Technology You Need To Build A Modern Workplace

Technology You Need To Build A Modern Workplace

The world experienced a business disruption like no other in 2020, in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic. At first, it hardly registered on business owners' radars, but it wasn't long before it radically altered the way we operate.

Nearly overnight, workers lost their 'security blanket' of desks, offices, filing cabinets, desk phones, computers, and servers. On top of this, many were no longer able to send information, or communicate securely.

Although most businesses were caught off guard by having to adapt to this new, modern workplace, those who adapted early remain in business and are reaping the rewards. Those who were slow, or reluctant, to adapt faced greater challenges in maintaining business continuity through the rapid shift to work from home.

Technology-You-need

What is clear is that waiting out the pandemic isn't going to work, and neither is planning to return to the early 2020 version of 'normal'. We are living through transformative times and going back to a traditional business model is no longer an option.

A modern workplace requires the latest business technology to remain competitive and effective. Today's leaders must understand how technology can change the workplace and what business problems it can solve. With the right set of technologies, businesses can take the crisis as an opportunity to build for the future. If you recognise your company has outdated systems and you have some catching up to do, the technologies below will help you create a modern, efficient, and more profitable workplace.

1. Business Process Automation (BPA)

Automation is a crucial element of any modern day business as it brings about increased efficiency and productivity in the workplace. Automation could take the shape of standard software applications that eliminate time-consuming manual processes, through to leading edge functions like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) that uses learning algorithms to produce reliable, repeatable decisions and results.

Automation is set to become even more widespread over the coming years, as technology evolves and becomes more accessible to a wider range of businesses. Key business disciplines that fall under the automation umbrella include workflow automation, Business Process Automation (BPA), and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

These all cut out routine, monotonous tasks like manual data entry, and free up employees' time so they can focus on more valuable tasks, while also eliminating human error and reducing costs.

2. Device as a Service (DaaS)

Many businesses operate a wide range of computers and mobile devices, which require different hardware and software maintenance and updates. This is an expensive and time-consuming process. Device as a Service (DaaS) is an increasingly popular model that modern businesses are adopting to seamlessly manage all their devices - from purchase through to disposal.

There are many benefits to outsourcing your device management. A key one is being able to match employees with the right device for their needs, without a big upfront investment. Another is having the flexibility to scale up or down as your business needs change, without having your cash tied up in devices.

3. Cloud technology

Cloud computing offers many benefits; it's a lot more than just a file storage tool. It can help your business reduce the time, expense, and stress associated with IT management, so you can allocate time and money to the parts of your business that really need them.

Aside from improving productivity and efficiency, cloud technology also removes the reliance on physical data storage and the limitations that come with it. Storing your data in the cloud allows you to take advantage of the scalability of cloud providers and the dedicated security staff that are protecting your cloud-based data around the clock. In a cloud-based environment, there's less risk of loss or theft, more flexibility and the ability to recover your data quickly in the event of a data loss or cyber-attack.

4. Unified communications

Every successful business owner or manager understands that communication is critical to getting jobs done well and on time. This is particularly true for the new generation of workers, who have grown up with access to the latest digital communications technology and expect this in their workplace.

Traditional communication tools tie workers to their desks and offices. New cloud-based office solutions let employees work wherever and whenever they want, using unified communications across multiple devices. This is increasingly important, as modern employees need and demand flexible and remote working arrangements, while still being able to collaborate with colleagues and maintain a positive workplace culture.

The future of business technology is already here

The pandemic has pushed businesses to a turning point where embracing technology is no longer an option but a necessity. It's safe to say that if you're not adapting your business to the modern way of working, you're not getting the most out of your people. Persevering with older business processes creates inefficiency and makes it difficult to attract and retain top talent and can stall your business growth.

It's ironic that, while many businesses delay upgrading their technology due to budget or time constraints, it's this very technology that holds the answer to their future success. Modern business technology can significantly increase productivity in your business, saving you time and money.

If you'd like to learn more about any of the technologies described above. We can help you understand how to incorporate them into your business to create a more productive and modern workplace.

Technology marches on: Make Sure your PBX follows

Technology marches on: Make Sure your PBX follows

Everyday, technology advances. Unfortunately, not everything marches with it. More and more businesses are still stuck on outdated PBX, or Private Branch Exchange, phone systems. But searching for the right phone system to support your growing business needs can be challenging.

Like any other technology, phone systems are constantly being improved and becoming smarter. With so many new features, it's difficult to keep up to date on what's available and how to make use of them. We've put together a guide with the latest features your business needs to boost office productivity while standing apart from your competition.

technology-marches-on-make-sure

Looking Out for Features: Basics to Keep in Mind

Regardless of the size of your business, ensure your search for a PBX has these basic features available:

Automated Attendant: Don't miss out on business with a cheerful voice to greet your customers and alert them that you'll be with them shortly.

Voicemail To Email: Never wait to check your voicemail in the office again, when you can just receive them as e-mails in file friendly audio format (WAV).

Mobile Twinning and Hot Desking: Link your office phone to a cell phone and receive calls anywhere without being tethered to your desk. Gain the freedom to move about as you please, without risking missing a call.

Call Parking and Holding: Have calls held on one phone and received on another. Never again have to worry about receiving a call at an inconvenient location and getting stuck there for the duration.

When choosing the features you need for your phone system, you should also consider hosted PBX or cloud PBX. While both solutions operate off-premise and connect through the Internet, hosted PBX is pay per seat - easy to scale up or down according to your business requirements.

LivePBX: The Advanced Solution

Introducing a hosted phone solution that delivers on all of the basic features plus a dozen of the latest, technologically-inclined capabilities.

Imagine, for a moment, that you're out of the office for the day and you've just missed a very important call on your desk phone. If you don't have a way to follow up immediately, then you're almost guaranteed to lose that lead and any business that it might have brought with it.

But with the LivePBX system, received voicemails can be automatically sent to your email or phone. You can even set your call to simultaneously ring on your desk and mobile, or set an auto-forwarding rule to patch the call straight through to your mobile, no matter where you are.

Below, you'll find just some of the features that makes LivePBX stand out from any other system.

  • Locally Hosted: With everything hosted and supported locally within Australia, help will be there when you need it. We have a 24/7 support line open for any problems that require immediate solutions.
  • Tailored Solutions: Any sort of problem or issue can be tackled by one of solutions experts. If it's not covered here, we can tailor a solution specifically for  your business.
  • Scalability: Whether it's adding multiple sites to your Hosted platform, adding handsets for a home office, soft phones for your field staff, or scaling from 2 users to 1,000 and beyond, you won't find anything lacking in our scaling capabilities.
  • Versatility: Our solutions integrate seamlessly with a wide range of soft phones, fixed IP phones, and even wireless devices such as Wi-Fi or DECT (cordless handsets).
  • Convenience: Moving your office to a new location can often be an inconvenient and costly exercise, especially if you want to retain your phone numbers. Our Kloud offers the flexibility of retaining your existing business number for far less than our competitors: only $10, with no overcharging.
  • LivePBX SoftPhone: Softphones (software that allows you to use your smartphone, tablet, or computer as a phone to place, receive, and transfer calls over the internet) offer unprecedented amounts of flexibility and mobility to your sales and staff. It's a highly sought after feature for any company that involves large amounts of external staff, while still allowing you to present an advertised singular office number.

 

 

  • Call Centre Platform: For those clients that need a more powerful tool for advanced real time requirements in managing their call handling platforms. This service includes display boards and monitoring campaigns, and is better suited for clients requiring real time analysis and monitoring, along with reporting and management.
  • Service Level Agreements: The LivePBX - Base Platform - Express (2 Core/4GB RAM/50GB HDD) is hosted in our secure government-based tier 3 Data Centre, continually monitored within our advanced LiveOffice environment. Our onshore support team is available to assist with issues between 7AM and 7PM on weekdays. Alternatively, any issues encountered outside of these hours can be logged 24/7.
  • Call Reporting: A simple but powerful tool for business owners struggling with call handling. A Graphic User Interface is used to show missed or abandoned calls, and call handling times for office/app using staff.
  • Hosted or Cloud Unified Communications: eliminates disjointed, multi-vendor communications. Have all of your communications integrated into a single platform.
  • CRM Integration: deliver a personalised customer experience by having customer information at your fingertips. Streamline call logging and reduce time spent on manual data entry.

Is SaaS a managed service?

cloud-computing-technology-jargonbuster-02
Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Difference Between SaaS & Managed Service?

    Small and medium-sized businesses these days have various kinds of services available to them in terms of handling any IT-related needs. Managed IT services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) enable you to handle complex technical areas without the added cost of upkeep and installation, on-call staff, and software engineering.

    Besides, these outsourced services minimize the costs involved in carrying regular IT tasks and the implementation of certain applications. In this blog, we will tackle the differences between managed IT services and SaaS and how both resources can help elevate your business. Not that long ago, if an organization needed software, they would call the software provider, get them to deliver a bunch of CDs and license keys, load the product on their systems and then start using it. But with the advent of the cloud and continually evolving business models, much has changed. And let's be honest, it's sometimes confusing. Nowhere is this confusion more apparent than in the realm of the difference between managed services and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

    In recent years, swift technological developments have changed the business and information technology domain. For non-technical business owners who are struggling to stay up-to-date with the latest technological advances, this is both good news and bad news. There are two solutions that businesses can outsource to save themselves from confusion. These are managed services and software as a service (SaaS) model. 

    Organizations of all sizes are adopting these solutions to beat the costs and hassles of managing their IT systems and using traditional packaged applications. There are essential differences between these two outsourced models. In this article, we will be tackling these differences between managed services vs. SaaS that every organization needs to understand and some tips on which model works best for an organization's specific needs. 

    What is Software-as-a-Service, and why do businesses love it?

    If your business has ever used any product through the cloud, then it has used SaaS. Take Gmail, for instance. The search giant's email service is, technically, SaaS because it's software that's distributed through the cloud: you can access your Gmail account on any internet-connected device at any location.

    In general, SaaS refers to services delivered through the cloud that your company pays for. Office 365 from Microsoft, for instance, is SaaS, because the company provides it through the cloud and charges firms a subscription fee for the privilege of using it, depending on the number of users.

    Top reasons to implement a SaaS model:

     

      • Reduced Time To Implementation. It can take a long time to install a new software update on a legacy system. But with SaaS, you can start using a service immediately through the cloud: there's often no delay at all.
      • Lower Costs. When installing software on legacy systems, firms not only have to pay for the software itself but the time and expense of installing it. Cloud-based solutions avoid all of this, leading to lower costs overall.
      • Scalability. Cloud-based services can scale as business scales. The cost of purchasing ten licenses for Office 365, for instance, is much lower than buying one hundred.
      • Easy To Use. The app-like nature of most SaaS solutions means that you don't have to invest so much time and money training staff to use features effectively. Many services are highly intuitive and self-explanatory.

     

    Managed Services vs. SaaS

    Managed services are different. While SaaS provides companies with software that they can use over the cloud (with all of the attendant benefits), managed services go a step further. They often offer additional support by taking care of both networking and hardware requirements.

