With technology’s continued evolution, it’s challenging to ensure the tools your business relies on are up to date, like your business telephone system. Is it time to upgrade your business phone system? After all, people get used to things. Upgrading a vital part of their day-to-day workflow means a time investment because you need to train them on how to use it.
Upgrade Your Business Phone System: The Benefits
Watch our new video to see the benefits from installing a 2020 VoIP system for your business.
That means not only taking time out of their day for training on a new system. But, also preparing for speed bumps along the way as your team learns how to adjust. There’s also the simple fact that new equipment costs money. It can be a substantial investment, but one that’s well worth it down the road.
A recent article published PC Mag UK compares the best business VoIP providers for 2020.
What’s important to keep in mind is that your legacy systems have hidden costs that might not be immediately obvious. Old technology is generally much more vulnerable to some sort of breach or hack. This can open you up to liability issues and a risk of taking a big hit to your credibility with customers.
Even more importantly, you might be spending a substantial amount of money maintaining, repairing, and supporting your old business telephone system.
It’s good to talk
Deciding on a phone system will be a big decision for your business. Factor in location, size, your sector and the complexity of the business integration. As well as the level of tech savviness in the workplace and the available infrastructure you’re working with. However, don’t ignore the bigger picture.
Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your options. With no obligation to buy and your new system could save you money.
The Coronavirus has been around for several months and has started an accessible tech revolution. Many people have changed the way they work during the Coronavirus pandemic, but for some disabled people this has brought some specific challenges.
Improvements in accessible technology has seen artificial intelligence software provide real-time, on-screen transcriptions of what someone is saying in video calls, but there are concerns that some video calling platforms and apps are not as accessible as they could be. BBC Click’s Paul Carter find out more.
The accessible tech revolution begins…
Business are now staying in touch with their teams and clients through video conferencing. How accessible is the technology to the disabled community? An accessible tech revolution is beginning.
What is The Social Model of Disability?
The Coronavirus crisis means that many of us are now working remotely and using videoconferencing platforms and tools. But how do we use them in an accessible way?
Drake Music have been researching and learning about accessibility in video conferencing/ online meetings/ remote music sessions. Here are some of the solutions to assist businesses with the accessible tech revolution.
A group conversation can move rapidly. This can be inaccessible to some people. In video calls there can also be an overwhelming amount of information to process (audio, visual, chat text etc). Check in with your group as to their requirements.
Some suggestions to support accessible conversations would be:
Assign a moderator who checks in on people’s understanding and reiterates key points at regular intervals.
Ask participants to speak one at a time.
For large groups consider controlling participants’ audio to allow them to chat to everyone, or just the host. (Note: in Zoom there is a ‘raise hand’ function to allow participants to signal that they wish to comment/ask a question.)
Use the chat function to record key points, giving each a title to separate key info out from general chat.
Record the meeting and share it afterwards to let people listen to important sections again.
Offer an option for people to switch off cameras.
Offer to record the meeting and send the video and a transcript of the chat to participants after.
A large meeting may be noisy and hard to follow. This will make it more inaccessible. Some suggestions to improve the experience for the end user could be:
Ask everyone to mute their mics when not speaking to limit extraneous noise.
Consider using an external mic if you are hosting a meeting, to improve sound quality.
Use a video conferencing system which supports Subtitles/Captioning – this can be beneficial for everyone and is especially important if you are using screen sharing and participants can’t see you while you are speaking.
Skype – Automatic captions, not always 100% accurate, but helpful. Multi-videos can crash more.
Zoom – Captions can be enabled, but someone has to be assigned to type them.
Google Hangouts – Automatic captions/subtitles, we haven’t tested these yet.
Gotomeeting – Offers transcriptions after the meeting, but possibly not live. Caption info for
Teams – Microsoft’s service offers automatic captions/subtitles. We haven’t tested it yet.
For captions, speak clearly, slowly and into the mic. Limit background noise and try to avoid everyone speaking at the same time. Also allow for extra time to transfer captioners into breakout rooms, or to get set up at the start of an event.
If you are using slides consider sharing your speaker notes alongside them, so that people can read along if needed.
If you share videos, ensure they are captioned.
Headphones may be useful
Please note: Automatic captions may work reasonably well for smaller conversations and one-to-one discussions, but that for training, livestreaming or bigger group meetings it is not always the best option.
When hosting a remote meeting which involves sign language there are specific considerations needed in order to ensure it is accessible – e.g. turn-taking, the visibility of the speaker to the interpreter, the tiring nature of watching signing in 2D.
There is an excellent post on The Limping Chicken blog by Jo Wootton which covers this topic in depth and which we recommend reading.
Access to Work support can be used to pay for a captioning service or BSL interpreters if the video-conference is for work and that support is required to allow you to fully participate in meetings.
Stay accessible within your business
We understand the challenging times facing business at present. It is not easy to have some of your team working from home and some in the office. A company must make sure that they supply all the right equipment to all their staff. This will make sure no employee is disadvantaged when doing their job.
Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your concerns and/or requirements, Our experienced team will be able to advise you on the correct software, hardware and systems to assist your employees. Take advantage of our security and back up solutions. As well as the latest telecoms and video conferencing systems to enable you clients and team to stay in regular contact.
Unless you have been living on another planet, you have noticed that things have been a little… strange, lately. Covid has changed the way we do pretty much everything. Our Microsoft Teams advice guide will improve how you work. It looks as though it will be some time before things go back to the way they were. If at all.
