Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Tech Everybody Should Want in 2015

As each year goes by, we seem to be getting closer and closer to the futuristic technology that once only existed in science fiction. It’s a nice thing to dream about; after all, who wouldn't want a hover board or robot servant in their life?

We may not be closer to any of these inventions, but there is already a selection of available technology that can change our day to day lives on the market.

Personal 3D Printing

3D Printing is already well known, but at the moment it’s only available for those with large bank accounts. For anyone who doesn’t know, this machine allows users to download blueprints from the internet and create physical replicas using a range of materials.

The scope is extraordinary. From an acoustic guitar to a fully functioning car, already people are pushing 3D Printers to their full capacities.

What we want to see, however, is the creation of 3D printers for home use. Not only would it be extremely useful, but it could also benefit people who work from home. For example, graphic designers could radically transform the speed and manner in which they work if they had such technology to hand.

Exoskeleton Suits

Exoskeleton suits may sound like something that only exists in the latest Call of Duty game, but they do exist and are already being used in a variety of contexts.

In a nutshell, they are a mobile machine consisting of an outer framework which is worn by a person. It is powered by a series of motors or hydraulics that provide energy for any limb movement.

They are used to help wearers by boosting their endurance and strength. In most cases, they are found in the military, both in and out of combat. However, if exoskeleton suits were introduced in a civilian context, it could help rescue workers survive hazardous environments.

Another interesting development is that exosuits can be used to assist people with disabilities. Although this technology isn’t currently available for public consumption, there are at least three separate projects going on that revolve around helping those that can’t walk properly.

If it can change lives in a positive way, there’s no reason why the technology shouldn't be embraced by the public.

Virtual Reality

For many years, various people have been trying to make virtual reality a tangible thing, but most have failed. This has been slowly changing, however, and there are numerous technologies that are being developed which are delivering real results.

The first and most well-known is Oculus Rift. This piece of tech allows users to play first person view games as if they are the actual character. Wearing specially designed goggles, a user’s head movement is detected and allows them to see through the perspective of a character.

Another virtual reality device that has only just been announced is the Microsoft HoloLens. This allows you to see normally, except with augmentations. 3D objects, screens and much more will appear before your eyes, and can be interacted with appropriately.

Both of these could change how we work and interact with each other on a major scale. From more immersive gaming, to making design process that bit easier, virtual reality is quickly showing how it can be incorporated into real world circumstances.

Windows 10

Windows 8 hasn't been a success at all, with Microsoft spending more time focusing on stitching together mobile and web interfaces instead of a fully functioning OS. It’s clear they are trying to make amends for this disaster however, by skipping Windows 9 entirely and going straight to 10.

The introduction of a voice app much like Apple’s Siri, and the fact that it’s free for Windows 8 users is promising. Microsoft really are trying to produce a platform that can be used effectively across all devices from laptop to phone to tablet that will leave all users satisfied.

Apple Watch

One of the biggest innovations in recent times is wearable tech in the form of smart watches. It’s like having the power of a smartphone at your wrist, allowing users to make phone calls, use various apps and of course, tell the time. This could be the perfect solution for those that are always losing their phone on a night out.

Apple have focused on style as well, so it’s not as if you’re transporting an iPad on your wrist. They are being offered in a variety of colours, and actually look like something that will fit with fashion trends. A price hasn't been announced, nor has the release date, but we’re sure it’ll be revolutionary once it is released.

Google Glass

Following the trend of wearable technology, Google Glass is an exciting innovation which, sadly, can no longer be purchased.

With this technology, taking photos, sending texts and browsing the web can be done with a few simple voice commands. However, do not fear. Google Glass 2 is being worked on as you read this, so soon you will have the option once more to invest in this revolutionary technology.

The Steam Machine

The Steam Machine is Valve’s go at creating a next generation gaming console with the power of a computer. Valve are well known for putting care and attention into everything they release, so it will be interesting to see how they do with this challenging product.

There aren’t many details as of yet, although one thing we know about is the controller. Instead of directional controls it has touch pads, creating a more sensitive gaming experience. Hopefully more information will be unveiled soon so we can get even more excited about this console.

