Ring + Alexa make for electronic doorman

Ring and Alexa now work together to handle visitors to the front door

Ring, owned by Amazon, now has a feature, available to premium Ring Protect subscribers, that employs Alexa to converse with visitors to your front door. Through the Ring app, subscribers can turn on Alexa Greetings which will respond to a visitor, based on their statements, and report back to the homeowner with a message, or will instruct a delivery person where to leave a package. When integrated with other Ring cameras with motion detectors, the doorbell can warn visitors that they are being recorded. CNET

dis-rup-shun: The concept of the doorbell is changing. Imagine what a technological breakthrough the electric doorbell must have been — replacing the wrap of knuckles on wood and ensuring that the homeowner could hear a visitor even if he or she was far away, and could scurry to the door to greet the visitor. The doorbell of the 21st century will analyze a visitor as they are walking up to the door, performing a near electronic background check, confirming their identify, mood and intentions and determining how to deal with them before they even press the button. With success, homeowners will never have to actually speak in real time or face a visitor, unless they are the anticipated kind. Camera technology will continue to isolate neighbors from one another, but hopefully live safer, and lose fewer packages to porch pirates.

If work has gone remote, why is Big Tech still building?

Wired contemplates the massive Silicon Valley construction projects even as tech companies have opened work from home as a permanent offering. Tech companies are simply growing too fast to throw building projects in reverse, as these projects have been on the board for a number of years. In addition, many workers surveyed have stated a preference to return to the office.

dis-rup-shun: Work life after the pandemic appears to offer plenty of options — both a space at an office, or at least cubicle, or the option to work from home, or a combination of the two. The pandemic has given us the opportunity to see if we can rely on remote tools, and effectively coordinate a distributed workforce. The result, for the majority of companies, appears to be a resounding yes.

Tovala provides smart oven and meal kits for busy foodies

Tovala is a tech company and a food company. It makes both smart ovens and fresh food meal kits to go in the oven, and the software to scan the food information on the package to cook the contents correctly. The company has received an investment round of $30 million on top of investments made by Comcast Ventures and Tyson Foods. The company is riding the wave of people who, due to COVID-19, are spending more time at home and want to eat fresh foods, but don’t want to take the time to shop or read recipes. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Tovala not only makes the blade, but also the razors, and in classical marketing form, the company provides deep discounts on its razors (ovens) to sell more blades (meals). But does the target demographic really need a specialized oven that can perform other functions, but is primarily geared toward selling the Tovala meal kits? That is a tough sell, but perhaps affluent people who are busy but have not yet purchased an armada of counter-top appliances have room for an extra oven in the kitchen if it assures them of better in-home dining.

Disney’s streaming services shrug off Covid-19

Disney’s amusement parks business has been all but decimated by the pandemic, however Disney’s streaming services, including Disney + and Hotstar, in India, have mostly made up for the losses at the parks. The company now has over 146 million total paid subscribers across its streaming services as of the end of the first quarter. The parks revenue was down 56%, and its future hangs on the rate at which people get vaccinated and return to vacationing. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Disney is yet another of many companies that has been able to dodge the pandemic bullet — not due to luck, but due to good timing. The transformation of the video industry continues to happen in record time, with AT&T DirecTV telemarketers desperately phoning customers to offer to cut their bills in half before they cut the cord completely. Meanwhile, cord cutters continue to tack on extra streaming services — slowly moving their monthly video expenses towards the amounts they formerly paid for cable bundles.

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