Top High-Tech Holiday Gifts

Top High-Tech Holiday Gifts

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are finally here! That means a wave of all-new holiday gifts have also arrived and (sweet!) will soon find their way into high-tech enthusiasts’ hands. But with so much great gear to sort through, how do you choose the right present for that special someone? Happily, we’ve teamed up with some top tech leaders to take a look at the latest and greatest new gift ideas you’ll want to consider.

For example: A new smartphone like the BlackBerry Passport, which is great for any mobile professional who wants to be more productive. Inspired by an actual passport, the mobile device has a large high-resolution touch square screen and the industry’s first and only touch-enabled QWERTY keyboard – making it ideal for viewing documents, browsing the web and writing emails.  It also has some great new features like a new operating system that offers greater security, dual app store with hundreds of thousand apps, BlackBerry’s new digital assistant as well as BlackBerry Blend, which allows you to easily share content, texts  and conversations from your device to your tablet or computer.

Another great gift option to consider would be a new computer. There are so many out there, but the HP Chromebook is well worth taking a look at because it’s affordable and powerful. It comes with 100 GB of Google Drive storage for two years, which is great for storing all your holiday photos. Plus it has Google Chromecast and access to third party apps like Hulu and Netflix, a feature anyone on your shopping list will love!

Also keep an eye out for the Lyve Home 2TeraByte drive that stores all of your photos and videos from all devices – phones, laptops, external drives, and it organizes them into one central library creating a secure backup of all of your images. There’s also a great Free Lyve app that gives you instant access to any of these photos and videos from any device, no matter where you are. It’s super easy – just download the Lyve app from itunes or googleplay on all of your devices, and it does the rest – it even backs up any new photos instantly!

One gift guys can always use too is grooming tools, and Wahl is definitely the way to go. Their latest and greatest are the Lithium Ion Trimmer and Elite Pro Series Clipper. They cover it all, from head and face. Both feature patented ground blades for a smooth and even cut every time. A lot of guys are can be very particular about grooming tools, but guys will definitely want to have a look at these—and they’re sold at major stores nationwide for under $70.

If you’re trying to get as much done in one place as possible you might also shop at GameStop—it’s a great place to find all your gaming and tech gifts this season. They have great deals on new and pre-owned gifts like video games, consoles, gadgets, and accessories. This year among their hot deals is the Xbox One—they’re offering the system in a bundle with digital copies of two Assassin’s Creed games. What guy wouldn’t be happy with a new gaming system?

Best Travel Apps of All Time

Best Travel Apps of All Time

Oh how we love technology! Thanks to the efficiencies smartphones, tablets and other devices offer, business travel has never been more seamless for today’s working professional – especially during peak vacation season when your mind may be traveling to things outside of work. Just recently when we were on business in Chicago, for example, I stayed at the Hyatt Place Chicago/River North and experienced their high-tech hotel rooms. It just took a quick recharge on a nearby USB port, connection to the free Wi-Fi network and tap of a finger to quickly access files. Today it’s unbelievably easy to stay up-to-date and in touch!

As the Hyatt Place Seamless Travel Series’ Tech-spert, I was recently asked “what are the best apps to help you travel more smoothly” during a Twitter party with #TravelSkills. With hundreds of free or cost-affordable apps available for download now, you can almost manage the whole travel process from your phone. From booking your hotel room and dinner reservations to your scheduling your next flight and car service pickup, it’s important to know the best ones to utilize. For your convenience and entertainment, here are some of my favorite travel apps of all time, designed to help road warriors make the most of every trip:

Worldmate

www.worldmate.com

No matter how complex your travel itinerary gets, you can easily manage it with this tool from most smartphones and tablets. You can track and organize your flight schedules, hotel bookings and car reservations, or pull up weather forecasts, maps and more. For business travelers, you can even use it to juggle appointments, so you don’t end up at showing up at the right time at the wrong client’s office.

Evernote

www.evernote.com

Need to create a to-do list, share audio clips and images, or simply want to clip and save an interesting article you spotted for reading later? Try Evernote, an online organization app that lets you save notes, files, images, and websites you’ve bookmarked, then synchronize them across devices and access the information from anywhere. Among the best ways to keep current projects, it plays the role of virtual assistant, helping you cut through the clutter and more effectively manage your digital life.

Hyatt Hotels

www.hyatthotels.hyatt.com/mobile

Hunting for a hotel while on the road? Hyatt’s multilingual mobile app for Android and iPhone devices lets you book stays at hundreds of Hyatt hotels, including my personal favorite – Hyatt Place, which offers free Wi-Fi, USB recharging stations and a comfy work areas in roomy rooms specifically designed for business travelers. You can also manage reservations right from the app and access local maps or driving directions, and you can even handle check-ins and checkouts right from your pocket.

Dragon Dictation

www.nuance.com

Great for getting work done while sprinting between appointments, this handy speech recognition app translates your voice into text, so you can speak your texts or emails for later use in seconds. This is also a handy way to get ideas and thoughts down on virtual paper. The next time you’re sitting at the airport and inspiration strikes, try rattling it off before you forget – you may be surprised at how brilliant a solution you’ve come up with later.

