Technology continues to trend toward increased mobility, and business practices are headed along with it. Apple’s iPad has fairly universal appeal as a personal tablet, but what about its small- or medium-sized business potential? If you own an iPad, it’s likely you’re already using it for email and browsing to help manage your business, but there’s so much more it could be doing. Check out our five favorite applications for implementing a iPads at your SMB .
Point of sale apps
One of the most popular uses for iPads at your SMB is as a means of ringing up customer purchases. The checkout aisle has slowly been giving way to automation, and with apps like Vend and Revel you can save a great deal of money on expensive point of sale hardware and wasted employee time. From customer relationship management to loyalty programs and gift cards, these apps give your business a polished, professional front end.
Presentation apps on iPads at your SMB
Business presentations are a staple of the white-collar world, and being ill-prepared for one can sabotage your profitability. Although in the past users were generally averse to creating presentations on ‘restrictive’ touchscreens, Apple’s continued dedication to making it possible is evidenced by their Keynote app. Before writing it off, check out the extremely intuitive creation and delivery functions.
Social media management
For better or worse, the number of social media avenues to promote your business are growing every day. Updating and managing each of them individually is tedious, and ultimately a waste of valuable time. Social media managers like HootSuite allow you to manage multiple accounts, schedule posts, and reply to messages — all from one place. HootSuite even has analytics and campaign plans directed toward small businesses looking to engage new customers.
Mobility is one of the most sought-after traits of any modern business. If you find yourself constantly away from your desk, a remote access app may be your golden ticket to staying productive on the road. Apps like LogMeIn and GoToMyPc give you unfettered access to your designated desktops. This way you can keep working from the cab, home, or airplane, like you never left the office.
A desktop computer might seem like the ideal place to track invoices, expenses and employee hours, but mobile accounting apps are freeing up business owners to take their company on the road. SMBs with multiple locations or remote workers will love the cloud access afforded to them by the likes of FreshBooksand Outright. CEOs can push data to these apps from their iPad while their accountants review it from the other side of the country.
When it comes to small- and medium-sized businesses and technology, we’re the experts. And whether it’s security or usability that has kept you from utilizing mobile devices in your business processes, we have a solution for you. Don’t risk exposing your business to unnecessary risks. Contact us today to set up a consultation.
There was once a time when a broken laptop meant your life was flipped upside down. That’s not the case anymore as long as you have an Android device with you. Everyone knows that you can check emails, edit documents stored in the cloud, and make video calls as well. What few seem to realize is that you can also print from your Android too. If that’s what you’re looking to do, here are four options to choose from.
Google Cloud Print to print from your Android
The wonder that is Google Cloud Print allows you to send documents and files from your device to your printer without you being on the same network. To utilize this, make your printer available to Google Cloud Printing by activating it in the Chrome browser settings of the computer it’s attached to. Then, just by connecting your printer and mobile to the same Google account, you can print any document or photo by tapping the share button on your phone or tablet, and choosing Google Cloud Print.
Prynt to print from your Android
If your SMB has any photography needs, this option might be the way to go. Prynt comes in the form of an instant photo printer that connects to your Android device’s charging port. Simply place your smartphone in the Prynt case, snap a picture, order Print, and that’s it. If you feel the need to spruce up your prints, the printer’s native app includes frames, filters, stickers and the addition of text before printing.
Manufacturer apps to print from your Android
Most popular printer manufacturers have their own apps that make printing from an Android device possible. HP has HP ePrint, Samsung comes with itsSamsung Mobile Print, and Epson has Epson iPrint. Make sure to check the Google Play store to see if your printer has an app companion before trying any of the third-party options listed below.
Third party apps
Although it’s not our favorite option, there are third party apps that make it possible to send items from your Android device to your printer. Some apps — like PrinterShare and PrintHand Mobile Print — restrict mobile printing to Bluetooth or local wifi networks. Others — like Cloud Print Plus — untether local requirements so you can print from anywhere. However, it’s always better to try apps owned by hardware manufacturers and Google first. These third party apps should be considered a last resort when other options aren’t available.
Aside from printing wirelessly, Android devices can do just about anything a desktop computer can. If you’re looking for more tips and in-depth guidance on how Android can improve productivity at your business, get in touch with one of our Android experts today. We’re here to help you achieve your mobile technology business goals.
