About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.

The BiOS – a £16,000 ‘folding’ house that may revolutionise housing

The BiOS mobile home offers two up, two down living space and a roof garden.


biosA mobile and ‘folding’ house known as the BiOS may change the way we live and do away with expensive mortgages forever. Obsessed engineer Richard Perkin has launched his project on Kickstarter last month with a view to bringing the house to market and allowing the designs to be published for DIY construction.

Unfortunately, the KickStarter project failed to raise the initial £5,000 to develop the concept of completing the prototype of the double folding house and to produce the necessary documentation for plans and assembly instructions. The 800 square foot structure folds down to a shipping container sized unit, so it is easily transportable anywhere in the world.

I like this idea, however, and perhaps Perkin should try again.

The mobile home, called the BiOS, offers plenty of living space – two up two down, with a roof garden that can be used for growing fruit, and herbs. The 800 square foot house folding structure, which costs around £16,000 to build, aims to provide an independent and sustainable lifestyle, ultimately incorporating water, heating, refrigeration and food production along with waste reduction and recycling.

The BiOS underscores the growth in the ‘tiny house’ movement and a progression in the nomadic way of life. The mechanical engineer aims to provide a mobile, self-sufficient, off-grid solution for people who want a simplistic lifestyle with minimal impact on the environment.

“There is sufficient moisture in the air in most places to allow what is essentially an air-conditioning system to condense that moisture from the air to provide water for drinking, and cultivation of plants. Besides allowing complete freedom of movement without having to worry about a local water source, having such a unit installed in the house will provide refrigeration for food as well as cooling and heating for the inside space.”

BullGuard’s Dojo IoT cybersecurity pebble set for CES domination

A new IoT pebbled-shaped security device is expected to take this year’s CES by storm.

IoT

BullGuard, the consumer security company that recently acquired IoT security pioneer Dojo Labs, will unveil Dojo by BullGuard at CES 2017 next week as cybersecurity products are set to dominate the conference.

Dojo by BullGuard is the only integrated smart home IoT security solution that seamlessly protects the privacy and security of a consumer’s data, devices, home and family by monitoring the home network 24/7 against cyber threats.

Dojo discovers devices connected to the home network, secures them and continuously analyses their IoT network activity for any suspicious behaviour. The Dojo by BullGuard smart home security solution includes:

* Dojo (hardware): a sleekly designed ‘pebble’ that is easy to set up and free to move about the home while its dock is tucked away with the router. Rings of light on the Dojo pebble illuminate when activity is detected on the user’s network

* Dojo smartphone app: allows users to interact with the Dojo pebble via an intuitive messaging interface that prompts them to allow or block network activity and informs them of potential cyber threats

* Dojo Intelligence: a cybersecurity engine powered by AI and machine learning technology. As its cloud-based platform familiarises itself with a home’s smart devices, the smarter it becomes in detecting, defending and mitigating against cyber threats and privacy breaches

Smart home devices are notoriously insecure and it is easy to exploit the vulnerabilities of millions of them – from smart alarms, thermostats, baby monitors, lighting, locks and more.

According to Gartner, the number of connected devices is forecast to reach more than 21 billion by 2020. Research firm Statista also projects the household penetration of connected smart home devices is expected to hit 60.7% in 2021, up from 24.9% in 2016.

BullGuard will offer CES attendees a live demo of Dojo by BullGuard in a meeting room with the most popular smart home devices connected to one WiFi network simulating a smart home environment.

The demo will show how multiple connected devices are discovered, protected and managed by the Dojo application, and will also include a scenario where the infamous Mirai botnet is detected and mitigated by the Dojo intelligent system.

“The smart home market is growing at an exponential pace, and we’ve recently seen major privacy breaches caused by compromised devices. Our product makes it easy to safeguard your privacy and family by constantly monitoring and protecting all smart home devices,” said Yossi Atias, General Manager IoT Security of BullGuard.

Dojo by BullGuard will begin shipping in April 2017 and will retail for $199 USD, including 12-months of service and can be pre-ordered here.

Business meeting app Meetzoo exceeds £150K crowdfunding target

Meetzoo is a new business app that wants to make business meetings more productive.


meetzooMeetzoo is a new crowdfunded app that wants to make over-long, annoying and time-consuming business meetings more efficient.

After launching on crowdfunding site Crowdcube, Meetzoo has exceeded its £150,000 crowdfunding target and will be showcased at next year’s Mobile World Congress.

It’s a decent idea and one that many time-conscious people will welcome. Meetzoo describes itself as ‘the informed way to meet’.

It combines users’ calendar with social media and ‘collaborative note-taking’. Meetzoo’s action tracking features bring continuity of thought and action to every meeting by letting participants track their interactions and tasks and pick up exactly where they left off.

