Welcome to the BYTE, where we serve up the latest home and tech news from the last week for you to sink your teeth into.
This week we’re taking a BYTE out of new virtual worlds, smart cities, a major player’s product announcements, a social update, and the prosperous. Dig in!
Everyone and their mom has at least heard of virtual reality and everyone is trying to figure out what the future of VR will look like. Microsoft says Mixed Reality will be the virtual winner. Either way, homebuilders are starting to use this tech and are trying to figure out the real costs.
Does It Work?
BuilderOnline talked to builders around the country about their thoughts on VR, if they’re using the tech, and laid out some good, better, best scenarios on pricing. More and more home builders are beginning to use VR to showcase their unique homes. One of the biggest takeaways that builders are seeing is that these tours let potential buyers truly see, customize, and experience their homes. Pricing on virtual reality is completely dependent of what you want. VR Matterport tours are the cheapest option for a few hundred dollars all the way into full custom VR in the $20,000 range. To mitigate this cost, some builders are even forgoing a model home and getting a fully custom VR tour where buyers can customize homes however they’d like.
Forget The Smart Home
Smart cities are coming and Google wants to build them, specifically in Toronto this time. Sidewalk Labs, sister company to Google, is in the final stages of being selected to build out a smart neighborhood on Toronto’s east downtown waterfront. If Sidewalk Labs gets the yes vote on Oct. 20th, they’ll begin building a neighborhood universally connected by broadband, prefab modular housing, sensors to monitor building conditions, and robotic delivery services. Features could also include smart lights and a focus on improved transport, such as designing for public transit and self-driving cars. Welcome to the future.
Speaking of Google
Google had their annual tech announcements last week and there were a lot of products unveiled. Quick hits: Pixel 2 (cell phone), Pixelbook (laptop), Google Home Max (big smart home speaker), Google Home Mini (small smart home speaker), Google Clips (connected small video camera), Pixel Buds (wireless earbuds for Pixel 2), and the Daydream View (VR viewer). All of this as well as updates to their AI to help people who ask Google questions every day. Also supposedly the Pixel Buds translate 40 different languages instantly.
Minor Update Or Game Changer?
Instagram added a new feature to their stories function. Instagram Polling. Updates like this happen all the time, whether it’s adding emojis or some other new feature, but this small add could have some big implications. When posting a story you can now add a polling button. It’s only a two option poll, Yes/No, Chocolate/Vanilla, etc. but, what this really adds is a new level of interaction and engagement. It also lets business get some insight into their followers. If more features like this are added, it could change the whole dynamic of the app.
Most and Least Distressed Cities
CityLab broke down some new data that looked at the prosperous and distressed cities in the U.S.. The study broke down vacancy rates, adults not working, poverty rate, median income ratio, change in employment, and change in business establishments. The most prosperous across the country were: 1) Gilbert, AZ 2) Plano, TX 3) Irvine, CA. The most distressed were: 1) Cleveland, OH 2) Newark, NJ 3) Buffalo, NY.
Walk This Way
We know you’ve always wondered how starfish walk on land, so here is a video showing exactly how crazy “walking” can be.