Technology 15

What are the Smart Homes of the Future?

To put it simply; the world’s getting smarter and so are your appliances. In just a short span of years, kids today who look at cell phones from the early 2000s often do so in wonder, with questions such a “Why are they so big?” After all, this decade has smartphones with GPS tracking and web browsers, smart cars that can practically drive themselves and even smart refrigerators that relay information regarding the contents of the fridge.

To jumpstart the process of extending smartphones to smart homes and beyond, you only need to look at the tech industry and the battles between Apple and Google. Competition drives innovation, and if you’re to see houses that audibly welcome the homeowner and even sets the climate to her preferences as soon as she walks in the door, companies heralding these changes will need to do battle in the business-sphere to bring them to reality. In fact, it’s starting to happen.

Merging Technology with Lifestyle

For the most part, anything you can think of having used in the past is capable of being seamlessly merged with modern-day living. According to Home Exterior Systems, a company that provides affordable replacement windows, the next progression of these artificially intelligent systems is the smart home, which will ultimately make for more efficient living, tailored to the preferences of the individual homeowner.

Improvements in broadband wireless, for example, will be instrumental to whoever gets the surest foothold in the smart home market. Just think about how secure your Wi-Fi network will have to be in order for you to entrust remote locking and unlocking of your doors as your car pulls onto your street or driveway. If these issues can be solved, the benefits of a truly smart home are legion.

Current Smart Home Improvements

Although there are lofty ideas for how smart homes will identify you, the drive to ascertaining individual preferences has only just begun. Applications are the key; since the controls must always be readily accessible to you. Some smartphones have just scratched the tip of the iceberg in recent years, and allow you to turn your lights on and off from miles away, as well as monitor your residence from wireless cameras scattered about the home.

An Intelligent Home Starts on the Outside

One of the main attractions of the smart homes to come is that they’ll be as aesthetically pleasing as homes of the past—both outside and in. There’s no need to envision them as futuristic, squat metallic buildings with jagged edges like in so many science fiction movies. Your smart home will be a climate-controlled, voice-activated, secure and responsive abode on the inside—but with a brick, stucco and aluminum appearance on the outside. The two are quite compatible, and reputable siding companies can give your home that modern or contemporary look.

In fact, the technology in the siding industry has also made leaps and bounds with the introduction of hardi plank sliding. This material outperforms vinyl, stone, brick, aluminum and others with the protection it offers your exterior from insects and weathering. In addition to the ability to maintain the sheen of the paint job for much longer than average, it’s also extensible to many different design styles to match your interior décor. The home of the future has the potential to be smart—both on the inside and the outside.

Technology 6

Modern Construction Technology

Construction technology has evolved exponentially over the past century. Modern technologies used in construction today make building skyscrapers easier, with the possibility to double the height of previous structures. Simple upgrades such as elevator cables help to burst past limits and set new records. The fastest elevator in use today travels 33.7 miles per hour. New cables weighing a fraction of steel cables will make even faster and further elevator travel possible, opening possibilities for taller buildings.

Recycled Materials

One important thing in construction technology is to use recycled materials. This could include using materials already on the building site or using other previously used materials like concrete, metal, glass, wood, and plastics. Recycled materials for architecture have become both sustainable and fashionable. Using materials off of the property or from the previously existing structure is something old turned new again. Even the famed Frank Lloyd Wright, years ahead of his time, would use materials off of the building site to create an organic, well-suited building incorporating the beauty of the property.

Flooring Materials

Worn down floors in an entry way can take the stunning first impression of a building completely away. It is important to go with flooring that will hold up well. Beautifully designed flooring laid out to sooth the senses and draw individuals through the entryway and into the desired area of the building makes a big difference on functionality and first impressions.

New HVAC Technologies

The new technologies with heating and air conditioning have gotten ahead of building codes. Now an entire unit can fit in a thicker spot on the wall of apartment complexes, eliminating the need to follow city codes for rooftop equipment. Older technologies had to be hidden out of sight. New units, which some consider to be just as unsightly, are not regulated by the same codes. Architects and building designers still have to take the appearance of a place into consideration while they wait for city codes to be updated.

Vibrations of A Structure

According to Kalsi Engineering, everything vibrates at different rates, and some materials react to sounds around them. This matters when creating structures that are meant to stand the test of time. If a building or parts of a building vibrate too much because of ambient noise or movement from the rotation of the earth, the building will become structurally unsound over time. There is now a camera that focuses on and records the vibration in materials. This is an important technology when creating a new structure to ensure it will be around for a long time.

