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Category Archives: Internet

Live video: a free way to reach new customers

Having direct access to customers is a gold mine for SMBs and with the increasing popularity of live video services it’s just a matter of deciding what to broadcast. The strategies for live broadcasting are very different than pre-recorded video and it’s important to reevaluate how you’ll present company information in this medium. Keep reading for six of the best types of videos for live broadcasts.

Business Introduction/Behind the scenes

If your company is new or suffering from low visibility, one of the best things you can do is give customers direct access to your staff and your product. A great use of live video is to take viewers on an office tour, show them how a product is made or even broadcast your business’s launch event.

Make sure to invite as many viewers as you can, but remember that most live broadcasts can be saved and viewed later. This is a video you’ll likely want to keep available after it’s finished.

Ask Me Anything (AMA)

Depending on your product or service, you may be getting a lot of conceptual questions about innovative ways to use it, what direction the company is heading and so forth. There’s no better way to address these questions than to do so in a personal and unscripted AMA segment.

If there’s a good turnout make sure to keep questions and answers moving in relevant and interesting directions. There’s nothing wrong with updating everyone on what you had for breakfast, but addressing service bugs or product feature requests is going to be a lot more beneficial for wider audiences.

How-to

Whether it’s a soon-to-be-released product or simply rehashing an existing one that’s getting lots of support requests, there’s no better way to guide customers through a ‘how to’ process than step-by-step, face-to-face.

Not only does this help to show existing clients the best way to use your product or service, it also allows potential consumers to see both your product and your customer service philosophy in action. Saving these videos can be invaluable as you continue to get questions on the product or service outlined in these videos — it’s an easy way to build a video reference library for sales and support.

Webinar

Although all of the previous uses can be categorized as ‘customer service’, there’s no reason you can’t simply open a help desk broadcast and invite viewers to join with their support questions. If you advertise this as a customer service broadcast and steer clear of any conversations that deal with non-support related questions, you may be able to tackle more than one client’s questions at a time and no one can ever complain that contacting your support line is frustrating or tedious.

Announcements

All of the live broadcast services are deeply integrated with social media. Whether it’s Twitter or Facebook, post updates about an upcoming announcement along with a scheduled time and take the chance to make your product or service announcement far more interesting and personal than a press release or faceless status update.

Text based announcements and pre-recorded videos severely limit how you address the ‘fine-print’ questions from customers. Think of this as a chance to hold your own personal press briefing and address questions after your scripted announcement.

Promotions

In the same vein as live announcements, use social media to promise a special promotion to anyone who tunes in to a live broadcast. Before it begins, create different thresholds for how big the promotion will be depending on participation. Once you begin, check how many viewers you have to decide whether to augment or reduce the scope of what you want offer. In addition to being a more dynamic method for releasing promotions, it will create motivation among your customers to interact more directly with your company.

Socialmediatoday reports that Facebook users spend three times longer watching live broadcasts than pre-recorded video. Combine that with Facebook’s announcement that live videos are more likely to be promoted to the top of news feeds and you’d be crazy not to utilize live broadcasts.

However, there are a handful of different services to use for live video broadcasting and deciding which one is the best for you can depend on a lot of different variables.

Telstra opens up Telstra Air wi-fi network to millions of Australians for summer of free data

TELSTRA today launches the summer of wi-fi love, opening up its Telstra Air Network so that millions of Australians will have uncapped and unlimited free wi-fi around the country.

Telstra predicts that Australians looking to avoid mobile data costs or not wanting to burden their home data limits will be tapping into the wi-fi network and using the data equivalent of sending more than 50 million high-quality photos.

From today until June 30 next year, all eligible Telstra mobile and broadband customers will be able to tap into the more than 200,000 hot spots around the country that are located in pay phones, cafes, parks, and retail outlets.

Telstra launched the Telstra Air Network in June but there were several catches to using it. You had to be a Telstra broadband customers, you could only log on for 30 minutes at a time and the data you used was counted against your home data limit.

From today, when Telstra customers log on to the network, they will not have any data caps or time limitations and any data they use will not affect their other accounts.

Trends so far suggest many customers and students and members of the digital-first generation but there has also been a wave of budget-minded older people looking for free wi-fi on the road.

