Posts Tagged ‘RedBoard Biz’

Five essential tips for the travelling entrepreneur

bizThis post, written by Jared Lindzon, originally appeared on Betakit and has been republished with permission.

Small business owners can rarely afford to take a step out of the office, let alone the country, which make travel plans — even for business purposes — a major productivity sacrifice. Fortunately, today’s workplace has become ubiquitous, and with the right technological tools, small business owners can keep one foot in the office no matter what part of the world they’re in.

Keep Tech Light and Powerful

CEOs on the go can’t afford the luggage space or muscle strength required to drag an office worth of equipment onto an airplane, which makes compact hardware a vital companion. Fortunately, lightweight laptops, tablets and smartphones can accomplish more today than a clunky desktop could 10 years ago.

Take it To the Cloud

Lightweight mobile devices are also becoming more powerful thanks to emerging cloud technologies. Instead of saving documents, applications and other media onto physical hard drives, cloud technologies like Office 365, Rogers Mobile Work Folder, and Google Drive allow users to stay directly connected to their files and their office on the go.

Avoid Hard Copies- Use Mobile Apps that Can Scan

While printers are still a key component of any office environment, they’re not very favourable travel companions. Most hotels and offices on the road are more than happy to print documents, but putting the old John Hancock on a physical document and sending it back to the office via email isn’t always an option without an all-in-one printer/scanner. Fortunately, there’s the JotNot Scanner, an iPhone application that allows users to take pictures of documents with their smart phone and save them as PDF files, ready for emailing back to HQ.

Poke Your Head Through the Window

While it’s difficult to keep an eye on things at the office without a physical presence, there are a wide variety of free video conferencing programs available, which allow users to digitally attend meetings and conferences. Application such as Skype, Google Hangout and Oovooprovide an open window into the boardroom from any location with an Internet connection.

Plan Your Data Needs Ahead

With your lifeline to the office sitting in your pocket it’s important to hit the road with a pre-loaded data plan that will enable you to safely and reliably access these powerful online tools. To make things simpler for their US-bound small business customers, for example, Rogers allows customers using a Share Everything Plan to receive 100 minutes of talk in the US, unlimited text messaging and unlimited Canada to use minutes for only $20 per month. Be sure to talk to your wireless provider before hitting the road to ensure you’re not overpaying for roaming and data packages

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5 ways the cloud can strengthen your business

Cloud post imageBusiness is becoming an increasingly mobile activity as technology and the infrastructure needed to support it proliferate. And employees, both in the office and on the go, want simple, reliable access to business data and applications. Supporting their use of personal mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, so employees can work how and when they want to, is a great start.

But a more complete solution is to combine mobility with another transformative technology—anywhere, anytime cloud services. Cloud-based business applications turn smartphones, tablets and other connected mobile devices into hyper-flexible digital tools, with virtually unrestricted functionality, storage and mobility.

Employees rely more and more on the simplicity and convenience inherent in retrieving information and services where, when and how they want—and this is most easily and reliably provided when that information is stored in the cloud. A connected workforce is good news for business, and not only because connected employees enjoy increased job satisfaction and productivity. A more connected workforce can collaborate better, make smarter decisions and provide your customers with superior service.

Of course, there are challenges in adopting cloud-based mobile applications. You’ll need to develop a mobility management policy and address new security issues. However, the results are worth the investment. Here are the top 5 advantages we see in moving some or all of your data into the cloud:

1. Lower cost of ownership. No longer having to worry about either acquiring or maintaining expensive servers, systems and applications means you can spend more time and money expanding your business or supporting your most important initiatives.

2. Improved economies of scale. A more productive workplace generates higher output with lower costs because employees will spend less time negotiating old or unreliable systems; but employees who trust their employers to provide them with systems that work are also more productive, so moving critical applications and data to the cloud is doubly advantageous.

3. Scalability and flexibility. Committing to a cloud solution greatly simplifies adding computing resources to support expansion and moving nimbly in new directions. The time you would have spent setting up new hardware is yours for hitting the ground running on new initiatives or ramping up current ones.

4. Security. Storing critical files in the cloud means data isn’t compromised if hardware is damaged or goes missing. Managers, IT and employees will be more productive the less they need to worry about whether or not business data has ended up, or could end up, in the wrong hands.

5. Business continuity. Catastrophic events such as fire, floods or other emergencies can’t touch your data in the cloud, which means your business can remain up and running under almost any circumstances.

Are you planning to move your corporate data into the cloud?

