Here's what has us buzzing this week in IT, tech and innovation.
Starbucks launches new Outlook add-in
Now you can book your client meetings in style and officially use Starbucks as your meeting location, thanks to the coffee giant's new Outlook add-in.
By clicking the "Meet at Starbucks" button on your toolbar, the add-in will slide open to allow you to find your preferred coffee shop. Take it a step further and send client thank-you gift cards directly from the add-in. This is a great feature for quick and easy wow moments that will help you stay on top of providing a positive customer experience.
From Engadget: "At March's Build developer conference, Microsoft gave the full rundown on a number of Office extensions for Mac. Part of that announcement was a Starbucks add-in that allows you to send gift cards and book meetings inside Outlook. Well, that extension, er "add-in," is ready for prime time. This means that you can easily send a "thank you" cup of coffee or schedule a meeting at your nearby Starbucks location while you're looking at a related email. And if you need to place an order, the add-in will boot you out to the coffee company's mobile app to input all the details for your Grand Soy Latte or Iced Americano."
Get an electric shock punishment if you overspend on your credit card
This is a new direction for devices in the realm of the Internet of Things.
From Ars Technica UK: "Credit card junkies who splurge too much cash during shopping frenzies could soon be punished for their extravagant lifestyle—courtesy of a planned IoT banking platform that delivers an electric shock to folk who overspend.
"Surrey-based Intelligent Environments claimed that its Interact IoT service will connect a bank account to the devices such as the Nest thermostat or a Pavlok wristband. However, there's a rather major stumbling block: it's yet to secure a deal with any UK banks.
"The outfit's platform—dubbed the "IFTTT for money"—could apparently allow bank customers to set spending restrictions together with what punishment will be dished out if they fail to stick to their limit.
"The Pavlok wristband, which raised some £193,000 on Indiegogo in 2014, vibrates or gives its owner a 255 volt shock. The gizmo is named after the famous physiologist Ivan Pavlov and was devised to help people break bad habits. The idea being that once a user surpasses their spending limit, they'll receive an electric shock to remind them about financial discipline."
This machine 3D prints metal structures in midair by lasering nanoparticles
From TechCrunch: "One limitation of run-of-the-mill 3D printers is that the structure must essentially be built as a series of layers, each one supporting the next. A new device from Harvard’s Wyss Institute allows metal filaments to essentially be drawn in midair with no support whatsoever. And it uses lasers!
"There’s no fancy name for the technology yet (unless laser-assisted direct ink writing counts), but the gist of it is this: A nozzle moves along a preset path sending out a thin stream of silver nanoparticles, while at the same time a laser follows its progress, heating the particles and solidifying them into a freestanding filament thinner than a human hair.
"Inside the nozzle, the flow of nanoparticles has to be precisely controlled to keep the metal thread’s width uniform, and the laser must adjust as well so as not to leave any particles un-annealed, or apply too much heat and solidify the ink inside the extruder."
See more IT & Tech innovation stories and let us know the interesting technology stories you come across. We may feature them in future articles.
About the Author
Tom is a previous small business owner/operator and now has over 17 years of telecom experience. As a Portfolio Manager he specializes in product/service development, managing technical workforces and Customer/Segment Marketing. Outside of the office, Tom can be found shuttling his kids around from Lacrosse, hockey and ringette practices at a rink near you.More Content by Tom Connon