IT issues affect productivity

Companies are experiencing several challenges at the moment. IT issues affect productivity within the workplace. We are all working  in strange times. Prioritising productivity will help your business succeed during these challenging times.

You’ve spent a significant amount of money providing your employees with the latest and greatest that modern IT has to offer, yet your general productivity levels have stalled out. Obviously, this is a problem with the person using the tool as opposed to the tool itself, right?

So, to help you, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest IT issues that could be affecting the productivity of your business. As well as suggesting some tips on how to fix them.

IT issues affect productivity for remote workers

Computer Weekly wrote an article about how remote workers air long-term productivity concerns. More than a third of the UK’s remote workers claim their home setup needs to be urgently revamped. As they need to ensure they can remain productive throughout the duration of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. This pandemic has caused problems as IT issues effect productivity. Due to the amount of home workers not being able to access the same technology as in the office.

IT issues affect productivity

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make usually involves assuming that any tech-related issues are actually people-related issues.

Q: I’m struggling to communicate with my colleagues

A: With most people still working remotely, communication and collaboration need to be front of mind. You can no longer lean over to ask someone a question. Nor can you easily meet a colleague for a coffee or meeting. Instead, all communication relies on technology. If you don’t have the right tech in place to facilitate effective communication, your business will suffer. Group projects will take longer, errors will occur, training will become less effective and important tasks may get overlooked.

Invest in effective communication tools. Applications like Microsoft Teams allows colleagues to connect with each other (and external professionals) via chat, audio and video functions. Colleagues can also collaborate on group projects together and the platform will automatically link to Microsoft Outlook, meaning calendars can be synced.

Q: I keep experiencing the same IT issues and there’s no one there to help!

A: Reoccurring IT issues will stunt the productivity of your business. Moreover, if your IT support provider is unreliable and unresponsive, it will take unnecessary amounts of valuable time to solve these issues. IT downtime will cause frustration and prevent employees from completing important tasks, which, overall, will be a significant and unnecessary cost to your business. IT issues affect productivity not just for colleagues working from home but the whole team.

Partner with an IT support provider that you trust and don’t just settle for the cheapest option. In the tech industry, cheaper rarely means better. Technology underpins every aspect of your business, so you need to make sure that your IT support partner is delivering genuine value for money. We’d also recommend an IT support partner who can suggest and implement effective cyber security. This will make sure your business is safe and secure.

Q: I’m stressed at work! I have lots to get done and don’t have the right tools to do it

Employees aren’t satisfied with the systems, platforms and technologies that are in place to help them do their job. During such challenging times, you need to ensure that working life is as stress-free as possible for your employees. For optimum productivity, your staff need to be happy and satisfied with the tools available to them. The happier the employees, the better the customer experience. This ensures a more productive business with greater the profits.

A: Use employee feedback software to gain anonymous employee insights and identify issues within your business. Employee feedback software provides your employees with a platform to raise their concerns in confidence. As such, you can discover what is or isn’t working about the tools and systems that you have in place.

Q: I can’t access my work and now I have to start again!

If data is not backed up or stored effectively it can be extremely difficult to recover. Staff will be required to re-do tasks. Wasting valuable money, time and effort.

A: Cloud computing will transform the security and accessibility of your data. Storing data in the cloud allows you to access it from any device, at any time, provided you have a strong internet connection. With a cloud based system all your data will be back up securely. Employees can access their documents using a separate device and secure login. This is especially useful when working remotely.

Q: Our tools and technology aren’t suited to the needs of our business

Ask yourself, are the tools, technology, systems and applications in place really best suited to the needs of your business? Slow PCs, broken servers and reoccurring IT issues will inevitably lead to IT downtime and reduced productivity. Are you fully utilising your CRM systems? Or are there areas where they fail? Are your staff having to complete things manually, because technology is failing to do so? Could you automate a process?

A: Speak to your IT support partner, as you will undoubtedly benefit from professional technology consulting. Implementing the right technology and automating processes will improve the overall productivity, efficiency and success of your business.

