Welcomm Communications can offer flexible working digital platforms

Could You Function Without An Office For The Day?

Most businesses would struggle to function if their employees were banned from their desk and PCs for the day. Picture it – a sales team trying to photograph contracts to send from their personal phones; customer care teams jotting notes onto hundreds of post-its every time a call comes in; the accounts department trying to draw up invoices by hand and fax them to clients. Potential chaos. 

With this in mind, O2 launched the country’s biggest flexible working pilot where 2,500 people worked away from their Slough head office for the day, using only portable devices to communicate with their team and the outside world. The cloud-based platform, Office365, allowed them to access all their office files and collaborate securely.  The exercise gave O2 employees a chance to experience and realise the benefits of flexible working for themselves, rather than just speaking about them.

The savings that were recognised were incredible. From this flexible working trial, O2 have since reduced their permanent desks and now save up to £3.8 million a year. A further £160,000 has also been saved from closing their overflow car park, reducing an estimated 30 tonnes of CO2 emissions per month and avoiding over 100,000 miles of commuting.

In terms of how the employees felt, the outcome was extremely positive with around 64% of O2 employees now feeling more productive when operating under flexible working conditions and 85% feeling confident in continuing to do so.

This entire project was only possible thanks to O2’s newly strengthened networks and upgraded technology. Nowadays, if you need to work online or communicate with another employee who is half way across the world, you are able to do so.

 “Line managers are used to managing people they can see. Managing them remotely is a completely different thing. Our Pilot on 8th February didn’t solve all of those problems, but it is a good start. We can do a lot more to support line managers in charge of remote teams, but we know it’s not going to happen overnight. We’re educating people about the whole future of work here and there’s still work to be done, but we’re pleased to say this is a fantastic start.” – Ben Dowd, Business Director for O2

Did you know that 75% of companies have a flexible working policy?

Digital services, such as the aforementioned Office365, can improve the way employees collaborate and mobilise their potential to work anywhere, whilst still tightening security and management systems. Due to technology advancing at such a rapid rate, we as businesses and employees need to adapt to these changes and take advantage of the new capabilities that digital, cloud-based products can offer us.

At Welcomm, we offer a wide range of digital enablers which help businesses to work smarter and offer flexible/remote working options to their staff team. Employees can still access company files and communicate across the organisation, thereby staying productive and connected at all times.

These products range from Office 365 which allows documents to be shared across the cloud whilst connecting your office files, calendars and contacts, Box which allows large files to be tracked when they are opened or downloaded and again accessed anywhere on any device; Microsoft Intune which lets your IT team manage all of your business devices from the office to ensure company data is protected and secure.

If you would like to find out how your business could work smarter, call 0800 0646464 for a free business consultation today.

Written By Katie Ford

The future of business technology and the tech industry

The Future of Technology – Is Your Business Prepared?

“12.4% of the UK economy accounts for technology and digital business – more than other G20 countries” – CBI, Barclays Fast Growth Survey, Tech City UK

Technology’ can be defined in various different ways. From being, “a scientific or industrial process of a specific invention or method to also being known as ‘the terminology of an art or science” (Oxford Dictionary, 2016).

Technology plays a big part in the majority of our lives. Whether it be for business or for individual purposes, we are constantly surrounded by our appliances. From the minute we wake up, we are surrounded by different appliances which have become a necessity to our day to day lives. Relying on a digital alarm to kick start the day, using a coffee machine for a hot beverage then using a car to get to work; what were we doing before all of these developments?

Amazon's delivery drone image in order to show how technology is advancing rapidly

Amazon’s delivery drone which aims to deliver a parcel in 30 minutes

Ever thought about ordering an item online and receiving it within 30 minutes? We could see this happening soon. Retail giant Amazon is paying for the program “which will look at the best way to allow hundreds of robotic aircraft to buzz around Britain’s skies safely” (BBC News, 2016). If proven a success, ministers reckon many businesses could start to use this in the future!

What Drives Technology?

