Practical Tips, Insights, News, & Resources For The
BroadBand Generation. Covering Dedicated Bandwidth, Wired & Wireless Trends, Cloud Computing, Network Management, Unified Communications, Big Data , Managed Services, IT Management, Internet Of Things, Healthcare IT, Smart Buildings, CRE Technology, Hotel Technology... & MUCH More.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
she++ The Documentary - Good Girl Gone Geek
Inspiring women to empower computer science. Between 2000 and 2009, there was a 79 percent drop in the number of first-year undergraduate women considering computer science, even as products such as Facebook, Twitter, Angry Birds, etc. began making technology 'cool' again. And so, we have been told, time and time again, we need more women in technology. But we're not entirely convinced by the op-eds and panel discussions. Is there really a difference? The greatest technology companies of our time -- Apple, Google, Facebook -- have been successfully founded and run by men. And they seem to be doing a pretty good job.
she++: The Documentary (12 min: TV-14 DL) energetically proclaims 'Hello, World' after following smart, creative, and trailblazing technologists hard at work in hi-tech. This short documentary collects research and inspirational pieces of Silicon Valley's unsung heroes to galvanize us to explore our potential as 'femgineers'. Written and directed by recent Stanford University good girls gone geek, Ayna Agarwal and Ellora Israni, she++: The Documentary encourages the future CEOs, the innovative engineers, the techies and the fuzzies, the sisters, cousins, and daughters, to break away from the stereotype into a revolutionary field. As technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, all demographics must harness new ideas to transform and empower technology. Think of what more 'femgineers' could do.
Stories from high school girls, recently graduated female computer scientists now working in industry, female technology CEOs, Stanford academics, and Silicon Valley venture capitalists, build momentum as she++: The Documentary accumulates facts and statistics, and most promisingly, personal stories. This film will startle the world and inspire girls, young and old, to take the lack of a Y chromosome and make a girl's vision unique and useful in the world of code.
Network Performance Management Is Crucial To Business Success Today....Shame On You If You Aren't
We believe every company needs to become a technology company to compete in the future. Everyone from hotels, gas stations, and restaurants, to law firms, hospitals, and truckers will need technology to grow their businesses and take market share from their competitors. In short...EVERY business no matter their product line, service provided OR size...will need to optimize and monitor their voice and data networks for optimal efficency and cost effectiveness. If you don't....you likely won't survive for long and your competitors who did will flourish.
That said...there is a solution. One that works for EVERY TYPE AND SIZE BUSINESS.....it's called VXSuite.
There's nothing like real live success stories to see how VXSuite could work for YOUR business. Check out the postive impact VXSuite had on the Boston Celtics, MemorialCare HealthSystem, ST. Joseph Health System, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, University of Utah, Footlocker, and MORE.
VXSuite is a complete UC Management Platform that helps you to understand your communications ecosystem, optimize its performance and deliver on the promise of Unified Communications. The VXSuite modules provide actionable business intelligence on how to define, design, integrate, optimize, and manage the technologies that makeup your ecosystem as well as monitor and support YOUR unique configuration. VXSuite's modular approach allows you to address whichever areas are most important to you or have the highest risk, and it allows you to move toward true live voice management one step at a time or at whatever pace budgets, training, discipline, needs and understanding allow. With VXSuite You will now be enabled to quickly identify network issues and provide complete pictures of your network with it's strengths and areas of needed improvement.
Unified Communications is often the first mission-critical, real-time streaming application to touch the enterprise network in any true and proper deployment. A recurring theme that tends to come up when talking to IT executives, is that end users have high expectations and they are quick to complain about quality issues.
The other major issue regarding Unified Communications is that it crosses many IT silos, including PC, Data Network, Voice/Telephony and help-desk teams. Each of these groups has individual tools, but in order to have end-to-end visibility of all threats to end-user quality, IT teams are looking for a unified management package to perform these tasks.
The secret to success is simple:
4 modules that track and report on calls, productivity reports, network monitoring, call recording and mobile usage. Hosted on site or in the cloud. And serious ease of use - just point, click, and build your report.
VXSuite also diagnoses bandwidth issues, which cause delay, jitter and loss -- aka bad call quality.
Combine that with in-depth call monitoring and reporting and your business is top notch. And with active reporting and alerts, you and your IT team can get analytics and solve problems before anyone else knows there's something going on.
Why Choose VXSuite?
