5 useful tools for remote workers unveiled at CES 2022
While many workers—and even more managers—hoped to be back at the office by now, COVID-19 and the Omicron variant have wrecked those plans. Google, Uber, and Ford, for instance, have pushed back their return-to-office dates—and in the case of Google and Uber, the postponement is indefinite.
That creates a big new market for the tech industry. As telecommuting and hybrid working become the new norm, tech companies are increasingly trying to create new tools and gadgets that make working remotely easier. And at CES 2022, the tech industry’s largest annual event, there are plenty of examples on display (though, perhaps fittingly, many of those displays are virtual).
There are, of course, new laptops and monitors, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find other tools that could help home-based workers.
ObVus Solutions Minder Laptop Tower Stand II
Spending the day hunched over a laptop is a fast track to neck and back pain. ObVus’s stand ($90) lets you put your screen at eye level and position the keyboard for better arm and wrist support. It’s designed so you can use it whether you’re sitting or standing. And this updated model also features a stand for working or using your smartphone alongside your laptop.
NexiGo Meeting Pro N4000
Videoconferences are an unavoidable part of working for many people these days, but that doesn’t mean you have to be chained to the desk. This webcam offers a 4K picture (which isn’t unusual) as well as four noise-canceling microphones (which is). It can detect people in its field of view and automatically frame in and track people speaking as they move. The device, which costs $700, received a CES 2022 Innovation Award this year.
Tracking a shipped package comes with limitations. UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service might be able to tell you the last city it was in, but following real-time movements is more difficult. With especially important shipments, it can be essential to know their precise location. Nestwave’s ThinTrack is an ultracompact GPS tracker that lets you check the location of packages (and even letters) on a nearly live-time basis. All of its electronics, from battery to antenna to sensors, fit in a device that is less that 82mm long and 3mm thick, and weighs just 15 grams.
Telecommuting means workers aren’t necessarily in front of their computers all day, but they generally use their phones to monitor their email closely and answer calls. Typewise is a free app that claims to triple how fast people can type, using predictive artificial intelligence technology to fill out words after only a letter or two is entered. Prefer to type on a traditional keyboard? This 2022 CES Innovation Award winner is also introducing a test version for desktop users.
Amber X Personal Cloud Server
There are obvious advantages to storing files on the cloud, including letting people access them from anywhere and saving you from losing valuable photos, documents, and more owing to hard drive failure. But recent hacker attacks on cloud servers, including Amazon’s mighty Amazon Web Services, has some people worried about storing their important files with third parties. Amber X’s personal cloud server lets you keep the accessibility, but do away with the subscription fees cloud storage companies charge customers. The device gives you better control of your data, such as setting access permissions (letting you share files with only the people you want) and freeing up storage space on mobile devices. The $229 system comes with 500GB of internal data storage (which, admittedly, isn’t a lot), but it can also connect to external hard drives, letting you ultimately store as much as you need.
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