Smartphone Market Responds to Senior Users

Smartphone technology may seem complicated and flashy, but don’t believe anyone who says it’s only for the young. In fact, 73 percent of those 50 to 59 years old now own a smartphone, according to a 2016 survey from AARP. Going one step further, a recent study of smartphone user habits by the Pew Research Center concludes that 92 percent of those aged 50 and above now use text messaging, 80 percent use their phones to access the internet and 87 percent use them to send and receive email.

Still, a significant smartphone generation gap exists within the baby boomer set. While smartphone owners 50 to 59 regularly perform common daily tasks and even occasionally play a game on their smartphones, AARP’s study noted adults 60 to 69 are far more likely to rely on a laptop or desktop computer for email or internet use, and tend to avoid apps and games altogether.

Obstacles to smartphone enjoyment

It’s no great mystery why certain baby boomers have been hesitant to fully embrace smartphone technology. Traditionally, mobile phones have simply not been designed with seniors in mind. Rather, they are designed for the larger share of the market represented by younger users, who grew up playing high-tech games, surfing the web and using touchscreens.

Software interfaces are often not particularly senior friendly. Small content size and busy screens can be difficult to read and comprehend. The challenge of navigating multiple menu levels is simply not intuitive for many older users.

The small physical size of many devices, and the even smaller size of things like number keys and icons, present challenges that can make smartphones frustrating for seniors to use, and sometimes even seem a little intimidating.

Growing choices to satisfy senior needs

Fortunately, the wireless industry has responded, and the gap is quickly being filled. Savvy manufacturers and specialized carriers have recognized the potential of the senior market, resulting in more and better choices than ever.

Samsung’s Android smartphones, for instance, include a simplified version of its operating software designed to make navigation more convenient. Called “Easy Mode,” this optional setting is found in nearly every modern Samsung device. Easy Mode enlarges the size of text and icons, and allows users to put everything within easy reach on a single screen.

Most Android and iPhone models also offer options within the Settings menu that allow users to adjust things like font size and screen brightness to tailor the user experience to their specific needs. With any Android smartphone, users also have the option of downloading a third-party launcher from the Google Play Store, which provides big pictures and text to simplify navigation.

There’s even a growing segment of the carrier market focusing on seniors. Known for its affordable rates and excellent customer service, Consumer Cellular is a full-service, no-contract carrier that offers a range of specifically senior-friendly smartphones for any skill level. Other carriers have gained popularity among older users by offering simplified smartphones with convenient emergency calling features.

Opening up new worlds

Beyond a slight learning curve, there’s no longer any reason for seniors to feel left out, or even limited, by smartphone technology. By integrating new, senior-oriented designs and features, today’s smartphone experience can be as simple and user-friendly as they need it to be.

The Pew study reveals just how integral smartphones have become to the lives of users over 50. Going beyond standard uses, 39 percent in this age bracket also use their phones to access information about health conditions; 34 percent use them to do online banking. Fifty-five percent use smartphones for social networking, and another 55 percent use their phone’s features for entertainment.

There are truly almost no limits on what can be done with a smartphone. No longer a mere toy or gadget, it has evolved to become an indispensable modern tool. The good news for older users is that it is also now more accessible than ever. (BPT)

Give Graduates the Gift They Want: Ashley Chloe

Graduation is an important accomplishment and the beginning of a transition from one part of life to the next. The day itself may be brief, but the work it took to get there is significant. Shouldn’t Graduation Day be marked by more than a “Good Luck with Life” card and a bouquet of flowers?
The Ashley Chloe Helix Cuff is a pair of wireless headphones that are both easy-to-use and fashionable: a great gift perfect for the new grad, starting life with a fresh sense of style.
Post-graduates have better things to do than sort out tangled headphone cords. The Helix Cuff keeps your earbuds on your wrist, within easy reach at all times, and it uses Bluetooth to connect to your cellphone, meaning no more tangled cords! It’s perfect for commuting to work, walking in the park, and listening to your favorite music or audio books. You can even make phone calls with it. When done, the Helix earbuds are stored back in a sleek, cutting-edge cuff, that comes in 6 different colors.
CEO & Founder Angela Pan

