Bored of virtual meetings?

Do you use Zoom or Teams for meetings? Are you bored of virtual meetings and how can you add the wow factor to your next one? USA Today have written a blog with some fantastic tips.

Don’t get bored at your next virtual meeting

First, make sure you actually need to hold a virtual meeting. Attendees should interact, ensure their voices and opinions are actually being solicited. This means: cut the monologues. If you’re making an announcement or sharing information that only requires your audience to listen, consider simply sending out an email.

Once a virtual meeting has been deemed necessary, try implementing these realistic tips to banish boredom, keep things interactive, and encourage participation.

Bored of virtual meetings

Another virtual meeting? Make your next meeting more interesting with filters, polls and live animals. The important point to remember is make it interesting.

Set expectations

Before the meeting even starts, allow attendees to get into the right mindset by setting expectations for their participation. This will make sure participants will not be bored of virtual meetings.

Present a problem in the agenda and ask everyone prepare and present ideas for solutions. Request that all attendees be on video mode and in a quiet (or at least a private) space during the meeting. Set ground rules for conduct, such as “thou shalt put away phones and not work on other tasks”.

Dedicate time to checking in

Remote work can get lonely and isolating, so take some time before the meeting proper to let everyone share what they’ve been up to. Ask them about the highlights of their week or what challenges they’re currently facing. Better yet, get everyone to show appreciation to their fellow colleagues. Bored of virtual meetings will be a thing of the past with this type of communication.

Social bonding keeps team members engaged and encourages creativity, teamwork, and collaboration, so be sure to cultivate it even when on virtual platforms.

Let people take ownership

Assign people with tasks like time keeping, facilitating, and note taking. If you’re running an ice breaker or conducting a warm up (see below), you can assign one of the attendees to be in charge.

Also, ensuring that every attendee has a role – whether it’s decision maker, adviser, recommender or executor. This helps you keep meetings small, which is great because the more people at a meeting, the less engaged each person will be.

Start with an ice breaker

Jumpstart communication and break through awkwardness with ice breakers! Conducting a fun ice breaker will help activate the right brain. Set the stage for creativity and participation and get your attendees comfortable with speaking and interacting with each other. These are the perfect conditions for an effective virtual meeting.

Jazz up your material

Did you know that visuals increase engagement by as much as 94%? They also help increase audience attention and memory, boost feelings of inclusiveness, and encourage interaction. Try using visuals throughout your meeting to give context, illustrate a point, or provide levity.

Virtual IT Business Support

We understand the challenges we are currently facing in the business world. As well all know, there is nothing better than a face to face meeting. However, businesses need to be able to support their staff, clients and suppliers needs. Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your requirements.

Here at LIS we understand the challenges business are currently facing in this changing world. We all know there is nothing better than a face to face meeting, and all our clients get regular in-person contact from us, at least in normal times. However, most of our work (95%) is done remotely, often without our clients even knowing there was problem, let alone that we are fixing it! It’s second nature to our team because we have worked like that since we started nearly 25 years ago! So, if you have a bored technician who is making you sit through boring chat rather than just getting on with fixing your problem, call us. Our new clients tell us it is a refreshing change to enjoy calling tech support… it seems we fix people as well as systems. Who knew?

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#technews #zoom #teams #MakeVideoCallsExciting

Realistic robotic pets

The realistic robotic pets are designed to give seniors some companionship, without all the responsibility of an actual animal. Your elderly parents can comfort, cuddle and care for these lifelike cats and dogs. The realistic robotic pets help the elderly battle with loneliness, dementia and mental wellbeing.

Realistic robotic pets

Thanks to built-in sensor technology, the robotic pet responds to petting and motion much like the cats you know and love.

Realistic robotic pets comfort the elderly

Without a doubt, the hardest thing about getting older is watching the people you love get older, too. Your aging parents or loved ones deserve to spend their remaining years with as much love and warmth as possible, especially if they are battling an illness.