Q: Our technology works for us now but won’t be able to cope in the future

Outdated technology can be a major IT issue. Relying on technology because it ‘does the job now’ and overlooking its weakness will stunt your business’ growth in the future. You need to align your IT strategy with your business goals, so that technology will facilitate success, not limit it. Whilst business growth may not be at the forefront of your mind during these challenging times, you still need to plan and prepare for success in the aftermath of the pandemic. Don’t let technology and an ineffective IT strategy be the thing that holds your business back and leads to productivity loss in the future.

A: If you’re unsure of whether your current IT strategy is limiting business growth, contact the LIS Help Desk. At LIS, we’re passionate about digitally transforming businesses, so that they can use technology to thrive. We can make sure your IT issues affect productivity are fixed as quickly as possible.

Our experienced team will regularly review your systems. Make sure your  security is up to date. As well as suggesting upgrades to your software and hardware. We look after your IT systems, making sure your team are more productive.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#ITSupport #Networking #Business #Telecomms

Microsoft’s new phone

Why is Microsoft’s new phone over £1,000?

Microsoft’s first Android phone, the Surface Duo, is coming on September 10, the company announced Wednesday.

The Surface Duo costs £1,070. OK, let’s just stop there for a second. What? That’s about the same price as a tricked out iPhone 11 Max. Yes, it’s expensive. No, people probably aren’t going to rush out to buy it. But the price and phone make sense for a few reasons.

First, it’s a dual-screen device. Microsoft described the phone as “a major new form factor,” in a blog post. It is essentially a folding tablet, which is also a phone. Each of the Surface Duo’s two screens are 5.6-inch displays that combine into a tablet-like 8.1-inch display when unfolded. It has a single camera that supports recording 4K video.

Microsoft’s new phone

Open two screens and open new possibilities. Surface innovation comes to a dual-screen mobile device,
featuring the best of Microsoft 365, every Android app in the Google Play store, phone calls, and more.

Is it a phone or an iPad?

So, if the phone is really an iPad mini that folds … and is also a phone … now we’re getting into £1,070 territory. The hinge works both ways, so you can close the phone like a book or open it fully so it’s a double-sided phone. It’s also super thin, has what could be one of the best screens on any phone. (Here’s an excellent synopsis of all the ins and outs of the Duo from our colleagues at CNN Underscored).

Second, Microsoft is promoting the Duo as a productivity device. It’s a Surface, after all — the same brand it uses for its high-end computers that are all about showcasing Microsoft’s software, including Office and Windows. Microsoft said it optimized the entire Office Suite for the Duo, helping people make video calls (super important now), and get their work done on the go.

Finally, the Duo is probably a showcase device. Like the original Surface, Microsoft is probably showing more what can be done than trying to convince millions of people that they should buy a Surface Duo. The original Surface got a ton of things wrong (Microsoft took a $1 billion write-down on the product.) But it got one big thing right — the two-in-one laptop-tablet idea was a winner. Microsoft stuck with the idea, listened to feedback, perfected it over time, and Surface is now a successful product with an avid fanbase.

Are you going to order one?

Pre-orders for the Microsoft’s new phone The Duo are available starting Wednesday. Available at Best Buy, Microsoft’s online store and AT&T, which owns Warner Media, CNN’s parent company. It’s the first Android phone from Microsoft, after it slowly stopped supporting its line of Windows phones.

Foldable phones have had their challenges in the past, such as when defective units of the nearly £1,500 Samsung Galaxy Fold were shipped out to tech reviewers, who discovered broken screens and hinges in their coverage. Samsung delayed the April launch of the device to September in response.

Despite that flub, several foldable phones have made it to the market, including the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Flip. Chinese brands like the Huawei Mate X and Oppo Reno 10X Zoom are also on the market, but not sold directly to US consumers in official stores.

Telecom Business Solutions

Telecoms can be a complex challenge for organisations which don’t have the in-house knowledge and expertise to ensure they have the right systems and infrastructure in place.

Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your requirements. If you need a new phone line for home or business and low cost phone calls, a VOIP solution, maybe a mobile phone provider that can give you a better connection, a super fast fibre broadband supplier or even a leased line for guaranteed fast speeds. We have it all, and they’re all delivered to you with our impeccable IT support.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#MicrosoftDuo #Telecoms #Business #ITSupport

This time next year

Apple boss Tim Cook joins the billionaires club

We have all heard the saying “ this time next year we will be millionaires”. Have you ever thought about being a billionaire?

The BBC broke the news on the website today that – Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook is now a billionaire. All thanks to the company’s rising share price.  The 59 year old’s wealth was calculated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Apple’s share price has soared during his time in charge, from around £40 to more than £343 today.

He joined the technology giant in 1998 at the request of Steve Jobs, who he replaced as chief executive in 2011.

Mr Cook owns more than 847,000 Apple shares directly, worth more than £291m.

Proceeds from previous share sales, dividends and other compensation add another £497m to his net worth, according to calculations by Bloomberg.

Tim Cook has stated that money is not his motivation for waking up before 4 a.m. or boosting Apple’s value to
over $1 trillion. That’s an unexpected remark from the CEO of such a well-known and profitable tech company.

Last year Mr Cook was paid £95m, the majority of which came in the form of vested shares. His basic salary is £2.3m.

Chief executives of other tech companies, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, have a much higher net worth because they often own a large proportion of their company’s shares.

Two years ago, Apple became the first US-listed company to be valued at a trillion pounds.

The company is now worth about £1.45tn and analysts believe it will pass the £1.5tn mark this year.

How does Mr. Cook plan to spend his fortune?

Mr Cook has said he will give away his entire fortune before he dies. He told Fortune magazine that he would fund his nephew’s education before giving his wealth to charity.

Two causes that are close to his heart are HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. As well as climate change, he said – telling the magazine he had already started to quietly donate.

“You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripples for change,” he said at the time.

How can we help to build your business?

Maybe you’re feeling a little jealous and wish you could join the billionaires club? We unable to make you successful and join the billionaire’s club. Well, we have good news for you. You can become a billionaire! It has nothing to do with your family’s money or your education. It has everything to do with you.

Contact the LIS Help Desk to speak to us about the latest hardware, software, security and cloud back up system. If you make sure your team have the best technology possible that suits your budget this will help you to achieve your goals. We can all dream… THIS TIME NEXT YEAR…

Through hard work, dedication and time you can make it. Why have the stress about worrying about your systems? Let us take the pain away and make sure your business runs smoothly.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#BillionairesClub #Business #ITSupport

Internet under the sea

Aqua-Fi is a Wi-Fi system for watery environments where radios typically struggle. Communicating underwater has always been a hassle. Radio transmissions, the ubiquitous wireless standard above the waves, can’t transmit very far before being entirely absorbed by the water. Acoustic transmissions (think sonar) are the preferred choice underwater, but they suffer from very low data rates. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just have Internet under the sea?

Researchers use lasers to bring the Internet under the sea

Underwater Wi-Fi is exactly what researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, have developed. The system, which they call Aqua-Fi, uses a combination of lasers and off-the-shelf components. This creates a bi-directional wireless connection for underwater devices. The system is fully compliant with  IEEE 802.11 wireless standards, meaning it can easily connect to and function as part of the broader Internet.

Internet under the sea

The Aqua-Fi system uses a Wi-Fi connection to wirelessly connect a device to a Raspberry Pi,which converts the signal into a laser to be beamed to a relay on the water’s surface.

How will Internet under the sea work?

Waterproofed smartphones can transmit data underwater. The researchers used a regular old Wi-Fi signal to connect that device to an underwater “modem.” Specifically, they used a Raspberry Pi to function as that modem. The Raspberry Pi converted the wireless signal to an optical signal. In this case, a laser that was beamed to receiver attached to a surface buoy. Established communications techniques were used to send the signal to an orbiting satellite. For the underwater device to receive data, the process is simply reversed.