CEO & Founder Angela Pan

“I designed the Helix Cuff to be a smarter, more fashionable way to enjoy music on-the-go. Modern headphones aren’t always stylish, or easy to store and find. The Helix Cuff solves these problems as a wrist-wearable device that’s distinct and stylish,” says Angela Pan, CEO of Ashley Chloe.
The Helix Cuff is equipped with the most advanced sound technology available in a Bluetooth wearable tech gadget. Smart Multipoint Connectivity allows grads to connect to multiple devices. AptX technology, cVc noise reduction, and Bluetooth 4.1 gives your graduate the most premium sound experience. Shop here: www.ashleychloe.com/order
About Ashley Chloe
Ashley Chloe is a brand that delivers high-tech chic to fashion-forward individuals who crave sleek digital wearables designed expressly for their modern lifestyle. Their flagship product, The Helix Cuff™ solves the problem of dealing with tangled and easy to lose headphones in a fashion-forward way. It is the world’s first wrist-wrap-storable pair of headphones; a sleek wearable with extractable Bluetooth® headphones for your wrist. Keep your fashion and tunes close at hand. Ashley Chloe is based in San Francisco, just north of Silicon Valley.

How to Find a Hotel That can Cater to Your Technology Demands

8 questions that ensure technology needs are met while at a hotel

You arrive at your hotel and pull out your smartphone. After an incredibly long sign-in process, you connect to the Internet. It works fine in the hallway but not in your room, so you go to the business center to check email and print tickets to tonight’s show. The center is packed, so you head back to your room to wait. Meanwhile, your kids are trying to stream a movie and the Internet connection is slow.

Both business and leisure travelers rely on technology to stay connected and streamline to-do’s. However, poor Wi-Fi and minimal tech-focused amenities leave many travelers disappointed. That’s why before booking a hotel, you should always ask questions to ensure you get as much out of your technology while travelling as you do while at home.

Ask these eight questions to make sure your technology needs are met while staying at any hotel, no matter how many devices you plan to use.

Is the room suited for technology?

Whether new or remodeled, modern hotels should feature room designs that support technology. For example, ask about easy access to outlets and charging stations while you’re in the room to ensure you can plug in your phone, charge your tablet and use your computer all at the same time.

How reliable is the Internet?

Fast, reliable Internet is critical for anyone traveling for business or pleasure. When you stay at IHG hotels, you can feel confident you get superior Internet service. IHG Connect provides advanced Wi-Fi technology with increased bandwidth to meet the demand and volume needs of guests.

What is the login process?

Lengthy login processes are a hassle, especially if you’re connecting multiple devices. Some hotels offer streamlined methods which is a big time-saver. Want to log in just once? IHG Rewards Club members log in and then they’ll be recognized and automatically connected at every IHG Connect-enabled hotel.

How secure is the Wi-Fi network?

Most hotels today offer Wi-Fi to guests, but it might not be a secure network. To ensure private information stays private, only stay at hotels with a private and secure Internet connection for guests.

Is there an extra cost for Wi-Fi?

Some hotels charge extra for fast Internet access. Ask about costs and look into membership perks that wave these fees. For example, IHG Rewards Club members receive free Wi-Fi at all IHG properties.

What is available at the business center?

A good hotel will have a business center available to all guests. Inquire as to what is included at the center to ensure your needs are met. Printers, fax machines, computers and a variety of outlets should be available.

What are the hours of the business center?

Ask about the hours of the business center so you know you’re covered, whether you need to book a last-minute reservation to the city’s hottest attraction or print out that big report for tomorrow’s presentation.

Are meeting spaces available?

For business travelers, impromptu meeting spaces are great for quick meetups or when you want to get out of your room for a change of scenery. For more formal gatherings, ask the hotel about the availability of meeting planners who can assist in organizing the technology needs of large groups of people and corporate events.

Keep your technology moving as fast as you do by asking these questions now. That way your hotel stay will be that much more enjoyable, comfortable and productive. (BPT)

Tech Celebrity Gerard Adams Says Fulfillment, Not Achievement is What Entrepreneurs Should Strive For.