On the up side, you may have discovered that your business can be more flexible with the way your people work, than you’d imagined. With many people working from home to some extent, remote working has become a viable, permanent option for many organisations. If your people are getting on well with it, what’s not to like?
People can work in a way they’re comfortable with. You could make a big financial saving on office space and travel. As well as giving your people the gift of time, because they no longer have to commute. However, the important thing to always keep in mind is how you’re going to continue to collaborate as a team.
Improve how you work with our Microsoft Teams advice guide
We are going to look at it, step by step, click here to download our latest Microsoft Teams advice guide.
How will meetings look if remote working becomes a permanent fixture?
What is the best way to keep team motivated and morale up? If your once “all in one place” team don’t see each other from one week to the next?
How will documents be shared, added to and refined?
It’s likely that you’ve already looked at some of these potential issues during lockdown. Have you found the best solution for your people? If not, it’s time you looked really closely at Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams has it all when it comes to uniting your business and helping you to get the job done. Make use of our Microsoft Teams advice step by step PDF guide.
Microsoft Teams, also referred to as simply Teams, is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Teams is Microsoft’s take on chat-based communication for business; Teams is also Microsoft’s answer to competing platforms such as Slack. Slack stock continues to lose value, despite a good revenue flow–analysts cite Microsoft Teams as part of that decrease. In July 2019, Microsoft Teams slid by Slack with 13 million daily users; as of April 2020, Microsoft Teams has 75 million daily active users.
What is Microsoft Teams? A chat and collaboration platform for Microsoft 365 customers designed to simplify group work.
How do I use Microsoft Teams? As well as the chat-based communications, Teams’ integration with other Microsoft services allows users access to shared files and calendars, collaborative editing, and easy switching between voice, video, and text chat.
Who does Microsoft Teams affect? The service is available to most subscribers to the cloud-based Microsoft 365 suite.
When and where is Microsoft Teams available? Microsoft Teams is available to Microsoft 365 customers and supports 93 languages and dialects.
How do I get Microsoft Teams? Microsoft Teams is enabled by default for most organizations using Microsoft 365.
Still need help?
There’s a massive help section if you’re ever unsure, and even a training tab full of how-to videos and guides to get you up to speed. Find it in the left corner of Teams.
Really, the new generation of working from home should be full of positives for your business. With the right tools, there should be little disruption to your business and projects. And communicating can become more precise and fruitful.
Give Teams a go and see how it could work for your business. As ever, we’re always on hand should you need any help. Just contact The LIS Help Desk for advice or guidance on this, or any other aspect of your business’s IT and data security.
Three in five UK small to medium sized businesses do not have high speed Internet. Do you? Is it something you should invest in? As a result of slow or unreliable access, only 20% are selling their products online. While just 4% plan to invest in a digital channel going forward.
Internet that grows with your business
To underpin your digital strategy, you will need a reliable, high-speed internet connection that will adapt with you. It can be hard to find the right solution, particularly if you do not have in-house IT experts. Work with LIS, we offer you a consultative approach rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.
For example, most businesses are aware of the benefits of standard and fibre broadband. However, not always of what comes after that and if it is appropriate for their needs. Special offers, advertising and a high price plan can be off putting.
Broadband for SMEs: Make sure you stay connected!
What is the best option?
Did you know there are a range of broadband options that are a step up from fibre, which will cost you less than the price of your daily coffee?
Choose from standard broadband, fibre or one of the many ethernet solutions. It will depend on part on how you will need to serve your customers in the future. Once you have the right internet connection, you will not have to worry. Having the speed and reliability you need to meet your customers’ expectations.
Click the link below to explore the Internet issue businesses are suffering across the country.
We can help companies improve their Internet speed and managed IT services, network support and telecoms. LIS specialise in network support, IT management & all aspects of IT and telecoms services. Contact us for your FREE IT audit.
Cloud computing can help to reduce your business’s impact on the environment. Despite data centres increasing their computing output by six times from 2010 to 2018 and their energy consumption only rose by 6%. Click here to read information from The New York Times.
GO GREEN! Save money, time and increase efficiency with fast secure connections.
For many businesses it promises low total cost of ownership, high scalability and an easy pay structure. Leading IT companies are focusing their energies on the cloud computing to improve operations.
Embrace cloud computing
It is good for your business and the planet. A recent study conducted in the US reveals that cloud computing offers solutions for businesses to be greener because it will cut costs. Some of the key findings are:
US companies plan to increase cloud computing from 10% of their overall IT budget today to almost 70% in the future.
Cloud computing reduces carbon emissions by almost 86 million metric tons per year by 2020.
Annual economy wide energy savings could be more than $12 billion per year by 2020 and that is in the US alone!
Large companies adopting the cloud can reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by 30%. The good news is, small businesses can even save more energy than the larger companies – up to 90%.
Access to the networked resources provided by ‘clouds’ enables companies to enter markets without having to meet the capital costs of building their own computer infrastructure. This is especially valid in the present sluggish market. We are seeing an explosion in the number of portable devices with limited storage capacity. Access to cloud computing enables clients to add functions and lower costs to their system, which would normally be associated with much larger machines.
The bottom line: Going green allows higher hardware usage because applications can run on less energy, power and cooling. This means a lighter and happier mother earth.
Contact us to find out how you can help save the planet, money and time. Benefit from security and peace of mind because our team are always there to support you.