Tagged in: social

internet-connectivity-vs-human-connectivity

Does internet connectivity matter more than human connectivity?

World’s rapid move towards omnipresent connectivity is constantly changing how and where people go and what they do. The internet connectivity has been and continues to be changing the way how people associate, gather and share information and consume media and information. Recent researches show that the Internet will be so approachable and effortless that will become indispensable part of human lives, much like water or electricity.

Living the artificial intelligence

It’s no surprise that wearable and embedded computing together with mobile are tied together with the Internet of Things. People have started to loop into the artificial intelligence-improved and cloud-based storage and sharing of information. All the “Augmented reality” inventions, home and living improvements and improvements of people’s real-lives are somehow helping people’s efficiency, consumption, savings… It is true that AI innovations help us in home and security improvements, but can we stop to think whether we’ve stopped using our own intelligence and started to rely only on the artificial one? You can recall remembering at least 10 phone numbers, right? How about now? Or, just few years back we knew our driving directions. Now… well… we just ask Siri.

The thin line between Virtual Reality and Real Reality

vr-couple1Are we living the future as described in some top-notch Hollywood movie? We have our smartphones, smart TVs, smart watches, smart home appliances. And they are about to get even smarter. Virtual Reality is about to make a sufficient change into everyday living and become inevitable part of human being. And we’re not talking only in medical, educational and science purposes. We’re talking about entertainment, experiences and social pieces of everyday living. It’s a matter of years when people start going on concerts via their VR devices. It would be exactly like being there, only you’ll be at the comfort of your home, experience technology instead experience people. At some point people would use their VR devices for traveling digitally instead of visiting real places and real people. So, where would that take us?

How social can we get?

It is no more a matter of sharing experiences. social-media-istock27-crop-600x338It’s about experiencing new experiences. Digitally. The new dimension of being social is upon us, and this raises many questions. Will the technical intelligence surfeit make up for the deficiency of emotional intelligence? Are we about to abandon the concept of being together, being among people? Are we entirely changing our ability to connect other people?

Revolutionized human interactions

The next decade will be challenging in so many ways. It is true that the entire human interaction will be revolutionary changed. Technology will continue affecting 9f378aa578aa0d51c58c010942ef8963education, health, economy, work, politics, and entertainment. Most of the researchers believe the connectivity will be primarily positive. However, with every new innovation there is a new opportunity and possibility of change. And now the range is so wide and it is getting wider. Can we identify and foresee the future in terms of human connectivity? Can we identify potential areas of concern?

After all, we as humans are above the technology. We are the creators and we have the master-power of the technology. Or do we? Feel free to drop us a comment on tech predictions, AR, VR and innovative creations.

email marketing

Maximizing email marketing success

Emails are forever

Yes, we’re consuming the social days and people mostly receive all the information from the Social Medias. But in marketing terms, some goodies like direct marketing and email marketing are essential in every brand’s strategy. You may find this strange, since Social Medias segment your audience like no other media can, but know that good email campaign can build you strong customer relationships, provide you with some valuable data and even boost your ROI. But, no email campaign is easy to execute.  And it is not only the execution. As soon as you send that email, you need to maintain the focus and effectiveness in all your next campaigns. email marketingThis means having your customers get attracted by your subject, having them open your email, read the content and most of all, not deleting the email.

Treat your email campaign like every other advertising campaign you have. Convey your message to the right audience, with the right tone of voice, with the exact edginess the consumer would like to receive and with the effectiveness like all your other ads you place. Email is the medium that is and will be forever, so below are few tips for having a successful email marketing campaign.

Who is this mail for?

Know your audience. This is the first must-have in delivering a successful email marketing campaign. Yes, your subject will ultimately attract the customers, but not if it reaches a wrong ones. Consider your customers the most valuable asset you have and place them in a clean neat list. Know their interests, free time and internet habits. Never ever spam everybody with your emails. And most importantly, don’t ever assume “they might like”, Know if they’re going to like, since this is the only thing that matters. Start with building your list. email marketingThe easiest thing you can do is offer your customers free sampling or discounts in order to receive permission for their contact details. As soon as you have the permission focus on asking hem the precise questions you need, guarantying your customers on data security. Ask only what you need and never too much since too many questions will lose your potential customers. Have a visible unsubscribe option for them, to make them sure they’re not obligated to follow you, but they’re doing it because they want to know more about your brand and products. Never spam. Never! Have a clear privacy policy that never fades your customers’ trust. And last but not least, always make sure that your list is up to date. Mail addresses change but you need to track the return emails and always reach your customers.