That’s why, over the last few years, pet companions have become so popular, particularly for older adults who are feeling lonely or have dementia. In fact, a 2017 study revealed that the interaction between aging adults and animals — whether real or robotic — can help lower blood pressure, ease anxiety, reduce feelings of loneliness, and improve overall quality of life. Some nursing homes even offer pet therapy for dementia patients to ease any unintended agitation and aggression.

For these very reasons, more than 1,300 Amazon shoppers have left five-star reviews for Ageless Innovation’s Joy for All Companion Pets. Perfect for dog or cat lovers, these plush animals have built-in sensors, “vibra purr” or “bark back” technology, and brushable fur, making them surprisingly realistic. In other words, they look, feel, and sound exactly like the pets that your loved ones grew up with (minus the litter box or backyard clean up). Insert four batteries, and the cats, which come in four different shades to mimic real breeds, can open and close their eyes, lift their paws, and move their head and body. If you pet them in the right spot — like on their belly or back side — they’ll let out a “purr.”

If your loved one is more of a dog person, you can also buy a stuffed golden puppy, accessorized with a red bandana, that will bark if he’s feeling happy, sad, or needy. At only four pounds, the stuffed pup is easy to play with and won’t weigh down even the most fragile frame.

Is it worth the price?

The price of Ageless Innovation’s toy is steeper than other stuffed animals on the market. Glowing reviews prove that these lifelike robotic pets are worth every penny, especially when gifting them to a loved one. “My family recently had to place my mum in a nursing home for long term care. She has dementia and my 88-year-old father could no longer care for her. We worried about the time she would spend there when no one was visiting. Because of this, I got her one of these cats. I am happy to say that this was one of the best purchases I have ever made. It is truly remarkable what this cat can do. It is very lifelike and although my mother knows it isn’t real, she enjoys it nonetheless,” one Amazon shopper wrote.

One reviewer who has a wife with dementia shared a similar sentiment. “My wife of 72 years has been diagnosed with rapid onset moderate dementia. She always wanted a dog. However, I knew that in our situation a real dog would demand more than we would be able to provide. When searching for robotic dogs as a novelty gift, I came across this companion pet and purchased it, if for no other reason than its realistic appearance. She has since spent hours with it every day since. “It has a heart” she says, reacting to the beating mechanism inside. Anything that can bring such joy and happiness is something to be truly grateful for.”

A company with a human touch

Here at LIS we can guarantee you will not have to deal with robots or automated telephone systems. When you contact the LIS Help Desk you get to speak to an experienced and friendly IT Technician. We are able to help with security issues, cloud-based back-up solutions, upgrades, IT support and telecoms. Call today to arrange your IT audit. It is FREE and there are no obligations to buy.

Realistic robotic pets are perfect for older people in need of companionship. As well as anyone who wants a cat but can’t be bothered with litter trays and tins of cat food. So why not work with an IT company than can give you peace of mind. Allowing yourself more time to focus on your business!

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Robotics #Pets #ITSupport #Security

Messaging could be easier

Testing has started on a new feature that would merge Messenger with WhatsApp. Messaging could be easier for end uses of either system in the future. The huge tech move would mean that users of either app would be able to send messages to people on the other app seamlessly.

Messaging could be easier for users

An example would be that if you had a Facebook account, you could reach your friends on WhatsApp without downloading the app. Discovered by tech expert WABetaInfo, known for figuring out tech updates and new developments before they’re announced. He came across the update hidden in the code of Messenger.

Messaging could be easier

Facebook users could message those on WhatsApp without the app. Picture: PA

WABetaInfo has made a name for himself through scanning innards of apps to figure out new features. He also explained that this new merging of apps isn’t available yet.

He said: “The integration of WhatsApp into Facebook Messenger isn’t available yet. This is a very complicated feature and it requires time. We’ve no idea if the plan to merge those services will continue or if it will be abandoned.”

