IT service

Tech Can Help You Beat the Competition: Here’s How

When you are in business, whether you work for someone else or you have started your own company, you are always going to need to stay ahead of the competition wherever possible. In doing this, you can ensure you receive more notice, make more sales, and ultimately make more profits. Even if you think you are doing something unique, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on what else might be out there; new businesses are starting up all the time, and one might be your direct competition. If you don’t know they are there, they could easily speed past you.

Using technology in the right way can enhance your ability to be seen over and above any competitors. As long as you know who that competition is, how they work, and what they do, you can implement various tech strategies to help you beat them. Read on to find out more.

Outsourced IT Services

One of the best ways to get ahead of the competition is to look – and be – more professional than they are. Even if you are selling the same items, a clean, easy to navigate website is always going to be more impressive than a cluttered, difficult-to-navigate one, for example. The same is true for any tech you use; if it always works, isn’t frustrating, and makes life – and purchasing – easier for the customer, you are going to look like a much better prospect than anyone else.

In order to maintain a good level of customer service through your IT, you should outsource the work to a specialist company like Iconic IT. When you do this, you can be sure that everything will be taken care of, and you don’t need to think about it. You will be much less likely to experience downtime, and your customers will have the experience they want and need.

Social Media

Social media for business use is growing all the time, and platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and implementing various business strategies to help companies use it more successfully. It is unusual these days to find a business that doesn’t have at least one social media account, and they will often have two or three depending on the nature of the business.

By using social media well in your business, you can easily outshine your competition. You will find more customers as more people will see you (especially if you choose to boost any posts), and you will also be able to engage well with those customers. It is this engagement that is so crucial in getting ahead; answering queries, helping customers, and even just having a fun conversation will all show you to be a good business to buy from.

SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) is a specialist area, and again may be something you choose to outsource. Getting your SEO right means you can rise to the top of the search engine rankings, and of course, those links at the top of results (at least on the first page) are more likely to be clicked than any others. SEO can be complicated, as there are a number of different strategies that can be used to create the right balance and be exactly what Google is looking for within its algorithms. If you can do better SEO work than your competitors, you will be ranked higher, and on top of that, your website’s content will be interesting, informative, and useful.

pandemic workplace

The Post-Pandemic Workplace

By now, many of us have become accustomed to the changes in our daily lives enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic. From masks and social distancing to kids attending school on-line to many of us working from home to new ways to shop for everything, the challenges have been widespread and have met with both mixed reactions and results. Some of these changes will stick, some experts believe. So, what could you expect post-pandemic with regards to your employment?

Changes Have Already Happened

If you’re employed in the public sector, say in healthcare or the service industry, you haven’t had many changes to your job now. Just more equipment with masks, face shields, gloves and sanitizers becoming commonplace for you. Private sector employees, on the other hand, have been sprung from their cubicle farms to brave the waters of working from home. Eyal Gutentagmarketing manager, mentions that some have thrived; self-starters and introverts top his list. People with children remote learning from home, extroverts and those who battle procrastination or disruptions are some of those who have struggled. Gutentag also believes that telecommuting is here to stay since two important things have happened on both sides of the employment relationship. First, he says, employees have learned to be productive and valuable as telecommuters. Second, companies have learned how much they can save by not maintaining office space.

Some Changes Will Stay

Other marketing experts have suggested that some of the changes we’ve seen that will stay include the 9 to 5 workday becoming obsolete, business travel changes, offices as conference centers and not places where people work five days a week, the middle management tier could be gone forever, the workplace could become more equitable for women and most meetings could be replaced by Instant Messaging and e-mail.

What changes have you experienced, work-wise? Which of these do you hope will stay?

tech update

Important Tech Upgrades for Your Business

Technology has always moved at such a rapid rate that it is very easy for your business to get left behind. Over the past few years, in particular, companies have been fighting to keep a foothold in a world that is changing at a swiftfrequency. With so many potential tech upgrades out there, it can be difficult to know what to focus on first. Well, here is a guide of important tech upgrades that you can make for your business, to make things simpler.

