Monday, July 21, 2014

5 Reasons Why your Business should Adopt Google Cloud Services

[Guest Post]

Google-Cloud Google has become a part of our everyday lives, without a shadow of a doubt. Not only do most of us use their search engine daily for all manner of things - whether it be to look up goods, services, useless facts and trivia, or just to check the spelling of a word. However, they’re much, much more than just a search engine nowadays, and their products are as numerous as they are ingenious.



Many of us now have Google Mail (Gmail) accounts for all of our emailing needs, use Google Maps to look up directions, and even use Google’s office software as opposed to Microsoft or Apple’s own ones. There’s also the Android operating system which power many of our smart-phones (any of us who own a Samsung, for example).

In this blog post we aim to outline five of the things you should know about Google and how their products can benefit your business, and we’ll also talk about the extent of their influence over the modern technology and communications markets.

Google are quite rightly very proud of the fact that they keep it real, as it were. The working environments within their offices are famously kept very open and informal - employees wear their own clothes and often hold meetings with their shoes off as they sit on comfy chairs. Many start-ups mimic Google’s office culture, as it helps to stimulate their staff and their creativity.

However, no matter whether your business is a start-up which mimics the Google atmosphere (like so many do these days) or has a more traditional approach to the office set-up and atmosphere, their products can help you go about your business much better.

1. Google Drive cloud storage

As you may have noticed, there has been a buzz about cloud storage which has become increasingly loud recently. This is all down to the various advantages it brings to both individuals and businesses alike, making everyone’s life much easier. Many businesses are now switching to cloud technology, as it can cut their operational costs and also free up some space in many an office (and this is putting it very crudely).

When you store all of your business documents on the Google Drive, you can grant access to those within your organisation who will need to access it whenever and wherever they want to. It really does allow for a paperless office. Of course, there will be certain things now and then which will need to be printed off for one reason or another, but you will be spending much less money on paper than you were before.

Not only is this paperless aspect good for your operational costs and overheads, but it’s also great for the environment - and the more businesses that get involved in this, the better.

Anyone can access the Google Drive as long as they have their login details and a device which can access the internet. You will be able to do your work from anywhere in the world (literally), and communicate easily with colleagues and customers who are based on the other side of the world.

2. Google Docs

A fantastic alternative to the Microsoft Office package, Google Docs lets you write documents which can be shared instantly and edited simultaneously by numerous different people on different devices.

The word processor is extremely easy to use - certainly no more difficult than Microsoft Word itself is, and you have a range of fonts to choose from. After a day or so of using it, you and your staff will be fully acquainted with it and won’t ever look back.

You can also of course create spreadsheets and presentations using Google Docs, which are essential in the modern business age. Again, like the word processor, they are very easy to use even if you’re new to them.

Google Docs items are all stored in the cloud, which means that you don’t have to worry about saving your files on the computer itself or a pen drive or anything like that - you can just log into your account from anywhere and access your documents that way.

3. Gmail

When it was first set up, Gmail dazzled the market by offering 1GB of storage capacity (free) per user (the normal amount of initial storage offered by other email providers was between 2MB and 4MB).

Now, Gmail is said to be the most popular email provider on the internet, which is definitely not hard to believe. It is extremely easy to navigate around and organise generally, and is perfect for pretty much any business.

Ed. Note: Google Apps for business is a better solution for business users. Gmail should be used only for personal email accounts.

4. Google+

Apparently the second biggest social network in the world, Google+ is yet another illustration of Google’s impressive ability to enter into any market and succeed. It is also referred to as an ‘identity service’, meaning that it associates content with its author.

It works rather like Facebook in that users have a profile which includes a picture of themselves, an ‘about’ section, school and work sections, and the ability to updates their ‘status’. Many people within businesses use Google+ as one of their social networks, as they can not only post and seek out insightful content, but they add an element of personality to their account as well. It links directly with a user’s Gmail account, and allows them to become much less ‘faceless’ on the web.

5. Connectivity

The major advantage to all of Google’s products is the accessibility of them all - in terms of where you can access them. Unlike many traditional office software and email platforms, ones powered by Google can be accessed anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the internet. This can be absolutely invaluable as sometimes circumstances will arise which dictate that staff will not be able to come into the office, or in a business which has a lot of employees working from home. The fact that Google’s apps can be accessed from anywhere means that you will be able to better facilitate work and productivity within your organisation.

This Guest post was written by Rachel Jensen, on behalf of Cloud Technology Solutions

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Telecom Convergence - The Evolution of VoIP in 2014 and Beyond

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has gained popularity among users and service providers. As the use of smartphone and other Internet-based devices has grown, VoIP has found it permanent place as a communication medium. With new updates coming this year, VoIP has succeeded in making traditional phones outdated. Age of landline and heavy cell phones is now almost over.

Modern VoIP

For the non-starters: VoIP is a methodology and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. Other terms commonly associated with VoIP are IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband (VoBB), broadband telephony, IP communications, and broadband phone service.

---Source: Wikipedia

Unlike in PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) where you specifically pay for every call a VoIP is virtually free or cheaper because you pay for the Interne usage only.

As we move in to the second half of 2014, let us see what kind of features have strengthened VoIP.

  • Single Service: The Future of Telecom Convergence is Already Here!

VoIP unifies Internet, voice, data, and video into single service. It is like combining several different services and paying for only one service. This by far is the biggest change, that has taken place. All service providers are now slowly switching from old PSTN system to VoIP system in order to take advantage of growing market. Anything you require for your phone communication, you have only one vendor to go to. It is the digitization, which has actually helped this crossover. In case of voice, using ADC, you can easily digitize it and send it over Internet in real-time.

  • SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)

SIP is integrated with the applications that handle VoIP. In addition, SIP trunking, which helps in connecting IP-PBX to standard PSTN lines, has seen a growth of nearly 23% between 2012 and 2013. This number is expected to further increase by end of 2014. If we see the advantages of SIP, we can easily see three big advantages.

    1. You get all services from one service provider at lower costs.
    2. You have easy access to multimedia. Third,
    3. Communication has become cost effective.
  • New Competitive VoIP phones

Initially, these phones were expensive because of low demand, but have now become affordable. New phones are stylish and provide much better user interface. You get good control over your communication. You can talk with someone over phone and same time you can access Internet, mail, and even initiate a conference call!

  • Easy Long Distance and International Calls

With SIP trunking, you don’t even have to bother where the person you are calling is, or whether he is a VoIP user, is using a landline or a mobile. VoIP with SIP trunking can connect you a client or a colleague in any part of the world at inexpensive rates. As much as possible, the system will take the call all the way to the other party over digital lines, and will switch over to PSTN lines only for the last mile or so.

Service Providers with New Updates

Service providers such as Toshiba Telecom are offering new features and facilities that bring VoIP into the reach of companies of all sizes. With the right configuration and pricing, VoIP can be used by an one employee company right up to Fortune 500 companies.

Just check out the new updates, if you are looking to save some operating costs on communication. VoIP is capable of cutting your communication costs by 40% or more, depending upon the configuration and features opted for.

This Guest post was written by Michelle Patterson. She 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.