Lee’s run down of his favourite personal and work technologies in 2017
Every year on one of the weird days between Christmas and New Year. You know, the ones that all merge together and every day feels like a Saturday? I look back at the tech that I’ve been most impressed with over the last twelve months.
It’s a mix of things I use for work and personally and normally consists of things that have had a dramatic effect on my daily life.
This year I’ve picked out three main technologies, including one that’s a mix of several different things that come together to make a solution.
1. My Microsoft Surface Book. In my opinion 2017 was the year that Microsoft caught up to Apple when it comes to build quality and functionality. The Surface Book, Surface Pro and Surface laptop are all stunning. I’ve used all three but the Book is my favourite. It’s incredibly well built and feels like a quality product. The mix of screen size and portability is perfect and it’s both a laptop and a tablet, meaning I don’t need to carry more devices around with me.
2. Apple Air Pods. In the summer, I bit the bullet and switched to wireless sound. I do a fair bit of commuting and my Air Pods have become a must have item. If you’ve not seen these before they are completely independent wireless earbuds that look just like the ones you get with a new phone. The accompanying holder contains a battery which can charge the earbuds giving them 5 hours of continuous use. The holder can charge the Air Pods three or four times before it needs a charge itself, so you very rarely run out of battery if you pop them away when not in use. They can also be used to talk and Apple have done an incredible job of reducing background noise. They are comfortable and sound really good.
3. Microsoft Teams. It’s rare that technology comes along that can completely transform the way your business communicates. In my opinion Microsoft Teams (or something like it) will replace email eventually. Email has been around for nearly 30 years and in that time very little has changed, its slow, insecure and doesn’t have a place in the modern workplace. Teams is a collaboration and communication tool that has the power to make your business communications faster and far more efficient. We have almost eliminated email as an internal tool at Everything Tech. Instant messaging, group video calls and team discussion has revolutionised the way we work.
4. My final pick is a group of technologies that work together. 2017 really was the year of the connected home. The smart home is now an affordable reality. Over the last twelve months I’ve invested in several relatively inexpensive pieces of kit that we use every day. At the heart of the home I use Amazon Echo and Alexa; it’s the device that controls everything. As a standalone tool, you can ask it to tell you if it’s going to rain or to add something to your Morrisons shopping list, but I’d recommend these additional technologies to get the best out of Alexa:
• Hive – Most easily sourced from British Gas (they send an installer to do all the hard bit). Hive controls your heating and hot water. We regularly ask Alexa to increase the temperature, boost the hot water or switch lights on and off.
• Sonos – We’re up to four Sonos devices in the house now and we use them almost every day. Even my nine-year-old has been caught shouting “Alexa, ask Sonos to play the Christmas classics in the lounge!”