Telstra customers can find if they are eligible for the offer at telstra.com/freewifi.

NBN satellite

Lift-off for NBN’s long-term satellite

NBN satellite Customer services still several months away.

NBN has successfully launched the first of its two Sky Muster NBN satellite in French Guiana this morning, although end-users will still have to wait until next year before they can receive services.

The Sky Muster NBN satellite will provide long-term satellite service (LTSS) access to the NBN for 400,000 premises, superseding the existing over-capacity interim satellite arrangements.

NBN’s second Sky Muster satellite is expected to be launched during the second half of next year. Each device weighs around 6400 kilograms.

While the first satellite was successfully launched into space this morning, NBN satellite program director Matt Dawson told iTnews it will still take another 10 days to get the satellite into position over Australia.

“The rocket launch will put the satellite into a transit orbit, and then we will need to circulate it to a longitude of 140-east, over Australia, and raise it to a geostationary orbit around 36,000 kilometres off the earth,” Dawson said.

Once the NBN satellite is in position, there will be a several-month long setup period, followed by technical and functional tests of the equipment.

“After the launch, there will be a period of two months, or until around early December, where our launch partners SSL will perform tests on the payload to make sure everything is working correctly,” Dawson said.

“Once those tests have been performed, SSL will hand over control to Optus – because we’ve outsourced tracking, telemetry and control services to Optus. They will integrate the satellite with the 10 ground stations and commission the 101 spot-beams.”

A spot-beam is a focused satellite signal that covers a specific geographic area, with 101 to be used by the NBN to cover the entirety of Australia.

“We will need to on-board RSPs and integrate them into our systems. We will need to have tests of our systems and business processes, and a number of end users will participate in those trials,” Dawson said.

“So at this stage, RSPs will begin offering LSS satellite services in late April or early May 2016.”

NBN closed orders for its interim satellite service in January 2014 after it reached its 48,000 user capacity.

It this year ordered all retail service providers on the interim satellite service to enforce a 50GB four-week usage threshold for customers to combat ongoing congestion.

The Department of Communications’ regional telecommunications review earlier this year heard many rural residents are spending thousands of dollars on aerials and repeaters – while similarly paying large amounts of money for internet plans with small usage allowances – just to get online.

According to Dawson, NBN will more carefully manage the long-term satellite service as a result of the interim satellite experience.

“Unlike terrestrial networks, which allow you to respond to demand by adding capacity, satellites have finite capacity and, once you’ve launched, you can’t add more,” he said.

“So what NBN has learnt from the interim NBN satellite service is we need to have robust measures in place to manage capacity on the service.

“So the key thing is to have fair-use rules in place to manage that capacity.”

Deep packet inspection ‘just to manage finite capacity’

NBN this week revealed it would use deep packet inspection to enforce its fair-use policy and combat the potential for leechers sucking up high amounts of bandwidth, as first reported by iTnews.

While the technology has the potential to also be used as an anti-piracy tool, Dawson defended NBN’s use of DPI.

“What we have done is put out a request for information to solicit what deep packet inspection capabilities have, to optimise our network capacity,” he said.

“So it has nothing to do with managing piracy. We need to manage finite capacity as efficiently as possible and optimise capacity on the network. Deep packet inspection is part of that.”

Another area of concern with the service has been around latency. Dawson said the NBN has taken steps to minimise the speed issue.

“As a fact of physics, a NBN satellite that’s 36,000 kilometres away is going to have higher latency than a fixed wireless tower 2km away,” he said.

“But we have put in place performance enhancing proxies and other technology so users will still be able to use it for voice calls, videos and Skype.

“So it will only be a consideration for a small number of people who will want to use the service for real-time gaming. But the real-life experience from satellite users in North America has been that it’s not as big an issue as some have made out.”

Read more:
http://www.itnews.com.au/news/lift-off-for-nbns-long-term-satellite-409883#ixzz3nGNiOap8

Access Chrome book marks from other browsers

Chrome might be among the most popular web browsers around, but it’s not the only one available. Even if you’re a Google fan and swear by using Chrome when you can, chances are you use a device that either doesn’t have Chrome installed or on which you simply prefer to browse via another application. And it makes good productivity sense to have your list of internet bookmarks on hand, whichever device you’re on. That’s why this handy tip, which lets you access your Chrome bookmarks in any browser, is a useful one to keep in mind.