Set your objectives and start with them

It is the same when starting a new business. You have to have a clear and moreover achievable objective and purpose of the business itself. Understanding the objective of sending emails will lead to the path of success. Understand your emails as a whole of several important fragments that equally produce deliverables. When having an objective for the overall email campaign, you don’t just focus on your subject alone. The subject will have the desired click, but if the content doesn’t deliver what your readers were interested within the subject, your email goes to trash. Keep the close connection between the subject and the body of the email. Even if your email has outstanding content, if it is not related to the subject and is not in the customer’s field of interest or is too misleading, the customer will not read the email. Both your broad and narrow objectives should be in line with your audience. Mix and match and deliver meaningful email content that will eventually be beneficial for both you and the readers.

Catch the reader’s attention: use catchy but clear subject

Yes, his majesty, the subject. It is important to make it catchy to grab the reader’s attention, but more important is to deliver a message that will genuinely generate an interest in reading the entire mail. Be honest. Tell them exactly what your email is about. If your email is beneficial for them, let them know within your subject. email marketingThink about what you will say and how will you say it. If possible, write your subject so it generates an instant emotion about your email. Curiosity would be the perfect emotion to create, but urgency and sympathy will also do the work. Or you can simply go with call to action. Intriguing yet inspiring subject line delivers higher click-to-open rate. But, try to loose “FREE” in your subject. This is often used by selling spammers and most likely will not be clicked. Think more in terms of an opening line to a conversation you’re about to have with your customer. You grab his interest with the introduction but continue his interest with the content of your conversation.

Converse while focusing on the message

If you have already set your objective, it’s clear than email campaigns are more than communication. They send out what you have to say. They release your message. So in order to deliver your message right, you need to focus. First of all it would be highly useful if you subscribe to newsletters from other companies. As you do, you’ll start thinking like a customer. You’ll easily notice what messages you open and which ones you delete without even clicking. When writing your copy, always use conversational tone, make it direct and include call to action. Your readers will genuinely want to click on your emails if you let them know they receive valuable content. Drive their curiosity, not only in reading your emails but in visiting your website and ultimately buying one of your product or services. When an email speaks a concise and direct conversation to a specifically crafted audience, it can drive immediate and emotional benefit but also leverages curiosity. And when the conversation has started, you need to focus on maintaining it and extending it even further, by listening to the audience and adding some extra value for them. Make them engage with your emails. Ask them what they would want to know or have, like some juicy info, specially crafted offers, new services and discounts and always include your link to your emails. Try to personalize each message and even ask the readers to participate. How? Make sure you always include social buttons so the readers could easily share the content of your emails and continue the conversation on all other Social Medias.

Test your messages and measure the success

You’ve come up with mail concepts, you have good subject lines and you’re about to launch your big email campaign. Stop. Before sending your email out, you need to do the test. You need to test out the look, feel and performance of your emails in order to achieve optimal results. For example, you have two concepts that you think would work great. Test them both between your employees, or friends. Find out which one performs better in terms of subject, body, call to action and you will have your winning email. There is a standard A/B testing for subject lines that determine whether your message is the right one to go to your readers’ inbox. Also emphasize the images. Always use clear, royalty cleared images and even better; make photo shoots to have your own image base. Make sure all the links are in right position, all clickable, all delivering the reader to the right destination. The last thing you would like is to carry your customer to a different location than desired one.

email marketingAfter all tests have ensured your email is ready and you send it and launch your email campaign, make sure you’ll able to measure the results. Measuring will help you see what works and what doesn’t for your audience which will allow you to have better and better future campaigns. Try to gather as many data as you can. Look up for real-time reports and results via Google analytics or similar tools. A successful email marketing campaign will indicate high percentage of people who have opened the email. The open/send ratio improves with considering all above points, especially accentuate the audience segmentation. But ultimately, the success of your email campaign will be resolved at the moment when you truly understand the email as your marketing medium.

