Wine Lovers Flock to Technology For New Discoveries

I love technology and I love to go out and have a great time with my friends and family. When these two things blend, it makes life even better!

I shared with you earlier about my experience at City Winery and today I want to talk about how wine has impacted the tech sector and vice versa.

Those of us who love wine are always exploring what new blends have made it into the marketplace. Many of us even belong to a wine of the month club. Hey, who doesn’t love wine delivered to their front door.

Even this wine lover’s staple has joined the tech world. ClubW just received $3.1 million dollars in venture capital money to bring personalization to their subscribers.  Members fill out taste quizzes and provide reviews and feedback on each shipment, resulting in a personalized profile. As time goes on, a machine algorithm will continue to tailor selectors to a subscriber’s palate. Pretty cool!

Sometimes, I wish I had a sommelier with me when I’m out shopping for dinner party parings and for BYO adventures. Luckily, there are a ton of apps in the marketplace that can be quickly downloaded to save the day. The Daily Grape is a pretty awesome app for Apple Products. Gary Vaynercuk post educational post every day. He’s a pretty cool dude. Pair It is another neat piece of technology. The developers of this app partnered with chef and wine expert Bruce Riezenman to provide you with 20,000 food and wine matches.

Technology is even helping us find local wine events in our area and the area that we are traveling in. Another cool app – aptly named Wine Events – lets you search for local wine events within its simple interface. Take it with you everywhere!

Sometimes you just need to stay local. We’re lucky that in Chicago, we have a great set of wine bars and a great magazine to provide us with recommendations. Chicago Magazine recently named Ada St., Bar Pastoral, The Bluebird, RM Champagne Salon, Telegraph and Vera their top six wine bars in Chicago. Time to check those off the list!

Tell me, how do you discover new wines? Do you use technology or get referrals from friends? Tweet me: @RyanKDean.

The views and options posted on this blog are my own and are not representative of the views of any party or organization I am affiliated with.

Plan and Survive Black Friday with Tech

Black Friday can be hard for shoppers to navigate. There are so many deals out there and opportunities to price match, why shouldn’t technology jump in and help streamline your shopping experience?

The Daily Herald recently compiled a list of apps, QR codes and other technology available to help shoppers get the best deals. Here’s a list of my favorites:

  • Shop Savvy: Pull out your smartphone, scan the price of your item and search for the best in-store and online deals on your Apple and Android devices.
  • Find My Car: Let’s face it, there’s at least one time a year where we all can’t find our car in a crowded parking lot. There’s an app for that.
  • Black Friday Deals 2012: This app will find all of your ads and deals in one spot, which updates on multiple times daily.
  • SitOrSquat: Restroom Finder: This app from Charmin can help you find the closest public bathroom. With all the shopping you are doing, you never know when you are going to need one.
  • CouponCabin.com: This Chicago-based company has an app available that enables users to transform paper coupons into digital versions for scanning.  No more paper to lose or stuff into your pockets.
  • Shopkick: You might as well earn something extra from all of that shopping. You can earn kickbucks for checking in and scanning items that can be redeemed for gift cars. This is only available on your Android.
  • MyCityWay: This app brings together 30 apps, helping you to avoid traffic, plan your route, find local transportation options and view 400 traffic cams. You can search for stores and find sales. It even helps you pinpoint bathrooms and Wi-Fi connections.

Are there any apps you think I left off of the list? Tweet them to me: @RyanKDean

Looking Ahead: Tech Trends for 2013

The New Year is just around the corner and it’s never to early to start looking at the new technology that will be available in 2013.

