A man working with one of the first televisions. The screen is about 3" inches big.

CE-Yes or CE-No? Some of the stuff was pretty head scratching at CES this year. Engadget gives you the scoop on the baddies.

In this week’s Things Thursday, we look at the pros and cons of the Amazon Echo and Google Home, as well as what makes a smart city valuable and who were the let downs at CES. Oh, speaking of CES, tomorrow our own Dave Conroy will give you a download of his findings at CES during our Facebook Live Office Hours at the NEW TIME of 3p EST!!!

  1. 5 key books to put on your reading list to understand IoT (via ReadWrite)
    The space is moving fast and there are a lot of challenges around IoT. This list is has a good mix of what’s happening, what’s coming and what you need to look out for. These will be in CRT’s library for sure.
  2. How a Smart City Tackles Rainfall (via Data-Smart City Solutions)
    Smart city data will become one of those components that will transform real estate. We will know more about how we’re living and that will go a long way to impact how people feel about properties, how we develop and impact decisions on where to live. One way we can get ahead of this is by seeing what’s out there and better understanding the technology and the opportunities and challenges it presents. One of the larger efforts happening in this arena is right here in Chicago. The Array of Things is coming online and this article talks about how it is already helping city planners think about how they tackle issues like stormwater runoff. Creating a green infrastructure is happening all over the world and smart city initiatives like the Array of Things will most likely lend to an increase in this trend. This is a good read.
  3. CES 2017: How the tiny Intel Compute Card could revolutionize IoT device management (via TechRepublic)
    This idea makes sense to me. It’s in line with how the Array of Things (above) is looking ot operate. Hot-swappable hardware that can be upgraded on the fly. Intel’s version is a credit-card sized computer that can be removed and upgraded in the future, thus helping with the cycle of security and maintenance updates needed for devices. This is a great step in getting there. Still, if you have a ton of devices with these in them, it could become costly and onerous to manually move and update…but then again, you’d need to install new equipment anyway. You see my problem? I’m never happy. Kudos to Intel for thinking in this way. Let’s see if others follow this modular approach.
  4. Wading through the Internet of Crap (via Engadget)
    I kind of wish Engadget would stop pulling punches with these unclear headlines. 😉 – Seriously, they’ve got some opinions. There were a lot of head scratchers at CES and I agree with the list pretty much down the line. They quote Nick Offerman – ‘sometimes the best tech is low-tech’. I agree. Tomorrow, our own Dave Conroy will give you a download of his findings at CES during our Facebook Live Office Hours at the NEW TIME of 3p EST!!!
  5. Part A: What can Amazon Echo do that Google Home can’t? (via The Real Daily)
    Part A is a very good overview of the benefits of the Amazon Echo over the Google Home. For fair comparison, only the Echo and Home were compared and not the cheaper Echo Dot because there is no Google Home equivalent. Great and fair comparison. Echo currently leads in smarthome integrations, but my opinion is this is temporary. A huge puzzler for me is how well Google Calendar works with the Amazon Echo, but not with Google Home. Not sure how Google missed that…
    Part B: What can Google Home do that Amazon Echo can’t? (via The Real Daily)Part B looks at where Google Home shines. It doesn’t shine in an existential debate with itself, that’s for sure. For me? I like the speaker better and it seems the voice search capabilities are MUCH better. Of course, Amazon doesn’t have 18 years of web search history to train its voice assistant either. To me, Google seems the more natural to communicate with of the two by way of functionality. In fact, my parents, who are typically pretty technophobic, bought one after visiting my house for the holidays and using one. I would say definitely read these companion pieces and decide which fits your needs better. On a side note, either one of these devices would make a GREAT CLOSING GIFT!!!!

That’s all for Things Thursday this week. Have questions? Want us to cover something? Let us know. You can follow us on Twitter @crtlabs or Facebook.