Whereas in the past it was possible to sync bookmarks saved in Chrome to your Google Docs account, this ceased with the transition from Google Docs to Google Drive. You can still save your bookmarks, but they are now only accessible on other devices if you use Chrome there too. Go online with Firefox or one of the other alternatives and you’ll be left without the easy bookmark access you rely on. The alternative is to use the Bookmarks Anywhere browser extension, which syncs your Chrome bookmarks to your other browsers and updates them live as you add to the list. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Within Chrome on the device that contains the bookmarks you want to sync, download the Bookmarks Anywhere extension from the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Once the extension has been added, a popup will appear. If you’re not already logged in, sign in to the Google account you use in Chrome; you’ll then need to grant Bookmarks Anywhere the browser permissions it requires.
  3. Your Chrome bookmark will now be synced to the Bookmarks Anywhere site. To access them from non-Chrome browsers on your other devices, just sign in to www.bookmarksany.com using your Google account and a list of your bookmarks will appear. You can also manually add new bookmarks from this page, though these don’t appear to sync back to your Chrome bookmark menu.

If you want to discover other simple ways to boost your productivity through better use of IT, give us a call and we’ll show you how.

Goodbye Internet Explorer. Hello Spartan!

164_A_MWWindows 10 web browser features revealed

Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera walk into a bar. Firefox orders a drink, and says, “Yo, Chrome, where’s Internet Explorer? Didn’t you tell him to Google the name of the bar?” Chrome shakes his head. “Yeah, but he’s probably still waiting for the page to load.” Sadly this is what’s become of Internet Explorer – it is the butt of bad tech jokes. But there is hope for the future of Microsoft browsers. And the name of this hope is Spartan. Microsoft’s new kid on the block has some mind-blowing features that no one is laughing at.

What is Spartan?

Spartan is Microsoft’s new web browser that will be released later this year along with Windows 10. Microsoft’s aim is to build a browser that is designed for the modern web, which creates a more personable experience when interacting with it. Here are few of the incredible changes Spartan has in store.

Web Note

Also known as inking, Web Note allows you to edit web pages directly. You can do this by either typing them or using an interactive pen that allows you to literally circle, underline, or annotate pages as you see fit. These annotations can then be shared with friends and colleagues via email or social networking. They’ll also be stored on Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage for easy collaboration.

Reading View

A web page can be a busy place, and the guys at Microsoft know that. That’s why they’ve created Reading View, which provides distraction-free reading to keep you focused on the content. Reading View eliminates ads, fancy CSS styling, sidebars and comments, creating a simple format that feels as if you’re looking at an open book.

Cortana, your new personalized assistant

More and more phones are enabling their devices with personal assistants, so why not web browsers? Cortana is designed to make your web browsing experience easier and more personalized. For example if you’re looking up a business or restaurant, Cortana can provide additional information such as opening hours, address and contact info. Another nifty feature of Cortana allows you to get a definition or content explanation without leaving your current page. Just highlight the word, right click and select Ask Cortana. She’ll provide you with the info you’re looking for, right there on your web page.

Want to learn more about Spartan or other Microsoft Windows News and tips? Call us today.

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What to do when your PC slows down

What to do when your PC slows down

When your Windows  PC slows down, often it is a result of applications are installed and used. Whether you are using a word processor, writing a spreadsheet, surfing the internet, playing games or anything else, hard drives fill with temporary files that do not always get removed when no longer needed. Hard disks can succumb to this wear and tear over time, and this article will teach you how to fix that. Read on to learn of ways to help keep a PC running smoothly when this PC slows down.