According to Salesforce, an average sales rep spends more than 70 percent of their time each week in their email inbox. Despite this fact, email and customer relationship management (CRM) software has remained separate, forcing sales reps to toggle between them. Fortunately, we have some good news for small and medium-sized businesses: Salesforce will finally be integrated into Microsoft Outlook.
Salesforce and Microsoft have been working together for more than two years, and it has definitely been a win-win situation for everyone. In the latest development between these two tech giants, they’ve released a brand new product that promises to make the lives of sales representatives much easier. Lightning for Outlook, a flashy new add-on allows your sales team to access customer relationship management (CRM) software right from their Microsoft Outlook inbox without switching back and forth between the two applications.
The add-on accomplishes new levels of integration with Lightning Components, which allows for dragging and dropping of fields and elements from Salesforce directly into Outlook. For example, sales reps will be able to update a price quote with Salesforce’s SteelBrick — a Quote-to-Cash software — from within Outlook. This has been termed ‘snapping’. Just ‘snap’ the code you want to migrate into the appropriate Outlook account.
One of the most exciting new features, called Lightning Sync, enables users to automatically sync contacts and calendars across Salesforce and Outlook. “When you update a contact in Outlook, it’s reflected in Salesforce and on your mobile device,” said Greg Gsell, Salesforce’s director of Sales Cloud. “All devices and teams are immediately kept up to date.”
Both Lightning for Outlook and Lightning Sync are available now; the former is free for all Salesforce Cloud users, and the latter is free for users of Salesforce Cloud Lightning Enterprise Edition or higher. Lightning Components Framework — a UI framework for developing dynamic web apps, which gets integrated into Outlook, will be released later this year with pricing to be announced at a later date.
However, this doesn’t mean Lightning for Outlook will solve everything. This plugin simply makes it easier for the two programs to work together. Still, there is a maze of security, database and account management issues to navigate through to make this new feature work properly. At [company_short], our experts are well-versed in email and CRM systems, so why not give us a call today and work smarter, not harder.
Non-techie Apple iPhone lovers relish in the magic hour ensuing a beta’s release. Those of us in the industry break down every minute detail and flock to our digital soapboxes to proclaim what we usually deem apocalyptic news. The sun is setting on Apple’s iOS 10 magic hour, and we’re here to pass judgement for you in the form of our favorite new features coming soon to your phone.
New lock screen
Changes to any mobile operating system (OS) almost always include updates to the lockscreen. However, this is no ordinary update. For the first time since the iPhone’s release in 2007, there’s no ‘Slide to Unlock’ feature. Instead, the screen provides in-depth, 3D touch-activated notifications displaying more detail than before without having to unlock your phone. The iPhone will automatically display the lock screen any time you pick it up, and you can unlock it by pressing the ‘Home’ button.
Another upgrade visible on the lockscreen and homescreen is the long-awaited addition of ‘widgets.’ These are basically compartmentalized apps that run on a portion of your screen without having to open the app entirely. With iOS still in beta, the list of available widgets is already quite long, but iTunes controls, weather and calendar are a few of the standout native widgets. Don’t worry though, Apple is allowing third party widgets from the likes of ESPN, Google Maps and Amazon. They can be accessed by swiping from left to right on your lock screen or page one of your home screen.
3D touch on control center shortcuts
The iPhone 6s has been out long enough that most people have had a chance to interact with its 3D Touch feature, which performs different actions based on how much force you apply when tapping the screen. When combining 3D Touch functionality with the ‘Control Center’ dock that appears with a flick of the finger from the bottom of the screen upwards, each function displays ‘Favorite’ actions. For example, if you use a slightly more forceful touch on the Camera shortcut, you’re presented with the options to jump straight to Traditional, Slow Motion, Video or Selfie recording.
We see a lot more of 3D Touch throughout iOS 10, and another place it’s quite evident is notifications. Whether it’s on the lock screen or the notification center, a strong 3D Touch will open a small window that allows you to interact with that app without opening it completely. This is especially helpful for replying to messages and emails. In addition to this– something that may seem small to some, but huge to others, is the ability to hide all your notifications with just two taps. Simply press hard on the ‘X’ button in the upper right, and then click ‘Clear All Notifications.’
The iPhone’s native Messages app got a thorough overhaul, but we’ll leave the discovery of emojis, invisible ink and ‘fireworks’ for another time. Those don’t have much place in the business world, but handwritten messages certainly do. Give your professional messages a more personal, attentive touch by writing responses with your fingers with the app’s Digital Touch option.
