Zomm Blog

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

ZOMM Goes on Shark Tank

After two months of preparation and the final taping, our Shark Tank episode finally aired on ABC last night. The response has been overwhelming and we are thrilled to have been given this experience.

Henry Penix on Shark Tank

Photo courtesy of tvequals

Shark Tank serves as a great platform for getting an idea off the ground and an amazing opportunity for budding entrepreneurs. However, a company that is further along in its lifecycle, such as ZOMM, Shark Tank may better serve as a vehicle to bring awareness to a company or product. Our “ask” was more than had ever been asked on the show and it became apparent very early on that a deal would not be in the making.

We received great exposure and even with beefed-up servers, it was an effort to keep up with all the traffic. I truly hope that everyone who couldn’t get on our website before, because of the overwhelming response, will visit us again soon at www.zomm.com.

If I had to do it all over again, to get a deal, I would match the “ask” to the parameters of the show. To get exposure, I wouldn’t change a thing! ZOMM is on a great trajectory moving forward. Products and services that have been developed by ZOMM but could not be discussed on the Shark Tank, as they were not part of the “deal,” are serving the company very well. Hopefully ABC will do a follow up next season and show the Sharks what they let swim away.

Henry A Penix
CEO

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Five of Tech’s Best Time Management Tools

A poll accompanying a recent article from the Guardian, entitled “Time management woes: is digital technology the answer,” reported that only 45.3% of people felt digital technology could offer a “feasible time-saving solution.” We disagree. Certainly, sometimes it can be easy to get consumed by your email inbox, but it’s still more efficient than writing every correspondence by hand!

Five of Tech’s Best Time Management Tools

Photo courtesy of freelanceswitch.com

We often lose sight of the primary goal of both technology and time management: to make life’s pain points, i.e. the necessary evils, easier and quicker so we can get on to the fun stuff. Here we’re taking a look at the best time management tools today’s technology has to offer.

  1. The Things app for iPhone functions a lot like a simple to-do list, but has certain intuitive organizational features that set it apart. You can organize your to-do tasks by project or by priority. You can easily move tasks from today to tomorrow and you can have an aspirational “someday” task list. Things manages deadlines and gives you the satisfaction of crossing tasks off your to-do list.
  2. Another great app for iPhone is YadaHome. Billed as a “Family Organizer,” YadaHome lets you share grocery lists and a calendar with family members. Instead of last-minute items on the grocery list being called in, committed to memory, and inevitably forgotten, family members can simply add them to the list in real time.
  3. Toggl is a time tracking software tool that can be used on any device, from Mac to PC to Android and back to iPhone. It can be used by individuals or entire companies and helps keep track of time spent on different tasks and projects. You can either analyze this information to streamline your priorities or to easily bill clients for time—or both!
  4. Evernote is a popular software tool that promise to help you “Remember everything.” You can capture and store anything: images, notes, lists, audio, video, instructions, etc. You can then access and share those notes from any device anywhere.
  5. The ZOMM Personal Concierge service combines the human and tech elements. If you need help with anything, anywhere in the world, you can either call or email you Personal Concierge to help you out. From arranging your next business trip to locating the style of sunglasses a random celebrity wore in a certain movie five years ago, the ZOMM Personal Concierge can save you time completing the “necessary evils,” then help you make the “fun stuff” happen.

What technology helps you manage your time? 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Tech Toys for Today’s Modern Tot… with a Traditional Twist

New technology is constantly changing and evolving the way we live. This new technology is perhaps most profoundly affecting younger generations born into this new tech world. Dolls now come with USB ports and toddlers can operate iPads better, faster, and more effectively than their adult counterparts.

Here we’re taking a special look at toys for today’s tech-driven tots with a traditional twist. These toys aim to familiarize children with the thought process behind technology without bombarding kids with the technology itself.

