Coming Soon: Texting With Your Appliances

What you just saw isn’t some sick Buzzfeed joke. It’s REAL and it is all part of LG’s new HomeChat™ service that allows homeowners in South Korea to communicate, control, monitor and share content with their latest smart appliances. According to androidauthority.com,  LG isn’t telling us the pricing just yet, but the appliances are expected to arrive to the U.S. and other major markets in the near future.

Here is some information on their new appliances:

LG Smart Refrigerator

LG’s most advanced smart refrigerator incorporates several breakthrough innovations, such as the Smart View feature. Using the industry’s first built-in internal refrigerator camera positioned at the top of the main compartment, users can monitor exactly what’s inside their refrigerator on their smartphones or tablets. The wide angle camera can show content not only in the upper shelves, but also food items on the bottom-most shelf. The built-in camera detects the opening and closing of the refrigerator, capturing images of the food items stored inside when last opened. Using HomeChat™, users can immediately see exactly what they need to buy when they’re at the grocery store or supermarket.

And LG’s Smart Manager feature transforms the refrigerator into a complete food management system. Using the built-in LCD panel or LG Smart Refrigerator smartphone app, users can check the content of their refrigerator without opening the door. The Smart Manager’s Freshness Tracker makes it possible to input a wide range of foods and beverages to keep track of expiration dates. Smart Manager can also recommend meal options based on the ingredients stored in the refrigerator.

LG’s unique Health Manager can make recipe recommendations as well as daily and weekly meal plans based on the user’s personal profile. Age, sex, weight and height information are used to determine body mass index (BMI), which is then used to create an appropriate, personalized meal plan.

LG Smart Washing Machine

With HomeChat™, consumers can remotely control and monitor their LG smart washing machine from outside the home. By texting start washing cycle when they head for home, LG’s smart washing machine will ensure that the laundry is completed by the time they get home. And by texting what are you doing? users can receive real time updates on the washer’s progress. LG’s smart washing machine is equipped with an intuitive smart touch display that makes it easy to select or download appropriate wash cycles via a WiFi connection.

 LG SmartLightwaveOven

With HomeChat™ and Recipe Search, homeowners can converse with their smart LG oven to recommend recipes for specific dishes. Select Return-home using HomeChat™ and the smart oven will ask, what dish would you like to make today? and open the Recipe Search window. When ready to cook, the oven will set the oven’s temperature and cooking time for the particular dish. Users can receive alerts on their smartphones when new recipes are available, encouraging family members to try new and interesting dishes.

All I can say is WOW! This new technology is incredible. What do you think about it?

The post Coming Soon: Texting With Your Appliances appeared first on Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.

Will the Apple iOS 7 Change How Your Home Operates?

The mobile and tech world yesterday got to see exactly what Apple has up its sleeves with its new operating system for iPhone that will be released later this year. Design changes, updated features and your digital goodie bag of options were laid out to try and keep Apple at the top of the mobile food chain.

But can an update to a mobile operating system have anything to do with your home? I think it can. While the majority of the changes to iOS 7 will be mobile focused in name, the truth is most of the features will be used within the confines of your own home as smartphones quickly become our all encompassing Internet device of choice.

Here are some of the biggest impacts that I think iOS 7 will have in our homes.

Photo Sharing

Photos are a significant decorating element of pretty much any home. They’re hanging on walls. They’re inside massive books. They’re featured in ornate frames on desks and tables. Photos are home. So the updated features that iOS 7 is bringing to the photos app on your iPhone are significant especially since more pictures are being taken on our iPhones than with our digital cameras. The organization of photos will now allow you to create what Apple is calling “moments” and “collections” so you’ll be able to bundle all the pictures from that trip to Disney World into one album that you can easily share with others. I also think that eventually Apple will open up their photos app for even easier integration into the more popular photo printing sites like Snapfish or Shutterfly so you can convert these digital memories into tangible decor for your home.

File sharing within the home

Tell me if you’ve experienced this. You have a document on your iPad, but you really want to work on it on the larger laptop screen. Or you were emailed something on your iPhone, but you need to print it out so you have to login to your mail on your computer in order to print it. It seems absurd that transferring digital files from one device to another that’s literally inches away can become a laborious task. That’s where the new AirDrop feature comes in. Apple is looking to make this process much simpler through integrated sharing that will be embedded on iOS devices. This type of functionality has been attempted before through other apps and software, but you really have to use it for yourself before you can truly asses how good it is.

