Welcome to the second #HTtop5… A deliciously spicy canapé of technology news, bundled in creative possibilities, sprinkled with innovation and served up on a tray of housing sector loveliness! A bit like a bacon and cheese wrap… but not as fattening and won’t get your hands greasy.
Snap’s Spectacles let users take 10-second videos by tapping a button on the top left-hand corner of the frame. Users can tap on the record button to record another 10-second segment. They can record videos up to 30 seconds long in all.
The videos can be stored locally or transmitted over wi-fi or Bluetooth to Android and iOS devices.
The spectacles can run for one day on a charge, according to Snap, and are recharged by placing them in their case. Spectacles will be available later this year for US$130, including the case. The glasses will be offered in black, teal, and coral, if you’re interested.
Facebook at Work
Facebook has just released its new platform aimed at the workplace. It boasts a new, simpler way of sharing, searching, communicating and, well, Facebooking. While you can download the app already, you do currently need to have Facebook vet your business before they will let you have an account. There are other platforms out there that can do some or all of the features Facebook at Work is offering… but of course, they won’t feel like Facebook.
Have you heard of an app called Lose It? Basically, a weight-loss app that has added a clever new feature called Snap It. As the title suggests, it’s all to do with taking pictures. The user snaps a picture of the food they are about to eat and the app calculates how many calories you are about to devour. It’s still a work in progress and the company claim it will get smarter over time, learning from users’ input but the concept is being warmly received by app users who want to watch their weight but are too lazy to type.
Can you imagine how this technology could be used in housing? Why should a tenant have to actually type that their door needs repairing or that the fence outside has been vandalised or that an abandoned vehicle has been dumped in the car park? Where could this technology lead to – perhaps no more completing any online forms at all, just snap a picture and submit. They do say a picture paints a thousand words.
So maybe it’s not so crazy to suggest that housing providers could add this feature to their apps, making it even easier for tenants to self-serve.
There are lots and lots of products out there claiming to be the next big thing in the world of smart home technology, many of them do the same thing as dozens of other similar products, and many of them don’t stand out from the crowd. However one company that I recently met at the SmartHome summit that did stand out to me was Purrmetrix.
Yes, they have a cool name and yes, their products do have a cat’s face on them. If you need to know more than that, then let me briefly explain. Purrmetrix offer a very cool sensor system that lets you monitor a property’s heatmap and report on a big old range of performance statistics. Easy to install and just as easy to report from. They offer a starter kit for £190. Certainly worth a look at if you are a building professional looking at smart home systems or temperature monitoring systems… plus did I mention that they have a cool name and a cat’s face on their products?
Many of the big tech giants have realised that there is a space in our lives for a personal assistant hub speaker, basically a device in your home that allows easy access to a responsive, linked account.
So think of Apple Siri, Amazon Echo or Microsoft Cortana. Google’s latest effort in this field is Google Home, a very sleek-looking little pod with a cool moving light on the top. The concept being you could ask it for any of the things you would ask one of the aforementioned assistants for, for example, “what appointments do I have today?” and it would efficiently let you know and perhaps ping a cheeky message to a mobile device.
Is it amazingly new and innovative? No. It’s a bit similar to Amazon Echo by the looks of it but it is made by Google. Which means it will likely gain traction and stick with users. Which in turn means Google will develop it further and it may grow into an amazing life-changing device, embedded into homes across the land. The ultimate personal assistant? Not yet, but give it time. Imagine fitting these as standard in social housing. “Hey Google, when is my rent due?”, “Hey Google, is my home being heated properly?”, “Hey Google, my wife has left me because I talk to you more than her.” That kind of thing.
Adam Rigg (@riggadam) is a new media and channel specialist at Red Kite Community Housing.