Telstra Plus is a new loyalty program rewarding customers of the nation’s largest telco with benefits in a manner akin to frequent flyer points. Monthly spends and pre-paid top ups equate to potential discounts in the future.
Customers who enroll in Telstra Plus can use points to earn discounts on the latest technology, as well as receive discounts on Telstra and partner services. The rewards program had three benefit tiers – Member, Silver and Gold. So far, Telstra has revealed Silver and Gold members can earn Telstra TV Box office credits and one or three-month subscriptions to sports streaming service Kayo.
All Telstra Plus members will continue to have access to discount sport and movie tickets, pre-sale tickets, and money-can’t-buy experiences, as the long-running Telstra Thanks program rolls into Telstra Plus.
Benefits will begin rolling out from May 28, while accumulated points can be exchanged for discounts on technology like Netgear modems, Google Home Minis and accessories when the redemption store opens in July.
Telstra says since announcing the program in April, over 370,000 members already signed up. Those who join before June 30 will have the opportunity to earn between 1,000 and 10,000 bonus points. Telstra is also hosting a game show day for customers who can win a share in $50,000 worth of prizes and up to one million Telstra Plus points.
Beyond the rewards program, Telstra will begin offering simplified phone plans from June 2019.
Improve Your Posture in Two Weeks with Upright Go 2
Upright Go 2 is a simple and effective way to stand straight while maintaining healthy posture. Why is posture so important? Well, beyond looking more confident, good posture can prevent or reduce potential back problems and strengthens your muscles.
Posture can be at the forefront of spinal pain and headaches, but it’s also crucial to the basics, like healthy breathing and general mental and physical wellness.
So Upright Go 2 trains you to sit and stand with good posture once you have attached the small device to your upper back, as it gently vibrates every time you slouch. By training with Upright for less than one hour a day, your body, muscles, and mind will get used to sitting and standing upright in around 2-3 weeks.
Users can track progress on the iOS and Android app to view their latest stats, posture history and overall usage. Users are also encouraged to develop custom training programs. The Go 2 can even be put into Tracking Mode to record data without emitting vibrations if the tech is starting to feel like the ‘shock collar’ of posture.
The second generation Upright Go is 50% smaller than the previous model and three times as sensitive. Additionally, the battery is boosted to last 30 hours, and the reusable stickers that attach to your back are now larger – so good for staying in place during longer training sessions.
There’s no longer an excuse for lousy posture as Upright Go 2 is available now at Apple Stores and through Upright online. July 1 will see it available at Officeworks and Bing Lee.
Amazon Echo Show 5 Makes a Strong Case for Smart Speakers
The upcoming Amazon Echo Show 5 smart home speaker offers several new features including updated controls, increased privacy options and a lower price tag. Launching June 26, Echo Show 5 will be available with a slimmer 5.5-inch display in charcoal and sandstone colours priced at AUD$129.
Amazon Echo Show 5 has all the features you’d expect from a smart speaker: smart home controls, music and video entertainment, reminders and Alexa voice support. In light of recent privacy concerns, Amazon implemented a simple and hopefully effective workaround. The built-in camera and microphone can be switched off with the slider indicating the current setting. Plus the camera now has a shutter.
To talk about the features of Echo Show 5 is to list off compatible apps. Music and video are handled by the typical heavy hitters like Prime Video, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, TuneIn and select podcast apps. Connect with other Echo Show users through hands-free video calls over Alexa or Skype. Multiple Echo Shows can engage in group video chats.
Amazon says there are thousands of visual skills from third-party developers available on Echo Show devices. Highlights include watching the AFL daily footy feed, getting the latest news headlines and keeping the kids entertained with Kinderling, Huggies stories and Nickelodeon. To learn more about skills, users can say, “Alexa, show me skills.” Or read about them online.
Handy new settings include ways to customise morning and evening routines. It’s now possible to program Alexa to start the kettle before your alarm and update you with weather, news and emails before leaving the bed. Hopefully Echo Show 6 will have features to dress, feed and bath.
“Since we launched the first Echo Show device, customers have told us that they love asking Alexa to show them things—whether it’s a recipe for chicken parma, their to-do list, or Prime Video,” said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa.
“With Echo Show 5, we’ve made it even easier and affordable for customers to add a smart display to every room of their house.”
You can add the latest Amazon smart display to every room in your house from June 26 if that be your prerogative.
