Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 15, 2013

TECH TALK WITH MIKE GINGERICH: Keeping up with the technology Joneses


Goshen News

---- — Technology continues to change at a rapid pace. Simply look at the adoption rate of smartphones as one example. In late 2010, roughly 30 percent of U.S. mobile phone users had a smartphone. Now that percentage is more than 55 percent and growing.

From social media, to tablets, to apps for smartphones, the technologies continue to change and evolve, and innovation is non-stop. Today, I’ll look at three unique technologies that are either available now or being tested for mainstream use in coming years.

Fancy Hands

Fancy Hands is the personal, virtual assistant for busy people. It enables users to “hand off” simple tasks and have them accomplished by a team of assistants. Need to order flowers for a friend in the hospital? No problem. Want to make reservations for dinner or reserve a hotel room for the conference you are attending next week? Yes, a Fancy Hands assistant can do that. Users of Fancy Hands pay a monthly fee starting as low as $25 for a ability to make a number of requests. All the assistants are trained and based in the U.S. Users can submit requests via email, iPhone or Android apps.

There is also a business version enabling Fancy Hands to be “the team” to “your team.” Assistants can plan meetings, manage schedules, order supplies, book conference rooms and more. For busy, on-the-go people carrying an Internet connected device, Fancy Hands is a new breed of personal assistant.

Coin

Will Coin become the go-to standard in our wallets, similar to how Youtube is to online video or Facebook is to social media? It’s in pre-release so it’s hard to say, but the concept is intriguing and even in pre-release the pre-orders are rolling in. Coin is an electronic payment card, about the size of a credit card, that stores all your other cards so your wallet stops overflowing and causing you back issues from the bulge you sit on. It’s a little like having PayPal in your purse in the form of a card. It will be able to store credit cards, debit cards, gift cards and even membership cards, including those used at large chain retailers.

Coin will swipe like a card does, and it connects to your smartphone that can then alert you if your card ever gets too far apart from your phone. Coin is set to go live in the late spring or early summer of 2014 and you can order one now at www.onlycoin.com.

Amazon.com Delivery Drones

Yes, Amazon is testing a delivery service using Octocopter (8 propeller) drones. Their Amazon Prime service could eventually deliver an Amazon purchase to you within 30 minutes of you placing the order online. The 8-propeller drones are about the size of a remote-controlled airplane and can transport shoebox sized packages from fulfillment centers to customers homes.

According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the concept is not as farfetched as it might seem. Aerial drones are already delivering packages in China and Australia. The FAA needs to further review and create rules governing unmanned aerial vehicles, but it’s on the horizon and could be a reality in the U.S. within four or so years. View the demo at www.youtube.com/watch?v=98BIu9dpwHU.

These tech tools continue to open up new avenues of efficiency and complexity. For those who think it’s too farfetched, consider the changes in the past 100 years from television to video cassettes to the Internet and more.

Mike Gingerich leads the Social Application division of web design company, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with contests and promotions. For more information on TabSite, please visit www.tabsite.com.