Technology News from the LIS Helpdesk

Five key IT areas

Five key IT areas you must address in your business’s 2021 growth strategy5 key IT areas guide. As we finally approach the end of – what we can all agree has been a difficult year – it’s likely that the last thing you want to think about is your IT next year. However, being the IT super-fans that we are, we’d suggest that now is the best time to do this. We’re about to begin a new year.

It’s going to be another challenging one. So what greater way to start than with a clear strategy for the months ahead? A solid IT strategy is a critical part of your business growth plans for the year.

Download our new guide to find out the 5 key IT areas you must address in your business.

5 key IT areas you must address

How was 2020 for your business?

It didn’t take long for the optimism of a new decade to wear off. By the end of 2020, companies everywhere were reeling as they reckoned with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, the impact of the virus was too much for many firms, leaving millions of workers unemployed and driving thousands of businesses to close their doors. Those companies that stayed afloat had to act quickly in order to enable their remote workforce and maintain operations.

Heading into 2021, there is little precedent for projecting the future. The economy is showing some signs of stability, but there are lingering fears over continued challenges or further surprises. Now is the time to investigate to see how five key IT areas can help your company in 2021.

Making sense of it all

Through all the confusion, though, there are still some basic concepts that will shape the year to come. Digital operations are more important than ever, with many transformative changes accelerating over the past year. Fair treatment for all is an absolute mandate, making diversity, equity and inclusion a top priority. The influence of technology is massive, forcing new approaches to regulatory behaviour. When is the last time you analysed your IT system? Have you locked the secrets behind the five key IT areas?

As the industry emerges from a chaotic year, it will begin a rebuilding phase, but this rebuilding goes beyond restoration. There is little opportunity to return to the old way of doing things. Thanks to changes that no one would have wished for and fuelled by the requirements of a digital society, the technology industry will doubtless take a new shape in the coming year. This isn’t rebuilding to reclaim the past; this is rebuilding for the future.

Book a FREE IT audit to cover the five key IT areas

All our clients benefit from our experience and knowledge. Our team have been working in the industry for over 25 years. We pride ourselves on delivering nothing but the very best customer service and solutions to our customers whatever the situation may be. Contact the LIS Help Desk to book your FREE IT audit and discover the secrets of the five key IT areas to help your business. Our services include managed IT services, network support and telecoms.

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New aircraft opportunities

New aircraft opportunities amid aerospace industry woes have emerged from Vertical Aerospace. Michael Cervenka traces his interest in engineering back to his grandfather’s influence. “He was an organ builder and had me sorting out screws on his workshop floor when I was 18 months old,” he says.

That interest literally took off. He is now the boss of Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace and has progressed to electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) machines. With the potential to be quiet and economical, these aircraft have been touted as the next big thing in passenger aircraft.

Vertical is working on the VA-1X, an aircraft intended to fly between regions. That regional emphasis matters as eVTOL machines have often been promoted as air taxis, whizzing around our cities under the banner of “urban air mobility” (UAM).

New aircraft opportunities

Michael Cervenka says pilot-free aircraft are a long way off

New aircraft opportunities could mean electric flight for everyone

Some even suggest these vehicles could scoop up passengers and whisk them along pre-arranged flight corridors without a pilot. Vertical dismisses this as a fantasy. “Our aircraft will be heavily automated,” says Mr Cervenka. “But both regulations and the public will require a pilot for years to come.”

An automatic response to an obstruction on a landing pad below will pull VA-1X up and away from a collision. However, people still want to see a highly trained aviator in charge of their flight. Using multiple propellers that point skywards for take-off and then rotate to tilt forward to fly horizontally, the VA-1X aims to carry four passengers and a pilot over short distances more cheaply than a helicopter.

Airlines operate within a framework of strict regulation, so how will this entirely new category of machine pass the scrutiny of international safety bodies? Mr Cervenka says he is working closely with UK and European regulators.

Excellence in engineering

The technology behind VA-1X has been tested at a remote airfield in Wales using a prototype called Seraph. This is a piloted black box surrounded by six arms mounting rotor blades. These new design ideas are helping create new aircraft opportunities that help climate change.