Traditional toy blocks in iPhone form

Photo courtesy of technabob.com

 

  1. Laurie Ipsum” is a children’s book written by Carlos Bueno, a Facebook engineer. It does not attempt to teach children any specific technical skills, but rather, how to think like a computer programmer. The main character, Laurie Ipsum, is lost in Userland and she must use logic and reason to overcome challenges and find her way home. Naturally, Laurie Ipsum is available in digital form for Nook, Kindle, and iBook, as well as in paperback.
  2. The wooden iPhone is the modern mother’s answer to the pacifier. It’s the perfect size to chewed on but not ingested—and best of all, it’s not actually the expensive technological device. The techy baby can slobber all over his/her stylish smartphone without worry that Mom might be upset.
  3. Russian dolls take a turn for the techy with this set that teaches children the sequencing from a terabyte down to a bit. The exact same form and function of a traditional set, the 6-piece tech Russian Doll set will help lay a foundation for children to think in technological scale.

What tech-inspired toy would you have liked as a child?      

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The Most Popular Electronic Device in America: the Television or the Mobile Phone?

Question: Would you guess more Americans own a television or a mobile phone?

Televisions, of course, have been an American mainstay and status symbol since the mid-1900’s.

On In the other hand, the mobile phone has quickly risen as a must-have technological accessory in recent years. In fact, today’s smartphone, with its bigger and better screen and video viewing capabilities, increasingly resembles a miniature television.

Answer: As drastically as the American media landscape has changed in the last two decades, the mobile phone has not overtaken the television as the most commonly owned electronic device in the U.S.

According to a January 2012 Nielsen report on media usage, 232 million Americans over the age of 13 own a mobile phone, while 290 million own at least one television. In fact, over one-third (35.9%) of American households own four or more televisions!

Check out the following infographic for more interesting facts.

How long until the cell phone overtakes the television? Or do you think it ever will? 

 

ZOMM reports on Nielsen's findings on American media usage.

Photo courtesy of blog.nielsen.com

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Celebrating “National Inventor’s Month” with a Salute to Sven Mattisson and Jaap Haartsen, Inventors of Bluetooth

May is a month for celebrating. We recently commemorated “Better Hearing and Speech Month” with a post describing five useful smartphone apps for hearing and speech impaired individuals. Now we’d like to recognize “National Inventor’s Month” with an ode to Sven Mattisson and Jaap Haartsen, the inventors of Bluetooth technology.

Exploring the History of Bluetooth Technology

Photo courtesy of gandhiappliances.com

This illustrious Bluetooth history takes us back to the mid-1990’s. The leading technology companies agreed to the need for a standard way to connect devices wirelessly, regardless of their make and model. Representative of IBM, Intel, Toshiba, and Nokia, converged on Lund, Sweden, the home of Ericcson, to form Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

Mattisson and Haartsen, both of Ericcson, developed the Bluetooth specification, which is based on “frequency-hopping spread spectrum,” and are thus credited as the inventors. The most compelling part of the story, however, is how Bluetooth came to be known as Bluetooth.

 

The Viking King Harald Bluetooth is the inspiration behind Bluetooth technology.

Photo courtesy of neatorama.com

According to Jim Kardach, who ran Bluetooth SIG until 2001, Intel called their short-range wireless technologies program “Biz-RF.” Ericsson’s program was “MC-Link,” and Nokia had “Low Power RF.” These different—and unremarkable—names created confusion, and it became clear they needed to develop a single name.

Bluetooth allegedly came to be during a pub-crawl on a blustery Toronto night. Mattisson and Kardach, who represented Intel at the time, were drowning their sorrows after early proposals of “Biz-RF” and “MC-Link” were rejected by the early SIG, when Mattisson shared a story about the Viking King Harald Bluetooth.

Bluetooth had united warring factions in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, much like Bluetooth technology would unite different technology made by Intel, Ericsson, Nokia, Toshiba and any of Bluetooth SIG’s 16,000 current member companies. Marketing men threw around different names, including “Flirt—getting close, but not touching,” but Bluetooth stuck.

So, today, we pay homage to the pioneers Vikings of Bluetooth technology. Without these fearless nerds, the ZOMM Wireless Leash could not exist and you and your phone would be forever-warring factions.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

The History and Evolution of the Concierge

The general consensus is that life gets more and more crazy and complicated with every passing year and generation. Elders lament a simple time while current technology combats the complexity of life in the 2000’s.  This is our motivation to innovate here at ZOMM and with the recent introduction of the ZOMM Personal Concierge; we’ve decided to take a look at the evolving role of the concierge in people’s lives.

