Rogers Talks: 5 questions with Ben Kelly

Ben KellySmall business owners know that social networking is important, but devising the right strategy can feel daunting. So, in honour of small business month, Rogers is hosting a nationwide series of talks with leading experts in social media, marketing and more. Ben Kelly, Account Director at LinkedIn Canada, will be speaking at the Toronto Rogers Talks event on Nov. 10. Kelly, who works with Canada’s top telecommunications, media and technology companies to develop digital media, content marketing and social strategies to connect with the LinkedIn audience, shared his tips for engaging with your customers online.

Why do you think small businesses need to have an online presence?

Online presence is essential for small businesses. An online survey of more than 1,400 B2B buyers found that 57% of the purchase cycle is complete before these individuals ever talk to a seller.  Businesses that have a presence across multiple channels – desktop, mobile and tablet – will come out ahead. B2B buyers are increasingly looking online to understand capabilities, identify suppliers, read reviews and look for referrals.  It’s hard to stand out online if you are nowhere to be found.

What do you think is the biggest challenge right now for small business?

One of the greatest challenges for small businesses owners is deciding where to focus their efforts.   This is especially true in how you represent your business and brand in social media.  Businesses need to determine what platforms they will concentrate on, what content to post, what resources they will need and how the company will differentiate itself.

How do you think consumer expectations have changed as social media has become more mainstream? How must small businesses adapt?

Social media serves as a major connection point for consumers to small business. It’s not a nice to have, it is essential. Consumers expect that they will be able to connect with a company through social media, serving as the voice of the consumer. People can share their experience with a product or service to other consumers and this can greatly impact business success. Sites like Trip Advisor are a great example of the power of customer reviews. It isn’t enough to have your company logo on a web site with a company description. Small businesses need to be actively engaging on social media and cultivating relationships to deliver the experience consumers expect.

How can small businesses use social media to appeal to the different needs of Generation Y customers and Baby Boomers?

It’s important to know your audience and speak to them in a way that will resonate. That includes considering the social media platform that you are using to reach customers. Not every platform will work for everyone. For example, if small businesses are looking to reach Generation Y, they may concentrate on Twitter, but not Pinterest. If they are looking to reach people in a professional context or generate sales leads, then LinkedIn would be the right fit.

If you were to offer a small business owner just one piece of advice, what would it be? Why?

Don’t be intimidated by social media.  The incredible penetration of mobile technology and the critical mass that social media has established has opened up a new world of information accessibility for consumers. Social media can serve as an unbelievable platform for your customers, employees, and advocates to share the story of your business and brand. Decide where you want to focus – what your business needs most – and lay out a plan to engage on that platform.

category iconCategories:
share this 0 comments

Leave your notepad at home – The Note 4 has you covered

samsung note 4 rbbPutting pen to paper might sound as outdated as using a quill since the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, equipped with the new S Pen, hits Rogers stores today.

This ‘phablet’ ups the ante with a premium metal build, a fingerprint scanner and tons of software improvements. So is it worth the upgrade? These four features might convince you that it is:

 Better display

The Quad HD Super AMOLED® screen is crisp and clear and can make screen-intensive tasks like editing a document or spreadsheet on the go even easier.

 New security features

The new finger print scanner gives the Note a big security boost. The feature helps you keep your work phone locked down and now lets you access Private Mode, where you can store your most sensitive business files.

Updated Stylus

What makes a Note a Note is the included S Pen stylus. Sliding it out instantly transforms your phone into a note-taking machine, letting you write out notes and draw diagrams right on the device’s display.

AM to PM companion  

The Fast Charging feature allows you to recharge up to 50 per cent of your battery in just 30 minutes, so you can carry your Note 4 from your morning meeting to your night flight without worry.

The Note 4 is now available online and in Rogers retail stores – For more information contact your local Small Business Specialist.

