The holidays are here, and tis the season for non-stop travel for many families, students, and working professionals alike. Just one problem: Rumor has it that it’s flu and cold season as well – if you’re like us, you’re probably busy doing your darnedest to keep from catching anything before having to make a lengthy drive or train ride back home after New Year’s. Happily for everyone busy bounding over the river and through the woods (OK, sprinting between cross-country connecting flights to catch up with grandma or a client) tis year, there’s at least one easy way to keep germs at bay. If you haven’t checked it out, we recently stumbled across Contigo’s new Metra travel mug – an innovative new kind of beverage container – which features special technology (known as AUTOSEAL, or so rumor holds) that’s specially designed to prevent spills, and help keep out dirt and germs with a rotating lid.
Sound counterintuitive? You may be surprised. After doing a little research, our team stumbled across an interesting fact. Apparently, after studying travelers at busy commuter hubs – e.g. subways and airports – it seems that the Metra’s designers discovered that travelers were frequently wiping off their travel mugs’ mouthpieces with their sleeves or napkins. Two key takeaways from this research were: 1. Ewww, gross, that’s a good way to spread germs and 2. Apparently many of us have a problem we didn’t even realize. Being the new travel tech and gear-hounds we are, we were naturally amused to learn this, and a bit concerned, as it always pays to be health-conscious, especially when it comes to tagalongs. The good news: AUTOSEAL Metra’s rotating CleanGuard can help resolve the problem, but in addition, here are some recommendations to be more health-conscious when traveling. In the interest in keeping everyone from having to be quarantined at some point this season (we’re thinking it’s best not to make being bedridden a holiday tradition), you’ll find a few tips that we hope will help keep the sniffles away, and help keep holiday downtime to a minimum.
- Make a point to carry hand sanitizer – now available from most major retailers and drugstores in pocket-sized bottles – and use it to keep your hands clean, or wipe down surfaces you’ll be in contact with, e.g. seat trays on major airlines.
- Don’t wipe your mouth with a coat, sleeve, handkerchief or other item that’s been exposed to the elements, or picked up dirt and debris, as you’ve hopped between cabs or subway cars if it can be avoided. If necessary, keep a pack of tissues handy, or swing by a local fast food vendor to grab a clean napkin or wet paper towel.
- Keep the items your hands come in contact with most during the day – e.g. smartphones, tablet PCs, notebooks, etc. - – sanitized and germ-free. Pro tip: You can do this by regularly wiping them down with an antimicrobial wipe or (depending on compatibility — be sure to check your owner’s manual) wet wipe instead.
- When using the restroom, always use a paper towel to turn on/off the faucet, opening/closing stall doors, and when using the exit door.
- When handling items that may have come into frequent contact with others — e.g. restaurant menus, cash, door handles, light switches, subway passes, etc — be sure to wash your hands afterward.
- If you have to cough or sneeze, be sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your upper sleeve so you do not spread germs.
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.
With travel a growing part of business and daily life in 2014, it’s only natural that technology would be going more seamless and mobile to match. Brands are recognizing the need and Hyatt Place is leading the way for hotels. Hyatt Place has transformed the on-the-road experience in much the same way that leading innovators have transformed technology through added convenience, by providing free Wi-Fi and swiveling 42” flat screen TVs with USB charging ports custom-tailored to offer an experience that’s just right for modern travelers.
Designed to help you easily keep in touch with colleagues or loved ones, and boost productivity and entertainment while on the road, a variety of new portable gadgets reflect this growingly uncomplicated mentality. Following, you’ll find five of the best gadgets for business travelers in 2014, featuring top devices from CES and beyond, perfect for packing into any carry-on.
This revisiting of the classic camera updates its iconic design and fast-turn photos for the 21st century, transforming it into a 14MP Android app-enabled digital shooter with 4.5-inch LCD touchscreen display. Owners can easily share photos on social networks or print small snapshots in seconds, making it an excellent excuse to get out and explore scenic locales.
Mophie Space Pack
Everyone’s on the run these days. Save yourself from having to sprint for a power outlet with this combination battery life extender case and portable storage solution for the iPhone. Not only does it roughly double your smartphone’s battery life, but also offers up to 32GB of additional storage so you can cram in hours of additional video, or thousands of photos and songs.
Time to wake up and grab an a.m. Kitchen Skillet? Wondering what’s in the news? Want to pay for a cup of coffee right from your wrist? This app-powered “smart watch” – a mini-computer for your wrist styled after classic men’s watches – offers a high-tech way to keep the time, and keep up with the latest innovations.
Here’s the scenario: You’re resting in the cozy corner of a spacious Hyatt Place room, when the office calls, requesting that you create a presentation for a key client ASAP. Rather than squint a tiny laptop screen, just plug this accessory into an HDMI port on your monitor or TV, and you can wirelessly stream your screen right to its display. Problem solved!
It’s not easy to stay fit on the road. But with this fitness tracker – an electronic wristband that tracks physical activity, monitors health, and suggests when to step it up or dial back on activity – you’ll always stay in stride. Seamless and uncomplicated, it’s exactly how every experience (the travel experience, working experiences, your entertainment experience, etc.) should be.
This post was sponsored by Hyatt Place as part of its Seamless Travel Series. The opinions are my own and based on my experience.