Automation as a tool

There is a great advantage in email marketing. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. You can automate your email marketing. It’s easy, affordable and can save you a whole load of time, while letting you more space in developing your other strategies or creatively express yourself. Orange Interactive Technology creates customized email marketing automation solutions, enabling you to build stronger relationships with your audience, while measuring your results and keeping track of all previous and next campaigns.

shopify-facebook-advertising

Facebook Ads: Small Business Luxury

The cost of being liked

Being liked in all aspects of life comes at some price. Whether a good behavior, knowledge, trendy clothes or even the most modern gadgets. Its ironical that the most precious things in life are facebook-advertising-sydneyfree whereas the most essentials ones come at a price. As an example, one might remember the days where companies used to quote: ” Let’s put that on Facebook, it’s free!”. Since those early days, Facebook remained at the very top of its game, and no wonder today it is one of the best advertising platforms for small and large businesses alike. Today, Facebook has reached over 1.79 billion monthly active users, in an industry where total digital media spends are at 38% of the total media spends. Digital media has now replaced TV media as the number 1 medium for advertising. Moreover, it enables target specific audience marketing. Brands can pick and choose the customers who receive their message based on interests, geo-location, and demographics. In comparison to other advertising mediums, Facebook remains economical when compared to the results it delivers.

Limited ad space competition

In the past few years, Facebook ads have risen in popularity. Its not a mere coincidence that the number of small businesses who advertise on Facebook has grown larger, narrowing the ad space. This growth has created an imbalance of supply and demand. Reports say that in the first quarter the average ad price has increased by 5% and but this has not turned away advertisers, who continued buying ads. But, with the rise of the ads, that the Cost-per-Clicks have also increased, making the small-budget campaigns under performing.

4 million active Advertisers on Facebook.

Its no surprise that as the social platform grew, the number of brands competing to get a chunk of all that foot-fall, grew as well. This intense growth made easier for bigger companies to spread wider. Bigger brands had bigger budgets and dedicated teams who consistently manage the online Facebook advertisingstrategy and thus able to make the overall ads performance better. However, if you are a small or struggling business the chances of you spending a lot of time and money on managing your Facebook performance are lower. So, is there a solution for improving your performance? At our deepest repentance nowadays you cannot make a Facebook strategy without ads. With Facebook ads, businesses have 8x more engagement than an unpaid organic post. Our studies have shows that Facebook advertising can also help brands achieve upto 192% more conversions, 92% higher ad recall, 31% greater brand awareness, and 35% lower cost per conversion. There is one less battle to win the war.

Alternative strategy boosting

The best way to start is by listening what the platform has to say. Use the information Facebook provides and optimize your targeting. Include or exclude audiences based on their interests, age or locations to make your ad reach exactly the customers you need. As the Facebook ads differ from Facebook Advertisingyour daily posts, you need to make your copy catchy since its important to grab your eye’s attention from among the never-ending scroller. Another solution might be to launch multiple ads. Instead of creating just one, we suggest you create a couple of ads, playing with the visuals and with the text so to know which one performs best. It us also important, just like everything else today, to make your ads mobile responsive. Responsive ads must be your single biggest agenda since Facebook users use the social network from their smartphone app. However, today with this intense competition for the ad space on Facebook, companies start to experiment with many alternative and innovative approaches to growing their audience or engage with it.

Engaging Influencers  

Today, the struggle is to have the trends and creativity work together and become contagious. It is about building relationships and memorable experiences. It is about unique performance and engagement. And probably the best way to make all this happen is by engaging influencers.Social media influencers are the bloggers, Instagrammers and all other people who have a wider community of loyal followers. Using them in your strategy will help you build the desired relationships with your audience. No matter how big the Facebook Influencersinfluencers’ audience is, they can reach the crowd easily and in a way that your brand may not be able to. In example, mid-level influencers, like bloggers or instagrammers with ~ 100,000 followers have higher engagement in comparison to the top ranked influencers or even celebrities. Their audience may be smaller but definitely more loyal, driving around 16 times higher engagement than the “Mega” ones. Also, user reviews has become one of the most important influencers in buying a product, right? Well, with influencers, you’ll have very influential online reviews of your products or services, placed directly to your audience, making them believe that it is not only their right choice but also their only one. And most importantly, our research shows that in this millennial era, 90% of the consumers trust “peer recommendation” and only 33% trust the ads.