Are you writing with an S Pen or is writing still something you see only happening on paper?

category iconCategories:
share this 0 comments

How to stay safe amongst the clouds

cyber awareness month _RBBIn honour of Cyber Security Awareness month we wanted to share some tips on how to stay safe when using the ‘cloud’. In its simplest form, the cloud is used to house information, documents, etc. on the internet. iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive are examples of storage sites that let you save and share your materials through the cloud.

While it is great technology that can help us stay de-cluttered and organized,  it’s important to take precautions.

Check out these tips below to keep your information safe when in the clouds:

  1. Use strong, unique passwords on your accounts. Change your password if you see it on this list of the 500 most common passwords.
  2. Avoid letting your browser save your passwords.
  3. Ensure website URLs contain HTTPS when accessing personal information over public Wi-Fi networks.
  4. Install apps from official app stores.
  5. Read permission requests before installing apps to ensure the information they’re accessing is appropriate.
  6. Always log out of sites completely when you’re finished.
  7. Install the latest app and operating system updates for your device.
  8. Enable password locks on your device. Check out how to enable passwords for your iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.
  9. Don’t upload information to the cloud if you want to keep it private.

To learn more about how to stay safe when staying connected check out  http://techessentials.rogers.com/. Tell us, what steps are you taking to stay cloud safe?

category iconCategories:
share this 0 comments

Managing the transition to innovation: interview with Bob Allen

Staying on top of the shifting ground of tech innovation in the workplace is something businesses of all sizes, from micro to enterprise, need to do. But the ability to integrate popular and emerging technologies is challenging, because there are so many options—more each day, it seems. And finding the time in the midst of busy work weeks to research, source, plan and integrate new technologies can sometimes seem overwhelming.

Not innovating, however, will set businesses back, both long-term and in the day-to-day. In particular, IT departments are under pressure from executives to update and improve their technology infrastructure; but this need is complicated by figuring out how to modernize and transition legacy systems and the associated downtime costs, not to mention strained resources and financial restrictions.

Rogers Communications Solution Consultant Bob Allen recently sat down with us to discuss the pressures businesses face to innovate, and how to meet those challenges effectively and gracefully. Watch the full interview here.

According to Bob, significant changes in IT operations and management can disrupt workflows, processes and budgets. Further, trying to choose the right technology partners and solutions from the many available options takes a lot of time. Cloud-based solutions like Rogers Enterprise Voice & Collaboration are easy to integrate and allow companies to make an elegant transition to “technology 3.0” without having to take a “rip-and-replace” approach. And the right implementation partner and approach will help facilitate the transition to innovation.

How do you plan to innovate in your business?

category iconCategories:
share this 0 comments

Rogers Talks: 5 questions with Jesse Hirsh

Jesse-Hirsh-HiRes 2To celebrate Small Business month, Rogers is hosting a series of nationwide events featuring experts in social media, marketing and more. Such as Jesse Hirsh,who has a weekly nationally syndicated column on CBC radio explaining and analyzing the latest trends and developments in technology and social media.

The internet strategist, researcher, and broadcaster based in Toronto, Canada, who will be speaking at the Toronto event on November 10, agreed to give RedBoard Biz a sneak peek at some of his top tips for small businesses.

 1. Why do you think small businesses need to have an online presence?

Purchasing decisions increasingly begin with search. When we want to buy something we check the web, whether for prices, reviews, or general information. However it’s not enough for a business to be online. The other dynamic when we search, is that we also intuitively measure trust, and overall reputation, when comparing sources. In fact online presence has a growing impact on who we trust and who we listen to. First impressions rarely happen in person, instead they’re often a result of what people see when they search, and compare results. Even when they do discover you in the flesh, they will still use search as a means of finding what others have said and experienced when doing business with you.

2. What do you think is the biggest challenge right now for small business?

The biggest challenge facing small businesses and any entrepreneur is a scarcity of time, and an ongoing need to further develop and expand their capabilities. Time and it’s sibling attention are the great scarcities of our era. We never feel that we have enough, and the ability to get more is rare and/or expensive. While social media and the web provide all sorts of opportunities to expand and improve your business, it can also take up huge amounts of time, both in terms of maintenance, but also in terms of self-education, i.e. just keeping up with the rapid rate of technological change.

