Is the Flyboard Air Real or Just A High Flying Stunt?

A new product has been sweeping the web since early April – and most aren’t even sure if it’s 100% legit.

Zapata Racing, a French company, announced on April 8 that it has “achieved the dream of all men” in creating an alien-like hover board, which they have dubbed the ZR Flyboard Air. The hover board claims to be the result of four years of hard work and planning.

The Flyboard Air

A video surfaced online earlier this month of the UFO-shaped device, titled “Flyboard Air Test 1:”

The video begins with a man suited up, speaking confidently to the camera, before he dramatically lowers his visor and takes off on the small platform. At the end of the video, it’s claimed that the board reached 55 km/h and flew for nearly four minutes.

Since this initial video, the Internet has been abuzz with excitement.

flyboard air hover board

Unlike the hover board that got the Internet talking back in October (the Hendo), which used magnets to ‘float’ above specially coated floors, this model allows complete freedom of movement. It even boasts on the product page that the Flyboard Air will have a top speed of nearly 93 mph and elevate riders up to 10,000 ft.

If this is true, that means this personal hover board will move faster than even the fastest unmanned drones, which top out around 80 mph for comparable-sized machines. A lack of detail on the design, control, and a questionably edited promo video, have started to raise some red flags, however.

flyboard air hover board

The company’s site currently doesn’t have a purchase or preorder option for the hover board, and the sudden appearance and big talk has some people appropriately skeptical. For the time being, the claim is that they are “pending government approval” before going forward with mass distribution. There’s also an offer to explore their other ‘jetpack’ options made for flying over water.

These suspect viral videos are peppered with plenty of theories regarding the validity of this hover board, making it clear that whether they think it’s true or a hoax – the Flyboard Air has people talking.

For many people, the idea of flying around like the Green Goblin is tempting enough to hold onto hope.

With the public hungry for the promises of the future we’ve come to expect from Hollywood, hover boards are something guaranteed to catch the eye of a large online audience. However, this also makes them ripe for the exploitation of clever marketing campaigns. Much like Tony Hawks role in promoting the Hendo last year, this could just be a clever and complex promotional stunt.

Real or not, the Flyboard Air certainly has peoples attention.

Images: Video Stills

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

HDFC Red CEO on How Drones and Machine Learning Can Improve the Real Estate Listings Business

HDFC Red CEO on How Drones and Machine Learning Can Improve the Real Estate Listings BusinessHDFC Red CEO on How Drones and Machine Learning Can Improve the Real Estate Listings Business
HIGHLIGHTS
Builders themselves are very enthusiastic about adopting technology
By 2020, the digital natives, will be buying houses
Machine learning has the potential to be a real game-changer
The startup-within-a-big-company is a narrative that’s becoming increasingly popular, but Sohel I S, CEO of the property portal HDFC RED, feels that six years on, the mindset genuinely applies to his organisation, where the average age of the team is still 28.

“We’re able to make decisions quickly and don’t have to go through so much hierarchy and we’ve had to be very fiscally responsible,” Sohel tells Gadgets 360. This also helped the company have a relatively narrow focus from the beginning, something he says helped a lot.

While many of the best known companies in the property space in India got their start in the rental market, HDFC RED stayed out of that segment, focused instead on the buying and selling of private homes from the beginning.

Last year, Housing.com announced layoffs and shut down its rentals; visit most of the other popular sites and the first option you now see is “Buy”. In some ways, RED was ahead of the time when it launched and Sohel sees the current trend as a validation of its business model.

“When we were getting started we talked about what all we should be doing, and we were clear that we aren’t going to try and do everything at once,” he says. “The problem with rentals is that there is a lot of demand, but the supply is very erratic. You’re spending money to acquire each listing, but that money is only good for about three weeks. In that much time, any house which is in a decent condition, where the rent is reasonable, goes off the market.”

“On top of that, the listing will be there on a dozen sites, and you’re all spending money to improve the quality of the listing and bring information,” he adds. “It’s just not really practical.”

On the other hand, the supply side for selling houses is a lot better, he explains. For one thing, builders are ready to pay to be on the platform. Additionally, you’re capturing the data for an entire project and not just a single house. And of course, the listings are live for a lot longer, so the money that is spent on getting and maintaining them is a lot lower in the long term.