So what drives technology forward? It’s the clear fact that technology has embedded itself into our lives. It’s become a norm to rely on our gadgets to stay ahead of our busy lives we are constantly finding ways of saving time and improve the way things are carried out. In some cases we won’t even realise how much we actually use it for our everyday activities. For example…

  • Shopping: People are no longer travelling. They use their smartphone or laptop to do an online shop and get it delivered to their house directly at a convenient time. Hence the nation wanting to have the latest smartphone with 4G for better connectivity.
  • Travel: Apps like Uber allow people to access cheaper taxis and track how far away the vehicle is. This is also being utilised for businesses through tracking solutions for a fleet of company vehicles.
  • Household: Having kitchen devices that can now be controlled by your smartphone, such as Wi-Fi kettles or central heating. Appliances can now be switched on before you get home.
  • Social: Keeping up to date with your friends and family through Skype, Facetime, and text messaging rather than travelling to meet them. More specifically for larger businesses, communicating across multiple locations using O2 Just Call Me allowing more efficient conference calls.

The Technology Sector?

All hands on tech! Thanks to these advancements, the UK tech sector has been growing faster than any other part of the economy for several years. “Since 2010, the number of tech – related enterprises in the UK private sector has risen by 31%” (KPMG report, 2015). This is the equivalent of 45,000 new businesses or, in other words, one additional tech sector enterprise every hour of the day for the past 5 years! Industry confidence remains high, where tech bosses forecast a steady growth for the coming years.

An image showing the growth of the technology industry and how tech enterprises have doubled since 2010

The tech industry has grown by a third since 2010

An image showing the expansion of staff since 2015 within technology firms and a 12 month outlook for the tech industry

UK Tech firms have expanded rapidly since 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For businesses within the technology sector this can be seen as positive or negative. Positive, in terms of the growing need and desire for ever-changing innovative products, and for their customers to have the latest devices. However on the flip side of the coin, businesses need to be extremely adaptive to change and responsive to trends. With newcomers entering the technology market all the time, it’s important for your customers to be able to distinguish you from the crowd and choose your business. Is your company following the trends? Is your business staying ahead of industry innovators?

Business Tech

With the growth of Britain’s technology sector continuing to outstrip GDP, it is helping to seal the UK’s reputation as a global springboard for new enterprises. For businesses this is a huge opportunity for growth but also to remain competitive and keeping abreast with growing trends. Therefore Welcomm and partners are constantly investing in new methods and technology. The use of digital services for a business on a daily basis has never been more important. The risk of ensuring security with McAfee, accessing files from any location anywhere with Office 365 and secure content collaboration through Box.

There’s also a need for businesses wanting more simplicity, Welcomm and partners are constantly investing in new methods and technology. O2’s 5 year network modernisation plan to roll out 4G amongst 98% of the population by the end of 2017 has nearly been achieved with over 89% now covered. Click Here to learn more.

Moreover, with O2 attending the 5G World Event at London’s Olympia earlier this month, it is clear that a reliance on fast data speeds and network capacity is essential to our working lives. 5G will be the future of mobile technology, bringing a lot more capacity and a lot more speed. Click Here to watch a video.

The Future

All in all, it can be hard to predict what lies for the future of technology. With a fairly stable growth rate forecasted it’s not for certain what innovations will follow through. Both consumers and businesses want convenience and the latest technology trends. For businesses there’s a high priority to remain competitive. It’s also vital to ensure the customers’ needs are met effectively. Having the latest software, devices and security will enable you to do this, but also help you to stay one step ahead of your competitors and work more productively.

Is your business ready for the future of technology?

Written by Sonal Haja.

Welcomm Communications can offer lower energy rates for your business

Brexit and Protecting your Business Energy Costs

Ofgem state, “73% of businesses are out of contract and paying higher run-on-rates of up to 40% more than energy prices in the market at the moment”

Towards the start of the year we discovered that Welcomm were paying an extortionate rate of 50% over the current market price for our electricity. When considering the amount of electricity our computers and servers use on a daily basis, this saving racked up to 1000s of pounds over a year period. This will undoubtedly make a huge difference to Welcomm’s end of year figures and help raise our profits.

