Ten Technologies I Am Thankful For

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it inspires me to examine all that’s good in my life. This year, I’m especially thankful for the myriad ways technology enriches my life. Following are the ten technologies that top my list:

1. Smart phones  I would simply be lost without my calendar, to-do lists, and a whole array of productivity applications that I use on a daily basis. Can you imagine life without text messages? I can’t and neither can my wife, who often texts me with items I need to pick up on my way home from work.

2. Lightweight notebooks and tablets – As event marketers, you probably travel as much as I do, so you are well aware that every pound matters. The new Macbook and Macbook Air are just a few of the notebooks and tablets in the market that are light-weight and easy for travel, making them a traveler’s dream machine.

3. Electric Cars – I have been blessed to drive an electric car the past two years. I haven’t seen a gas station in years and I’m loving it! As a driver, I notice little difference between driving an electric car versus a combustion engine. Electric vehicles (EVs) are fast, and efficient. Maintenance is simpler and cheaper. Re-“fueling” is as simple as plugging into an electrical outlet, and I spend the equivalent of about a $1 per gallon of gas to do so. Plus, EVs increase our energy independence and contribute to healthier air and lower carbon emissions. I enjoy the driving experience, so it’s important to me that my electric car is fun to drive, and believe me, it is!

4. Event Mobile Guides – An app is all that’s needed to access updated agendas, session details, surveys, exhibit info, and more, and it’s all available in real-time. Thank goodness we have stopped killing all of those trees. Plus, I don’t have to lug around an additional book I don’t need.

5. Big Data Analytics – After years in the making, Big Data and Intelligent Analytics are finally mainstream. By using Big Data analytics you can extract only the relevant information you need, and analyze it to impact your organization by providing sound knowledge and insight. (My May 5th blog, Making Measurement Meaningful, delves into how event marketers can make sense of Big Data and use it to your advantage.)

6. Universal Lead Capture – When Alliance Tech participates in a trade show, it is a relief to process all of our leads the same way and in the same place (MAT) and via the same process every time. Using a universal lead capture solution is becoming more mainstream within Fortune 500 companies, adding value by accelerating the sales process and automating tracking and reporting, all of which tie into tracking ROI. (My May 19th blog, Confronting the Lead Retrieval and CRM/MAT Conundrum offers suggestions about how to avoid “lead-lag” and get those critical leads to sales utilizing CRM/MAT systems.)

7. Smart Watches – They are still in the early stages, but manufacturers are beginning to grasp what we as consumers really want from this kind of wearable device, and I think they will become ubiquitous. To me, they are my best hope for losing weight. (Wait, it is already time for me to stand up again?)

8. Airplay Chromecast – I haven’t plugged my computer into a HDMI or VGA plug in years to project on a large screen in the office. With AirPlay, you can stream music, photos, and videos to your Apple TV, or stream music to your AirPort Express or AirPlay-enabled speakers. And with AirPlay Mirroring, you can display your iOS screen on your Apple TV. Google’s Chromecast works in a similar fashion. I think these are great technologies for meeting presentations.

9. Kindle – Want to read a good book? Amazon is the place to go and the Kindle is the device to use. Unlike tablets, the Paperwhite displays are very easy on the eyes. I think most frequent travelers are thankful for Kindles, because they definitely lighten the load. Maybe now we can find time to read Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, the New York Times number-one best seller in the business book category.

10. Home Automation and Smart Hubs – I can’t count the number of times I have left the house with the kids while the A/C was left running and a door wasn’t locked. Problem? Nope! I just use my Smart Hub from my cell phone to remotely turn off the A/C and lock the front door. There are smart devices that can reduce electricity usage, increase home security, automate home lighting, replace your doorbell, manage your garden, and even feed pets while you’re away. Thinking about it? Here’s a list of CNET’s best smart home devices of 2015.

Of course, technology has been my life’s work, so I’m deeply grateful for all that is has brought me, and that’s all been possible because of people like you.

Please share the top technologies you’re thankful for, right here in the comments section.

Happy Thanksgiving!