GERARD ADAMS, ALSO KNOWN AS THE “MILLENNIAL MENTOR,” WANTS TO EARN NEWARK, NEW JERSEY THE REPUTATION AS A HUB FOR MILLENNIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP. HIS MOTIVATION? THE FULFILLMENT THAT COMES WITH HELPING OTHERS SEE THEIR GOALS ACHIEVED.

Finding success in entrepreneurship isn’t easy, but living with purpose and passion can be even harder. While he’s worked with many different companies and influencers to build, create and innovate, Gerard Adams maintains that he would rather focus on his true passion – sharing what he knows with others.

Gerard’s story begins unlike most millennial entrepreneurs. After high school, he enrolled at Caldwell University. However, he quickly realized that college wasn’t for him. After one semester, Gerard dropped out and follow his own path.

While he began his professional career working for a firm, Gerard ended up on the entrepreneurial path fairly quickly. One such example was Wall Street Grand, a forum he started that added a ratings system to give credibility to contributors and writers. By the time he was 24, he had already made his first million dollars.

Gerard was beginning to gain influence at this point, and he was eventually hired by mPhase to organize a presentation for their nanobattery. The presentation, which was aimed to attract investors, was a failure – a critical step in Gerard’s personal journey.

The Rise of “Voice of Generation Y”

While he was involved in different projects after leaving college, Gerard struck gold when he co-founded Elite Daily. The idea for Elite Daily came from his interns David Arabov and Jonathan Francis, and Gerard noticed that they were onto something big. He supplied the funding and guidance for the site, and it eventually grew into a massively popular news site that was attracting well over one million readers a day. In 2015, the group sold Elite Daily for $50 million.

The growth and eventual sale of Elite Daily is seen as Gerard’s claim to fame, a sign that he has succeeded the same way other millennials have. However, building a company into a multi-million dollar force isn’t what drives Gerard.

Prior to his biggest successes, Gerard was looking for a deeper meaning in the work he was doing. Yes, he had a knack for sales and telling a story. He was able to connect with others, and he had a very promising career and life ahead of him. But making money simply wasn’t enough to keep Gerard driven.

That’s when Gerard began getting mentored by Tony Robbins. Tony, a successful entrepreneur that focuses on teaching others to overcome their fears and unleash their inner potential, taught Gerard a lesson that guides him today: “success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.” This rang true with Gerard, and he embraced the lesson and applied it to his personal life.

Today, Gerard spends his time in his native Newark, New Jersey, working toward fulfillment. After learning from Tony, Gerard realized that his purpose in life is to help other entrepreneurs that want to take their ideas and create businesses of their own. This became the basis for FOWNDERS, Gerard’s current project.

Harvard fireside chat

Harvard fireside chat

Social Impact Brings Adams Home

FOWNDERS is a start-up accelerator, meaning it helps young, growing companies receive the funding, connections and guidance they need to succeed on their own. Under Gerard’s non-profit start-up, millennials in the Newark area will get the resources they need to make their own entrepreneurial dreams come true. To ensure the most success, all FOWNDERS entrepreneurs get the benefits of an incubator free of charge. While helping these young entrepreneurs pursue their goals, Gerard also hopes to establish Newark as a hub for future entrepreneurs, giving back to the city that raised him.

Drawing back from the importance of a mentor in his own life, Gerard has made sure that FOWNDERS includes its own mentorship program. Millennial entrepreneurs that work through FOWNDERS will be connected with one of many already established mentors, each of which offers a unique point of view and experience that will prove beneficial for others.

There is a lot to look forward to with Gerard and FOWNDERS. The start-up accelerator is still relatively new, and it will take time to see where some of the start-ups begin to go. But as time goes on, FOWNDERS and the start-ups it aides will begin to grow, and they could end up becoming some of the biggest success stories of tomorrow.

If this happens, then consider Gerard’s personal goals for success achieved. Help others to find success – that’s what drives Gerard, FOWNDERS and the journey to create the next wave of millennial entrepreneurs.

Are You Reading and Posting Content Worthy of Your Smartphone Data? 5 Tips to Switch Up Your Online Commentary.

From awards shows to politics and sporting events, the beginning of the year is packed with comment-worthy moments. Many of us take these opportunities to share what we think are the smartest, sharpest and snarkiest takes and project online to our friends and beyond.