In the end, whether you decide to go for the economic Facebook advertising or maybe increase your budgets for the tailored ads or even still widening your budgets further to hire an influencer, this is still the best way to place your brand online. So make the most of the social platforms and shine bright like a diamond!

Online Shopping

Online Shopping: Are You Addicted Yet?

The power of “add to basket” button

Generally when people browse retailers, or web pages that sell certain products or services want to have a buying option. Not having an e-commerce solution it’s a huge mistake. It’s 2017, a period where annoying shoppers by reminding them to visit a physical store is not considered cool, especially when shoppers love the online experience. How much ever sparkle and fun it adds to your pexels-photo-230544Saturday visiting a mall for shopping fares lower than online shopping where experience is concerned, the latter is far better, and doesn’t require leaving the house, office or the place of being at the moment!

Unless selling goods for old people, most retailers consider their customers as digital and contemporary. They like to have their options open and not waste too much time. They want to be able to quickly and easily look for what they want, find it and buy it. Online shopping not only is faster, better and much, much easier for them, it quickly becomes their only shopping option.

E-commerce will become a ‘traditional’ business, says Alibaba’s Chairman and former CEO, Jack Ma “We anticipate the birth of a re-imagined retail industry driven by the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain.”

It’s in your phone, so you shop on the go
The “everywhere convenience” can easily create the first online shopping addiction. Shop wherever you are, whether in the office, at home, while waiting in the car for the lights to turn green, Online shoppingwhile lying on the beach or before going to bed at night. The Online shopping platforms are open 24×7. And for no-timers, this might be on the top of the why-shop-online list.

Addiction grows bigger knowing that a shopper, in online shopping model, has the power to compare prices from different sellers just in a matter of clicks. The freedom of choosing the best and most affordable product online, while saving time and energy is a blast!

It’s you and you only

Let’s say you are a tech freak or you really, really want to be the first to get the hands on some new or discounted item. Well, new arrivals or big discounts pull crowds in stores. This possibility makes online shopping a paradise if you hate crowds. Plus, nowadays online sales tend to have more significant discounts than offline ones. Take Black Friday and Cyber Monday for instance. So, no spending your precious time, no waiting in lines and no driving (so no traffic jams). It will only take a simple browsing and just a few clicks, whilst wearing your favorite pajamas. Maybe this crowd avoidance is the most obvious benefit to get you hooked on online shopping. Well, if not…

There’s everything online!

Were you thinking about green sunglasses? Bam! OEMFD40You found them online. You would even find better red ones. When shopping online, there are much more products and many more options. A thousand styles, color combinations and price ranges. Are you shopping for the whole family? No problem, it’s done in few tabs only. Instead of wandering around multiple stores you can choose from the variety of online products. You can easily shop at multiple stores at the same time. And even more important, online stores never close up! Payment is always available via your credit card, or yet more, there is pay-on-delivery option to pamper you even further.

No more Out-of-stock freak outs

How many times have you gone to the mall to buy some new clothes and your number or color was out of stock? Almost always in offline sales, all good products are gone in no time. But not online! If out of stock, you can still order it and receive it as soon as it becomes available again. Email subscription to your favorite online stores makes things even easier. You get notified of new arrivals, sales or products coming back in stock again. In short, there is a slight or no chance at all that you miss buying your favorite products online.

The addiction has grown bigger, right?

You have developed an everyday habit of revisiting several retailers to see if they have promotions, sales or new arrivals. There is always an opened tab of an online store or you have a full shopping cart in your browser, waiting for the “buy now” click. Your mailman has your cell phone number. And he’s calling on the weekly basis. You get carried away and shop from work. Almost all the websites you online shoppingvisit have ads and banners from your online stores. Your inbox is full of promotional emails, codes and discount newsletters. Discount or sale emails give you heebie-jeebies. You’ve learned your way and shop only from free shipping and free return stores. You’ve started receiving packages you forgot to order or something you ordered twice since you forgot to order it the first time. You get a bit depressed every time an item you want is “sold out” or hasn’t arrived on time and you “needed just that”. When your friends invite you to the mall, you quickly respond with “I can order that online.” You have more than one shopping mobile apps. And finally, you are stressed out every time an item that arrives is not as you’ve expected.

