technology you can wear

Wearable Technology Makes You More Productive

Devices have improved our quality of life and connectivity tremendously. Wearable devices provide users with health information, work communication, and personal notifications. There is an app for every part of your daily lives, from counting calories at breakfast and tracking activity during the day to monitoring sleep at night. Wearable devices are extensions of who we are, and they improve our lives and productivity as well.

 

Devices that Improve Productivity

At work or home, these devices will allow you to do work more efficiently. Robert Half Technology released a study that revealed 81% of CIOs in the US believe wearable devices, watches, glasses, sensors, will be routine in businesses in the next five years. According to Entrepreneur.com, productivity increased by as much as 8.5% among workers with wearable devices, and employee satisfaction increased 3.5% as well. Employees want to work better, reduce redundancy, and not have to worry about ineffective systems. Wearable devices are the answer.

  • Wearable glasses

Wearable glasses may look odd, but the technology can provide medical professionals, disaster relief organizations, and first responders with immediate information required to jump into action. Wearable glasses may provide users with critical data in at a moment’s notice, without fumbling with smartphones, tablets, charts, or large desktop computers. Think of how quickly critical care can be dispatched or delivered when a provider has complete, immediate access to medical charts, medication information, and vitals.

  • Wearable sensors

Wearable sensors have proven to be most effective in production and assembly lines. Employers incorporate wearable sensors on clothing and accessories to track employee productivity and to monitor employee health. Embedded sensors are a cost-effective tool for employers and employees. Neither employer nor employee has to spend hundreds of dollars on single devices to track employee activity and motion. Embedded sensors can be incorporated into company-issued ID badges, uniform shirt collars, or anything other part of the employee uniform. Wearable sensors reduce employee privacy concerns while tracking employee health and productivity throughout the day. The data collected permits employers to make informed decisions about health plans, daily operations, and employee policies.

  • Wrist wearables

Wrist wearables such as watches and fitness trackers allow employers to analyze data, monitor employee activity, and streamline order fulfillments. Employers configure wrist wearables to maximize employee productivity and access, permitting users to view data, review orders, remind employees about healthy activity, monitor employee stress, and to guide employees through miles of warehouse aisles. The goal of the wrist wearable is to improve the quantity and quality of employee work. Employees are happier when they can work more efficiently, and management can run a better business by establishing policies and systems that accommodate both the business and employee needs.

 

technology pioneers

5 Leading Business Pioneers in Technology

Though it does help to be youthful and an inexperienced outsider in business to make a change in the computing world and the Internet, you don’t have to meet those qualifications. Believe it or not, more than half of the leading pioneers in this industry have founded their own companies before they were 27 years of age. In fact, some of the most successful pioneers in this industry, including Mark Zukerberg, who created Facebook when he was just 19, Bill Gates, who created Microsoft at the age of 19 and Akio Marito, who was just 25 (an old-timer compared to the two previously listed) when he created Sony.

It’s not that the technology industry is biased to people who are over the age of 27; it’s just that it seems to be that younger people bring a fresh perspective to the industry, which is the reason why these youngsters tend to come out on top.

While software and Internet industries tend to be powered by younger generations, in electronics and hardware, it’s quite the opposite. In fact, Thomas Watson was 40 when he teamed up with the business machinery company that he later gave the name IBM. A former officer of the Chinese army, Ren Zhengfei, was 43 years old when he created the world famous communications company Huawei.

So, who are the leading business pioneers in technology? Here’s a look at the 5 most influential founders of technology:

  1. Bill Gates – In 1980, a 24-year-old Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard so that he could go into business with his school chum Paul Allen. However, at that point, he had already started one of the first software companies for the revolutionary (at the time) microprocessors that would eventually come to define the age of the personal computer. Together, Gates and Allen struck a deal that would enable them to create the operating systems for IBMs PCs.
  2. Andy Grove – The Hungarian-born and bred co-founder of Intel fled to the United States after the Hungarian uprising of 1956. After attending university, he moved to California and joined forces with Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore and the trio developed Intel, the largest semiconductor company.
  3. Steve Jobs – As the co-founder of Apple and the chairman of Pixar, Steve Jobs had an immense impact on the world of technology. He took a company that had a very unpromising future and transformed it into what is still one of the leading corporations in the technology industry.
  4. Akio Morita –As the co-founder of Sony, Morita completely transformed the face of technology in Japan. He helped to create what he affectionately called ‘the Cadillac of electronics’ and devices that forever changed how the world listened to music and watched TV. Some of the most notable innovations he created include the Trinitron color TV and the Walkman cassette player.
  5. Narayana Murthy –This pioneer of the Indian software company Infosys, Murthy not only created and served as the chairman of the company, but he returned it to its former glory after it lost a lot of its former power when he stepped down from the chairman position. His most notable achievement is helping to bring India into the success in the information technology industry.
cryptolocker new virus

New Variant of CryptoLocker Located

A new type of CryptoLocker, a virus that targets gamers, has recently been identified.

