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Is Apple’s new iOS 9 right for you?
March 16 2016 0 comment

Is Apple’s new iOS 9 right for you?

While more and more iPhone users are installing the new iOS 9, there are still thousands of us holding out on the upgrade as we wait to hear more about it. So if you’re curious to know what kind of new features you’re missing out on, and if there are any downsides to the new OS, you are in luck. Here’s the lowdown on four of the most popular new features, and some reasons as to whether or not you should update.

Introducing the News App

If you waste countless minutes everyday visiting different websites searching for your news, now you no longer have to. Pre-installed in iOS 9 is a new app called News. This app collects articles from a variety of news organizations and sources, and puts them in one place for your viewing convenience. Once you start using this app it will learn what type of stories you are interested in, and then gather articles to suit your unique tastes.

Improved Notes

The Notes app has gotten a major overhaul in iOS 9 and has some nifty new features. First off, you can now add checklists and bullets to your notes. So if you’re about do some shopping at the supermarket, forget about the traditional paper written grocery list. Instead, you can create your list in the Notes app and check off each item as you put it in your cart. Additionally, you can now insert maps or photos into a note, and even sketch a drawing with the tip of your finger.

Better battery

While a long battery life is not something smartphones are known for, the iPhone is making steps to improve it with iOS 9. The core technologies and built-in apps of the new OS now consume less power, which means you may be able to squeeze out an extra hour of battery life after updating.

Furthermore, iOS 9 now comes with Low Power Mode, which helps to conserve battery life. So if you’re nowhere near an outlet, and are praying you have enough power to last for the next few hours, Lower Power Mode is your savior. To turn it on, go to Settings and Battery.

And if these new battery improvements for iOS 9 aren’t already outstanding enough, now you can also find out which apps are sucking the most juice out of your battery. In Settings > Battery, click on Battery Percentage to see a list of apps you’ve used in the past 48 hours and the percentage of your battery life they have consumed. This will help you quickly identify the apps that are draining your power, so you can close them to prevent further battery loss.

Switching between apps is easier than ever

From time to time, every iPhone user needs to toggle between apps. Whether you’re switching between Mail and Safari, or Notes and iBooks, doing this can feel like an unnecessary annoyance as you are forced to return to your Home screen before switching. With iOS 9, not anymore. In a progression from the app switchers seen in previous iterations of iOS, now if you’re in Safari and want to return to your email, a little black button in the top left hand corner gives you the option. In this case, it will read Back to Mail. Just tap on it and you can return to your mail without first having to return to the home screen. This feature works for any two apps you’re toggling between.

So should you update to iOS 9?

Upgrading to iOS 9 is a big deal, as it is for any OS update to your iPhone. The reason? Once you do it, it’s nearly impossible to go back. While the four features mentioned above may sound appealing, here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to update to iOS 9.

Owners of older versions of the iPhone, such as 4S, 5, and 5S, may be wary about reports that updating to iOS 9 has caused noticeable slowdown on these versions. For example, it can cause delays in launching and switching between apps, slow down camera performance, and lead to your phone taking longer to turn on.

However, it should be noted that if you choose to put off updating, you may leave your phone at risk to security vulnerabilities. What’s more, you may not be able to update to the latest version of apps as they will, at one point or another, no longer work with an older OS.

Whether you choose to update to iOS 9 or stick with your current version, our experts are happy to fill you in as to which is the best decision for you. Contact us today to learn more about iOS 9 or get support for any of your iPhone needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Storm warning: prepare staff and clients
March 01 2016 0 comment

Storm warning: prepare staff and clients

When your employees see snow on the ground, the thought of a day off immediately pops into their heads. Of course your customers are still reliant on you to provide the goods and services they have come to expect from your business. Before a storm hits, you should be communicating with both staff and clients to inform them of the situation. This will ensure your business doesn’t miss a step should inclement weather head your way this winter.