So this resulted in an exciting new venture from Welcomm. We added Energy to our portfolio of services offering gas and electricity savings reviews to our customer base to see if we can help them save money too. This discovery made us think about how many other companies are also overspending each year, unnecessarily.

The Oil Industry

As you may be aware, the UK energy prices are directly affected by the commodity market price of oil.

Oil prices have been steadily increasing from an all decade low since last November (see the graph below). According to the Telegraph, Market Experts at ICIS said the price of gas increased by 29% over the second quarter, while wholesale electricity prices rose 25%; this is due to a significant collapse in the value of the pound.

The increase in oil prices since all decade low following Brexit results

A Graph to Show The Fluctuation In Oil Prices

The recent Brexit result has also added a further degree of uncertainty around what this could mean for energy many businesses are concerned that oil prices will increase as we leave the EU, having a huge impact on their annual spend. Although we cannot predict what will happen, we can help control your business costs reviewing your current bills, comparing these to the cheaper tariffs that are available right now and locking in lower prices for the next 5 years. Then, no matter what Brexit brings, your finances will be safe.

Welcomm Energy are offering businesses a free energy audit to find them the best deal available from the top 12 UK energy suppliers. We will then help you to switch with minimal hassle. We regularly save our customers 10-50% in their gas and electricity bills, enabling them to re-invest this capital into growing their businesses.

If you want the reassurance of knowing you are paying the best rates for your gas and electricity from an unbiased, independent source simply call our friendly Energy Team on 0800 064 64 64 or email nicola.bingley@welcomm.co.uk for your free audit.

                                                         Written by Katie Ford

 

the intenet of things

The Internet of Things: “Those who are most adaptive to change stand the greatest chance of survival”

You may have heard the term ‘The Internet of Things’ flying around. This refers to the advancements in technology which have enabled us to make connections and exchange data through a multitude of electronic devices that we carry with us daily, or that sit within our homes and offices.

Though, is the Internet of things just a buzz phrase? Was it created so that tech companies could sell more products? The answer is no. This is an expression coined to describe a true phenomenon that has captivated consumers across the globe. The digital revolution is here; the world is changing.

People live and breathe technology in their everyday lives. From the minute we wake we are absorbed by the latest social media posts on our Smartphones; when we go for a run we use our health tracker to tell us when to take breaks and when to work harder; some of us even use our phone to boil the kettle for our afternoon tea, before signalling to our Wi-Fi fridge that the milk is running low. The human race is becoming obsessed by technology as a way to enhance enjoyment and make our lives easier.

Let’s take the ‘Nest’ home thermostat as an example. This appliance connects to your phone which allows you to control your heating from anywhere, inside and outside of the house. However, more impressively, it links to the ‘Nest Carbon Monoxide’ sensor and automatically switches off your boiler if an unsafe smell is detected. This in turn, signals your Smart light bulbs to flash a bright colour when there’s a possible safety problem in your home. The Nest can also prompt your washing machine to begin a cycle when your home’s energy consumption is low; it can tell your fridge to witch to low energy mode when everyone is out of the house. Not only that, the Nest is capable of learning your behaviours. By connecting to your car, a signal will be sent to the thermostat when you leave or are returning home. It then learns this pattern of behaviour and will teach itself when the heating needs to be turned off and on. Very clever gadgetry.

In a world that is changing and being consumed by the digital age, it’s important that businesses move with the times and take advantage of the new technology out there. Our way of living is advancing, and technology will soon start to propel at such an accelerated speed that the world as we know it will change completely.

“Today is the slowest rate of change we will ever experience. And those who are the most adaptive to change stand the greatest chance of survival.”
– Jonathan Macdonald, The Next Web, Speaker

Clearly, buying Wi-Fi fridges for your offices would not be cost effective. But there are many digital products on the market which are helping businesses to work smarter.