Seraph’s chunky appearance belies its role in proving the systems that should keep VA-1X’s eight electric motors pointing in the right direction. And if a motor fails Seraph can still hover and land.

With a winged design, as opposed to some of the wingless flying car proposals in the eVTOL world, Vertical’s VA-1X gains lift. So, the wings take pressure off its electric power source, which is derived from a car battery. Vertical employs 25 ex-Formula 1 engineers and a battery engineer from Jaguar Land Rover.

The company claims its aircraft will be 30 times quieter than a helicopter. In theory it will make more use of existing heliports where the frequency of landings is restricted by noise regulations.

It spies a market for travel between locations not served by high-speed rail networks and regional airlines. Regional connectivity is the name of this game.

Connecting people with places

“We will offer an ability to connect places that are not well connected today,” says Mr Cervenka, who is eyeing up a London-to-Brighton service, a route notorious for rail delays and traffic jams.

Covid has slashed airline passenger numbers. It is important for the aerospace industry to investigate new aircraft opportunities. So, Mr Cervenka reckons new purchases of large airliners are off the menu. But airlines might use eVTOL flights from a major airport into the centre of a city to attract business or first-class flyers as part of their fare.

The 150mph (240km/h) VA-1X will need a full battery recharge every 100 miles, but a 25-mile short hop from an airport to city centre would allow for a fast recharge and quick turnaround.

Pilot free aircraft

Vertical Aerospace is testing technology on its Seraph aircraft

The legal view about new aircraft opportunities

David Tait, a lawyer studying emerging technologies for the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, says he expects eVTOL craft to gain regulatory approval for certain services. However, he also pours cold water on the wilder promises of flying taxis.

“Consumer on-demand services are a long way away,” he says, citing the air traffic management challenges of putting too many machines into the air above a major city.

Designs such as the octo-engined VA-1X have no single point of failure, unlike a helicopter where the loss of rotor blades or power can be catastrophic.

“Our view is that eVTOL should be at least as safe as existing vehicles,” Mr Tait says. “Our expectation is that these will be quieter, cleaner and safer.”

Approximately 300 eVTOL projects are under way around the globe and Germany’s Lilium is one of the most advanced, attracting engineers from Boeing and Airbus.

New aircraft opportunities are the future of air travel

Its distinctive eVTOL machine has 36 electric engines buried inside slender white wings and tail planes. These are ducted fans, sucking in air and blowing it out in the manner of a jet engine but without mixing it up with fuel. This mass of fans creates a strong current that will push the little five-seater jet to 300km/h (186mph) and give the pilot control over direction.

Remo Gerber, its operational chief, says that despite this radical design Lilium is “following a classic aviation approach”, with safety dictating design features such as the Kevlar shell around the fan blades, ensuring that if a blade flies off it will be contained within the tough material.

A technology demonstrator flew at its base outside Munich in 2019 and the larger production machine is intended to carry four passengers and a pilot like the VA-1X. These light passenger loads reflect the power limitations of electric motors.

Mr Gerber shares the view that UAM has been oversold: “We struggle with UAM. We don’t see the benefits.” He argues that very short distances make no sense for eVTOL. The final section of the trip still will have to be made by road. Lilium is also focussing on the regional transport market.

European ideas

Lilium plans a regional network based around Dusseldorf and Cologne airports in Germany’s densely populated North Rhine-Westphalia area. The idea is to connect smaller cities such as Aachen and Munster to the airports via Lilium aircraft by 2025.

It is also designing eVTOL airports – what it calls “vertiports”. With a relatively small footprint these present an affordable alternative to airports and railway stations. These could link up a region with hundreds of daily flights and multiple high-frequency flights from different locations, and would carry more passengers than rival first-class rail services at equivalent fares.

Vertical say, manufacturing will see components such as the VA-1X’s cockpit displays arriving to be integrated in a final assembly. So, Mr Cervenka’s very early experience putting many parts of a machine together may still pay dividends.