While weather varies drastically depending on where you live, nowhere is immune from inclement conditions during the winter. It’s only a matter of time before your local weatherperson appears on TV warning you to brace for yet another “Storm of the Century”, and in turn everyone whips themselves into a frenzy preparing for the worst-case scenario.

However, you shouldn’t just be focusing on your personal affairs; you need to make sure your business is ready as well. Even if the forecast doesn’t turn out to be accurate, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. For this to happen, you will need to stay in constant contact with both your employees and customers before and during a storm to make sure they know what to expect. Doing this will help limit interruptions and make sure clients can adjust the expectations they have of your business. Here is how you can use communication technology to prepare for any possible service interruptions caused by bad weather.

Employees

The great thing about technological advancements over the past few years is that they allow for many employees to work from home, or from anywhere that has an internet connection. However, they must be prepared to do so. That means you should be letting employees know that there is a chance they might be working from home three or four days before a storm is due to hit. During this time, have your IT department or provider check with those employees to ensure they have the capabilities to work from home, even if it is in a limited capacity.

During this time, designate certain employees as flex workers if you can’t determine just how bad the weather will be the next day. This means that they will check the weather in the morning and come in if it is safe. They will also be in charge of informing other employees whether or not they will need to come into work.

Finally, make sure there is an updated spreadsheet or file with all your employees’ contact details, and that this is available to those who may need it. It is important that each person at your company is able to be reached via multiple channels, because you never know which services a storm may knock out. Having this ready before anything happens will allow for more efficient communication during inclement weather.

Customers

Your customers depend on you, and it is absolutely vital that you keep them informed of how the weather situation will affect your business. One of the easiest ways to do this is via social media. In the days leading up to the storm, let your followers know that you are keeping an eye on the situation, and provide contact information for someone at your company who can give them additional information if needed.

If your business will have to close because of bad weather, it’s good practice to announce it as far ahead of time as possible. Ideally this will be done on the night before or, at the latest, early in the morning of the closure. You don’t want customers trekking in three feet of snow to get to your shop or office, only to find out it's closed.

Make sure you get in touch with clients right away to inform them of any delays that might occur in delivering goods or services because of the office shut-down, and give them an estimate as to when your business will be fully operational again. Just because you aren’t responsible for the weather doesn’t mean you can stop being accountable altogether. Staying ahead of the game will prove to clients that your company is organized and prepared for anything.

Of course, communication is just one part of a comprehensive business continuity plan. Contact our experts today and find out how we can keep your company functional no matter the weather.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

The link between big data and profit
February 17 2016 0 comment

The link between big data and profit

Big data. You may have heard of it; after all it’s been putting in an appearance at boardroom meetings across the globe for some time now. But what actually is big data? And what does it mean when applied in a business environment? More importantly, what can it do and how can it help your organization to succeed? And getting down to the nitty-gritty, does the term big data actually mean anything – or is it just another empty industry buzz word? The good news is that it’s not, and using big data can actually help drive profit. Read on to learn more.

So, we’ve established that big data is causing a stir and creating a buzz in companies that are in the know. In fact, it’s become hip to bandy about the phrase whenever one is trying to impress their boss, senior management or fellow co-workers. But like any lingo or jargon that is currently cool, it really doesn’t count for a whole lot if it doesn’t mean anything, particularly in the workplace.

The good news is that, unlike some of the more hackneyed expressions thrown around by those colleagues that are so desperate to impress their seniors, big data does actually mean something. And, more to the point, it can help your business thrive. Big data can help you achieve that end result that everyone in business is chasing: profit.

This is why big data is trending so sharply at the moment - after all, every owner or manager of a small or medium-sized business wants to grow their bottom line. Times are hard in many industries: increasing competition from abroad, the threat of the internet to bricks-and-mortar stores, a difficult economic climate - the list goes on. But what if something as simple as using your business’s data could push you heads and shoulders above the competition, and help turn around that downwards or flatlining arrow on your sales chart and point it upwards in the direction of success?

