If your business makes use of Google Apps for in-office communication, you should already be well aware of the endless possibilities that come with these applications. Besides their mail functionality which has been made popular through Gmail, Google Apps also allow you to share, collaborate and exchange information seamlessly with your network. A typical business user will be aware of using Google Drive for file storing, Google Docs for creating and sharing documents, Google Chat and Hangout for real-time communication, Google Contacts for basic CRM functionality and so on. But do you know there is a host of amazing things possible when you combine Google Apps with Unified Communications?
But before we get there, you must know what Unified Communications, or UC as it is popularly called stands for. Basically, UC is the integration of a host of communication platforms like telephone, videoconferencing, email, text messaging, instant messaging and so on. In other words, UC makes it possible to bring together real time communication channels with non-real-time alternatives. This way, depending on what the user wants, it is possible to access communication via non-real-time platforms through real-time platforms and vice versa. Unified Communications is a huge industry with a number of major players like AT&T and Cisco in the United States and AllStream in Canada. According to an estimate by ResearchMoz, UC is expected to become a $61 billion market by 2018.
So how do you bring Google Apps and UC together? Here are some tips:
Click to dial : If you have a CRM like Zoho or Salesforce to handle your leads, then you are provided with browser tools that connect your apps to your phone system. So this way, when you receive emails on your Gmail inbox, you only have to click on the phone number for your CRM to connect you to the target over phone. It is not just Gmail though. The click to dial functionality can be enabled across the various products and services that is available on Google Apps.
Checking Voicemails from Gmail : With Google Voice, you no longer have to check each of your phone devices for missed calls and messages. Instead, you can set your service to automatically email any voicemails you receive. What more – Google also transcribes these voicemails for your so that you can simply read those in text instead of having to listen to them.
Faxing : You can now have faxes sent directly to your inbox via Google Apps. You can also return the fax. It’s as simple as sending an email.
Scheduling Conferences : If your business already uses video conferencing services like WebEx, scheduling conferences become a breeze with Google Apps. You can mark the time for videoconferencing on Google Calendar which can directly integrate with WebEx and send notifications and handle the operational aspects for you.
Unified Communications is the future of business networking. With Google Apps, this becomes all the more easy and efficient. Have you tried integrating Google Apps with UC? Share your experience with us in the comments below.
What started as a buzzword is today a primary infrastructural concept. Cloud computing has made business simpler and more efficient; not to mention the cost advantages that it provides over legacy systems. With the proliferation of cloud, there has been an increase in the number of SaaS based tools and services that cater to various industries and business functions. If you are part of your company’s IT quality control, then cloud based testing tools are definitely a part of your arsenal. Given the plethora of options, which one do you choose? Here is a brief rundown of the five best cloud testing tools that you must look into.
CloudTest : QC teams routinely perform multiple kinds of testing. These various techniques can be categorized broadly into performance testing and functional testing. SOASTA CloudTest is a reliable tool that provides a single integrated platform for both these testing requirements. One of the unique selling propositions of CloudTest is what they call ‘visual test creation environment’ that provides a simple interface to create complex test cases. With the availability of real-time analytics, scalable infrastructure and intelligence systems, CloudTest is our first choice for cloud based testing tools.
GCLoad : If your test case includes checking for the load handling capacity of your application, then look no further than GCLoad’s Proxy Sniffer. This is, by far, the best cloud tool for load testing applications. This is a service that is available in both cloud and legacy formats; depending on how you want to use it. For load testing web applications that reside on hosted servers, the cloud-based Proxy Sniffer is a great bet to ensure the server can handle sufficient load. The scale of load testing can be varied on demand – from 100 concurrent users to as many as several thousands. If you are the kind who would like to get a free trial before buying the license, there is a free version of the tool available for short duration tests.
PractiTest : Best suited for startups and emerging IT companies, PractiTest is a test management solution offered as a ‘SaaS’ service (that is, Software as a Service). The benefit of such a tool is that it combines the robustness that comes with the legacy QC software applications with the scalability and affordability of present-day SaaS tools. PractiTest is built keeping the typical testing team in mind – it not only offers a testing solution, but also includes planning tools to schedule and manage various testing tasks, manage the tasks at hand and delegate various responsibilities among team members. Also, since it’s SaaS based, you do not have the heartburn that licensing software brings.