164_A_HardwareYou just got back from lunch and are settling down into your office chair. You open up your planner to check your schedule, and then wake your PC from sleep. Time to check emails. But wait, something’s wrong. You’re…waiting. Your computer is moving as slow as a brontosaurus and the problem appears to go deeper than internet speed. What happened? When a PC slows down strikes, there can be a number of culprits. Here are a few ideas to alleviate the problem, so you can get back to business in no time.


restart_logo_complete_black1Restart

The most obvious but often overlooked fix is to simply restart your PC. Many people get into the habit of leaving their PC on 24/7 and, instead of turning it off, just leave it in sleep mode when they’re not using it. However, restarting it is like vacuuming a carpet or mopping a floor. If you let either of them sit for a while, a lot of temporary gunk builds up. A simple restart can help clean your computer up but, unlike with household chores, you won’t get dirty in the process.


uninstallUninstall new stuff

Did you recently install new hardware or software? If you did, this could be causing your slowdown and, if you don’t need it, it’s worth uninstalling it. Here’s how:

  1. Go to your Control Panel’s Programs and Features section.
  2. If you think a driver is slowing you down, open Device Manager and double click the new driver.
  3. A dialog box will open. Click the Driver tab followed by the Roll Back Driver button.
  4. If that button is grayed out, it means the problem isn’t with that driver. If not, you can continue with uninstalling.

Using the Device Manager, you can also uninstall new hardware.


hard_disk_fullFree up hard drive space

A lack of hard drive space can slow your PC down as well. To run your system smoothly, it’s recommended you have 15% hard drive space free. Having this extra space gives room for temporary files and swapping.

If you don’t have the space, you may need to purchase a new hard drive or transfer some of your files and programs over to an external one.


npktaqSearch for the bloated program that’s eating your memory

Another potential problem could be a dysfunctional program that is using up too much of your PC’s memory. To see if this is the source of your problem, go to Windows Task Manager and click the Processes tab. Then look in the CPU or memory column. Either of these will show you if there’s one program that’s eating all your memory.

To solve this problem, click on the program in Windows Task Manager; and then hit End Process. Keep in mind that this is only a temporary fix. You’ll have to uninstall this program and replace it with something that will run more efficiently.


computer-virusScan for viruses

Both viruses and malware can also slow down your computer. To check if you’ve been infected, run a system scan. If you do have malicious software on your PC, and your antivirus software hasn’t effectively detected or removed it, contact a local IT Services Provider who will be able to clean your computer and free it of potentially harmful malware. They can also advise you to a reputable solution to avoid future issues.


Want more tips on how to resolve PC slowness and other computer issues? Worried you may have been infected by a virus? Get in touch with us today for help and advice.

This entry was tagged computer, fix, hard drive space, Malware, memory, PC slow, repair, restart, uninstall, Virus.

Why VoIP is better for your business

VoIPGeneral_Mar20_CThe telephone is an essential part of the communications toolkit in any business; it’s been used for over a century for good reason. But in today’s business world, the costs of traditional phone systems can drag down your company. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an alternative? Well, there is. If you haven’t heard of VoIP, it’s time to learn about the next step in the evolution of the phone. And there are a number of advantages that make it essential for many businesses in today’s modern world. Here’s how VoIP can help your business.

What is VoIP?

To truly understand how VoIP can help your business, you must first know what it is. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. All that means is that you’re essentially able to talk with others over an Internet connection instead of a traditional phone line. Yes, you can still use your actual phone handset, as well as your tablet or computer. The major difference is in the way the call is transmitted.

VoIP lowers costs

The biggest advantage of VoIP is that your business will save a bundle on costs. VoIP takes efficiency to a whole new level. Since you’ll be receiving phone calls over the Internet, you’ll cut out the expense of a phone line altogether and instead consolidate both your Internet and voice communication costs. To do this, however, you’ll need to upgrade to a high-speed Internet connection (if you don’t have one already), which will of course cost extra money. But knocking out the expense of your phone line will likely be much more cost-effective for your business overall.

If your business makes international calls regularly, VoIP is even more of a no brainer. With VoIP, international calling costs are significantly reduced and in some cases even free. Skype, which is similar to VoIP, is a perfect example of the latter.

Statistically speaking, VoIP services have helped many businesses lower costs dramatically. For some, local call expenses have been reduced by up to 40% and for international calls by a whopping 90%. How’s that for savings?

Many, better features than traditional phones

In addition to reduced costs, VoIP also offers a wide array of innovative features that surpass those of a traditional phone line. While listing them all would take several pages, three notable ones are virtual numbers, call routing and improved conference calls.