    Take SIEM software, for instance. SIEM software might be a SaaS if the developer provides it through the cloud. Still, it doesn't qualify as a managed service until another third-party company takes over things like monitoring from in-house IT staff. A fully-managed security solution, like BitLyft's partnership with LogRhythm, would not only provide a firm with SIEM software but also have a dedicated SOC with trained analysts processing security logs and events.

    Customer relationship management tools also provide an excellent example of the difference between SaaS and managed services. A company like Salesforce offers CRM as SaaS. Salesforce allows companies to access their CRM facilities through cloud portals, charging them a fee depending on the number of users (for instance, the number of customer reps at a real estate agency). Salesforce's CRM services only become managed services when clients outsource tasks like communicating with customers or analyzing CRM data to Salesforce itself. Salesforce certifications are required to offer such services. Suddenly, SaaS turns into a managed service which takes over the human component.

    Managed services can also go further than managing software and help businesses on the hardware side too. Suppose, for instance, that a firm outsources the task of maintaining security on its IT network to a third-party firm. That third-party firm might do things like event reporting and threat detection, but it could also offer firms support to upgrade and improve their hardware. A managed security company, for instance, could recommend that a firm switch out its ailing servers and replace them with services rendered through the cloud. Managed services, therefore, are more comprehensive than SaaS, and can spur the transformation of the overall company IT strategy.

    Managed Services vs. SaaS: Defining the terms 

    Managed IT services are IT tasks provided by a third-party vendor to a customer - this can be businesses of all sizes. The managed service provider has the responsibility to maintain the IT operations of the organization that avails the service. There are different types of managed services, but it all boils down to the transfer of IT management from the customer to the service provider. 

    On the other hand, the software as a service model is a category of cloud computing alongside infrastructure as a service and platform as a service model. The SaaS model involves software distribution in which a third-party vendor hosts, maintains and upgrades applications that are available to customers via the Internet. If an organization has ever utilized any software from the cloud, then it has used SaaS. 

     

    The software as a service model might be a good fit for businesses that have full commitment to staff their IT infrastructure but need outsourced applications to have cutting edge services and be on the next level. In short, the businesses that will get the most advantage out of SaaS are those that have existing IT infrastructure. On the other hand, managed IT service providers collaborate with their customers and provide IT expertise and pre-built IT infrastructure. There are also remote IT service providers that fully maintain and control their customers' IT operations so that these customers will focus on more critical business projects and processes. 

    Managed Services vs. SaaS: The Cost 

    Many companies love the SaaS model because it provides a low-cost alternative to traditional software solutions. It offers businesses the flexibility to scale up or down and implement the latest products without having to experience expensive processes. On the other hand, managed IT services are more expensive. Although the methods are costly, managed services offer far more comprehensive operations and solutions. Managed service providers can provide support in integrating, maintaining, and upgrading software to give a better flow of work. 

    There are different types of pricing models for managed IT services and SaaS. Let's start with managed services pricing models that are most popular for businesses. These are the following: Per-user, per-device, monitoring only, and tiered pricing models. 

      • Per-User pricing model typically charges a monthly flat rate per end user. It covers IT support on all user devices and is a straightforward pricing model that can help minimize the guesswork.
      • Another pricing model for remote IT services is the per-device option. This provides a flat rate for each type of supported device. For example, a basic per-device pricing model may assign a monthly flat rate of $99 per managed network, $29 per network printer, $299 per server, and $69 per desktop. This pricing model makes the pricing structure simple and more comfortable to give customers a quotation or estimate of the cost.
      • Monitoring only pricing model is another option for utilizing managed services. Managed service providers are in charge only of monitoring the network and alerting their customers. Customers are billed for remediation tasks identified through monitoring.
      • Lastly, one of the most popular pricing models is the tiered pricing option. This model sells bundled packages of IT services. The price increases as the business avail more services. This option is the most flexible pricing model for remote IT services. 

     

    The software as a service solution also has different pricing models popular to businesses, and these are as follows: flat rate, usage-based, tiered, and per-user pricing models. 

      • The simplest pricing model for SaaS is the flat rate option. SaaS providers offer a single price, a single product, and a single set of features. This is billed monthly and has similarities to the software licensing model before the cloud existed.
      • The usage-Based pricing model is also known as Pay as You Go model. This pricing option relates to the cost of SaaS products to its users. If businesses use more of the product, the bill increases and if they use smaller, the fee decreases.
      • Another option is the tiered pricing model. This allows for multiple-package offers, with different combinations of features charged at various price points.
      • Lastly, the per-user pricing model is the go-to SaaS pricing option. It's popular because of its simplicity. A single user spends a monthly flat rate; add another user, and the cost doubles and so on. 

     

    Managed Services vs. SaaS: Services offered 

    The most common services offered when using remote IT services are remote monitoring and management of servers, desktops, and mobile devices. Remote monitoring and management are usually the foundational services provided by managed service providers. However, there are also other services offered. One popular option is the managed security services since businesses demand IT security support from their remote service providers. Following this, service providers have been developing practices when it comes to IT security. They have also been partnering with third-party vendors that specialize in cybersecurity. 

    Remote IT services have also progressed to provide cloud services with the advent of cloud computing. In other words, it can offer one of the categories of cloud computing, which is SaaS. 

    On the other hand, SaaS offers two standard service models: the hosted application management model and the software on-demand model. In a hosted application management model, the provider hosts the customer's software and with the use of the Internet, delivers the software to approved end-users. In the software on-demand model, the SaaS provider offers customers access to a single copy of a software that the provider created particularly for SaaS distribution. The source code of the software is the same for all the users. When there are new functionalities or features, these are rolled out to all the users. 

    There are specific SaaS applications for essential business activities and tasks, such as sales management, customer relationship management, email, financial management, billing, and collaboration. 

     

    Managed Services vs SaaS: Security 

    Every business investment carries certain risks. Perhaps the most significant asset to any organization is the assurance of cybersecurity. 

    Remote IT services offer different benefits to keep an organization's data secure. These benefits include constant remote monitoring and the creation of relevant reports to inform the organization about the state of its system. Another security benefit is the supply of compliance assistance, risk assessment and correlation analyses to keep a steady overview of the activities of the network. 

    With SaaS, on the other hand, the customers don't have complete control over their data since the data is hosted in the cloud. Although a customer has the advantage of accessing SaaS applications anywhere with the use of the Internet, the customer must perform a security review of the application before subscribing, especially when it is deployed on a public cloud. 

    Managed Services vs SaaS: Stability and Predictability 

    One of the most promising things that managed IT services offer is their stability. Unlike the break/fix model where an IT professional is only available when there is an issue, managed IT service providers have a 24/7 availability and prevent all issues from happening. 

    In the SaaS model, on the other hand, data portability can be the problem. The situation can become unpredictable and unstable. What happens to an organization's data stored in the cloud if the SaaS providers go bankrupt? Unfortunately, this is one of the risks an organization needs to take when opting for a SaaS solution. 

    Managed Services vs SaaS: Scalability 

    Businesses grow, and their needs change. At some point, the solution business has invested in may be necessarily changed or updated. Scalability and flexibility are vital to any business using different IT solutions. 

    With remote IT services, an organization doesn't have to worry about switching up approach as it gets bigger because a managed service provider is already setup to do just that seamlessly. They can address day-to-day IT issues, maintain and monitor the network or system, and help an organization plan for future needs when it comes to technology. 

    SaaS solutions usually reside in scalable cloud environments that can integrate with other SaaS offerings. Using SaaS, users don't have to buy another server or software as compared to traditional models. SaaS applications are scalable by enabling an organization to choose the delivery model and changing it when the requirements of the business change. With SaaS, it is easier to turn on an additional set of components, integrate to other systems, and get new application users. 

    Managed Services vs SaaS: Updates and Upgrades

    For managed IT services, there are basics services offered for upgrading the system. This includes software updates, patches, and upgrades for servers and desktops. Any machines covered by the agreement with the service provider have an automatic you updates run on schedule. Organizations availing these services don't have to worry about the time it takes to check for updates and apply necessary patches. Updating and upgrading happen automatically using managed IT services. 

    For SaaS model, upgrades are also done automatically by the service provider. The SaaS provider ensures that organizations they are partnering with have the most up-to-date version of the software. This is done without having to re-customize or reimplement any of the preset features. Service level agreements between the SaaS provider and the availing organization typically includes frequent, automatic, and frequent upgrades as part of the subscription.

    Managed Services vs SaaS: Availability and Accessibility

    With the right managed IT, service provider, 24/7 help is available, which means all-day and all-night services are provided. This also includes weekends, holidays, and in the middle of the night. This kind of IT support provides and ensures a superior level of productivity for the availing organization, regardless of the time and date. 

    On the other hand, the SaaS model can be available and accessed in all locations with an Internet connection. This is unlike licensed software that provides limited access because it is dedicated only to a specific number of devices and can't be accessed using foreign computers. Location is not only the advantage of SaaS when it comes to accessibility. SaaS model is compatible across multiple devices, and this advantage increases mobility and independence.

    Though the cost for a SaaS application is often much less than for a managed service application, users pay for up-close attention, maintenance and support, seamless upgrades, and customization that MSPs can offer. When weighing one model against the other, first consider how integral the software you're purchasing is to your organization.

    Some applications may be vital to the organization but may not need much differentiation from those used by competitors, and a SaaS is fine here too, he adds. The customer relationship management (CRM) application Salesforce is one example. For areas of the business that need customized software or software that must be tightly integrated with other areas, consider the hands-on help an MSP can offer.

    But as great a solution as SaaS can be, it only applies to your software headaches - and if you need to customize your software heavily, it may not even go that far. A managed services plan, on the other hand, does much more than merely handle your software logistics. Managed services also include taking care of all your hardware and networking needs (by dealing with multiple vendors, so you don't have to). Still, they can also include everything from regular backups to troubleshooting and repair. It costs more, but it's worth it - so contact us and get the details!

    Is it better to buy or lease a copier?

    5-reasons-why-your-managed-print-service-01
    Table of Contents
      Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

      Owning a copy machine can be a financial burden for many Australian small businesses. Aside from supply costs and maintenance fees, coming up with the initial capital to purchase the copier can stretch operational budgets beyond profitable limits. Copy machine leasing helps ease the up-front monetary investment and may provide a number of other attractive benefits.

      Purchasing an office copier outright will cost $1,500 for a low-end copier (20 PPM) up to $50,000 for a very high-end copier (60 PPM). Leasing a $10,000 copier may cost you $12,500 for a 60-month lease. Some leasing companies will offer a $1 buyout option.

      Should you buy or lease your next office copier?

      Ever heard the saying, "The devil is in the details?" Well, this famous saying applies to your business processes and strategies, and how your office technology operates, such as your office copiers.

      As a business owner or even an office manager, part of your responsibilities includes being financially savvy while making sure your staff has the equipment needed to perform their jobs efficiently, such as an office copier. You've probably put a great deal of thought into the phone system, computers, and the management software, but what about your office's copier? With so much online technology these days, the thought of an office copier may seem outdated. Before you subscribe to this train of thought, take a journey with me.