But before we get to that; what actually is “big data”? Why is it big? Well, we may have said that using data to grow profit is simple but, in actual fact, it’s really not as easy as all that. Big data is used to refer to various sets of data that are so huge and so complex that the traditional methods of processing data are virtually useless. Database management tools and other processing applications become redundant and are just not up to the task of capturing, storing, searching for, sharing, transferring, analyzing, and visualizing data.

Instead of looking at separate small sets of data, big data - as the name implies - looks at larger sets that contain far more information. This enables anyone analyzing the results to cross-check the sets and pinpoint trends, both positive and negative, across the entire business. As a result, owners and managers can make more informed decisions that affect the company in a more beneficial way than is possible by merely looking at small, isolated sets of data.

Big data therefore plays a valuable role in strategy and planning, and also helps troubleshoot worrying or problematic trends that threaten the performance and profitability of the business. Put simply, using big data to assist in making decisions for your company is about being able to see the bigger picture (to use another tired corporate buzz phrase). Decisions made with all the facts at hand will naturally help increase revenue, as opposed to blindly feeling in the dark and making changes to one area or department that may negatively affect another.

There are a number of ways that you can use big data analytics to make better decisions and increase profit. Crucially, it allows you to see what really makes your customers tick. Nowadays many businesses offer different ways for their customers to communicate with them. From email to a website, to phone calls and human interaction, all of these present you with meaningful information about your clients’ behavior. Knowing what your customers rely on you for, how they interact with you, and where they may hesitate or stumble when using your services, provides a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be mined. However, a lot of this data is unstructured and therefore cannot be analyzed using traditional means. That’s where big data comes in: it can help you uncover the information you need to really understand your customers.

Of course it goes without saying that a deeper understating of your customers can help you grow your customer base, increase repeat business, heighten customer loyalty, and reduce bounce rates and the number of dissatisfied customers. But that’s not all - analyzing this data will allow you to develop new products or services, create stronger, more effective marketing campaigns, and create an all-round better experience for the people that matter most – the people you serve.

Want to learn more about big data, and find out how it can have a seriously positive impact on your business’s revenue? Talk to us today - we have the knowledge and experience to help you really get the most out of your company’s intel.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Several new phones to launch in 2016
February 03 2016 0 comment

Several new phones to launch in 2016

If you decided to pass up on buying a new phone in 2015, you might have done yourself a favor. While there were some good releases over the last 12 months, 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year, with several new launches planned by all the major players. So, what can you expect to find over the course of the next year? Here is the lowdown on a few of the new phones scheduled to be released in 2016.

Apple iPhone 7

There have been plenty of rumors about what the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will feature, such as the elimination of the headphone jack, but not a whole lot more than that is known at the moment. These phones are expected to be thinner, and to feature common upgrades like a higher-resolution camera and a speedier processor. Everything else about the phone floating around at the moment is just hearsay. If Apple follows precedent, the iPhone 7 will be released in September.

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung fans won’t have to wait all that long to get their hands on the new line of Galaxy phones, with the Galaxy S7 expected to hit stores in February. While the Galaxy S6 and, in particular, the Galaxy S6 Edge had supply issues that made it hard for consumers to get their hands on one, the International Business Times reports that, this time around, five million devices will be available at launch. New features for the Galaxy include a 4k display and a pressure-sensitive touch screen. A retina scanner could also be included, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Windows Surface Phone

The Windows Phone has not been widely embraced by consumers for either business or personal use; however, the Windows Surface tablet has been a massive success for the company. It should come as no surprise to learn that Windows has decided to ditch the Windows Phone, and instead release a Surface Phone incorporating many of the user-friendly features found on the tablet, including seamless Windows 10 integration and full versions of Microsoft Office applications. The release date is still very much up in the air, but reports suggest that it should be launched some time in the second half of 2016.