Well, face it; you might be addicted to online shopping. Congratulations.

 

Marija Stardelova                                                                                                                                              Marketing Specialist and Blogger, Orange Interactive Technology

Travel planning

Sites and apps a traveler should use, like, NOW!

pexels-photo-297642

Moving past January, it is time to start planning your next big travel. So many places, so little time, right. Well, let’s help you take the hassle out of your next travel with a few tech solutions. Choosing an app or a good travel website can be time-consuming, and we hope to be of help by providing you some of the best free travel apps and most useful travel related websites for 2017. Let’s make the where-to-go and where-to-stay a bit easier and maybe even flawless! From finding interesting and rarely explored routes, to finding the cheapest flights and accommodation, to helping you experience the cities like a local, these apps and websites we’ve chosen for you will ease out the planning and make your travel more enjoyable.

Flights, Planning and Travel routes

Planning can be a nightmare, but at the same time it’s challenging and fun; getting to know all those places, routes and flight combinations. Here are a few websites/apps to give you some ideas, insights and to ease your travel planning and costs.

pexels-photo

eDreams.net – is a flight generator, helping you to book your next vacation at lowest prices. Actually, it might be one of the best flight generators out there. How? The fast and really efficient website (and app as well) is getting the best deals and discounts from over 450 airlines showing you the cheapest, shortest and smartest option for flight tickets. You can easily choose flight options, companies and other services like great deals for hotels, cars or combo deals at best prices. The mobile app is fast and free and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

rome2rio – this is one of the best online trip planning platforms out there, helping you discover how to get anywhere by plane, train, bus, car and ferry. The website (and app ) calculates all the possible routes for your desired destination (or an entire trip), giving you options for different transportation combinations together with pricing and approximate time of arrival. Rome2Rio’s travel search engine contains route information from over 4,800 transport operators in over 158 countries. The website even provides accommodation, car hire and suggests things to do in the selected destination. The mobile app is easy-to-use, free and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

pexels-photo-240224

utrip – is a free and easy to use travel-planning platform providing travelers the greatest planning and traveling experience. The platform makes it easy for travelers to create their perfect trip quickly and in a matter of clicks, combining the best of both worlds-artificial intelligence and human experience. Having a vast travel database curated by local area experts the traveler can not only choose their destination but also their interest, budgets and traveling preferences. The powerful AI algorithm on the platform creates millions of potential combinations and possibilities for the travelers’ profile. This may include hotels, sites, activities and restaurants, creating a personalized day-by-day journey with maps. Unfortunately, this AWESOME platform still has limited places inboard. The mobile app is free, and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

Holiday pirates – pirates indeed, this platform offers amazing and unimaginable last minute offers. You can browse through the offered deals or start searching your own. It generates the cheapest accommodation and travel options and gives you last minute deals for the desired places. Its only fault is that the service is not enabled worldwide. You can only choose the deals originating in 11 countries. So, if you search deals from the UK, you’ll have to plan the trip to the UK first. The mobile app is also free and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

Flightstats – as the name says, Flightstats is a global flight tracking platform. It provides flight status, tracker and sends flight alerts. You need to know the airline company and the flight number in order to get tracking. The platform also provides airport overview, shows the departures, arrivals, maps and tracking of airports. It’s a great tool for busy schedules, connection flights or if you have to wait for your friends arrival. Their app is also free of charge and you can download it for iPhone or Android.


Booking and Accommodation

If you decide not to use trip generator and go manually and book everything, after managing your transport, you’ll need to start planning your accommodation. From our experience, we have selected some of the best lodging apps and websites so that you get the most from your trip.

person-woman-apple-hotel

Airbnb – In an era of aggregators, Airbnb became one of the best platforms for accommodation. Making you feel at home, staying at people’s homes or even with them can be a truly enriching cultural experience. Both the website and the mobile app are well organized, helping you find the perfect accommodation for your trip, based on your budget, preferences, and interests. You can browse through hosts’ feedback and you can also chat with them for any questions. From our experience, Airbnb is a great and quite affordable service for group travelers. Hosts are almost always very polite and helpful and if you’re up to it, they can make your trip local-like. The mobile app is free and you can download it for iPhone and Android.