There are many network monitoring products on the market. VXSuite is different. The other tools ask “is the network performing?” VXSuite asks, “How is network performance affecting the end-user quality experience?.” While VXSuite matches feature-for-feature with the other network monitoring tools, the network monitoring and call analytics is always filtered through the lens of quality. A network can perform as specified and still result in a poor user experience.
To protect the end-user experience, you need network monitoring, call analytics, and mobility tools specifically designed to set benchmarks for network performance. These tools should alert, alarm, and report if the network performance is not meeting those thresholds. Proactive monitoring of network routers, switches, firewalls, servers, WiFi routers, PBXs, and carrier circuits helps ensure a great user quality of experience and helps identify problems before they become systemic failures.
Many of the tools on the market are specific to a single manufacturer or technology. VXSuite is designed to be a vendor neutral-solution, reading network data from any device regardless of the brand, any PBX both legacy and VoIP, any hosted platform, any bandwidth provider, and any connected wireless device. Almost every business is a heterogenous soup of multiple technologies and platforms, and VXSuite thrives in the chaos.
For example, if your phone system is a hybrid of Cisco, Avaya, and Microsoft Lync, your servers are HP and Dell running Windows and Linux, your network gear is from Juniper and Brocade, your WiFi is Meru and Ruckus, your bandwidth is a combination of MPLS and cable Internet, and your users like Windows PCs and Macs, and your mobile devices are iPhone and Android, VXSuite can provide the network diagnostics and voice quality reporting on all of it in the same platform. No other competitor can match the VXSuite true vendor agnostic value proposition.
VXSuite is extremely lightweight from a network deployment and a cost perspective. Being lightweight allows a CIO, IT manager, or UC director to deploy VXSuite everywhere in his/her entire voice and data ecosystem. Other products require heavy infrastructure and are so cost prohibitive that those tools become a triage and diagnostics point solution, only fully used when there is a known problem.
VXSuite has been designed and priced to be an interconnected mesh of constant network diagnostics, performance tracking, and reporting. It gives near real-time feedback to proactively monitor the network status and the end-user quality of experience for a company’s entire voice and data network.
Because VXSuite is lightweight and nimble, it is ideally suited to help ask the question, “Is my network infrastructure ready for this new voice or video technology?”
VXSuite partners and customers use the tools to pre-assess the ecosystem first by sending test voice and video calls. They also monitor routers, switches, firewalls, servers, and PBXs for issues. Scoring the end-user expected quality of experience ensures success before a new technology is deployed.
VXSuite partners and customers who do pre-assessments find issues with their voice and data networks before they deploy. This avoids costly emergency network and bandwidth upgrades, ensuring a better user adoption and experience and protecting the project return-on-investment by eliminating expensive “on the fly” changes to the ecosystem.
Call Analytics + Network Analytics = The Real Story
VXSuite was created more than a decade ago as a call analytics solution and has evolved into a robust suite of tools. By combining the insights of the call analytics engine with actual network performance data, VXSuite partners and customers understand how call flow, call volume, and network performance are interconnected.
Other network performance tools do not bring this holistic approach and cannot paint the true picture of how the network performance is affecting end-users.
And what about mobile call records? VXSuite is the only tool on the market that combines network performance, phone system analytics, and mobile call records to tell the whole story of what is happening in your UC ecosystem.
One of the real keys in understanding the user-experience is the ability to manage the UC system endpoint experience. With BYOD and the dizzying array of PC, tablet, and smartphone devices in most ecosystems, it is extremely difficult to diagnose and remediate end-user quality issues. VXSuite can send a URL to any device with a browser and test a user’s specific real-time voice quality and diagnose what is happening right now with any endpoint. It is the only network diagnostic and reporting tool that can reach from the network operations center, through the carrier/Internet, to the premise network equipment, to the end-user device; a complete end-to-end solution to ensure the best possible user experience.
There are a lot of network monitoring, call analytics, and mobility solutions on the market, but there isn’t any other tool that combines all of these silos into one easy-to-deploy and manage suite of products.
VXSuite is unique because it combines robust, but lightweight network monitoring, world-class call analytics, mobility and end-point diagnostics into a single diagnostic, testing, analytics, alerting, alarming, and reporting engine.
RapidScale is an industry leader in Cloud Computing Solutions. If your business is looking to upgrade or refresh hardware, get a data backup plan cut down on CapEx, or are looking to convert to BYOD, your solution is here.
