As a new media and channel specialist at Red Kite Community housing, welcome to the first ever #HTtop5… A bitesize chunk of technology news goodness, wrapped up in a delicious layer of creative possibilities, kind of like a tech-news sausage roll. So sit back, prepare your taste buds and take a housing-size bite of the top five latest tech tips…
The most exciting thing to happen in the world of Google for quite some time was the announcement of Google Duo, a one-on-one video-calling app that works on both iOS and Android. What’s so new about that? Well, the cool headlines on Duo are that it has some clever technology behind it that switches from cellular to wi-fi and moves from lower to higher speed service very smoothly, so users should be able to use it without worrying about where they are and what speed connection they have. Also, you don’t need a Google account to use it, just a phone number. There are lots of companies vying to be top dog in the video-calling market, such as Skype, Facetime, Facebook and Google Hangouts, and all of these offer a browser-based version which Duo does not. But there is space for someone to steal the video-calling crown if they can develop it and get it right. How long before the housing sector embraces video calling on a large scale?
Intel has made a new ready-to-fly drone called the Aero. It comes preloaded with Air-map which basically helps drone pilots fly where it’s safe and legal, thereby taking the headache out of the very unclear legal issues around drone flying. The Aero is a quadcopter and will be available by the end of the year. With some housing providers already using drones, pre-loaded safer drones may encourage more to try them.
Ford self-driving car
Ford has announced that it will mass-produce autonomous cars by 2021. It is doubling its spending on its research centre and making big investments into automobile automation technologies. The car-maker envisages it to be more of a car-sharing, Uber-style world, rather than individually-owned autonomous vehicles. Ford appears to be positioning itself more and more as a technology company as opposed to just a giant in the motor vehicle world. Of course, it has to compete against the likes of Google who currently leads the pack in this field. Can you imagine your communities sharing rides?
Intel getting involved in merged reality
Intel has unveiled a VR headset called Project Alloy that it describes as ‘merged reality’, basically allowing real-world objects to merge with computer-generated views. Project Alloy’s selling point is that users will be able to see their own hands, although Intel is a little late coming to the VR/AR party as Facebook, HTC, Microsoft and Playstation are all gearing up for the virtual reality revolution. Virtual viewings, anyone?
Wallbot lets you see through walls
A company called Wallbot has released the stud finder of the future. Working via USB to an Android device, it lets you see plastic and metal pipes, electrical wires and studs inside the wall, using 3D imaging sensors. The hefty $200 price tag may put some people off but it’s certainly an improvement on the old-fashioned stud finder.
Adam Rigg (@riggadam) is a new media and channel specialist at Red Kite Community Housing.