How Technology Can Improve Your Neighborhood

How Technology Can Improve Your Neighborhood

While the internet has brought people together around the world, it also made it possible for people to disconnect from their neighbors. One-third of Americans say they have never interacted with their neighbor. 

This is leading to a rising trend of isolation. However, the future of technology in today’s world could change these trends by returning to the old tradition of trusting and being friendly with your neighbor.

What is the Echo Show?

Echo Show is an Amazon Echo variant. Echo is a wireless speaker with voice control that can be used to communicate with Alexa, a personal assistant. Alexa can answer questions about weather, events, and other topics. Alexa can also set alarms and reminders and provide a variety of other services.

Echo Show is an addition to Echo’s original offerings. It includes an LCD screen and a front-facing camera. The product’s design is similar to the countertop TV sets still found in many kitchens. This suggests Amazon’s intended goals for the product.

Drop-In is one of Show’s most unique features. Drop-In allows people to instantly chat and interact with each other. Only approved users can drop-in. Friends can leave voice messages for you to hear later if you aren’t available. Chat can be done without the use of the front camera.

How Technology Can Improve Your Neighborhood

The Echo Show could change communication

Amazon’s promotion of the Echo Show, and even Drop In’s naming, indicates that the company intends to recreate the openness between neighbors and families that was a hallmark of the childhoods of baby boomers.

Technology is not a new way to stay connected. Friends and family across the country and around the globe use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch. However, social media information can be inaccurate.

In the United Kingdom, a study found that 75 percent of users had lied about their social media profiles. Only 18% believed their profiles were accurate. According to a separate HTC study, almost two-thirds of respondents admitted that they posted pictures that made them look more adventurous or outgoing to their friends on social media.

Echo Show isn’t filtered through social media, but rather provides a live view of your kitchen or wherever you place it. This allows your friends and family to see you every day without the need for hashtags or filters.

The Echo Show could bring neighbors together

Because it allows for hands-free video communication, the Echo Show can bring neighbors together.

Echo Show’s potential is greatly influenced by the children. They ride the bus to school with their neighbors and form friendships that last long after school.

It is hoped that middle and elementary school-aged children will be able to have a conversation with their peers after school. Echo Show offers that option but in a family gathering space which inevitably leads to communication among neighborhood parents.

How Technology Can Improve Your Neighborhood

The conversations then reach beyond Echo Show to include school events, play dates, and get-togethers.

Although it is a slow process, this could make a significant impact on neighborhoods in the United States. People can build friendships with people living next to them.

Online relationships are meaningful but relationships with neighbors can have health benefits.

Research shows that a stronger connection with your neighbor can reduce the chance of having a heart attack. Trusting your neighbors will also improve your well-being. This is similar to the trust you have in someone who “drops by”.

It is not yet clear how the Echo Show will affect neighborhood relationships, but it has the potential to transform even the best neighborhoods and foster a sense of community that hasn’t existed since the 1970s. This seems to be Amazon’s goal.

Other tech to keep you friendly with your neighbors:

  • Nextdoor works as a private social network for your local neighborhood. It can be used by neighbors to alert others of a break-in or to locate lost pets.
  • Meetup is an excellent way to find people in your area who are interested in your interests and hobbies. There’s less emphasis on messaging and video chat. You can find out more about book clubs, hiking clubs, and just about anything else on Meetup. Enjoying your hobbies with new neighbors is a great way to meet new friends.