Smartphones and tablets have opened up a world of opportunities for small business owners, allowing them to streamline operations, enhance customer engagement, and boost productivity. Today, we'll explore how mobile devices are a great tool for small businesses and the myriad ways they contribute to success.
Have you considered the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for your business? If so, you’re not alone—many small businesses are opting to use these technologies in new and exciting ways, particularly as it relates to engaging customers, enhancing products, and creating better training experiences. Let’s look into how your business can utilize AR and VR to its advantage.
With things like cryptocurrencies and NFTs flooding the public awareness, the term “blockchain” has been brought up more than a few times. However, this association hardly covers what the blockchain is or what it is capable of.
Let’s briefly review what the blockchain really is, and what the technology can do.
Sports franchises have changed the way they use data to help them strategize. In the past, businesses used basic scouting to find and develop talent, but with the use of advanced analytics, not only can sports franchises improve their talent bases, they can save money and build a competitive advantage over organizations that aren’t so analytically inclined.
The cloud has enabled managed IT service providers, or MSPs, to fill a uniquely shaped void in many companies’ business models. Working with a managed service provider can make up for all of the traditional challenges of technology maintenance and management while also affording you unique opportunities to reduce costs, minimize waste, and maximize productivity.
Mobile devices like smartphones have become synonymous with productivity, allowing people to get work done while on-the-move, yet in the same breath, you could say they are synonymous with distraction. With the right practices and the right apps, however, you can mitigate these challenges and be quite productive with a smartphone. Let’s explore how.
When a business strikes a deal, there is usually some sort of paper trail or contract involved to hold both parties involved accountable. However, the traditional method of managing paper documents is both time-consuming and wasteful. With eSignature tools, businesses can change the way they handle signing documents for the better.
Professional sports has witnessed a significant shift in the way teams and organizations approach their strategies. Gone are the days when gut instinct and intuition were the sole driving forces behind decisions. Nowadays, sports are increasingly relying on analytics to gain a competitive edge. In this week’s blog, we explore the growing influence of analytics in sports and the ways in which data-driven insights have revolutionized the game.
Businesses today deal in contracts. Every agreement has a proverbial paper trail. Traditional paper-based contracts are not only time-consuming, but they also involve manual efforts and can be prone to errors. This is where eSignature tools come into play, offering numerous benefits that revolutionize the way we handle and sign documents. This week, we explore the key advantages of eSignature tools and how they can positively impact businesses of all sizes.
Foldable phones undeniably saw a very slow start when they were introduced a few years ago, high prices and horror stories about their fragility scaring away all but the earliest of early adopters. However, thanks to an enthusiastic fanbase, the concept has persisted and has become a legitimate option amongst flagship devices.
Let’s consider some of the predictions that have been made surrounding the future of the foldable smartphone market, and why business users might be drawn to the flexible form factor.
Technology has touched nearly everyone over the past decade or so. More is done using technology than ever before. In this week’s blog, we go beyond individual uses of technology and discuss how technology is going to be used to improve infrastructure and the delivery of services that we take for granted.
Having an efficient and reliable point of sale (POS) system is essential for any retail or hospitality establishment. A robust POS system offers numerous benefits that can streamline the operations of the business and enhance customer and worker experiences. This week, we take a look at some of the main benefits of integrating a robust POS system in your business.
With the release of the 2023 edition of their annual Work Trend Index report, dedicated to exploring the topic of Will AI Fix Work?, Microsoft took a deep dive into the impact that artificial intelligence will have on the workplace in the future. This report ultimately resulted in three major conclusions, which we felt we should help amplify and contextualize.
One way businesses attempt to save money is through automating certain processes and tasks that have traditionally been time-consuming or monotonous for their workforce. When implemented appropriately, automation can cut costs, streamline operations, and improve quality of life for workers. However, just because a task can be automated doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be automated. Let’s look at the arguments for and against automation in these contexts.