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LG G3: Is it built for business?

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A great display can make or break a business phone. And if it’s a big, high-quality screen you want, the LG G3 delivers— but there’s a lot more to a business phone than pixels. The LG G3 is packed to the brim with productivity-boosting business features, check out five of them below:

User-friendly design
The device, available with Rogers in metallic black, is ideal for those who need to stay connected on the go. Designed with a high quality anti-scratch metallic body, the LG G3 is lightweight for ultimate portability and even has a rear-key that lets you easily use the device with one hand.

Record breaking display
The LG G3 boasts a 5.5-inch Quad HD touchscreen display with a leading resolution of 2560×1440. This means its display produces images that are 400 per cent sharper than traditional high definition smartphone displays.  Whether you have PowerPoint presentations, training manuals or maps, you can view your material with incredible clarity.

Smart features
The LG 3G is loaded with all kinds of brilliant business-enabling tools that will let you record audio from meetings, speeches and conferences, and capture white boards, documents, speeches and meetings with cameras and video recorders.

The LG Smart Keyboard lets you text, type an email, edit a presentation, and more with ease, speed and accuracy. The keyboard caters to you as you can compress and expand the keys depending on your typing preference.  The LG G3 also predicts the words you’re about to type after learning your habits, even suggesting symbols to complement your sentence.

Longer battery life
With a removable battery that delivers longer usage time, the LG G3 can keep up with your busy work schedule. The 3000 mAh battery gives you up to 21 hours of talk time so you won’t have to go back to your desk to recharge.

Faster Hardware

Activate your LG G3 on the Rogers LTE network to take advantage of super-fast speeds. You’ll be able to upload and download files, stream video content and collaborate on documents with your team at faster speeds.

The LG G3 is now available in stores and on Rogers.com. For more information, check out Rogers.com/LG or contact your local Small Business Specialist.

Tell us. What LG G3 business feature has you talking?

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The Future of Workplace Collaboration

workplace of the future imageThe transformation of work into something that can be performed anywhere, anytime is a hot topic these days. On one hand, some companies are moving away from remote work policies, saying people are more productive when working in physical proximity. On the other hand, the Connected Workplace Report from Rogers found employees were more satisfied if remote work was a real option for them.So how can employers balance employees’ need for flexibility with the benefits of close collaboration?

The transformation of work isn’t about replacing human interaction. It’s about elevating the conversation and increasing engagement by allowing workers to take advantage of technology when and where it makes sense. It’s a productive combination of face-to-face and virtual communication.

This transformation is arising out of the seamless integration of our technology tools: instant messaging, email, video conferencing, audio conferencing and voice over IP, to name a few. Bringing all these tech tools together in increasingly easy to use but sophisticated forms, on a range of devices, is the future of technology—so we can communicate, collaborate and be more productive, regardless of physical location.

Technology can strengthen and support a team, as well as broaden its scope. It doesn’t replace people or relationships; rather, with the right tools for whatever challenge a team is facing, it provides more options for balancing effective and fast communication.

Concerned about the time, money and effort required to implement enterprise voice and collaboration? Integrating platforms should save money both now and later, as well as increase efficiency and productivity. Wireless costs may rise a little, but reliance on wired services should diminish, which will save money: less physical infrastructure usually means both fewer IT maintenance requirements and better use of IT resources. The outcome of these trends should be more effective working conditions, as well as savings.

As all our platforms become integrated, what we think of now as unified communications will become universal communications. All these platforms will eventually be available, affordable and easily used by everyone; we will be able to work seamlessly, affordably and easily together. Without compromising business integrity, everyone from contractors and small business owners to the C-suite—and all those in between—will be brought into the fold through the unifying influence of Enterprise Voice & Collaboration platforms.

How do you think the workplace will transform in the next decade?

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For Richmond’s 505 JUNK, relying on social and mobile proved worthwhile

505JUNK-truckdecThis post, written by Jared Lindzon, originally appeared on Betakit and has been republished with permission.

Finding hidden treasures, dropping off goods for charity, and providing award-winning service is all in a days work for Barry Hartman and Scott Foran, but its the sharing of such experiences through social media that allows their small Richmond-based business, 505 JUNK, to compete in a highly saturated industry.

“We use social media to not only build our brand awareness but to share our story so clients can have an inside view of our company,” said Hartman. “It allows us to connect with people that maybe we wouldn’t have been able to connect with before because of the cost of advertising.”