      What are the Differences Between Buying and Purchasing an Office Copier?

      The main difference between purchasing and buying an office copier is the financial investment. When you buy a copier, you incur a more significant upfront cost if you buy the machine outright.

      However, once the copy machine is paid off, you are own the device and are free to do with it what you wish. If you lease a copier, you essentially make payments for the right to use the machine for the duration of your contract.

      It's easier to keep up with technology and update your machine from time-to-time when you lease an office copier. If you purchase an office copier, you must keep the copier for a more extended period of time to financially make sense.

      Leasing a copier means you do not have the burden or worry of servicing the machine or making expensive repairs should it breakdown. When you own the device, you are responsible for all maintenance and repair expenses.

      It is much like owning a house versus renting a home. If you're renting a house and your water heater goes out, you quickly place a call to your landlord to replace it. However, if you own the home, the replacement of the water heater becomes your responsibility.

      When you purchase a multifunction printer, you can use it as you wish. However, if you lease an office copier, there may be certain restrictions in place as to how you can use the machine.

      Consider of Buying or Leasing a Copier

       

      Capital

      Small businesses seldom have unlimited capital at their disposal. Saving financial resources for exploring business opportunities and for making purchases that appreciate over time is far more important than investing in office technology that will only lose value. Avoiding big assets like copy machines keep bank lines of credit available for more significant business needs. Lease agreements may even include the cost of supplies, further reducing the initial payout.

      Budgeting

      Leasing a copier can alleviate budgeting concerns. Instead of making one large payment at the time of purchase, leasing a copier establishes a set schedule of much smaller payments, enabling you to better arrange financial resources. You may even choose the length and terms of your lease arrangement to offer the most payment flexibility. Changes in interest rates also do not affect the established payment amounts.

      Taxes

      Copier leasing provides a distinct tax advantage over copier purchasing. If you buy a copier, you may only deduct the machine's depreciation, which is typically 40 per cent of the purchasing price the first year and then 25 per cent of the purchasing price in subsequent years. However, if you lease a copier, the lease payment is considered a pre-tax business expense, meaning you can deduct the entire payment each time it's made.

      Technology

      Copier machines depreciate over time, losing value due to use and to the constant introduction of newer, better technology. If your business purchases a copier, you can only upgrade in technology by investing in another new machine. You would also need to get rid of the previous model, adding to your time expenditures. In contrast, most copier lease agreements have options to upgrade the copier at a predetermined date. Such lease arrangements enable your business to always be in line with the newest office technology. Avoiding obsolescence also means more efficient copying since newer machines have lower per-page costs. Efficiency translates to increased profit and a greater return on your lease investment.

      Buying a Copier

      Every business needs a copier. The question is - should you buy or lease one?

      Purchasing a copier appeals to those who want full control over the machine and its maintenance. You decide when to have the machine serviced and how long to keep it. There is no contract detailing how the machine should be used because it is your property.

      Cost to Buy a Copy Machine

      Copier prices vary widely based upon the type of machine you select. The machine's printing capacity has the largest impact on price.

        • Low-end copiers capable of printing about 20 pages per minute (ppm) and 10,000 copies per month start at about $1,500.
        • Mid-volume copiers capable of handling up to 35 ppm can cost as much as $10,000.
        • High-end copiers that can handle 60 ppm or more can run up to $50,000. An only very large business requires this kind of speed.

       

      Pros of Buying a Copier Outright

       

        • Cheaper in the long run - Buying is always cheaper than leasing in the long term because you avoid finance charges. Think of it much like buying a car: You can save thousands of dollars by paying cash upfront and avoiding interest.
        • Less paperwork - Buying a copier is relatively straightforward. Just hand over the cash, and the deal is done. Leasing involves an application process and providing the leasing company with detailed financial information. Your company will also be subject to a credit check.
        • Tax-deductible - The entire cost of a new equipment purchase is tax-deductible. With a lease, you can only deduct the total amount of the monthly payments for that year.

      Advantages

      From a financial standpoint, when you buy an office copier, it is cheaper in the long-run. If you keep it long enough, you will recoup your investment. You do not have to worry about any stipulations pertaining to how much and in which ways you can use your copier.

      May be less expensive. Depending on the expected lifetime of the machine, purchased printer benefits may be less expensive. This isn't always the case, so be sure to crunch those numbers with the help of a qualified sales rep. They'll be able to calculate the copier's expected lifetime against the maintenance packages that are best suited to the business and usage volume.

      May be able to recoup some of the cost later. From an accounting standpoint, a printer can be depreciated over time. Also, as long as the company doesn't wait until their printer is falling apart, they will most likely be able to sell it to recoup some of their initial costs. It's worth noting that technology is changing all the time, so reselling copiers is not always possible.

      Cons of Buying a Copier Outright

        • Depreciation - Much like computers, copiers lose most of their value in just a few short years. An expensive, high-end copier won't garner much profit when it comes time to resell it.
        • Obsolescence - Technology changes rapidly. Five years from now, your state-of-the-art copier will be out of date. But if you've invested a lot of money in the copier, you may not be able to replace it as often as you'd like. Older copiers also tend to have higher per-page printing costs.

      Disadvantages

      When you purchase an office copier, you now assume full responsibility for the machine. Your business is responsible for all of the service and maintenance.

      Sometimes, purchasing a copier requires a more significant initial expenditure than a company can manage all at once. Buying the machine may price them out of the maintenance package they need, requiring them to pay for costly maintenance out-of-pocket.

      Whether the copier becomes obsolete, repairs become too expensive, or the company has outgrown their copier, the time will come when it will need to be replaced. The cost of replacing the machine altogether can be a significant concern for many businesses.

      For those organizations with multiple locations, it may be difficult to maintain cost consistency because the copiers will be different at each location. This also means maintenance costs will fluctuate wildly. When purchasing is centralized, and all locations get the same equipment and same technology, it's easier to measure successes and failures and budget for each branch.

      Cost of Leasing a Copier

      The cost of a lease varies based on the type of copier you choose, your credit history and the length of the lease. A $10,000 copier might cost $10,500 if you spread the payments over 12 months and $12,500 if you spread the payments over 60 months or five years.

      Most leasing companies also offer a $1 buyout option. For a few extra dollars per month, you have the option to purchase the equipment at the end of the lease term for just $1, rather than fair market value.

      Pros of Leasing a Copier

      Choosing to lease an office copier means signing a contract for a set amount of time in which the company loans you a copier of your choosing. Leasing an office copier is much different from buying one because you don't own the machine at any point in time. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to leasing.

        • Lower upfront costs - Leases rarely require a down payment, so you can acquire the latest technology without shelling out a lot of cash. This is especially useful for small business that does not have a lot of cash flow.
        • Predictable monthly payments - Knowing exactly how much you'll pay each month for the copier is helpful for budgeting purposes.
        • Option to upgrade - When the lease term expires, you can trade-in your old copier for a newer model with better technology.

      Advantages

      When you lease an office copier, the upfront cost is less expensive because you typically pay in monthly instalments. Service, maintenance, and repairs are handled and paid for by the company you are leasing the copier from. Leasing a copier also allows you to stay up-to-date with the latest technology.

      Cons of Leasing a Copier

        • Higher long-term costs - A $5,500 copier could end up costing around $7,000 if you spread the payments over five years. You'll pay more in the long run when you lease a copier instead of buying it outright.
        • Strict terms - It's difficult to get out of a lease, even if your needs change. Once you sign the agreement, you're stuck making the payments for the remainder of the term, even if the equipment is not being used. You'll also be required to adhere to the leasing company's maintenance requirements, which can get expensive.

      Disadvantages

      Leasing an office copier means that you do not ever actually own it, which means there isn't a payoff amount, at which time payments stop. Depending on your contract, there may be certain restrictions as to the usage of the machine.

      When Looking for a Dealer or Manufacturer?

      When finding the right model for your needs, you may be stuck on whether to purchase your printer through a major retailer or through a local dealer.

       

      Service

      When it comes to printer repair service, local dealers come out ahead. If your printer breaks and needs repairs, a major retailer like Officeworks will usually have you ship it away for fixes, which means you could potentially be waiting upwards of a month. Along with being slow, this type of service can also be costly since you pay for a one-time job.

      Local dealers build service pricing into your contract, which makes any repairs easier to budget for. Additionally, since your local dealer's shop is located nearby, they can usually send a technician to your location to fix your machine that same day.

      Convenience

      Although you may not be as familiar with a local dealer as you are with major retailers, the process of selecting and ordering a printer can be just as convenient with either type of seller. Usually, you can visit a major retailer and a local dealer's building to test different models in-person.

      Price

      While a printer from a major retailer can be cheaper, the prices they charge for cartridges can be as much as five times more expensive than local dealers. Both major retailers and local dealers can negotiate with you for lower prices on machines, but local dealers can keep cartridge prices much lower.

      Local dealers try to maintain margins through their service contracts, which is why they value keeping cartridge prices low in an effort to consistently have business with a customer. Major retailers know that a customer may only need a cartridge every few months, which is why they charge so much.

      Additionally, when factoring price into the purchase of a printer, consider downtime costs. If your printer purchased from a major retailer breaks, you may be out of a printer for a month while you ship away your printer for repairs. The costs associated with this scenario can quickly add up, as opposed to a local dealer who can usually fix your printer that day.

      If you don't print that often and business operations wouldn't be greatly hindered from printer downtime, a major retailer could make more economic sense if their machine prices are lower.

      Buy Or Lease An Office Copier?

      Most businesses opt to lease a copier because the upfront expense is minimal. However, leasing is more expensive than purchasing a copier outright so it may make more financial sense to buy your copier if you have the cash flow available.

      There is much online equipment lease vs buy calculators available to help you with your decision. You should get price quotes for both leasings and buying a copier and then use these calculators to weigh your option.

      Every business will want to make the best decision for their budget, current needs, and the foreseeable future of their copy and printing needs. All Copy Products (ACP) is dedicated to ensuring every client gets exactly what they need for their growing business. ACP's long-time experience gives them insight into what may be best for their clients, now and in the future. They can also help their customers calculate the impact on their bottom line, whether leasing or buying so that they can make an informed decision about their custom copier solution. ACP cares about client satisfaction and builds that into everything they do, whether answering questions, clarifying terms, or helping someone optimize their office solutions for the lowest cost and highest efficiency.

      Is 5G safe?

      office Is 5G safe?

      Already live in a handful of areas across Australia, 5G is the next generation of high-speed mobile data. Optus and Telstra have already switched on 5G in some areas, and are currently on an expansion program to cover the whole country. It's expected that Vodafone's 5G network will go live in 2020.

      is-5g-really-safe

      The 5G network harnesses a new technology known as the millimeter wave (mmWave) for super-fast data speeds. Despite the benefits and convenience this technology promises (for both businesses and consumers), many are still sceptical of the health risks it may cause.

      Is 5G safe? This is a question that lingers in the minds of many, particularly those that spend a lot of time online via the wireless network. A big health concern people have is whether the network's radio frequency (RF) radiation will cause the growth of cancerous tumours.