RapidScale provides cloud computing solutions to businesses of all sizes. Small businesses to Large Enterprises alike turn to RapidScale for their CloudOffice platform and cloud solutions. They tout amazing services including: CloudServer, CloudDesktop, CloudOffice, CloudMail, CloudRecovery, CloudApps, and more.
* Full BYOD Compatibility, any Device
* Tier 3 Class 1 Data Center
* Government-Grade Security
* Unlimited Bandwidth and Data Transfer
* 100% Uptime SLA Guarantee
* 24/7 Help Desk Support Year-Round
The most crucial need for a small business is the ability to stay in business. With RapidScale's Cloud solutions, you will experience the convenience of having the smallest amount of downtime in the business. When you're running smoothly, all you have to focus on is your customers.
Large enterprises can benefit tremendously from cloud computing as they struggle to keep costs down while remaining competitive and innovative. Helping multiple business units and remote offices stay productive and connected requires on-demand, scalable and repeatable IT resources.
Employees need direct and immediate access to computing, storage and applications, wherever they are. In the enterprise, multi-tenancy becomes a critical capability of the infrastructure, enabling the sharing of bandwidth and power.
Users to access their files,data, and apps on any device, mobile or desktop from anywhere in the world.
* Cloud Mail -
Hosted Microsoft Exchange Solutions with 100% uptime.
* Cloud Server -
Get a flexible, standardized, and virtualized operating environment allowing applications to perform at their peak without downtime.
* Cloud Recovery -
Cost-effective high density and low density storage and Disaster Recovery as a Service.
* Cloud Office -
All-in-One solution combining IaaS, DRaaS, DaaS, and hosted microsoft exchange.
Why Move to the Cloud?
Moving your servers to the cloud allows you to benefit from strong SLA's allowing your IT to focus on revenue-generating activities instead of maintenance. Take a look below for more reasons to move to the cloud.
* 300%...the amount of growth in cloud workloads from 2012-2017
* 82%...of companies saved money by moving to the cloud
* 50%...of SMBs do not have a Disaster Recovery Plan
* 59%...of all new spending on cloud computing originates from North American companies
* 60%...of enterprises include cloud related spending as part of their IT budgets
* $180 Billion...end user spending on cloud services by 2015
More and more around the New York City Subways, you are beginning to see signs that state "This Station is Now WiFi Connected". Beyond putting in basic cellular antennas in subway stations, the Metro Transit Authority is looking to go the extra mile by adding actual joinable open WiFi networks in Subway Stations across the city. The NYC Subway isn't the only ones getting in the act. Walk into any Library or Starbucks in the city and you will be presented with an option for free WiFi with very few questions asked.
Questions in this case usually mean a service acknowledgement or willingness to watch an advertisement from a sponsor of that particular network, but the concept here is clear. With each passing fiscal quarter, the barriers between your device and an accessible WiFi network are coming down. Even cell phone companies are starting to realize that there might be a market to make the mobile phone industry more competitive.
Given these trends it is safe to say that your business will look neanderthalic if it does not have a WiFi network accessible for its employees. This goes for companies of any size, be it fortune 500 institutions right down to tiny startups. In today's economy everyone is carrying a mobile device be it one issued from the employer or brought in by an employee so the unavoidable fact is that you NEED good WiFi in your office. In fact, beyond a WiFi network for your employees, it could be very good for business relations to have a public WiFi network that can be used by guest and personal devices. These little touches can go a long way toward moving the image of your business in a more legitimate and professional direction.
Of course, no endeavor in the world of online connection is without risks. It seems that every week there is a news story about a data security breach. This week it's about banks. If not secured correctly, your WiFi Network can be a major point of weakness in your IT security strategy. When setting up your network or networks, NEVER leave them as open networks. It's important to always require a password, even if you want to make it a simple one for your guest network. Second, though it may be a hassle for your users, it's important to have a schedule to rotate the wireless passwords so that legacy devices are not able to stay on the network and hog precious bandwidth. From there, your company can decide how complex and inclusive they want their WiFi network to be. It can be as simple as internet access, or fully integrated behind your firewall allowing for more mobility for your users. Not matter what form your network takes, it is an expense of doing business today. You don't really want your users running down to the subway to check their e-mail... do you?
3 Ways Managed Services Companies Save Your Business Money
If you're looking to stretch your business' budget this year, outsourcing some of your day-to-day tasks to one of the many managed services companies is a great way to kick start the savings. Managed Service Providers (MSP's) are still a best kept secret in modern business strategies; they promote efficiency and extend the resources of companies who utilize them, but many small to mid-level business owners are not aware of their existence.