The Tech Everybody Should Want

Looking at the technology shown on display in this blog, there’s little wonder why everyone’s so excited. 2015 may prove to be an impressive year for technology, and we can’t wait to see what is being worked on behind closed doors either.

This article is a guest post contributed by Rachel Jensen on behalf of an exhibition, event and equipment hire company.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Entrepreneurs are Opting for Hosted PBX for Their Business - Are You?

[Guest Post]

Entrepreneurs, who are heading a fast growing company, need to be aware of the importance of having fast, reliable, efficient and cost effective telephone systems at office. They should also be aware of the fact that the telephone system should be highly scalable depending on the increasing or decreasing telecommunication needs of the company. Since the startups are very fast moving companies so they are going to grow at a rapid pace and their current status this year is definitely going to change next year. Changing the communication systems at office is a challenging task and no entrepreneur can afford to waste time and money for frequently changing their telephone system.

PBX

VoIP, hosted or premised based, is the answer to all their communication needs as it is not only inexpensive but also much efficient than their old PSTN telephone systems. The hosted telephone system offers greater flexibility, higher stability and better call quality, which will only help the business grow without any hindrances.

There are several benefits for entrepreneurs who opt for the hosted PBX systems and this is applicable to both the small as well as the mid-sized companies.

Call Costs

The hosted PBX system is VoIP dependent and does not use the conventional PSTN lines. The most attractive feature of hosted PBX is that the call costs are cheaper than the calls made from land lines and companies that make frequent overseas calls are the largest beneficiaries. Company owners do not need to foot huge telephone bills at the end of the month as the international calls are really cheap. The calls are placed over the internet and this is why there are no extra charges on the calls. 

Highly scalable

As you are heading a growing business, so you might have to keep adding new users to the telephone network. Adding new staff to your company and to your telephone network is a walk in the park only if you have a hosted PBX system. These centrally managed systems can add in more users only by upgrading the packages of the subscribers. Thus, all you will need to do is call up your service provider and placing the order for adding in the extra users. The hosted PBX system is highly scalable and you will only need to inform your host for upgrading or downgrading your package.

Quality of Equipments

The equipments used for the hosted phone systems are of very high quality and some of the big names in the market manufacture them. There are several advanced feature offered by the hosted PBX systems to boost the enterprise’s performance.

Virtual Office will be a reality

Your office will be able to create virtual numbers for phone calls and this is possible only when you have a hosted PBX system. One number can be redirected to the office phones, mobile phones, smartphones and even to the laptop. Thus, your customers will have a toll free number at their disposal and they will definitely place new calls.

Businesses can be Virtualized

The virtualization of your business will cut down the initial operating costs of your business and will also reduce the phone bills. The hosted PBX facilitates easy scaling of the phone system and you will be able to provide the virtual numbers for receiving incoming calls. Hosting PBX helps you to improve the customer relations and even the productivity.

Entrepreneurs are the ones who lead by example and by opting for the hosted PBX system, you will be able to send a message to your employees and business associates that you do not settle for the second best.

About The Author

Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Do Social Collaboration Work in Enterprise?

[Guest Post]

Social networking has become almost indispensable for us. It is not only Twitter or Facebook, but, there are other services that are becoming really popular with users.

On the personal front, social networking has become an easy way of sharing personal information with near and dear ones. You can exchange notes, photographs, and even videos. Twitter and Facebook has been used even in emergencies where pleas for help have been broadcast and acted upon.

What about use of social networking in enterprises? What we see now is Unified Communications, Video Conferencing and such. The use of social collaboration in enterprise never really took off and business owners and leaders have always been skeptical about their proper usage and impact. Leaders and business owners need to realize that enterprise social media collaboration is a completely different ballgame and both the strategy as well as the execution needs to be at a different level.

The Enterprise Social Idea

Enterprise social, as an idea, caught the fancy of many (obviously for a very short period of time) as it helped to revolutionize some business operations. There are instances of many Enterprise social networking platforms businesses like OurCrowd and Kickstarter. Many such platforms have used crowd sourcing to fill their funding requirements. They were not required to go to banks and fill up long loan applications or pitch their business ideas to the VCs. There were also many companies that used Twitter to get feedbacks from the customers and even take care of the support issues. Internet marketers used Facebook (FB) pages to generate likes for the business and even execute their marketing campaigns to create the right buzz about their products and services. LinkedIn too was put to good use by many headhunting firms who recruited people by using that professional networking platform.

