Industry and Service
A new startup Flexpat is hoping to make remote work the way of the future
New technologies have made it easier than ever to work remotely. So much so that employees are increasingly expecting the right to work from home to be a benefit as essential as paid holiday. In fact I’m sure some of you are reading this while booting up your remote desktop and sipping coffee in your living room or home office.
The ability to work remotely is becoming an increasingly common perk in many jobs. This increase is driven by evidence showing that flexible work patterns improve productivity and employee happiness. As well as recent improvements in remote desktop and communication technologies.
Some people take this to the next level by only working remotely. In general these are freelancers but there is a growing belief that the future of work is remote. The argument is that remote work gives employees the freedom to travel or spend time with their families while allowing employers to have access to top talent without the difficulties of a lengthy recruitment process.
A new Dutch start-up, Flexpat, is looking to plug into the remote work trend in a big way. The founders; Georgi Nikolov from Bulgaria and Arthur Nobel from the Netherlands, began Flexpat six months ago. Flexpat was founded with the aim of opening up the “Work and Travel” lifestyle to more people. In order to find out more about them I had a chat with one of the co-founders, Arthur.
Flexpat is looking to tap into the belief that remote work is the future
The motivations behind starting Flexpat are deeply rooted in the founders’ own experiences. Arthur, who has visited more than 30 countries, found that maintaining resources while traveling was a struggle. He also found that many people wanted to live the work and travel lifestyle but didn’t believe it to be obtainable, at least not for them.
Many people want to break away from their desks but the realities of a 9 to 5 job often hit home. It is difficult to build your network when you are forced to sit at your desk with very little flexibility. Even once you do break away you have to invest a lot of time and effort into continuing to build that network and to obtain new projects.
It was from those experiences and struggles that Flexpat was born. Founded on what Arthur described as “The conviction to enable people to work remotely and explore the world without sacrificing one’s career or financial security.”
Flexpat is supposed to provide more freedom for Employees and Employers
Unsurprisingly, Flexpat sells itself on flexibility. The platform’s aim is to help ease the transition from office to remote work by providing a service that ensures its freelancers have a stable income and a ready made client base. While also providing employers with a diverse pool of talent they can draw from.
Arthur hopes that Flexpat will set itself apart from other platforms by striving to “build a sustainable work and travel lifestyle, deeply rooted in long-term relationships” . As opposed to short term one off relationships. Flexpat is also designed to make the transition to becoming a full time remote worker less difficult by cutting out a lot of the time spent searching for and negotiating contracts. Hopefully opening up the lifestyle for talented individuals without the time or networks to start freelancing on their own.
They also hope that employers will be attracted to the platform. Particularly because Flexpat allows them to upscale or downscale their operations on a relatively rapid scale while still having access to a wide pool of pre-vetted, qualified people who they can build lasting relationships with.
It’s all about the network
Any of us who have attempted remote working know that it can sometimes be a lonely experience compared to working in an office. You miss that interaction with your colleagues and it can be easy to forget that you are working with other human beings. This can even be a problem when working abroad, as Arthur himself found when he first began working in a small Malaysian company as the only westerner.
This is where Flexpat comes into its own. They plan to take full advantage of social media in order to build a community of people networked around the world through the service. Flexpat will use a careful vetting process this network will provide people with a network of ready made colleagues and friends wherever they choose to move. In essence building a close-knit community of travel minded professionals.
Is Flexpat the future?
Flexpat has just begun its first round of interviews and on boarding with the first set of candidates being selected in August. Even though it’s early days Arthur and Georgi have their eyes on the future; with plans in motion to set up a community app, workshops and challenge projects.
It might be early days but remote work is really beginning to catch on. If Flexpat make good on their promises to provide the freedom and security to work and travel, they will make a big impact on the way we approach work.
The Matter standard is now supported by Google’s smart home appliances
Only if goods truly support it can the Matter standard facilitate the use of smart home appliances from different brands. You don’t even need to download or install any updates because Google has just announced that it has enabled Matter compatibility for its Nest and Android devices. This means that Matter can now be controlled by the Google Home speaker, Google Home Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub (1st and 2nd gen), Nest Hub Max, and the new Nest WiFi Pro.