According to Hartman, the junk removal business can be very competitive, largely because anyone with a pickup truck and a free online ad can enter the market. Social media has provided 505-JUNK with an edge over the competition by allowing them to build an online audience without requiring additional costs or resources.

“It does cost money to purchase eyeballs,” said Hartman. “But on social media, as long as your putting out good content, you’re doing the right thing and you’re a transparent business, people are going to be motivated to share it. You don’t need a huge budget.”

In its brief three year history 505-JUNK has grown from a home office to a downtown location, more than 90 per cent of which was furnished with recycled materials. In that time Hartman and Foran have been nominated for the 30 Under 30 award by the South Delta Leader, won the 2013 Rising Star award by the Delta Chamber of Commerce, and were nominated for the Best Community Impact Award by Small Business BC, among others.

“I don’t think we would have been nominated or won awards (without social media), because nobody would have heard of us,” he added.

Hartman says his and Foran’s five-person team depend on their smart phones for instant communication, but also use their devices to share real time stories with their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram audiences. “It’s important that we have that connection, because it’s essential to the business,” he said. “We make sure all of our employees are connected through the Rogers LTE network, either through tablets or smart phones, and it allows us to stay connected and share our stories online.”

Hartman adds that Rogers has literally helped since day one, when they assisted in securing one of the last phone numbers in the area ending in 5865, or “JUNK.” Today, their Rogers devices remain among the most essential they bring to job sites.

“We’ve never had an issue with dropped phone calls or the LTE network going down, which is really important when we’re doing mobile payment processing with the tablet,” said Hartman.

With a new office, a growing fleet of trucks and an expanding staff, Hartman and Foran are excited to continue sharing the stories of their friendly, charitable, social-media loving company. “We’re taking more of an organic approach, and we’re confident that as long as we’re out there doing the right thing and sharing quality content with people, they’re going to like, comment and chat about it,” said Hartman.

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Addressing 4 key challenges of BYOD

BYOD security challenges image smallWith the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, more and more enterprises are adopting a bring your own device (BYOD) strategy to build the connected mobile enterprises of the future. However, some IT managers are concerned that mobile workers using their own unsecured mobile devices for work could lead to IT security issues.

Many of these concerns are based on misconceptions about mobile security. With an effective security strategy, BYO mobile computing can deliver real gains to the enterprise in terms of productivity, efficiency and more engaged mobile users.

Below we explain four of the key perceived challenges about mobile enterprise data security and policies:

 “BYOD users are security problems.”

Even if you haven’t enabled a BYOD policy, employees may already be using personal mobile devices to access, manipulate and share enterprise data through mobile apps. By implementing a BYOD program with the right policies and tools, you are not only securing your data against unauthorized access but also increasing employee productivity by creating new ways of performing tasks. By taking a comprehensive view of enterprise mobile security, organizations can reduce risk and reap the rewards of a more engaged, connected mobile workforce.

 “Enabling BYOD increases the complexity of IT environments.”

Businesses already manage complexity by providing corporate-owned smartphones and tablets to employees and allowing them to work from home by connecting through a virtual private network (VPN). The big thing that’s changing with BYOD is allowing personally owned devices secure access to your enterprise network. There are now tools that make it easier to manage this and reduce the risk (see next section). Enabling BYOD could outweigh the cost of managing complex IT environments by providing improved flexibility and enterprise agility.

“Mobile security is a primary technology challenge.”

It can’t be denied that hackers are finding new ways of attacking mobile devices and corporate networks, but that shouldn’t be a hindrance to adopting BYOD. Consider using a mobile device management (MDM) solution to manage the fleet of mobile devices that connect to your network. With MDM you gain complete visibility and control over mobile devices; detailed hardware and software inventory, location, network and usage data and can bring mobile computing into compliance with IT security policies. If implementing and supporting MDM is one more thing than your IT team will struggle to manage, consider a managed MDM solution.

“BYOD can pose a threat to personal employee data too.”

IT managers who allow personal devices into their businesses have expressed concerns about security threats to corporate data due to loss of mobile devices, data integrity compromises and sharing of sensitive confidential information over social media. But some IT managers see a threat to personal data too.

When a device carrying corporate data is lost, stolen or compromised, IT needs to be able to lock it down and even wipe the data. When an employee leaves the company, IT may also need to remove all company information. The perceived risk in these situations is that individuals will sacrifice personal emails, photos and apps to satisfy corporate privacy and security policies. But containerization tools are making it much easier to keep personal and corporate data and apps separate on both BYOD and COPE (corporately owned, personally enabled) devices.  You need to respect the privacy of users and secure only the corporate data on personal devices.