      4G Vs 5G

      5G is the new network technology that follows the 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution).  While 4G LTE operates up to 6GHz, 5G is capable of handling anywhere between 30GHz and 300GHz - essentially, a leap in speed and making data transfer comparatively faster.


      Similar to the 4G network you might be connected to right now, concerns like the equipment you are using to connect, network congestion, and strength of the signal will also affect the 5G network.


      You'll definitely want to upgrade when you hear this: according to Optus, its 5G home wireless service has achieved an average download speed of 100Mbps and peak download speeds of 295Mbps.


      Meanwhile, Telstra has achieved speeds of 1,200Mbps (1.2Gbps) at its offices in the city on a Galaxy 510 5G. However, this was the only device connected to the network at testing time. Meaning that when network congestion occurs during high demand period, the speed can be slightly lower.


      Compared to 4G, these speeds are still relatively higher. In real-world, 4G attains download speed of between 20Mbps and 50Mbps. Currently, the NBN can only achieve a maximum download speed of 100Mbps.


      What 5G Dangers Is The Internet Claiming?

      Many Australians are currently worried about the 5G network's 'cost' on public health, but is there really cause for concern?


      The fear for 5G followed a Change.org petition that called for the postponement of the 5G network rollout. It called on the Senate to launch an inquiry to review the safety of 5G frequency in phones.


      5G network relies on RF to transmit and receive data. RF radiation is a form of electromagnetic energy consisting of waves of both magnetic and electrical energy moving through space.


      Mobile phone radiation is at the lowest end of the electromagnetic spectrum, meaning they are safer than high-energy radiations such as gamma rays and X-rays.


      RF radiation has lower energy. The energy it has is only enough to vibrate or move atoms in a molecule, but cannot ionise it. But really, what does that actually mean? RF radiation cannot damage DNA and hence it cannot cause cancer. Sounds encouraging.


      With So Much Flying Around In The Air, What About Other Wireless Networks?

      In a study conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), lab rats were exposed to high 2G RF radiation and 3G RF radiation, and was later found to have developed cancerous tumours. Although the results are alarming, the level of radiation during the study was much higher than the normal exposure level during phone usage.


      In the last two decades, scientists have conducted a large number of studies to establish whether there's any health risk associated with mobile phone use. Many of these studies have tried to find a link between mobile phone use and the cancers of the brain and head including acoustic neuroma, glioma, and meningioma.


      All the studies we've found so far have not shown any clear evidence of a relationship between cancer and mobile phone use. That's a relief, right?


      To put your worries completely to rest, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) noted that the current RF radiations from mobile phones are within acceptable safety limits. The NTP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have also not classified RF radiation as carcinogenic.


      All this means is there's nothing to suggest 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G RF radiations are a significant health risk. Phones are safe to use and you should be thinking of switching to 5G soon!


      Innovational Uses For Telematics Solutions

      construction-site-vic-trucks-assets-1024x683

      Best Uses For Telematics In Modern Businesses

      Telematics is wireless communication between devices.

      But in terms of auto insurance, it can mean so much more. Drivers with telematic features might be eligible for significant discounts on auto insurance, which is an exciting advancement considering the concept of telematics was born more than a decade ago.

      Converting driving information to a premium is easier than ever with today's technology. Insurers gather data from a small in-car tracking device that records miles are driven, acceleration, braking, turns, speed and time of day. Your premium depends on this data, which means if you're a careful driver, you can save big bucks.

      Monitoring & Managing Speed 

      Managing drivers by using optimization software is a simple means to gain efficient operation of the asset.

      "If a driver can no longer break top speeds or jackrabbit start, your repair and maintenance costs go down. It's also essential to help drive and track costs for employees in the field to a job. Pairing Derive optimization with our telematics solution to ensure the speed is capped and reviewing fuel metrics of before and after," said Charlie Mahoney, business development at Derive Systems.

      A recalibration is a valuable tool most fleet professionals are not familiar with.

      "Think about your smartphone: just as you make adjustments for the way you utilize your phone, your vehicle is no different. Setting fleet-specific thresholds essentially drive the change from the vehicle - not the driver. This means less progressive disciplinary events and helps ensure compliance regardless of your driver turnover," Mahoney added.

      Assisting with Industry Specific Needs

      It's often said, but for a good reason - not all fleets are the same, even within the same vocation or industry. Being able to monitor needs specific to your industry is invaluable.

      "In the instance of waste, capturing the status of bins - whether they're locked, overflowing, etc., is one solution," said Adam Kahn, president of Netradyne. "Also, tracking where trucks are is important, so fleets can keep customers informed."

      Fleet Managers have been using telematics to look at trends and make more informed decisions to optimize their fleet.

      "Telematics solutions can be used to spot training opportunities for operators. We had a fleet that saw an outlier in the way one truck's crane was used. With further investigation, it was found an operator wasn't using his crane remote efficiently, and they were able to correct this, resulting in easier use for the operator," said Adam Oppermann, product manager for Stellar Industries Inc.

      Tracking Weather Conditions 

      Another innovative use of a video intelligence solution is using the cameras to get a glance at real-time weather conditions on the road.

      "For example, if a driver is out in severe weather, a manager can hit the 'test camera' button on the back end of the system to visually check on the weather they're dealing with, where they may be stuck, etc.," said Jim Angel, vice president of Video Intelligence Solutions for Trimble Transportation.

      Ensuring Solo Driver Safety

      Truck fleet drivers often work solo and ensuring their safety can be more difficult.

      "Trimble's Out-of-Truck notification uses geofencing and vehicle GPS location data to keep workers safe when working alone. When a remote worker arrives at a field site and leaves the truck, a timer starts, and if they don't check back in at the truck before the timer goes off, a loud siren goes off on the vehicle. If needed, the system also sends a distress message through the wireless network to the safety manager, who can then use the vehicle's location to provide detail to additional resources, such as an area manager or emergency response services," said Angel of Trimble Transportation.

      A video is a great tool for new drivers.

      "After drivers have their training with a trainer in the cab, the video serves as an additional step for training. It is an "onboard coach" for drivers, allowing for real-time communication and collaboration between the driver and fleet manager during the workday," said Kahn of Netradyne.

       

      Beyond Traditional Geofencing

      Geofencing is a virtual fence that can be created around a physical location, such as a city's border or even a job site.

      "Fleet managers who set these up can receive alerts when vehicles or assets cross the invisible geofence border. Some businesses have set up geofences around toll roads, so the back office always knows when a company vehicle pays a toll and can begin the reporting and processing steps immediately. This helps save the business time tracking down the tolls drivers pay and ensure that the business expense is accounted for," said Kevin Aries, head of global product success for Verizon Connect.

      Keeping Track of Equipment

      Bluetooth-enabled smart sensors can be paired with smart IoT devices to keep track of high-value service vehicles, equipment, and tools throughout a Jobsite or yard.

      "Gone are the headaches associated with manual equipment tracking and a difficult recovery process that involves costly law enforcement, legal assistance, and claims professionals. CalAmp iOn Tag service, for example, sends real-time alerts to drivers if a piece of equipment was left behind. This provides an enterprise-wide view of drivers, service vehicles, and related assets. Operations managers can reduce time spent retrieving assets as well as prevent unauthorized use of equipment," said Jeff Clark, senior vice president of Product Management for CalAmp.

      From a theft prevention standpoint, one fleet affixed "Powered by BlackBerry Radar" decals on the container doors of each of its trailers that showcase Radar's cargo sensor, GPS locator, and door alert capabilities.

      "The idea behind this is the same reason why many people have 'Beware of Dog' and alarm company signs on their lawns - by letting people know that you have a security system, intruders might think twice about targeting you. Matson's deployment marked the first time that a BlackBerry Radar customer has visibly branded their assets in this way to let people know that they use our smart, IoT-based monitoring tool to reduce theft and improve fleet utilization and operational efficiency," noted Christopher Plaat, SVP and GM for BlackBerry Radar.

      Best Uses For Telematics In Modern Businesses

      Telematics is wireless communication between devices.

      But in terms of auto insurance, it can mean so much more. Drivers with telematic features might be eligible for significant discounts on auto insurance, which is an exciting advancement considering the concept of telematics was born more than a decade ago.

      Converting driving information to a premium is easier than ever with today's technology. Insurers gather data from a small in-car tracking device that records miles are driven, acceleration, braking, turns, speed and time of day. Your premium depends on this data, which means if you're a careful driver, you can save big bucks.

      Monitoring & Managing Speed 

      Managing drivers by using optimization software is a simple means to gain efficient operation of the asset.

      "If a driver can no longer break top speeds or jackrabbit start, your repair and maintenance costs go down. It's also essential to help drive and track costs for employees in the field to a job. Pairing Derive optimization with our telematics solution to ensure the speed is capped and reviewing fuel metrics of before and after," said Charlie Mahoney, business development at Derive Systems.

      A recalibration is a valuable tool most fleet professionals are not familiar with.

      "Think about your smartphone: just as you make adjustments for the way you utilize your phone, your vehicle is no different. Setting fleet-specific thresholds essentially drive the change from the vehicle - not the driver. This means less progressive disciplinary events and helps ensure compliance regardless of your driver turnover," Mahoney added.

      Assisting with Industry Specific Needs

      It's often said, but for a good reason - not all fleets are the same, even within the same vocation or industry. Being able to monitor needs specific to your industry is invaluable.

      "In the instance of waste, capturing the status of bins - whether they're locked, overflowing, etc., is one solution," said Adam Kahn, president of Netradyne. "Also, tracking where trucks are is important, so fleets can keep customers informed."

      Fleet Managers have been using telematics to look at trends and make more informed decisions to optimize their fleet.

      "Telematics solutions can be used to spot training opportunities for operators. We had a fleet that saw an outlier in the way one truck's crane was used. With further investigation, it was found an operator wasn't using his crane remote efficiently, and they were able to correct this, resulting in easier use for the operator," said Adam Oppermann, product manager for Stellar Industries Inc.

      Tracking Weather Conditions 

      Another innovative use of a video intelligence solution is using the cameras to get a glance at real-time weather conditions on the road.

      "For example, if a driver is out in severe weather, a manager can hit the 'test camera' button on the back end of the system to visually check on the weather they're dealing with, where they may be stuck, etc.," said Jim Angel, vice president of Video Intelligence Solutions for Trimble Transportation.

      Ensuring Solo Driver Safety

      Truck fleet drivers often work solo and ensuring their safety can be more difficult.

      "Trimble's Out-of-Truck notification uses geofencing and vehicle GPS location data to keep workers safe when working alone. When a remote worker arrives at a field site and leaves the truck, a timer starts, and if they don't check back in at the truck before the timer goes off, a loud siren goes off on the vehicle. If needed, the system also sends a distress message through the wireless network to the safety manager, who can then use the vehicle's location to provide detail to additional resources, such as an area manager or emergency response services," said Angel of Trimble Transportation.

      A video is a great tool for new drivers.

