Business Tech Trends of 2017

 

As we enter 2017 it’s clear that digital technology will continue to flood businesses across the UK, transforming the way enterprises work. Here are some of the latest tech developments due to take off.

1. Migration to the Cloud

“Cloud-first strategies” have been building momentum throughout recent years, and are
due to propel during 2017 across more and more business enterprises,
according to Forbes. The strategy recommends that businesses of all sizes fully migrate their systems to the cloud in order to take full advantage of enhanced capacity and streamlined operations. Cloud based systems are hosted online and therefore free up your voipoffice infrastructure. With communications being the cornerstone to business, these systems are a good place to start by converging a data connection with voice lines through a VoIP or SIP Trunk solution. The CEO of Broadsuite Inc. adds “I believe cloud-first is key to keeping your company agile”. 

2. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is lesser known tech which overlaps virtual graphics with real-world scenery. 2017 could see more businesses utilising AR to enhance corporate presentations by bringing the content to life thereby captivating the audience. More recently, virtual reality (VR) headsets for Smartphone gaming apps have become extremely popular amongst consumers with more sophisticated and advanced models currently in production. This could lead to a transformation of internal training, with roll vrplays becoming immersive, as well as the rise of virtual meetings between suppliers and their clients. Many VR headsets can now be purchased alongside Smartphone mobile devices – could this be the future of your business?

3. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) involves teaching a machine to learn so it can interpret incoming stimuli, then complete actions/make changes. A prime example is Siri for iOS (iPhone) – it understands your words well enough, through speech recognition, to make an intelligent decision about whether to load a related image, webpage or app. Thoughtworks state this year “we will see businesses use machine intelligent insights to deliver more engaging experiences to customers, and provide better service.” Service improving AI is already out there in the form of intelligent apps. The revolutionary Inkwrx platform lets customers complete business forms on a tablet with a stylus pen. The app tabletuses handwriting recognition to autofill the form with computer text, before the company employee sends the form back to the office within 10 minutes, rather than the average 3 day processing time, allowing their request to be completed immediately for dramatically improved customer service.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain is a virtual ledger which records data in sequential blocks along a data chain. They’ve been used previously for online currency exchanges, called Bitcoins, as the blockchain creates an extremely secure transaction history which cannot be tampered bitcoinwith by coders. This future could see this technology being used to protect data of all kinds, such as medical records, identity management or retail transactions. Although, Gartner adds that this is in Beta stage of production and won’t be fully ready until nearer 2020.

5. Internet of Things

Of late, there has been a huge trend towards interconnected devices which can communicate between themselves through an internet connection. Fitness watches, digital cars and smart thermostats are all IoT products which continue to be on the rise. In terms of business, Gartner experts believe that in future years, “every organisation will have some mix of five digital technology platforms: information systems, customer experience, analytics and intelligence, the Internet of Things and business ecosystems”. Companies are already improving processes and productivity with apps such as Box whichiot allows staff to co-edit files in real-time with their customers as a collaborative method of creating the client’s perfect end product. Because it’s built for business, Box takes secure cloud storage to the next level and really demonstrates how the IOT can enhance any business.

Much of these trends will see a huge increase this year, but some will completely saturate the business market by 2020. Researching your digital business options now will allow you to get ahead of the competition, so that the more efficient processes are deeply ingrained into your business strategy way before other organisations have even began to consider the idea.

For guidance on how you can digitise your business, speak to Welcomm’s Digital Expert, Corran, on 0800 064 64 64.

Or visit www.welcomm.co.uk.

Ref: http://www.forbes.com, http://www.techradar.com, http://www.gartner.co.uk.

Roaming made simpler.

From November 8th, O2 are improving their roaming bolt ons to give overseas workers the opportunity to use data with voice calls and text messaging, at no extra cost.

Travelling to Europe

If your staff regularly travel within the EU then the O2 Travel bolt on will enable them to ‘roam like home’. It’s free to add to your account and will give the user 120 minutes, 120 texts and 50MB per day for just £1.66+Vat.

Travelling out of Europe

For those travelling further afield, the new Rest of World bolton, to replace O2’s Worldwide bolt ons, will offer your staff more flexibility. Instead of only receiving data, the new Rest of World bolt ons will include:

  • 87 destinations
  • Calls and texts
  • Higher data allowances

24 Hour Rest of World – for £7.50+Vat per day, the user will receive up to 200 minutes, 200 texts and 500MB of data.*

30 Day Rest of World – for £99+Vat per month, the user will receive up to 5000 minutes, 5000 texts and 5GB of data.*

The bolt ons cost nothing to apply to your account and will automatically activate when you start using your phone for voice, text or data when you’re abroad.