Please visit Rogers.com/enterprise to learn about how Rogers can help you build a secure mobile enterprise.

How are you addressing mobile security concerns in your organization?

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Managing the total cost of connectivity

WebinarIt’s a fact that information and communications technology (ICT) costs are increasing. IDC predicts that annual ICT spend will grow from $99.3 billion in 2014 to $106 .1 billion in 2016. But where exactly are these costs being incurred? How can ICT spend be most effectively allocated? Is the spend worth the business value gained?

Mobility is a growing part of that total ICT spend, but the total cost of mobility isn’t simply about the device and usage costs incurred by individuals or groups. The costs associated with everyday IT management are rising. More time and resources are being spent managing increasingly diverse and complex environments, and IT departments are faced with new challenges like security solutions and policies, BYOD and enterprise applications. The big picture of your mobility spend is reflected in how your business works.

Work styles are changing rapidly, as more and more employees expect remote work to be a real option. Investments in mobility that enable remote and flexible work can actually help businesses reduce spending in other areas.

The webinar addressed three key aspects of the total cost of connectivity puzzle, including how businesses can:

  • Gain a more complete understanding of their total cost of mobility
  • Implement solutions designed to offset connectivity costs
  • Optimize the ROI on mobility investments

You can also watch the webinar here.

How are you managing your business’s total cost of mobility?

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Three ways to make mobile device policies more effective

MobileDevicePolicyDesign_BannerWho’s really controlling how mobility is adopted in your business—IT or end users? If you’re not sure, how can you be certain your corporate data is secure?

Two recent articles—one at Baseline Mag, the other at ZDnet—highlight how much enterprises still need to do to effectively manage their employees’ mobile device usage.

In “Organizations Lack Formal Mobility Policies,” Dennis McCafferty discusses recent research from CompTIA. Only 30 per cent of companies have a formal mobility plan in place, even though over “half of large companies allow for at least partial BYOD [Bring Your Own Device], and more than three out of five midsize firms do.”

The research cited by ZDnet (done by Ovum) is just as startling: 62 per cent of employees surveyed revealed that they use their own devices at work without any corporate IT policies in place to manage their behaviour.

Expanding enterprise mobility has its benefits, but without clear policies it can expose your business to unacceptable risk. Here are three ways to curtail rogue device usage, enhance security and improve employee satisfaction:

  1. Define acceptable usage. Rules are key to the successful integration of workplace technologies such as desktop computers, so it seems strange that mobile devices aren’t subject to the same regulation; while they’re known as “smartphones,” they’re really small computers with telephony functions.It’s crucial to clarify that similar rules of engagement for laptops and desktops apply to smartphones. But this is just the first step.
  1. Write clear policy—collaboratively. Make policy-building collaborative. Employees will be happier with how it turns out, which means they’ll be much more likely to comply. Survey employees from all levels of the organization and with widely varying work styles and needs to try to reach consensus.Have frank discussions with all stakeholders about what is and is not acceptable use—from financial (e.g., who pays for roaming, and under what circumstances?), security (e.g., what sites are blocked, what apps approved?), legal (are you exposing the business or individuals to risk or liability?), and any other parameters specific to your day-to-day operations.Further, make sure the policy reflects your company’s culture and is clearly written; leave as little open to interpretation as possible.
  1. Apply the policy consistently. Ensure everyone involved signs on to your new mobile policy. You may choose paper contracts or online agreements; what’s most important is that they’re treated with the same importance as any other contract. Alongside communicating and receiving formal acceptance of your policy, regular training will make sure everyone is up-to-date and comfortable with the rules defining acceptable usage. Finally, make sure your policy can be easily accessed anytime, and communicate any changes and updates.

Treat mobile policy development as an opportunity not only to protect your business, but also to regroup at all levels and for everyone’s best interests.

Does your organization have a formal mobility policy in place?

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Six ways to make your workplace more environmentally friendly

greenofficeThis post, written by Jared Lindzon, originally appeared on Betakit and has been republished with permission.

Environmental consciousness is good for business. Not only are consumers becoming more likely to buy products from companies with less environmental impact, but businesses themselves also stand to save money and even boost morale by going green.

Here are a few ways that small businesses can do their part to help the environment:

Take it to the Cloud Cloud computing has not only allowed businesses to become more streamlined, collaborative and efficient, but they also make them greener too. Consider, for example, how much paper and ink is saved when files are saved, shared and disseminated digitally. Applications like Mobile Work Folder and Microsoft’s Office 365 that allow employees in different office locations to collaborate more efficiently and access documents from anywhere with no travel required.