Green Building Design and Construction

Green building materials are the wave of the future. Often there are tax breaks or other incentives for using green building materials. If nothing else, savings on energy and knowing one is making a difference for the environment are enough.

Getting Help When You Need It

It is important to reach out to professionals when creating a new building. New materials and technologies come out in the marketplace all the time, and for the best results one should do quite a bit of research and have the building designed and built by a reputable source. For modern technologies used in construction, choose a reputable agency such as Kalsi Engineering.

Technology 8

Intro to Small Business Information Systems

Information Systems are basically software and connectivity systems that allow businesses to use information effectively. These systems can be things like scheduling and point of sale software for places like spas and dental offices. These systems could also be inter-office networks that allow shipping companies to communicate real-time and update everyone at the same time when route changes or delivery details change. An information system could also be software that analyzes and helps small business owners to decide the most lucrative target market and target credit score for customers.

Transaction Processing Software

According to Blue Collar Software (www.bluecollarsoftware.com), transaction processing software will have input, processing and output capabilities. At the most basic level, every business uses input, processing and output. How involved the software is going to be for this system will depend on the business need. It is critical to have software to help with information processing for whatever type of business one has. Good information processing is the difference between success and failure for small businesses. If one can run reports to know exact business or project statuses at a glance, effective management becomes incredibly easy.

Relationship Management

Managing relationships with customers, employees, investors, and partners is essential to business success. According to Blue Collar Software (click here) ,these relationships do not simply evolve into a successful scenario; so good relationship management software and systems make this process easier and more likely to succeed. Customers, employees, investors, and partners want to be heard. Often it is difficult to hear what is going on without some type of information management. There are just too many voices and too much demand and priorities could be mixed up. The customers ultimately dictate how their communication will happen, but setting up a system where communication is easy and decision-makers are actually able to hear and respond is essential to business success.

Knowledge Management

Some timeshare management companies use knowledge management to categorize customers and decide if they are a viable prospect for marketing. This system works very well for these companies, helping them sort through thousands of tourists to find viable options in order to stay in business. Clothing retailers use knowledge management to decide who should receive a consumer credit card. These decisions are not made based on the same factors a bank would use to decide if one should be approved for a home loan. Different types of businesses use different facets of one’s credit for specific reasons. As a small business, information management in the form of knowledge management can help to decide what credit score certain demographics must have in order to be target customers. Additionally, there are some services available to help locate and market to those customers after they have been identified.

Management Information Systems

Management information systems are the missing link between collected raw data and good business decisions. Management information systems are all about the reports. Anyone who has successfully managed more than just himself or herself knows the importance of accurate reporting. Being able to check reports daily will give a small business an edge on the market by allowing the small business owner to turn the steering wheel on a marketing program, potential new product, or any other upcoming or in-process business plan and react reflexively with the market to help ride the wave of success.

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The main advantages of switching to an SSD in your Laptop or Computer

There is a lot of hype and buzz around SSDs at the moment, and it’s more than justified. In comparison to typical mechanical hard drives, SSDs wins every time.

If you’re not so sure how making the switch can be of such a big advantage for you and your laptop or computer, we’re here to show you. Here are just some of the main advantages of making the change, which when you do, will leave you wondering why you waited so long to do so!

It will be much more reliable than your mechanical hard drive

The small parts of a mechanical hard drive are in motion so regularly that they generate a substantial amount of heat, which will be one of the reasons why your laptop gets hot, for example. This can be a common cause of hard drive failure. SSDs don’t have moving parts at all, so this problem will be eliminated. Most importantly, your data – photos, files, videos etc – will be much safer when saved to an SSD over a standard hard drive.

It will greatly improve the performance of your computer

One of the best advantages you’ll notice straight away is the improvement in performance of your laptop or computer. Right from when you turn your computer on, it will be much quicker in terms of load-up time, booting up your desktop and saving files, to name a few examples. It will also be much more responsive more quickly, too.

It helps to save on battery power

Another huge advantage you’ll notice early on is how much better buying an SSD will be for your laptop’s battery. With no moving parts, SSDs require less power to operate, meaning they have substantial increased power efficiency, and they can help extend battery life in laptops and portable electronic devices.

It’s a lot lighter than a mechanical hard drive

This one is pretty simple – SSDs are very light weight. Significantly more light weight when in comparison to mechanical hard drives, too. Therefore they’ll mean that your laptop or other portable electronic devices will be much lighter to carry around with you than if it still contained the standard mechanical hard drive.

It’s quieter than a mechanical hard drive

Another advantage of SSDs not having moving parts is that they are much quieter than mechanical hard drives, which contains spinning parts that vibrate as they move and work. SSDs are practically silent as they work; much like a USB flash drive more so than a mechanical hard drive, so you won’t have that constant noisy hum anymore when you make the switch.

