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Five new technologies your office should be using

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20th Oct 2014
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One of the best ways to get ahead of your competitors and become an industry leader is to make sure you are using the latest office technologies. Nick Williams looks at five new technologies and how you can benefit from them.

Tablet technology

Although desktop and laptop computers still serve a purpose in the office, businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on tablet-style technology in order to improve communication and keep in contact with employees at all times. It is likely that in the future the majority of business will be conducted using smartphones and digital tablets.

The advantage tablets have over other technology include:

  • Portability – Tablets like the iPad and SurfacePro are much more portable than desktops (designed to be fixed in one location) and laptops (much heavier)

  • Long battery life – Tablets typically enjoy much longer battery life than laptops. This (combined with extra portability) makes them ideal for day trips

  • Cost – There is a major difference in price when buying low-end tablets compared with buying desktops/laptops. Many are available for prices in the region of £75-£125

If you haven’t already, it is recommended that you start introducing tablet technology into your office, especially for meeting use and light note taking

The cloud

More and more businesses are now using cloud technology for everything from storing important information and files to accessing software as a service. If you haven’t already, you will definitely benefit from using cloud technology in your office. For example if you have a data room you will spend money on servers, fan cooling technology, staff, etc. This could all be sub-contracted to a cloud provider and the space saved put to good use.

A cloud solution will help you to implement a more effective back-up and disaster recovery plan for your business. For example if your building burns down it won’t matter from a data perspective as all your company data will be backed up online. If you choose a cloud provider offering software as a service, you will be able to making significant cost savings on software licensing, updates and maintenance.

Mobile apps

There are many business mobile apps that you can use in the office, but have you thought about building your own mobile app? Mobile apps are a technology that allows you to personalise your services and tailor them to your business needs and requirements. Building your own mobile app is helpful in terms of:

  • Building customer engagement – companies can communicate in real-time and also through profile information have an awareness of the physical location of app users

  • Improving customer service – a mobile app gives customers another channel to feed back through and also could be used as a payment method

  • New sales channel – a mobile app can be used as a part of your sales strategy and is a new channel to selling your company’s products and services online

  • Promotion – Company offers, coupons and discounts can all be 'exclusively' promoted through the mobile app

The above are just a few examples of the benefits a mobile app can bring, it’s advisable that any business explores the potential of developing its own app.

Virtual private networks

If you want to reap the benefits of allowing employees to work remotely, you will need to use VPN technology in the office. VPN stands for 'virtual private network'. It is a type of technology that allows remote workers to connect to their company’s IT network without having to physically be in the office.

This can be useful whilst away on business or quickly checking up for urgent messages whilst away on holiday. Another major use of VPN is to enable home working for employees; this could either be to base staff from home and/or to enable out of hours working (e.g. evening/weekends). Virtual Private Networks are secure and can be used to transfer data. Coupled with cloud technology, they enable remote workers to communicate with employees in the office, access the central database and share files.

Video conferencing

If you aren’t currently using video conferencing technology, then you could be wasting your business a significant amount of money. Today the majority of businesses are now using video conferencing technology in the office to cut costs, whilst also doing their bit to save the planet.

Video conferencing technology (such as Google Hangouts and Skype) is massively efficient for modern day businesses. Meetings with other branches and remote workers won’t any longer need to involve using the car or public transport. This not only saves on the cost of petrol, meeting rooms and hotel stays, but it also means that you will be cutting your carbon emissions and therefore becoming a greener business.

If you are still yet to introduce these five technologies into your office, what are you waiting for? Not only can they help you to improve efficiency, increase productivity and save costs, but they can also help to boost staff morale and we all know just how important it is to have a happy workforce.

Nick Williams works for Acuity Training, who provide hands-on professional training from their two UK offices. Nick works as an assistant on a number of courses including the crystal reports training courses

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