Friday, March 29, 2013

New Hotel Trends

With many standard hotel rooms now including Wi-Fi, electronic docking stations, and HDTV, what other technological improvements can hotels make?  With increasing technology it is important to not just improve the inside of the hotel, but also improve the exterior. Making the appearance of the hotel more vibrant could potentially attract more guests.

One hotel beginning this new trend is the InterContinental Miami. It plans to use LCD screens and lights on the outside of the building to attract guests before they even enter the hotel. Plans also include having multiple hanging LCD screens displaying downtown Miami and touch-screen coffee tables in the lobby.


As consumers become more obsessed with new technology, hotels seek to go beyond typical in-suite technology and improve their properties to redefine their guest’s entire hotel experience. In order to do this, hotels are looking at advancements in transforming the appearance of the property by making it stand out in a crowded city.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Smart Watches: The Latest in Wearable Technology

We already mentioned one new wearable tech product, Google glass, but now tech companies are competing to create the latest in wearable technology. With watch sales declining over the past year why not find a way in our technology advanced world to create a smart watch that does more than simply tell time? It’s no surprise that companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google have smart watches on their minds. Let’s take a look at what these companies have planned for their version of a smart watch…

Apple plans to have its iWatch notify wearers when they receive a call or a text and allows access to maps.  Even more convenient the iWatch could solve all our lost iPhone problems – the iWatch has the capability to warn wearers when they are a certain distance away from their phones. It is also rumored to run on the same operating systems as other Apple products, allowing users to sync their information across all their devices.


Samsung’s Galaxy Altius is expected to have the same capabilities as the Samsung Galaxy smart phones. The Galaxy Altius also plans to run on the same Android platform as smart phones and include a music player and email access.


Google’s smart watch allows wearers with the ability to change the channels on your TV for you. So long lost remote! Google has also applied for patents on a flip up display and a camera. 


Smart watches could enhance and control the use of smart phones, which could widen their appeal. How useful would a smart watch really be? What does a smart watch offer that isn’t offered by smart phones or tablets already? With all the latest technological advancements, cell phones, tablets, and PCs, it may be more of a matter of what type of device the user prefers and finds easier to use. Can smart watches become the latest must have device?

Monday, March 25, 2013

PCs or Tablets in the Workplace?

When the iPad initially hit the marketplace most people thought it was a groundbreaking device, but that it could never take the place of a PC. However, with new apps and advances, tablets are becoming an indispensable part of many businesses both large and small. The Microsoft Surface for example offers a built in keyboard for employees who hate using a touch screen. Tablets also make use of “cloud” technology, allowing employees to save their work online and still have access to it from anywhere. Laptops and PCs have this technology as well, but a tablet is more portable and can be taken anywhere. Overall tablets run faster than PCs, and in today’s fast paced business world, speed is everything.


Not all companies are making the switch however; some still like having actual computers for doing the majority of business tasks. Some have given a tablet to their employees to use in the field, but also still have PCs available back at the office. Using tablets in the field allows employees to take a high quality photo and instantly email it to a client without having to wait until they get back to the office. This also makes multi-tasking easier which frees up more time for the company to focus on improvements and specific goals. Tablets can be an extremely valuable tool to many businesses, and could eventually replace PCs. However, only time will tell if tablets are the new PCs or just a passing fad.

Friday, March 22, 2013

How Facebook Graph Search can Help your Business

Facebook is an ever increasingly important part of our lives; everyone from college students to business professionals uses it. Facebook is a ubiquitous part of our society, when meeting someone new you may add them on Facebook before you get their contact info. Until recently however, it was hard to really target one audience on the site due to its large amount of members, but Graph Search may change all that.


Graph search is a tool which allows you to target certain pages or friends and send out a message catered towards them. It’s currently only available in a Beta version for a select few users, but the possibilities are endless. A company could use it to figure out which users interact most with their brand and offer special deals to them as a reward for being a loyal customer. It has the potential to allow companies to find new employees based on education and previous job experience in a way similar to Linked In. Companies could also tailor their marketing toward which ever group they want to cater to. Graph Search is an exciting idea because it would make customized marketing much easier. We live in an increasingly digital world and Graph Search is Facebook’s answer to that.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Top Unexpected Vacation Destinations

Looking for a new place to vacation but not sure where to start? There are several destinations across the U.S that offer fun for everyone. Here are some hidden travel spots…

Libertyville, Illinois is an idyllic town 45 minutes outside of Chicago. It’s the perfect place for a little getaway with your family - from shopping at the boutique lined street, visiting a well known microbrewery, or attending the farmer’s market in the summer, you’re bound to find something to suit your fancy.