Lighten Your Employees' Load
Have your employees ever raised concerns about being overwhelmed by their workload? The answer is likely "no," but that may only mean that they hesitate to complain, not that they aren't overworked or stretched too thin with tasks that aren't outlined in their job descriptions. When you outsource tasks such as IT management, virtual booking, and transportation, the people you hired for their individual talents can truly shine once again. Your web designer can spend her workdays enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your site instead of troubleshooting technical errors, for instance. When your employees come to work to do the jobs they applied for in the first place, they are happier and more motivated. They are also able to focus only on the work they do best, and thus, they are capable of high-quality output.
Benefit from Fewer Hours per Week
When you choose to outsource some of your administrative tasks to managed services companies, you eliminate them and get back a chunk of your workday. You can utilize that time to further develop your business' strategy or you can decide to treat yourself to a break once in a while. In addition to providing daily task management services, some of these companies offer time saving tools that can expedite the tasks you want to perform yourself.
For example, a cloud storage service allows you to file and locate all your data in one virtual place. This ensures efficiency and prevents you from having to search for your documents through numerous filing cabinets, which is a drastic time drain.
Benefit from the Knowledge of Experts
When you outsource work to managed services companies, you are ensuring that the tasks you entrust them with are carried out with expertise. This is a major benefit to your business, especially if you are not as familiar with the task at hand. Perhaps you are not familiar with marketing tactics but you know a successful business must utilize them to their full potential. In this instance, you can hire a marketing analytics team to monitor and compile your data. It is their business to perform this task well, which leaves you to take advantage of your own strong points to cultivate your business.
Keep in mind that hiring a managed services company does not mean that you relinquish control of some aspect of your own business. As a paying client, you are still very much in control of how tasks are carried out. More importantly, you reserve the right to switch services if you aren't satisfied with what you pay for. The outsourced work will still be done on your terms, but you aren't the one who has to do it. This tactic can certainly save you money and gain you valuable expertise, allowing you to tighten your budget and reap greater profits as well.
mHealth Connectivity Defining The Future Of Healthcare
An explosion of converging technologies and super trends in medical electronic products have roiled together over the past 2 years and shaped a disruptive combination for the medical industry call Mobile Health (mHealth). There is an old aerospace motto prevalent in that industries' push to improve time-to-market and increase competitiveness "Faster, Better, Cheaper." mHealth steps it up by adding "Connected" and "Convenient" to this trio making an extraordinarily challenging environment for the healthcare industry that is now thoroughly intertwined with the Mobile Application, AppCessory, Analytics and Wireless industries. Much like aerospace the healthcare industry and its myriad devices and processes was for decades moving at its own pace.
Today, the proliferation of medical devices and their applications (often controlled by mobile devices) are everywhere; in hospitals and clinics, in patients homes, on their phones and tablets and on their bodies as they work and play, making treating and diagnosing more expedient and stretching security of information systems to the limit. Some fields seemed immune to this influx, certain disciplines such as spinal surgeries, implantable devices, but in a short time it has become clear that this is not the case. Wireless communications and the Big Data Analytics performed on supercomputing cloud platforms have brought tremendous breakthroughs even here.
Medical Device Connectivity via wireless devices, sophisticated analytics and information security features are employed by an ever increasing number of medical devices. Studies indicate that 50% of people say this will improve health care, while 86% of physicians believe that these inter-connected devices and applications will become essential to physicians for management of health care over the next 5 years. As a matter of fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is scheduled to review a record number of mHealth apps in 2015 as companies answer to demand for more sophisticated mHealth devices.
Mobile technology is, as with so many other fields, defining the future of healthcare. Recent trends show decisively, that patients do not want to pay for this extra convenience. Therefore, companies that focus on reimbursement strategies of connecting the patient to the healthcare ecosystems will be creating these applications with a dual purpose, by providing the analytics and outcomes that are needed for caregivers to get paid. Companies who are on board early are aware that it is this type of innovation that allows them to stay in the game and they will take market share from those who lag behind in adopting it.
In 2015 privacy will yield to accessibility as patients embrace the myriad of digital devices and their services emerging on the market. Gamification, and do-it-yourself tools will be what keeps them motivated and engaged; improving one dull and typically less controllable point in health care programs, patient compliance. Reimbursement models based upon the health information that these systems collect and analyze will begin to provide quantifiable data to support outcomes-based results. This will drive change as it begins to remove the physician from the feedback loop thereby driving change in this culture. As real, meaningful, useful and real-time data becomes available caregivers will relinquish control of certain aspect of care, but gain tremendous insight and decision-supporting information.