‘Delete’ stock apps
Unfortunately, you can’t get back valuable storage space by deleting unnecessary native apps. But you can finally remove them from your home screen. Don’t have an iWatch and don’t see why you need to have the app on your phone, albeit tucked away in a folder on page three? Press and hold on the app, tap the shaking X, and tap ‘Remove.’ All gone.
iOS 10 is one of the most significant updates the iPhone has ever received. It’s still another month away from widespread release, but if you’d like to install the beta now, or you just want to learn more about how to automatically convert text to emojis, we’re your guys. Open up your boring, old Messages, and drop us a line. We’ll have you sending handwritten messages in no time.
Just understanding what office virtualization is can be difficult enough; picking from the long list of software providers that help you achieve it can feel impossible. Since virtualization is a relatively new practice for small and medium-sized businesses, there isn’t even a standardized way to go about virtualizing your company. So why not start with this simple list of the 5 most popular virtualization options and what their strengths are.
Any conversation about virtualization for small and medium-sized businesses usually starts around VMware. Although it wasn’t necessarily the first, VMware was the company that really put office virtualization on everyone’s action item list. The company offers a number of different solutions for different sized businesses with a wide variety of needs. Its ease of use and robust security features have secured its reputation as one of the best options for virtualization at SMBs.
An average user may not recognize the company name, but has a good shot at previous knowledge of their popular remote access tools, GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting. Citrix has specifically geared their virtualization software, XenApp, XenDesktop, and VDI-in-a-box toward SMBs and even claims that non-IT staff can easily manage and administer the services. They even provide a free trial to prove it.
Although it may be a little more difficult to manage without an in-house or outsourced IT staff, Microsoft’s Hyper-V option is hard to ignore considering its integration with the popular cloud platform Azure. Whether you’re a Microsoft loyalist or you just want to minimize the number of vendors in your network, Hyper-V offers everything you need from a virtualization service.
This company just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Specializing in marketing software, they also offer database management, cloud storage and customer relationship management software. If you’re using any of their services already, there could be benefits to enlisting their virtualization services as well. Oracle does everything, server, desktop and app virtualization, and they believe that consolidation of all of these into one solution is what sets them apart.
And since we’re on the topic of household names, let’s talk about Amazon’s EC2 platform, which hosts scalable virtual private servers. The ability to scale and configure capacity is definitely EC2’s biggest draw for SMBs, who are preparing for the possibility of rapid growth. Although almost any virtualization service is rooted in scalability, Amazon is leading the pack in how quickly and finely you can adjust your solution to your individual needs.
Virtualization is a really hard topic for most SMBs to tackle. This list only covers the most popular vendors, and there are plenty more out there. Choosing one based on its application possibilities and management requirements is not a subject for the lighthearted. Get in touch with us today so we can break down all of the technobabble into easy-to-understand advice and expertise.
Not only is the efficiency of a Mac/iPhone combo well-known but it’s also quite hard to beat. That being said, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other dynamic duos that can give them a run for their money. Enter Android phones and Google Chrome, the technological team with some pretty decent tricks up their sleeves. Here are five useful things you can do on your computer with the Android phone and Google combination:
Before getting started, you must make sure that Google Now is activated on your Android phone and the same account must be logged in for both the phone and for Chrome.
Send directions from Google Maps to your Android phone
You’re taking your time looking up directions for a restaurant on Google Maps, but your friends called to tell you everyone’s already there; fear not. You can send the location details directly to your phone. Start by typing in the destination on Google Maps and look for the Send to your phone option in the center left, click on that and click on your phone’s name. Et Voila! Co-ordinates should appear in your phone’s notifications.
Sync your computer’s Chrome tabs to your phone
This is especially useful when you are working on or researching something on your computer and need to continue on your phone after work or when heading outside. Tap on the Settings icon (3 vertically aligned dots) on the top of right of the Chrome App in your Android phone, go to Recent tabs, and you’ll see all the devices when you’re logged into Chrome.
Finding your phone
Simply typing “find my phone” in the Google search bar prompts Google to look for the last known location of your phone. On top of that, you can also ring your device in the hopes that someone will pick it up and tell you where you can come pick it up.
Use your phone to control your computer
Start off by installing the Chrome Remote Desktop app from the Google Play Store on your Android phone and the Chrome Remote Desktop app for Chrome on your computer. With this you can see and work on your Mac via Android phones as if you were sitting right in front of your desktop. This also works for Windows computers as well!