Let’s face it; running a business can be expensive, and taking any measures possible to mitigate those costs can have huge benefits for your bottom line. One way companies are minimizing costs is by implementing a Bring Your Own Device policy, or BYOD, to allow employees to use their own personal devices for work purposes. We’re here to help you do so without putting security at risk.
It isn’t unusual for modern businesses to turn more and more often to “green” technologies, partially due to the reduced environmental impacts that come with their use, and partially due to the operational advantages that many of these technologies also bring. Let’s discuss some of the options that even smaller businesses can embrace that bring these kinds of mutual benefits.
There’s no denying that running a successful business comes with its fair share of costs, and many would argue that some of these costs are anything but fair. As such, it makes sense to try and minimize your operating expenses by any sustainable means. Let’s go over one such cost-saving measure you can implement—Bring Your Own Device policies—and address how to do so without shortchanging your business’ security in the process.
We tend to focus a lot of our time on this blog talking about the technologies that businesses can (and usually should) use as a part of their operations. However, without clients or customers coming in, there’s only so much good that these technologies can do. That’s why we wanted to briefly touch on a few technologies that can help you attract more people to your business so that all the other IT solutions we recommend can live up to their potential.
Microsoft’s operating systems have been around for a long time, and since Windows 95, Microsoft has published free utilities that can help users make slight adjustments to their operating systems to suit their needs. Microsoft PowerToys are even available now, and we want to explore what they can do for your business, as well as how you can acquire them.
Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as VoIP, has revolutionized the way businesses manage their communications through the use of telephony. Employees who were once tethered to their landlines or their physical locations can now break free of these constraints, and it’s all thanks to VoIP and cloud-based communication tools. Here are some of the best features of VoIP solutions for small businesses.
There is a lot of misinformation and misperceptions out there related to network security, especially where small businesses are concerned. In particular, browser security is one aspect where many individuals’ knowledge simply falls flat, and they buy into myths that put their data at risk. Let’s clear up some of these misconceptions so you can go about your day in a more secure way.
Since the Windows 95 operating system, Microsoft has been separately publishing 15 free utilities to add significant capabilities intended to help a user make some small tweaks and adjustments in a relatively safe way, as compared to what would otherwise be necessary to make these changes. Microsoft PowerToys are still available today, so let’s discuss what some of them can do…and how you should go about getting these tools, if so you choose.
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is just one way of describing the concept of machine learning technologies. AI has grown considerably over the past couple of years, so much that automation as we know it today wouldn’t exist without it. Throw in some data-driven insights and you have a technology that has cemented itself for use in a business environment, but there are some concerns with how fast it is growing and evolving.
We spend a lot of time working with the technology that businesses rely on, including the laptop workstations used by just about everyone in many organizations today. As such, we wanted to share some of our insights so that you know what qualities you should look for when you’re ready to acquire some additional devices for your business.
In today’s business, the more robust an IT network is the more risk there is of system failure. This comes down to what is known as Murphy’s Law, which states anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. That’s why when coming up with a defense strategy, you need to mix smart IT management decisions with overwhelming redundancy to have a chance. In this week’s blog, we will outline some of the most common reasons for system failure and why you need a data backup solution.
Artificial intelligence is a hot-button issue in today’s business technology landscape, and for good reason. It’s being implemented in various software tools and platforms with mixed results. There are some concerns over it, particularly in regard to intellectual property, but there are also major issues with it related to “the profound risks to society and humanity,” according to an open letter.
“I just wanted to take a second to thank the sponsor of this video, [insert VPN provider here], for supporting the channel!”
If you’ve been on YouTube in the past few years, this message likely sounds pretty familiar. Virtual private network providers have been taking advantage of the trend of influencer marketing to spread awareness of their largely obscure product—often, offering an enticing deal. While we have and will continue to promote the use of a VPN for business purposes, we wanted to clarify something here: these are not the VPNs we’re saying you should use.
Unfortunately, technology is just a tool. It can do so much for your business, but there are times when your technology is getting older and it stymies the amount that you can produce. This degradation can have a stark effect on your organizational productivity from downtime, cost, and more. Let’s look at how you can identify variables that tell when your technology has to be replaced.
