Video visits on the up as DAD raises £2 million

DAD, an operator in the ‘advice economy’ has secured £2 million in seed funding from HomeServe to launch its video visit service.

DADDAD is a company that connects consumers with an expert in domestic maintenance who provides DIY tips and expert advice to help fix anything from a dodgy door handle to a broken boiler.

This means that consumers no longer have to endure expensive call-outs or wait for plumbers, electricians and handymen to turn up at their home. Now they can simply download the app and hit call to start a ‘video visit’ and speak with an expert in home repairs who can help them fix or diagnose the problem.

The company has secured £2 million in funding from HomeServe to expand its services. Calls cost £10 from any smartphone calling from the UK with no time limit put on the call.

“My Dad has always been my go-to person for practical advice around the home. The idea for DAD came a couple of years ago when I was trying to change a bathroom tap. Having swapped the old tap for a new one, I turned the water back on and instantly everything was soaked.

“My Dad was away travelling, enjoying his retirement, so I called him on FaceTime and he guided me through what to do. I realised that if I found myself in such a DIY disaster others would too, so I started DAD,” said Ben Wynn, Founder and CEO, DAD.

The experts have a lifetime of experience and are vetted by the DAD team. They work in three-hour shifts and can be anyone from a retired tradesman who wants to work a couple of hours a day to an ex-service engineer or skilled handyman who prefers a flexible working week.

The company believes that what people usually think is broken can often be fixed with the help of an expert via a video visit. The proof of concept stage showed that 60% of all problems can be solved over the phone. The other 40% were fixed via a home visit from a qualified and vetted partner.

FIVE SUMMER GIFTS: Primus Trail running shoes

A family business and a ‘cobbler’s dream’ are changing the way we wear all our shoes.

PrimusI’ve been wearing the Primus Trail, build and designed by Vivobarefoot, for the past month and they not only been excellent, they have changed my whole attitude to running.

That’s because I hate running and have always been more of a swimmer. Moreover, running shoes have always made me feel a little sick because of their terrible design and an attitude that the less of a shoe we wear the better. In the UK, as soon as it’s March I put on Birkenstocks and wear them until the winter calls.

So, Vivobarefoot interested me because I like barefoot running (if I HAVE to do it) and I like barefoot everything, be it walking or football. I saw their video, which had the feel of the artisan and the perfectionist about it and how their shoes were designed with the bare foot as the template.

It works for me. They look and feel good and when I run in them I feel a little more in tune with nature every time I put my foot down. Naturally, as a man over the age of 30, I can only wear these shoes with shorts or tracksuit pants. If I tried them with jeans I would look very sad, so I don’t do that.

At £90, the price is competitive and they feel as if they will last a long time, which is how sensible people think whenever they’re buying clothes or shoes. So, I’ve named them as my first Summer Gift of 2016. Even though I still hate running.

Future technology will make kids more active

‘Drones that pay hide-and-seek, virtual reality video games and satellite tracked treasure hunts.’

futureA new report The Future Of Play from ‘future trends experts’ Futurizon says that advances in technology over the next decade will encourage kids to be more, not less active.

The author of the report, Dr Ian Pearson predicts that new gadgets such as activity-tracking jewellery and drones that can play ‘hide and seek’ or shoot jets of water, will help to maximise activity levels. Moreover, the most exciting change predicted for the next decade will be the arrival of augmented reality (AR).

According to the report, which was commissioned by Soreen and the Youth Sport Trust, over the coming years AR glasses, which superimpose computer-generated data onto the real world view, will become as normal as owning a smart phone. It will mean that, while previous generations of technology obliged people to stare at a screen, AR glasses will encourage users to get out and explore the world.

It foresees that these glasses will revolutionise everything from family outings to school trips as it blends the virtual and real worlds and encourages people to go out and be active, with computers enhancing the real world. It will also encourage kids to use their imagination and conjure up scenarios to inspire active play.

Over three quarters of the respondents (78%) in the report said that children are now so tech savvy, that digital devices should be used to help them exercise,

“We know from our own Class of 2035 report and working closely with schools that integrating digital technology into PE lessons and other subjects, can increase participation and enjoyment and empowers young people to take responsibility for their own activity levels,” said Alison Oliver, Chief Executive at the Youth Sport Trust.

