Booking.com Launches Booking Now App

Booking.com logoI was somewhat surprised to learn that 50% of travel bookings made within 48 hours of departure are booked on a mobile device. On reflection, it’s perhaps not that surprising, given that the spontaneous decision to travel is likely to be followed up immediately, rather than waiting to get home to get the laptop out.

It’s with this opportunity in mind that accommodation site Booking.com has launched Booking Now, an instant booking app that can get a place to stay in as little as two taps. After a successful launch in the US and Canada, the app is now available in the UK for iOS devices with an Android version to follow. The app’s built-in intelligence, along with GPS, helps it choose the best properties based on your preferences from over 600,000 properties in 70,000 destinations.

Booking Now - Booking.com UK imageWith the launch of Booking Now, we’re increasing our investment in mobile by leveraging our global scale, assets and partnerships to accommodate the growing number of customers who are booking reservations within two days or less of their stay,” said Darren Huston, Chief Executive Officer of Booking.com. “The new app puts users at the centre of the booking experience, drawing from our vast database of properties to meet their specific preferences at the very moment they need to book. Booking Now is designed to deliver a seamless mobile experience for spontaneous consumers, fitting perfectly into their multi-device, on-demand lifestyle.

Booking Now personalises real-time search results based on the traveller profile created by each user when they first start to use the app. The profile indicates specific accommodation preferences, such as budget and options like parking, included breakfast and wifi. Users are then presented with the most relevant accommodation available based on profile and location. The traveller can then modify their choice of accommodation to suit their itinerary and the places that they want to see. With Booking Now’s predictive analytics, the more frequently customers use the app, the more personalised their recommended matches become. Additionally, as user’s swipe through the app, they can pin their top hotel choice to the map so they can see where the hotel is relative to their location or other attractions.

The Booking Now app can be downloaded from the relevant app stores – iOS only for now with Android coming soon.

If only I had more time and more money to be spontaneous!

Denon Innovates Presentations with Kudo at CES

Denon logoWe’ve all heard the horror stories of presenters who showed up to a location only to find that the venue’s in-house presentation system isn’t compatible with whatever gear they’ve brought with them. Usually, a combination of NASA-like engineering and prayer follows and eventually, the presenter’s device is made to work with the venue’s A/V system. Denon’s new Kudo presentation device should make these kinds of nightmare scenarios a thing of the past.

Nick and Jamie met with Eric from Denon. Eric showed off the new Denon Kudo, a portable device that will hopefully be found soon in every conference room or meeting hall with a projector. Kudo takes a number of different inputs: USB, HDMI, LAN, WiFi, bluetooth, micro SD, AirPlay, MirrorCast and DLNA. It then takes that input signal and outputs it in glorious 4K to any projector or other A/V device. Kudo is platform agnostic, so it fully supports the bring-your-own-device movement. Got an iPad or Android phone? Mac or Windows laptop? No problem. Kudo works with all of them.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly and Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology. For the Tech PodCasts Network.

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Glide Brings Streaming Video Chat to CES

Glide logoInstant messaging and similar chat-style applications have been around for decades. But these types of apps have their drawbacks. The biggest one being that they’re not truly “real time.” One side of a conversation could post a message that hangs in the air for minutes, if not hours or days before receiving a response. Glide is a new app that changes how instant message works by employing synchronous streaming video that plays in real time.

Jamie sat down with Ari from Glide. Ari gave an impressive demonstration of Glide, showing how the app can stream video between two devices with almost no latency. Glide has been engineered from the ground up to skip all of the hassles that a lot of IM-style video clients create. Users don’t have to record, encode, upload and send. Everything happens in the moment. Also, Glide videos are stored in the cloud, so on-device storage space isn’t affected. Glide is a free app and it’s currently available for both iOS and Android devices.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly for the TechPodcast Network.

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Monitor Tyre Pressures with FOBO Tire

Fobo LogoIn-car tyre pressure monitoring is a valuable safety tool, alerting the driver to a potential problem as soon as the pressure drops. Depending on the cost of the car, the alert can be a single red warning light on the dash through to wheel-by-wheel pressure levels. Usually the feature has to be installed by the manufacturer but Fobo Tire is an after-market solution that can be easily fitted to any vehicle, both cars and bikes. Jamie and Nick take to the road with Kevin Tan from Fobo.

Fobo Tire is Bluetooth-based tyre pressure monitoring system, consisting of four sensors that screw onto the tyre’s pressure valve, replacing the dust caps. The sensors transmit data via Bluetooth both to a small monitoring unit that can remain in the vehicle and also to the owner’s smartphone or tablet. The smartphone app works with both iOS and Android, and the app can track up to 19 cars (4 x 19 sensors), so it’s good for multi-car families or small business.

Fobo Tire costs $179 for four sensors and the in-car monitoring unit, and Fobo Bike is $79 for only two sensors. Available now from Fobo’s on-line store.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly and Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the TechPodcast Network.

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Jigsie Is A Fun New Social Network At CES

jigsie logo

Living abroad, I’m always on the lookout for innovative new ways to communicate with friends and family back home, beyond your ordinary old social networks. Lately I’ve been obsessed with Jigsie, a fun new social app with a twist.