Gartner announced its top 10 tech trends at the annual IT/expo in Orlando last week, with
the mobile device battle topping their list.  2013 is looking to be a fun year in the technology arena. Let’s take a look at the rest of the upcoming year’s trends:

  1. Mobile Devices: Mobile phones are expected to overtake PCs as the most common Web access device. Will they serve as a replacement? According to Gartner, yes and no. IT departments may need to adapt, shifting focus to supporting mobile devices for workers who need them. However, they do believe that this signals the end of Windows as the single platform for the corporate world.
  2. A long-term shift from native apps to Web apps as HTML5 becomes more capable: There has been a lot of talk about the switch to HTML5. Native apps won’t be a thing of the past. In fact, they will still provide the best user interfaces and more sophisticated features.
  3. The personal cloud replaces the notion of personal computer: How many of you store multiple items in the cloud? If you don’t yet, chances are you will store everything on the cloud.
  4. The Internet of things: Absolutely every device will be connected to the Internet, cameras, microphones, buildings and sensors included. This change will lead to new products, including tax policies, and will raise new questions. I think this will be an interesting trend to watch, especially in how it affects business development.
  5. Cloud computing: As the cloud continues to gain traction, IT departments are going to shift part of their focus on creating cloud services brokerages for the management of access to the cloud.
  6. Strategic big data: Big data is becoming more economical as the cost of servers and CPUs has decreased. Gartner believes that more companies will be moving toward big data analysis.
  7. Actionable analytics: This trend links with number six. Because low-cost processing is cheaper, it enables companies to dive in to perform analytics and simulations. This trend may provide more companies with the ability to predict the future.
  8. In-memory computing: Gartner believes that this is transformational. The technology enables long processes to be completed in a manner of minutes – even seconds. Any expenses incurred in implementing in-memory computing will pay for itself in increased efficiencies.
  9. Virtual appliances integrated ecosystems: Virtual appliances not take the place of physical appliances, but will gain traction.
  10. Enterprise App Stores: Apps are becoming the source for users to get everything they need from a company. IT departments will turn essentially into market managers.

Have you seen any evidence of these trends in your daily life?

Wi-Fi: A Must Have for Your Next Event

Technology is everywhere these days. With these new technologies come expectations from attendees. Chances are your attendees are looking to share on social networks from their smart phones and their tablets/laptops. Sometimes even both!

And it’s not just attendees. Speakers, staff members and exhibitors are also going to rely on the need for connectivity. With all of these people utilizing their technology, that is a lot of bandwidth.

Some event venues want to leave attendees and guests out in the cold, letting them run on their own 4G or 3G networks. Those with tablets and laptops may be left out in the cold in this circumstance. According to comScore, 91 percent of tablet owners and 98 percent of laptop owners rely on WiFi to connect to the Internet. Mobile hotspots are another option, but again, many people don’t want to burn through their data plans.

Even though it may be expensive, the best way to go is to provide your guests with WiFi. This is one part of the event that you shouldn’t skimp on the cost for. The reach of your event over the internet and social media websites can result in more exposure for your event and brand.

Do you provide Wi-Fi opportunities for our attendees? Do you encourage your guests to live tweet and post on social media?

Technology and Charity Go Hand-in-Hand

I’ve shared with you before about my involvement in charitable work. Whether it be with the PK Foundation or for events like the Green Tie Ball, I’m always looking for new opportunities to help spread the word and streamline the organization process.

Enter technology.

I love technology. It evolves so quickly and there are always new ways to take advantage of it, especially in the event planning realm. Here’s a few ways to utilize technology at your next event:

New Member Inquiries: Forget those sign-up sheets full of scribbles that you can’t really read, that result in a bunch of bounce backs. Collect all of your information from your website and print it out into one awesome, organized sheet.

Event RSVP Tool: Mailed RSVP cards are so in the past. With so many online invitation tools, you can keep track of who is coming and going to your event in one spot. Added bonus: It’s environmentally friendly. For those who you don’t have an email on file for, include the RSVP URL on the paper invitations.

Donation Collection Tool: From silent auctions to donations from members who cannot make your event. online collection tools make a world of difference. With all of these transactions online, you don’t have to trek to the bank to make large deposits or worry about the safety of paper funds. Simple, right?

Volunteer Sign-up Sheets: All charity events have volunteers to make the night run smoothly. Online sign-up sheets can help ensure every spot is full and that everyone knows exactly what they signed up for.

How do you utilize technology when organizing an event? Share your tips with me!