Booking.com – unlike airbnb where you choose to stay in people’s homes, Booking.com offers you deals for hotels, hostels and rental apartments. The website (and mobile app as well) offers you great-value travel deals and place suggestion. But most importantly it has 1,138,034 properties worldwide. Most bookings are made with credit cards, but some venues do no mandate a credit card at the time of reservation – instead you can pay upon arrival. The Destination inspiration is also a cool option, which helps you find monthly destinations based on your preferences such as accommodation price, weather, and popularity. Unfortunately, hosts are not always responsive, since the emails do not go straight to them but through booking’s service, which might be a setback sometimes. The mobile apps are, however, free and you can download them by scanning their code on the website or on the following links: iPhone and Android.

food-plate-healthy-coffee

Kayak – is another well-organized travel generator, providing you with accommodation options concerning hotels and private rentals. The search is generated among hundreds of hotels at once, providing the best price. You can also choose to compare the Kayak offerings with other services like booking.com, hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline to make sure you receive the cheapest or best option. Moreover, Kayak includes a car rental generator engine, so that you don’t lose time in searching mobility options through separate car rental portals.The Kayak app is also free and can be downloaded for iPhone and Android.

Hotel Tonight – you just got notified you need to travel? No problem, because with the Hotel Tonight travel app you can book at the last moment since the site offers fantastic last-minute deals on great hotels. With downloading the app, which is, of course, free for both iPhone and Android, it’s easy for you to find a hotel at no time, even in the case of missed or canceled flights.


Getting around

Once you’ve booked everything and finally arrived at your destination, it is time to get around, experience the most out of the place you’ll stay in and more importantly not get lost. If you thought we would recommend Google maps now wait till we tell you it’s our second best app for the purpose.

navigation-1048294_1920

Maps.me – is the best choice of maps for your travel. It is the fastest, the most detailed completely offline search mobile app. Maps.me include the maps for the entire world (yes, even the smallest villages and islands) and not only maps – museums, restaurants, shopping malls – everything, literally everything!. The maps never freeze, you operate them smoothly zooming in and out, and with the GPS Positioning and compass, you can locate exactly where you are. The app also suggests features and points of interest. As soon as you download the app, for free for iPhone and Android, you download the maps of the places you’re about to visit, using your Wi-Fi connection and you start exploring completely Offline, saving money on roaming charges.

Google Maps – Everyone is already familiar with Google Maps, and the mobile app is considered one of the best navigation apps out there. It is another solution that also works great especially if you have saved places which are then easier to access with the suggested local transportation options. It works best when online, but you can also download some areas for offline use as well. If you don’t have it, get it here for iPhone and Android.

Uber – If you are not a fan of the public transportation and you don’t like spending time walking, there is another solution, usually cheaper than the local taxi. Again, on the platform of shared-economy apps, Uber is a ride-sharing app currently active in around 77 countries and 527 cities, making it the biggest car-sharing platform. The app enables you to easily request a ride giving you a choice of vehicle rates and fare quotes to choose. Even more convenient, you can connect with the selected driver, track the car’s location, and securely pay using a credit card. It is easier than looking for a taxi when abroad but more expensive than the public transport. Also, you can sign up for a ride, or you can become a driver yourself. The app is free for both iPhone and Android.

pexels-photo-298018

Citymapper – called the Ultimate Transport app is specially designed for confusing cities! The app makes A to B trip planning easier with estimated time of arrival and including all transport types (subway, bus, rail, ferry, bike and car sharing). It is the best way to find and utilize public transportation. Citymapper is a great solution if you are a first-timer in a city and using the public transport. The app displays the arrival and departure schedules of all available transport means and what’s even better, you can add and subscribe to particular train or bus lines, and the app will send notifications when you need to get off.The app is available on the web and also free to download for iPhone and Android as well.