Reduce Paper Waste There are also ways to reduce waste for those documents that absolutely must be printed. Printing double-sided pages, using post-consumer waste paper, eliminating unnecessary fax-cover sheets, printing documents in less-bold fonts and ensuring that used paper ends up in the recycling bin are just a few ways to reduce the carbon footprint made by paper products.

Travel Via Teleconference Businesses are now able to save on travel time and expenses by taking advantage of teleconferencing and video conferencing technologies. Employees that have access to Internet Plans and Mobile Internet solutions, combined with the right devices and collaboration software can save money, spend less time on the road, and decrease commuting and carbon emissions.

Bring Nature To Work The office environment itself can be an opportunity for business owners to reduce their carbon footprint while saving money, and even boost office morale. Introducing little changes like taking advantage of natural lighting, using open windows instead of air conditioning and bringing in a few potted plants instead of more wasteful office decor can make a big impact on how employees view their company’s commitment to environmental sustainability, while freshening the air they breathe everyday.

Recycle Beyond the Bin Throwing empty pop cans or used paper into the recycling bin is a good start, but there are a number of ways for businesses to take recycling to the next level. At many organizations, used smartphones end up in a drawer, closet or storage room collecting dust and taking up space. These units contain both valuable materials and hazardous substances and should be properly recycled so they don’t end up in landfill. Rogers Business Trade-Up – a safe and simple buyback program that accepts phones from any carrier – is one way businesses can safely dispose of company-owned devices and get value in return.

Be Vigilant Taking these steps is a great way to start your company on the road to a greener future, but the range of environmentally conscious solutions and products is growing everyday. Those who are serious about reducing their carbon footprint should stay on top of these solutions as they become more cost effective and more widely available in Canada.

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Machine-to-machine technology helps small businesses succeed

CISRBBEvery time you sign a cour­ier’s electronic keypad to receive a shipment, or ac­cept an emailed client pay­ment by an Interac e-transfer, you’re experiencing one of the wonders of machine-to-ma­chine (M2M) communication.

M2M is a powerful tool for businesses needing to sell, de­liver and track inventory – and doing all this in real time.

CIS Group (www.cis-group.com) in Saint-Jérôme, Que., provides M2M mobile solu­tions connected by Rogers’ broadband wireless for busi­nesses large and small. These mobile solutions allow busi­ness owners to know how their delivery and field sales teams are doing at any mo­ment. It sends their field-col­lected data directly into the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software sys­tem as soon as it is created.

A case in point is CIS Group’s Companion Route product. This allows business­es to track their direct deliv­eries to stores as they happen, thanks to drivers equipped with handheld devices en­abled with Rogers’ wireless connections.
This attracted The Kawartha Dairy to adopt CIS Group’s Companion Route. Since the 1950s, the Crowe family’s dairy located in Bobcaygeon, Ont., has made all-natural ice cream that has become a regional legend.

Beginning in March, the Kawartha Dairy’s drivers were being equipped with CIS Group-enabled mobile computers to keep their head office fully apprised of which of its eight retail outlets needed more Moose Tracks, for instance, and how much.

“With our expanding reach to new customers in Ontario for our complete lines of famous ice cream and dairy products, we needed to automate our delivery and ordering processes for increased efficiencies and control,” says Mike Crowe, the Kawartha Dairy’s director of operations. “The CIS Companion suite will deliver this.”

The success of field sales reps is also a big concern for businesses of all sizes. It’s not just a matter of how much product they are selling on the road. Head office needs to know if retailers are stocking the shelves properly, in line with the ‘planograms’ that define where and how specific goods are to be placed on store shelves. If the products aren’t where shoppers can see them, they can’t be bought.

CIS Group’s Companion REP is a sales force automation software solution for field sales representatives and merchandisers. It helps salespeople in the field keep an eye on retailer compliance with planograms, by allowing them to compare what they see in stores with what’s on record at head office via Rogers-connected smartphones, tablets and laptop computers.

“For our business clients, this is a tremendously useful real-time solution, and it wouldn’t be possible without our connections to the Rogers wireless network,” Tessier says. “Rogers provides the high-speed data transfer, the reliable service, and the national coverage that our clients need; not just in cities, but rural and remote areas too.

“We couldn’t deliver the value we do without Rogers.”

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