The discovery was made by the security researchers at Bromium Labs. The researchers found that the malware is targeting gamers, making them pay to unlock their own property. The virus is a vicious one that compromises the data files for more than 20 games. It is distributed by a compromised WordPress-based website, and once a device is infected, it uses a Flash clip to redirect visitors to the Angler exploit kit.

Currently, the compromised site is still serving the malware and it is not known if the site has been compromised by a WP exploit. Additionally, the URL which the malicious Flash file is hosted from continuously changes.

It should also be noted that this CryptoLocker virus is not a typical iframe redirection; instead, the Flash clip is wrapped in a < div > tag, and the reason for this is believed to be a way to avoid being detected. The clip makes calls to JavaScript and then makes an iframe within it, which leads to Angler. Once this occurs, a check is done to determine if there is a virtual machine or antivirus software is present before an exploit of Flash are dropped.

TeslaCrypt, a variant of CryptoLocker, was first discovered by Emsisoft’s Fabian Wosar. This TeslaCrypt behaves like any other standard ransomware, as it locks the system of the infected device until the user makes a payment. Once a device is infect, a blaring banner instantly appears on the screen, demanding payment from the user and indicating that an encryption of the user’s files has been done. To make matters worse, a time limit has also been set, which is intended to cause panic in the victimized user, forcing him or her to pay the fee. Payments are to be made via a website that is located on the TOR network, which is the cypercriminals then collect.

This most recent form of CryptoLocker targets a total of 185 extensions. Though this is not a massive amount, it does focus solely on video games, making this virus very pre-meditated and very specific. The most notable games that are impacted by this virus strain include:

  • Minecraft
  • Call of Duty
  • Dragon Age: Orgins
  • E.A.R.
  • Half-Life 2

The online games World of Warcraft, Day Z and League of Legends have also been targeted. Additionally, this malware targets company-specific games, including those created by:

  • EA Sports
  • Valve
  • Bethesda

In order to ensure your protection, Bromium Labs strongly urges gamers to back-up their files on an external hard drive on a regular basis.

output management

Benefits of Output Management

Are you looking to improve the efficiency of your business? If so, you should seriously consider looking into output management. This form of information technology helps to organize, distribute, format and manage data. By utilizing output management, you can reap a host of benefits for your business.

Here’s a peek at just a few of the perks that output management information technology provides.

Cost Reduction. Without a doubt, one of the biggest benefits of output management is cost reduction. Since it allows you to organize your information and control what documents you produce, when you produce them and how they are delivered, you can really cut a great deal of your overhead costs. Add to that the fact that documents can be sent and viewed via email, you can also completely eliminate the need for printed documents, which means you can save money on paper and ink.

Reduced Carbon Footprint. With the reduced use of paper, energy, ink and other supplies that are needed to create and deliver documents, your business’ carbon footprint will be greatly reduced. You’ll also experience a great reduction in the amount of unnecessary paper use, which will cut the amount of waste that you produce.

Improved Security. You won’t have to worry about valuable information getting into the wrong hands. You will know exactly who you are distributing documents to, which means that you can eliminate the risk of having important data and information compromised.

Greater Productivity. No longer will you have to worry about productivity coming to a halt when your printer stops working. This software will fix any output issues that your business may experience before they ever happen, thanks to proactive and continuous monitoring of printers and printer queues.

Transparency. You will know exactly what is happening with all of your printers at all times. Thanks to the automatic and constant comprehensive tracking and reporting that output management provides, you will be able to stay on top of each and every transaction that occurs.

Greater Control. You will be in more control of device usage and your information output with an output management system in place. Because you will be able to monitor usage and adjust how printing is being used, you will have greater control over this important aspect of your business.

 

If you want to experience all of these benefits and more, make it a point to integrate output management software into your business. Matthijssen can help pinpoint trouble areas in your business processes and use output management software to overcome them.

VoIP and video conferencing

How to Use VoIP and Video Conferencing to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

When looking for ways to cut your bottom line, consider a VoIP and video conferencing solution for your company. Not only will it save your business money, but it will improve relations and productivity amongst colleagues. Here we break down how businesses can use VoIP and video conferencing to increase productivity in the workplace:

Build Stronger Relationships and Better Communication

Body language is very important for reaching a common understanding in a conversation, especially when trying to collaborate for work. How many times have emails and texts been taken the wrong way because there was nothing to back it up, like a smile? Face-to-face meetings build trust, which is also lost over the phone. Video conferencing allows you to see body language from other participants who can’t be in the room with you, fostering more understanding with your colleagues. When the boss holds a meeting in real time with worldwide offices, it can make employees feel more secure and eager to participate.