The potential of Control Center

Control Center in iOS 7 will be the main hub for adjusting the features and settings for your iPhone, but I think it has the potential for future integration with other apps. Could it work in conjunction with say the Nest app that control various aspects of your home from your mobile device? Could Control Center have tabs for controlling the settings of your phone, then your home and maybe even that car in the garage through integrated apps? The potential is there.

In addition to these features there’s updates to how you can browse using Safari, listen to music at home through the new iTunes radio feature and plenty more to be excited about. I think it’s evident that our smartphones will soon become the universal remote for our homes and iOS 7 is just another step on the path to making that a reality.

Share your thoughts on iOS 7 and how your smartphone plays a role in your home in the comments.

5 Great Home Apps for the Holidays

At some point over the next week or so you’ll probably be spending some more time at home than usual, and it’s quite possible that your home will be a little bit more crowded than normal too.

Schedules get a bit hectic and it’s nice to have some helpful resources at your disposal to keep your time at home enjoyable and your entertaining on track. We thought we’d see if we can help your home management over the holidays become a bit simpler with some simple but pretty awesome apps.

1. Mosaic

mosaic screen 5 Great Home Apps for the Holidays

If your house is anything like mine, the most popular question around the holidays in year’s past was “Do you have the camera?” Now that answer is pretty simple. I have my iPhone. As phones now take better pictures than your digital camera it becomes so much simpler to take pictures of any holiday moment at home. But what if you want to print these pictures? Or put them into a nice photo album? In most cases you’d have to do all the photo arrangement on your computer, but no longer thanks to Mosaic. Mosaic is an incredibly simple but beautiful app. Just select up to 20 photos from your iPhone camera roll, add them into Mosaic and with a few taps you can create a beautiful photo book. I created one for Thanksgiving and it came out fantastic. Mosaic doesn’t have the same tool set for customizations as your standard photo printing site, but it’s perfect for creating simple and stunning books to commemorate special occasions. Mosaic is currently available for free on the iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad.

2. Any.Do

anydo screen 5 Great Home Apps for the Holidays

To do lists are the bane of my existence, but a necessary part of the holidays. Shopping lists, grocery lists, honey-do lists, etc. will be coming your way if they haven’t already. Instead of writing them down on a piece of paper or even worse using the embedded Notes app on your phone, go download Any.Do. It is bar-none the simplest to-do list app you will ever come across. Using your voice or your thumbs you can create simple list in a matter of seconds and as you accomplish your task simply cross the item out with your finger to remove it. You can schedule things for today, tomorrow and beyond and even have reminder alerts on your phone for those of feeble mind like myself. The app is actually beautifully designed and I guarantee it will be your official to-do app from this point forward. Any.Do is available for free on the iPhone, Android, and Chrome browser.

3. Camera+

cameraplus screen 5 Great Home Apps for the Holidays

Regardless of Instagram’s recent terms of use issues, you’re going to want to ditch those dated camera filters and start using Camera+. What Camera+ does that Instagram doesn’t is make your pictures look awesome. It’s the only photo filter app I use these days. All those pictures of your beautifully decorated home and family and friends around the dining table can be even better with this app. For only $0.99 it’s a steal as it has more photo editing and adjustment features than more expensive apps. But the best thing is it’s super simple to use. You don’t need to be a photo enthusiast or graphic designer to figure out how to use it. It’s pretty much stupid proof which is right up my alley. Crop, rotate, colorize and share photos all within Camera+. It’s my favorite app that I’ve purchased in 2012. Camera+ is available for $0.99 on the iPhone & iPad.

4. The Photo Cookbook

photocookbook screen 5 Great Home Apps for the Holidays

Aren’t instructions so much easier to read when they contain pictures? Shouldn’t the same be true for cooking? That’s what makes The Photo Cookbook app so great. It’s got over 500 high res photos for 60+ recipes and a ridiculously simple step-by-step instructions for preparing anything from a simple appetizer to a complex dessert. It also boasts search function not just by dish but also by ingredient, and you can add your own notes to each recipe. So if this is your first holiday of hosting at home, this might not be a good way to invest $3.99 insuring your guests want to come back next year.  The Photo Cookbook app is available for $3.99 on the iPhone, iPad and in the Mac App Store.