SSDs are really hard wearing compared to their alternative

SSDs also have extreme shock and vibration tolerance, and their operating temperature ranges meet or exceed those of standard hard drives. This makes them much more reliable and resilient which is great if you can be a bit heavy handed with your laptop or other portable device!

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5 New Marketing Ideas for Tech Startups

A tech startup is one of the most promising fields of business any entrepreneur can get into today. Technology demands are just a part of the excitement that awaits anyone launching their first tech startup. There are so many ways to advance and perfect the existing technology that everyone is already using. Additionally, tech startups can begin to create more to fill the voids and make technology easily accessible to anyone.

Despite all of these exciting advantages, there still are a lot of little things that even tech companies need to be prepared to address just like any other business. One of those things is marketing. Because tech startups are so popular at the moment, tech startups need to try some new approaches to marketing to get noticed right away. Any tech business can try these ideas to get a new following and more recognition for their business. Here are five new marketing ideas for tech startups.

Go back to the basics

So many tech startups are trying to reinvent the wheel with their business model that they try to do the same with their marketing strategy. However, there are a lot of businesses who are finding a lot of success using the old methods. Advertising with things like directtelevision.us/directv/New-Mexico/ can get a tech startup the initial recognition it needs to succeed.

Utilize hyper targeting tools

Hyper targeting is just a more specific for of target marketing that many tech companies have been utilizing. Hyper targeting involves using information about what people are doing while they are online to create specialized ads and find the right people to market too. This is a simple too that any tech business can benefit from.

Make sure the business’s mission is clear

Tech businesses have the tendency to create a marketing plan that is unclear to the lay person and can only be understood by the most technologically savvy people. Though it may go unnoticed to them for a while, the startup will not be able to advance if no one can understand easily the purpose of the business. Tech startups need to work to make it clear what they are looking to accomplish.

Make ads appealing to all five senses

Tech companies often have the disadvantage of only being available to their customer online, so customers only get a visual gratification of whatever the business is offering. Tech companies can work to create marketing, products and services that will please all the senses, sending out physical pamphlets and utilizing sounds in their ads to grab people’s attention.

Understand the real value in social media

Social media can be one of the most valuable tools for a startup. Social media is a great way to connect personally with customers and other businesses. Every tech startup can use social media to create brand recognition, build their following and understand better what all of their customers are really looking for in a tech business.

Image: http://pixabay.com/en/globe-world-technology-earth-308800/

5 Valentines Day Gift Ideas for Tech Lovers

5 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Tech Lovers

It’s difficult to avoid being a tech nerd today, when there are so many great gadgets and new technologies becoming available every day. Tech geeks may have worn the stigma before that they were loners, the ones who were sitting at home alone on Valentine’s Day playing video games instead of spending the night with their significant other, but this is no longer the majority. With the rise of tech-savvy people, more tech geeks are finding themselves searching for the perfect Valentine’s Day gifts for their special someone.

Luckily, there are a lot of great tech gifts that can please anyone on Valentine’s Day this year. Everyone can surprise their tech nerd with a gift that they will be able to use and adore the whole year through. Anyone can use these ideas to give a great gift this year and make this the best Valentine’s Day to date. Here are five Valentine’s Day gift ideas for tech lovers.

A renewed or upgrades subscription

The perfect Valentine’s Day gift may be very simple for some people. Everyone has their own subscriptions that they cannot live without, those subscriptions that fuel their tech habits and give them inside access to the tech world. Couples can simply use http://www.tvproviders.com/dish-network/ to renew each other’s TV subscriptions or find any other subscription to upgrade or renew for the next year.

A portable phone charger

There is not a person in the world today that is not constantly attached to their mobile phone. True tech lovers will be using their mobile phone constantly, so their significant others can save them by giving them a portable phone charger. There are a lot of phone case options that will secretly charge a person’s phone even while they are using it.

Wi-Fi cufflinks

Staying connected at all times is essential for tech geeks. However, there is not always a good or even functioning Wi-Fi signal within reach. Gift givers can keep their significant other connected at all times with Wi-Fi cufflinks. These cufflinks will turn a person’s fashion accessory into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot that people can use to work or play anytime of the day.

A portable wireless speaker

This is not new technology, by all means, but it could be one of those luxuries that people just do not buy for themselves very often. Anyone can find some great use for a simple, portable, wireless speaker that will give them crystal clear sound wherever they are. These can easily be connected via Bluetooth to a techie’s every device.