Heightened Productivity Amongst Colleagues

In addition to better communication and relationships amongst employees, your company will reap the benefits of better productivity. Misunderstandings will be greatly reduced because of the face-to-face contact, which will eliminate unnecessary delays to work them out. As opposed to a conference call where the participants can’t be seen, video conferencing makes it more likely that the people participating will stay alert and on task. This means projects will get done quicker and better, because employees are more connected to one another and understand what the end result of the project should be.

VoIP phones can give your team access to your office phone system from any mobile device and from any location. Take your contacts with you, make and receive calls from your office number, and stay connected even when you’re traveling or otherwise out of the office.

Cut Back on Travel Costs and the Phone Bill

Video conferencing is the next best thing to meeting a client in person. It allows you to accommodate their schedule and not revolve around flight times and delays. Not only are you more accessible to the customer, but your costs will be cut tremendously over time when you consider the prices of travel, hotel, transportation, meals and time lost in transit. Video conferencing software as part of your VoIP solution will pay for itself in reduced travel costs alone.

A VoIP solution reduces your monthly phone expenses, too. You know exactly how much your bill is from month to month, since all of your phone features and calls are included in the flat rate billing.

Stand Out From your Competitors

Video conferencing lets you stay in the game and have a competitive edge in your industry. When employees communicate with clients through video, they can share information instantly. Instead of wasting time to bring it to your customers in person, new products and ideas can be shared via video first, and before a competitor does. When you work in the support team or customer service center, talking over video to a customer builds trust with face-to-face relations better than email or phone. This can give you a strong advantage over a competitor that does not use video. If they do use it, you have more of a chance of gaining their business than if you were the one communicated in an antiquated way.

Let Matthijssen show you how a VoIP solution with video conferencing can improve productivity in your office – read more about VoIP in our whitepaper, How VoIP Can Help Your Business.

managed print services

4 Ways Managed Print Services is Better for the Environment

A great way to cut waste and costs in your company is by using Managed Print Services. A whole 3-5% of your company’s overhead goes to printing costs. MPS gives your company the ability to document where, when and how much is being printed, plus provides complete management of your supplies. This stops your company from having to stock toner and waste space, since the MPS provider will know ahead of time when and what they need and send it to you.

However, even more important, using MPS will lower your company’s environmental impact.

  1. Lower Your Consumption of Energy

One area of great waste in a company is the consumption of energy. Keeping multiple printers running for each department wastes a great deal of energy.

Research has shown that there are two to four employees on average for each printer. With Managed Print Services, you can cut out the extra printers and lower your energy consumption significantly.

You can replace your old printers with Energy Star qualified devices which can lower your energy consumption by up to fifty percent. Looking for print features like automatic on/off and instant-on copying to get rid of warm up time can also lower the waste of energy.

  1. Recycling

One obvious way to take advantage of recycling is by using recycled papers. They can be a bit more expensive however, they are more friendly to the environment.

Where you really need to consider recycling is with other things which have to do with printing, such as ink cartridges, old electronics, toner cartridges and scrap paper. These things are thrown away every day and are filling up landfills at an alarming rate. When you use a recovery and trade-in service you can recycle these items and lower your waste.

Plus, when you have print services in-house, the amount of recycling needed will be reduced greatly. These services use less paper, so you’ll still be saving money even when you are purchasing more expensive paper. There will be less paper to recycle, and it is also more efficient when it’s centralized. There is also less usage of ink and toner, lowering how much waste there is for recycling.

  1. Reducing Paper Waste

There is of course the fact that you’ll be lowering the paper wasted in your office. The average worker in an office uses around ten thousand sheets of copy paper each year. Almost 3.7 million tons of copy paper, or 700 billion sheets of copy paper are used in the United States. Plus, almost forty percent of garbage is paper and cardboard.

There are several ways to lower your office’s consumption of paper:

  • Sharing paper copies
  • Circulating more digital reports and memos
  • Using documents which are two-sided
  • Get rid of forms which are unnecessary
  • Proofing materials electronically instead of printed out

Using Managed Print Services will lower the paper wasted by forcing your employees to think before they go printing anything.

  1. Going Paperless

There are always paperless processes, as paper documents aren’t cost effective. 15% of all paper documents are lost and 20% are misfiled. These lost documents can cost your company six times more than what the original document is worth, and reconstructing this paperwork will cost eleven times more than the original document.

