Tag Archives: smartphone

2018 is slowly approaching which means many things get an upgrade/update. Technology has not only invaded our personal and professional lives, but now taking over our homes in more ways than we can imagine.

What does it do then?

It will open the front door and turn on the porch light when you approach it at the end of the day. It will know exactly how low to dim the lights when you’re in bed, watching Netflix. It will update you on the weather and traffic conditions the moment you wake up, and remind you about your kid’s after school schedules in the evening!

 

Can you even sleep better in a cold home? Yes, a smart home will adjust your thermostats automatically based on time and outside temperature; when you’re out of town, it will monitor water leaks, help you check on your house remotely via a security system synced to your smartphone and will even automatically turn lights on & off to make it look like someone is actually around when you’re actually on a beach holiday thousands of kilometres away.

If all this sounds like music to your ears, you should know that having a smart home is already within your reach, with very little work to do, to put it together.

In Ottawa, real-estate developer eQ Homes changed its decade old business model to exclusively start building technologically advanced homes at the start of this year. The company has seven communities in development at the moment, from Greystone Village to Manotick.

eQ Homes’ marketing manager Tobin Kardish commented, “I’m not going to say someone’s purchased a house from us because of that, but there’s a whole bunch of different decisions (that go into buying a house). You could be looking at us versus builder X and Y. People shop by square footages, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, certain things like, is there hardwood or granite countertops? Let’s say everything is equal. You might be leaning towards us a little bit more because we offer these things standard in the house that you don’t have to buy after the fact.”

What are ‘those standard things’ that Kardish speaks about? They include the Nest smart thermostat, a hub that connects multiple devices as well as automated lighting by Lutron. For an additional cost, home buyers can include a smart garage-door opener and front-door lock, a smart water shut-off valve and more lighting options! eQ Homes offers a package upgrade that is now worth $6,950 plus HST — a portion of your current home’s cost, which could $300,000+.

In the high-end housing market, connectivity plays a big factor in the prices. Roberto Campagna, owner and president of Roca Homes, fielded his first smart-home request around 2010. It started with automated shades and drapes for his homes’ windows and evolved from there.

Most of his homes now involve some connected element, whether it’s audio, video, security, lighting or HVAC. “Our approach is holistic. How do we want to complement the overall design?” Campagna added.

This kind of technology is meant to have a functional and almost futuristic aesthetic to a home. In parts of homes, a tidy look makes it even better, such as having one switch for multiple lights.

What does the current, general consensus in Canada say about all this? Many are already getting the gadgets such as Google Home and Amazon Echo to make their lives slightly easier, but going beyond that? We’ll write about it in the follow up in two week’s time!

It’s almost all done on the phone now. Laptops and desktops are being used a lot less, since our portable devices allow us to do most of the things we need without the use of a physical keyboard; which brings us to Google searches and SEO – how do we make it better on mobile?

As we know, websites now need to be fully optimized on mobile; that’s where they are mostly looked at, and if SEO isn’t implemented for the mobile version of your site, you lose conversions and slip down the Google ranks. So what are some good ways to better it?

 

Before you begin anything, make sure you audit your website’s compatibility for smartphone, and see where the errors are. If a user is having trouble navigating your site on their cellphone, they’re out and will not return. Some important things to look at are plugins, font sizes, and the positioning of page elements. There may be some areas for improvement.

Responsive design is key for all devices. It’s the best way to ensure your site can be opened anywhere you like, as even the same user can switch from a laptop to their phone and will want to have the same experience with whatever gadget they use. It’s a lot of work for many screen sizes, but certainly doable.

One of the biggest problems users face on their phones, the webpage load time. If it’s very slow, the home screen button will be pressed and that person is not likely to visit again; and these problems are more frequent than we think! Some factors to look in for these issues can lie with unused scripts, non-compressed files and needing to optimize images.

Optimize your website for local searches. It’s almost certain that people in your area will need your product or services, so make sure you’re able to get their attention before reaching out to the rest of the city. Google offers some free tools to help with that, and it likely doesn’t take a lot of work.

You also need to optimize for keyword searches, for both text and voice. Siri used to be treated as a ‘joke’ because people thought it was funny for a random voice to answer them when they asked for something, but will now because a major SEO tool for businesses, especially on mobile. This may be a little more challenging to optimize for, but at least you are prepared for the now and future. Eventually Alexa and Google Home will be SEO tools for voice!

Finally, Google has another service called Accelerated Mobile Pages that allows for faster mobile pages. They don’t look any different from other programming softwares, but the pages will just load much faster than the average. This would normally lead to a better user experience and visitor retention. Start using it now before it becomes too popular and crowded.

We have been posting quite often about video marketing this year, whether live or edited. This is because we think it has become so important in the world of social media, especially for brands who need to have an increase of traffic to their pages and websites. Videos are the key entertainer these days, and it doesn’t take a university degree or rocket science to be able to film and edit something good! Almost anyone can do it…

1) Script it. Plan it

They don’t all need to be spontaneous. The best videos are often humorous and emotional ones – but with some prior planning. A well thought-out short video can go a long way for a brand.

2) Camera accessories

Using just your hands to keep control of the camera may not have the best outcome. If you are shooting something professional, a tripod is highly recommended. A good quality video will keep the audience hooked.

3) Audio

A viewer will not be best pleased if they can’t hear everything in the video. External microphones can be just as important as the internal ones.

 

4) Lighting

If you are shooting something informal from your smartphone, make sure it’s not in a dark place, because the image will not appear clearly. This situation would be easier to manage indoors than outdoors.

5) Aim for the target platform

Every social media platform has different attributes for video. Obviously, YouTube can always be the best place, due to time allowed amongst other things. Facebook has become extremely video-friendly so almost any video footage would work well. Instagram, Twitter and especially Snapchat are still in a world of their own; so before you start filming, know exactly what you’re filming for!

6) Subtitles?

That’s an interesting one. Many people nowadays watch videos while they’re at work, and can’t turn up the volume – and they especially can’t wait until they get home to watch it! 85% of videos on social media are watched without sound, so subtitles are key! (and will be appreciated)

 

7) Long or short?

As said before, attention span and patience are at a low these days, so unless it’s a really compelling videos that viewers can’t take their eyes off, make it long. Otherwise, short and sweet please!