An issue that is becoming more prominent in the world of business is security. Due to our lives revolving around the internet, it has become much easier for a person to hack into our data through emails, low-level storage sites like Dropbox or files sent online. This worry can be easily alleviated through digital products such as McAfee, a malware and security service; or Box, an online storage platform which allows you to send files and collaborate over a secure network. Box was actually so secure that the experts at McAfee couldn’t hack it when trying for 8 months!

Another product that is revolutionising the way that employees and customers collaborate, video call and share emails/calendars is Office 365. This add-on service enables businesses to co-edit internal documents with the Microsoft package and can be integrated with Box for high security file sharing.

If you’re looking for a more niche digital solution, there are services such as Windows Intune available which lets companies manage all of their business devices from one portal: laptops, iPads, phones etc. Or O2 Just Call me which saves employees a lot of time when organising conference calls.

With this in mind, ‘The Internet of Things’ doesn’t only benefit consumers. Digital products are innovating the way that businesses work. They are available on a per license basis from Welcomm Communications, which gives companies the perfect opportunity to trial digital services at a low cost. To read more on these services, click here.

services

Join the digital revolution and help your business work efficiently and grow. Don’t let the consumers have all the fun!

To learn more about the services available from Welcomm, call 0800 064 64 64 or write to us here.

                                                Written by Keegan Stanton.

beach

Conferencing From the Beach: The Costs of Doing Business in Paradise

Mobile phones have made it easy to keep up to date with your business no matter where you are in the world. But at what cost to your bank balance?

It’s a familiar scenario: you’ve managed to get away to an idyllic destination, a place where the dilemmas of the mid-week rush are alleviated. However, as a relied-upon professional there may still be times when you need to reply to emails, join conference calls or keep track of ongoing projects. Or maybe you just want to upload your holiday snaps to show the office what they’re missing!

Suddenly, that feeling of dread creeps in as you wonder how much it’s costing you each time you surf the web or make a call. Large £ signs fill your brain as you imagine the possible ‘Bill Shock’ that might come your way when you return to the U.K.

Have you racked up £100s by using your mobile abroad? Well, if you’re visiting the EU then the answer is most likely no.

Roaming Costs Have Dramatically Dropped and Will Continue to Fall

On April 30th 2016 the European Commission imposed a cap on the amount that mobile networks can charge a customer for making calls, sending texts or accessing data within the EU. This is with the vision that customers should eventually ‘roam like home’, which means your mobile experience will be the same whether your care in the UK or travelling in Europe.

Roaming charges still vary depending on which provider you are with, however, the commission has stipulated that networks cannot charge more that the below fees (on top of a customer’s domestic rate):

• €0.05 (per minute) for outgoing calls
• €0.02 per text message
• €0.05 per MB of data used
• Incoming calls are charged at a set rate no higher than €0.0114

This is great news for anyone travelling in the EU, and for business travellers who need to check in with the office whilst abroad.

“A victory for consumers and a stepping stone towards a truly European digital single market.” – Viviane Reding, Former vice-president of the European Commission, The Guardian.

As of April this year, there is no charge for receiving a text in Europe, so texting is ideal for regular, immediate work updates rather than sending emails.

Each network has their own unique roaming plans, to provide a more cost-effective option when abroad. O2’s Bolton, called ‘O2 Travel’, which includes the use of texts, minutes and data, for only £1.66 (+VAT per day). To find out more about this plan, click here.

Roam Like Home: Charges will be Abolished in 2017

The EU’s next step is to ban roaming charges altogether in 2017. When this happens, all mobile activity will be charged at your normal monthly rates, so using your phone in the EU will be the same as using it at home.

Tips for Reducing Your Data Usage When Abroad

If you would like to keep your data on, but conserve the amount you use for when you really need it, then there are some changes you can make within your phone’s settings to help this.

  1. Turn off auto-app updatesphone
    Your applications are continuously using your phone’s data to keep updated. Disable the auto-updates on all of your unneeded apps.
  2. Switch off email and push app notification
    You may have set your phone up to receive notifications when something occurs on an app. This uses data also, so disable these in settings.
  3. Disable Video Auto-play
    When using your Facebook app, auto-play will play videos as you scroll through your News Feed. Turn this off to reduce data usage and save battery.