Managed Print Services will integrate easily into a paperless office and lower your wasted and lost paper. Invoices, work orders and contracts can be scanned and electronically stored for easy access and secure archiving with no lost paperwork or time and resources needed to reproduce the lost materials.

The above are just a few ways in which Managed Print Services can help your office to be more environmentally responsible.

proactive support

Benefits of Proactive IT Support Services

As long as there have been computers in the workplace, IT support has been around to fix them when they crash. Typically, this is on a reactive basis – the call for help comes after there is a problem with the computer (or server, or network). The dispatched tech works to find a solution as quickly as possible to get the system working again, but it may result in down time until it is resolved. Once the system is up and running again, the customer is happy…until something else goes wrong and the process has to be repeated.

The reactive plan results in a constant battle in dealing with computer problems, which equals extended down time and service interruptions. This type of fix tends to patch the problem instead of finding the root of it. It can also be costly, and there is no way to budget for unpredictable, reactive IT expenses.

Maintaining a stable, high-performing infrastructure is vital. Access to applications, customer data, and financial information is critical for day-to-day operation. Any time there are IT problems or outages, the business is denied access to this information and it negatively impacts the bottom line.

Become Proactive

Avoiding IT issues is only possible if a business is proactive rather than reactive. The network should be monitored and maintained around the clock. But when everything seems to be running fine, no one wants to think about the need for proactive maintenance! Staying ahead of problems is the key to maintaining reliability and performance.

Proper proactive maintenance of a network will:

  • improve productivity
  • increase the reliability and speed of the systems
  • save money

This can only be done effectively if the infrastructure is being monitored and maintained twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. IT hardware is susceptible and vulnerable around the clock, not just during business hours.

Back-up failure. Aging Processors. The Antivirus system that hasn’t been updated in weeks. Any one of these things, and countless others, could easily develop into a crisis situation if left unchecked. These could lead to serious and possibly unrecoverable losses. Proactive monitoring gives you the ability to prevent such catastrophes.

What Kind of Proactive Monitoring is Involved?

Most problems display warning signs of some sort before becoming critical issues. Our support team will keep a close watch on your network, including:

  • Checking the server event logs for red flags
  • Managing AntiVirus updates and activity. Viruses that are detected can be removed; the infrastructure can be protected from new viruses that have been identified.
  • Monitoring backup status to prevent failed back-up routines
  • Monitoring firewall activity, safeguarding the system from hacking attempts
  • Examine inventory for outdated or inadequate equipment and applications and performing upgrades when necessary.

By utilizing proactive solutions, IT expenses are more predictable, downtime is minimized, and total cost is less expensive than reactive labor hours.

print management solution

4 Ways Managed Print Services Help Your Business

Every business owner relies on computers and the World Wide Web.

While you may rely on computer systems and the Internet to conduct the majority of your business, paperwork – printed documents – are still a necessity. While it is a necessity, that paperwork can sure pile up, and it can be difficult to sort through. So, how can you keep your desk clutter-free and keep that paperwork in order? With managed print services, of course.

Not sure what managed print services are? Wondering how they can help you? Keep reading to find out four very beneficial reasons what managed print services are and how they can help your business.

What Is Managed Print Services?

The definition of managed print services is simple and straightforward: It is the management of document output. In detail, this service monitors and maintains the mechanisms that are used for printing documents, ensures that the documents are kept in an orderly fashion and maintains proper output.

Four Benefits of Managed Print Services

There are several benefits that a business can reap by taking advantage of managed print services. Here is a look at four of those leading benefits.

  1. Time Management: In the business world, time is money, and the more time you spend searching for documents, the more money you lose. Thanks to managed print services, you won’t have to waste any more time sifting through piles of paperwork. This service will file, index and tag each and every document in your database, which will significantly minimize the amount of time you have to spend searching for documents – and that translates into more money in your pocket.
  2. Increased Security: You will never have to worry about sensitive information getting into the wrong hands, thanks to managed print services. All of those sheets of paper that include your and your clients’ information won’t be sitting around, waiting for someone else to scoop them up and use them in the wrong way.
  3. Easy Sharing: While you don’t want paperwork falling into the wrong hands, there are times that you need to share it. Should you need to share documents with co-workers, managed print services will allow you to do so easily and safely.
  4. Boost Efficiency: No longer will you or your staff have to sift through piles of paperwork. Thanks to managed print services, your business will become much more efficient. You and your coworkers will be able to easily locate documents, which means that you will be able to provide better service to your costumers.