Invest in Security

The criminals of the future are focusing on the online world more and more, which is why your business needs to invest in the appropriate security systems to keep up with these changes. Improving your IT systems by using a company like Integrated Computer Services is a great starting point. Still, you need to carry out IT risk assessments regularly as cybercriminals become more sophisticated. Ultimately, it is something of a cat and mouse game, but one that you need to be willing to play.

Utilize Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has been something of a revolution over the past few years, allowing you to safely back up your files and have access to them anywhere in the world. The size and sophistication of your business will impact the complexity of the system that you require, but many are available for free or very little upfront investment. These systems can help you to free up space in your office as you no longer require bulky hardware.

Redesign Your Website

If you have not redesigned your website in a year, it is likely that it already looks clunky and out of date. What’s more,the website that you created all those years agomight not be optimized for mobile phones, which is an increasingly common way that people are accessing the internet. When you have your website redesigned, consider the content management system that you use. You will need to be able to update the site with regular fresh content to keep people coming back time and time again.

Focus on SEO

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point, but you need to ensure that your site is optimized for search engines. As such an important way that people discover new businesses, you cannot afford to slip down the rankings too far. Bear in mind that SEO requires an ongoing effective strategy and cannot be managed in one single go. This is why many companies search for specific SEO agencies to provide them with this service. Though there are plenty of other tech upgrades that your business could make, these are just a few of the main points that can prove to be extremely useful in bringing your company up to speed with the modern world. It has already been stated that technology moves at a such a rapid rate that you can easily get left behind if you are not on top of the changes as they occur.

business update

How to Update Your Business’ Tech Stack in 2020

Technology is indeed driving efficiency across the business world. But it’s also true that this happens in a hundred different shades: some companies use technology more efficiently than others, and this has a reverberating impact across all of your departments, boosting or reducing productivity. In this short piece, we’re going to look at what an effective and optimized tech stack looks like in 2020 – using the best software and hardware that money can buy to fund your productivity revolution with tech.

The Right Hardware

You’ll always begin your tech stack revolution with the hardware question. There are two main areas that you ought tothink through when updating your tech stack, and these are:

  • Memory – are you storing your files in a physical network, or should you update to save all of your files onto the cloud?
  • Productivity – are your computers, laptops and tablets the best brand and fit to help your employees run the programs that they use every day?

By answering these questions, you’ll know whether you need to update your hardware. It’s likely if your creative team are running the likes of Adobe software that you’ll need fast processing speeds to avoid freezes and crashes. You need to invest in the hardware to support high-quality tech like this in your firm.

The Best Software

The revolution in software is ongoing and is likely to continue at an exponential rate for some time. Just as you’ve onboarded with the next best thing in the software world, something else comes along that trumps it – but, again, only for a month or so. When you’re shopping for software, you’re looking for:

  • Cloud-based software that you can link, through APIs, to the rest of your firm and the other programs you use. This is called interoperability.
  • Software that solves specific problems in your firm – ones that automate laborious or boring tasks are some of the most cost-effective, for instance.
  • Software packages that offer a centralized management system, cutting out the noise and enabling you to focus on one central server and memory unit.

All of these priorities should help you to maintain and boost your tech stack this year and long into the future.

Engage with Automation

As hinted at above, the tech world is moving extremely fast – so fast that what you didn’t think was possible last year is likely to have been developed this year. From chatbots to automated order processing, you can relieve your staff of their most boring and laborious jobs with ease through engagement with automation.

Nowhere is this more evident and useful than about your HR software. Finding great HR software tools has never been easier – and now, with the help of specialized companies that build and tender their devices, you can automate much of the HR process, helping your staff to receive their pay on time, their benefits at once, and their onboarding information smoothly and succinctly. Automation is the future of work – and is something you should engage in for the good of your firm. Use the three main domains of business tech outlined above to refocus on updating your tech stack in 2020.

real estate

3 Types of Postcards Used for Real Estate Marketing

The necessity and importance of marketing in real estate cannot be overstated. Many tools are used for real estate prospecting, but direct mail is one of the most successful ones. Real estate postcards are one type of direct mail often used to hook new clients due to their affordability, ease of production and success rate. There are many templates out there for those less artistically designed as well as many different types of postcards. Here are three types of postcards commonly used for postcard marketing real estate.