In an era of information overload, time and task management is indispensable. There needs to be a balance between conducting your business, communicating about your business, and investing in the further development of your business. Part of this involves keeping up with changing markets and changing consumer expectations. The easiest way to do that is by collaborating, whether with those inside of your business, or with peers in the marketplace.

3.How do you think consumer expectations have changed as social media has become more mainstream? How must small businesses adapt?

Consumer expectations are increasing with the empowerment that they have experienced using both social media and mobile devices. Whether for purposes of research, or just for complaining, social media allows a consumer to bring an expanded constituency with them while shopping and any experience they have, whether positive or negative, can and will be shared with their expanding audience. The “consumer is always right” has evolved into “the consumer is always powerful” and capable of significantly helping or hurting your reputation.

In response, small businesses need to flexible, but not submissive. Willing to bend to the needs of your consumers, but not to the extent of losing your integrity, respect, and time. Part of the reason consumers are able to complain about a business is because the business is not online or present to respond. Often being online will mitigate or reduce some of the worst complaints, while also making it easier to share and promote the compliments and kudos. Monitoring how people speak and share their experiences about you online will help you develop the capability to deliver customized consumer experiences.

4. How can small businesses use social media to appeal to the different needs of Generation Y customers and Baby Boomers?

The benefit of social media is the ability to first establish weak social ties, but then to translate them into strong social ties. The open nature of social media means that anyone can establish a connection, whether a like, follow, or otherwise. The opportunity once that connection is made is finding further means of engagement that allow you to better know your customers while they have a chance to better get to know you. Thus the real potential is not a generalization based on age, but a customization based on the individual. If in large numbers this can be done via personality profiles and archetypes. However if the capabilities exist, whether via literacy or CRM database, you can customize based on individuals. So that your individual customers really feel a direct connection with you. What unites people of all ages is a desire to feel unique, and special. That is the real potential of social media.

5.  If you were to offer a small business owner just one piece of advice, what would it be? Why?

Focus on the development of your own literacy and the literacy of all the people who work for and with you. Literacy is no longer just about reading and writing, but on a broader level “pattern recognition” and the ability to learn new things in a rapidly changing society. For some this is thought of as digital literacy, others describe it as network literacy, I see it as a direct extension of “reading and writing” only applied in emerging media such as Twitter’s 140 character limit or Facebook’s heavily filtered and algorithmically governed news feed.

The ability to communicate with your customers and the marketplace at large is central to any successful business and the challenge will continue to be how do you keep up, let alone thrive and expand. Literacy describes that ability and the advantages that come from being able to do this better than your competition and peers. As an organization the more individuals who are committed to constantly improving their own literacy, the greater the organization’s ability to adapt and thrive in dynamic environments.

category iconCategories:
share this 0 comments

Reducing telephony costs while increasing conferencing reliability

Minacs croppedMinacs is a business solutions company that partners with global corporations in the manufacturing, retail, telecom, technology, media and entertainment, banking, insurance, healthcare and public sectors. With offices all over the world, Minacs was incurring prohibitively high charges for its frequent use of conference calls through an external provider—some of these bills were running to upwards of $60,000 each month!

Conferencing is vital to their everyday business operations, but Minacs needed to maintain—or better yet, improve upon—their current level of conferencing technology, availability and service. They also needed their core office and IT staff to have constant access to connected technologies, such as conferencing, chat and mobility, to facilitate productivity and collaboration—all without breaking the bank.

Having already invested in Microsoft Lync 2013, Minacs decided to activate its Lync Dial-In conferencing capabilities. But they needed a partner to help them understand the detailed technical requirements and efficiently put all the pieces together, to be up and running by September 2014.

Rogers worked with Minacs to determine a solution that would meet and exceed the company’s requirements. Rogers then helped Minacs put the new platform through extensive testing, ensuring both system integration and site failover were seamless. Once testing was completed, Rogers also helped Minacs train their end user community to use the conferencing solution.