But as these major moments happen, are you really posting and reading content that’s worth your smartphone data? Follow this checklist from Straight Talk Wireless to ensure you’re delivering a dose of straight talk when it comes to the hottest trending topics on social media.

1. Politics. We all know social media is the unofficial debate stage and with the recent election you may have taken a stance yourself. Did you confidently craft your argument or did your post begin with, “Now, I don’t usually post about politics, but…”? If so, take a moment to question why not. Save yourself the long-winded debate with your distant relative and post a picture of a puppy instead.

2. Breakfast grams. Getting ready to post a shot of that delicious breakfast of yours? This one’s easy: don’t. No one really enjoys a photo of a soggy egg sandwich. Use your camera to capture something more meaningful instead – like the group of friends you’re out to eat with.

3. Sweet talk. Posting about your significant other is like an action movie with too many sequels. The first one was great, but after the second and the third we all just want to move on. Keep the romance to yourselves and save the public displays of affection for anniversaries or birthdays.

4. Baby photos. Recently welcome a new little bundle of joy to your family? See sweet talk above. We all want to see your little one and gush over a few sporadic photos. But we don’t need a play-by-play of their potty-training conundrums draining our data. Post away when they’re first born and check in with us again at the next holiday.

5. Celebrity gossip. Debating who wore it best on the red carpet? Losing it over news that your favorite pop artist is having twins? So are a lot of other people. So mix it up. Tap those copywriting or photo editing skills to wow us with your sharpest take or hilarious meme. If a certain actresses’ dress looks like a giant pizza on the red carpet, let us know. We’ll probably agree with you.

Follow these tips to ensure you’re posting content worthy of your precious data. Nothing’s worse than overpaying for data, so save with Straight Talk Wireless. Straight Talk Wireless offers consumers access to the best phones on the best networks at just $45 per month for unlimited talk, text and data with the first 5 gigabytes at high speeds (then 2G*). And now you can double your data for only $10 more with Straight Talk Wireless’ new 10 gigabyte plan, with the first 10 gigabytes of data at high speeds (then 2G) – all for $55! And switching is easy because you can keep your phone, network and number with Straight Talk’s Bring Your Own Phone program (BYOP). Best of all, there are no contracts, credit checks or mystery fees. Visit Straight Talk’s YouTube page to learn more and teach the world the benefits of straight talk online. (BPT)

The 8 Hottest New Devices for 2017

When it comes to the latest technology, you can never have too many options. And for tech lovers, there is nothing like the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which takes place Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas.

CES delivered an exciting look at the newest Windows 10 devices that will make your life easier by having a battery life long enough to last through a 15-hour flight, allowing you to log into your computer with just your face – no need to remember a password and much more. Featuring experiences such as Windows Hello, touch, Windows Ink, Cortana and Continuum, these devices will command attention this year. From PCs to all-in-ones, gaming solutions and portable devices, here are some of the most amazing unveilings from CES 2017 sure to enable the creator in everyone. 

1. Dell Canvas. Channeling the innovative possibilities of Windows 10 and the upcoming Creators Update into a new category of smart workspace technology, the Dell Canvas expands productivity allowing you to create, communicate and express your ideas as naturally as you do with pen and paper. Through the use of touch, digital pen and totems, you can turn drawings into part of the digital workflow with Windows Ink or mark up webpages in Microsoft Edge. Powered by virtually any Windows 10 PC, this device plugs seamlessly into software solutions from many partners to unleash the creative genius in everyone. 

2. Samsung Notebook Odyssey. Built specifically for intense and casual gamers alike, the Samsung Notebook Odyssey features advanced technology, such as the HexaFlow Vent, an advanced cooling and ventilation system allowing the device to remain cool at all times. For optimal gameplay, the Samsung Notebook Odyssey is equipped with an intelligent and robust processer. Powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, both models of the Samsung Notebook Odyssey offer lightning fast performance with premium graphic technologies. 

3. LG Gram. Weighing in at only 2 pounds and featuring a 60W battery – the highest capacity in the industry to-date – for a long battery life between charges, the LG Gram has a near edgeless touch screen and is built to deliver superior portability. Complete with a built-in fingerprint scanner that unlocks Windows Hello, the LG Gram promises to be this year’s hot travel companion. 