      "After drivers have their training with a trainer in the cab, the video serves as an additional step for training. It is an "onboard coach" for drivers, allowing for real-time communication and collaboration between the driver and fleet manager during the workday," said Kahn of Netradyne.

      Beyond Traditional Geofencing

      Geofencing is a virtual fence that can be created around a physical location, such as a city's border or even a job site.

      "Fleet managers who set these up can receive alerts when vehicles or assets cross the invisible geofence border. Some businesses have set up geofences around toll roads, so the back office always knows when a company vehicle pays a toll and can begin the reporting and processing steps immediately. This helps save the business time tracking down the tolls drivers pay and ensure that the business expense is accounted for," said Kevin Aries, head of global product success for Verizon Connect.

      Keeping Track of Equipment

      Bluetooth-enabled smart sensors can be paired with smart IoT devices to keep track of high-value service vehicles, equipment, and tools throughout a Jobsite or yard.

      "Gone are the headaches associated with manual equipment tracking and a difficult recovery process that involves costly law enforcement, legal assistance, and claims professionals. CalAmp iOn Tag service, for example, sends real-time alerts to drivers if a piece of equipment was left behind. This provides an enterprise-wide view of drivers, service vehicles, and related assets. Operations managers can reduce time spent retrieving assets as well as prevent unauthorized use of equipment," said Jeff Clark, senior vice president of Product Management for CalAmp.

      From a theft prevention standpoint, one fleet affixed "Powered by BlackBerry Radar" decals on the container doors of each of its trailers that showcase Radar's cargo sensor, GPS locator, and door alert capabilities.

      "The idea behind this is the same reason why many people have 'Beware of Dog' and alarm company signs on their lawns - by letting people know that you have a security system, intruders might think twice about targeting you. Matson's deployment marked the first time that a BlackBerry Radar customer has visibly branded their assets in this way to let people know that they use our smart, IoT-based monitoring tool to reduce theft and improve fleet utilization and operational efficiency," noted Christopher Plaat, SVP and GM for BlackBerry Radar.

      Help with Performance & Training

      Telematics providers can also provide back-end monitoring of driver routes.

      "Back-end monitoring enables driver performance to be tracked and monitored so more training can be provided if needed," said Ted Lee, Head of Business Development and Product Innovation for Magellan GPS.

      Finding More Areas to Improve

      A top priority for many fleet managers is effectively managing the fleet's total cost and increasing savings.

      "It can be challenging to identify new opportunities for savings. To help fleet managers easily identify additional areas to improve their operations, Geotab has developed the Fleet Savings Summary Report available as an add-in on the Geotab Marketplace. In this report, users can identify a proper proactive driver management program to maximize their return on investment (ROI) and minimize their cost of ignoring (COI)," said Sherry Calkins, vice president, Strategic Partners for Geotab.

      Providing Contextual Input

      Integrated video telematics solutions capture events as they occur and provide contextual insights to fleet operators.

      "Real-time information not only provides valuable driver behaviour insights but builds a foundation of data analytics and refined automated intelligence. Smart cameras that feed data into cloud-based networks for analysis provide actionable information about speed or stop sign violations, tailgating, land drift, etc., and can help prevent collisions from keeping drivers safe and improving road safety," said Clark of CalAmp.

      Pros and cons of telematics

      Like any insurance plan, the aforementioned telematics-based plans have pros and cons. For the most part, drivers are happy to adopt safer driving habits in exchange for a discount. The system is a useful tool to teach teens to drive safely, and it provides feedback in real-time when the driver brakes too hard. Additionally, these tracking devices make it easier to locate a stolen vehicle.

      That being said, some drivers worry about skyrocketing premiums if they drive recklessly. The system might also impose unavoidable costs based on a person's schedule. For example, someone who has to drive to work at night is more likely to come across fog, which is listed as one of several hazardous conditions that may increase the premium.

      Others worry that the device may malfunction, causing drivers to pay out of pocket for any technical errors. Aside from finances, people consider data privacy to be a big con, as a survey showed many older and female drivers are resistant to monitoring.

      What is different today?

      Currently, telematics is the adopted terminology for all technologies associated with communication for a motor vehicle, from Google's self-driving vehicles to aftermarket location-reporting gadgets. Since the advent of the General Motors OnStar program, there's been an increasing penetration of telematics capabilities and services in automobiles. Estimates put expected penetration by 2017 at more than 70 per cent for car manufacturers' new vehicles. Today's telematics in insurance usually refers to one-way collection of available information from a vehicle. Strictly defined, that's telemetry, a subtle but important difference because telemetry doesn't impose control over a vehicle. The figure above is a simplified diagram of the process available today.

      The type of data that devices can collect from or about a vehicle varies by implementation, typically drives cost, and is constrained by regulation and customers' willingness to share. Programs in place use sensors to determine factors as simple as the distance (vehicle-miles travelled) and as sophisticated as camera-based recording. Devices transmit and store the resultant collection for immediate or deferred analysis, meaningful interpretation, and/or visualization.

      Many brand-name telematics programs fall into categories: usage-based insurance (UBI), pay-as-you-drive (PAYD), and pay-how-you-drive (PHYD). In the early days, the definitions of those acronyms were imprecise. But as they imply, the factors affecting premiums are generally how much (far), when, how well (behaviour), and where (location) the vehicle is driven.

      The opportunity now exists for direct measurement of driver behaviour in place and time. Vehicle electronics capture hundreds of sensor inputs for processing by onboard controllers and reporting to diagnostic ports. Aftermarket device vendors have integrated technologies to allow the collection of such data (revolutions per minute, manifold airflow sensor output, malfunction indicator lights, engine trouble codes, and so forth) and combine it with time, precise GPS position, gravitational forces, and even ambient cabin noise on a second-by-second or higher frequency.

      Experts distil and analyze those measurements to identify patterns that indicate poor or dangerous driving habits, such as rapid acceleration or cornering, harsh braking, or excessive speeding (>80 mph). Furthermore, systems can now link the collected telemetry with other sources of data, such as weather, traffic, and road type, to provide context to improve understanding and insights about the driver.

      The race is on to interpret the data and prove what the industry has termed "demonstrated predictive potential" of the collected data elements as a direct measurement of behaviour and risk. As mentioned earlier, we're in the early days of the technology. And except for the current carrier leader, which has more than a million UBI policyholders, there isn't yet a single repository with enough data to validate risk rating models based on behaviour measurements.

      Telematics Device To Look Out For

       

      Smartphone Data Collection

      Telematics solutions based on smartphones avoid installation costs while providing reasonable data accuracy, and they can also provide a variety of custom features through apps. These solutions offer a straightforward path to telematics data collection through the smartphone's data transmission capabilities, including cellular data and WiFi.

      With the diversity of smartphone makes and models, as well as different sensors, algorithms must be applied to normalize the data that is collected, stored, and analyzed. Once the data is normalized and the other considerations addressed, smartphone telematics solutions can be successfully incorporated into a variety of telematics insurance programs.

      Self-powered Data Collection

      Devices in this category include the battery-powered Bluetooth®-enabled beacon, which is often mounted on the dashboard or windshield. Deployment costs are minimal, making this a cost-efficient choice for mid-range to mainstream insurance telematics programs. Bluetooth connectivity with devices, however, can be a challenge for some users.

      Flexible self-powered options include both devices that communicate directly with servers using their own cellular modules, in addition to devices that tether with the smartphone and use the smartphone's cellular capabilities to get data to the server.

      Tethered smartphone connections can increase customer engagement and flexibility. Vehicle identification data is captured and can be harvested later, even when a smartphone is not present in the vehicle. Data transmission can also be performed using smartphone communication and data plan capabilities, which eliminates the need to set up separate communications through the Bluetooth hardware.

      Self-powered devices that communicate directly with servers minimize customer interaction; however, there is a tradeoff with a smaller density and duration of data that can be captured and transferred with this option.

      OBD Data Collection

      The OBD-II interface, which has been a federally mandated feature on all US vehicles since the model year 1996, is one of the earliest technologies for vehicle telematics data collection. The equivalent standard in Europe is called EOBD (European On-Board Diagnostics).

      As a long-running, well-established solution in the marketplace, permanently plugged-in OBD devices have a proven track record and high level of acceptance. Driving data is typically transmitted directly over cellular networks for processing. This moderately priced option can be combined with smartphone connectivity to enhance driver engagement.

      Black Box Data Collection

      As the de facto standard for UBI programs in the UK, black box technology captures and delivers a stream of data from active vehicles using a cellular service for communication. A fixed electronic device-the black box-securely mounted inside the vehicle ensures that accurate trip and collision data is obtained and transmitted to a data centre.

      The popularity of this approach is especially high in regions where vehicle theft is rampant, offering a proven, tamper-resistant method for prompt recovery of stolen vehicles. However, these aftermarket devices must be professionally installed in vehicles, leading to higher installation costs.

      Oem Embedded Data Collection

      Data extracted directly from built-in vehicle sensors eliminate aftermarket installation costs, but a lack of standardization among OEMs has impeded market acceptance. Expect to see innovative programs developed over time to take advantage of these built-in capabilities, which could lead to highly accurate data capture, new ways to monitor driving, and integration with driver-assistance features that could improve safety and reduce crash frequency and severity.

      Although this form of data collection for insurance telematics is relatively uncommon today, a TSP equipped to integrate with embedded car systems and make sense of the disparate data will be able to tap into the benefits for both insurers and their customers as the technology matures.

      How to make sure you choose the right Managed Print Services (MPS) provider

      How to make sure you choose the right Managed Print Services (MPS) provider

      Most business decisions that commit you to a partnership for the long-term are worth taking time over. The same applies when you're looking for a trusted managed print services (MPS) provider.

      There are a number of leading MPS suppliers in the Australian market and it can be a challenge deciding which one is the best fit for your business, especially when every provider claims to be the best. Here are some guidelines to help you eliminate the indecision and find the right MPS partner that will serve you well into the future.

      How-to-make-sure-you-choose-the-right-MPS-reduced

      Why work with an MPS?

      It helps to understand how a managed print service provider can benefit your business. After all, many believe it can be done just as well in-house. Here are some ways that outsourcing your print technology to an expert in the field can save you money and lift business productivity.

      • Eliminate the burden on your IT team to manage your print devices, and free them up to focus on higher-value tasks
      • Automatic and regular technology updates to enhance the security and workflow of your print environment
      • On-demand local servicing to eliminate the downtime of your printers
      • Ongoing print optimisation to help save printing costs and boost efficiency
      • Flexible leasing options so you're not stuck with high costs and outdated technology - only pay for what you need
      • Eliminate upfront capital expenditure on print technology
      • Take advantage of greater purchasing power to get a better price for your printers
      • Automated toner ordering so you'll never run out
      • Automated reporting so you know exactly how much printing is costing your business

      We're sure you'll agree that the points above amount to a lot of value to your business.

      4 key considerations when seeking an MPS provider

      When considering an MPS partner, it's worth keeping these points top of mind.