A pocket projector

Is there every a time when your significant other will want to show a group of people a video on their mobile phone, but cannot get the screen to be big enough for everyone to see? These situations come up a lot, and in these situations, there is nothing better to have than a pocket projector. The gift will be the perfect tool to help any tech lover share their passion with everyone.

Image: http://pixabay.com/en/rose-roses-flowers-flower-red-264264/

5 Improvements to Turn Any Home into a Smart Home

5 Improvements to Turn Any Home into a Smart Home

It seems that the smart home fad is here to stay. There are so many more benefits to having a smart home than just looking futuristic, benefits that can help make anyone’s lives easier. Many people love the idea of a smart home, but few can actually afford to build one or make the adjustments to their homes that are so widely publicized. Though most people will not have the ability to build their own smart home, there are some other ways they can get the same benefits.

There are a lot of little changes that anyone can make to their own homes to create a smart home feeling. Home owners can add as much or as little as they want until they have reached the desired effect within their budget. Everyone can try out a few of these ideas to make their home more efficient, safer, and more functional instantly. Here are five improvements to turn any home into a smart home.

Install an automatic thermostat

There are a lot of homes that already have an adjustable thermostat, but everyone can take that a step further. Most energy providers will give people the power to choose if they want to install an automatic thermostat. Automatic thermostats automatically adjust to help the home stay at the most comfortable temperature all the time, even saving energy when people leave the house.

Install a smart lock system

There are so many people who have either forgotten to lock the door when leaving or have locked themselves out of the house. Both situations can be very frustrating and possibly dangerous. Anyone can try some smart lock options that allow them to control their locks from their mobile phone wherever they are, so even if they forget to lock the home when they leave, they can still lock it later.

Use light dimmers

Light dimmers are not a new technology by any means, but having a light dimmer on every light throughout the home will add an extra bit of luxury to any home. This can allow home owners to save money by having lower light at times but also give them the ability to make every room more comfortable for themselves and their guests.

Fill the home with sound

There are a lot of great wireless speaker options that anyone can afford. One of the best things about wireless speakers is that people can add and subtract speakers as needed. Therefore, people who are on a tight budget can slowly add one speaker at a time until their entire home is filled with sound.

Create the perfect bed

A good night’s sleep is one of the most valuable things a person can have in their home. There are a lot of smart mattresses that adjust to fit people’s comfort and needs to make getting better sleep easy. Also, having control of the lighting from a mobile phone can allow anyone to turn the lights of without getting out of bed.

Image: http://pixabay.com/en/skyline-silhouette-city-homes-gear-326158/

 

The Best Apps to Help Anyone Accomplish New Year

The Best Apps to Help Anyone Accomplish New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year is upon us and everyone is still looking to create and get started with their New Year’s Resolutions. These popular goals are often set in the beginning of the year with the intent to achieve them by the end of the year, but many people abandon these goals by early spring. This year, anyone can avoid making the same mistakes again and give themselves the tools they need to finally achieve their New Year’s Resolutions.

There are so many great technologies out there can help improve people’s lives in so many ways. One of the common technologies that people are using to improve their lives and achieve their goals is their mobile phone. Mobile apps can create the tools and understanding people need to meet and exceed their goals. Here are some of the best types of apps to help anyone accomplish their New Year’s Resolutions.

Organization apps

Staying organized is a continuingly difficult task for a lot of people. Being more organized can help people be less stressed and accomplish more this year. There are a lot of great organization apps like Evernote that allow people to keep track of everything they have to do easily so they never feel lost again.

Home security apps

Many people make the resolution to travel more. Traveling may sound like a difficult goal to complete because of time and money constraints, but people also need to think about what they are leaving behind when they walk out the door for their trip. Site like http://homealarmproviders.com/compare/protect-america/Florida/ can help people find the apps they need to watch over their home while they travel.

Weight loss apps

Losing weight is another one of those goals that is easier said than done. There are countless apps that can help people reach this goal in every way imaginable. Apps like StickK give people monetary motivation to meet their weight loss goal, in addition to calorie counting apps and BMI trackers.

Career apps

Career advancement is another common goal, and this is the perfect time for people who want to work their way up the ladder. Apps like Indeed can help people find that perfect job and start working towards being the one in charge.

Meditation apps

Many people still do not meditate regularly, or even know the benefits of meditation, but know is the perfect time to find out. For those who have goals to relieve stress and figure out what their passions are, medication apps like Buddhify can help them find their inner peace.