1. Postcards About New Agents

One type of postcard good for real estate marketing is the new agent postcard. New agent postcards are exactly what they sound like, postcards that introduce a new agent. These are a great way for real estate agents in the first year of their career to get their name out there. Besides making possible clients aware of the existence of new real estate agents, new agent postcards also a way for real estate agents to begin to develop an image and reputation based on what is important to them. These postcards give potential clients a taste of what the real estate agent marketed is like and what he or she values. 

2. Postcards About Real Estate Just Sold

Another type of postcard useful for marketing in real estate is the just sold postcard. Just sold postcards, like new agent postcards, are good for spreading a real estate agent’s name. They also convey that the agent is capable of successfully closing a deal and that the agent can perform the same task for the potential client viewing the postcard. 

3. Postcards About Real Estate Just Listed

The just listed postcard is one of the more utilized postcards and is practically a staple in real estate. It serves to inform buyers that a home is available for purchase. 

These are only three of many types of postcards that can be used in real estate marketing. Postcards work well as a marketing method, so consider using them if you ever decide to join the real estate business.

cyber-security

7 Most Vulnerable Industries That Need Cybersecurity

In today’s digital world, cybersecurity is essential for any organization in any sector. Some workplaces may be more at risk than others, though. Just like physical dangers vary from industry to industry, some businesses need to take cybersecurity more seriously than others.

Cybercrime is on the rise, with more than 5,000 data breaches occurring in 2019 alone. As these threats keep growing, industries with more vulnerabilities or more sensitive data need to be careful. Here are seven sectors that should pay particular attention to their cybersecurity:

1. Health Care

The health care industry consistently ranks among the most vulnerable to cyberattacks. The sector loses roughly $5.6 billion every year to data breaches. Back in 2016, there was an average of one health care data breach every day.

Why is the health care sector such a favorite target for cybercriminals? It’s not necessarily that there’s a lack of security in the industry, but rather that health data is valuable. Hospitals deal with data like social security numbers, addresses and contact info, which are prime targets for a hacker.

2. Telecommunications

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that telecommunications companies are also at risk of cyberattacks. Think of how many essential processes rely on an internet or cellular connection these days. If a hacker can exploit the network itself, they can access a range of valuable data.

With 5G networks coming out, cybersecurity could be an even more significant concern for these businesses. Modern life relies on these connections, and the future will do so even more. In response, telecommunications networks need to make sure they have strong cybersecurity.

3. Financial Services

It doesn’t take much to see why financial services could be vulnerable. When your work involves handling other people’s money, you have a good chance of becoming a target. On top of money, hackers can get data like clients’ personal information.

Financial services also face more regulations about cybersecurity. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sometimes requires proof of security from businesses like investment advisors. Financial services need to have reliable cybersecurity both to protect their clients and meet new regulations.

4. Manufacturing

When you think of computers and data, factories are probably not the first thing to come to mind. Regardless, the manufacturing industry could benefit from higher cybersecurity requirements. This sector is in the middle of a digital revolution, so it needs a cybersecurity revolution alongside it.

The modern factory is full of data points like Internet of Things (IoT) devices. There’s usually a considerable amount of money involved in these processes too. Add that all up with a historical lack of cybersecurity, and you have the perfect target for a hacker.

5. Education

Cyberattacks in education are less common than some other industries, but they’re growing. There have been just over 850 attacks on U.S. schools since 2016, but 348 of those happened in 2019 alone. As education is becoming more digitized, cybersecurity becomes a more pressing concern.

