If its employees are a company’s most treasured resource — and if what those employees treasure most are their dogs — it makes perfect sense that Amazon is spending millions of dollars on an employee lounge and dog park at its expanding downtown campus.
The tech giant opened part of the dog park yesterday in the shadow of the Spheres, a unique glass structure that will open next year as a “relaxation area” for employees.
The dog park is the second that the dog-friendly company has provided for employees, but this one will also be open to the public as part of a public plaza that serves as the centerpiece of Amazon’s $4 billion downtown campus.
The dog park will be completed this summer with the installation of a turf field adjacent to the park. The Spheres, destined to become another feature of the Seattle skyline — albeit it a low-lying one — will open in 2018.
Inside the glorified greenhouse — consisting of three connected spheres, about five stories high — there will be hundreds of exotic plants, waterfalls, trees (with treehouses), all in a climate that resembles that of Costa Rica’s Central Valley.
Amazon, where employees regularly bring their dogs to work, is renowned as a dog-friendly company.
According to Geekwire.com, more than 2,000 dogs are registered at the company’s headquarters, where most reception desks are stocked with biscuits and some water fountains around campus are set at dog height.
Amazon has a special page on its website — “Meet the dogs of Amazon” — that profiles more than 30 pups.
Eliana Parenti, an instructional designer at Amazon, told Geekwire one of the main reasons she relocated from Miami with her two small dogs to work for the tech company was their dog policy.
“It’s the biggest perk of working here,” said Sebastian Kurin, a lawyer who works with the Amazon Web Services team. Bringing his dog Simba into work everyday was “something I was most excited about when I got a job offer at Amazon.”
Employees say their dogs provide stress relief and help the overall work environment at Amazon.
(Photos: By Taylor Soper / GeekWire.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 5th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amazon, amazon.com, animals, campus, company, dog, dog friendly, dog park, dogs, downtown, employees, industry, lounge, park, perks, pets, relaxation, tech, workplace
Here’s a swingin’ dog pad — or maybe dog pod is a better term — and it only costs $30,000.
Samsung’s Dream Doghouse, on exhibit this week at Crufts, comes complete with an AstroTurf-covered treadmill, hydrotherapy pool, entertainment wall, and paw-controlled snack dispenser.
What, no fireplace? No bar? No dim-able lights?
International Business Times reports that a team of 12 designers and builders collaborated on the project, which took six weeks to complete.
“The Samsung Dream Doghouse looks sleek and modern, featuring the kind of tech the discerning dog of the future will need,” Andy Griffiths, president of Samsung Electronics in the U.K. and Ireland, said in a press release.
“From dogs who have social media profiles, to owners who use video calling to check on their pet while away, technology is fast becoming an integral part of everyday life,” he added.
(Too fast, we think.)
You can’t order one just yet — Samsung only made one of the “dream houses” and gave it away via a social media contest.
But they’re hoping it will create a buzz at the Crufts Dog Show, which runs March 5-8 at Birmingham, England’s National Exhibition Centre. Samsung is one of the dog show’s sponsors.
Griffiths said the company surveyed 1,500 dog owners and found that a quarter of them wanted their pets to have their own treadmill, as well as a tablet or TV. Of the dog owners surveyed, 64% believed their pets would benefit from more technology and gadgets, and 18% said they’d like their furry companion to have a hot tub.
The doghouse has a vinyl wall that can be covered with photos. On the opposite wall, there’s a Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablet — not so much because dogs can’t live without them, but because Samsung makes them.
So let’s review. The dog of the future will ensconce himself in a plastic pod, and watch videos, and soak in the spa, helping himself to treats whenever he wants one, but having the option to stay in shape by running on artificial grass while getting nowhere.
If that’s the dog of the future, I prefer to remain in the past.