Set reminders for yourself with Google Search
If calendar entries aren’t doing the trick, this alternative is perfect for you. After activating Google Now, type in “remind me X to Y” in the Google search bar then click the blue “Remind on Google Now” nestled at the bottom of the reminders box. Google Now will then remind you of whatever you need reminding at that time – you can also set reminders to alert when you reach a certain location as well.
Now that you know that Android has more than just cute names for operating system updates, you should look into investing on a new device for yourself. Especially when there are so many things it’s capable of doing when paired with Google Chrome, expand your tech horizon and make the most of both Apple and Android. For any questions regarding the Android/Chrome combo, feel free to give us a call anytime!
The thought of a robot doctor stirs lots of emotions in people. And truth be told, a ton of mystery still surrounds just what will become of this technology. We are still years, if not decades, from a robot doctor being incorporated into the practice of healthcare. That being said, people remain extremely curious and want to know more about them.
Here are 3 things you need to know about robot doctors.
1.) Robot doctor is probably a misnomer
When most people think of robots, they think of some humanoid inspired piece of metal like C3PO from ‘Star Wars’ or the maid from ‘The Jetsons’ and assume the robot doctor will be something like this. Realistically, robot doctors will take the form of Siri, the AI companion found on iPhones, and operate on smartphones and other devices you probably already use. This isn’t saying that one day your visit to the doctor’s office won’t involve having a chat with a machine that looks and speaks like Data from ‘Star Trek’, but it certainly isn’t in the works at the moment and may never actually take this shape.
2.) The main purpose of a robot doctor will be error prevention
The companies looking into the AI technology that will power robot doctors have one very specific goal in mind: error prevention. As Dr. Herbert Chase, Professor of Clinical Medicine in Biomedical Informatics at the University of Columbia (EUA) noted during a recent Ted Talk, there are 13,000 diseases known to the world, 6,000 medicines, 4,000 medical and surgical procedures, and thousands of pieces of data in each electronic medical record.
That’s a lot of information for a human doctor to process, but it’s far easier for a robot doctor to handle all this data. They can process information given to them by patients and then pass on the preliminary findings to the doctor who will be able to analyze it more efficiently. It will also improve the breadth of knowledge physicians have at their disposal meaning the likelihood of a misdiagnosis will decrease.
3.) Human doctors aren’t going anywhere
While AI continues to improve, it simply will not be able to accurately make a diagnosis. More importantly, the companies creating the so-called robot doctors don’t want them to have the final word when it comes to medicine. It will instead be used as a tool for doctors to help them focus more on personal interactions and spend less time on having to find information. This info can instead be extrapolated and analyzed by a robot doctor, either before or during an appointment, and given to the human doctor for further scrutiny.
Throughout the years, technological advancements have transformed the way doctors practice medicine and the advent of robot doctors, or medical AI, will continue this trend. And while the way we communicate and share information with health professionals continues to evolve through app-based video calls, telehealth and eventually robot doctors, a human doctor will be paramount in the process regardless of what tools are used.
Technology continues to revolutionize the healthcare industry and it’s important you keep up. Patients want cutting-edge health solutions and you risk losing out if you can’t provide it to them. Contact our staff today for more information on how technology can help your practice care for patients more effectively.
Computers have enabled us to become more productive than ever. With last years’ release of Mac’s OS El Capitan, there are a number of productivity tools that many people may be completely unaware of. Today, we’re going to share with you some of those tools, in hopes that you and your entire staff will be able to take your productivity up a notch.
New makeover for Notes
In El Capitan, the Notes application has undergone a major makeover. While you may have once thought, “what’s the purpose of this useless application?” now it can be a serious productivity tool. Three of its improvements that can help your productivity are its ability to let you create checklists and folders, add attachments, and sync with your phone.
If you’re an iPhone user who has kept up with iOS updates, then you may very well already know of Notes’ ability to add checklists on your phone. You may not know, however, that you can also do this on El Capitan. Obviously, adding a checklist gives you a quick way to keep track of, and on top of, the tasks you complete. And in addition to this nifty function, Notes has also added folders. Folders eliminate the annoyance of having to scroll through a long list to view all your notes, and instead enables you to better organize and find them more easily. To create folders, click on the View menu in the Notes application, select Show Folders, and then click the + symbol in the bottom left corner of the application.