Besides the three cloud testing tools discussed above, we have several other tools like Parasoft, CloudTesting, LoadStorm and BlazeMeter. All these tools are built keeping specific requirements of the tester in mind. What tools do you use? What has your experience been with the tools? Tell us in the comments below.
If you have been following the technology section of news, you may have come across this term quite a few times. Notwithstanding the massive changes to our lifestyles since the advent of the internet, technology gurus have predicted that we have barely scratched the surface of the possibilities. “Internet of Things” is expected to be the next massive revolution in the technology space.
So what exactly is IoT? At a simplistic level, it refers to interacting with various devices and gadgets over the internet. For instance, did you forget to switch off the lights while you started off on your long vacation? A simple tap on a mobile app should do that for you with IoT. But that’s again the tip of the iceberg. Here is a quote from a recent article on Metro that should give you a better idea of where we are headed:
“Your alarm wakes you at the correct time after checking your schedule and adjusting itself for traffic and transport delays. Your coffee machine begins brewing, the heating and hot water turn on (adjusting the temperature according to the weather) and the car starts de-icing the windscreen.”
The Internet of Things, or Thingternet as we like to call it will definitely revolutionize the world over the next decade. According to a Gartner study, IoT will bring in close to $1.9 trillion worth of economic value add by 2020. That’s nearly 30 billion devices connected to the internet by then.
While the prediction appears exaggerated at the moment, we will get there with the right infusion of technology infrastructure. Enterprises today have already connected through high speed business internet plans to make them ready for the deployment of IoT at the workplace. This however cannot be said for domestic consumers. Although the average broadband speed in the US is a good 24.5 Mbps, some parts of the country still have extremely low speed internet connections. A lot of potential use-cases with IoT come in a domestic household environment and in the absence of a sufficiently good internet infrastructure, IoT may not take off.
The priority for governments across the world over the next 5 years needs to be on enhancing their internet infrastructure. Going by Gartner’s prediction, we are predicting a scenario where nearly 30-50 billion devices could be fitted with IoT within the next six years. That’s a massive addition of client devices to an already crowded ecosystem. It will be interesting to see how governments act on building the infrastructure in time for us to truly bear the fruits of the IoT innovation.
Owning and running a business in today’s ever changing and technologically advanced environment is not easy. It requires knowledge, skill, patience, an eye for detail and most importantly the ability to see advantages in your environment and go with them. The way we work has changed over the years and as technology is growing and becoming more complex it give us the ability to do new things in relation to both our business and personal lives.
Cloud is one of these recent technological innovations that will help to make the day to day running of your business and management of your data and information simple and straight forward. With Cloud your business has the potential to become more productive which will in turn improve your chances of growth and success. There are a number of other advantages to using Cloud services, including:
The Flexibility of the Service
As a business your needs are always changing and increasing and it is important that you have a service provider that can keep up with these needs and changes and work with you to ensure the smooth running of your business. The capacity that the cloud remote servers have is second to none and can provide almost instant action if your organisation needs extra bandwidth; and this is one of the reasons that many businesses choose to move to the cloud system.
Fast and Effective Disaster Recovery
Before cloud-based services, companies required complex plans in place in case of the need for disaster recovery. The cloud system is able to take care of most issues quickly and effectively, and faster than many other systems. As all the information is stored in one place and is Internet-based rather than being computer-based, it is also possible to recover lost information in some cases, if the need arises. So you no longer need to worry about keeping all of your company’s information backed up by a separate organisation or in a different place as this can all be done through the innovative and useful tool that is cloud.
Control of Documents
In many organisations it is important for individuals and members of the company to collaborate and connect with people in different regions and countries; and without the use of cloud these individuals would have to work on one file at a time constantly re-saving it and amending it before passing it back to the other person. This makes the task of updating or changing a document extremely time-consuming for all those involved. With the help of cloud you are able to keep all of your files in a central location so that you can work off one copy. If you need to discuss anything with your colleague then you are also able to do this which can improve collaboration results and increase productivity and performance; which is ultimately what an organisation should be trying to do.
An extremely useful benefit of cloud services for Microsoft and other software is that no matter where you are in the country or the world, as long as you have access to the Internet it is possible to connect to cloud. This enables colleagues in different countries and time zones to connect effectively without having to go to the time and expense of travelling to meet each other.
With all these benefits it is easy to see why cloud is such a popular choice for companies throughout the world today. So isn’t it time for your organisation to reap the benefit of a simple and state-of-the-art system.