El Dorado, Arkansas - While it may not be the city of gold like in the legend, it is a booming tourist destination and is home to the state’s only art deco theater. El Dorado also hosts various annual festivals which draw in tourists, the biggest being the Bugs, Bands, and Bikes festival. It’s a bike show, parade and a two day battle of the bands.


Coronado, California may not be one of the towns you think of when you think of California, but this city is emerging as a top tourist destination. Coronado is a coastal resort town, offering shopping, sandy beaches and classical revival style buildings. It also is home to the Hotel Del Coronado, one of the most iconic hotels in California, which over the years has hosted various actors.


New Iberia, Louisiana is full of delicious Cajun eateries, and received the Great American Main Street Award. It’s also home to the original Tabasco factory, so if the Cajun food isn't hot enough for you, you can always pick up some Tabasco. Another highlight is the 250 acre Jungle Gardens on neighboring Avery Island.

All of these towns have one thing in common – they offer an alternative to traditional vacation spots while still providing fun for the whole family. For more top uncommon travel spots please visit

Monday, March 18, 2013

Instagram: A Useful Marketing Tool for your Company

Many companies are aware that in order to reach their target audience these days, it’s necessary to participate in social networking. We all know about the popular use of Facebook and Twitter, but what about Instagram? This social media platform may seem like something that is used only to share photos of pets or food with your friends using various filters, but recently it has proven to be a marketing strategy for companies. Let’s take a look at its potential benefits…


Promoting Events: Many conferences and events have hashtags for attendees to use on Twitter while at the event. Those hashtags can also be used on Instagram to reach a target audience in the same way as Twitter, but while providing a visual. By uploading a picture of your conference exhibit booth customers have a way to interact with your brand, and it could attract more foot traffic not only to your exhibit but also on your company website.

Connecting with Followers: The images provided by Instagram allow clients to see who they are working with, essentially putting a face to the company name. Letting your audience to view images of your staff, products, etc., gives customers the ability to have a deeper insight into your company on a more personal level.

Web Profiles: Facebook’s recent purchase of Instagram has expanded the application far beyond its original mobile app platform. Users can now engage with those that they follow online in a way similar to Facebook, but the content is all photo based. Instagram is unique from other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter because there is little to no content provided through the application. As a result, Instagram provides an “instant” snap shot of the message you are trying to get across without overwhelming your audience with too much information.

In today’s technology driven society, Instagram can be an integral part of the marketing experience. These are just a few of the ways businesses have recently started using Instagram to market themselves. Can Instagram become an important part of marketing, or will it just be a silly way to kill time on the internet? Only time will tell. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As we all know, the weather in Chicago can be very unpredictable as it is still expected to snow as we approach the spring. However, that does not stop Chicagoans and visitors alike from celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the city. Chicago has a large Irish population and St. Patrick’s Day is one of the many traditions that occur to celebrate the city’s diversity. Some of the activities that everyone can enjoy include…

A crowd favorite is watching the Chicago River being dyed bright green. This year, it will take place the day before St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, March 16. A fun fact is that this is actually done by dumping orange dye into the river.

 Chicago River

Following the dying of the river, is a parade that takes place beginning at Balbo and Columbus Drive. The parade is a Chicago tradition that attracts tourists from all over the country because it has something for everyone. 

We recommend taking public transportation as heavy traffic and limited parking are to be expected. Have a safe and fun filled St. Patrick’s Day!


Friday, March 15, 2013

What we learned from SXSW

Now that SXSW Interactive has come to end, let’s take a look at some of the new technology that was introduced…

Memoto: It’s a small camera that can be clipped onto your clothes. It has no buttons and takes pictures every thirty seconds. It also has a built in app that organizes all the photos taken and stores the time and place they were taken. Memoto allows us to avoid “missing out on the moment” by stopping to take pictures and instead takes pictures for us without any interruption. This device could potentially revolutionize the way we take pictures – it works for us without any interruption and also provides us with a way to relive the moments we experienced and never knew we were even taking photos of!


