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February 27th, 2014

Although it’s gaining in recognition, wearable technology is often misconstrued as simply a small fashion niche of pretty but impractical “tech-looking” clothes, jewelry and other personal bling. Now here comes Fujitsu with a true high-tech glove that enters the production side of the equation by outfitting the glove with Bluetooth for wireless communication. It also interprets hand gestures. And these capabilities are geared toward work, whereas other gloves will use the same technology for game control. (And that’s okay!)

Launching sometime “next year,” the glove comes with a head-mounted monitor that displays input from the glove sensors via Bluetooth. (Conceivably, you could direct a signal to a MacBook Pro rental, too.) The glove will recognize whatever wireless components are touched, and display any info they are putting out. In addition to offering tremendous efficiencies in production, construction, and other industries, the glove is also the practical solution for people working while they wear other gloves. Fujitsu’s glove enables more work in more places.

iWatch – Really?

Rumors are flying about the Apple watch, dubbed the “iWatch” by almost everyone, and the unique, “futuristic” charging methods being contemplated. Of course, according to Apple, the product doesn’t exist, but some rumormongers suggest that Apple’s nonexistent watch will have inductive charging, introduced last year on such smartphones as Google’s Nexus 4 and Nokia’s Lumia 920. After all the R&D the firm has put into battery technology since CRE first stocked an iPad rental, Apple should be able to engineer a smart watch with smart power.

Multiple sources report that Apple is also looking at additional ways of charging the iWatch (and our Mac Pro rental, and every other iOS or OS X device). One smart way is to use inductive charging, which produces electromagnetic fields from a base charging unit that are picked up by the device. But that’s not all: Other ideas range from solar cells beneath the displays to simple, straightforward kinetic charging. The latter is already used on various products, and the Power Pocket is yet another piece of wearable tech that uses kinetic energy to charge phones.

Sweet Technology

Wherever that point is, where love of technology meets love of candy, more and more people seem to be finding it with 3D printers. At CES 2014 there were a couple of candy-centric 3D printers, the ChefJet and the ChefJet Pro. The entry-level model is a bit smaller and produces only monochromatic treats, but the ChefJet Pro makes colorful eats. Both create chocolates and other confections in shapes nearly impossible with regular baking/cooking methods. The Pro model can also create edible images in “photo quality” for use on cakes or other confections. Just remember: You are what you eat!

CRE knows a sweet deal, which we offer on everything from render farms for production pros to a video wall at your next conference, composed of sharp, crystal clear monitors. When you are ready to get your own sweet high-tech gadgetry, contact us or give us a call at 877-266-7725.

February 20th, 2014

According to major tech watchers, Microsoft is  “mere weeks” from releasing the recently leaked Windows 8.1, Update 1. Preliminary builds of the software have found their way to the Internet. Although we can’t assume every feature now present in Update 1 will make it to the release version, there are enough changes, improvements, “do-over’s” to make for a fairly comprehensive (p)review. Since Windows users far outnumber any other kind, important changes to the OS are essential news.

Is Metro moniker a goner?

Much despair greeted Windows 8 when it “went cubist,” dumping the Start button and Desktop for its Modern interface. Update 1 will apparently detect the type of device it is running on, then boot to the Desktop for regular PCs like our computer rental, or the Modern-tiled interface for tablets, touch-enabled PCs and laptops. Or not. You can boot wherever you like by changing your PC Settings.

Microsoft’s SkyDrive is now OneDrive, and installs with the OS. In another move to educate users to address important issues up front, there is now a PC Settings tile on the Modern Start screen. Scrolling down from the Start screen to find PC Settings with all the other apps is not the way to encourage its use or get important things done quickly. Were you to use this coming OS with our LCD touchscreen monitor rental you would get a Start screen with easy-to-spot buttons for Search and Power Options (Shut Down, Restart, etc.). These are small but smart improvements.

Putting Windows back in Windows

Right-clicking on the Start and Apps screens now gets you what the rest of the world’s computer users get: a contextual menu. Bring your mouse to the top of the screen in a Modern app and a black bar with Close and/or Minimize buttons pops up (and appears momentarily at app startup). The Store icon is pinned to the Task Bar by default, and you can add other Modern apps that will run full-screen as usual. The Task Bar can now be displayed within Modern apps, too. Users asked, Microsoft answered.

Not sure which Windows software to use? CRE Rentals can help! We  support a variety of industries, and work with all kinds of media pros, designers, post experts, and animators who know their way around render farms and the other high-tech gear behind every cartoon, cable series, and movie. Call us today at 877-266-7725.

February 13th, 2014

Marketing StrategyThere are colorful graphics all over the Internet illustrating various marketing strategies that are “ideal for the digital age,” many even depicting the classic “three pillars” of sales, awareness, and advocacy. But those pillars now support all manner of faddish notions and countless high-tech helpers that blast your marketing  message to the world. With all the confusion over tweets, texts, and bandwidth causing many marketing campaigns to seriously under-perform, now is a good time to get back to basics with timeless marketing principles that work.

