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 housing heating up, powerful mesh, trying to find parking, shifting focus, and the importance of being found online. Dig in!
Definitely Warming Up
If you’re feeling like you’ve had a busy summer, you aren’t alone. Homebuilders received 7.4% more permits in June. Which is good since now foreign investment in housing here is booming too!
Yay Good News!
Since it is no secret there is a bit of a housing shortage in the U.S. right now, the 7.4% extra permits in June compared to May is a good sign for things to come. All metrics were up in June, housing starts +8.3%, homes finished +5.2%. However, even with all of these metrics going up the foreign investment isn’t helping the housing crunch. Home sales in 2016 from foreigners totaled $153 Billion, a 49% increase from 2015. Florida, Texas, and California were the hot spots for the most investment. The summer seems to have a theme: build, build, build, buy, buy, buy.
Not Your Grandpa’s Bluetooth
Bluetooth is usually associated with connecting to speakers, answering calls from your steering wheel, and so on. The latest advancement is Bluetooth Mesh. Bluetooth currently only has a short range, with this mesh installed into a building’s walls you could have one massive Bluetooth connection across the whole building. Imagine smart lightbulbs turning on because it recognized your phone entering the room or controlling Bluetooth speakers from across a hospital to calm down a patient. The opportunities are endless and could negate the need to reconnect once leaving a room or not being able to control things once out of range. Bluetooth Mesh could be seen in use as soon as this year.
Looking for a Spot?
As city planners look to see what the future of cities will actually look like a new online project called What the Street? aims to help them see it a little more clearly. It is a visual tool that analyzed 23 cities around the world and visually shows you how much space is taken up by parking lots alone. You can click on each obscure shape and see the lot in a satellite map. With changes in commuting patterns, ride sharing, and the likes they wonder how much space we should really be dedicating to storing our cars.
A Not So Empty Nest
Microsoft has decided to go up against Nest with a new smart thermostat with its own Cortana virtual assistant build in. The design is sleek and has a thin clear touchscreen control panel. No word yet on pricing or when it will be available to the public but if it works as they show in the video this might be a big competitor in the thermostat space.
In line with Online
Online everything is increasing, from online sales to online research. This is no different for first time homebuyers. Online searches for topics related to first-time homebuying was 44% of searches in the mortgage category in Q1 of 2017. An 11% increase from Q1 of 2016 and an all-time high. As more people look to buy homes now, more people jump online to start doing research.
Solar Eclipse Ready
Got plans August 21st? Now you do. The first solar eclipse over the U.S. since 1979 is happening that day. Be ready and see the map of where will get totally eclipsed.