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New year, new tech!

by Marlo Anderson, the Guru of Geek

It will be interesting how people will look back on 2020. Most will reflect on COVID-19 or political unrest. With that said, there have been amazing technological advances in 2020, including a vaccine that gives the world hope.

Turning the page on 2020, here are my top tech picks as we embark on 2021.

Smart speaker appliances
Like from some “Star Trek” movie, you can now ask Alexa, a strange-looking device on your kitchen counter, to play songs from the 1980s. Or say, “OK, Google, when will the moon be full again?” Magically, a voice will answer that question or songs from the 1980s start playing. This really is amazing technology that can make any person’s life better. Whether you prefer Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant, either platform has great features, like the ability to play music, games, make video calls and so much more. With or without screens and cameras, these devices are helpful in your kitchen, child's room or office.

Tile Mate
Are your kids always late for the bus because they can’t find their bags? Do you know someone who is constantly looking for their keys? With a big enough range to cover most homes, the Tile Mate tracker is a game changer. You have the ability to trigger a sound remotely when you are nearby, or if it is out of Bluetooth range, you can use the powerful crowd-finding feature and allow others with the app to help you. With several options to choose from, there is a Tile Mate suited to every purpose.

Google Nest mesh router
Rid your loved ones of the dreaded Wi-Fi dead zone with a mesh Wi-Fi router. My choice for this is the Google Nest mesh router. It is a scalable system that will blanket a home in a fast and reliable connection that extends far beyond the reach of a single router. As a bonus, each Nest Wifi point doubles as a smart speaker!

Robot vacuum
Although they make you feel like you are living in the future, robot vacuums are no longer something only for the Jetsons. With several brands now being made, their prices are becoming more competitive by the day. In fact, there are many top-rated brands now below $200.

Logitech Harmony 665 10-device universal remote
This remote works on over 270,000 devices, including your TV streaming devices, such as Roku or Apple TV, your sound bar, DVD players and much more. Other models will also control smart lights, locks and thermostats! The remote is easy to navigate.

Crosstour 1080P Full HD Dash Cam
With the pandemic still fresh in our minds in 2021, the “road trip” will be the vacation of choice this year. Record those memories with the Crosstour Dash Cam. Features include loop recording, motion detection, on/off audio, license plate stamp, time stamp, auto power off, screen saver and burst photo. It is easy to install and operate, and video is recorded on SD memory cards for easy playback on your computer.

Qi-Certified 3-in-1 wireless charging stations
We are now charging our devices wirelessly, but it becomes a mess when you are charging your phone, your watch and your earbuds. Now you can charge all devices on one unit, using less outlets and less space on your desk or nightstand. Apple, Samsung and Google Pixel phone users can find various models of these ranging in price from $20-$100.

Smart plugs and Wi-Fi lights
Really? Why do you need your lights connected to your Wi-Fi? Because it will make your life much easier, safer and even more fun. Wi-Fi LED light bulbs offer color choices, so you can program them to blink red and green over the holidays, change them to green on the first day of spring, and orange for Halloween. You can have them turn on at dusk and off when you like.

Smart plugs enable you to connect any device to Wi-Fi. Turn lamps on and off around the house, close electronic shades at programmed times, turn on fans and so much more – all from the convenience of your smart device.

Marlo Anderson, a serial entrepreneur and futurist, is best known for being the founder of National Day Calendar, a project that trended an amazing 450+ times on social media last year. He is the host of “The National Day Calendar Video Vignette” and “Living with Technology,” and co-host of “The National Daily,” where he is known to his followers as the “Guru of Geek.” He also speaks in classrooms about the future of technology, coaches start-ups, teaches companies about leveraging trending topics in his Social Daze course, and is called on by newsmakers as a social media and all-thing-tech expert.