas of the home, as well as wired networks.

The new D-Link HD 180 Degree Wi-Fi Camera (DCH-8100LH) and HD Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-8000LH) deliver an intuitive and affordable way to monitor homes and loved ones. The two cameras are designed for a variety of surveillance applications and lighting conditions – offering premium features, wide viewing angles, night vision, sound and motion detection, and crisp HD video.

Visit D-Link System at CES 2017 at Titian 2301A, Titian 2301B, and Titian 2302.