What Users Want?

CCI

Now, the expectation from the enterprises for social collaboration is pretty high as business owners and leaders expect the collaboration to yield high revenue and other results for the organization. Unfortunately, enterprise social collaboration never really matched the industry expectations and, as a result, business leaders started to shift their attention to other marketing gigs. The primary reason behind the dismal performance of social business software is that the CIOs found it really difficult to distinguish one product from another and they took really long to evaluate the solutions and the tools. Thus, the unexpected delay popped up new challenges for everyone and the results could never really match the expectations of the enterprise users.

The personal model for social media interactions cannot be extended to the enterprise as the goals are different for each. Enterprise social media interactions are not made to share birthday wishes or announcing dinner dates - they are all about collaboration and working of diverse teams. The social media tools should facilitate easy collaboration and execution of tasks and projects.

A Mixture of Asana and Facebook?

Social collaboration in an enterprise should be aimed at getting work done efficiently, faster and within set budgets. The executives and the CIOs should be able to differentiate between communication and broadcast tools, and the ones that facilitate results based on collaboration. Thus, a solution to this should be the software that allows external as well as the internal team members to collaborate, communicate and come up with innovations and ideas. The same tool can then be used to execute and deliver.

Enterprises are looking at social collaboration software that starts with the social aspect but then ropes in execution along the line somewhere. The users should be able to set up the groups around any project or initiative. The groups should further have the option of changing their conversations into actionable items. They should be able to set deadlines for the work to be completed. A few of the tasks need to convert into projects that not only require resources but should also have milestones, budget and even deliverables. The ultimate goal should be to convert social interactions into business results.

We have yet to see a combination of Facebook and Asana that does this in an integrated fashion. What do you think? Share your views in the comment section.

About The Author

Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Is Cloud Telephony the Future?

[Guest Post]

Businesses that are on the rapid path of expansion often want to upgrade their systems to meet the contemporary communication needs. Companies that switch over to latest communication system always try to look for solutions that will not only meet their present but also their future needs. This often leads to over-specification where the companies want to play safe by buying a technology cover for the coming years. Now, all this eventually leads to heavy capital expenditure, which might deter many companies from trying out latest technologies. Cloud telephony is a one stop solution for this problem and this is why it has turned out to be the preferred telecom technology for the smart companies around the world.

So is cloud telephony the future?

Well, cloud based business telephone solutions is the future of business telephony services around the world. Cloud telephony is the latest technology that has evolved out of cloud computing; the basis of cloud based telephone solutions. There are several advantages of this latest technology and strong reasons are there for making it the future of all telecom technology. Businesses prefer this technology to others because they have realized that it is not only the cheapest available in the market but also the most efficient solution.

Companies are opting for unified communication because they want to integrate the various communication channels and tools on a single platform and what better way to accomplish this than migrating to cloud telephony. Cloud based telephone solutions are easier to manage and users are free of any maintenance costs. The use of IP phones has further boosted the chances of cloud telephony because these can be plugged to the central system from anywhere around the world and used.

Do Cloud telephone systems have a future?

Cloud based telephone system is the future of telecom and ten years from now it is will be as common as the PSTN telephone systems were. There are obvious reasons behind believing in the bright future of this technology.

  • The increase in the number of communication channels and tools is a huge challenge for any company to manage. Thus, business communication systems will fast switch to the unified communication system, which inadvertently is based on the cloud telephony. There is immense growth in the field of mobile technology and companies that want to stay ahead of their competitors are bound to choose unified communication.
  • Flexibility is the USP of cloud based telephone solutions and this is the reason why it can accommodate all the legacy communication systems. Thus, companies that used to have their PSTN telephones can make use of the cloud with simple changes to their existing infrastructure.
  • In terms of scalability, there is no other technology that can beat cloud telephone solutions because users can upgrade and downgrade their subscription packages at will. An increase in operations would mean adding more telephone lines and this can be accomplished with a few clicks when using cloud telephony.
  • Mobility at workplaces is the future move in every industry and this can be easily achieved by migrating to cloud. Majority of the bigger companies are now contemplating the use of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) and cloud telephony is the technology that can promote and accommodate both the trends.