Money saving apps

This year, everyone is becoming more curious about the various ways to save money that have become so successful for others. The first step is getting a budgeting app like Expensify to help people get their finances in order. Then, anyone can use coupon apps like Groupon to save money on all the things they regularly buy anyway. With these tools, anyone can make this year their best year yet.

Image: http://pixabay.com/en/personal-group-human-apps-multi-260815/

 

 

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Contact less vs NFC: Which Tech Will Take Off?

To begin with, let’s get the terminology clear. Contactless generally refers to the touch-and-go system used by credit and debit cards that allow you to simply tap your card to a terminal to make a small payment. NFC stands for near-field communication, and is usually meant to mean the technology that means you can tap your smartphone to a similar terminal. What’s a little confusing is that both technologies are actually NFC, but the general use of the terms makes it sound as though they are different. We’ll continue to use the two terms as they’re widely understood.

So as with all up-and-coming technologies such as this, there’s a debate over whether one of the methods of payment will take off over the other. Usually when there are two similar offerings in the market, one technology is successful and the other fades; think HD-DVD versus Blu-Ray.

Both contactless and NFC work in very similar ways, and have pretty much the same benefits and drawbacks. As things stand, you’re limited by the amount you can spend on both. In the UK, where the technology appears to have taken off the strongest, the limit is £15 or £20 depending on the provider that you’re using.

Divided Marketplace

The critical thing that we think will differentiate the two is that there are a variety of different smartphone applications that allow you to hold and use a NFC wallet. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, and could well split up the market in the short term, with Apple for instance using a different system to just about everyone else. With contactless however, you’re simply using your bank and card as normal; this means it’s a lot simpler and more natural for most people.

Having said that, there is clearly the chance that smartphones will eventually replace cards for even larger payments, meaning nobody carries them around anymore. Apple CEO Tim Cook says here that he believes cards are completely outdated.

The Future

To conclude, in the short term it seems likely that contactless payments using your credit or debit card will become the norm for small purchases, more so than NFC smartphone payments. As security technology strengthens however, we may see cards phased out in favour of using smartphones – it’s not hard to imagine tapping your phone to a terminal and typing in your PIN number while it’s there for larger payments.

How can EA better Fifa 15?

It is a question you ask yourself every year, but how can EA Sports’ FIFA get any better? The football game is one of the most popular video games on the market, as well as the best selling sports game in history.

Like with every year, the game was released with much fanfare and was brilliantly received by both critics and gamers a like. However, to say the game is completely fault-proof is some way off the mark, and with Pro Evolution Soccer awakening from its previous generation slumber, EA need to continuously raise the bar or they could allow their Japanese rivals to reclaim some ground.

So what can EA do to better their already superb game?

Further depth

We will start with the obvious. EA, this year, included every stadium from the Premier League, which was fantastic. At long last Stoke and Aston Villa fans could finally play a game at their actual home instead of at the notorious Ivy Lane. However, why stop there? There are massive sides in the Championship – the second tier of English football – like Leeds United and Nottingham Forest with absolutely massive fan support and iconic stadia.

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Elland Road (home of Leeds United) by Ingy The Wingy

The Championship attracts thousands of eyes each week; it is the most competitive league in the world and the total amount of people that involve themselves in the Championship betting is massive. It speaks volumes about the quality of English football when you consider just how good a division the Championship is, and it is something that EA really needs to incorporate more of in the next edition. Honestly, there are a lot of people that would much rather watch the Championship than the French Ligue 1 or the Dutch Eredivisie.

Open world story mode

Be A Pro has always been popular with gamers, but after a while it can become extremely stale. Playing game after game can become extremely monotonous. EA could remove this tedium by making it more of an open world, taking tips from Mousebreaker’s hugely popular Jumpers For Goalposts web game. Rather than just playing football matches, your player has to train; interact with team-mates, manager, girlfriend and fans or go to the casino and bars etc. For a full flavour of being a pro-footballer, EA need to introduce the lifestyle element to the game. Allow us to not only play football but actual live the life. Discovering how many of us would end up like Ravel Morrison would be very interesting indeed.

Don’t change FUT

FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) is the pinnacle of all sport game modes. It has proven that popular that EA now include it on their Madden game and videos of people opening FUT packs regularly attract hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers. Right now there is absolutely nothing wrong with the game mode, but as we know developers love to tinker with winning formulas.

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Dennis Bergkamp (FUT legendary player) by Kieran Clarke

Hopefully, though, EA would have learned their lesson from the backlash they received for changing popular game modes on NHL 15. If they do that with FUT, gamers really will be up in arms. The best thing for EA to do with FUT if they are to retain its popularity is to do nothing bar bringing out some more legendary players, such as Dennis Bergkamp (pictured above).