Aqua-Fi stems from work that the KAUST researchers did back in 2017. The researchers used a blue laser to transmit a 1.2-gigabit file underwater. But that wasn’t interesting enough, according to Basem Shihada, an associate professor of computer science at KAUST and one of the researchers on the Aqua-Fi project. “Who cares about submitting just a file?” he says. “Let’s do something with a bit more life.”

The light bulb moment

It was that thinking that spurred the team to start looking at bi-directional communications. With the ultimate goal of building a system that can transfer high-resolution video. Internet under the sea could be a possibility.

Shihada says it was important to him that all of the components be off the shelf. “My first rule when we started this project: I do not want to have something that is [custom made for this],” he says. The only exception is the circuit in the Raspberry Pi that converts the wireless signal to an optical signal and vice versa.

The team used LEDs instead of lasers in their first design, but found the LEDs were not powerful enough for high data rates. With LEDs, the beams were limited to distances of about 7 meters and data rates of about 100 kilobits per second. When they upgraded to blue and green lasers, they achieved 2.11 megabits per second over 20 meters.

Shihada says that currently, the system is limited by the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi. The team burned out the custom circuit responsible for converting optical and wireless signals when, on two occasions, they used a laser that was too powerful. He says that in order for this setup to incorporate more powerful lasers that can both communicate farther and transmit more data, the Raspberry Pi will need to be swapped out for a dedicated optical modem.

Testing the system

Two students at KAUST talk over Skype using Aqua-Fi. Each phone is connected to an underwater Raspberry Pi on each end of the black box. A green laser is reflected down the length of the box several times to create a distance of 20m.

What are the limitations?

Even with the limitations of the Raspberry Pi, the KAUST researchers were able to use Aqua-Fi to place Skype calls and transfer files. However, there’s still a big problem that needs to be addressed in order to make a system like Aqua-Fi commercially viable; and it can’t be solved as easily as swapping out the Raspberry Pi. “If you want to imagine how to build the Internet underwater,” says Shihada, “laser alignment remains the most challenging part.” Because lasers are so precise, even mildly turbulent waters can knock a beam off course and cause it to miss a receptor.

What options are available?

The KAUST researchers are exploring two options to solve the alignment problem. The first is to use a technique similar to the “photonic fence” developed to kill mosquitoes. A low-power guide laser would scan for the receptor. When a connection is made, it would inform another, higher-powered laser to begin sending data. If the waves misaligned the system again, the high-power laser would shut off and the guide laser would kick in, initiating another search.

The other option is a MIMO-like solution using a small array of receptors, so that even if the laser emitter is jostled a bit by the water, it will still maintain a connection.

Do we need the Internet under the sea?

You might still be asking yourself at this point why anyone even needs the Internet underwater? First, there’s plenty of need in underwater conservation for remote monitoring of sea life and coral reefs, for example. High definition video collected and transmitted by wireless undersea cameras can be immensely helpful to conservationists.

However, it’s also helpful to the high-tech world. Companies like Microsoft are exploring the possibility of placing data centres offshore and underwater. Placing data centres on the ocean floor can perhaps save money both on cooling the equipment as well as energy costs. If the kinetic energy of the waves can be harvested and converted to electricity. Finally, if there are data centres underwater, the Internet will need to be there too.

How can we connect you?

We are sorry to report that we are unable to help with the progress of launching Internet under the sea. However, our land-based clients are happy with our service and a support team that is not wet behind the ears! Contact the LIS Help Desk to find out more about super-fast broadband. Unlimited broadband packages are available with speeds up to 1,000mb download and upload. If that’s not fast enough we can join several lines together and the sky is the limit… yes, we ran out of sea puns!

Our experienced team can also help you with any other IT enquiries, security issues and telecoms.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#UnderTheSea #UnderwaterWiFi #WithCoolLasers