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.

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.

Wearable Technology: A Convenience or Necessity?

 

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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

Tu Go App – Making Communication Easier

Following the launch last week of O2’s wifi app, TuGo, to O2 business customers, we look at the benefits this app offers.

Free to download, TuGo uses a wifi connection instead of a network signal to place calls and send texts, therefore customers that struggle to get a good reception at home or in the office, will now have the benefit of using their wifi connection to place calls. This app can also be used over 5 different devices, so if your mobile runs out of battery, or you have left it at home by mistake, you can turn on your TuGo app on either a tablet or pc to allow you to make a call or place a text using your mobile number.

When you use TuGo your call minutes and texts will continue to be billed out of your bundled minutes, making it easier to manage as it comes out of the same single bill and there is no change to your standard UK charges. This also applies if you use the TuGo app abroad, which offers you huge savings when making calls back to the UK or to other countries whilst you are outside the UK, as you are still charged at the standard UK rate.

The app is free of charge and easy to download from the app store for iOS, google play for android, windows phone store for windows 8 and online at tu.com for a PC.

Written By Keegan Stanton

The New Iphone 6 and 6Plus

Apple’s largest and thinnest handset yet, the iPhone 6/6plus also boasts to hold their most advanced technology. The operating system iOS 8 has been specifically designed with a larger screen in mind which, according to the Telegraph, enables users to have optimal camera settings when accessing social media sites. The handset also houses Apple’s newest iSight camera able to focus shots more quickly than ever before, as well as offering the user exclusive photo editing options. A huge improvement to the iPhone 6/6plus is arguably the added HD slow motion video recording, a real asset for capturing every millisecond of footage required for video messaging or apps which utilise this function (such as Snapchat or Facebook). Several apps review sites are also remarking on the new inbuilt Retina HD with dual domain pixels which really enhance one’s gaming experience. Playable apps are viewed with a wider angle and more intense colour – something which reduces the ‘stretched picture’ effect often found with currently designed phone apps. Additionally, Apple’s newest A8 chip within the handset speeds up functioning by 25%, increases Wi-Fi connectivity and improves data roaming. Something which is excellent considering battery life is said to be improved by 50% also.

As with all new releases, there are some negative reports. An infrequent, but tested and proven malfunction, is the report that the 6 plus model can bend when placed in a users’ front pocket. The aluminium outer casing can be malleable, although only 9 incidents have been recorded worldwide. Also, the model is not waterproof but a waterproof phone case can rectify this. When tested by Square Trade, the iPhone’s durability in terms of daily accidents was found to be similar to other smartphones. However the iPhone 6 did perform better than other Apple and Samsung handsets, indicating that this model has a lower risk of daily breakage. Lastly some online forums are indicating that the screen sizes are impractical, with then 6 model being too small but the 6 plus screen being too large. Arguably these initial predicaments are often overcome by frequent use.

Prior to purchasing it is key to note the differences between the 6 and 6s models including size, weight, screen contrast ratio and battery life. Comparable information can be found at: http://www.apple.com/uk/iphone/compare/

Written By Keegan Stanton

Introducing Cloud: Lync becomes the service of choice for businesses.

Lync has been making headlines for some time, but now it is grabbing the business market share, we look at why businesses are deploying this hosted service.

Lync is the ideal platform if you looking to introduce hosted into your business, as it is a low cost solution that can either replace or complement your existing telephony service. Lync is a hosted solution that helps staff communicate more effectively through instant messaging (IM), presence (real-time status updates indicating when staff are available, busy, in a meeting etc) and HD video-conferencing. As a hosted service, it can be accessed anywhere, through an internet connection, providing staff with the flexibility to stay connected and communicate from anywhere, whether at home, in the office or out in meetings, generating more productive work hours.

Through the Lync Meeting feature, you can easily set up a secure online conference call or video call, and through this have the ability to share your screen, your presentation or an app, giving you the ideal platform to collaborate with suppliers, customers or staff. This offers huge cost savings for businesses in the working hours they gain and travel costs they save for not having to make long distance meeting appointments.

Lync won’t replace your PBX telephone system, but due to it’s features it has become the solution of choice for most SME businesses for IM (instant messenger), Presence and audio and video conferencing.  It is also because of this that Lync acts as an ideal disaster recovery back-up should your telephone system go down, as your business can continue to communicate internally and externally

From as little as £1.30 per month, per user, and no upfront fees, you can understand why so many businesses are moving their unified communications to the cloud.

For a full demo of Lync and to find out more, register for Welcomm’s free technical briefing on Wednesday 10th September. Register online. [link to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QVFSNS5

Written By Emily Murray