Businesses that have their eye on the future are certainly in favour of VoIP and cloud telephony. Communication is no more limited to making or receiving calls or a voicemail, it is all about integrating all on a single platform. Cloud telephony has been created to meet the future communication needs of businesses and it is here to stay.

About The Author

Michelle Patterson is an avid technology blogger and writes extensively about IP/VoIP and Unified Communication. She works with some leading companies to understand the trends of these modern communication technologies.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

6 Benefits of Deploying IP Surveillance System

IP-based surveillance has a lot of advantages and is gaining popularity all over. Some of the major advantages are listed below:

Optional Info. An IP based surveillance requires an IP Camera. Wikipedia defines An Internet protocol camera, or IP camera, is a type of digital video camera commonly employed for surveillance, and which unlike analog closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras can send and receive data via a computer network and the Internet. Although most cameras that do this are webcams, the term "IP camera" or "netcam" is usually applied only to those used for surveillance.

Remote accessibility

As the surveillance system is installed over an IP network, it can be configured to provide remote access. IP-based surveillance system facilitates remote access by which a user can log into an authorized system without being physically present at the location. Remote access is very handy when it comes to a third party monitoring and also for personal access and monitoring when the person is away.

Users can also login to a server remotely by using a web-based interface in order to view real time video footage on PCs as well as mobile phones. The captured video can be stored at remote locations for convenience as well as security purpose, and the data can be transmitted over the optical fiber or LAN cable or Internet. Also, remote support and end user training is also possible in an IP surveillance system.

IP-Surveillance

High Image quality

Image quality has always been considered as one of the most important features for a surveillance system. Normally an analog camera is about 0.5 mega pixel, whereas, an IP camera can range from 2 mega pixels to some 20 mega pixels. With a high quality camera, you get crisp images, and it becomes easier to view and identify any individual or event, which is the prime purpose of the surveillance system. In IP surveillance system, images and videos captured from camera are digitized and these can be shared over a secured network. There is no loss in quality of the images or videos even when they are transmitted over long distances.

Easy, future-proof integration

In an IP system, there is no limitation as to where an IP camera can be installed. Additionally, they can provide higher level of integration with other equipment, which helps in the continuous development of the system. An integrated IP system enables multiple applications simultaneously such as access control, point of sales system etc. Moreover, further installation of security cameras with the existing system is also possible whenever necessary. IP surveillance system provides open interface for easy integration with other applications and systems.

Scalable and Flexible

IP based systems provide applications and products to be shared through wired or wireless network for communication of data. Video, audio, I/O commands, power as well as data can be transmitted over the same cable and a large number of surveillance equipment can be added to the existing system. IP based surveillance cameras can be placed anywhere as per the user’s requirement.

Cost Effective

In IP based surveillance system, infrastructure requirement is very less. Also, and IP camera can be installed using the existing network infrastructure. This reduces implementation costs significantly. Again these systems can operate irrespective of the size of network and it is only necessary to purchase as many cameras as you need. These systems are based on open standards and use standard PC and server hardware. This, in turn, reduces the management, maintenance and equipment cost, especially for large systems where storage and servers form a major chunk of the total cost of implementation.

Event management and intelligent video

Video data can be easily accessed and viewed as many times as wanted. Any real time data or recorded data can be viewed from any location. Whenever there is large volume of data to be reviewed, intelligent software with built-in analytics is available. The intelligent system responds to pre-programmed commands like motion detection, tampering alarms, audio detection as well as event management. Specific event can be programmed for which the system will respond. All the data can be recorded and organized in a very efficient and effective manner.

About The Author

Michelle Patterson is an avid technology blogger and writes extensively about IP/VoIP and Unified Communication. She works with some leading companies to understand the trends of these modern communication technologies.