Where to go next

We’ve got you covered with the transport and getting out and about at your destination, now we get to the fun part! Want to try the local specialties, the best cuisine or just need a cup of extra tasty coffee? Or maybe you would like to go to a museum or an art gallery? Here is a selection of apps that will help you find the best places during your stay.

handwritten-italian-marketing-menu

Stay.com – The best way to experience a city is by taking suggestions from locals. And Stay.com has recommendations from locals neatly organized in custom tailored guides. Every traveler picks the city to travel and browses the previously created guides, exploring the best places to eat, drink, and have fun. It is the app for urban travelers, and its only flaw is that not all cities from the world are yet available, but the list grows daily. Download the iPhone and Android app for free.

pexels-photo-192933

Trip advisor – is the biggest site for travel insights, reviews, and suggestions. It includes hotels, holiday rentals, things to do, restaurants and flights, but most important of all; it includes local picks, customer opinions and user rated experience. It will help you decide where you wanna grab something to eat based on the client reviews. It includes a wide range of guides, whether you want to choose a budget eats or a luxury one or you want to experience the local cuisine, culture and landmarks. Trip advisor is the largest and most popular web platform also serving all mobile platforms, so you can easily download it for free for iPhone, Android, Microsoft.

Google Trips – Well, it’s Google’s relatively new travel tool, helping travelers plan and organize their travels in all-in-one platform. From having all your reservation and confirmation numbers pulled from your Gmail or other inbox, to suggesting you must-visit places, to automatically discovering new sights, and tracking your travel info at all time. Google Trips also stores all the data offline, so you can access them at any time. So you don’t have much to do, the app does almost everything for you. You can download it for free, for iPhone and Android and enjoy your travel.

Guides by Lonely planet – the newest addition to the Lonely planet family, the Guides – is helping the ultimate travelers to get to know the destinations to the core directly from their mobile device. Whether you want to explore the best destinations or you want to know more about your next travel destination, Guides offers you useful tips and advice from on-the-ground experts making the Guides the ultimate travel resource. Get the iPhone and Android apps now for free and start exploring for your next trip!

pexels-photo-313738

All photos via pexels.com

Foursquare – ultimately, but still imminent Foursquare is widely popular and most commonly used application for finding the best places in the area. Working online, you’re able to locate the coolest places the best food, nightlife, and entertainment in your area. And how do you know the places are good? Well from user check-ins and reviews. For years now users have been checking into places, posting photos of their food, drink or favorite places first via Foursquare itself and later via Swarm, making the app the best tool for discovering hidden places. It’s a must, and you better try not to forget using it on your next trip. Explore via your iPhone, Android or Windows for free.


There are of course many other apps and websites you can use for travel assistance, but this is our little selection. We’ve used them, and we’re quite happy with the provided experience. Don’t forget to snap everything from your trip, check in on Facebook and post the photos on Instagram as well, since no travel is ever complete without these two apps, right?

Feel free to tell us how you found our suggestions; if you liked us, we’d send you newer and better apps as they arrive.

 

Marija Stardelova                                                                                                                                   Marketing Specialist and Blogger, Orange Interactive Technology

24662092641_2befeb5cda_b

Virtual Reality: You can’t help but say “WOW!”

Familiarity with VR

By now, you don’t have to be a tech geek to be familiar with Virtual Reality and its influence to modern living. But just in case, probably the shortest and simplest explanation about VR you’ll ever get is that Virtual Reality is a computer generated environment that enables you to experience a different reality.

How VR works

fun-1869422_1920

By using several software technologies that generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations, combined with hardware devices (display screens, goggles and headsets), VR replicates a real environment, creating a certain imaginary setting. Through simulating a user’s physical presence in a given environment by looking around and moving around in it and enabling him to interact with the space, creating artificial sensory experiences like sight, touch, hearing it opens up a new, never before explored dimension of user experience.

By now, VR comes in several different forms to choose from – the cheap headsets that work with your phone or the much more expensive options that require a powerful PC or gaming console and some space to move around. Whichever you choose, the VR set will visually separate you from the space you are physically in and take you to the places you’ve always wanted to visit; it will engage you in a video game without moving from your couch or let you experience a movie as if you are part of it.

How can VR help in easier living?

Having all things in mind, the big question inevitably pops up: So, with such power, how can the VR help people in making their lives easier. Well…. It kinda does…

Architecture: Trends come to a time where architecture becomes virtual before it comes real. Nowadays, users can step inside a virtual building, look around in all directions, walk into rooms, climb stairs or even walk along the edges of an under-construction building. In design process, architects also use VR to visualize or choose the finishing options like wood, stone, marble, and bronze… In one word, users can explore any building around the world, inside or out, including the ones that don’t yet exist… This is both terrifying and extremely useful and practical at the same time, making it easier for the user to understand and have a clear image very quickly.

