SMALT claims to be the world’s first interactive centerpiece and saltshaker. It probably is. Add in that SMALT also has built-in mood lighting and a Bluetooth speaker and there’s no doubt this is a unique product. As a centerpiece it doesn’t approach the beauty of a flower arrangement or a potted succulent. But it certainly is a conversation starter. As a “smart” dispenser, it pours out measured amounts of salt either manually or via “shake,” “pinch” or “pour” gestures using an app for IOS or Android.
On Jan. 5–8 in Las Vegas, CES 2017, a global tech community conference, is expected to draw 50,000 industry professionals from more than 150 countries. The show will feature exhibits from 57 countries—up 9 percent from last year. More than 600 startups from 33 countries will be featured this year.
It’s not too early to start thinking about holiday gifts. One that you’ll want to keep on your radar is the three-bottle gift pack of grape-based mixers from Stolen Fruit. The Sonoma-based company launched just a few months ago with five different alcohol-free blends, for both cocktails and mocktails, made with a blend of verjus—the fresh-pressed juice from green grapes—varietal grape juice and grape skins. The holiday pack ($54) includes Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc; Blood Orange Muscat; and Hibiscus Grenache.
Following their merger, Benchmark Hospitality International and Gemstone Hotels & Resorts have created a new name and corporate identity for themselves. They will be known as Benchmark, a global hospitality company that has more than 70 hotels, resorts and conference centers, 8,000 guest rooms and 10,000 employees.