Additionally, Google has made Matter compatibility available for Fast Pair on Android, which will let you to connect Matter-enabled devices to your home network “as rapidly as you can pair a set of headphones.” This functionality will make it simple to integrate your devices with apps and smart home ecosystems once they are linked. The tech behemoth has also upgraded the Nest Wi Pro, Nest Hub Max, and Nest Hub (2nd gen) to include Thread border router functionality. In this manner, you can utilize them to link items that support Thread, the networking standard for low-power gadgets like smart locks.
Since 2019, the Connectivity Standards Alliance, of which Google is a member, has been working on the Matter standard to address the fragmentation issue in the smart home market and make it simpler to use products from various manufacturers. It had to postpone Matter’s release a few times before it was eventually able to roll out the standard’s version 1.0 definition and product certification program this October. It had originally planned to introduce the standard in 2021. Soon after Matter was released, Samsung said that it is collaborating with Google to make it simple to add devices that are already configured with SmartThings to Google Home and vice versa. One of the other founders of the Alliance, Amazon, also provided a list of the 17 Echo devices that will support the standard as of this month.
The number of products that are Matter-enabled is now somewhat small, but according to Google, this holiday season and early 2023 will witness an increase. With the exception of the aforementioned Google items, all devices that implement the standard will be identified by the Matter badge and will function with all other Matter devices right out of the box.
CES 2023 :Learn the latest information from the greatest technology event of the year
Although the CES doesn’t start until tomorrow, we’re back in Vegas for the event, and several exhibitors have already shown their new items at numerous press conferences and media events. In addition to more news from TV manufacturers, gaming laptop manufacturers, smart home firms, and other companies, we are starting to see some of the early automotive news that typically headlines CES today. Here is a summary of the top news from Day 1 of CES 2023 in case you haven’t caught up yet.
Since last night
But first, even though we covered the most of yesterday’s launches in a different video, more things were announced last night after we had finished filming that. For instance, Withings demonstrated the $500 pee-scanning U-Scan toilet computer.
It’s a 90mm block that you install inside your toilet bowl as a deodorizer and employs a microfluidic device that functions like a litmus test to identify the components in your pee. Although Withings is developing a consumer-focused version that will evaluate your nutrition and hydration levels and forecast your ovulation and period cycles, you will need to decide the precise tests you wish to run in your module. Prior to launching in the US, it is still awaiting regulatory approval from the European Union.
We also witnessed the Fufuly pulsing cushion by Yukai Engineering, which was less… gross news. Although a vibrating cushion may sound like something out of an anime, the concept is that cuddling something that might simulate real-life pulsation may have calming effects. Another thing that could calm anxiety? watching a video of adorable birds! Additionally, Bird Buddy unveiled a brand-new intelligent feeder with a built-in camera so you can watch your feathered friends while they build nests. The most recent version, which is intended for hummingbirds, uses AI to recognize the different breeds that are in the area and, in conjunction with a motion sensor, determines when they are ready for a feast.
Speaking of nibbles, there was a ton of food-related technology news last night, like as the $1,000 stand mixer from GE Profile that has a digital scale and voice controls. We also observed OneThird’s freshness scanners, which determine the freshness of produce using near-infrared lasers and secret algorithms. Even the shelf life of an avocado can be determined instantly, preventing food waste!
We also witnessed the Wisear neural earbuds that let you control playback by clenching your jaw, the blood pressure monitor that hooks onto your finger from Valencell, and Loreal’s robotic lipstick applicator for people with limited hand or arm mobility. Smart speakers, smart pressure cookers, smart VR gloves, smart lights, and more were available.
Let’s move on to the recent news. Prior to the onslaught that is set to happen tomorrow, there was only a little trickle of auto news. Volkswagen debuted the ID.7 EV sedan, tempting us with only the name and a rough body form. BMW, meanwhile, revealed the I Vision Dee, or “Digital Emotional Experience,” to provide additional information about its futuristic I Vision concept vehicle development. It’s a simplified design with a heads-up display that spans the entire front windshield. Many of the Dee’s characteristics are anticipated to be incorporated into production vehicles starting in 2025, notably BMW’s new NEUE KLASSE (new class) EV platform. BMW’s Mixed Reality slider will also be available on the Dee to regulate how much digital stuff is shown on the display.