Status report
Before you make goals, before you devise tactics to carry out your strategy, you must take stock of your current situation. Sometimes referred to as an “environmental scan,” this in-depth overview considers everything involved in your enterprise: technology, equipment and computer rental needs, production processes, industry metrics, competition, general and specific economic indicators, customers, and local, regional, state, and federal laws. You can’t chart a course without a map, okay?

Goal setting
Now that you know your starting point, you can decide where you want to go. When you do sit down to create your corporate goals and objectives, you might find the “SMART goals” system worth your attention. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely, which echoes the high standards Steve Jobs set for his secret iMac developers in the late 1990s.

Strategy
There are as many opinions on business strategy as there are stars in the night sky, so your best bet is to read widely, remain skeptical of grandiose claims, and come to a reasonable position. As much an educational process as the other steps, developing your business strategy might introduce you to such tools as perceptual mapping and portfolio analysis.

Tactics
Businesspeople conflate tactics with strategy and tell their marketing directors that they want a “viral marketing campaign” that will hit every inbox, smartphone, and iPad rental in the Western Hemisphere. But that’s a tactic, not a strategy, and no one can guarantee that anything will “go viral” (and beware of anyone who does). Truth be told, many campaigns go viral but have little effect on sales or PR.

Monitor
We’re trying to keep this advice jargon-free, but part of an effective strategy means defining your key performance indicators (KPIs). Monitor performance with KPIs and you will know how well your tactics are working to fulfill the company strategy. Needless to say, it is vital to be completely honest in making these appraisals.

Evolve
You will continue to revise, update, and perfect (ergo, “evolve”) both tactics and strategy based on your KPIs. (The indicators themselves may need some revision, too.) When the campaign is ongoing, it is wise to continue with a healthy optimism, as well as a healthy skepticism. You may have had an intelligent design for your strategy, but it’s good old evolution that will keep everything on track as the world barrels forward in its unpredictable way.

Now, here’s something that’s completely predictable: CRE’s top equipment and unparalleled customer service. With 21 offices in major metro areas, we offer technology rentals that could help you achieve your marketing goals (or help you complete a last minute project or prepare you for an upcoming event). Give us a call at 877-266-7725 to learn more.

February 6th, 2014

Worldwide, console gaming is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Among console makers, there are a few dark horses in the race, like Nintendo and Steam, but the battle for video game console supremacy is clearly between Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. Naturally, both firms are grateful to the legions of gamers that supported them, from the 1990s weekend warriors wired to a tube TV to the 21st century pros who attach upscale displays like a LCD touchscreen monitor rental. It takes all kinds.

 

Yes, Content is Still King

Gamers built the foundation on which console makers will build future models, but that future will be a little different. (Okay, a lot.) Console makers are attempting to bring nongamers to the party by positioning their devices at “the center of the living room experience.” Consoles are now as powerful as a high-end computer rental and aren’t just for games. They’re another way to watch Netflix, surf the web, upload photos, send email and chat it up over Skype. Sony, Microsoft, and their various partners realize that they will generate more revenue from services, video and music than from gaming alone.

By the end of January 2014, the PS4 had amassed a solid sales lead, selling a total of 6+ million units to the Xbox’s 4+ million. This ratio is holding steady for later sales launches, such as in the UK and Europe. The content creators that work in animation and post-production with render farms and other high-tech tools are watching these figures, too. Moving forward, Sony and Microsoft want to lay claim to your main/central/family entertainment center, as strategized years ago when they said the Xbox would offer “games and everything else.” The future is here: The big bucks are in “everything else.”

Sony’s in a Great Position

With “the digital convergence” well underway, it is much easier to add general computing functionality to powerful game consoles than to add high-end gaming power to, say, an iMac. This puts Sony, a diversified media empire, in an enviable strategic position. With in-house content and expertise, plus longtime partnerships around the world, Sony can bring the goods in all departments, with games still part of the mix. And the mix should see all of your devices playing nice: You can even use an iPad rental as an “official” second screen controller and viewer with the PS4.

PS4 has had the edge since it debuted in North America on Nov. 15 and Europe on Nov. 29. (The Xbox One had a single global release into 13 markets on Nov. 22.) The PS4 is $100 less than the Xbox One, yet another variable in the competition. Sony is releasing the PS4 in Japan on February 22. The Xbox One? Sometime “in 2014,” says Microsoft. If Sony adds to its sales lead in its home market, and continues a sales ratio of 1.5-to-1 versus the Xbox One, the PS4 is going to start looking like the presumptive winner in The Battle for Your Living Room.

CRE Rentals isn’t ready to battle in your living room but we can provide all the technology tools you need to get your graphic-intense project done or help you make a statement at an upcoming event. If you know what you need, complete the online Quote form. Otherwise, give us a call at 877-266-7725.