(Photo: Gracie, a terrier cross, tries out the Samsung Dream Doghouse created by the tech firm to celebrate their sponsorship of Crufts 2015; by David Parry / PA Wire)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 6th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, artificial grass, crufts, display, dog house, doghouse, dogs, exhibit, future, hot tub, hydrotherapy, pets, pool, samsung, samsung dream doghouse, screen, tablet, tech, technology, treadmill, treat dispenser, tv
The older I get the more wary I become of technology.
What I haven’t figured out is whether one necessarily follows the other: Am I just becoming more fearful as I age, or is technology proving itself more worth fearing?
Both are unstoppable forces. Just as one can’t stop the march of time (even with anti-aging technology), one can’t stop the march of technology.
It keeps coming — whether it’s wise or not, safe or not — and we all blindly jump on board and become dependent on it. If it makes us prettier, gets us where we’re going, let’s us accomplish things more quickly, or function without actually using our brains, we humans are generally all for it.
Already we’re reliant on the Internet, GPS, and cell phones. Already we can purchase almost anything we want online. But the day may soon come when, once we order it, it gets delivered by a robot, perhaps a flying one, or a terrain-traversing one, or one capable of hurling 35-pound cinder blocks 17 feet.
I would say these robot dogs could become the newspaper delivery boys of tomorrow, if newspapers had a tomorrow.
Last month 60 Minutes revealed that Amazon was working on drones that will be able to fly to homes and deliver packages at our doorstep.
Last week the New York Times reported that Google has purchased Boston Dynamics, the engineering firm that designed the graceful beast known as “Big Dog” (seen in the video above) and other animal-like robots, mostly for the Pentagon.
It is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year, but Google’s not divulging what it’s up to.
Given search engines don’t generally need to climb mountains, or hurl cinder blocks, to find their information, one can only wonder.
Is the company branching into war machines? Does it want to corner the market on robot pets? (Boston Dynamics did serve as consultant on Sony’s ill-fated pet robot dog, Aibo.) Is it hoping to take Google Earth one step further and have robots take photographs through our windows? Or, more likely, is Google, like Amazon, positioning itself to become the place where you buy everything, and working on lining up a delivery team whose members don’t require salary, or health insurance, or coffee and pee breaks?
It almost looks like Amazon is poised to cover air delivery, while Google, with its latest purchase, is positioning itself to cover the ground. (That, at least until Big Dog becomes amphibious, leaves the high seas open — aye, aye robot! — for, say, a Yahoo, Bing or eBay).
Boston Dynamics, based in Waltham, Mass., builds animal-like machines that can traverse smooth or rocky terrain, some of them at speeds faster than a human. Most of its projects have been built under contracts with Pentagon clients like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.
Google executives said the company would honor existing military contracts held by Boston Dynamics, but that it did not plan to become a military contractor on its own.
So why does it need computers with legs, or robots that can climb walls and trees? Surely Google isn’t working on “Terminators” that can track you down, knock on your door and provide you with the top 10 recipes for apple crumb cake.
The Times reports: “… Executives at the Internet giant are circumspect about what exactly they plan to do with their robot collection. But Boston Dynamics and its animal kingdom-themed machines bring significant cachet to Google’s robotic efforts … The deal is also the clearest indication yet that Google is intent on building a new class of autonomous systems that might do anything from warehouse work to package delivery and even elder care.”
EVEN ELDER CARE? Oy, robot! I do not want a robot dispensing my medication if I end up in such a facility. At that time, I will be even more terrified of technology, and the last thing I would want to see would be a robot coming into my room — no matter how sexy its voice — saying, “Time for your sponge bath.”
I’m not a total Luddite.
I can publish a website or two, and can hook up my cable TV, and can figure out about 10 percent of what my cell phone does.
But I resent how steep the learning curve has become — how much effort is involved in keeping up with technology. That device promising to make life easier — once you spend a week programming it — may be smaller than your little finger, but its owner’s manual will be fatter than a James Michener novel.
What I fear, though, is where technology can lead, especially technology without forethought, and how quickly and blindly many of us hop on the bandwagon, giving little consideration to the possible repercussions, and how easily it can run amok.