      1. Continuous optimisation and cost savings

      It's important you find an MPS that will work with you to continuously optimise your print solution and find areas to cut down on costs throughout the life of your agreement. An MPS that conducts regular account reviews will be able to analyse your print volumes, print spend and utilisation of devices to pinpoint areas that need consolidating and optimising.

      2. Strong relationships with multiple manufacturers

      When an MPS is not tied to one supplier, you are provided with more choice. This vendor independence means they can leverage their increased buying power to find printing devices that fit your budget while delivering exactly what your business needs.

      3. Flexibility

      A reputable and reliable MPS provider can grow and adapt with your business. Whether you need to scale your services up or down, you need an MPS that can tailor a solution for you. This results in a trusted and beneficial long-term relationship.

      4. They are in regular contact with you

      It's important to make sure your MPS is supporting you throughout the life of your relationship. Whether it's through a high-touch customer service team, a dedicated account manager, or regular communications from the provider, these regular check-ins are the best ways to eliminate downtime and ensure your print equipment is in good working condition. We give you the opportunity to share your opinion through a biannual customer feedback program, as well as supporting you with an account manager and customer relationship manager who are constantly working to ensure your print is just right for you.

      How to find out if your MPS provider will consistently deliver

      Financial education guru and author, Robert Kyosaki, said: "Talk is cheap … Actions do speak louder than words. Watch what a person does more than what they say." While many MPS providers may talk a good game, it always pays to 'trust, but verify'. Here are some pointers on how to validate what a potential supplier is offering.

      Ask for testimonials

      The easiest way to predict how an MPS provider will work with you is to find out how they have engaged with other clients. So, we recommend asking for case studies and contact details of referees that you can check out independently. Try and find their clients that are in the same, or similar, industry that you're in. We are happy to provide several different customers as referees to showcase our breadth of solutions and services.

      Are they good communicators?

      The last thing you want is an MPS provider that's hard to get in touch with. This is especially true if you're looking for cloud or data solutions that can impact the entire operation of your business if they fail. An MPS provider needs to be a good and regular communicator so they can resolve any sudden issues you might encounter. Finding an MPS with Australian-based call centres and service ensures that you will always have local support and advice. There is nothing worse than being put on hold for hours with an unhelpful overseas call centre.

      Can they help you become more efficient?

      One of the best ways to answer this question is to see if they provide more than just printing services. This is because there are many other benefits to having a managed print provider, including supporting other business functions through cloud solutions and unified communication systems. Combined, these will help streamline your business processes, minimise business costs and simplify your service contracts.

      Do their numbers stack up?

      Look for an MPS provider who has been transparent throughout the sales process. This includes providing you with a detailed and accurate analysis of the cost savings you can expect from implementing their recommended printing solutions. We often provide a total cost of ownership (TCO) report during our consulting process, so you have a clear understanding of our action plan and where you will save money.

      Are they environmentally friendly?

      Modern printing has changed markedly over the past few years. For us in the industry, we understand that the demand for printing has decreased and the need for digitisation has increased - along with the move towards less environmentally-harmful products and practices. Your MPS provider should understand and support this transformation - not put up roadblocks. Look for a provider that offers you solutions that help reduce your business's impact on the planet. You want an MPS that takes sustainability seriously.

      The bottom line

      Finding the right MPS provider with the knowledge and experience to generate value can help reduce costs, eliminate waste and introduce efficiencies to your office printing. To find the right fit for your business make sure to do your research and ask the right questions - always ensuring a potential provider has a successful and proven track record. We offers a free TCO report to help you start, or improve, your MPS journey.

      Get in touch today to hear more about how we can help with your MPS.

      How to Keep Your Cloud Storage Safe and Secure

      Network-and-Connectivity-hero-1024x768

      With Business Cloud Storage now so tightly integrated into desktop and mobile operating systems, we're all syncing more data to and from the cloud than ever before: our photos, videos, documents, passwords, music, and more.

      There are plenty of benefits to having access to all of your data anywhere and from any device, of course, but it does open the door to someone else getting at your files from a different device too. Here's how to keep that from happening.

      Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication

      All the standard security tips apply to your cloud accounts as well: Choose long and unique passwords that are difficult to guess, and use a password manager. Keep your passwords secret and safe, and be wary of any attempts to get you to part with them (in an unexpected email, for example).

      You should also switch on two-factor authentication (2FA) if it's available (most popular cloud storage services now support it). Enabling 2FA means unwelcome visitors won't be able to get at your cloud storage files even if they know your username and password-another code from your phone will be required as well.

      Only you should know your passwords. It is confidentiality that makes for a strong password. Creating a password and then writing it down on a Post-it note isn't wise. Anyone can come across that note and use it to access your data. If you have a hard time remembering passwords, consider using password managers.

      Audit Your File and Folder Shares

      Cloud storage services are fantastic for sharing files with other people-from family members to work colleagues-but it can leave your data open to unauthorised access if someone else finds those links or manages to access the account of a person you've shared files with. Be careful who you share files and folders with, and add passwords and expiry dates to your shares if these features are available.

      It's also a good idea to run a regular audit of all the currently active shares on your account-in the Dropbox web interface, for example, click the Shared button on the left. For those shares that do need to stay active, use whatever options you have inside your cloud storage accounts to make these shares read-only unless the other parties need to edit files (Google Drive is one service where you can do this).

      Clear Out Your 'Deleted' Files

      Many cloud storage services run a recycling bin of sorts, keeping deleted files around for a few days or weeks just if you want them back. This is often very helpful and can be an advantage if someone tries to wipe your account. That said, you might want to make sure specific sensitive files are wholly obliterated and no longer able to be recovered.

      If you're deleting something that you don't want to get back and that you don't want anyone else to find either-especially if the file or folder is shared-dig into whatever undelete options the service has and make sure the files are really, truly gone. In the case of iCloud on the web, for example, click the Recently Deleted link to view and permanently wipe deleted files.

      Check Your Connected Apps and Accounts

      Even if hackers aren't able to get into your accounts through the front door, they might try and gain access through a side window-in other words, through another version that's connected to your cloud storage. While it can be convenient to have connections to your calendar or email apps set up, it also makes your account more vulnerable.

      At the very least, make sure you're regularly checking which third-party applications have access to your cloud storage, and remove any that you're not actively using (you can always add them again if you need to). For example, if you're in the Dropbox web interface, click your avatar (top right), then Settings and Connected to see connected apps.

      Turn on Account Alerts

      Most cloud storage services will be able to send you alerts about significant account events, such as new sign-ins, and it's essential to make sure these are switched on. You might also be able to subscribe to alerts about activity inside your accounts, such as new shares that have been created or files and folders that have been removed.

      At the very least, you should be able to check in on what's been happening recently in your cloud accounts, and it's worth doing this regularly. In the case of Google Drive on the web, click My Drive, then the Info button (top right), then Activity to see recent changes in your account.

      Deactivate Old Devices That Still Have Access

      Most cloud storage services let you sync files from multiple devices, so if you upgrade your phone or switch jobs and use a new laptop, it's vital that you properly disconnect and deactivate the old ones-just in case whoever inherits those old devices somehow has access to your old data.

      This usually just means signing out of the relevant app before uninstalling it entirely, but you should also sign out inside the browser that you've been using as well (see below). You can also do this remotely inside most accounts: In the case of OneDrive, go to your Microsoft account online and click All devices to view and remove devices associated with your account.

      Enable Account Recovery Options

      Your cloud storage account is only as secure as the weakest link attached to it, which means you need to keep the account recovery options as well protected as your login credentials. Is the password reset email sent to an email address that you have full access to, for example?

      What this looks like depends on the account, but the recovery options are usually in the account or security settings. Make sure they're up to date. If you have security questions associated with account access, these should be ones that can't quickly be figured out by someone you live with or work with (or who is following your social media accounts).

      Sign Out When You're Not Using Your Accounts

      For the sake of convenience, you'll probably want to stay signed in to your cloud storage accounts while you're using them. When you're done, it's essential that you sign out to stop anyone else from gaining access to your files-especially if you're on a computer that's shared with other people (such as the rest of your household).

      The option to sign out should be pretty prominently displayed (cloud storage providers don't want you getting hacked either): In the case of iCloud on the web, click on your name up in the top right-hand corner of the browser tab and pick Sign out.

      Protect Your Devices, Too

      Physical security is important too. Keep the phones, laptops, and other devices where you use your cloud storage accounts guarded against unauthorised access. Otherwise, someone could get straight into one of your accounts if they get physical access to your phone or laptop. You don't want to have a phone or laptop lost or stolen, only to discover that whoever ends up with it also ends up with all of your personal information.

      Some cloud storage apps will let you add extra protection inside the app itself as an additional PIN or face unlock. For example, Dropbox for Android and iOS both offer this, so look out for a similar feature in the apps you use. In Dropbox, find the settings menu inside the app and then choose Configure passcode (Android) or Change passcode (iOS).

      Still a relative innovation, cloud storage has attracted a lot of scrutiny in recent months. Before entrusting sensitive data to third-party storage facilities, consumers want to know that their information will be stored safely and reliably. And is it? The simple answer is yes. Despite scare tactics devised by hackers to undermine consumer perception of the cloud, cloud storage remains one of the safest ways to store your data today. Let's take a look at why.

      If the Cloud is Secure, How was Apple's iCloud Hacked?

      After the well-publicized attack on Apple's iCloud, polls showed an immediate drop in the popularity of cloud storage. Users reported feeling more vulnerable and began questioning the security of their data. But what happened? The headlines said that the cloud had been hacked, that nude pictures had been stolen from the private accounts of 26 celebrities. While the photos were indeed stolen from the victims' accounts, the critical distinction that the popular media never made was that the cloud wasn't hacked. The breach resulted from vulnerabilities in Apple's password security system, enabling persistent hackers to guess the passwords and security questions of select users. The cloud itself was never actually breached.

      How is the Cloud Protected?

      To keep data secure, the front line of defence for any cloud system is encryption. Encryption methods utilise complex algorithms to conceal cloud-protected information. To decipher encrypted files, would-be hackers would need the encryption key. Although encrypted information is not 100% uncrackable, decryption requires a considerable amount of computer processing power, forensic software, and a lot of time. 

      Can it be done? Yes, the only way to keep your data safe for sure is to lock it up in a safe beneath the ground. That being said, your cloud-stored data is generally safer than your locally stored data. Cloud services utilise more complex security methods than the average computer owner can devise, giving your cloud-stored data an added level of protection.

      What Can I Do to Help Keep My Cloud Data Safe?

      Keeping your data secure is your responsibility, as well as your cloud provider's responsibility. As hackers demonstrated through the celebrity iCloud breach, poor password security can give cybercriminals an all-access pass to your private data. 

      To keep your password safe, avoid using the same password over multiple platforms, add letters, numbers, and symbols to your password, and do not utilise a password that is in any way related to your personal life. Any hacker worth his salt will know your address, your husband's name, the type of car you drive, and your favourite restaurant.

      Data security is a significant concern, and although options are currently limited, they exist. The most secure is likely military-grade encryption from providers like Creedon or encrypted Cloud. This allows users to encrypt and store data with their specifications and securely share files with other parties that can view files with a key management system.