It seems that you can’t turn your head nowadays without seeing artificial intelligence being incorporated into some software or platform. However, many leaders in the technology space have expressed their concerns about—as they put it—the “profound risks to society and humanity” that AI poses, outlined in an open letter.
When your technology gets older it has a tendency to get less effective. This can be a major roadblock to organizational productivity, and have devastating effects on your business. These include major downtime events and overwhelming inefficiency. Let’s take a look at some ways that you know that it’s time to focus on reinvestment.
Every business depends on some type of software, but some businesses seem to have an application for every single thing and it can be too much for employees or administrators to manage. So the question has to be asked: What is the right amount of software for your business? Today, we’ll discuss the types of software every business needs and how to determine what you need.
Each year, we take some time and take a look at the most interesting new smartphones that are being released. Over the past few years, fewer companies are making smartphones and throughout the whole industry, innovation has seemed to slow. Whether this is a result of rigid market dynamics, supply shortages, or the extraordinary costs it takes to manufacture and source components, it has taken some of the largest technology companies in the world—such as Amazon, LG, and HTC—out of the market and presented limited opportunities for other global technology leaders such as Microsoft, Sony, and Nokia.
Small manufacturers and distributors operate under a whole separate set of conditions than their larger competitors. This is because they don’t have the available capital to have any noticeable inefficiencies, and if they do have some, they are going to definitely affect their ability to compete. One solution that these organizations can lean on is a logistics platform.
Sustainability is a hot topic nowadays, from how we conduct ourselves in our personal lives to how businesses go about their respective business. If this is something that you want to promote in your business, we figured that the day before Earth Day was as good a day as any to share some of the ways you can do so.
It’s no secret that automation is one of the major trends that most businesses have tried to incorporate into their business plans, most with some middling success. The problem becomes that many businesses don’t really have a strategy for building out automated tools for their business, so they may not be able to take advantage of the benefits automation can bring.
We often discuss data backup and disaster recovery on our blog, and you may even be familiar with some of the terms and practices we throw around. Today, we want to take a closer look at the 3-2-1 rule and how it impacts your business’ ability to recover in the face of a disaster. Let’s dive in and see how the 3-2-1 rule can make or break your company’s data infrastructure.
Considering how essential telephone services are for just about any organization, it’s surprising how limited—and expensive— telephone service providers here in Otsego County are. Between the lack of support and, again, the costs that are involved, they’ve dropped the ball…and yet, they still expect businesses to play.
Not only do businesses here in Otsego County deserve better, better options are available.
The increase in wearable technology that you see coming into your business has substantially increased over the past couple of years. People are doing a better job of tracking their health and using wearable technology to improve their work lives. This creates a problem for the business because every single device brought onto a network is a potential threat and threats have to be managed. Let’s take a look at how people are using wearable technology and what you can do in response to this trend.
Productivity suites are universally one of the best tools for getting work done in the business world, so if you’re not familiar with the term, then take a moment to consider how often you use Microsoft Office products or the Google Workspace apps. These are productivity suites, and they are remarkably important and valuable for your company, whether you realize it or not.
Business technology has grown so much over time that it’s practically unrecognizable compared to some of the original solutions. The Internet of Things has given businesses more opportunities to automate processes and build efficiency into their IT infrastructure, and in more ways than one. Let’s look at how businesses use the Internet of Things and what you might accomplish with it.
The landscape of telephony for small businesses has changed dramatically. It’s likely that you don’t rely on your phone nearly as much as you rely on other technologies, like your Internet, communications solutions, and email. Still, an antiquated phone system can hold you back, so let’s explore the other viable option for your business: Voice over IP.
Software makes business run: that is an undeniable statement. From the operations software that allows your business to manage and pay its people to the CRM that provides a pathway to communicate efficiently with customers, to all of the applications that it takes to conduct business in earnest, software plays a crucial role in your business’ success.