There may not be a lot of money to get from hacking schools, but there is a lot of data. Education involves a considerable amount of sensitive info about students, faculty and staff. In the coming years, schools, especially universities, may have to take cybersecurity more seriously.

6. Construction

Finding construction on this list may come as a bit of a surprise. Like manufacturing, though, the construction industry has undergone an impressive technological shift. Construction companies use a lot of data now and may not have the experience to secure it.

One study found that construction workers are more likely to fall for phishing scams than any other employee. That number most likely comes from a lack of a strong cybersecurity culture in the industry. As the sector becomes more tech-forward, it will need to place more emphasis on cybersecurity.

7. Government

The government isn’t exactly an industry, but it is susceptible to cyberattacks, so it deserves a spot on this list. For a cybercriminal, targeting a government agency is a game of high risk but high reward. Government documents can be among the most sensitive, and therefore most valuable, data there is.

It’s not just casual hackers that government agencies need to think about. Cyberattacks from terrorists or foreign powers are a growing concern across the world.

All Industries Need Reliable Cybersecurity

No matter what sector you work in, you should think about cybersecurity. The world as a whole is moving toward a digital, data-driven future, which makes securing that data a necessity. These seven industries may be particularly vulnerable, but they’re not the only ones that need well-rounded cybersecurity.

robots

The technology before the COVID-19

As if it were an episode of the dystopian Black Mirror series, the coronavirus is still with us and, unlike the perverse use of technology seen in the successful production of Netflix, in our case it seems that this will serve to help us cope better with the pandemic from a health point of view. Social distancing is the maximum recommended for all citizens and proposals are already emerging from technology companies that seek to avoid contagion in spaces where crowds usually occur, whether they are supermarkets, soccer fields, transport …

Artificial intelligence for the new normal   

In this pandemic situation, big tech giants are working on artificial intelligence and robotics.  Over the year robots are designed and manufactured for different purposes. Special program and algorithm has developed and launched an algorithm specialized in indoor location. For its operation, it is necessary to install a small device in the shopping trolleys of a supermarket in order to know in real-time the number of people in each of the sections of the establishment.

Thanks to this mechanism, store employees could visualize metrics as useful as the number of times a person approaches others, the number of customers per square meter or possible sources of infection from their own mobile phone or computer. Also, the system allows sending alerts when there are too many people in a certain corridor or safety distances are not respected, as well as making predictions about the influx. The best is thing is that this information can be shared in real time and, with the installation of screens, customers could know at all times the areas to avoid.

The benefits of 3D printing and the ‘blockchain’

You may have seen in the news or the press how 3D printers are helping to prevent COVID-19 infections, producing with this technology, both on a small and large scale, the necessary medical equipment for the work of professionals. These printers have advantages such as allowing factories to customize product design, streamline production, or quickly adapt to changing market needs. In addition, it avoids dependencies on external agents and relocations, since the entire production process is carried out within the same company.

As for the blockchain, it is a data structure in which the information contained is grouped into sets (blocks) to which meta-information relative to another block of the previous chain is added in a timeline, so that, thanks to cryptographic techniques, the information contained in a block can only be repudiated or edited by modifying all subsequent blocks. This would help to manage digital procedures with the administration, for individuals or companies, avoiding both the risk of counterfeiting and physical contact. From this Technology Blog we encourage you to carefully follow all the technological innovations that will emerge during these changing times in order to make things easier for us.

robot

Experimental Uses For Commercial Robots In 2019

Currently, the world of robotics is reshaping how different sectors of business conduct their day-to-day activities. Robots are reducing the need for human staff to take on tedious, dangerous and mundane tasks. In addition, robotic machines don’t require breaks or time off like humans do.

As it is, commercial robots are already widespread in industries such as manufacturing. However, numerous pioneering business are searching for unconventional ways of using robots. Depending on the outcome of these projects, there is a possibility for more diverse uses of machines benefiting the robotics sector as well as other industries. Below are some experimental uses of commercial robots.