4. HP Spectre x360. The second generation of HP’s 15.6-inch revolutionary x360 is the most powerful in the Spectre profile and can be pre-ordered today. Its bigger battery allows for up to 12 hours while powering a micro-edge 4K display and featuring the latest Intel processors, high performance NVIDIA GeForce 940MX discrete graphics. It also offers fast and secure login with Windows Hello and a nearly borderless display with two new front-facing speakers to round out the user experience.

5. Lenovo ThinkPad XI Yoga. The latest ThinkPad X1 Yoga is flawlessly flexible and adapts to your needs offering true multi-mode capability that delivers stunning colors and absolute blacks. The only 14-inch notebook with an OLED display option, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga also comes with a redesigned rechargeable pen and improved “rise and fall” keyboard. The ThinkPad X1 Yoga will be available in February. 

6. Toshiba Portégé X20W. A premium 2-in-1 convertible PC running Windows 10 Pro with a 360-degree dual-action hinge allow you to use the Portégé as a notebook or digital inking tablet. And with a 7th Generation Intel Core processor, the Portégé packs plenty of power into its thin, 2.5-pound frame that includes a 16-hour battery. The pre-configured Portégé X20W will be available soon in Slate Gray. 

7. Acer Aspire VX 15. With its crisp videos, smooth games and clear audio, the Aspire will be hot throughout 2017. Available in January, the Aspire is equipped with a 7th Generation Intel Core processor, a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS screen and dual fans to keep it running at optimal temperature, no matter how much you push it during a gaming session. 

8. MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro Gaming Laptop. Created with the gamer in mind, the MSI GS63VR delivers a faster and smoother VR experience and is part of the latest lineup of MSI gaming devices powered by Windows 10. Thanks to the new 7th Generation Intel Core processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050 Ti & GTX1050 gaming graphics cards. Enhanced audio makes the GS63VR ready to support the finest audio quality through SABRE HiFi DAC delivered straight to high-end headsets.

These are just a few of the hottest devices shown for the first time at CES, and if you didn’t get a chance to see them at the show, don’t worry. They’ll be available in the coming weeks at your nearest Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com or a partner retailer, so don’t wait to experience this amazing new tech this year. (BPT)

Financial Tips: 5 Ways to Digitize Your Life and Save Even More

Technology evolves and improves seemingly every time you blink. From apps to virtual reality and voice assistants to robots, technology affords us the ability to make life easier so we can enjoy what matters most to us. And when it comes to managing finances, digitizing your life can actually have a bonus effect on your wallet.

Digital Lifestyle Expert Katie Linendoll teamed up with Capital One to share simple tips to digitize your life and save even more. “We live in a day and age where new technologies afford us the ability to improve our lives in new, offbeat ways,” Linendoll says. “By applying that same principle to our personal finance routines, we’re better poised to cut unnecessary costs while saving precious time and hard earned money, too.”

Whether you’re budgeting for back-to-school season, saving for your next vacation or simply just “tech curious,’” Linendoll’s tips offer a great way to employ modern technology to aide your bottom line.

1. Make your home smarter. Strengthening your financial IQ begins at home. Enhancing your home life with smart products can save you time, energy and money. By switching to a smart thermostat, which can turn on and off when you need to, you’ll save up to $145/year.

2. Cut the cord. The average cable bill per household is around $99 per month, and most people only watch a handful of those channels. A one-time purchase of a media streaming device costs about the same as a single month of cable. Subscribe to your favorites and you can save around $1,000 a year.

3. Leverage cutting edge technology. Voice-activated technologies hold a lot of promise to make our lives easier. For example, with the Capital One Skill for Amazon Alexa, you can use any Amazon Alexa-enabled device like the Amazon Echo to access your Capital One accounts and check your balance, make a payment and manage your account — all using just your voice.

4. Trade in your old tech for cash. Have some old phones and tablets lying around? They could be worth a couple hundred bucks. Many internet trade-in sites and retail stores will offer gift cards and even free shipping for your old tech through something called “recommerce,” aka reverse commerce. If you can make money off old things lying around, do it!