Data backup is a must-have for every business, but it isn’t enough to just copy your data. You will need to have a data recovery strategy in place to ensure that your business can effectively respond after a data loss incident. Today, we’ll take a look at why considering your recovery strategy early is important, and how to prioritize it with everything else going on with your business.
The keyboard that you may very well have used to access this blog is, in a word, gross. While we aren’t going to go into too much detail about what makes keyboards so grimy, we did want to outline how you can easily clean up your keyboard every so often, just to make sure that it’s A: more hygienic, and B: less likely to malfunction at some point.
Most modern organizations will have digitized their businesses to at least some degree without really putting much effort or thought into it. This massive and often unconscious change has created a lot of benefits for businesses with perhaps one of the most overlooked benefits being document digitization. Today, we want to discuss the great benefits that come from this initiative and why you should consider it.
Ah, the business telephone solution. You know you need it, but you dislike working with your current telephone provider for a number of reasons. You know you can get a better deal if you look around, but we bet that the best deal around is a hosted Voice over Internet Protocol solution from Directive. How can our VoIP solution save your business time, energy, and resources?
AI has been a hot topic in recent months and years, which only makes sense. Not only has it been used in more public applications, but it has also caused a bit of controversy as it seems to “compete” with people. Back in September, art made by using an artificially intelligent platform caused a stir by winning an art competition, and workplace fears of a computer taking one’s job have seemingly become more well-founded than ever.
We talk a lot about different types of technology, securing your technology and your accounts, and a lot of other technology-related issues on this blog, but because of the generalities of whatever technology (or strategy) we’ve chosen to write about that day, we never confront the thing that is most important to a business: How does any technology fit into what we do here? What value do we get from any type of technology? Today, we thought we’d talk a little bit about what you need to do to find the right technology for your business and how to come up with those decisions.
For many years now, there’s been a bit of a fear of AI—artificial intelligence—in the workplace, all while it has been put into practical use more and more often in many businesses. This all ties back to the work of Alan Turing, who (amongst his accomplishments in computing) created what we know as the Turing Test as a means of gauging how intelligent a computer is.
There’s no beating around the bush with this one; moving data from one place to another, also known as data migration, is critical to get right the first time. If you create and follow a migration strategy, evaluating here and there to make sure it’s all going according to plan, you’ll see great success in this effort. Let’s go over how you can make it happen.
Countless jokes have been made in the IT world about the perfect place to hide something being page two of Google—just hang out with some IT professionals, and there’s a good chance you’ll hear it. Unfortunately, Google is making a change to its search results that will make this joke completely irrelevant.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, has grown to over 14 billion connected devices as of this year, and this number is expected to exceed 20 billion devices by the end of 2026. With such a shocking number of devices, you might wonder what types of devices are out there and what they mean for your business. Let’s look at the IoT and what you need to know to keep it at the top of your mind this upcoming year.
There’s no denying that the economic forecast at the moment is a bit bleak, with murmurings of a recession growing louder by the day. As this situation develops, many companies are likely seeking out opportunities to trim the fat. Despite this, however, we anticipate that artificial intelligence will actually see a bit of an uptick. Let’s go over why.
Last time, we started our discussion on the best search engines by talking about the behemoth, Google. While Google is, by far, the most popular and commonly used, and arguably the most accurate search engine, it doesn’t mean it’s always the right search engine to use. Let’s talk about some other alternatives and see where they might fit in.
For the average business, the database plays a big role. How big of a role? Your business won’t function the way you want it to function without it. In order to manage your databases correctly, you need a solid database management system (DBMS). This week, we thought we would discuss the DBMS and how it works to assist your business computing.
The metaverse is a buzzword that many companies have been throwing around in recent years, but what is it, exactly? You might want to sit down for this one, as it is going to get a little complicated and, perhaps, even a bit confusing. We’ll do our best to unpack what the metaverse is, why there is such an emphasis on it these days, and what you might expect to see from a metaverse in the future.
Every piece of technology we regularly use today was once earth-shakingly innovative, regardless of how mundane and common it seems to us now. Think about it: people once had endless questions about the Internet, about computers…even about electricity. Let’s consider some modern innovations that we have many questions about now, but may someday be just as much of a given as the other tools we so commonly use today.