Health care and Medicine: Medical VR is an area with fascinating possibilities and its benefits are truly versatile. VR simulations can be an effective treatment for everything from intense pain to Alzheimer’s disease to arachnophobia to depression. How it works: basically, the worst pain can be eased by manipulating the human mind: the less you focus on pain, the easier it feels. Hence, swamping the brain with an overload of sensory inputs and distracting the patients from reality helps them with their pain.

Whoever has gone through a hospital experience, surely knows that it can be really stressful. Moreover, this can also be a mental burden, especially for small children who miss their parents, their friends or their home. Thus, VR can make hospitalized children feel like they’re at home.

There many other useful practices of VR such as watching or performing operations, relaxing chronic patients, meditation, rehabilitation and speeding up recovery for patients who survived a stroke or a traumatic brain injury, treatment for PTSD, etc. More recently, hospitals are using VR simulations to help war veterans reviving the traumatic events they’ve experienced, in order to understand their traumas and hopefully figure out a way to deal with it.

Art and History: Believe it or not, the Louvre is one of many museums providing a unique Virtual Experience tour. Becoming an enormously high-rising trend, more and more galleries and museums are using it and creating engaging and one-of-a-kind experience tours for their visitors. Whether being high resolution artworks, 360 degrees of panoramic painting views and full exhibits, journeys through ancient temples, reconstructed versions of archaeological sites, or imagery explanation of history and heritage – the VR can bring something to people that no longer exists, even reconstruct in its original form. This is making it possible for them to experience a favorite place over and over again, in an entirely different way.

giphy

Gaming: Obviously, today video games are one of the main interests for VR. Especially that VR will give game designers the freedom to take gamers to previously unexperienced levels. Now that players can reach out and touch things or turn their head to look, instead of mastering a complex controller, a unique gaming experience and feeling as being inside of the game is possible for the first time in history.

Tourism and Lifestyle: Virtual tourism can be the next big thing. Thanks to VR now everybody could travel and visit Paris, Barcelona, New York… But why stop there? The possibilities are endless, we can conquer Mars, or even planets outside of our solar system. We can swim along whales at the bottom of the ocean, experience stampedes in the savannas, and climb the Himalayas, everything from the comfort of your home.  Whether watching a 360-degree video someone took, or experiencing a 3D generated simulation, you can now replace the real world with your dream place or destination of choice.

Education: Another great and very important advantage of VR is of course in education. berlin-1429878_1920Now, thanks to Virtual Reality students could take a class trip to ancient Rome, visit Verona to look at the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or try an open-heart surgery without any risks. This global distribution of VR content and access will undoubtedly influence a pedagogical shift as these new technologies spread out and become more available. Some forward-thinking educators are even using 3D printers to print their own customized HMDs with their technology students.

Are there any Social aspects of VR?

But, here comes the psychological question: How being “virtually present in an artificial environment” can improve social relations? At this point, the future of virtual reality is often publicized as a dystopian view of millions of people spending hours alone each day, with huge gadgets stuck to their face, enraptured by fantastical, imaginary worlds.

If we look the other way around, it is going to be millions of people spending time together with friends, family, colleagues, and new acquaintances, experiencing moments together no matter the physical distance between them. Or in other words, no matter where on the globe, you’ll be able to be in the same room as your friends or family.

As we speek, the social platforms are implementing the VR into their content management. Just yesterday Facebook launched the 360 degree video for Facebook Live, which will sooner or later enable all users of the social platform to create even more immersive real-time content, and is the the next step towards social in virtual reality.

So, what we’ve learned so far:

Having recently experienced an amazing HTC Vive in-person, VR is definitely integrating the physical and digital. It brings people into the same environment to hang out, while enjoying different activities. It is giving participants superpowers or putting them into even more fantastical, immersive environments, unable to experience IRL. While you’re in VR, you are completely separated from reality, which only confirms with the seeing is believing philosophy.

Our practice:blond man with virtual glasses. surprised expression

We at Orange Interactive, are extremely proud to be part of the VR development, helping industries, social researches and bringing closer the new innovative technologies to people every day.

 

Marija Stardelova

Marketing Specialist and Blogger, Orange Interactive Technology