At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Cassia Networks unveiled the Cassia Hub, the world’s first Bluetooth router that can control up to 22 Bluetooth devices.
The Cassia Hub also extends the range of Bluetooth communications to 1,000 feet in open space ¾ more than 30 times the standard operating range. The hub also comes with the Cassia mobile app, which integrates and automates control of all connected Bluetooth devices both inside and outside the home. Priced at $99.99, the Cassia Hub is available for pre-orders today at www.cassianetworks.com and will begin shipping in Q1 2016.
Originally developed for personal area network devices like wireless mice and headsets, Bluetooth technology has traditionally been passed up as a communications protocol for the connected home due to limitations such as range (30 feet) and one-to-one connectivity. Using Cassia’s new proprietary and patented technology developed by Cassia Networks founder and former Cisco engineer and Aruba executive, Felix Zhao, the Cassia Hub can not only connect up to 22 devices at once, but it can also communicate and relay messages for Bluetooth devices up to 1,000 feet away (open space) or through three interior walls. This means no longer being tethered to your Bluetooth speaker or losing a signal when you enter another room.
Until now, Bluetooth devices have been limited by range and the number of devices that can be connected together. With the invention of the Cassia Hub, Cassia Networks has removed these barriers and is making Bluetooth the ideal communication protocol and default standard for the Internet of Things (IoT).
“We developed the Cassia Hub because we noticed there wasn’t a universal standard of communication between the ever-growing pile of Internet connected devices,” said Felix Zhao, founder and CEO of Cassia Networks. “Bluetooth, with its open platform and universal presence, was an obvious solution but inherently limited by its capabilities. We thought if we could engineer a way to break free of these limitations, Bluetooth could become a viable contender, and thus the Cassia Hub was born.”
The Cassia Hub is compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE and Classic) and does not require any modification or configuration of devices. This means previously purchased Bluetooth enabled devices such as smartphones, speakers, fitness trackers, headphones, lights, locks and countless other Bluetooth devices should readily and seamlessly connect to the Cassia Hub. Moreover, with the Cassia Hub, users can stream music wirelessly from popular streaming services as well as local content on their phone throughout the house using Bluetooth speakers they already own, much like competing multi-room wireless speaker systems that sell for hundreds more.
The Cassia Hub also connects to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, which enables users to control their Bluetooth devices outside of the home. By using their internet-enabled smartphone or tablet to access the Cassia App, users will have access and control of their devices from virtually anywhere with internet access, something not possible with current Bluetooth technology.
In addition to the Cassia Hub, Cassia Networks is also unveiling several accessories available for purchase either with the hub or separately:
- Cassia Bluetooth Speaker ($99.99): a powerful 2.1 stereo speaker that can work with your other Bluetooth speakers to play the same music in multiple rooms.
- Bluetooth multi-color LED light ($29.99 for individual or $79.99 for 3-pack): a 16 million color light that pairs with the Cassia Hub for full light and color control with all your existing Bluetooth enabled lightbulbs.
- Bluetooth Smart Plug ($29.99): a plug that makes it easy to automate and control consumer appliances from the Cassia Hub App directly.
- Cassia Personal Safety Sensor ($99.99): this sensor has several features to help those in need of immediate assistance:
- Users can simply push button to contact emergency services or pre-determined contacts when they need help
- With built-in fall detection, an alert will be sent automatically if the user falls.
- The sensor can also share where the user fell as long as it is paired with a smartphone or within range of the Cassia Hub
So, how does it work? The Cassia Hub operates off two modes of communication:
- Control Mode: The Cassia App controls all classic Bluetooth devices such as Bluetooth speakers, headsets and some Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices that are recognized by the Hub.
- Transparent Relay Mode: Users can extend the range of BLE devices that are not recognized by the Cassia Hub where users are able to use their native apps with their BLE devices. In this mode, the Cassia Hub acts as a router and range extender for communication between native product apps on your smartphone and corresponding BLE devices.
The Cassia Hub can also connect to various devices and networks through Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz), Ethernet (10/100) and USB 2.0.
Now download a bank account
Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.
This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.
“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.
“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”
The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:
- Download the Absa App
- Choose the account you would like to open
- Tell us who you are
- To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
- Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
- Tell us where you live
- Let us know what you do for a living and your income
- Click Apply.
How we use phones to avoid human contact
A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.
Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances.
Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?
The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.
In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.
Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.
Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”
To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:
· I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?
With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.
· Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?
Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.
· I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?
Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.