Artificially-intelligent image generation has become a hot topic in recent weeks and months. Not too long ago, an artist created a stir for winning a competition with an image that he largely created using an artificially-intelligent tool. Now, Microsoft has announced that similar AI-powered image generation tools will be integrated into many of their applications.
Manufacturers have long been at the forefront of technology. Today, this trend continues, but with new, innovative tools that are designed to make business more efficient and workers more productive. This technology has helped much of the manufacturing sector despite costs continually rising, supply chain interruptions, and other variables. Let’s take a look at some of the major technology changes that have fueled manufacturers during the past few years.
For small businesses, having a fast, reliable Internet connection is needed to run all the digital tools that your staff has come to depend on. If you don’t have the bandwidth in place, you can deal with bottlenecks that can ruin communications, stall productivity, and cause operational issues of all types. Today, we’ll take a look at how to determine the amount of bandwidth you need to support your business’ computing infrastructure.
In today’s business, the demand for software often outpaces the supply of available coders. For businesses that find the need for new applications to drive their business initiatives, there are now “no code” tools available that can help them create the software they need without having to lean on software developers. This week, we take a look at no code tools and how they can work for your business.
While using your computer, you might have seen a black box pop up with a blinking cursor in it. This is what is commonly known as the command prompt. It’s helpful for IT administrators to perform certain tasks, but you probably won’t use it much yourself. That said, it’s fun to know what it does and what it’s used for!
In efforts to curb the semiconductor shortage and jumpstart the technology industry, the United States Congress passed legislation that includes funding for manufacturing semiconductors. Partially in response to China’s increasing economic influence and partially in response to the semiconductor shortage, the CHIPS Act could be just what industry leaders need to kickstart the manufacturing of these important devices.
Technology gets better and more efficient over time, and smartphones are one of today’s standout examples. Although their growth has stagnated a bit in recent years, it’s no small thing to say that smartphone innovation has really taken off, offering extremely fast processors, data storage in the cloud, and so much more. Let’s go over what you might look at when you purchase a new smartphone.
Communications are critical for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses and their telephone systems. While the technology likely still plays some role in your office, other means of communication have likely come to the forefront. In some ways, the traditional telephone has been left behind…with Voice over Internet Protocol largely taking its place.
Mobile devices have changed the world. They’ve definitely changed the way people do business. The prevailing sentiment is smartphone innovation has stagnated a bit over the past few years as most of the flagship smartphones are using extremely fast processors, data storage has moved to the cloud, and many other factors. Just look at the new iPhone, which traditionally looks just like the last iPhone. Today, we’ll take a look at what you need to know when buying your new phone.
Let’s face it: when you look at the back of your computer, where the motherboard’s many, many ports are accessible, there’s a substantial variety of connection types available to do a variety of things—some of which may overlap with one another. One prime example: the shared capability between USB and HDMI as a means of connecting your PC to many of its peripherals. Let’s consider which is likely to outlast the other.
Business technology is a useful tool, there’s no way around it. Unfortunately for businesses, technology has to be replaced every so often. Even if the technology doesn’t break, there are innovations made that can help your organization do what you do better. The thing is: Technology does break, so you need to understand how to get the most value out of it when it is working.
Downtime is a killer for any business. When a business is forced into confronting its technology support deficits, it usually means that they’ve been dealing with too much broken technology and downtime, and the costs associated with it. One way your business can avoid losing huge chunks of time to broken technology is to add a professional help desk to support your IT administrator.
Ultimately, your employees are going to be the ones using your technology to accomplish their daily duties, so it helps to treat them like customers rather than end users. If you examine industry trends to make the best decisions possible with your technology and communications solutions, then you’ll allow your team to flourish in the process.
The way you invest your business’ IT budget will have a considerable impact on how it performs. If your technology dollars are well spent you should see improvement year-over-year. Technology improves time management and allows for more automation than ever, not to mention the cost savings you see as a result. Let’s briefly discuss the IT budgeting process and how to build budgeting priorities that work.