Google Nexus 6 2016

Seeing as 2016 is in the name, it would be surprising if Google’s new line of signature phones did not make its way onto the market at some point in the upcoming year. Gizmo China reports that Google will once again team up with Chinese manufacturer Huawei for the handset, which will run Android N, the latest Android operating system. The two worked together on the Nexus 6P, the last phone released by Google. But the new phone is anticipated to have Qualcomm’s recently released Snapdragon 820 chipset, as opposed to Huawei’s in-house chipset.

Figuring out which phone you need for yourself or your employees can be a headache-inducing task. Let our experts help explain the pros and cons of each new phone, and how it can help your business and its bottom line.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Support for Old Versions of Internet Explorer Ends on January 12th
January 05 2016 0 comment

Support for Old Versions of Internet Explorer Ends on January 12th

Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical supports and security updates.
What does this mean?
It means that after January 12, 2016, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for older versions of Internet Explorer. Security updates patch vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware, helping to keep users and their data safer.
Running older versions of Internet Explorer after January 12, 2016 may expose you to potential risks, such as:

Security:

Without critical browser security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information.

Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Support:

Many software vendors no longer support older versions of Internet Explorer. For example, Office 365 takes advantage of modern web standards and runs best with the latest browser.

Compliance:

Businesses that are governed by regulatory obligations such as HIPAA should conduct due diligence to assess whether they are still able to satisfy compliance requirements using unsupported software.

But, what does "end of support" means?

End of support means there will be no more security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.

Source: www.microsoft.com

How to ensure your IT is up-to-date for 2016
January 01 2016 0 comment

How to ensure your IT is up-to-date for 2016

With Halloween just a few days away, and the holidays following shortly after, 2016 will be here sooner than you know it. This makes it an excellent time to start thinking about next year’s IT budget, and how to best address your technology needs to keep your practice growing, compliant, and not stifled by outdated IT that distracts you from your patients. To ensure your IT is dependable for 2016, here are a few steps you can take to prepare your practice.

Evaluate

One reason some practices fail to update their IT at all, and then wind up with broken technology that causes endless headaches and delays, is that they’re simply overwhelmed by the number of technology choices available, and are unsure what needs to be upgraded or replaced. That’s why the first task you should undertake in planning next year’s IT budget is to evaluate what you have right now.

If you have a small or medium-sized practice, you may be able to do this by walking around your office and simply taking a visual assessment of your technology. However, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, another option is to use a software tool or hire an IT provider to determine which pieces of technology you use regularly.

Correct

When you’re done with the evaluation, you’ll have likely discovered some IT issues that need to be addressed immediately. If you have the budget to fix them this year then go ahead and do so, otherwise prioritize these technology repairs in your 2016 budget. This will help ensure IT doesn’t create unnecessary dysfunction in your daily operations.

Strategize

Stop thinking about technology for a moment. Instead, think about your long-term goals for your practice. What do you want to accomplish in the next one, five, and 10 years? What do you envision your practice looking like then? Jot your goals and answers to these questions down on a piece of paper, then evaluate whether or not your practice can achieve these goals with IT implemented as it is now. If it can’t, what technology changes need to take place? The answer will reveal which IT adjustments are necessary for the future of your practice in 2016 and beyond. Here are a few other ideas to consider when planning your long-term IT strategy.

Usability - complex technology not only scares the average user, but it also prevents many from using it. If you want you, your staff and your patients to use your new IT solution, make sure it’s user friendly. Otherwise you’re simply throwing money away.

Automation - because the healthcare industry is understaffed as it is, you need all the help you can get. Technology can act as your team of extra staff members, automating and taking care of processes that are usually performed manually. This will free up your real employees to spend more time taking care of your patients.

Adaptability - both technology and the healthcare industry are in a constant state of change. So when implementing new IT, find something that will evolve with your industry. If you’re unsure, talk with the vendor of the technology product you’re interested in, or consult with an IT provider to help you along.

Lastly, we understand that IT is not the specialist area of most healthcare professionals. So if you ever have any questions, or need assistance planning for your future IT needs, our experts are more than happy to help you in assessing, evaluating and implementing new technology that will take your practice into 2016 and beyond.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.