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Blog posts tagged with 'App'

Uber Energy

It seems you can’t read an article about new mobility or the sharing economy without stumbling across Uber; the mobility service that sprung up in 2009 to only five years later become valued at more than Avis, Hertz, or Sony. Yes, Sony.

Two weeks ago, I found myself using the service for the first time, here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The ride went silky smooth largely due to its app, which is so easy-to-use your grandmother could use it. Since using it, I quickly realizing why so many opt for the convenience and availability over other options (often unknown for tourists). The company just expanded its offering with “Uber Pool”  – which now allows you to split a ride with strangers. It also announced a tie-up with music streaming service Spotify, to sync your two accounts so that the car will be playing your preferred playlist when the car arrives. However, Uber’s entry into the mobility market has been anything but smooth and its implications are still unclear.

Just recently, under pressure from taxi lobbies, India moved to make Uber harder to use in its second largest market after the US. Uber has been lambasted for flouting the law and undermining public transit, and even threatening to lower GDP for countries where it operates. Berlin has moved to ban it outright. Taxi companies around Europe held protests against Uber, but famously ended up boosting Uber ridership by 850% as riders without options [ironically] ended up using the much-maligned, but also much-mentioned service. And of course, there’s the company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, who has come under repeated fire for controversial statements and practices regarding competitor Lyft and other incidents.

Leaving all that aside, from a transport and energy perspective, the question is: does Uber make cities more energy efficient? The question has been hotly debated for carsharing for some time, including for such services as Zipcar and Autolib’, but with Avis Budget Group buying Zipcar, it at least seems there is continued appetite in cities for these efforts as they continue to grapple with issues of pollution, congestion, and jobs and innovation.

One thing is certain: the world continues to urbanize, and congestion in cities is going nowhere but up. With this in mind, it seems that Uber or other similar services will play a role in our cities if for no other reason than that we want them to. Uber claims to be able to take one million vehicles off the roads, and Lyft believes that by increasing vehicle occupancy in major cities sucjh as Los Angeles and New York from 1.1 to 1.3 you would eliminate traffic in the city. Either prospect is tantalizing no matter your preferred mode of choice. This is akin to Autolib’s goal that for its 3,000 vehicles, you’d take 22,500 vehicles off the road; or about 7.5 cars off the road for each carsharing vehicle introduced.

What do you think? Is Uber really that different from taxis? And if so, is the overall energy benefit positive?

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

Holiday App To Save You $$$

A new app from Savings.com called PriceJump does just that. It helps shoppers cover all their bases by scanning local stores and 5,000 online retailers in real time to get the best price.

After downloading the app (only available on the iPhone for now), users can scan a bar code and instantly find the best price for that item. The result will display the best local and online price and also Amazon's.

Amazon doesn't always win. This summer, PriceJump launched a website that tracked Amazon prices and found that the site offered the best deals 51% of the time.

On items that cost more than $100, PriceJump found lower prices than Amazon 70% of the time.

But hunting for deals could save people a lot of money, particularly during the holiday season. Savings.com found that many popular holiday gifts wildly fluctuate in price during the last three months of the year.

One Disney doll (Elsa, of course), was available on Amazon for $14.99 on Oct. 17 and shot up to $20.39 on Oct. 18. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart and Target both offered the same doll for $12.79.

Savings.com also found that Microsoft's Surface tablet was being simultaneously being offered for $336 from one retailer and $524 from another.

But buyer beware: Just because the PriceJump app found a better deal doesn't mean it's worth buying it all the time.

For instance, if you're a subscriber to Amazon Prime, two-day shipping is included and that might not be the case at many other online stores or shipping might cost a bundle.

Or the store that has a better deal might be out of stock (The PriceJump app gives you phone numbers so you can call to check before you make that trip).

While it doesn't provide all the answers, PriceJump does take some of the guesswork out of the shopping experience and helps shoppers save.

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

Pocket Doctor

“Lifelogging” is more than just counting steps. More tech firms are trying to predict your health using data from devices like Fitbits.