    • Virtual numbers – A virtual number allows you to easily have a local number anywhere in the world. That means if you have a large market of clients in London, you can actually get a local London number with the area code of your choice. When someone in the UK dials this number, it will transfer to your phone – whether your business is actually in Seattle or Toronto. This makes it easy for your customers to contact you and will likely garner more business, since we all know customers like things to made as easy as possible for them.
    • Call routing – If you’ve ever worried about missing an important phone call, call routing will have you breathing a long sigh of relief. With this feature, an incoming call will be transferred to multiple devices of your choice. So if your office desk phone rings when you’re not there, that same call will then ring on your mobile, home phone, iPad and other devices before going to voicemail.
    • Better conference calls – With VoIP and a high speed Internet connection, you can include an unlimited number of people on conference calls. And even better, you can also use video conferencing so you can see your colleagues or clients in person.

Interested in learning more about how VoIP can work for your business? Call us today.

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Boost your Internet connection

For most businesses, Internet connections have gotten a whole lot faster over the past decade. Still, some businesses today are faced with the continuous problem of a slow Internet connection, which often leads to a decrease in productivity and efficiency. If this tech problem resonates with you then don’t give up just yet as there are several things you can do to boost your Internet connection speed and as a result your business performance too.

5 ways to combat a slow Internet connection:

1. Control devices that interfere with the connection:

Wireless devices can be one of the reasons for a slow Internet connection. It’s wise to talk to us about a wireless network analyzer so that you know the sources of interference. Believe it or not, most of these sources might be coming from the company kitchen!

Good examples include the microwave, cordless phone, security alarm, and other wireless devices which use the 2.4GHz band. These can interfere with 802.11g or single-band 802.11n routers. The best solution is to reposition these household electronics to either help solve the problem completely or at least minimize the chances of interference.

2. Control applications that hog bandwidth:

Without your knowledge it’s most likely that employees are using applications that are hogging the bandwidth. It’s vital that you are aware of these applications, especially ones that have video conferencing and streaming abilities which tend to be responsible for weak bandwidth in corporate environments. Other applications such as torrent and gaming apps can also be responsible. It is best to make sure that these apps are not installed on your company computers, of if they are, make sure their use is regulated.

Believe it or not, one of the biggest bandwidth hogs is YouTube. Some companies, when they audit their network usage, have noticed that streaming services like YouTube can take up more than half of their total bandwidth. While in some positions, video streaming may be necessary, it’s likely not for the majority of roles. Therefore, it would be a good idea to implement a rule about the use of YouTube during business hours e.g., it should only be used for necessary tasks.

Some would recommend blocking services like this, but if your business uses Google’s other services, blocking YouTube could actually end up blocking access to other Google services. It would be a good idea to consult with us as to the best way to limit use.

3. Reposition your router:

As simple as this might sound, your router might also have to be repositioned to help increase your Internet speed. You might want to try raising your router so that broadcast range can be more effective. If this doesn’t work, which sometimes it doesn’t, try placing your router in the center of your office for a more equal signal distribution. The best solution however, is to place your router as near to computers and other receivers as possible.

4. Consider an upgrade:

If your wireless networking equipment is old then it probably needs an upgrade. Keep in mind that technology moves at an extremely fast pace and your wireless network might be outdated in just a few years.

We strongly recommend talking to us, as we can help recommend the best upgrade solution. For example, the two most common upgrades include installation of a new repeater or wireless amplifier and replacement of your current antenna. Because antenna’s are so varied, we can help make sure that the antenna being installed is compatible with your router.

5. Use the latest network technologies:

As mentioned earlier, technology moves fast which is why it is essential that you become familiar with its recent advancements, particularly in the area of wireless networking. There are countless apps, software, and hardware out there that can help boost the speed and performance of your router, some of which can even be downloaded for free. Our networking experts can help ensure your business has the latest and greatest, so be sure to consult with us first.

Dealing with a slow Internet connection can be a huge pain. If not taken care of right away, it can have immense impact on your overall work output. Looking to learn more about ways to improve your Internet connection for maximized productivity? Connect with us today to see how we can help.