Additionally, Sohel continues, the builders themselves are very enthusiastic about adopting technology. It’s a cost effective way to grow, and in a market where buyers are often not purchasing locally anymore – buying property in their hometowns while living elsewhere, for example – technology becomes essential to finding homes.

“Also what’s happening is that the second generation of builders is now taking over, the ones who grew up around technology and have a lot more exposure to the world,” Sohel explains, “and this means that people who are much more comfortable with technology, are much more immersed in technology, are the ones who are making the decisions now.”
And this is bringing about a big difference in the way buyers and builders are using technology. “Six years ago, people were worried that you wouldn’t buy anything online,” Sohel continues. “But when I saw people start to buy clothes online, I knew that this was possible.”

“Today, we use video conferencing for discussions, VR tours of the building to give you a 360-degree view of the apartments,” he adds, “and it’s been stopped now, because there’s not much clarity on what you can and can-not do with drones, but we were doing some really great things, like using drones to shoot the view from every window on every floor of the building, so you can decide if the 15th floor is right for you or the 20th.”

But all of this barely scratches the surface of how technology has been changing the real estate business according to Sohel. The real game changer, he believes, is artificial intelligence. “Machine learning has been moving too slowly if you ask me, mostly confined to the lab, but it’s a real game-changer,” he says. “Right now, there is a lot of data. And not much of it is useful to everyone, and it’s presented in a way that makes it hard to find the information you require.”

“What we can do is improve on the presentation of data to help you find the houses you need more easily. The next thing we do is congruence, where we help you to fine tune the data and come up with a filtered list that suits you,” he explains. “Then there are recommendations, where we can actually say we know what you like, we know what you really want, and these are the houses you should look at.”

HDFC RED has applied for a patent for its recommendation engine, and it uses everything from social profiling, to demography-based suggestions, but he admits that this is one area where further improvements are required. “I mean imagine if we know the kind of music you listen to, and what music other people like,” he says. “Maybe if we know that you’re someone who likes to listen to rock music, you’ll be better off with neighbours who like it too, so they won’t complain about your music playing late, right?”

It’s a slightly far-fetched notion, as he quickly admits, but it does show some of the ways in which the real estate business in India is changing. “Things like having an app for your property to showcase it, which then becomes an internal social network once the houses are sold,” he adds, “or setting up a VR zone to demo houses instead of having people come to the project unnecessarily, this is moving from being high tech to just hygiene.”

“By 2020, the digital natives, the ones who grew up with the Internet, will be buying houses,” he says, “and right now, we’re taking care of the search part of the equation. By then, you’ll have to have solutions for site visits, negotiation, payments, and paperwork for these buyers.”

Tags: HDFC, HDFC RED, Property Search, Real estate, Housing.com

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Quikr buys online real estate portal Commonfloor.com

Quikr has been strengthening the portfolio of services it offers since mid-last year. Photo: AFPQuikr has been strengthening the portfolio of services it offers since mid-last year. Photo: AFP

Bengaluru: Online classifieds firm Quikr India Pvt. Ltd, one of India’s most valuable start-ups, bought real estate portal CommonFloor in a distress sale orchestrated by Tiger Global Management Llc, the influential US-based hedge fund that is an investor in both.

Quikr, valued at an estimated $1 billion, and CommonFloor (maxHeap Technologies Pvt. Ltd) didn’t disclose the terms of the transaction, but two people familiar with the matter said Quickr paid $120 million in an all-stock deal. The people spoke on condition of anonymity.

CommonFloor was valued at more than $150 million when it last raised Rs.60 crore from Google Capital in December 2014. The company raised a total of Rs.321 crore from Tiger, Accel Partners and Google Capital since 2011.

Quikr and CommonFloor have valuations that seem disproportionate to their revenue.

Quikr reported sales of Rs.24.78 crore for the year ended 31 March 2015 while CommonFloor generated sales of Rs.45.76 crore for that year, according to documents with the Registrar of Companies.

Despite having generated revenue that is much larger than Quikr’s, CommonFloor attracted a much lower valuation because of the valuation metrics used by e-commerce investors that may seem peculiar to shareholders in traditional businesses.

Classifieds firms such as Quikr are given more generous valuations because of a large customer base that can potentially be monetized in future through advertising and the winner-takes-all nature of the business.