Meetzoo lets users work the way they want by integrating meeting lifecycles with cloud-based apps, such as CRM systems (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics etc.) and collaboration tools (Slack, Evernote).

It aims to make business meetings more productive by telling users information about whom they want to meet, if and when they have met before, what they talked about and enabling them to quickly connect with new contacts on social media.

My first response to this is that this definition is another word for a human brain, but apparently nowadays we all have to have our thinking done for us by an app. My second response is that this will probably work, especially for those who let one side of their brain do certain thinking.

Founded in February 2016 by entrepreneur Paul Lewis-Borman, who previously co-founded the multi-million pound software and services firm Symbox, Meetzoo will use the money raised to add features for ad-hoc encounters such as ‘bump to meet’ – where users can bump or shake phones with a new person they meet and instantly exchange details.

Somewhat inevitably, Lewis-Borman was ‘thrilled’.

“I am thrilled to have exceeded our £150,000 investment goal. We now have the funding to deliver our exciting roadmap where we release versions for other platforms such as web and Android, and develop features that move beyond calendar-driven meetings to events and conferences,” he said.

Barclaycard’s contactless Pay @ Pump ends beer queues

Finally FinTech launches a product that will make a real difference, a self-pouring contactless payment beer pump! No more waiting at the bar.


pumpBarclaycard has launched a contactless, self-pouring beer pump prototype Pay @ Pump.

The prototype has been designed to help bars and pubs reduce queuing time for customers buying drinks during busy periods such as Christmas.

The innovation was brewed up in response to one in four Brits getting the “bar humbugs” when it takes too long to get served. The brand new Pay @ Pump prototype lets consumers purchase a pint of ale in three quick and easy steps – order, pay and pour – that can be carried out in just 60 seconds.

As somebody who is prepared to commit murder when waiting more than a minute at a bar, especially at a gig, this is the first FinTech product that interests me in the slightest. According to Barclaycard, the average waiting time at the bar during the festive party season is 12 minutes per order. TWELVE. FUCKING. MINUTES.

The contactless beer pump turns purchasing a pint of beer into three quick and easy steps – “order, pay and pour” – that can be carried out by the customer in just 60 seconds.

How Pay @ Pump works:
1. Order: select your pint of ale via the Pay @ Pump touchscreen
2. Pay: touch your contactless card or device at the base of the pump
3. Pour: place your pint glass at the base of the pump, triggering the drink to dispense automatically following successful payment

Ordering a drink, of course, is a work of art involving flirting, catching the barperson’s eye without being too aggressive and intelligent use of elbows and body space. With pay @ pump, we may also be seeing the end of the barman and the barmaid as we know it. That’s not good. You can’t talk to a pump when you’re lonely and the bar/pub is empty.

However, given the continual rise of ‘touch and go’ payments across the UK, with figures from the latest Barclaycard Contactless Spending Index revealing that spending leapt 173% by value and 112% by volume in the year to the end of October 2016, this can only be the future.

At present, the product is only in the prototype stage and was trialled earlier this week at Henry’s Café and Bar in London’s Piccadilly. Moreover, ale is the recommended product, rather than lager, which is more heavily carbonated and prone to producing a larger head on the drink.

Decent idea, let’s see hope it takes off. Cheers!

YOUR LIFE: Three years on social, one year in pub, 235 days in a queue

Social media will take up three years of your life as opposed to other uses of your time.

social

According to a new study commissioned to launch the new Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch, the average British adult will spend more than three years updating and browsing social media, one year down the pub and seven months waiting in line over the course of an adult lifetime.

The findings of the new study say 92% of Brits agreeing that it feels as though time seems to speed up as we grow older. That finding, however, is obvious. For a four-year-old, a year is 25% of their life whereas for a septuagenarian, it is only 1/70th of their life. Tempus fugit indeed.

The Samsung Time of our Lives Report surveyed 3,000 UK adults and was overseen by leading statistician Dr Geoff Ellis to give the data a semblance of credibility. Other key findings were:

The average Brit in their lifetime will spend:

* 17 years and 41 days sleeping
* 13 years working, including 1 year and 3 months outside of contracted hours
* 8 years and 110 days watching TV
* 3 years and 2 months on holiday
* 1 year and 7 months commuting

The report, surprisingly, does not mention how often we are likely to have sex, although it is hoped that will last longer than commuting and we DON’T use social media when we do it, although that appears to be on the rise as well. As for queuing, that essential civilising part of UK culture remains high, and long may that continue

Social Psychologist Dr Becky Spellman, who led the research, said: “The report reveals that we are busier today than at any other time in history. As we become a generation of people who find it hard to switch off, our brains are adjusting and making us even better multi-taskers. Our ability to juggle, manage and process information is growing at a substantial rate.”

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