Leap Motion Controller: We have seen the release of touch screen computers by many different companies, but now there is a new advancement towards the way to use a computer. With the Leap Motion Controller that plugs into any computer, you can move your hands in the air to virtually do anything on the screen.

Cube: Cube is a printer that allows users to easily create 3-D models with the included software and print them in their homes. As opposed to previous 3-D printers, the Cube is designed to be consumer friendly.

These are just a few of the latest tech developments. Do you think this new technology will catch? What new technology has you the most excited?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Project Glass: Innovative Technology or a Distraction from Reality?

We previously mentioned one of Google’s highly anticipated products, Google glass, set to be released at the end of this year. You remember – the product that consumers will be able to wear as a headset that has a small screen attached to it that displays whatever they want.


While this product is something everyone seems to be excited about the device itself leaves us pondering just how well the consumer market will take hold of Google’s newest tech addition. The product itself may seem like a leap forward due to its ability to access information seamlessly and faster however, what are the disadvantages? We wonder how our already tech crazed and cell phone dependent generation will be able to focus on anything outside of the “tech world” while sporting Google glass. Will this be an even bigger distraction to our already distracted population? With the ability to see any information you want right in front of you, users may become even less aware of their non-virtual realities happening around them. So you vote – will Google glass be a more helpful or harmful device to us once it hits the market? 

Can Samsung Outsell Apple?

For years, Apple has produced the top selling smart phone with fans often waiting in long lines for new products and without facing much competition. However, when Samsung released its Galaxy S III smart phone in the summer of 2012, it beat the iPhone 4S and became the top selling smart phone. Samsung’s success was only temporary as Apple shortly after released the iPhone 5 and ended 2012 producing the top selling smart phone.

Samsung Galaxy S III vs. iPhone 5

These two smart phones are strong competitors as they are advertised as having the latest technology. Since the release of the Galaxy S III, Samsung has been appealing to its consumers as being “The Next Best Thing” and by trying to show in commercials that iPhone users have old technology. Samsung plans to reveal its highly anticipated Galaxy S IV at a launch event on March 14.


With everyone wanting to have the latest and most advanced smart phone, can the Samsung Galaxy S IV become the top selling smart phone or will current iPhone users remain loyal to Apple? 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Right Now: 5 Tech Companies we’re Watching

With all the technological advancements to look forward to in 2013, it’s interesting to see which companies have been deemed “most successful” thus far. Here’s a few of the “trending” companies we’re watching…     

1.       Apple: Even with competition from Samsung’s Galaxy S III smart phone and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD tablet, Apple has still managed to stay on top as one of the most successful tech companies. With its recent release of the iPhone 5 and iPad mini, Apple continues to maintain its strong consumer base.

2.       Google: Although its first Nexus smart phone failed to compete with other similar products, Google is currently awaiting the highly anticipated release of Google glass and has recently released its first touch-screen Chromebook. Google glass is an augmented reality headset essentially allowing users to take pictures, look up information, and share information with friends via a screen located on the headset.

Google Glass

3.       Amazon: In addition to its success as an online retailer, Amazon has joined Apple in the competition for tablets. With their release of the Kindle Fire HD, which ranked #2 among tablet sales, Amazon’s cost effective product seems to have given the iPad a run for its money.

4.       IBM: In 2013, IBM plans to expand into the mobile market by creating a partnership with AT&T. Reports also predict extensive growth in emerging global markets.

5.       Microsoft: With the release of Windows 8 and Windows RT, Microsoft has had incredible success, mainly due to the distinctly different operating systems and interface. Launching its own touch screen tablet with PC capabilities, the Microsoft Surface has separated itself from the iPad. The Microsoft Surface can essentially be used just as a desktop can, while still maintaining the portability and convenience of a tablet.

Microsoft Surface

Now that these major companies are putting new technology out on the market and other companies are competing to be the best, will these companies be able to remain on top?

Note: Information is gathered from CNN article posted 2/28/13 by Omar Akhtar.