IT support with business development in mind

We are not experts in new aircraft opportunities. Where our clients benefit working with us is future planning. What do we mean by that? We are nearly at the end of the year. What are your plans for 2021? Are you moving office? Are you opening a new branch? Do you need to upgrade your systems? Are your systems secure?

Contact the LIS Help Desk to speak to one of our Support Technicians. We will undertake a complete IT audit of your business. Work with you on your future goals and make recommendations to improve your systems. Whether you need IT Support, Telecoms, cloud services or security, we are here to help. We can’t fly planes, but we can help you get to your business destination and achieve your goals.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Aerospace #PassengerAircraft #LooksABitTerminatorToUs

Covid Ready Gadgets

You know we love a gadget!

So here are some new Covid ready gadgets just for you. The world is being reshaped by Covid-19, and that includes the sphere of tech. The annual IFA Berlin tech fair is the biggest platform for new tech releases in Europe. This year it attempted to carry on as close to normal as possible. The exhibition looked a little different to what we are used to.

The 4,000 attendees had to wear masks and social-distancing measures were in place. The class of gadgets on display were also different to usual. Best known in recent years for giant sized TVs and virtual-reality headsets. This year IFA saw exhibits of a new class of pandemic-inspired gadgets. Here are some of the Covid ready gadgets available.

Some of the best Covid ready gadgets from the show

Covid REady Gadgets

Daan Tech’s Bob the mini dishwasher

Dishwashers are reputedly big and ugly. That’s what this small and autonomous dishwasher called Bob attempts to get away from. Designed by France’s Daan Tech, Bob sits on a kitchen worktop. It takes just 20 minutes to run a cycle and comes in one of 24 colours. All great stuff, but where’s the Covid-19 link?

Bob also indulges in UV-C sterilization. Using ultraviolet light to warp the structure of genetic material, effectively killing bacteria and viruses. So, alongside your dirty plates, mugs and  glasses, Bob can also work its magic. Great on disposable masks plus your dirty wallet and keys. It sells for £267 and is now available for pre-order.

Wearable air purifier: The best Covid ready gadgets to keep safe

Electrostatic technology could well be the “disinfectant of the future”. With Covid-19 it was inevitable that we’d see a wearable air purifier at IFA 2020. Designed to be worn around the neck, this Covid ready gadget is one of the best ideas from the show and will protect millions of users.

The improved surface coverage is the result of the electrostatic technology. As the chemical exits the electrostatic sprayer, it is atomized and given a positive charge. The positively charged spray droplets are attracted to and travel toward negatively charged objects, creating a 360-degree wraparound effect on the targeted surface.

However, its three-layer electrostatic filter works to rid the bubble of air around you from bacteria and viruses, alongside pollen and air pollutants. From Japanese company Creative Technology  the air purifier is already sold in Asia.

Covid Ready Gadgets

GoBe Telepresence Robot

Anyone suffering video-call fatigue? Not surprising, given that telepresence has suddenly become a way of life for many of us. However, interacting remotely doesn’t come close to being there in person. The answer is to use a remote-controlled mobile robot. Designed in Denmark to replace travel, GoBe is all about putting someone “in the room”.

At its core it’s a 21.5-inch “face screen” on wheels, with its robot pilot being fed real-time images via a zoomable 4K camera. It also has a wide-angle front camera for a view of an entire room. “During the pandemic, we have seen significant growth in orders,” says Peter Juhl Voldsgaard, CEO of GoBe Robots.  “Telepresence robots have now become a standard technology that everyone can understand. Our technology gives each person a unique experience.” He added.

Neato Robotics’ D10 robot vacuum

So, any improvement to your sourdough bread-making skills? If half the flour you hoarded over lockdown regularly ended up on your kitchen floor, then maybe you should consider the Neato D10 “intelligent robot vacuum”. It promises not just a clean but an ultra-clean. It is important in the world of Covid Ready Gadgets that they make life easier.

Robot vacuums have become one of 2020’s biggest must-have gadgets. They’re lightweight, easy to use, and they require literally zero effort.

Announced at IFA 2020 and claiming to be able to suck up dirt from all types of flooring. The D10 features a True HEPA filter to capture “up to 99.97%” allergens and particles as small as 0.3 microns. The D10 runs for 2.5 hours and is programmed via the MyNeato app.