Connected and intuitive electronic devices prescribed by clinicians can accomplish so much when acting in concert to satisfy the public's yearning for convenience that Qualcomm has created an X Prize competition of its own to usher this era in. The 10 million dollar "Tricorder" prize will undergo consumer testing, in 2015 and final judging in early 2016.
The devices are expected to accurately diagnose 16 health conditions - 13 required core conditions and a choice of three elective conditions - in addition to capturing five real-time health vital signs, independent of a health care worker or facility, and in a way that provides a compelling consumer experience."
The next audacious dare will be not only seamless, streaming secure and HIPAA-compliant data from these colossally capable devices, but genuine interactive systems. Once systems are truly interactive a more complete well-rounded suite of care models that address core issues affecting outcomes and management of chronic health can be developed to better manage high-expense conditions in much lower-cost locations.
Finally, in just 15 years Millennials, the generation shaped by the internet revolution will make up 75% of the work force. Millennials value technologies that deliver personalized experiences, real-time feedback, flexibility, and convenience. They are using mobile technologies to create communities of personalized support, to socialize and interact with the world. Their impact is driving companies to reconsider how to accomplish these advances in the New Health Economy.
Going to the dry cleaners is a bit like having the laundry elves visit your house. You drop off a white shirt with a coffee stain on the left side and when you come back the next day it looks brand new. And for the customer, that's all that matters. In between when you dropped off your shirt and when you picked it back up, however, those little elves were very busy getting you the results you wanted.
None of that really matters to you, though. You don't want to hear about how they had to sort the laundry, treat the stains, bag the garments or iron and starch the final product. All that matters to you is that your shirt is now clean.
When you're seeking a position as an IT professional, dry cleaning is surprisingly applicable. Just like the dry cleaning customer doesn't care how their shirt gets cleaned, businesses don't care how their computers and software are running. For them, IT service has two settings: meeting the expectations and not meeting the expectations. If it's not meeting the expectations, they want you to come solve it for them.
It's easy to become frustrated as an IT professional. Between the business users who really have skipped even the most basic troubleshooting of their own and the ones who think you should fix everything immediately, there's every reason for you to shut yourself in your office and bang your head off your desk for a few hours. But it's your job to fix their problem, not turn them into IT professionals themselves.
IT services covers a very broad range of actions. As an IT professional you probably have to keep up with patch management, vulnerability management, maintenance contracts, quality assurance and control, project management, development... the list goes on and on. But businesses don't hire IT professionals to explain everything, just like you don't want your dry cleaner to give you a lecture on stain removers every time you stop in. They just want you to get things up and running.
Businesses also tend to only concern themselves with the output of your service. A dry cleaner has to do regular maintenance on their equipment, buy cleaning supplies, pay their bills, and manage their water waste - none of which directly concerns you and your stained shirt. You don't care about any of that, you just want your shirt to be white again.
Similarly, an IT professional needs to be proactive to keep up with things that haven't yet caused obvious problems. A business might not notice you've upgraded their system, applied a new patch, closed a new security vulnerability, and renewed the maintenance contract. It's up to you as the IT professional to stay on top of those upgrade needs and explain how they're helping avoid major issues.
Dry cleaning and IT Services might not seem to have much in common, but you'll learn a lot if you approach your IT services position the same way you'd approach going to the dry cleaners. The business is only interested in the results, it's up to you to make sure the busy little elves get everything done.
Companies regularly release the latest and enhanced versions of their mobile operating system (OS) to fix the errors and bugs and include new features for the users. Similarly, it is essential to upgrade you mobile apps for their seamless functioning and to be abreast with the current technology trends. Let us look at the reasons as well as the benefits of upgrading your mobile apps to the latest versions
The latest OS versions include a number of new and better features. By upgrading your mobile apps, you can reap the benefits of these features. Companies make an effort to make the Mobile OS more user-friendly with every new version. You can thus add useful and advanced features in you app. New releases include innovations, which can add value to your apps.
A new OS version might come out with features that are in great demand from customers and significantly affect your business. For example some security or performance feature, which your users are waiting for, since long. Your apps might remain void of these features if you do not upgrade. To deliver value to your customers and to ensure user satisfaction, your business has to be on the path of continuous modernization.