The one futuristic (but already here) technology I’ve researched most is dog cloning. Once achieved, the service was offered to pet owners hoping to bring their dead dogs back to life, and willing to pay $150,000 for that to be accomplished in South Korean laboratories. It bothered me so much, and on so many levels, I wrote a whole book about it. You can order it through Amazon, but don’t expect drone delivery for at least a couple more years. Might one day drones deliver our clones?
I realize my fears are both irrational and rational.
Fretting about the future, I guess, is part of getting older. Old fart worries were around back when automobiles first hit the road (and went on to become a leading cause of death). And it’s probably true that once we stop moving forward, we tend to stagnate. But there’s moving forward and smartly moving forward.
I’m not a fan of big government (except when it helps me get health insurance), but I sometimes wonder if we need a federal Department of Whoa, Let’s Take a Look at this First. Maybe it could monitor emerging technologies, and their ramifications, and determine whether they should be allowed to emerge at all. Maybe that would prevent unimaginable (but, with enough research, entirely predictable) things from happening — like cell-phone shaped cancers forming on the exact spot of our bodies where we pack our cell phones.
But we tend to be more reactive than proactive when it comes to those kinds of things. We wait for the damage to be done and leave it to personal injury lawyers to straighten it out — whether it’s a new anti-psychotic drug that unexpectedly made young males grow female breasts, or irreparable harm done by robotic surgical devices. (If you’ve been victim of either, lawyers are standing by to help you. At least that’s what my TV tells me.)
I want to enter my golden years without shiny silver robots assisting me in living, and without drones hovering outside my door (even if they are delivering a good book). Though I’ve met some clones, I wouldn’t mind getting through life without having any contact with droids and drones and robot dogs.
Sometimes, at least from the Fearful Old Man Perspective (FOMP), it seems we’re so focused on the future that we fail to see and appreciate the present, and don’t even begin to learn from the past.
Sometimes it seems we like dancing on the cutting edge, then cry foul when our feet get sliced up.
Sometimes it seems we embrace technology too quickly and casually, when it should be a careful and thoughtful embrace, made with the realization that, as much as technology can make life better, it can also screw it up badly. We tend to view technology in terms of what it can add to our life, not even considering what it might subtract. And, in what’s the biggest danger of all, we tend to let it overrule our hearts and do our thinking for us.
It can save and prolong lives, even, in a way, re-create them. It can make our human lives — though it’s arguable — more convenient.
But it can also gnaw away at us until we become tin men and scarecrows — maybe not actually missing our hearts and brains, but at least forgetting we ever had them.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: age, aging, aibo, amazon, androids, animals, aye aye robot, big dog, boston dynamics, brains, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, cutting edge, darpa, defense, delivery, dependency, dependent, dog inc., dogs, droids, drones, elder care, elderly, emerging, evolution, fear, fears, fretting, future, google, government, government regulation, hearts, high tech, human, human race, i robot, jobs, john woestendiek, machines, man, oy robot, pentagon, pets, regulation, research, robot dogs, robotics, robots, scarecrow, science, society, tech, technology, Terminator, tin man, war, worrying
Finally, a good reason to get an iPhone.
Eukanuba is offering an iPhone application that gives dog owners the location of the nearest dog parks. By simply tapping the “Locate Me” feature, users can get information about the five nearest dog parks — complete with map and driving directions.
The application will work on all iPhone and iPod Touch models, according to a company press release.
The Eukanuba OFF LEASH iPhone application can be downloaded for free at www.Eukanuba.com. Users are encouraged to share their favorite dog parks so that they can be added to the evolving park database.
Users of the application can also access Eukanuba TV 24-hours a day and see original dog-related content, including “Planet Puppy,” “Champions and Heroes,” “Eukanuba Legacy” and more.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: app, appliation, directions, dog parks, dogs, download, eukanuba, free, iphone, ipod, locate, location, map, nearest, off-leash, tech, technology, walk, walking