I’ve owned an Amazon Kindle for over a year now and love the bare look and feel of this device. If you are someone who reads a lot during your daily office commute, it makes sense to invest in a good cover for your Kindle – it protects from the avoidable scratches. While Amazon needs to be commended for providing us with a great device that is mostly resistant to scratches and accidental falls, the scratches caused by the keys and other metal objects in your purse or bag are not always expected. And when the scratches do happen, it simply ruins the reading experience; at least for me.
The Snugg Kindle case is a pretty stylish accessory that you should check out if you own a Kindle. Costing just about $10, this case also acts as a stand if your hands are full and you would still like to read from your Kindle. Snugg were gracious enough to send me a cover for review. Here are some noticeable aspects of the case:
Material : The case is made of genuine leather and comes in a stylish professional looking black color lined with white threaded stitches. While I love my Kindle for the sleek frame, it can be a problem when you are carrying it alongside several other stuffs – many times resulting in me dropping the Kindle. With the stiff cover made with an easy-grip texture, it is really hard to miss the Kindle. You actually can store your Kindle alongside your other paperbacks.
Easy Read : If you are that guy or girl who loves to read on the move, this is a feature you would love. The inner fold of the Snugg Kindle case comes with a sort of strap where you can let your palms through to keep a firm grip on your Kindle even on the move.
Flip Stand: Like mentioned earlier, the outer case can also be flipped to set your Kindle on a stand and viewed at a convenient reading angle. This is a very good feature if you would like to read while doing things like chopping vegetables or even working on a computer.
Overall, this is a great product at a very reasonable price. You can check out the Kindle case on the Snugg website here. Would you be buying one? Tell us what you think in the comments.
Stolen identity is a frightening experience, and it causes a lot of headaches and frustration. The trick is to stay protected whether you’re shopping online or simply giving out your credit card to a live cashier. If you’re already a victim of identity theft, here are a few tips and tricks for regaining your identity:
Understand Identity Theft
Identity theft is more than just a stolen credit card number. Many thieves are now using private information, such as your social security number, birthdate, and/or name to commit fraud, such as applying for loans or credit cards under your name. Approximately 9 million Americans are part of an identity scam, but most aren’t as extreme. Even mild cases of identity theft are difficult to resolve, but with the right support, financial experts can help.
Act Fast When Your Identity is Stolen
The first thing to do is contact each of the credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. They can put an alert on all of your open accounts, and can also freeze your social security number from any other accounts being opened or accessed. Next, utilize resources on the FTC website. Many of the forms available on this site will help expedite the process. Depending on the type of theft, you may choose to file a police report with your local precinct.
Keep Track of all Your Information
Next, close any fraudulent accounts and if there are suspicious charges on your own accounts, close them out too. You can do this by calling your banks, credit card companies, and any other businesses with which you have accounts. Keep detailed records of how much time you spend, because if the case ends up going to court, you can seek damages for these hours. Several months after the loss, obtain a credit report to make sure that all the fraudulent charges are gone. Once you complete these steps, your credit will return to its original status.
Learn to Prevent Future Identity Theft
You can also take preventive steps to avoid identity theft before it happens. One tip is to never carry your social security card. If you use a debit card, don’t keep the Personal Identification Number with it. Some experts recommend that you never use a debit card for online purchases. Since this links to your checking account, a thief can drain your bank account in just a few transactions. A credit card is much more secure, since it’s much easier to reverse a charge and issue a credit instead of trying to replace stolen money. Be cautious when using websites to shop, and make sure they have valid security and encryption.
Use Tools That Help
If you receive credit card applications, bank statements, or other personal documents by mail, make sure to shred them instead of tossing them in the trash. Keep careful track of your credit card and bank statements, and report any unauthorized activity immediately. Another great tool is LifeLock id protection, which helps monitor your patterns and alert you of any changes in spending.
With so many resources, identity theft becomes more manageable, and those affected can resolve the problems and return to financial freedom.
After a lackluster release and sparse adoption, it seems like more and more businesses are taking the, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to the Windows 8 operating system. And, for PC-only offices and other advocates of all things Windows, lucky number 7 seems to fill the need just fine. So, what are some reasons why your business should avoid upgrading to Windows 8?