Crop harvesting robots

Robotic experts are creating robots with pneumatic arms which use compressed air to move about and complete tasks. One of the main uses for such robots is automatic crop harvesting. However, this is still in the in the experimental phase. According to some analysts, the agricultural sector is bound to increasingly use robotics since machines have the ability of offering continual reliability without requiring shifts or breaks.

Robot-manufacturing companies believe that robots are the key to solving labor shortage within the sector. An example of such as machine is the commercialized strawberry picking robot created by a Belgian company. Another example is tomato-picking robots which use image recognition technology to determine whether or not a tomato is ripe before harvesting it.

Teaching assistants

A number of schools across the globe are starting to integrate robots into their curriculum. Teachers are using them in the classroom to assist in lessons. As teaching assistants, robots have great potential in helping out especially educators that don’t have enough time for face-to-face interactions with their students or those that handle larger-than-average classrooms.

The aim of creating these robots is not to replace teachers but help supplement the subjects that educators cover as well as interact directly with the students. A study done in Russia concluded that the subjects who were taught using robots to learn Russian acquired better recall abilities than the ones who used avatars.

Robots working remotely to earn money

According to a Japanese company, their vision is to create commercial robots that can help people accomplish things that they cannot do on their own. In addition to this, the company also aims at creating machines that could assist older adults with responsibilities such as laundry or cleaning.

While the main purpose of these machines is to help consumers, the company believes that there will be a way that people can earn money. A representative of the company said that people will be able to operate these robots remotely. Therefore, such machines could be of great assistance to people living with disabilities and want to earn a living by doing service-oriented tasks but cannot travel to the residents of their clients.

Germ-killing robots

Plenty of people are germophobes thus why alcohol-based hand sanitizers are so popular. In as much as people are able to clean their hands as often as they want, they sometimes wonder about the germs on other surfaces such as on linens in hotels. A new invention has rocked the sector and is being marketed as a germ-killing robot. There are plenty of uses for robots that kill germs especially in the health sector.

Personalized robots

Researchers dealing with robotics are teaching machines to recognize who owns them. Aside from learning ownership, these robots are being taught to respond according to what they are permitted to do with things belonging to their owner. These robots are expected to have the ability of keeping possessions or property secure for their owners if the experimental phase is successful. While such capabilities might not happen at a commercial level in the near future, scientists believe that it is extremely important to teach robots about ownership-related etiquette considering the fact there will be more machines working closely with humans in their spaces.

Promote an Online Store

How to Promote an Online Store

Creating an online store is only a part of the equation. A new online shop is empty. Consumers are usually not yet familiar with your shop or the kind of products you are selling. For this reason, you will need to put some efforts towards promoting the store. To get regular customers, you must come with strategies that will work for your ecommerce store. Here are some of the ways in which you can promote your online store.

Starting A Blog

One of the best ways to promote your online store is to start a blog. Creating quality blog posts is an effective tool to establishing your products in the market, and including the relevant links back to your store. Quality blogs that are updated frequently will get more traffic from search engines. In turn, this helps in promoting your store indirectly through interaction with the consumers.

Email Marketing

Newsletters and email marketing are another effective way of promoting your online store. You can create a database with email lists of your ecommerce website visitors, and send them occasional emails with information about your store. One way of achieving this is sending out newsletters or offers on a weekly basis to your subscribers. This reminds your customers about your online store. It is even easier if your online store is in Offerer platform. The Offerer platform offers many tools for advertising your online store from email marketing to SMS notifications.

Collaborating with Other Bloggers

Another way of promoting your online store is contacting other bloggers and having them publish content about your shop on their blogs. Do a research on the market where your products fit in. Then, reach out to bloggers with the largest following and who write about products related to your industry. Tell them why you love their blogs and explain why you feel your product would be a great fit for a review on their blog. Provide them with samples of your products for free and give away for their audience. This will attract traffic from the readers through their review of the product.

Advertising on social media

Social media advertising offers a great platform to advertise your business and products. Building a network and followers in social media may take a long time, but it will be worthwhile in the long run. Social sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ or YouTube allow businesses to interact directly with customers. Your online shop can benefit from this interaction by providing product information to customers. It is also a great way of getting feedback from customers, and finding out what works best in your niche.