Facebook own WhatsApp and Instagram. They plan to combine features between both apps. Last year, Facebook announced its plans to merge all three services into one. However, nothing has been mentioned since.

 

Social Media

Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp. Picture: PA

What could the merge mean for users?

Should the merge go ahead, one person could reach another contact on WhatsApp through the Facebook Messenger app, and vice versa.

That raises some interesting security questions. WhatsApp is famous for its end-to-end encryption, which keeps the content of a user’s messages secure. Users will also need only a phone number to sign up. Facebook requires a person’s “real” identity to register. Messenger is not currently encrypted in the same way WhatsApp is.

Facebook has previously said, “We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted.” The news of the potential merger comes just a year after Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to see greater integration between Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

“As you would expect, there is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work,” said Facebook.

How to communicate with your IT provider?

Good communication between you and your IT provider is essential to your business. This can be challenging to communicate your problem over the phone or email. Contact the LIS Help Desk to find out about our IT Support Services. Our team can remote control into your device and fix the problem straight away. Alternatively, if it is not an emergency schedule a time that suits you. IT does not have to ruin your day, just contact us and consider us as your IT therapist.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Facebook #Messenger #WhatsApp #SocialMedia #ITSupport

Team Meetings Are Simple

Working from home (WFH) with Microsoft Teams. If you are already a user of what has become Microsoft’s fastest-growing app in history, you’ll realise that team meetings are simple and quick. Although not always convenient if you’re in a home setting that’s verging on disorganised.

So, before you start a Teams meeting, use the blur background function to put you in focus, rather than what’s behind you. Be that a child home-schooling at the kitchen table, a stack of laundry ready for ironing or an interesting choice of reading material on your bookcase.

Team meetings are simple when working from home

It’s clear that WFH isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Standard Life Aberdeen has informed 4,900 of its UK employees working from home not to expect a return to the office this year. While Health Secretary Matt Hancock has indicated his hope that employers offer home working as a choice going forward.

A record of 2.7 billion minutes of Microsoft Teams meetings took place in a single day in April. It has become a feature of daily working life for many, team meetings are simple and are here to stay. Microsoft Teams will replace Skype for Business Online which is being retired on 31 July 2021.

Team Meeting Are Simple

The hub for teamwork in Microsoft 365. Invite everyone you work with to chat, meet, call and collaborate all in one place. Discover a new way to work together.

All capabilities of Skype for Business are available in Microsoft Teams – like blurring out your background during a video call – but Teams expands on capabilities for communication and collaboration. Microsoft Teams brings together files, chats, and apps in an integrated app, with functionality that enables organizations to move faster and collaborate more efficiently.

All Office 365 customers are encouraged to use Teams, whether independently or alongside with Skype for Business. However, customers will need to move to Teams before the Skype for Business Online retirement date. Here’s some advice on how to make Microsoft Teams technology at your fingertips your new best friend.

Don’t leave them hanging

Teams allows you to test your functionality before a video call. This lets you adjust the camera angle, test the audio, sort out any lighting issues or blur the background before you get going.

Cut the inbox clutter

Drowning in emails could become a thing of the past. If a colleague wants you to send a file, or answer a quick query, chats is the answer.

It’s good to share

Using the chat window is an easy way to have a quick conversation with a colleague. Need to share a file? Attach it in the chat, then call or video call your colleague to discuss the file straight from the window. Meetings can be scheduled without leaving the chat. There’s no need to switch between apps during a conversion as chat is integration with other Microsoft products like Office.

Collaboration and communication

Syncing with Office 365, you can create a Word, Excel or PowerPoint document in Teams, immediately share it with colleagues and then co-write. It cuts out confusion around the very latest version of documents, spreadsheets or power points.

Any time, any place

Teams is a fully cloud-based solution, meaning you can access information from anywhere on any device. Using the Teams phone app gives immediate access to all your apps and documents. You can easily respond to chat and conversations, join meetings with one click and continue to collaborate. So even on the move, you stay in the loop.