It is always better to upgrade to newer versions than investing in developing a new mobile application. Building a new app on the latest OS version can prove to be costly as well as risky. Your apps might not receive the same acceptability that they have received earlier. You can save your money by bringing technology modifications to your current application only, through this process. Upgrading is thus a cost-efficient way to avail all the benefits that the new OS offers.
You can tarnish your brand image by not upgrading your mobile apps. You will tend to lose your customer-base as users are always looking for innovative and enhanced features. By updating your app to the latest technology, you will be able to stay ahead in this competitive market. You will even be able to meet the changing UI & UX needs of the users.
With every new upgrade, there are bug and error fixes. Users do not like using applications running on old technology and having problems and errors. Mobile apps may have functional, usability and security bugs. You can eliminate these from your app through upgrades.
Sometimes it becomes essential to upgrade your application to make it compatible with the new operating system. Your apps might not work with the new OS, which makes it compulsory to follow the upgrade route.
Mobile app upgrading is thus of prime importance to involve and engage your users in your applications continuously. They might take a shift from your application to the one that has the most advanced features and works seamlessly and flawlessly. Therefore, upgrading to the latest technology is essential, which can help you to attain new levels and get a competitive edge.
Semaphore Software is a leading mobile app development company, offering Mobile App upgradation and migration services to help clients stay updated with the latest technology. Our Mobile App developers will assist you in upgrading your mobile applications successfully on the latest platforms to ensure maximum ROI.
How many hours a day do you spend on the computer?
And that means that you spend hours a day staring at a screen.
That means that the resolution of that screen matters. Screen resolution can be described as the number of pixels making up a display. The more pixels on the display, the higher the resolution. Higher resolutions have all kinds of advantages, namely:
So your computer is on the fritz, eh? 10 years old, full of viruses, slower than molasses in January, and you're lucky if it even turns on? Yes. Might be time for a new machine.
So, you go to the store? And what do you see? About 50 different laptops, all different in size, form factors, price, and brand.
How do you choose one? Follow this handy guide to figure it out.
Size - When it comes to laptops, you can buy them in several different sizes. The smallest laptops come in at only 10.6" and the largest laptops can be over 20" in screen size! Obviously, if you travel a lot, or plan to move your laptop around, a smaller size is more convenient. If you plan to use your laptop primarily in your home or on a desk, a larger laptop might be a better choice.
Weight - Tied into size, obviously, the larger the laptop, the more it is going to weigh, as a general rule. Again, if you're traveling with it, a lighter laptop is the much better option - it's easier to take in and out of a bag, and puts less of a burden on your back. They also tend to cost a little more. Heavier laptops are cheaper, but a bigger pain in the butt to move!
Processor - This is the brain of your computer. Picking a good one is essential to your computer experience. The better the processor, the more you can do with your computer now, and in the future. There are two primary processor brands on the market - Intel and AMD. Intel tends to receive the better ratings across the board, using less energy and performing calculations more quickly and more intelligently than the competition. AMD is good bang for your buck. If you're looking at Intel Processors, stick with their I-Series, I3, I5, and I7. If you're purchasing an AMD, try to aim for either their A6, A8, or FX processors.
RAM - If your processor is the brain, the RAM is it's desk space. The more RAM you have, the more programs you can have open and running on your computer, and the larger those programs can be. When buying a new laptop, try to aim for at least 4GB of RAM, if not 8GB.
Hard Drive - This is where you store your stuff. Documents, movies, and pictures all sit here. So do game files, program files, and music files. The larger your hard drive, the more stuff you can store. There are two kinds of hard drives on the market - HDD's, which are mechanical spinning disks, and SSD's, which are slim, light computer chips. HDD's offer more storage for a lower price, but are slower, SSD's are faster and less susceptible to damage but cost more and offer less storage for the money.
Screen Resolution - In an earlier post, I mentioned screen resolution and it's importance. Basically, laptops come with one of three kinds of screens, High Definition, Full HD, or Ultra HD. The higher your screen resolution, the better your picture - simple as that. Take in to account how often you're going to be looking at your screen each day. The more hours you spend on your PC, and the more you use it for, the better the screen you should splurge for.
Optical Drive - Something to consider when PC shopping nowadays is whether the computer has an optical drive or doesn't. Most PC's nowadays are foregoing the feature in order to create more room for batteries or other components. Furthermore, smaller, thinner laptops just don't have the space for them. Consider whether you actually need an optical drive, and don't be surprised if you have to make sacrifices on other preferences to get one on your new laptop.