Quikr primarily has just one rival to contend with: Olx, which is backed by Naspers Ltd, a South African mass media company. Online real estate, on the other hand, is a crowded market with at least five well-funded companies, apart from upstarts that keep cropping up.

Apart from boosting Quikr’s sales, the CommonFloor deal will make it easier for the combined entity to raise money at a time investors have turned cautious on Indian start-ups after a boom that lasted until the middle of 2015.

[“source-Livemint”]

In photos: Raised in laboratories, these Bangalore beagles are finding real homes

In photos: Raised in laboratories, these Bangalore beagles are finding real homes
Photo Credit: Ajay Palekar
11.8K
Total Views

“Debbie actually chose me,” said Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna, who adopted one of the 23 beagles up for adoption at a recent camp in Bengaluru. Channamallikarjuna had never seen laboratory beagles before, and even though she had done her research, she was tentative about how to approach the dogs. While some beagles walked around freely, others seemed to huddle in a corner as if unsure of what was going on. Channamallikarjuna remembers seeing Debbie, who was getting her infected eyes cleaned. “I went and sat in a corner near these introverted beagles,” Channamallikarjuna said. “She just came and lay down on my lap.”

For Channamallikarjuna and her husband, Debbie’s gesture meant that they had found a new member of their family. And despite all the challenges associated with getting a seven-year-old beagle acquainted with the real world, the couple took Debbie back to their home in Mysore.

Debbie was part of the third round of laboratory beagle adoptions conducted in recent years by animal rescue NGO Compassion Unlimited Plus Action. Animal testing is legal and beagles are among the most common test subjects along with mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats and monkeys. As one of the oldest known dog breeds – one that hasn’t been genetically moulded by breeders – beagles are not predisposed to genetic diseases that affect many pedigree breeds. They are also small, compact and easily transportable.

The beagles in the current batch being rehabilitated have not had tests performed on them. Some of them have been used for breeding purposes, while others were in captivity while research projects were pending approval and eventually scrapped. The dogs have been confined to laboratory environments and have spent most of their lives in small cages.

Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna
Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna

“Beagles are very docile,” said Chinthana Gopinath, a volunteer with CUPA and coordinator for the adoption camp. “Even when they are kept in a cage and hands are constantly going in and pulling them out for injections or dissections, even then they are not given to aggression.”

Waiting for adoption day to begin. Source: Ajay Palekar
Waiting for adoption day to begin. Source: Ajay Palekar

Gopinath has earlier seen dogs as young as a year old or as even old as 11 emerge from the laboratory having been tested with chemicals for drug toxicity.

“Usually, it is very common with laboratories that once they are done with testing, they euthanise the dogs,” said Gopinath. “The one thing animal NGOs ask is that once testing is done, release them into NGOs care to give them a shot at life with peace and love and all of those things.”

Swapping number tags for collars and names. Source: Ajay Palekar
Swapping number tags for collars and names. Source: Ajay Palekar
Finding new families. Source: Ajay Palekar
Finding new families. Source: Ajay Palekar

In a few days, around 30 dogs are set for another round of adoptions. The adoption camps are a brief happy interlude in the dogs’ lives. Readjustment and recovery is a long process, as their new pet parents well know.

“These dogs have a hell of a time coping with pathogens once they are brought out,” said Srilakshmi Amirtheshwaran, a dog psychologist who has been working with canine adoptions for about 12 years. “The microbes in the atmosphere immediately latch on to their underdeveloped immunity and that is a challenge for vets.” Used to near-silent facilities, the beagles are often terrified by noise. The presence of other dogs might be stressful to them and human touch can be intimidating.

Yet, for families across Bengaluru, Mysore and Chennai the challenge is worth it. Channamallikarjuna has seen how quickly Debbie is learning to adapt to her house, from starting to eat normally to climbing up and down stairs. “When there is an unfamiliar sound or movement she just freezes, but if you leave her alone she comes back to normal. On the first day, if we spoke even in low voices she would tuck her tail between her legs,” she said. “These might be the last years of their lives and I just wanted to give one a chance to live in a happy home.”

Debbie learning to use the stairs. Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna
Debbie learning to use the stairs. Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna
Debbie in her new home. Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna
Debbie in her new home. Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna

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