      However, the most significant cause of concern for Cloud storage isn't hacked data; it's lost data. Dropbox recently had a glitch in their sync system that left many subscribers with lost files. There was no possible way to retrieve those who only had their files hosted on Dropbox. In this case, redundancy to another cloud platform would have been a good idea.

      Is Cloud Storage Reliable?

      Your data might be safe if the system that it is stored on has failed, but that won't do much to mollify you in the event of a system outage. While cloud storage keeps your data secure from fires, floods, hurricanes, and computer meltdowns, it is still vulnerable in the sense that it is in the hands of a third-party system. Fortunately, since there are no geographical limits to cloud storage, you don't have to use your local Joe schmo's cloud services. Before selecting a cloud storage provider, do your research. Top cloud providers can keep your data safe and consistently accessible. If the company you are working with has a history of data loss and security breaches, then it's time to move on to a new provider.

      Cloud storage is much more reliable when used in tandem with another storage system, such as Google Drive. As stated earlier, the biggest concern with cloud storage is lost data, not hacked data. But that issue is eliminated if the cloud is used more as a "sharing" platform instead of a "storage" platform. 

      By taking shared files and storing them into something like Google Drive, you can ensure that you can quickly locate them through the other platform if your data is lost. Services like cloudHQ offer seamless integration via the cloud and Google Apps, Box, and Dropbox, making it impossible to lose your files.

      Remember to Log Off

      Always log out after you are done working on cloud data. Develop the habit of logging out of all websites, including emails and social media accounts. That way, even if you leave your device unattended (or it gets stolen), your data remains safe. Also, configure your browser to delete all historical data (including passwords) when you close it.

      Don't Trust Public Networks.

      Never access your cloud data on public devices. You can't be sure what kind of malware has been installed on them or what sorts of viruses lie in wait for you. Whenever possible, avoid accessing sensitive information through a public WiFi connection. If you must do it, do so with utmost care; take precautions and keep your access to confidential data to a minimum.

      Go Easy on the Downloads

      Don't install software packages unless you are sure what they do, and it has been proven that the companies that make them have stellar reputations.  Even then, be careful; software previously thought to be safe has later been found to be otherwise.

      Steps to Take in a Business

      Looking into ways you can protect your business' data, we have the following.

      Internal Policies 

      Draft and enforce an IT policy that covers data access, usage, and protection that your staff should strictly adhere to. Your business's security is only as strong as the weakest link - a reckless employee.

      Let them know about the dangers of ignoring policy, so they understand why they have to follow them in the first place. Organise meetings, tutorials to explain why it is essential for everyone to keep their devices secure. Explain how one slip-up could put their jobs and even the business at risk.

      Locked Devices

      No one should be granted access to any soft- or hardware without the proper authority. Company devices should be administratively locked so only authorised applications run on them. Only tech support should have complete administrative control over software installation and device maintenance.

      Strict Role Assignments

      Audit roles regularly in removing privileges and accesses that are no longer required. Account privileges can be delegated to HR, who can authorise new accounts, upgrades/downgrades as an employee moves around the company, and delete accounts when they leave.

      Steps to take in the cloud

      Finally, let's look at steps you can take directly in the cloud.

      Backups

      Making sure you have a well-tested backup plan in place guarantees a quick recovery in case of an attack. So, opt for a hosting package that includes regular backups.

      Monitor Upgrades

      Keeping an eye on your cloud hosting provider's upgrade schedules ensures no exploits exist for hackers to take advantage of. Regular meetings should give you an idea of how often they patch their applications and software.

      Protect Your Data

      Have the latest versions of the best antivirus, anti-malware, and network security technology in place. Always go for a company that takes its server and network security seriously.

      Do a cost-analysis to see if encrypting your data will be worth the latency it might cause due to encryption/decryption times. While you might think this slight delay is insignificant, it isn't. Every second a page takes to load, for example, affects your SEO ranking and UX (user experience).

      Also, whenever you need to transfer sensitive data using one of our best VPN picks will thwart eavesdroppers and data hijackers. However, make sure the VPN software itself isn't stealing data from you.

      If you have any doubts about your data hosts' security setup, keep your confidential data off their servers. You can instead create a secure data environment locally where you will be able to keep a closer eye on it. This, though, will mean you need to invest in servers and their maintenance.

      Take Care with Overseas Servers

      Make sure you read the small print about who owns your data - and under what conditions - to avoid costly litigation battles with your cloud storage provider. This is especially true in cases where they store your information on overseas servers. Should a falling out occur between you and your storage providers, it could quickly turn into a legal nightmare as you try to recover your data from them.

      Finally, remember that the struggle to keep the bad guys at bay is an ongoing one, with the baddies staying one step ahead of the people trying to stop them. But, with the tips we have seen above, you will ensure that you keep your data safe.

      How To Choose The Right Printer For Your Home And Office?

      pexels-cottonbro-3201784-2-789x1024

      Do You Need Help With The Right Printer For Your Home And Office?

      What kind of printer you get for your home depends on what you plan on printing. As a general rule, if you churn out lots of text-based pages, a laser printer will do the trick. If colour documents or photos are on your agenda, you'll want to go with an inkjet. If you plan on doing any scanning or copying, you should look to an all-in-one or multifunction printer. Decent AIOs aren't that much more costly than their printer-only counterparts, and they offer a ton of additional features. 

      The need for a home/office printer has increased as more of us are working or schooling from home. You could be a parent who needs to print out workbooks for your child. Or you may find that it's easier to make notes on a business report using a pen or pencil rather than a keyboard. Or you've suddenly discovered that a government office is demanding that you snail mail a form to them. Or your local office supply store, which you usually use for printing out occasional forms, is either still closed or not a comfortable place to visit.

      Whatever the reason, if you find yourself in need of a printer, it's not difficult to find one. Printers have not changed a lot over the past few years; they've just become more efficient and less expensive. You still will be choosing between laser and inkjet printers; colour and black-ink-only printers; and print-only and multifunction devices. Because of all these decisions that need to be made, it's a good idea to figure out what you want before you click "Buy" at your favourite shopping site.

      In this article, I won't be telling you which specific printer to buy. But I will go through some of the choices you are going to be faced with and some of the features that you may want to make sure you're getting.

      Types of Printers

      The different types of printers available to buyers can be dizzying: From pint-sized portable photo printers to giant office printers that copy, scan, fax, staple, collate, and more; and everything in between. Do you wish there was a guide to lead you through the wilderness of printing types and technologies? That's where we come in.

      The best way to understand printers is to take a close look at the main ways they are categorised: By venue (home or office), technology (inkjet or laser); single function or multifunction printers (MFPs), colour or monochrome; general purpose or specialty. We'll examine the characteristics of each of these classifications to give you a better idea of their characteristics. Almost any printer can be classified along each of these lines - for example, the HP Officejet Pro X576dw MFP is an office colour inkjet multifunction printer.

      INKJET

      Inkjet printers spray tiny droplets of liquid ink onto a page. There are several types of inkjet delivery systems, but most consumer systems use separate ink cartridges, each fitted with a printhead that separates the ink into the nearly microscopic droplets. (Professional-level inkjets will usually have separate printheads that can be replaced on their own.) Colours are created by combining different coloured inks.

      The number of ink cartridges that a colour inkjet printer uses varies. The least expensive printers usually use only two cartridges - one with black ink and one that contains cyan, magenta, and yellow ink. Most lower-to-medium priced inkjet printers offer four separate cartridges - cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink. More upscale printers will have a different black cartridge for text; printers used by photographers or businesses will have a wider selection of coloured inks.

      But even the least expensive inkjets can end up running into serious money. The printer itself may not cost more than $50 or $100, but a single set of cartridges can cost nearly as much. And because most colour inkjets will not run at all if any one of the cartridges is out of ink (for example, you can't just print in black if the cyan cartridge runs out), you'll need to replace any spent cartridges. (We'll deal more with ink costs later.)

      Inkjet printers are one of the most common types of printer used in both professional and domestic settings. Developed in the 1950s, inkjet printing technology is still hugely popular today due to its numerous advantages and minimal drawbacks.

      Advantages:

        • Capable of producing photo-realistic prints
        • Practically no warm-up time
        • Small footprint

      Disadvantages:

        • High running costs (Cost per page)
        • Slow print speeds
        • Sometimes produce erroneous empty cartridge warnings.
        • Prone to clogging
        • Wet prints

      LASER

      These devices use lasers to create static electricity on a rolling drum inside the printer. The static electricity attracts toner (ink in the form of powder), which is melted onto the paper.

      While toner cartridges initially cost more than ink cartridges, they also last far longer than liquid ink; as a result, your cost per page will be less. Laser printers also tend to initially cost more than inkjet printers - but they can save money over the long term.

      Laser printers have several other advantages over inkjet printers - unless you need colour. They are faster than inkjets (especially low-end inkjets, which can be very slow), and the quality of their text printing is more precise (although current inkjets are certainly precise enough to suit most documents).

      Colour laser printers are also more available than they used to be. However, they are more pricey, and unless they are professional-level printers, the colour will not be as good as an equivalently priced colour inkjet.

      The laser printer was developed by Xerox in the 1960s when the idea of using a laser to draw images onto a copier drum was first considered. Laser printers are still widely used in large offices as they are traditionally more efficient than inkjet printers.

      Advantages:

        • More cost-effective than inkjet printers
        • Increases productivity
        • High print speed
        • Higher paper capacity
        • Often expandable with Paper Trays, finishers etc.
        • Grows with your business

      Disadvantages:

        • May require short 'warm-up times'
        • Larger footprint
        • High voltage usage leads to small carbon emissions.

      Multifunction

      Sometimes known as all-in-one printers, multifunction printers are often capable of performing printing, copying, scanning, and faxing tasks. This can simplify the completion of multiple tasks within an office or domestic environment, with no need for more than one unit.

      If you see yourself working from home for the foreseeable future - or even if you don't - you may want to consider a multifunction (also known as an all-in-one or AIO) printer. These devices don't just print from your computer but allow you to scan existing documents, and either copies them or saves them as files. (Some also let you fax a scanned document, but since faxing has become much less necessary, this feature is quickly disappearing.) They are very handy for keeping the paperwork around your home to a minimum since you can save PDFs of most of your papers (especially the ones you've had sitting around for years) and then dispose of the actual hardcopy.

      (Yes, you can use your phone's camera to scan and upload documents, and if you only occasionally need to scan a document, that could be enough for you. However, the quality of a phone-scanned document doesn't come up to the quality of a good scanner.)

      Most consumer-level multifunctions will let you copy anything up to an 8.5 x 11-inch paper (popularly known as letter-sized), but you can also buy printers that will let you handle an 8.5 x 14-inch (legal size) paper. Suppose you see yourself doing a lot of copying or scanning. In that case, you should look for a multifunction with an automatic document feeder (usually referred to as an ADF) that lets you move several pages through the system quickly.

      Advantages:

        • More cost-efficient than buying multiple devices
        • More compact than buying multiple devices
        • Perform numerous tasks simultaneously.
        • More power-efficient than the implementation of numerous devices

      Disadvantages:

        • Can restrict usage time available for larger workgroups.