No Touch Screen = No Benefit
When designing its new operating system, Microsoft realized that touch screens are trending. To their credit, Microsoft was right, but that doesn’t account for all PC users – especially for those in the business world. Windows 8 does work just fine on regular screens found in offices across the country and world, but the operating system is touch screen optimized. So, if your office computer doesn’t respond to touch, you’re missing out on some incredibly intuitive features.
With Windows 8, your operating system is essentially working off of two platforms: your traditional desktop and a new, ultra-modern operating experience. And, unfortunately, the best of both worlds only complicates matters when it comes to apps. In other words, your apps based in tradition won’t function in the modern world of Windows 8 and vice versa. Although these two platforms share the same operating system, their apps function on radically different levels, which translates to trouble.
A Lack of Applications
Speaking of apps, it doesn’t matter the kinds of applications your business needs or that you’re even able to download them at blazing fast speeds with your business’s DSL Internet Service, if there aren’t any apps available, then you’re out of luck with Windows 8. Sure, the Windows app store will likely create more apps as time goes on, but the question is, how long will that take? Apps make your personal and business life easier, and without them, you have an operating system that’s not operating at its full potential.
The Learning Curve
The drastically different Windows 8 operating system comes complete with a pretty steep learning curve. In fact, just to give you an idea of how different it really is, the standard start menu is gone and replaced with an eye-catching, time-consuming series of animated tiles. Tiles are fine, moving tiles are even better because they’re entertaining, but in the business world, these elements translate to a lack in productivity. Practice does make perfect, but at what cost to your businesses bottom dollar?
Companies Aren’t on Board
Due to the lack of adoption by consumers, many companies aren’t supporting Windows 8. Facebook, one of the world’s most popular websites, has gone on record and stated that they have no plans to bring a Windows 8 app out. So, when it comes time to upgrade your office equipment, there’s a good chance everything’s going to come with Windows 7 pre-installed, thus requiring an additional operating system upgrade for those wanting Windows 8. If you’re still not convinced that Windows 8 isn’t the best operating system for your business, give it a try to see for yourself – just don’t say you weren’t warned.
Joe Fortunato is a freelance writer from Tampa, Florida. He enjoys learning about new subjects, following his Baltimore Orioles, and traveling the country for fishing. You can find Joe on Twitter at @joey_fort.
Technology has continued to grow from strength to strength with the continual improvements of mobile phones, the introduction of tablets and the innovative design of Google Glass, but what is coming next for mobile gaming? One thing that most gamers are calling for is improved graphics, but it may be difficult to fetch the very best graphics to mobile devices without compromising the speed at which the game and device runs. One example could be the use of first-person shooters, and how this can be developed and controlled on mobile devices.
Increasing the graphic capabilities of any games – be it poker, multiplayer or simulation – would also mean increasing the memory and battery capabilities of the mobile devices used. There is nothing worse than being half way through a game and it stuttering and stopping, or your battery giving in and the screen going black. Most people are looking forward with a mixture of hope and scepticism to the days when you no longer have to carry chargers round with you when you’re nipping out for a few hours.
But what about hands free; is Google Glass the future of mobile gaming? Imagine walking along the street playing in a poker tournament and still being able to see everything and avoid walking into lampposts, or having your favourite multiplayer game in the corner of your vision and controlling it with your voice, leaving your hands free to do anything else needed.
Although there is of course the fact that Glass isn’t the most visually pleasing device and you might feel rather stupid walking down the street and looking as though you’re talking to yourself. However with it being the first generation it might just be too much for hearts to take when they want to do something, but the technology just isn’t that advanced yet.
Closer to the here and now though is the successful development of cross-platform gaming. Walking home playing football on your mobile or maybe a quick casino game, and being unable to pause and change it to your larger screen once indoors has long been the bane of many a gamer’s life. EA Casual Entertainment is one of several companies to announce they will be publishing games across various platforms allowing this magical transition to take place. Whatever the future of mobile gaming may be, for now you can play at the best Poker tables around.
Nano Ink is a revolutionary printing technology that alleviates many of the common problems associated with traditional printing methodologies. Nano Ink has a number of features that set it apart from other types of ink, making it useful in a wide variety of settings. The following situations are just some of those in which the use of Nano Ink would be beneficial.
High-Tech and Complex Graphics
When high-tech and complex graphics must be printed, Nano Ink is the ideal choice. Nano Ink consists of ultra-sharp dots which sharpen the overall image and don’t bleed, leaving precise, defined edges. Nano Ink also offers the widest gamut of CMYK colors, allowing for more color variations and truer richness to precisely match existing graphics printed on other materials and meet an organization’s need for consistent branding.