The premium 2023 TVs from Samsung were also not unveiled until the evening, with this year’s models emphasizing on MiniLED and 8K technologies. Additionally, it added more sizes to its selection and unveiled new soundbars with Dolby Atmos capability at all price points. While this was going on, competitor LG unveiled a 97-inch M3 TV that can wirelessly receive 4K 120Hz content, allowing you to deal with fewer connections in your living room and… more soundbars. Leave it to LG and Samsung to essentially duplicate each other’s actions.
Hisense, a competitor with comparatively smaller TVs, today announced its 85-inch UX Mini LED TV, which has more than 5,000 local dimming zones and a maximum brightness of 2,500 nits. Startup Displace, meanwhile, demonstrated a brand-new 55-inch wireless OLED TV that can be attached to any surface via vacuum suction, doing away entirely with the requirement for a wall mount or stand. You can even live without a power cord thanks to its four inbuilt batteries. Essentially, this is a fully functional, portable TV.
We also noticed more HP, MSI, and ASUS laptops. A laptop with glasses-free 3D, a sizable Zenbook Pro 16X with lots of space for thermal dissipation, and a Zenbook 14X with a ceramic build are all products of ASUS. Both of the latter Zenbooks include OLED displays. In the meantime, HP unveiled a new line of Dragonfly Pro laptops that are designed to simplify the purchasing process for customers by removing the majority of configuration options. The Windows version exclusively uses an AMD CPU and has a column of hotkeys on the right of the keyboard that provide shortcuts to camera settings, a control center, and 24/7 tech support, whilst the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook has an RGB keyboard and Android-like Material You theming capabilities. The last of these buttons can be programmed to open a particular program, file, or website.
The first of some audio news is now being presented to us, starting with JBL. The business presented its array of five soundbar models for 2023, all of which will support Dolby Atmos. New true wireless earbuds with a “smart” casing including a 1.45-inch touchscreen and controls for volume, playback, ANC, and EQ presets were also introduced. Nearly simultaneously, HP unveiled the Poly Voyager earphones, which are comparable to the JBL in terms of controls and have a touchscreen on the carrying case. However, the Voyager also features a Broadcast mode that enables you to connect the case to an older device with a headphone port (like while you’re on an airline) via the provided 3.5mm to USB-C connection, so you can view movies during a flight without having to bring along a second set of headphones.
Not only today but also the remainder of the week will see a ton more CES news. I was unable to tell you about Citizen’s latest wristwatch or Samsung’s new, more affordable Galaxy A14 smartphone. Keep checking back for updates on all CES 2023 news.
Industry and Service
The creation of some of Spotify’s live audio shows is coming to an end
Due to the company’s decision to stop producing a number of its live audio shows, Spotify appears to be reducing the scope of its live audio goals. The ending of “Deux Me After Dark,” “Doughboys: Snack Pack,” “The Movie Buff,” and “A Gay in the Life” has been confirmed by a corporate representative to TechCrunch. Bloomberg was the first to break the news.
According to the spokesman, Spotify will keep airing live episodes of its programs “The Fantasy Footballers” and “The Ringer MMA Show.”
In April, the main Spotify streaming app merged the live audio features from its subsidiary app, Spotify Greenroom. When Spotify paid $62 million for Betty Labs, it bought the software that would become Greenroom. The app, which was once called as Locker Room, had a particular interest in how live audio and sports material interacted. In June 2021, Spotify changed the app’s name to Greenroom and released it.
Given that Spotify has been making significant investments in podcasts and related technology over the past few years, its entry into the live audio industry first seemed like a natural match for the business. Additionally, the COVID-19 epidemic had led to a rise in the use of fresh audio streaming services like Clubhouse. When podcasters had developed fan following who would probably want to audio chat with hosts in real time, this was an obvious use case for Spotify. However, after pandemic lockdown procedures ended and live events reappeared in person, audio applications like Clubhouse saw a fall in usage. Because of this, Spotify’s decision to dial back its plans for live audio isn’t exactly shocking.
It’s important to note that Spotify is not the only business to abandon live audio. Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms service—a Clubhouse ripoff—was incorporated into Facebook Live earlier this year. The social media behemoth also stopped supporting its Audio hub and short-form audio tool Soundbites.
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