      All-in-One Inkjets

      Combining the technology of inkjet printing with the functionality of a multifunction printer: all-in-one inkjet printers are capable of providing full service to a busy office environment whilst retaining the high-quality prints that inkjet is known for.

      Advantages:

        • High quality printed output.
        • Cost-efficient and compact alternative to buying numerous machines
        • Power-efficient

      Disadvantages:

        • Wet prints
        • High running costs

      Dot Matrix

      Dot-matrix printers are the oldest established type of printers still available on the market. Images and text are drawn out in tiny dots when a print head strikes an ink-soaked cloth against the paper in the required pattern or formation.

      Advantages:

        • Low initial unit costs
        • Low running costs
        • Low maintenance costs
        • Able to perform in hot and dirty conditions

      Disadvantages:

        • Low resolution printed output.
        • Noisy

       

      A3

      Capable of printing on A3 sheets, A3 printers are well-suited to business and domestic settings which require larger scale prints. A3 printers often have options that produce other sized prints and have numerous input trays, simplifying the process. They're also available with both laser and inkjet technology.

      Advantages:

        • Larger print size
        • A wider range of options
        • Allows you to bring outsource print-runs back in-house

      Disadvantages:

        • Higher initial cost
        • Larger footprint

       

      3D

      One of the most exciting developments in printing technology history, 3D printing is becoming more affordable for professional and domestic users. Modern 3D printers are capable of producing 3D objects and items using high-quality resin.

      Advantages:

        • 3D prints
        • Limitless possibilities
        • Capacity for full customisation

      Disadvantages:

        • High initial costs
        • High resin costs
        • Still developing technology

       

      Other Types Of Printers

      Monochrome and colour printers

      If your workplace churns out text documents, you may want to consider a monochrome printer. Because they only print in black and white, they're best for text and for graphics that can translate well to black and white, but they seldom print photos well. Today's monochrome printers are all laser or LED-based.

      If your printing needs ever venture beyond black and white, a colour printer may be a wise investment. The inclusion of colour expands one's printing options, opening the door for full-colour graphics and photos. Many home users will want a colour inkjet to print photos, and colour lasers that can print high-quality photos and graphics may be suitable for businesses to bring the printing of their own marketing materials in house. Unlike monochrome printing, which requires only one ink colour (black), colour printers utilise multiple inks or toner cartridges.

      Single function and multifunction printers

      Printers that can only print, without any additional functionality, are considered single-function printers. While that's enough for many users, you may also want to scan documents, make photocopies, or send faxes. Enter the multifunction printer (MFP), also called an all-in-one (AIO) printer. With an MFP, you get scanning and copying, and (frequently) fax capability, saving money when compared to buying separate devices for each function. Many business MFPs offer the ability to scan over a network, to multiple destinations, and other advanced workflow features. Many home printers sold these days are MFPs, as are many office printers.

      Specialty printers

      While the printers described above are general-purpose models, others focus on specialised tasks such as printing photos, labels, or mobile printing.

      Portable document printers

      You may find you need a printing solution that is as portable as your laptop or camera. When it comes to printing on the go, not all portable printers are created equal. Some can print wirelessly from mobile devices. Some print at A4 size, while many are restricted to a smaller sized output. Some pack their own battery power - either a rechargeable battery pack or they use normal batteries - while others need to be plugged into a wall outlet for power.

      INPUT AND OUTPUT TRAYS

      Most current printers work by pulling the paper in from the front, running it around the drum or roller, and then popping it out to the output tray. However, if you're printing on heavier stock, you don't want to bend the paper; in that case, you may want to look for a printer that has an input tray coming from the back of the printer, so that the paper is pushed through on a straight line.

      Some printers also allow you to have more than one paper tray in front, letting you choose different coloured paper, for example, or having one tray hold letter-sized paper and the other hold legal-sized.

      You also want to know how many sheets of paper your input and output trays are capable of holding. If you plan to, say, print out a 200-page manuscript, you don't want an output tray that is only capable of handling 50 pages, or you could find 150 of your pages strewn over your floor.

      DUPLEXING

      The ability to duplex - to print on both sides of a single page - is more common than it used to be, but not all lower-priced printers include this feature. It's very useful, especially if you do a lot of printing and want to save on the cost of paper. Of course, most printers let you print on both sides of paper by manually re-feeding the paper into the printer after the first side has been printed - but it can be a real pain in the neck.

      WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY

      When you're purchasing a printer, make sure that it is capable of wireless connectivity via Bluetooth, NFC, and/or Wi-Fi - and make sure that it is compatible with whatever computer or mobile device you plan to use with it.

      If you've got a Mac computer, an iPad and/or an iPhone, make sure your printer is compatible with Apple AirPrint.

      If you're using a Chromebook, make sure your printer is Chrome OS compatible by checking the manufacturer site (for example, Epson has a page that lists all its Chrome OS-compatible printers).

      PHOTO PRINTERS

      If photography or graphic design is your passion, portable snapshot printers won't cut it. Advanced amateurs or pros will want a high-end or near-dedicated (capable of printing text, though seldom used for that) photo printer. These inkjets may have up to 12 ink tanks for more exacting colour reproduction. Most print in large format, offering professional-quality prints at up to 13 x 19in; some print at banner size as well.

      Unless you plan to fill up several albums with physical photos, a photo printer is probably not necessary. Some photo printers offer features like the ability to remove red-eye in photos of people, but this same functionality is commonly available in a number of photo apps (and is probably easier to deal with in software).

      There are exceptions. For example, there are small, portable printers such as the HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer that let you immediately print small (such as 2 x 3 inch) pictures. These are fun for family gatherings and parties. And if you're a professional - or would-be professional - photographer, you may want to invest in a high-level photo printer. But otherwise, most midlevel colour printers will - if you use good photo paper - do quite an adequate job. 

      What Will Be a Printer's Running Costs?

      Be sure to check out the total cost of ownership. Most manufacturers will tell you the cost per page, and many give a cost per photo. To get the total cost of ownership, calculate the cost per year for each kind of output (monochrome, colour document, photo) by multiplying the cost per page for that kind of output by the number of those pages you print per year. Add the three amounts together to get the total cost per year. Then multiply that by the number of years you expect to own the printer, and add the initial cost of the printer. Compare the total cost of ownership figures between printers to find out which model will be cheapest in the long run. 

      How technology will shape the future of work

      office How technology will shape the future of work

      It is a fact that innovation and new technology are fundamentally changing the way we live and do business. According to tech experts, these will continue to rock the modern workspace in the next decade - workstations will be unrecognisable to how they are set up today. Not to mention, workforce dynamics and the nature of work will change drastically in tandem with new technology.

      how-technology-will-shape-the-future-03

      To maintain relevance and earn a competitive edge, you need to know how emerging technologies will change the business environment. You should also think about how your business can leverage  innovations to strategically attract top talent, boost efficiency, and improve your bottom line.

      We have done the hard yards to have a look into the expected trends and how tech will affect your business in the future.

      Technological Trends in Business & The Future of Work

      These emerging technologies for business will play a key role in transforming your operations:

      Internet of Thing (IoT)

      We live in a digital age where almost everything is connected. From smart devices like sensors and appliances, the IoT is essentially a complex network of interconnected 'things'. This giant web of interconnectivity has changed the way we interact with our surroundings as well as how businesses build relationships with customers. From a business perspective, you shouldn't simply be 'jumping on the bandwagon' because all your competitors are using it - leveraging this source of technology should begin with a goal in mind, not the tech itself. What does your business want to achieve and how will this affect current operations? Importantly, how will you enhance system integration, data storage and security?

      how-technology-will-shape-the-future-04

      Blockchain

      The adoption of this trend has the potential to boost data protection and cybersecurity. The digitally encrypted ledger groups data publicly in 'blocks.' It has a decentralised database that only allows 'chain' members to view or verify the info. This gets rid of go-betweens or the need to seek third-party validation. As a result, it will lead to more efficient financial transactions across borders and aid proper talent acquisition and management.

      how-technology-will-shape-the-future-02

      Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

      Automation and AI are fundamentally reshaping organisations and contributing to growth while enhancing productivity. Not only are these technologies transforming the workplace itself but also the nature of work. Repetitive tasks will be handled by machines and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) designed to perform with greater efficiency and accuracy. When tools like RPA are combined with document capture and management tools, huge gains in efficiency through automation are created This will create more opportunities for entrepreneurs, society, and the economy. While this may be a cause for concern regarding job redundancy, it actually means workers can focus on more meaningful tasks that grow revenue and deliver better customer experiences.

      Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

      More than just technologies designed for gaming and the entertainment industry, we expect to see businesses increasingly adopt VR and AR as tools for workplace training, presenting, prototyping and designing. From the creation of 3D models to digitising the workplace, this innovation continues to unlock an extraordinary precedent and indefinite scaling potential. The virtual reality and augmented reality market is projected to grow to more than $120 billion by 2022, at a 75 percent compound average growth rate.

      how-technology-will-shape-the-future-01

      Cloud Technology Adoption

      The rapid transformations in the digital world has led many businesses to venture into the cloud. In fact, your company may already be using some type of cloud service for relatively simple tasks like sharing and storing files or for analysing huge chunks of data. This innovation offers location and device independence, allows for offline accessibility of information, as well as scalability. To pursue a competitive advantage, your future employees must have the right skills to leverage this opportunity for maximum benefit to the business.

      Software as a Service (SaaS), Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and Outsourced IT

      With Cloud technology revenues predicted to grow past $278 Billion by 2021, Software as a Service (SaaS), Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and other cloud-based IT outsourcing models are changing the scope of work that companies manage internally. Leveraging the scalability and power of the cloud is delivering cost savings and efficiency gains to those willing to move to the cloud.

      How these technology innovations will affect businesses and the future of work

      Emerging technologies and innovations will not only boost efficiency across your organisation but will have even more long-term positive impacts. For instance, AI-enabled innovations designed to  handle repetitive tasks, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), would open up new job opportunities and enable workers to focus on more meaningful work. Cloud computing, on the other hand, will lead to improved data management and security, while enhancing communications and access to information.

      Highly efficient machines with AI integration could increase productivity while maintaining a manageable team of employees with optimal output. 

      Having grown up with the tech evolution, millennials and Gen Z job seekers are digital natives. They expect to work with companies with the latest and greatest tech advancements that enable a flexible and collaborative working atmosphere.  Companies should stay ahead of the curve by staying up to date with the technological changes if you want to attract and retain the best talent.

      Stay ahead of the game with us

      With the changes in tech, you need to direct your focus on transforming your IT for you to stay ahead of time. Some crucial steps to take include moving to the cloud and adopting automation for most processes within the business.

      We can set you up for the transformation, earning you a competitive edge. We will help you succeed  by focusing on improving your IT as a business strategy. Not only will you improve your efficiency, but you also stand to increase productivity while enjoying the benefits of a scalable and contemporary IT system.

      To learn more about how we can prepare you for future changes in tech, let's talk.