 

History and Evolution of the Concierge

Photo courtesy of ny54limo.com

Concierge is actually a French word meaning “keeper of the keys” and dates back to the middle ages when concierges would hold the keys to various rooms in a castle and see to the needs of visiting nobility. Through the 19th century, concierges were a common fixture in European apartment, office, and governmental buildings—even prisons.

The 20th century saw the rise of steamships and the development of the modern travel industry. This changed the role of the concierge as vacationing guests looked to the concierge for daily activities, like tours, restaurant recommendations, and a variety of other services.

Interestingly, the concierge concept was not widely adopted in American hotels until the 1970’s. Today, touch-screen kiosks have replaced many hotel concierges, but the human concierge is far from gone.

The ZOMM Personal Concierge functions more like a personal assistant or butler, only it is available 24hours a day, seven days a week. You don’t need to be on vacation either, although the ZOMM Personal Concierge is very useful for recommendations in unfamiliar cities when you don’t want to use the automated hotel kiosk.

Just as we suspected, the role of the concierge has evolved with its consumers since the Middle Ages. It’s not a new concept, but we think the ZOMM Personal Concierge is the most evolved concierge solution for contemporary lifestyles.

How could you use a personal concierge at your service 24/7? 

 

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Four Theories About the Future of Mobile Devices

We recently recounted the top five rumors regarding the next generation iPhone 5. Complete with a rumored Liquidmetal casing, we got to thinking: if five months’ time promises space age Liquidmetal, what will the cell phone be like in, say… 20 years?

Of course, when one considers the astonishingly rapid evolution of the mobile phone in just the last 5 years, these ideas are little more than baseless speculation. Nonetheless, we’ve done a little research and these are our four favorite theories:

  1. One “futurologist” thinks the handsets of today will be deconstructed. One apparatus for touch input, another for visual display, and another for audio. This “complete physical interface” will blur the lines between digital, virtual, and real. Very sci-fi, right?
  2. Our mobile gadgets will be more durable because cloud-computing technology will take the processing strain off the device itself. Product life cycles will be longer and manufacturers will refocus on a more sustainable product experience. Another theorist believes they’ll be bendable and somehow utilize projection technology.
  3. Artificial intelligence will dominate. Think Siri—but better and smarter. These “data guardians” will pick and choose the information that reaches users based on a very intimate knowledge their lives and interests—yes, the kind of knowledge advertisers would kill for.
  4. The user experience will be healthier. New designs will free up users’ aching wrists and thumbs. The artificial intelligence will make the experience more efficient so users will spend less time consumed by these devices. And they’ll incorporate more medical diagnostic hardware so user health will be monitored in real time.

Of course, regardless of its form and functionality, you’ll want to keep your mobile device close at-hand, today and 20 years from now.That’s why we invented the ZOMM Wireless Leash.

What other space age features would you like to see included in mobile devices of the future? 

Friday, May 11th, 2012

5 Apps for the Hearing Impaired in Honor of “Better Hearing & Speech Month”

Impaired hearing affects 14.9% of children, according to the Center for Hearing and Speech, and can dramatically impair language development. Only so much can be done medically for those who suffer, but there are ways to treat and cope. And now, there are smartphone apps to help.

In honor of May’s designation as “Better Hearing & Speech Month,” we’ve compiled a list of great mobile apps, primarily for iPhone and iPad, to help diagnose and treat the hearing and speech impaired.

 

A list of five great apps for the hearing and speech-impaired.