Fauna Audio’s Memor Havana audio glasses

Are your efforts to work from home productively being hampered by kids or noisy housemates? Then it’s likely you could benefit from some beefy noise-cancelling headphones. If that isn’t a major concern, consider these blue light-blocking glasses with built-in sound.

Fauna’s Memor and Levia models feature standard blue light filter lenses to reduce blue light exposure from computers and phones. Prescription lenses can also be fitted  and MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) micro-speakers. This will not block sound in the manner that earphones and headphones do. As a result,  have one ear listening to audio from your computer, music, virtual meetings and so on. Whilst the other can listen out for the arrival of the courier with your latest Amazon purchase.

Fauna has integrated Bluetooth and microphones for taking hands-free calls. It also works with voice assistants and boasts touch control via two touchpads on the temples. It sells for £178.

Stay ahead with the latest tech

Whilst the world is worrying about Covid Ready Gadgets, have you thought about your IT systems? Our clients benefit from the latest tech, upgrades and support from our Support Technicians. With remote access, regular checks and security, our clients have peace of mind. With everything going on in the world, how great would it be to work with an IT partner that is responsive?

Contact the LIS Help Desk for your FREE IT AUDIT. We will take the time to find your business goals and make sure your systems are set up efficiently. Upgrade to the latest hardware, software and security. This will ensure in a happy and productive team, and happy business owners!

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#CovidGadgets #GadgetPost #TheyKnowWhatWeWant

Pointless emails

They’re not just irritating; they have a massive carbon footprint. Above all, more than 64 million pointless emails are sent in Britain every day. Along with clogging up our inboxes they are also damaging the environment.

Stop! Don’t send that pointless email

Don’t offer thanks or send a jokey message. If you do, you will add to your carbon footprint. Be rude, say nothing – and save the planet. An article published by David Molloy, BBC Technology Reporter, explores the effects of pointless emails on the environment.

A new study commissioned by energy company OVO reckons Brits send more than 64m unnecessary emails every day, and that if every adult in the UK sent one fewer “thank you” email a day we would save more than 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year – equivalent to 81,152 flights to Madrid or taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road.

These are the sorts of stats beloved of green energy companies trying to get a bit of free publicity. But it’s all true, according to Mike Berners-Lee, a professor in the environment centre at Lancaster University, author of How Bad are Bananas: The Carbon Footprint of Everything, and brother of Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web. True in very general terms anyway: he probably won’t vouch for all those flights.

Pointless emails

Do you really need to send the next email? Inside Facebook’s Lulea data centre in Sweden.
Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Think before you click send

How can one little pointless email destroy the planet, I ask Mike Berners-Lee, who advised OVO on the research. “When you are typing, your computer is using electricity,” he says. “When you press send it goes through the network, and it takes electricity to run the network. And it’s going to end up being stored on the cloud somewhere, and those data centres use a lot of electricity. We don’t think about it because we can’t see the smoke coming out of our computers, but the carbon footprint of IT is huge and growing.”

The electricity I grasp; the cloud is a bit beyond me. “It’s made up of enormous data centres all over the world,” Berners-Lee explains. “They are burning through huge amounts of electricity.” Super-efficient communication and storage is killing us. Every silver lining has a cloud.

In addition, Berners-Lee admits the numbers are “crude estimates”, but says they are a useful way of making a general point. “When we take a small action to cut carbon,” he says, “it’s a message to yourself that you care about the climate emergency.”

Does he blame his brother for all this? He laughs. “Many good things have come out of the web,” … but only if we use it selectively.

Top 10 most pointless emails sent

  1. Thank you
  2. Thanks
  3. Have a good weekend
  4. Received
  5. Appreciated
  6. Have a good evening
  7. Did you get/see this?
  8. Cheers
  9. You too
  10. LOL

How LIS help with email support?

Email support is one of the main channels of customer support for most companies today. The majority of customers say that email support is a preferred way to communicate with clients and suppliers.