Other future technological advancements predicted for the next ten years will also contribute to making Britain healthier, the report predicts.

For example, school vending machines might use fingerprint recognition to bring up a child’s records, or read the student’s fitness tracker to identify their daily calorie consumption up to that point, before offering them the most appropriate snacks.

New generation, super-accurate satellite locating will also increase the popularity of Geocaching in the future, a modern-day treasure hunt where people find hidden boxes using their phone location.

Image recognition on smart phones will make family day trips, visits to the park or even the walk to school more stimulating by allowing children to point the camera at landmarks, cars, plants or animals and quickly discover all about them. Learning sports will also be revolutionised in the next decade, the report claims.

London’s newest tech hub TMRW opens in Croydon

A New tech business hub launched in the capital’s fastest-growing tech cluster.

TMRWCroydon, a South London ‘city’ based equidistant between Gatwick Airport and London’s Victoria station has never had the best of reputations.

It is home to Lunar House, one of the most depressing places on earth, being a place where people go to extend their UK visas. Some would say that the whole of Croydon is just as depressing.

However, for the past two decades, more people commute into, rather than out of Croydon, and while it was once famous for being Nestle’s head office, it is now transmuting into the capital’s latest tech hub.

TOMORROW (TMRW) is its name and the new hub will provide state-of-the-art facilities and an emerging ecosystem for the capital’s startups looking to scale up and grow fast. It offers 21,000 sq ft of space and provides access to a network of CEOs, entrepreneurs, industry giants, artists and thought-leaders through one off events and shared social projects.

It has more than £2 million in financial backing from Croydon Council and the Greater London Authority, including a rent and rates relief period. This is part of the government’s £7 billion investment into the regeneration of Croydon, with other programmes including a new BoxPark, a Westfield shopping centre and the creation of a new Cultural Quarter in the town centre.

The purpose-built tech hub is based in Davis House, an office building located on the High Street and at the epicentre of Croydon’s so-called digital cluster. The hub, designed for optimal functionality has the following facilities;

* 320 OpenDesk LEAN desks at incredibly low rental rates of £300 per desk

* Meeting spaces (including two boardrooms)

* Spacious tech-enabled event space for 200+ people

* 1GB Internet fibre connectivity

TMRW will also house Digital Art Central, the UK’s first digital art and media specialist hub, providing the leading digital artists and art entrepreneurs with the same high-level facilities and business-building tools usually reserved for tech entrepreneurs.

The downside of London’s tech boom has been the flash rise of rent prices in central London with many great startups being priced out of central London. With TMRW, we’re establishing one of the UK’s best alternative clusters for tech entrepreneurs and startups,” said Francois Mazoudier, Chairman TMRW.

UN launches ShareTheMeal app to feed Syrian children

Smartphone users in the Arabic-speaking world can help feed Syrian refugee children in Lebanon with just a tap on their mobile phones through the ShareTheMeal application.

ShareTheMealThe United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched the ShareTheMeal app to help feed Syrian children during Ramadan.

Available on IoS and Android, ShareTheMeal users can ‘share’ their meals while breaking their day-long fast with their families. For a donation as little as 30p, WFP can provide a child with nutrition for a whole day.

“Every cultural and religious tradition in the world teaches us to care for the less privileged and to share what we have. The launch of the app in Arabic provides people in the Arabic-speaking world with an easy way to do good deeds and share meals during the holy month of Ramadan, the month of generosity and giving,” said Dominik Heinrich, WFP Lebanon Country Director and Representative.

Since the launch of the English version of the app last year, more than 500,000 users worldwide have provided the equivalent of more than 5.6 million daily food rations to the poorest and hungriest around the world. The app has received several awards for its design and innovative character, including Google who named it as one of the Best Apps of 2015.

Syrian refugee families in Lebanon receive food assistance through electronic vouchers or “ecards”. Money raised through ShareTheMeal’s fundraising goal will cover the rations for a full year for 1,400 Syrian children aged 3-4 years living in Beirut.

The children’s parents will receive funds transferred to their regular WFP e-cards, allowing them to buy the food they want in local shops, which also supports host communities and the economy. The Arabic version of the app comes as ShareTheMeal plans to reach a zero-hunger future by engaging as many smartphone users as possible.

With the launch in Arabic-speaking countries, a potential market of 117 million smartphone users will be able to download ShareTheMeal from app stores.