Chances are, you’ve gone through some old files and weeded through them, deleting what is no longer needed. This is especially important when you are upgrading your storage and getting rid of your existing storage media or an old computer. Let’s talk about what really happens when you’re doing so—chances are, you may be overlooking a serious security issue.
With inflation proving to be a significant concern for businesses at the moment, reaching highs that it hasn’t in decades, there is a distinct need for businesses to get as much value as they can out of the investments they make.
Let’s discuss a few technologies that offer this more desirable cost/benefit ratio so you can consider them for your own use.
When it comes to drives for your computer or workstation, you have a couple of options available to you, one of which is the solid state drive, or SSD. What’s the difference between your typical hard drive and an SSD, you ask? Well, today we’ll find out. We’ll break down some of the details about SSDs, including how they are different from your traditional hard disk drive, and why you might consider implementing one.
The Internet of Things can be a tricky concept to wrap your head around, and it certainly doesn’t help that so many new smart devices are being added to it day-in and day-out. Let’s take a look at what makes up the Internet of Things and why it’s important to know what it is from a business perspective.
Let me ask you a question: is there anything in your office that doesn’t rely on technology in some way, shape, or form (and no, the old coffeepot that makes the perfect cup doesn’t count)? Increasingly, the answer to that question is “no.” Let’s review how much the average business nowadays relies on IT to really reinforce how ubiquitous technology has become.
Running a business is stressful, but so is thinking about a future where that business (and its data) no longer exists. If you’re not careful with your preparedness, you could stare down a disaster with no hopes of recovery. This is why we urge you to take proactive action now—so you can prevent these kinds of scenarios from taking your business off the market for good.
Have you ever wondered how some platforms will only have you log in once for all of your various needs, even though they might be different applications, websites, or services? This is essentially what single sign-on is, and it’s quite common in the technology world today. What is single sign-on exactly, and what kind of security does it actually provide for organizations that use it?
Remember about a decade ago when all of the tech experts were predicting that most work would be done on a touch-screen device, prompting many professionals to purchase the latest and greatest tablets? Although tablet sales have not kept up over the years, they are still perfectly usable for personal purposes—maybe just not in the workplace. Still, we have to ask, is there a place for tablets in the office environment?
When you virtualize a software solution, you are essentially storing it in an online environment where it can live. In other words, it remains in the cloud and is accessed through the Internet. This approach is helpful for many businesses, so why not flip this concept on its head and give hardware virtualization a shot? You might find that virtual workstations, for example, offer many benefits that can help your company be more productive and efficient.
It feels like streaming is everywhere these days, from video content to music to video games. Coincidentally, it also happens that innovations in cloud streaming have allowed these entertainment mediums to flourish in “as-a-service” type offerings. Just how have the innovations in technology allowed streaming services to grow and expand? Let’s investigate.
By now, you’ve probably heard of VoIP—Voice over Internet Protocol—telephony. Chances are pretty good, in fact, that your business is currently using VoIP as a part of its communication. While we’re big proponents of VoIP, it is important that we acknowledge that (like anything else) some VoIP services are better than others.
We’re always talking about boosting productivity and the role your technology has in that quest. What we don’t always talk about is how boosting innovation can help free up your employees to produce better results. It’s the same technology, and it can have multiple benefits. In this week’s blog, we’ll discuss how focusing on how these two thoughts can be one and the same.
For modern organizations that depend highly on their technology, nothing is quite so scary as an event that can completely marginalize its ability to operate. This doesn’t need to be a fire, flood, or some other major cataclysm; it could be something as simple as some of your old IT fails and you’re not ready for it. This week, we thought we’d briefly go through what a catastrophic failure looks like and some steps you can take to keep your business from experiencing one.
Digital communication is an important part of running any business, so you need to do your part by equipping your employees with the tools they need to communicate effectively both in and out of the workplace. Here are three of the most effective tools we have found which enable your business to flourish.