Overcoming isolation

Working from home can be a lonely experience but using the Teams internal communications keeps the workforce engaged and motivated and conscious they are working towards the same goal, even when physically apart. It provides scope to check in, not check-up.

Privacy and security

Microsoft Teams comes with security and privacy controls designed to prevent vulnerabilities to hacking, protection which includes:

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) – Users supply added forms of verification to prove their identity, helping protect their accounts from attacks through weak or stolen passwords.
  • Microsoft Endpoint Manager – To manage devices and apps and enforce conditional access on any device.
  • Secure Guest Access – Allows users to collaborate with individuals outside their organisation while controlling access to their own data.

How can we be part of your team?

We are working in unusual times that no one has experienced. Take the pressure of worrying about you IT system. Wouldn’t it be nice to focus working on your business rather than for the business? No more organised meetings in the board room. Team meetings are simple with Microsoft Teams. Allow yourself to spend extra time playing golf, going down the gym or your favourite activity.

Find out more about how LIS can support your team working from home. Contact the LIS Help Desk for the latest IT Support Advice,  Security, Cloud Back Up Solutions and Telecoms. Like the famous TV advert said, “It’s good to talk.”

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#MicrosoftTeams #WFH #Business #ITSupport

 

The death of the mouse

The world is a crazy place right now. The pandemic has caused havoc, the UK is in recession and we are sad to announce the death of the mouse. Let us pause for a moment give thanks to an inventor that has made our lives easier. Computer pioneer William English has died aged 91, as reported by the BBC. Mr English, who was born in 1929 in Kentucky, studied electrical engineering at university before embarking on a career in the US Navy.

The engineer, inventor and researcher co-created the first modern computer mouse in 1963. After his colleague Doug Engelbart, a fellow engineer at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) came up with the idea.

The death of the mouse

William English, using the mouse prototype. Credit: SRI International

Working under Engelbart in the mid 1960s, William English, known to most as Bill, became the first person to use a mouse when he built the prototype at SRI.

In the 1950s, after leaving his career in the US Navy, Mr English joined SRI to work with Mr Engelbart who wanted to build a computer that anyone could use – a concept that would be the founding bricks for modern day PCs, laptops and tablets.

At the time computers were only used by specialists who would enter and retrieve information through punched cards, typewriters and printouts.

The birth of the mouse

Bill English built his first mouse prototype in the early 1960s. Credit: SRI International

The mouse, which got its name because of the way the cursor called CAT at the time seemed to chase the mouse movement, was a simple pinewood block with a single button and connector. Underneath the mouse were two rolling wheels at 90-degree angles that would record vertical and sideways movement on the computer.

Mr Engelbart, who died in 2013, aged 88, envisioned a device that could move a cursor across a computer screen and perform tasks by selecting symbols and pictures, Mr English helped his vision become a reality.

English and Engelbart demonstrated their first mouse and experimental multifaceted computer called oNLine System (NLS), in 1968 at an event in San Francisco that became known as ‘The Mother of All Demos’.

The Mother of All Demos unveiled early forms of online text editing, video conferencing and hypertext, the links now commonly used to navigate web pages on the internet.

Support for today’s technology and the future

What would our office look like today without pioneers like William? His invention is still going strong today and has come a long way since its original form. We may mourn the death of the mouse; however, technology is constantly moving forward. Thanks to William English’s efforts, much of the technology we use today exists.

Contact the LIS Help Desk to speak to one of our team. We can advise you about the latest computer systems and upgrades for your office. Don’t spend hours trawling the Internet for the best deal. Speak to us and let us take the pain away. This saves you time and money. We can set up your system and offer you a monthly IT contract. As well as cloud back-up systems, the latest security and telecoms.

All your technology requirements, all under one roof.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#BillEnglish #ComputerMouse #Technology #ITSupport