Want to hear more about Welcomm’s o2 packages and roaming offers? Call us on 0800 064 64 64 or alternatively, send us an email here.
*Allowances differ according to which world zone you are travelling within.

Written by Keegan Stanton

Apple iPhone 7 and 7Plus

revolution

Apple have succeeded in bringing innovation to the Smartphone once again.

The headphone jack has been removed and replaced with wireless AirPods or a lightningiph7 connector. It contains the most powerful chip in a Smartphone, ever. The iPhone 7Plus also has two telephoto cameras on the rear to prevent distortion and shrinking, as well as a wide angle lens on the front for the perfect selfie. Both models have the most advanced Apple cameras to date. Improved battery life, colour display and roaming LTE are just some of the other features which make this model a market leader.

  • 5 colours available: Black, Jet Black, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold
  • 32GB, 128GB or 256GB

    ear-pods

    Wireless AirPods for staff on the go

  • 4.7″ or 5.5″ display
  • Dust and splash proof up to 1 metre for 30 minutes
  • Stereo speakers at both ends of the handset
  • Hands free earphones (AirPods), subject to purchase
  • Pressure sensitive home button, not a physical button
  • 12MP rear camera, 7MP front facing camera
  • Upgraded processor and graphics
  • Improved battery life

Help your business to succeed in this connected world. Use Apps to access email, files, images and more. iOS for business fully integrates with the world’s leading business digital applications, such as Box, Office365 and MaaS360 for secure mobile device management.

Want to purchase this latest device on an extremely competitively business tariff? Give Welcomm a call on 0800 064 64 64. Or alternatively, contact us here.

Written by Keegan Stanton

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.

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.

Wearable Technology: A Convenience or Necessity?

 

technology banner

This modern trend is taking the market by storm: smartwatches making calls, wristbands measuring health and headphones acting as mp3 players. Then there’s the more eccentric designs coming to market, including a brain-scanning device to relax you at work, as well as a muscle pumping chair which helps you to workout at your desk!

The questions remains: is this a fad which will fade with impracticality, or are these gadgets set to become a necessity for business?

Growing trends towards clothing, speakers and fitness accessories are gaining momentum within their corresponding marketplace – but these generally attract consumers. However, one wearable that is selling as a tool which benefits businesses is the highly acclaimed Smartwatch.

Smartwatches

 

In recent months there has been a surge in Smartwatch popularity for business user across the UK. Designed with professionalism in mind, this device enables a worker to access apps, messages and calls on the go. The world’s leading technology specialists Gartner have predicted an increase in sales of 18.4% to smart wearable’s in 2016, and a 48% increase in smartwatch sales by the end of 2017.

The watches work via a Bluetooth connection from a smartphone, with a usual range of 110-330 feet. You may ask, ‘why would I bother to use this in the office when my phone is with me?’

Efficiency. Alerts and breaking news are extremely quick to digest as a person isn’t distracted by background notifications, as they be would on a smartphone. From viewing your company’s most recent social networking post, to scanning through the latest BBC headline in your business sector, the smartwatch allows an employee to make a split second decision as to whether they need to divide their attention or not. If not, they continue with their work without losing focus.

“You get your information, and you get out.” Business Insider.

Proximity and convenience. The mobile can be left in a draw in the office, or in a bag when meeting with customers. This minimises the chance of becoming too engrossed in one’s phone during important meetings. However if an essential email is suddenly needed, users can quickly access the information on the Smartwatch without keeping a customer waiting or disengaged.

Multi-functionality. Companies who switch between mobiles, tablets and laptops will also see a huge benefit. Simply connect to one device via Bluetooth and a user can access another device at the same time. No cross-over of apps is needed.

Reassurance. You will never miss an important update again as everything comes through in real time without a user having to regularly interrupt their work to check their phone.

“I can be confident of not missing anything important, while removing all the other distractions that soak up my productive time during the day.”Ewan Spence, Forbes.

As a fairly new product in the marketplace, online reviewers have remarked that some individuals have not yet invested in the Smartwatch because they don’t fully understand its use. The technology itself is impressive – with advanced touch screen capability and a responsive interface – but professionals have wondered how it stands to aid work performance.

It’s clear now that the functionality of the device is proving itself to be a valuable tool in business. And as the wearable movement grows, the Smartwatch is fast becoming a necessity.

To find out which wearable technology Welcomm has to offer, please call 01858 410010 or visit Welcomm Contact Us Page.

Written by Keegan StantonCapture 3