Photo courtesy of freedomscope.com

 

  • Siemens Hearing Test—Do you suspect you may be hearing impaired? This free app tests your ability to recognize words from background noise and compares your accuracy to the average score of normal listeners. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step to treating it. This test can tell you whether or not you should seek further medical attention.
  • Hearing Loss Simulator—Living with someone who is hearing impaired can be a trying experience at times. This app costs $1.99 and can help family and friends better understand that loved one. The app even adjusts the simulation to the degree of their hearing impairment.
  • Speech Trainer 3D—This $7.99 app animates how the tongue, lips and mouth properly move during speech. The 3D demonstration helps the speech impaired practice certain sounds, consonants, and vowels in the English language. A recent update allows you to use iPad and iPhone cameras to film yourself speaking and do a side-by-side comparison to the animation.
  • Eye Contact – Toybox—Previously featured on “60 Minutes” This $2.99 app rewards children for focusing on the human faces displayed on the screen. Maintaining eye contact can be a difficult skill for children to learn and is especially important for hearing impaired individuals.
  • EarTrumpet—Best when used with a headset, the EarTrumpet offers hearing enhancement tools. The $3.99 app was developed by a medical student and applies scientific inquiry and analysis to help the hearing-impaired better understand the world around them. 

These apps demonstrate how modern technology is addressing real human problems. Likewise, the ZOMM Wireless Leash and the myZOMM app could be a great service to a hearing and speech-impaired individual in a moment of panic. The center button can be programmed to call either 911 or a number of the ZOMM owner’s choice when it’s held for a period of time.

How are you observing “Better Hearing & Speech Month”? 

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Your Personal Sports Concierge!

The NBA playoffs are in full-swing. Our home state team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, has already clinched their rights to round two. Fourteen other teams are still hitting the hardwood in hopes of joining the Thunder in the conference semifinals.

OKC Thunder fans enter Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Photo Courtesy of espn.go.com

 

If you want to go see your team compete in the playoffs, it’s not as impossible as you might think! We created the ZOMM Personal Concierge for things just like this—as a way to help you get into places you normally wouldn’t be able to—and to do it without a headache.

Actually, there are several different sports-related things our Personal Concierge can do for you:

• Find and book tickets to sold out games
• Track down how (and where) to get memorabilia signed by your favorite athlete
• Get you tickets for a VIP party where your favorite player is to make an appearance
• Assist you with the season ticket process for your favorite team
• Find the store closest to you that has your team-themed body paint

No matter what kind of sports fanatic you are, the ZOMM Personal Concierge can help make it more fun. Maybe you already have the tickets purchased, but need help finding parking, making dinner reservations or getting the perfect tailgating spot? We can help with that, too.

So can we get three cheers for the ZOMM Personal Concierge?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Restaurant Referral and Review Sites: Who Can You Trust?

Last week we learned that 95% of diners use their smartphones prior to dining out. Many of these people are seeking out restaurant referrals. Websites like Yelp and Urbanspoon offer reviews from strangers, Facebook and Twitter offer recommendations from friends, and services like the ZOMM Personal Concierge offer their own expertise.

But how do you choose which referral source to trust? Here is a breakdown of the pro’s and con’s of each:

referrals

Photo Courtesy of Guardian.co.uk

1. User review sites, like Yelp and Urbanspoon, can be a great resource when you’re thinking of exploring a specific spot you’ve never been and need a quick thumb’s up… or thumb’s down. The top 10 lists can be deceiving if you don’t read the criteria carefully and you must consider paid content. Yes, these websites are in business to make money and establishments that pay up benefit from greater control over their reviews.

2. Social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc., are great referral resources because your trusted friends are making the recommendations. According to one survey, marketers themselves trust Facebook more for referrals and product reviews than both Yelp and traditional advertising. But this source is not without its limitations—the recommendations are unorganized, random, and what if you’re out of town?

3. The ZOMM Personal Concierge, like social media recommendations from friends, is trustworthy. You’re paying for the referrals—instead of the referrals paying for you. This convenient resource is loyal to you and only you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the world. You call your concierge, describe your wishes, and the ZOMM Personal Concierge will not only come up with a recommendation, but make the reservation as well.

Which resource do you trust most for referrals?

  • ZOMM Loves Female Innovators

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    With my two girls being on their own this summer, I felt better knowing they had their ZOMMs. I knew that with a ZOMM in hand, they would drive safer by using the call notification and speakerphone feature. ...