5. Take charge of your spending (and saving). Many Americans struggle to come up with emergency expenses, which makes having the flexibility to bank more ways all the more critical. Enroll with a bank like Capital One, which offers great digital tools and services — such as Online BillPay, Enhanced Transactions, Mobile Check Deposit and Personalized Alerts — which ultimately work harder for you and your bottom line.

The Right Technology Services Are the Key to Killer Customer Service

Think sales numbers trump customer service? Think again. Research shows companies focused on providing a superior experience across the customer journey realized a 20 percent increase in customer satisfaction and 10-15 percent increase in revenue. Furthermore, 45 percent of people will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly. And perhaps the most shocking of all: It costs six to seven times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer.

Given these factors many companies are taking a closer look at their customer retention rates and evaluating the customer experiences they provide. To meet customers on their terms and facilitate employee productivity, it’s critical to invest in new technology. However, not all businesses have the internal IT resources or expertise to efficiently implement technology and effectively manage it on a continuous basis.

For these businesses, working with a trusted technology partner provides an easier route to weather the changes and delight customers. Numerous companies have worked with Dell to ensure they don’t have to worry about downtime or system failure. Dell ProSupport Plus, for instance, provides these companies with the highest level of hardware and software support so they can deliver the best experience to their customers. Powered by Dell’s SupportAssist technology, this support program not only helps resolve issues quickly and proactively, but can also prevent issues before they happen through predictive capabilities. This means less effort by IT staff and more peace-of-mind for both the company and their customers. For example, Dell ProSupport Plus with SupportAssist users are able to spend up to 91 percent less time on resolution. Imagine what an IT staff could do when they’re able to shift that time away from maintenance.

Another time when a technology provider’s services become critical is when businesses implement new solutions. The continual evolution of technology such as cloud, converged datacenters and big data presents a world of new opportunities – and new challenges. Not only do businesses need to contemplate how to get their new technology up and running quickly, they also need to be able to maintain, refresh and address any issues that arise.

To sail over the many potential hurdles, the Dell ProDeploy Enterprise Suite is helping IT managers and business leaders navigate the growing complexity of multiple platforms and risk of transitioning to new technologies while minimizing any downtime, all within the confines of limited resources and budgets. Businesses can rely on Dell experts and partners to lead deployments from basic hardware installation through planning, configuration and complex integrations. Companies using Dell deployment services can reduce IT effort by 91 percent and deploy systems 39 percent faster.

With new technology solutions up and running, businesses should be positioned to provide the best customer service possible. However, without a properly trained crew there will be no one to sail the ship or right it when needed. In addition to investing in technology, organizations need to give their IT team the right training and tools to do their job well. Dell has addressed this critical need by introducing training and certification that gives a company’s IT staff access to the same resources as Dell engineers.

If the technology powering the business is running smoothly, it’s reflected in effortless and memorable interactions with customers that inspire loyalty and build revenue.

Customer service IT services and customer support will continue to evolve as new technologies are developed and customer expectations will continue to rise. By being proactive and partnering with a technology vendor who is intent on staying ahead of the curve, companies can gain an edge against the competition while building an unbreakable brand reputation.

Three DIY Ways to Improve Your Home WiFi

You don’t need an expert to tell you: America is hooked on the internet. Just try to think of the last day you didn’t use the web in some way.

But you probably don’t think much about the main way the internet is delivered: through WiFi. It powers your computer at work — as well as the Facebook feed you’re discreetly checking under your desk. At home, it’s the new electricity. Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora rely on it. It powers activities on your smartphone, unless you want to rack up a huge data bill from your carrier. WiFi runs the kids’ Xbox and maybe even your thermostat and security camera — these days, almost every device in the home is thirsty for WiFi.

When you do think about WiFi, it’s usually because it’s not working — and driving you nuts. Before investing in a more expensive internet package or living with buffering videos and router resets, here are three do-it-yourself ways to improve your home WiFi:

Move your router

If you have rooms that don’t have access to the internet — dead zones — first try moving your router to a more central location in the home. Because routers have a limited range, it’s important that your router is in a central area. If you can’t move the router to a different location, try elevating it on a table or shelf to spread the signal more efficiently.