It’s also worth noting (no pun intended), you can now add attachments to your notes. To do this, simply drag a file into your desired note. And if you’re also an iPhone or iPad user, you’ll be happy to know you can sync your notes across all your Apple devices.
Apple’s beloved browser has also gotten a few productivity updates. If you’ve ever landed on a website to all of a sudden be bombarded with the sound of an unwanted advertisement or music playing, you know how frustrating it can be as you frantically search for a button to shut up the noise. Now, you no longer have to let this annoyance drag you down, as El Capitan’s new Safari makes it easy to silence it. Whenever a noise starts to play on a website, a speaker icon displays on the browser tab. All you have to do is click the icon to mute the sound.
Another handy feature of Safari is that it’s now easier than ever to switch between tabs on your browser. To do so, simply click command, plus the number of the tab you wish to view. The tab on the left of your screen is number one, the tab to the right of it is two, and so on. For example, if you want to quickly move from tab one to tab three, simply click command>3. This keystroke feature enables you to move to your desired tab without ever moving your mouse.
Find open files fast
When you have a number of documents or applications open on your desktop, you can quickly become lost searching for your desired file. Now, El Capitan has easily resolved this issue. All you have to do is hit one button: F3, which opens up Exposé mode. Whereas in Yosemite’s Exposé mode, you’d see all these documents and apps stacked on top of another, in El Capitan they’re instead laid out on your display in a minimized form. It is easy to find the file you’re looking for instantly.
We hope that you’ll find these simple El Capitan productivity tips as useful and fun as we do. If you’d like to learn more of them, or need help with any Apple IT related issue, don’t hesitate to send us a message.
In one of the company’s most subdued releases, Apple recently unveiled a new smart battery case for its iPhone 6 and 6s. The product promises to help extend your iPhone’s battery life, and can give you up to an additional eight hours of Internet use or 10 hours of talk time. But before running out and buying one, read on and see just what you can expect from this new product.
It’s no secret that the battery life of the iPhone 6 and 6s leaves something to be desired. And while Apple won’t openly admit to this problem, they have released a product designed to give your battery some extra juice. The new smart battery case works as an extension of your phone’s battery, and will give you roughly ten more hours of phone calls or eight extra hours of Internet usage.
While it sounds great in theory, you probably want to know a little more about it. Not a problem – here are some more details to help get you charged up about Apple’s new smart battery case.
How does it work?
It’s actually a fairly straightforward process, and one that even the most technically challenged person can understand. All you do to activate it is slide on the case. It does the rest by itself from there, acting as a charger for your battery until it runs out of juice. When that happens, your phone battery will take back over. Charging the case is as simple as charging your iPhone. Both phone battery and smart battery case will charge simultaneously when connected to a Lightning port.
Benefits are noticeable, but not unique
As soon as you slip on the case, you should notice a significant increase in battery life. However, critics have pointed out that the performance, while acceptable, is far from the best on the market. Several similar cases can perform as well as, or even better than, the Apple smart battery case.
A hump of a design in this battery case
The design has been labeled the “hump” by many, because of the case’s unique humpback. Given the relative slimness of the iPhone 6, and in particular the iPhone 6s, the hump can be quite noticeable and will bulk up your phone. That said, the case is made from silicone and can easily slide on and off your phone. It is available in two colors, charcoal gray and white, and features the Apple logo on the back.
A battery case that’s Less than $100
The retail price of the new smart battery case is $99. This places it at the high end of the market when compared with similar devices out there.
Final thoughts on this battery case
The Apple smart battery case will help extend your battery life, almost doubling it. As always, you can expect Apple to use the best technology and materials. The truth, though, is that the design will make or break it for most people. The battery case has been widely mocked in the press and by lovers of Jonathan Ive’s sleek design. But If you don’t mind the hump on the back, then the case does provide extra protection for your beloved iPhone. However, if you prefer your iPhone 6 or 6s at its current svelte size, then the case may not be for you.
If you have any Apple- or technology-related questions, be sure to get in touch with us. Our experts can help solve your problems, whether you need better battery life for your employees’ devices or want to hook up your office with VoIP telephony.
Apple’s iOS 9 has been available for download for nearly two months now. If you have yet to upgrade, you may wonder whether or not you should. Not everyone has been happy with the new OS, and Apple is still working out the kinks. So if you’re on the fence as to whether or not you should update, here’s what you need to know about iOS 9 and four of its most handy features.
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.
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.
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.