Tag Archives: app

Product Review: Elertus Wine Protection System

I have recently been approached by a representative of Utah-based consumer electronics company Elertus who loaned me for a few weeks a sample of a newly released product of theirs targeting the wine market for me to test and consider for a review.

The product is called Elertus Wine Protection System and basically revolves around a small (3.1×2.6×1.05″ and 2.5 oz), battery-powered, wireless sensor that monitors and alerts users if anyone opens their wine cellar, wine cooler, or liquor cabinet door. So, the main purpose of the system is to notify users of potential theft or unauthorized access to their wine storage facility.

The system also continuously monitors light levels, temperature (-30 to 150 F) and humidity (0% to 100%) conditions, ensuring wine collections are stored in an optimal environment. It also notifies users if the sensor is moved from its current position.

The system is compatible with any wine or liquor cabinet with or without a locking mechanism. The sensor is designed for simple installation without special tools or permanent cabinet modifications and it connects to your Wi-Fi system.

Elertus AdThe Elertus system comes in a small box complete with the required batteries and visual, simple, easy to follow, step-by-step instructions for connecting the sensor to your local Wi-Fi network. I have to commend Elertus for providing a set of clear and simple instructions that really makes it easy for you to install the sensor, configure it and connect it to your Wi-Fi network in a breeze: I think I got my system up and running in about five minutes.

Once the system is operational, it immediately starts tracking the environmental conditions the sensor is in. Also, through the control panel of the system app, you can configure acceptable ranges of values both for temperature and humidity and then what you want to be notified of (such as temperature and humidity outside of the user-defined ranges of acceptable values, door open, light turned on or off, movement of the unit) and the way you want to be notified in (such as any or a combination of email, text message and smartphone notification alerts).

So, once it is customized, the Elertus app can notify you if any conditions change, such as the cellar door is opened, the light is turned on or the temperature or humidity gets too high or too low. In addition, you receive a weekly system-generated email that provides a snapshot of the conditions recorded by the sensor at the specific date and time the email is generated (i.e., no weekly average, just a read out of the current conditions). The Elertus system can be monitored and configured through a computer or smartphone app (iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, and Android™).

The Elertus Wine Protection System is available at www.elertus.com for $199, inclusive of monitoring, alerts and smartphone app.

In a nutshell, these are my conclusions about the Elertus system after using it for a couple of weeks:

PROS:

  • Super easy, quick and trouble-free installation and configuration
  • Nice, clean and user-friendly user interface app
  • Works as advertised (monitors temperature, humidity, light level, movement and door open and notifies you in the way you set the system up for)

CONS:

  • Expensive for personal use, that is other than in a commercial establishment
  • I could not find a way to remotely trigger an instant read out of the current conditions (in the absence of a status notification) through the user interface app
  • Light level sensor is not very sensitive (requires a fairly bright light to be triggered)

Rating: Good to Very Good

Wine App Review: Winery Passport

Last week, Scott, the developer of a brand new wine-related app, reached out to me to let me know about the roll out and to ask me whether I would download it and give it a spin and, if I liked it, whether I would write a review.

So, as you are reading this, you may already guess that I did download it and I did like it 😉

But let’s start from the beginning: the app is called Winery Passport (WP).

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Before we get more into it, note that you may have an interest in this app provided that you (i) are into wine (of course!), (ii) live in or plan a wine-focused trip to the USA, and (iii) at least for now, are iOS based.

Now, what exactly does WP do? Essentially, WP is (or will soon be) a database of all the wineries in the US coupled with a cool GPS feature that shows the wineries that are closest to wherever you are, ordering them from closest to farthest away and showing you how far you are from each of them. Alternatively, you can also browse or search the entire winery archive, that is broken down by State.

Either way, whenever you select a winery, WP shows you its address and gives you a few options, including taking you to the winery’s Web site, connecting to Google Maps so you can get driving directions from wherever you are to the winery with one click, or even call the winery directly from within the app.

Screenshot1Thanks to these two different modes, WP’s features come in handy whether you have a sudden urge to discover and visit a winery near you, regardless of where in the US you are, or you are planning a trip to a US wine region and want to chart your route based on where the various wineries of the area are located or their average rating. Pretty cool, and all at your fingertip.

But there’s more. WP also a “passport” part that keeps track of the wineries that you visit, lets you rate them and take notes and even syncs with Facebook and Twitter so you can share your experience with other WP users. Neat idea.

And in case you are wondering how much downloading WP is going to set you back, well no sweat and click that download button as it is a free app!

Screenshot3Now, although WP is fully functioning and sleek looking, here are a few things to bear in mind:

1. The winery database is still a work in progress: to date, there’s almost 1000 wineries in 17 States, all on the East Coast so far (so, no California yet), that have been uploaded already, but they are quite obviously not all. Scott is working to add more and eventually map all 50 States out, but it is a huge task and it is going to take a while. Scott anticipates getting to 25 States by August.

2. So far, WP is only for the iPhone or iPod Touch. I asked Scott whether he planned to also develop a version for the iPad and he said that it would be rolled out later on, as right now completing the winery census is understandably his priority.

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3. Regarding Android: I asked and Scott said once the iOS version is completed, with all the wineries uploaded, he would look into making an Android version, so Android users sit tight and hold on as no hope is lost! 🙂

Wrapping things up: I really like the idea behind WP and its implementation: the app is sleek, simple and yet very effective… and it’s free! I can’t wait for the full-screen version for the iPad to be released!

Rating: Very Good and recommended

Thank you, Scott, for developing such a cool app, making it available for free and giving me heads up about it!

For more information about WP, visit the developer’s Web site. You can download WP from Apple’s App Store or by clicking here.