A Beginners Guide to Home Automation
As you’re probably aware, your products are getting smarter. One could even argue that we’re living in a world straight out of an old sci-fi movie from the 1970s or 1980s. However, with every new technology or gadget or platform, there inevitably comes a slew of adjoining headaches. Smart home technology is naturally no exception. Contrary to its intended goal of being an interconnected ecosystem, your average smart home is more often a large array of platforms, controls, remotes and devices. What good is all this tech if nothing is on the same wavelength?
Enter the RACV Smart Home Starter Kit, which brings Samsung SmartThings technology to Australia for the first time (and for just AUD$299, we might add). This brilliant smart home system simplifies domestic automation to the utmost degree, making the experience both more affordable and more accessible. You shouldn’t need a hundred different remotes to control your smart home and now you don’t have to with everything being easily accessible from your smartphone, enabling peace of mind on every conceivable front.
In the same sense that your various body parts work in conjunction with one another through the central nervous system, so too can your home. That and an increased tier of efficiency, are what ultimately lies at the core of home automation. While various devices take things in the right direction, there’s a general lack of homogeny often missing from all these smart home technologies.
This is exactly where the RACV Smart Home Starter Kit—which includes a SmartThings Wi-Fi hub, sensors, and an adjoining app, steps in. Despite Samsung’s role, the system is ‘brand agnostic’ and thereby able to integrate with peripheral platforms or devices such as HomePod, Google Home and Alexa. Put simply, this is the true vision of modern technology brought to life, rolling safety, efficiency and interconnectivity into one streamlined package.
At the centre of the operation is the SmartThings Wi-Fi Hub, which serves as a brain of sorts by interconnecting any and all compatible smart devices. Also included in the kit are three SmartThings motion sensors and two SmartThings multipurpose sensors because all your devices and sensors are interconnected, you’re able to control them through one solitary SmartThings app on your smartphone.
Once the system is fully up and running, your life may never be the same. For starters, that means an increased tier of home security, with SmartThings multipurpose and motion sensors detecting movement in and around your home when you’re not there. Should there be a disturbance, you’ll receive an alert through the SmartThings app on your smartphone. To make an easy thing that much easier, you can even set it up so that compatible smart security cameras activate and smart lights kick on whenever unexpected motion is detected, scaring intruders away.
In terms of convenience, allow us to draw a picture for you. Imagine you’re late for work and rushing out the door. Up until now, you’re used to scrambling through the house, turning off various lights or devices, and making sure all the doors and windows are locked. Thanks to the RACV Smart Home Starter Kit, all those actions can be performed automatically on your behalf. With each smart device and sensor running on the same wavelength, your entire exit routine can be as simple as pressing a button on your SmartThings app.
Along similar lines, you can adjust various settings around the house to accommodate your lifestyle. Want the lights to slowly brighten as you wake up, or turn off when you leave the room? No problem. Want your hair straightener or some other appliance to automatically turn off every time you walk out the door? No problem. This is because you can add the SmartThings Multipurpose and SmartThings motion sensors to compatible smart devices or appliances, giving them the ability to activate or deactivate based on things like motion detection or preference.
On the flip side of that coin, you can receive notifications when sensor-equipped doors or windows vibrate or open unexpectedly. Meanwhile, if you want to see whether the washing machine is on or off or if the front door is unlocked, it’s as simple as checking the app on your phone. This is the kind of thing that tech titans like Bill Gates were previously doing at home for millions of dollars. Now, it costs just AUD$299 to get started.
With RACV, the convenience starts as early as the installation process. If you live in the Melbourne Metro area specifically, then an expert can install the RACV Smart Home Starter Kit on your behalf for just $79. While that expert is there, he or she will also walk you through the process of using the system, step by step. Should you need any additional support or advice, RACV will always be within reach on 13 72 28. That goes for Melbourne and the rest of Australia, naturally.
True to its name, the RACV Smart Home Starter Kit is just the beginning. Moving forward, the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem will work on all new Samsung appliances, creating a truly uniform smart home experience. Everything from your next vacuum cleaner to your next refrigerator will soon be able to connect with one another, the same way your arms and legs connect by way of your brain. Some of these products are right around the corner and others already exist, making now the ideal moment to start your smart home journey.
The automation revolution has arrived, and if your home isn’t equipped with smart technology, it will be soon. You can get lost in the maze of various devices, or you can make your journey one of harmony, simplicity, and interconnectivity, which is exactly what the RACV Smart Home Starter Kit is here to provide. Buy it for AUS$299 plus shipping and start experiencing the future as it was intended.
RACV provided Man of Many with an RACV Smart Home Starter Kit to review.
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