Fitbit was just the start. As lifelogging and wearable computing take off, the biggest technology companies are gathering data that will let them forecast our medical future.

In recent months Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft have all announced apps and devices that monitor health and activity. They differ in looks and cost, but they have one thing in common: the data they gather can be used to predict the health of the person wearing them.

The latest to join the party is Vida, a start-up that launched last week. Their app works with Apple's HealthKit to pull together data from lifelogging devices such as Fitbits and create a picture of an individual's health. For $15 a week, subscribers get regular in-app sessions with a team of coaches including nutritionists and nurses, without the expense of regular real-world doctor visits.

It is aimed at people with chronic conditions like cancer and heart disease, which account for 75 per cent of healthcare spending in the US. The app will also be able to suggest clinical trials to people who may benefit.

"We're at the beginning of an age of interrogation of the human being in real time, under real-world conditions," says Dennis Ausiello, chief of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Ausiello runs the Center for Assessment Technology and Continuous Health (CATCH), a partnership between MIT and Massachusetts General. Its goal is to develop tools that continuously monitor people to get a better understanding of how certain conditions affect us.

For more on these interensting innovations, check out the full article HERE!

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

So Much For Room Keys

Traveling just got a little less horrible — for an elite few, at least.

This week, Starwood Hotels will roll out a new program that allows you to both check in to your hotel and also unlock the door to your hotel room by using an app on your smartphone — bypassing the long lines and unwelcome human interaction you usually encounter after a long day of traveling.

This being a hotel technology, there are of course limitations. To use the mobile check-in service, you must first and foremost be a Starwood “Preferred Guest,” which basically means you fill out a form with some of your basic information online.

When your room is ready, you’ll be notified once again, this time that you’re all checked in. The app will also automatically tell you your room number and conjure a Bluetooth-enabled key.

So, when you actually arrive, you can stroll on by the huddled masses of guests in line to check in at the front desk and go straight to the floor your room is on. While you’re in the elevator, you’ll need to enable Bluetooth on your phone. (If your phone is dead, you can head down to the front desk and receive a keycard, like the rest of the Luddites.)

To open the door keylessly, you just need to open the SPG app, hold your phone next to the door lock (which is equipped with a black plastic square), and wait for a green light to illuminate. Then you enter the room and immediately eat seven things from the minibar while wearing your complimentary robe and slippers (optional, but highly recommended).

Want to read the full article? Check it out HERE!

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

Hectic Life? Apps To The Rescue!

1.) WunWun

WunWun is going to be your new best friend if you constantly forget that one item when you're grocery shopping that is absolutely essential to the recipe you’re preparing. Or, if you’re one hour away from an event and you don’t have time to run out and pick up some hors d’oeuvres, someone from WunWun will do it for you. This free (yes free) delivery service connects users to their favorite local stores and restaurants and will deliver purchases within the hour.

2.) Circa

For those who want to stay up-to-date on all the breaking news, but don't have time to scour a plethora of websites, Circa is your saving grace. Currently available for download on iPhone and Android, this app allows readers to easily sort through the day’s news by delivering concise coverage straight to your phone.

3.) Shyp

Just one trip to the post office during the holiday season will make even the most mild-mannered person swear off sending gifts entirely. Welcome Shyp — a service that will come to you, pick up your items, pack them and ship them anywhere in the world using the cheapest, most reliable option possible.

4.) Brewster

If you’re tired of searching through your various emails, phone contacts, Facebook friends, etc. looking for the phone number you just know someone sent you, Brewster is going to be your lifesaver. Brewster compiles all of your contacts from all of the aforementioned services including Instagram, LinkedIn, Google, Skype and more.

5.) Clear

Post-it notes and daily planners are organizational tools of the past — instead of carting around a bunch of papers that you might lose, Clear allows you to keep all of your daily tasks in one neat, intuitive app. You can create as many lists as you want, and within those lists you can prioritize your daily tasks using a color-coding system to denote how urgent the task is.

For the full article, click HERE!

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

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