5. Songza

songza screen 5 Great Home Apps for the Holidays

What’s a great moment at home without a little music? Sure you’ve probably already downloaded the likes of Spotify, Pandora or IHeartRadio, but Songza is a bit different as it aims to add a soundtrack to the every day tasks you encounter. Let’s say you’re wrapping presents and need a little energy boost; Songza has your playlist. It’s the day after Christmas and you’re ready to unwind. Songza has a playlist for that too. Looking for a soundtrack for pre-game fun? Songza has you covered. With thousands of songs and some seriously unique playlists, Songza is a great change of pace app for the music lover. Songza is available for free on the iPhone, Android & Kindle Fire.

A New Coldwell Banker App for iPhone and Android

After months of hard work behind the scenes, we’re proud to announce that we’ve got a brand new app available for the iPhone and Android powered devices!

With applications becoming ubiquitous over the past few years, we wanted to slow down and take a moment to think about what it is a new “Coldwell Banker Mobile App” would offer the world. For us, simply redesigning our app wasn’t good enough because in all honesty, anybody can put together a regular real estate search app. With that in mind, the main goal of the second incarnation of our app was to make finding home as joyful and easy an experience as possible. We’ve accomplished that by developing it with the type of content and access to resources that will give you the insight into the communities and homes that will allow you to make  better informed choices. It’ll definitely make your life easier too (and more fun!)

Here are just a few of the features we’re extra excited about:

On Location A New Coldwell Banker App for iPhone and Android

View Property, Community, Agent and Office Videos

Home and Community Videos (And More)
In 2009 we partnered with Google/YouTube to launch “Coldwell Banker On Location“. Since that time we’ve had tens of thousands of videos of  homes, communities and agents that millions of visitors have watched. Our new app allows you to search for these videos because we think seeing real live video of a neighborhood or charming home gives you a much clearer picture than any picture can (oh, the irony!)

 

My Agent A New Coldwell Banker App for iPhone and Android

My Agent

My Agent: Put them to work for you
We’re really excited about the new “My Agent” feature we’ve developed for this app because it works well for you whether you’re already working with an agent or just starting your search for the perfect one. Once you land on an agent’s profile, simply tap the “Make My Agent” button and the app instantly builds a 1 to 1 connection between you both. Then while you surf through homes and videos, you can send them what you like with just one easy tap of a button and they’ll know what you want to see or the type of home you’re looking for.

 

Map Sketch A New Coldwell Banker App for iPhone and Android

Map Sketch

Map Sketch: Draw Something
Sometimes there are neighborhoods within neighborhoods – and searching by city or zip code won’t get you exactly what you’re looking for. With our “Map Sketch” tool, simply use your finger to draw a circle around the part of town you want to call home. We’ll do fancy work on the back-end to triangulate your drawing to present you with homes and places of interest within that area only. You’ll only see what you want to see!

We’ve got a bunch of other helpful features like amenity information from Yelp!, driving directions, a special ‘Previews International’ luxury home search and a whole lot more.

If you’re looking for home or are interested in seeing amazing pictures and videos of homes across the globe, you can click here for our Android app or here for our iPhone app.

Download on the App Store Badge US UK 135x40 A New Coldwell Banker App for iPhone and Android

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Wireless Lighting for a Home of a Different Color

Controlling your home from your mobile device is one of the most recent innovations that’s extremely practical for home owners. While there are many companies that offer this type of control, none are doing it quite like Philips with it’s new Hue lighting solution.

You see Philips is going beyond the standard lightbulb and bringing a little extra color to your home. Instead of just going green with your lightbulbs, why not go magenta, chartreuse or a blazing blue?

 Wireless Lighting for a Home of a Different Color

The new Hue series from Philips will screw into any standard light socket but these LED based lights can also change into a variety of colors on command. As if that wasn’t cool enough, just plug a little box into your wireless router and you now have the ability to control the color and intensity of any light in your home.

While that may sound like any typical lighting control system, Philips takes a step even further. Let’s say you have a photo of a gorgeously lit scene from a vacation in the Caribbean. Wouldn’t you love to recreate that gorgeous scene in your home? Well with Hue you can. Just use the Hue app to import the photo and have Hue match the lighting color and conditions of that photo.