For more information on the roaming plans available for your business, call Welcomm on 0800 064 64 64.

Written by Keegan Stanton.

oil#

London Oil Prices Dropped by 2% This Morning

The time to lock down your business’s gas and electricity contracts is here. Prices per barrel were at their highest in 7 months, but have finally dropped today.

The price of producing gas and electricity is directly related to the cost of oil. Therefore, a price decrease such as 2% can have a huge bearing on a business’s profit margin as companies spend thousands each year on gas and electricity.

Prices Predicted to Rise Again in June

“Other experts warned that this could prove short-lived” – TheWeek.co.uk

There are talks in the US that prices will be hiked up again in June due to the growing strength of the Dollar and predictions of strong inflation and employment. If these forecasts come to pass, the current deals offered by UK suppliers will no longer be available and companies could lose out.

How Can I Find the Lowest Prices Available Now?

The smartest way to lock down the best energy prices currently available is to compare quotes from many different suppliers. This can take a lot of time if you’re contacting companies one by one. When dealing with gas and electric, time is of the essence as prices can change monthly.

Welcomm Energy can help you take advantage of today’s rates by comparing quotes from 11 different suppliers on your behalf. We will seek out the lowest rate and report back on how much the new prices would save you over the year. The review is free, all we need are recent bills. We have always managed to save our customers money, but if you decide it’s not the right time you lose nothing.

energy suppliers

To get your free savings review, including prices which reflect today’s 2% price drop, email Nicola.bingley@welcomm.co.uk.

Welcomm Energy Logo.jpg

Written By Keegan Stanton

Keeping your Head in the Cloud: Business Hosted Telephony

 

The age of the traditional business landline is over and set to be cut off in 2025. Technology is advancing rapidly, leaving behind outdated multi-line telephone systems.

Corporate phone lines have long been inconvenient and chaotic; with wires trailing desks and floors, PBX hardware cluttering space and the idea of adding lines or moving premises seeming impossible. Not to mention the costly outlay for equipment, maintenance costs and high monthly call charges.

multiline

Unsightly multi-line traditional system.

Despite all of this, until recently these digital systems were a more advanced way of running several phone numbers through a business with relative speed. But the huge improvements offered by newer Hosted Solutions are rendering the traditional lines redundant.

A Hosted telephone system is web-based so all calls are made through high-speed broadband. Employees will still use desk phones when at the office, and have a designated number for customers to call in on. However, the system sits within a data network centre, the Cloud, so calls no longer need to go through expensive, bulky kit that is based at a company site. The Cloud also offers staff the opportunity to become more mobile within the business as calls can also be taken from anywhere outside of the office, simply by connecting to Wi-Fi. Company managers also have more control as individuals can be given logins for a web-based portal enabling them to access real-time call records, reporting, recording and handling features – without having to task the IT team with the burden. Security is also vastly improved as web-based services benefit from having direct links to the most secure systems on the market and the ability to upgrade these easily with ever-improving technology.

hosted voip

Traditional multi-line telephony set up compared with modern Hosted VoIP solutions. 

It’s crucial to note that this telephony switch won’t always be a choice. Due to the rise in the popularity and clear benefits of Hosted technology, traditional ISDN phone lines will be switched off by 2025. This will result in many businesses having to upgrade their systems to newer and better alternatives such as Voice over IP Hosted systems.

In light of these developments, Welcomm Communications are offering free places to a Hosted Services seminar taking place during the morning on Thursday 26th May at the National Space Centre. The event will explain in more detail why cloud-based services are at the forefront of innovation, as well as considering how they can offer value to businesses of all sizes. Additionally, there will be talks on digital products which can help a business to work smarter when collaborating between employees and partners, as well as free demonstrations and support on using the products. Also included will be a free tour of the Space Centre and prize draw to win Leicester Tigers hospitality box tickets!

Organisations can sign up for free via the banner below.

Linked In Hosted Event Banner

Written by Keegan Stanton.