Given these benefits, it’s easy to see why managed print services can benefit your business. So, what are you waiting for? Boost your business and your success by signing up for this invaluable service today! Contact us to find out more about managed print services and how they can specifically help your business.

email tips

5 Tips For Using Your Email More Efficiently

Organization is the key to stress-free living. Clearing clutter from your closets, drawers and workspace makes life more productive and enjoyable. This philosophy should spill over into the digital world, starting with arranging your email to work more efficiently for you. We have 5 tips to get you started on using your email more efficiently.

Tip # 1: Respond Immediately

If you’re in the habit of reading all your emails, then gong back and responding, you need to stop. This is a bad habit because a) it eats up valuable time, since you’ll likely have to read each one a second time in order to respond b) once messages are marked as “read”, you’re likely to forget about a few of them. This, or they will get mixed up with the ones you have already responded to and get overlooked. The best way to proceed is to read it, and answer it, immediately. This method is much more effective and will keep messages organized.

Tip #2: Manage Notifications

We all have several social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook or other outlets we subscribe to such as YouTube. When you set these up, you need to see how they have your notifications laid out. Chances are you’re getting an email notification every time a friend mentions you, each time a new video premieres, or when one of the celebs you follow on Twitter makes a tweet. If these are clogging up your mailbox, take a few minutes to change their notification settings, instead of wasting time deleting them every day.

Tip #3: Unsubscribe

Piggybacking on the notification management, take the time one day to sit down and unsubscribe. Get rid of newsletters, professional subscriptions, YouTube channels or anything else that you truly do not follow every day. They seemed like a good idea at the time, but they are just causing unnecessary clutter if you’re not reading them daily.

Tip #4: Create an Auto-Signature

Most email systems have an auto-signature function that is attached to your messages. Include items such as your name, contact information, company name, title and a short description of your company name of no more than five words. Consider including functional links to your website, online portfolio or blog. This will save you time with each email you send.

Tip #5: Use Labels and Create Folders For Organization

If you receive emails that cannot be answered immediately or need follow-ups, create folders with useful labels to keep things organized. If you’re working on a project, make a folder with the project name. Other suggestions are labels like “networking”, when you’re corresponding with a colleague, and be sure to archive as many emails as you can, so you have records of your correspondence. Archiving is also helpful if you need to contact someone in the future, or you need to remember details of a conversation. It can be your protection, if you’re accused of not taking actions or reaching out to an associate, when you actually did.

print management

4 Reasons You Need a Print Management System

Businesses in every industry are on the look out for ways to reduce costs and increase revenue – it’s how successful businesses grow! Extremely small businesses get by with their little all-in-one printer, copier, and scanner. As you grow, you probably start adding more printers and devices to your network to accommodate increased output and more employees. Before you know it, printing costs can become a costly line item in your budget. Print management can help reduce your printing expenses while providing a number of advantages to increase productivity at the same time. Here are 4 reasons you need a print management system:

  1. Reduce paper consumption.

A print management system will help your organization reduce the amount of paper you consume. You can look at which employee or group of employees are printing the most, and even regulate the amount of printing permitted by employee or group. There are many things you really do need to print – we’re not suggesting you avoid printing those things. But let’s face it; some employees will print every email (work related or not!), word document, and web page they view if their printing habits aren’t reeled in. Using less paper is good for the environment… and your bottom line.

  1. Migrate to energy efficient solutions.

The cost of energy is a commonly overlooked expense when it comes to evaluating what your print output costs. With a print management solution, you’ll learn about more energy efficient solutions and devices that can handle your print output needs better with less effort. As older, energy-hogging devices are replaced with more efficient devices, you’ll start to see your energy costs decrease.

  1. Integrate all of your devices.

In many businesses, printers, copiers, and fax machines are just purchased from the store and connected wherever you find a spot in the office. If you’re lucky, every employee has access to every device they need from their workstations, but in some cases – employees may have to email documents to another employee who has access to the device he or she needs to use. It can get really inefficient – really fast. A print management solution will integrate all of your devices so they can be used by anyone in your office. This not only makes it easier to use the devices when needed, but gives you more control of your total printing expense.

  1. Remote monitoring and automatic supply replenishment.

How many times do you try to use your printer or copier – only to find it’s out of ink? And, how many of those times do you also discover there is no more ink in the supply cabinet to replace it with? A print management solution puts a stop to this frustration, too. Through remote monitoring of your devices, toner, ink, and cartridges can be automatically reordered before you even know they’re empty – so you’ll always have the gear you need to operate your devices.

 

Do you wish you had a print management solution? Give us a call and we’ll talk to you about how to get started or let you know what other benefits you would experience unique to your business.