Jamie and Nick spoke to Paolo Farrari, CEO of Bella Technologia, about the app. Jigsie is a social app that turns your photos into personalized digital jigsaw puzzles that you can send to your friends and family. With options to add info like location, calendar dates, and more to your “Jigs”, the possibilities are endless with Jigsie.

Jigsie is available for free now for iOS and Android.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly and Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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iSet Smartwatch Keeps Track of Tennis Scores

iSet LogoPeople who are playing a competitive sport need to know the score as the game goes on. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to keep track of it. The iSet smartwatch solves that problem. It keeps track of tennis match scores in real time. Use it to track your own or to check the win/loss ratio of your favorite tennis players.

Scott spoke with Lea Partouche about the iSet smartwatch. The watch is connected via Bluetooth to a person’s smartphone. It requires the use of an app that is free to download for either iOS or Android. You can connect one iSet smartwatch to one smartphone.

Two tennis players, who each are using an iSet smartwatch, can keep track of the score of the match in real time just by glancing at their smartwatch. One really cool thing about the iSet is that it can be used even if your tennis partner doesn’t have one. The smartwatch can still record the score into the app.

In addition to recording the score, the app will show your win/loss statistics. It keeps track of who you played against and when the match took place. Or, you can put the name of a tennis player that you want to follow into the app, and it will show you his or her statistics.

In addition to being a tennis tracker, the iSet smartwatch can do other things. It can show you the time. It can be used as a stopwatch or a timer. It can also be used to count other things. The iSet smartwatch is expected to be released in March of 2015 for a retail price of $129.00.

Interview by Scott of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the TechPodcast Network.

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Fitnet Helps You Get In Shape At CES

Fitnet logo It can be hard to find the time to exercise, especially if there are other things you’d rather be doing. But exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Jamie spoke to Bob Summers of Fitnet about how his company is making getting in shape simple and fun.

Fitnet is an interactive, highly-personalized fitness tracker app that makes it easy to set fitness goals and create a custom weekly fitness plan to help you achieve them. With guidance and video tutorials from real-life fitness trainers, you’ll be getting in shape in no time. Easily squeeze workouts into your schedule whenever you have the time– you only need as little as 5 minutes! It’s perfect for parents, businesspeople, road-trippers, and anyone else with a busy lifestyle and a desire to get fit.

Fitnet is available for free now in the Google Play Store and iOS App Store.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly.

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Schneider Optics Interchangeable Lenses

Schneider LogoDigital pictures and cameras on smartphones have changed the photography beyond recognition in the last twenty years and the quality of the imagery is such that innovative filmmakers are using iPhones to record footage. One restriction remains and that is the lens itself; there’s only one and it’s fixed in place. There’s no swapping in a macro lens, though Schneider Optics might have a solution. Todd finds out more from Don.

Schneider Optics iPro Lens systems provides a selection of high quality optical lenses for Apple iPhones and the Samsung Galaxy S4, including macro, wide-angle, super wide, tele and fisheye. The system works by fitting the smartphone itself into a case and then mounting the lens onto the case with a bayonet connector to ensure the best possible optical alignment. The smallest offset can lead to aberrations and a loss of picture quality, which the iPro Lens case and lens combination avoids.

The iPro Lens is available now for the Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5/5S. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus variant will be on sale shortly. Lenses cost from $39 to $99, the case is $31 and there are kits available too.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Floome Smartphone Breathalyser at CES

2045 TechIt’s best not to drink alcohol at all before driving as even small amounts of alcohol can impair your judgement. However, if you need to check your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), then the Floome smartphone breathalyser from 2045 Tech can help you determine if it’s legal to drive. Fabio Penzo CEO shows Todd that he’s sober.

Floome is a small palm-sized device that plugs into the earphone jack of a smartphone. The owner breathes into Floome which analyses the alcohol concentration and passes the data to the Floome app on the smartphone. The phone then shows the BAC on the screen along with a green or red indicator. The app has other features such as showing the location of the nearest taxi firm or it can send “come and get me” messages with the alcohol level superimposed on a selfie.

The Floome will be launching in Italy for 49 euros and will come to USA in a few months.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Flic Smart Wireless Button at CES

Flic logoFlic is a bluetooth-enabled button. That’s it. But it’s a simple idea that has a thousand uses from taking pictures with a smartphone to autodialling or even working as a personal distress alarm. Nick and Todd go “ah-ha” with Pranav Kosuri, co-founder of Shortcut Labs.

Flic is a coin-sized button that can be stuck or clipped onto nearly anything. When pressed, it sends a signal via bluetooth that is actioned by the Flic app (available for both Android and iOS) and actions include controlling music, dialling phone numbers, sharing GPS position, taking pictures, dimming lights and more. It’s a bit like a local version of IFTTT. Different things can be done depending on the number of clicks or if the button is being held down: one click could be take a picture, two clicks take a video. The possibilities are huge.

The Flic is currently on Indiegogo and $99 gets 5x Flics with delivery in April 2015.

Interview by Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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