Geoff Whalley, Windows and Unix Enterprise Systems UT Manager at Minacs, sums it up: “We really needed a solution that would save us money, and Rogers helped us find one. But Rogers also went beyond delivering cost efficiencies; their end-to-end support ensured the whole process went smoothly and will remain effective for the long term.”

But these changes weren’t only about saving money; Minacs is also reaping a number of other crucial benefits from partnering with Rogers. The company is enjoying increased conference call reliability as theirdaily business activities are supported by geo-redundant availability and carrier-level failover between their primary and secondary data centres. Conference calls are also more easily and efficiently accessed because as the moderator logs on, all relevant conferencing information automatically becomes available to all participants, no matter where they are and using almost any device or platform.

Check out the case study here.

How does your organization use technology to reduce everyday operating costs?

category iconCategories:
share this 0 comments

Building the foundation for the Internet of Things: Interview with Eric Simmons

Eric Simmons M2M Manager Rogers CommunicationsAn often-acknowledged benefit of the Internet of Things (IoT) is all the data it can provide for businesses. Whether you’re capturing customer data from a connected consumer product or collecting operational data from an automated manufacturing process, you can potentially use the information to find new ways to delight your customers or gain an important competitive advantage.

Harnessing the power of this data is not easy, however; in fact it’s unlikely unless you ensure that you have the right infrastructure in place to properly support your IoT initiative.

We recently interviewed Eric Simmons, Senior Director, Internet of Things for his perspective. Below are excerpts from that conversation.

How is business decision-making being impacted by connected technology?

We’ve really hit an inflection point in history where companies are having a harder time making business decisions than they ever have. Business intelligence has been a core focus of many organizations, and the data has come in from multiple disparate data sources. That data then needed to be aggregated and often manually manipulated in order to see true value for that organization. Today, technology allows the information to be delivered automatically and in real time. It’s both predictive and intelligent….

What’s enabling these changes in business intelligence?

There are really two key things that are enabling this transformation. The first one is the Internet of Things, and the second one is Big Data. The Internet of Things is really the interconnectedness of centres and devices between two different machines, leveraging the wireless network to send information. An example might be a smart vending machine, where there’s a wireless modem and a sensor inside … and it sends an alert when the vending machine is running low on inventory to allow somebody to come and restock that machine.

Tell us more about the role Big Data plays.

Big Data’s all about collecting the information from the various sources that we talked about, pulling it in and aggregating all of that data, and analyzing it in near real time. By doing so you can do things like predictive analytics, you can provide operational efficiencies for organizations. The data can also be used effectively for new customer loyalty programs.

How can businesses realize this potential?

Businesses can really harness the power of Big Data and the Internet of Things by building the right foundation. And there’s really four key things that we’re seeing that enable this….

To learn about the four key requirements for a successful IoT solution, watch the interview with Eric Simmons.

How is the Internet of Things changing decision making in your organization?

 

category iconCategories:
share this 0 comments

Rogers Talks: 5 questions with Peter Van Stolk

Peter-van Stolk-HiRes 1

In honour of small business month, Rogers is hosting  Rogers Talks™, a series of breakfast events across the country with experts in social media, marketing and more. Marketing maverick and Jones Soda founder Peter Van Stolk will take the stage at our Vancouver, B.C., event on October 29.

Can’t make it? Don’t worry! Stolk, whose work has attracted the attention of the New York Times, CNN, People magazine, and Inc. magazine, answered a few questions for RedBoard Biz readers.

1.Why do you think small businesses need to have an online presence?

An online presence in today’s business world is not an option…it’s a reality! It’s a cheap effective way to share your story and values. It’s your business card without the paper.

2. What do you think is the biggest challenge right now for small business?

Creating connections. Small businesses with limited funds need to have passionate advocates telling the company’s story, and creating those relationships in today’s over stimulated environment is difficult and requires discipline, focus and humility (because we all screw up).
We tend to get distracted by shiny marketing opportunities and when you have a small budget those distractions are expensive in time and money.

3. How do you think consumer expectations have changed as social media has become more mainstream? How must small businesses adapt?