Hue also offers the ability to set a timer for lights to go on, control lights remotely and other cool features. So if you want a home of a different color you should check out all the details on Hue at meethue.com.

Decorating Your Home with Augmented Reality

Science fiction is becoming more reality than fantasy. One of the most interesting ways this is happening is through a technology called augmented reality. You may have seen it before, but if not what it basically does is modify your view of reality by adding an additional layer of information when viewing through a device.

Most uses of augmented reality deal with location based information, but I think there’s a ton of opportunities for bringing augmented reality inside your home. Specifically to help with home improvement or decorating projects. Below are some incredible examples of how this can work. One is available today while the last two are just concepts for now.

Take a look for yourself and I guarantee you’ll be amazed.

 

RoomMates Augment Reality Wall Decals
You’ve heard the saying “what if you’re walls could talk?” Well, what if your walls could play games with you? RoomMates brings that concept to life with their augmented reality wall decals made specifically for kids rooms. Using Disney characters and easy peel-on/off decals, it can turn a child’s room into a virtual playground. Just download the BoostAR app for free to play along. Check out the video demo below:

 

Ikea Augmented Reality Room App
I could really use this. After having rearranged furniture in my family room a few dozen times, it would have been great to just let my wife virtually arrange the room using digital version of the furniture all in real time. The following is a concept video put together by a Graphic and Digital Design student at the University of Greenwich, but I’m not sure why Ikea hasn’t made this a reality yet. Maybe they’re working on it. Take a look for yourself.

 

A Home Depot Room Makeover App
Most homeowners at one time or another have thought a certain type of carpet, cabinet or hardwood floor would look great in a room until they actually install it. Then comes the rude awakening that it didn’t look as good as you thought. Well this video I found on YouTube could help change all that. Using augmented reality, homeowners could test out how various home improvement products in the Home Depot catalog would look inside the actual room of your home before you go through the hassle of renovating. Incredible.

 

Augmented Reality is still very much in its infancy, but we’re pretty sure it will play a role both in and out of your home into the future. What augmented reality concept would you most like to use in your home?

Here’s to Innovation…

Weren’t we all supposed to be flying cars to work (sure would make my commute better!) and hanging out on the moon by 2012? While technology hasn’t caught up to science fiction in that regard, we do know that writers of Sci-Fi movies like Minority Report and 2001: A Space Odyssey got a lot of things right. Everything from video conferencing to “gesture based computing” and personalized ad serving are “imagined” things we saw in movies that a lot of us use in our everyday lives.

At Coldwell Banker we’ve undeniably been at the technological forefront since our early beginnings, trying new (and sometimes crazy) things like staging the world’s first virtual open house on Second Life and experimenting with a touch screen coffee table app that eventually lead to the release of our iPad application last year.  From creating the first national real estate website, to developing mobile websites and apps, we’ve always been about creating innovative tools that make the home buying process easier and more enjoyable for consumers.

Yet, as Will Smith’s character in I, Robot would attest to, technology is nothing without people…and Innovation is more than just technology. At Coldwell Banker we’ve got some of the industry’s best professionals helping all kinds of people; from Hollywood A-Listers to twenty-somethings trying to scratch their way into a starter home. Each and every day you’ll find tens of thousands of Coldwell Banker professionals innovating and working hard to help their customers achieve the dream of home ownership.

So it’s in this spirit that the latest ad in our 2012 Television campaign hits the airwaves today. We’re calling this newest spot “Innovation” and it’s all about how our tools can help make looking for home a wonderful experience from in-market homebuyers to aspirational dreamers looking at neighborhoods and homes they’re working hard to get to eventually. The 30 second spot, that will drive consumers to coldwellbanker.com/apps, is voiced once again by Emmy winning actor Tom Selleck and goes a little something like this:

 Owning a home is a wonderful experience.

 … and we think looking for one should be, too.

 That’s why Coldwell Banker provides the most remarkable tools in real estate.

 Tools that let you browse homes, explore neighborhoods … see agents …

 And get information instantly and anywhere.

 So whether you’re ready to buy or just ready to dream…

 The place to come is to Coldwell.

In celebration of the debut of the “Innovation” spot, we’ve released an updated iPad application that now includes IDX integration which allows users to look at almost any home in their local MLS, not just Coldwell Banker listings. Be sure to keep an eye out for our new TV commercials and while you’re at it pop on over to coldwellbanker.com/apps to learn a little more about our mobile platform. (In the meantime, we’re working on the whole flying to work and relaxing on the moon part :-)

Cheers!