Large metal appliances, like refrigerators, and electronics that emit radio waves, like microwaves, can interfere with your network’s signal. Keeping the router out of places like the kitchen can help bolster the range and speed of your WiFi.

Upgrade to a mesh network

Most households rely on a single router. But with the steep increase in home internet usage, one WiFi router may not be adequate to support all the devices connected to it.

A San Francisco company, eero, was the first to bring a mesh WiFi system into the home. eero — which is about as simple as anything gets in the tech world — works by swapping out your current router, plugging a single eero into your modem, then placing additional eeros throughout the house. The devices work together to create a wireless mesh network that delivers fast, reliable WiFi to every room. Their mesh technology ensures people are getting the same internet speeds they’re paying for throughout the entire home, instead of just near wherever their cable pipe comes in.

eero is quick to set up and makes it easy for people to manage their networks through a smartphone app. The app allows you to monitor your internet network from afar and invite guests to join the network via a text message. Parents can even assign schedules for when devices can access WiFi, making it easy to limit their kids’ internet usage.

Update your modem

An often-overlooked device that may be throttling your WiFi signal is the cable modem, the device that translates the data coming in through your cable pipe into a digital language your router can understand.

Households should update their modems every three to five years. If yours is outdated, it could be impacting the quality of your signal and speed. Many people rent their modem from their internet service provider for $5-10 a month. Purchasing a new, updated modem usually costs $50-100, but you’ll save money on a rental fee while seeing major improvements to your WiFi.

The way we use the internet today has changed and the old ways of WiFi are not keeping pace. Whether it’s moving your router, upgrading to an eero mesh network, or just swapping out your modem, you shouldn’t have to deal with buffering, dead zones, or router resets.

High-End Home Upgrades

For most people, the home is their family’s most significant asset. Upgrading is a smart approach to protecting and growing the value of that investment.

Home upgrades come in all shapes and sizes, from minor landscaping projects to large-scale security installations. When looking to make an impact, it’s smart to opt for high-end upgrades such as those that boost security or enhance the technologic features of your home.

These upgrades not only lend an upscale feel, but can bring families peace of mind while enhancing the ways to enjoy their home.

Home Security

Whether you’re aiming for a stronger sense of personal safety or extra protection for your valuable possessions, today’s security systems take home monitoring to a whole new level. Basic keypad alarms have been replaced by a host of features, such as silent alarms that allow authorities to catch a burglar in action; cameras that allow you to monitor the premises from inside the home or while you’re away using a connected device; motion detectors that simultaneously trigger exterior and interior lights while activating security cameras and more. There is no one solution for every home, but a home security expert can talk through your concerns and guide you to the system that best fits your needs.

Standby Generators

When seasonal weather or other circumstances cause power outages, the impact on a home and family can range from inconvenient to unsafe. A standby generator system keeps a household humming even when the power is out – automatically. An important feature to look for is power management technology, which manages the power balancing act that is your home’s appliances.

For example, Briggs & Stratton Fortress standby generators are equipped with Symphony II Power Management, which lets homeowners prioritize what in their home they need powered by proactively monitoring and managing the home’s backup power needs, allowing for whole-house power with a more affordable generator. This power management system also uses remote power-switching modules that are installed directly to a home’s existing wiring, to help reduce installation costs. For more information about standby generator systems and their features, visit powernow.com.

Wireless Automation

You may think of it as just a phone, but the tiny computer you carry every day packs the power to control an ever-growing segment of your home. Using an app on your smartphone, tablet or computer, you can control everything from your locks and lights to the temperature setting on your thermostat. What’s more, you can create settings that integrate multiple functions to set the perfect ambiance for whatever you have in mind. Planning on a movie night? Cue the movie setting, with dimmed lights, blinds lowered and the TV powered on. Hosting a party? Count on your custom entertaining setup, with lighting in all your guest-friendly rooms, lively music playing on your whole-home sound system and a lower temperature to keep things cool as the party heats up.

The options are nearly endless when it comes to elevating your home’s features. By combining practical functions and indulgent improvements, you can take your homeowner satisfaction to new heights.