With the technologies possible on the Internet rapidly expanding, today’s corporations are making use of highly complex graphics to supplement content and brand their online presences. Most organizations prefer a consistent look and feel across all branded materials. Nano Ink makes it possible to transition the same rich graphics from the Web to their print media, providing an indistinguishable branding experience for clients and customers.
Printing on Non-Traditional Media
Even the glossy magazines you see on stands everywhere can benefit from Nano Ink. That’s because Nano Ink allows the media it’s printed on to retain its original characteristics—meaning no interference resulting from the paper type, bleeding, swelling and other after-printing effects that can reduce the quality of images and change the look or feel of the media it’s printed on.
Wedding invitations, for example, are often constructed of unique paper variations. Traditional ink options sometimes don’t mesh well with various textures and glosses, leaving strange-looking fonts and graphics. Likewise, an organization wanting to create stand-out business cards on a different type of card stock would benefit from the precision offered by Nano Ink. The characteristics of the paper types used in either case wouldn’t change—meaning there is no minimized gloss or loss of texture after the printing process, maintaining the integrity of the intended look and feel.
Green Tech and Environmentally Friendly Companies
Any organization placing an emphasis on environmental friendliness and green technologies will appreciate the eco-friendly nature of Nano Ink. Using Nano Ink for printed materials means low energy consumption and zero emissions, features well aligned with the goals of modern green-friendly corporations. The use of Nano Ink can help reduce a company’s overall energy consumption, which can push them closer to meeting industry regulations or company-specific emissions and environmental goals.
For instance, a bottled water company using Nano Ink to print packaging can include these energy and emissions savings in advertised calculations. Printed materials can also list the use of Nano Ink as an environmentally friendly initiative.
Not only is Nano Ink eco-friendly, but it’s budget-friendly as well with the lowest costs of any type of digital printing. Many industries are in flux and under pressure today to make the most of existing assets and resources, so any cost-cutting measure is a welcome alternative. A small publisher shifting all its printing to Nano Ink can realize cost savings that can be invested in other areas to push the company forward. Healthcare providers printing patient education materials can reduce the associated costs, alleviating some of the burden of rapidly rising costs for supplies and equipment.
These few examples provide some insight into the variety of benefits offered by Nano Ink and the various situations in which this new digital printing technology makes sense. There are hundreds of examples of situations in which Nano Ink can be beneficial to both consumers and corporations. Coupled with the environmental benefits and cost savings, Nano Ink is a logical solution for a vast array of printing needs.
Ricky Soars writes for nano ink from landano.com a printing company that is always exploring new ways to make the printing industry more effect and efficient!
If you have been looking at purchasing a Samsung Galaxy handset, then the S2 and S3 mini are two very good options to look at. Both the phones come at a similar price range and that makes a comparison between the two a very useful topic for discussion. Here is a short and crisp comparison of the two phones.
Processor and Dimension
Let us first look at the specifications. The Galaxy S2 comes with a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor that powers this device with a large 4.3 inches display screen. In comparison, the Galaxy S3 mini is equipped with a 1Ghz dual-core processor and a 4.0 inch display screen. Notice how these core specs on the S3 Mini are slightly lower than the S2? That’s been a deliberate strategy to launch the Galaxy at a lower price for customers with a lower budget. The Galaxy S3 mini is available at a price of around $412 while the Samsung Galaxy S2 is priced at $492.
Perhaps the biggest reason why I would go for a Galaxy S2 and not a S3 mini is the camera. The former comes with an impressive 8 MP camera whereas the S3 Mini has a 5 Mp camera. A lot of experts would tell you that camera resolution is just one part and there are several other factors to decide camera quality. But considering that we are comparing two phone cameras from the same manufacturer, we could well ignore the other aspects of the camera that is likely to be similar on both the phones and just go with the resolution.
Here is the tricky part. The S2 runs on the older Gingerbread version of Android whereas the Galaxy S3 Mini runs on the newer Jellybean OS. A layman user may not find too many reasons to pick one OS over the other, but if you are a geek, then you would probably want to own a Jellybean Android phone rather than one running on Gingerbread.
So there you go – specs wise, the S2 is definitely the better phone. But if you have a lower budget or if you are picky about running the latest Android version, then the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini is what you should be going for.