IBM testing new blockchain service to track high-value supply chain

Soon there will be real diamonds in the blockchain mines

For those industries where the origin matters, getting verifiable sign off has been a surprisingly tricky problem, particularly as goods change hands across an increasingly complex global supply chain. Blockchains, the technology underpinning Bitcoin and a variety of virtual currency, might help, and IBM has launched the new supply-chain focused IBM Blockchain to try and service that demand.

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Microsoft Moves to Get a Piece of the Technology as a Service Market Share

Microsoft has been looking to cover more ground in the business environment by offering a new Technology as a Service (TaaS) offering, which will allow small businesses to purchase Surface products, accessories, and support for their devices, all with a monthly payment plan. Also, when it comes time to upgrade, customers can easily make the switch, as per their lease agreement.

Microsoft’s TaaS agreement allows businesses to pay for their devices over 12, 24, or 36 months. As expected, prices will vary depending on the length of the payment plan, and the devices purchased. One of the most affordable offerings is a basic-model Surface 3 paid for over 30 months, while a more expensive payment plan would be for a Surface Book over 18 months.

A membership in this program has several perks, including support when you need it, either by phone or in-store, one-on-one personal training, and in-store discounts on hardware and software solutions.

Of course, with all great things, there’s always a catch. First off, this is a business-exclusive offering. In the General Terms section of the TaaS Program Benefits Summary, it’s stated that the service is for “Business Customers Only; No purchase for resale.” In other words, this service is for end-users only, and that it has the right to cancel orders if it suspects resale activity. It also must be mentioned that this service is limited to official Microsoft products only.

While this service might seem tempting, we want to remind you that you don’t necessarily have to turn to Microsoft, or other hardware or software giants, for this type of service. Amaxx wants to help your business find the right devices for your specific needs. We want your business to have the technology it deserves, without the headaches and frustrations of lease terms, purchase options, and cancellation fees.

Working with Amaxx provides a fruitful relationship with a local business, rather than leasing your equipment through a third-party juggernaut like Microsoft - the software company is using LiftForward, a marketplace loan platform, to finance its Surface Membership service. We’ll handle all of the details for you, so that you can stay focused on what matters most - running your business.

Ultimately, Amaxx can offer your business both the latest and greatest in computing solutions, and a professional relationship that allows your business to get the most out of its technology. To learn more about what we can offer your business, reach out to us at 614-923-6700.

Improving Data Protection in Windows 10

One of the biggest features talked about around Windows 10 is the increased security posture the operating system provides users. Recently, the Redmond company discussed their efforts to improve data integrity with a newly re-branded feature called Windows Information Protection.

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Tip of the Week: How to Easily Add a Second Phone Number to Your Mobile Device

As the smartphone takes over many of our daily tasks, it can be annoying if we have to use a separate device to accomplish what we need to, like making calls on a different phone. Did you know that it’s easy to add a second phone number to your smartphone?

There are plenty of reasons why you would want to do this. Maybe you would like a second phone number that you can use to sign up for promotions so that your primary number doesn’t end up on a telemarketing list. Or, perhaps you want to take calls for your business on your personal smartphone. Whatever your reason, the technology that allows you to do this is very accessible.

Call Transfer
A solution that has been around for quite some time (even before smartphones) and comes with most phone plans is Call Transfer. If your current phone system supports it, you can forward calls from it to your personal cell phone, allowing you to take business calls while on the go.

Using Call Transfer is an easy way to receive calls on your smartphone from another line, but this feature traditionally doesn’t allow you to make calls from your second device using the transferred phone number. Although, there are phone solutions specifically designed for business, like Voice over Internet Protocol, that will give you the option to both make and receive calls using the transferred phone number with minimal hoops to jump through.

Second Phone Number Apps
If your goal is to get a second phone number for your smartphone that operates entirely as a fully functioning phone line, then there are several apps that allow you to do this. Here are a few of the most popular options.

Google Voice/Hangouts
Using your Google account, you can sign up for a second Google Voice phone number and then use Google Hangouts on your smartphone to both make and receive phone calls. This is a convenient option for those already getting a lot of use out of their Google account, and the best part is that it’s free.

Sideline
Sideline provides your phone with a second phone number, although it just provides the basics. With Sideline, you have the ability to make and receive calls and have voicemail with your second phone number, but that’s about it. At $3 per month, Sideline is an inexpensive option, but you’ll have to suffer through advertisements while using it.

Line 2
Line 2 has more features than the previous examples, making it a better option if you want to use your second phone number for business purposes. These features are reflected in Line 2’s two plans; $10 per month for a personal number and $15 per month for a business line. For many smartphone users, the mobile app and the online dashboard may make Line 2 a desirable product.

Skype Number
Skype makes getting a second phone number relatively easy, and if you’re already using Skype as your go-to video chat solution, then getting a second phone number through Skype will make a lot of sense. A Skype Number offers users a fairly robust package of features, and at $6 per month, it’s an affordable option.

For putting a second phone number on your smartphone, you’ve got plenty of options. However, to implement a unified, Internet-based phone solution across your entire organization, you’ll want to go with something more heavy duty like VoIP. For help with VoIP or any other of your communications technology needs, call us today at 614-923-6700.