Today the expectation is instant access to your business (brand) and also to employees. They want to be a part of and shape their brand experience and the job of the small business is to facilitate this in a manner that is true to the company’s values using the best available social media tool. Creating Community for your consumers is critical. The challenge with modern social media for small businesses is the balance between product offering and lifestyle content. Companies need to sell product as well as being relevant and interesting.

4. How can small businesses use social media to appeal to the different needs of Generation Y customers and Baby Boomers?

First step is understanding your customers and what it is that gets them excited. It’s all about the “why!” Why do they care. The more you know about your customers and why they are even at your site, the more chance you have of appealing to their needs regardless if they are Boomers or Gen Y.

5. If you were to offer a small business owner just one piece of advice, what would it be? Why?

Your core audience appreciates your values so stay true to your values, and follow the Smarties model “eat the red ones first”!

For more information visit, rogers.com/rogerstalks.

category iconCategories:
share this 0 comments

GamePlus: Rogers customers can now call the shots

goaliecam_jpg-300x171The 2014-15 NHL season begins this week and we couldn’t be more excited! As we gear up for go-time, we continue to share news that has hockey fans cheering.

One way we’re bringing fans closer to the game is through Rogers™ NHL GameCentre LIVE™, an online and mobile destination that lets fans stream live NHL games and access behind-the-scenes hockey action from smartphones, tablets and desktops. Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE™ lets fans stream over 1,000 live regular season games, so users and catch the end of the Flyers game from their tablet or a Penguins shootout on their phone.

Today we unveiled GamePlus™, a part of Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE™ that is available exclusively to Rogers customers and lets them control how they watch the game.

With GamePlus you can choose which camera feeds to watch during up to three NHL regular season games each week, and even during the Stanley Cup® Playoffs, the NHL® All Star Game, and the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®.

Depending on the game and arena, fans have access to innovative cameras and angles:

  • Catch the fast-paced action from red line to red line with the Sky Cam that will sit at the 200 level;
  • We’ll have a Ref Cam installed on the referee’s helmet to give you a unique perspective of the game;
  • Watch the hustle from inside the blue lines and for the first time inside the players’ bench with the POV Cam;
  • Follow a single player throughout the game with the Star Cam that spotlights on a key team member
  • And you can experience the offensive action with Goal line Cams that let you watch the game with a top-down view of the ice.

GamePlus will make sure you and your employees never miss a moment of the game; you can review the big plays from a choice of different angles with MyReplay.

In addition, Rogers GamePlus will also bring fans VOD Insider Extras – previews, player and coach interviews, NHL news of the day, analysis and original video-on-demand content, produced throughout the season. Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE™ is available exclusively to Rogers customers. Visit gamecentrelive.rogers.com/gameplus to find out more details on how you and your employees can get in on the action.

If you’re a business customer with an internet or wireless data plan, you get a free subscription to Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE™ until December 31.* We’ll send you a Promo Code that will enable you to activate your subscription.

*Standard data overage/roaming charges, blackouts and other restrictions apply. See rogers.com/NHL for full details.

category iconCategories:
share this 16 Comments

Bars & Restaurants are the real winners during the NHL season

gridWhat’s a fun, wholesome way for restaurants to triple their food and beverages sales on a slow weeknight? Think Phil Kessel or Henrik Sedin.

With so much live hockey on TV this season, it is time to turn your bar or restaurant into the ultimate hockey destination. Finding and navigating your bar or restaurant’s sports channels has never been this simple.

With NHL Centre Ice, you’ll be able to show up to 37 regular season, out-of-market NHL games every week in both SD and HD. Bundle your internet, phone and TV, you’ll receive one season of NHL Centre Ice™ for free – that’s more than a $1200.00 value. Whether your customers are looking to follow their favourite team, players, or just a game featuring the league’s best stars, they’ll know your establishment is the best place to do it.

For more information about NHL Centre Ice™ contact your local Small Business Specialist today.

 How do you use television programming to bring in new customers or keep existing ones engaged longer?

 

 

category iconCategories:
share this 0 comments