Meet the New coldwellbanker.com – Pocket Edition

The New Touch & Non-Touch Version of coldwellbanker.com

I don’t know if it’s just me but doesn’t it seem like technology and innovation seem to operate in dog years? What happens in a calendar year or two is really more like 7 and 14 years worth of  new technologies, data infrastructure, social networks, mobile devices, enhancements, software, so on and so forth. I might be exaggerating a tad bit (am I?) but we all know that “things” are moving lightning fast and consumers are expecting their favorite brands to offer experiences that are in lock-step with what’s new and relevant. Fall a step or two behind and they’ll keep moving without looking back.

In 2008 we became the first national real estate brand to launch a version of our website tailored specifically for mobile devices. With the boom of applications for smartphones and tablets, many in the industry prophesized that mobile web browsing would go by the wayside but our numbers and recent industry data suggest that the complete opposite is true. In 2011, we saw a 111% year over year increase in visits to our mobile websites*. Microsoft Tag released an infographic last year that stated that by 2014, mobile internet usage should overtake desktop internet usage. Yes, the app and mobile website will coexist and play a major role in our lives for the foreseeable future.

With all this mind, we’ve gone ahead and completely overhauled our mobile website offering to better align them with our other platforms. They’re easier to use and navigate, they look better and have new functionality that only the Coldwell Banker brand can offer to home shoppers. Here’s some of what we’ve done:

  1. Completely redesigned navigation and look & feel for a better user experience. It looks and works GREAT.
  2. Integrated tens of thousands of listing, agent, office, spotlight and community videos from Coldwell Banker On Location
  3. Ability to share agents, listings and offices on the top Social Networks
  4. Added a “Search Nearby” feature
  5. Created unique separate experiences for touch devices like the iPhone and Android and non-touch devices like the Blackberry
  6. Added the ability to search by map and more!

Simply type coldwellbanker.com into your mobile device’s browser and we’ll do the rest. We’ll serve up a website tailored specifically for your device as well as millions of listings, well over 80,000 agents, thousands of videos and a whole lot more. Check out our promo video below and happy home searching!

*Internal Coldwell Banker analytics

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Getting More Social with the Facebook “Like” and Google “+1″ Buttons

Here’s the understatement of the year (or perhaps of the last 4 to 5 years!?): Social Media has changed everything. Its changed the way we consume and share information, its changed how we interact with our friends, how we meet friends and it has also fundamentally changed the way companies do business…forever. One would think that with the mind boggling growth of social networking sites over the last few years, that we’d see a leveling off of sorts but all signs point to continued enormous gains. I’m sure that better connected mobile devices in the hands of even more people across the planet have fueled the continued social networking craze. Here are a few stats about how Social Media continues to dominate:

  • Half of all American adults are now on Social Networks. Out of American adults who use the Internet, nearly two-thirds use Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter (DigitalBuzzBlog)
  • Facebook has over 750 million active users (Facebook)
  • During the average 20 minute period in 2010, there were over 5.8 million wall posts and over 10 million comments posted (DigitalBuzzBlog)
  • Social Networking accounts for 1 in every 6 minutes spent online (Mashable)

We’ve been into “Social” in a big way for the past few years (Sharing, first real estate Facebook app, etc.) and we recently continued to connect our content to what’s going on at Social Media sites by adding the Facebook “Like” button to several places on coldwellbanker.com. With this enhancement, we also became the first (and only) national real estate brand to add the Google “+1″ button across our site as well. The new Social Network boasted well over 25 million active users within less than a month of being in private-beta. So with Google+ opening up to everyone yesterday, we’re sure that consumers will increasingly look to share stuff they find interesting there too.

We’re pretty aware that a great deal of “social-sharing” occurs on the mobile device so we’ve also got Social integrated across all our platforms from our On Location site on over to our iPad and iPhone applications as well. So hop on over to coldwellbanker.com and hit that “Like” or “+1” button on the homepage or on the properties, agents, offices or type of “search” (Lifestyle and BlueScape) that you find interesting.

We’ve got a few other new cool Social Media related enhancements coming soon so be sure to stay on the lookout!

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