Providing offers on a regular basis

Providing offers on a regular basis can attract new customers while retaining existing ones. Offers can be in the form of discounts, coupons, sales packages, giveaways and contests. It can also be a great way of driving web traffic to ecommerce website. Customers are more likely to recommend your store to their friends and family during sale period.

Guest blogging on other websites

Guest blogging increases the exposure of your e-commerce to a wider audience. Writing quality blogs is time consuming. The stakes are even higher when writing for another blog. You want to make sure that your posts are getting enough traffic. High-quality posts will increase traffic to your website leading to more sales.

Optimizing product names and descriptions

Product name and descriptions can enhance online presence of your e-commerce store. Be creative, straightforward and come up with unique product names and descriptions, so that customers can find them easily. Use keywords in your descriptions to describe exactly what the customers are looking for.

Using Google Ads

Google Ads are an effective tool in advertising your products to specific audiences. You can place Ads in Google search results or in websites that run Google AdSense. It is highly targeted based on the optimization of the keywords used by the consumers. The search engines try to match your ad with customers interests using systems like Ad Rank. It is a cost-effective method that attracts more sales at a profitable margin

Paid Advertisements

These can be in the form of influencers who you can endorse your product and advertise your products on their social media platforms. Another option could be the use of mainstream media such as television, radio, and magazine adverts. These adverts serve the purpose of informing your customers about your store.

Which way is for you

These are ways to advertise your store. Remember that you are the one that has to choose the right way and fit strategy to your clients and budget. You must understand clients where and why they buy and use the best strategy for your business.

math

Everyday Uses for Fractions

Certain topics you learn in school have obvious practical applications. For example, you use language every day. It is easy to understand how a good grasp of grammar will help you succeed in interviews, writing and communicating with others. The practicality of other subjects may seem more obscure, though. If you ever sat in math class learning fractions and wondered when you would ever use that information in real life, here is your answer.

Shopping

You walk into your favorite store and see a huge banner from across the room. It’s your lucky day, because those shoes you have been eyeing are on sale for 25% off. How do you know how much you are saving, though? Without fractions, you are going into the sale blind. You may get up to the counter and be sorely disappointed at the total amount due. To make a decision that fits your budget and helps you avoid the embarrassment of having to return something you can’t afford to the shelves, you need to know how to multiply fractions. If you understand that 25% and 1/4 are the same number, you can easily calculate how much the shoes will cost. It may be harder to multiply by .25 in your head than it is to multiply by 1/4 (that is, divide by 4). Fractions don’t just help you save money; they also help you figure out exactly how much you are saving.

Cooking

You decide to make your favorite recipe that your grandmother gave you for your significant other. As it is written, however, the recipe makes enough to feed your entire extended family and still have leftovers. As much as you enjoy the dish, you don’t want to have so much of it that you are eating it for a week. When you only need 1/3 of the amount the recipe makes, multiplying fractions is a skill that comes in handy.

Understanding how to simplify fractions can also help when you’re doubling a recipe. If you want to bring twice as many cupcakes to a party than the recipe makes, you multiply the ingredients by two. It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? When 3/8 of a teaspoon becomes 6/8, however, you are less likely to lose count of the number of scoops you add to the batter if you know you can simplify that number to 3/4.

Sharing

You go out to eat with a group of friends. Four of you are single, and two people bring their significant others along, bringing your total party number to 8. When the bill comes, you decide to divide it evenly. It sounds like easy math until you discover that one of the couples is paying together, and the other couple is covering another person in honor of her birthday. There’s no need to panic if you understand fractions. The first couple pays 1/4 of the bill, the second couple pays 3/8 of the bill, and the remaining three people each pay 1/8 of the bill.

Although it may not seem obvious when you’re sitting in math class, understanding fractions can be very useful. You may get a lot of opportunities to use fractions in your everyday life.