Posts tagged with "Smart home"

Amazon’s Ring to distribute local true-crime news

May 1, 2019

if you work outside the home, until recently you had very few ways to keep track of the workmen, friends, and family who beat a path to your front door—no less, those with criminal intent.

However, Amazon’s March 2018 acquisition of the Ring security system—which comprises outdoor motion-based cameras and a video doorbell that connects to your smartphone—has changed all that. Now, users can view whoever and whatever turns up at their doorway (the good, the bad, and the ugly) in real time.

And now, Fast Company reports, the company is hiring—and not for a tech job or a member of the logistics team, as would be expected. The position (Job ID: 836421) posted on the Amazon website is described as Managing Editor, News.

According to the posting, the Managing Editor, News, “will work on an exciting new opportunity within Ring to manage a team of news editors who deliver breaking [true] crime news alerts to our neighbors.

Obviously, your closest neighbors would want to know if there are folks with criminal intent in the neighborhood—and Amazon is snatching that lucrative beat away from local news provider Patch.

Based on the job description, Fast Company notes, the right candidate will have “deep and nuanced knowledge of American crime trends,” “strong news judgment that allows for quick decisions in a breaking news environment,” and at least three years in management. Hopefully, they aren’t looking for a candidate with three years of management in Internet doorbell news management, because we’re going to guess that person does not exist.

Ring’s Neighbors App would be the perfect distribution network for such news. According to the Ring website, it already provides “real-time crime and safety alerts from your neighbors, law enforcement, and the Ring team.”

As Nieman Lab notes, Americans perceive that crime is rising even when it’s not. A 2016 Pew survey found that only 15% of Americans believed (correctly) that crime was lower in 2016 than it had been in 2008; versus 57% who thought it had gotten worse. True crime stories and apps that turn every person on the street into a potential threat undoubtedly add to the problem.

That said, the more petrified the world is, the more likely you are to buy a crime-fighting doorbell, right?

Research contact: @ring

Amazon offers new Alexa household appliances for a hands-free habitat

September 24, 2018

You work hard all day. Why cook at night, when Alexa can do it for you? A microwave is just one of the 70 new products announced by Amazon during its product blitz on September 20.

In addition to new Echo speakers and an advanced Fire TV Recast. the tech and delivery giant is rolling out a number of state-of-the-art interface devices that will operate your habitat in a hands-off mode.

USA Today reported on the top picks this week—among them:

  • AmazonBasics Microwave: At $59.99, the news outlet says, the latest microwave under the company’s AmazonBasics brand could be cheaper than your current, non-smart-enabled appliances. It integrates with Alexa over Bluetooth, allowing you to tell a nearby Echo smart speaker to set a timer for tasks such as heating up a potato or reordering popcorn. A blue “Ask Alexa” button on the front of the microwave enables you to you summon the digital assistant on command. Available for preorder, the microwave is scheduled to ship later this year.
  • Echo Wall Clock: No need to watch the time, your new clock—featuring Bluetooth to connect to an existing Echo device—has timers, alarms, and reminders galore. Since it is Internet-connected, the $29.99 timepiece it will adjust itself automatically at the start and end of Daylight Savings Time. The clock will be released later this year.
  • Amazon Smart Plug: If controlling the microwave isn’t enough, USA Today reports that Amazon’s new plug control other traditionally non-smart devices such as lamps and coffee makers, enabling you to turn them on and off with your voice.The Smart Plug is scheduled to start  shipping next month, and it will be available for $24.99.
  • Echo Auto: And finally, the news outlet reports, now you can enjoy the convenience of Alexa on the road. The new device features eight microphones that can pick up commands while you are behind the wheel. It also has Bluetooth wireless technology to connect to your phone. Bluetooth or a 3.5mm auxiliary jack can be used to connect the device to your car. Once connected, you can ask Alexa for nearby destinations, directions—or to play music or audiobooks. Powered by either your car’s USB port or its 12V cigarette lighter outlet, Amazon says Echo Auto will be able to boot up within a “few seconds” after hitting the ignition.

Research contact: eblumenthal@usatoday.com