Do you have a new member of staff? Has a team member left? We support our clients by setting up new email addresses and removing old email accounts. Fed up with receiving junk mail? Our clients benefit from our anti-spam service. Control who you wish to block and make sure junk mail is a thing of the past. Are you secure? We provide anti-virus solutions that help stop outside attacks.

In conclusion, make sure your email systems are set up efficiently and are kept secure. Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your options or to book an IT audit.

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Digital Transformation

Misconceptions Surrounding Digital Transformation

Most people in the business sector are talking about digital transformation (DX). An example of this is Uber’s quick rise from a mere mobile phone app, putting a longstanding black cab industry at threat.

Because of its simplicity and how effective it is, a lot of businesses are rethinking their models. A lot of the time they are completely restructuring their own IT infrastructure, bettering their processes and redefining their team. They’re doing this to prepare themselves for an economy where everyone is using digital services. As well as thriving off applications instead of physical products.

On the contrary, amongst all of this excitement, there are a lot of myths surrounding this topic. This causes confusion for business owners and their staff. It’s for this reason; the wrong approach is often taken.

Digital Transformation

One aspect of digital transformation is the concept of going paperless

5 myths about digital transformation

People are desperate to see change

Generally, people react in one of three ways to digital transformation. They either pushback, have a sense of fear or try to bid so they can increase their power.

In an interview with CEO world, the management guru Cheryl Crann stated that the ones who limit digital transformation are the employees. The reason being is due to the extra work and aggravation before benefits can be detected.

It’s recommended for a successful migration to a digital-first model; businesses should make the necessary improvements to employee’s workflows and processes. Such modifications should begin with the major stakeholders and then to the rest of the organisation.

Digital transformation is only just for the technology

There’s more to change than just digital. There are other variables such as culture, objectives, processes and more. In today’s digital world, we must shift our attention from the technology to the outcome of the technology.

The best way to do this is to consider what you want to achieve first and then reverse-engineer the systems and processes. It’s not about merely acquiring the newest and most efficient technology. If you’re going to transform, you need to embrace change not just focus on the status quo.

If you fail, it’s classed as bad 

McKinsey and Co estimated that even in the highest tech firms, only a mere 25% succeed. Moreover, if you’re in a field such as manufacturing or energy, it could be as little as 4%. However, you can learn a lot from failure.

Conversely, if the company’s organisational structure is strong, the process should be smooth to absorb and review feedback, come up with improvements and implement them. After that, it’s just a case of repeating the same method and getting an optimised workflow.

In this report, it’s also mentioned that effective and successful projects have a focus on the latest product and service launches in markets not being opened. Again, success only arrives after the amount of transformation comes from hitting a specific limit with multiple business functions and business units.

Everyone is undergoing digital transformation

According to Telstra, around 21% of experienced and senior decision-makers, class their organisations as “digitally mature”. At the same time, those who haven’t started transformation are at 30%.

Telstra believes that this is a great and clear opportunity for businesses to enhance and increase their way they approach digital transformation. Even though there is room to do more for digital transformation, a clear strategy for the company needs to be there for them to follow it effectively.

Digital Transformation is the same rules for everyone 

Depending on your industry, digital transformation can vary a great deal. It can even change between organisations and subunits within a particular organisation. To effectively undergo digital transformation, you need to have a flexible ecosystem. The experience can be optimised and it is achieved within an organisation.

However, problems must be recognised and be solved using digital transformation. After this, you must customise the change and realise that it is not a one size fits all method. Similarly, this is an ongoing process which gets refined as part of the business model. While it evolves through time, it addresses challenges, goals and outcomes.

Ultimately, digital transformation is not a walk in a park, and you can’t predict the results. However, if you’re a business, you can only survive and change or become extinct. You must change alongside the market requirements. However, if there is an option between slow and expensive, or quick and cheap, fewer consumers like the former.

LIS, your IT partner

Lodge Information Services is one of Essex’s longest-standing IT partners. With over 25 years’ experience, we can assist you with IT support, consulting and cloud computing needs. We’re proud to be local, offering remote and on-site support. Contact the LIS Help Desk to book your FREE IT Audit.

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