Snap One

www.snapone.com

If you’re a working parent, you know how difficult it can be to stay on top of everyone’s schedule, especially while traveling. Snap One’s suite of cloud (online) apps helps solve the problem by letting you securely and privately share contacts and calendars with your family, as well as bring your files, photos, videos and documents wherever you travel. You can essentially bring your desktop along on any trip and send snapshots and videos to family back home.

TOTALe

www.totale.rosettastone.com

Need to pickup a few common phrases for a trip overseas (Where’s the bathroom? orWhere can I find the best local restaurant?)? Rosetta Stone’s travel-friendly app helps you brush up on various languages to easily translate dialogue or practice your pronunciation. There’s also a desktop version that offers live chats and group activities so you can quickly go from flustered to fluent.

Skype

www.skype.com

Numerous apps from FaceTime to Google Hangouts make it possible to easily videoconference with clients and colleaguesfrom a variety of gadgets. But Skype remains among the most widely popular solutions for mobile meetings or phoning back home to say helloin realtime. Suitable for both personal and professional use, it provides a free and seamless solution for video chats, so you can enjoy some face-to-face time with clients and coworkers, and – wherever you travel – be there to tuck your kids in and say goodnight.

This post was sponsored by Hyatt Place as part of its Seamless Travel Series. The opinions are my own and based on my experience.

Business Technology Trends to Tap Into

Business Technology Trends to Tap Into

With over a 1.2 billion smartphones and tablets expected to sell this year alone and over 50% of businesses already turning to cloud computing solutions, technology is rapidly reshaping the business world. Coupled with increasingly globalized competition and the accelerating speed and impact of disruptive trends from mobile payments to advancements in online search, recommendation and review tools, it’s high-time you considered giving your own workplace an upgrade. Between increasingly affordable off the shelf technology and growing access to customers, it bears noting: There’s never better a better time to start, run or turbo-charge companies of every scope and size. Following are five key high-tech trends every working professional should be aware of going forward, which can help any enterprising executive boost productivity, revenues and performance seemingly overnight.

Cloud Storage and Applications – Smart devices are predicted to outnumber PCs by 2015, according to research firm IDC, even as mobile handsets become more powerful and a skyrocketing range of online applications effectively allows your desktop to travel wherever you do. Outsource data storage and archival to remote Internet servers, rendering key files and programs accessible on-demand from any high-speed connection, and employees can literally share, collaborate, and retrieve important files or updates virtually anytime, anywhere. Using these online storage and delivery systems, distributed workforces can join together in real-time to do business from hotel rooms or remotely-flung offices, and remain in constant contact no matter how far afield they go. Able to simplify IT management, enhance connectivity, and reduce infrastructure costs, all can help your team get the job done efficiently, and stay in contact, wherever business takes them. With the mobile workforce anticipated to swell to 1.3 billion by 2015, big data’s impact on everyday operations only threatens to grow in coming months.

Mobile Devices and Communications – Dozens of smartphones and tablet PCs are making massive gains in power, performance and connectivity. With screen sizes growing, battery life expanding, and processors making massive strides in horsepower as well, all are also offering an ever-expanding range of features and versatile software programs for solving common tasks from managing inventory to videoconferencing and conducting sizzling HD product demonstrations. Allowing you to juggle a full calendar, get turn-by-turn directions to meetings, or even offer customers specials and deals right from their pocket, these gadgets are becoming ever more important productivity tools. But beyond simply enhancing daily operations, such devices also continue to transform customer expectations and behaviors, increasingly demanding that businesses now design websites, content and media for consumption in ways best suited to these formats.

Content and Inbound Marketing – With more customers turning online to research and purchase goods and services than ever, and companies’ identities growingly defined by their online presence, firms in every field are increasingly finding themselves in the publishing business. Small wonder 78% of CMOs see custom content as the future of marketing according to promotions firm Hanley-Wood, while nearly nine of every ten B2B and B2C marketers currently swear by these advertising strategies. With word of mouth recommendation, online reviews, and social media booming in influence in impact, companies spent $118.4 billion on content, video and social media marketing last year alone. From email newsletters to promotional videos and targeted Facebook, Twitter and Google+ advertising campaigns, all potentially provide powerful, cost-effective ways to cut through daily life’s clutter, connect with buyers at crucial inflection points, and send click-through and revenue rates soaring.

Practical, Problem-Solving Development Approaches – In the past, businesses were quick to chase ambitious visions and attempt to raise the bar for innovation by building sprawling and wildly-ambitious creations. Today, a growing number of successful ventures are instead winning by adopting a philosophy based on smaller, faster, and less complex releases, instead chasing organic growth, and steadily improving products, services and strategies over time based on market feedback gained with each new launch. Market leaders in every field are growingly taking a more cautious approach. Like app developers, who ship products quickly, track customer habits, and make rapid improvements based on usage patterns, more entrepreneurs are finding growing success by pursuing smaller, speedier, more value-oriented debut approaches. Numerous low-cost, readily available technologies now let savvy business owners produce minimum viable products, launch faster, and learn more rapidly, allowing ample time to pivot, adjust strategy, or slash spending as needed.