Tip of the Week: 3 Essential Bluetooth Devices for Your Smartphone

b2ap3_thumbnail_tablets_for_works_400.jpgIf you’ve ever taken your gadgets on the go for work purposes, you might have found that it’s somewhat difficult to get anything done with the limited computing potential of a smartphone or tablet. However, with the right technology, you can take full advantage of your mobile devices, especially if you’re using Windows 10 with its full Microsoft Office suite (Want to know if Windows 10 is right for your business? Reach out to us before you upgrade).

Being able to perform work remotely is especially important in today’s work environment. This is why it’s preferable to have a tablet or smartphone that one can work on while out of the office. As of 2015, it’s estimated by Pew Research that 64 percent of all American adults own a smartphone. Here are three technologies that you can use to get more productivity out of your mobile devices.

Bluetooth Keyboard
How long was the last message you typed on an on-screen smartphone or tablet keyboard? It’s clear that this isn’t the most efficient way to write out longer emails or documents. While it might be great for a quick text message or email update, you’ll want a more comprehensive solution that helps you spend less time messing around with autocorrect errors. You can give your thumbs a break by purchasing a Bluetooth keyboard. This essentially turns your device into one with laptop-like functionality.

Bluetooth Mouse
Anyone who uses a tablet understands that navigating productivity applications like email and document editors with a touch screen can be frustrating at times. You can remedy this by using a Bluetooth-connected mouse that gives you the feeling of a desktop with an itty bitty screen. It might only be a slight convenience, but whatever helps your productivity, right?

Many tablets today are compatible with Bluetooth mice, which, when combined with a keyboard, give you more of a traditional laptop experience with the mobility of a slim, light tablet.

Bluetooth Headset
One of the core functions of a telephone is to allow you to communicate over long distances with your voice. While you could easily stop whatever you’re working on to make a phone call, it’s unnecessary and takes away from the task at hand. If you’re using a Bluetooth headset, you can use your mobile device for phone calls without interrupting your work process, and without bothering the people around you by putting your phone on speaker mode.

Besides the obvious use of being able to talk on the phone, you can also use a Bluetooth headset to listen to music, view webinars, or listen to podcasts that are designed to help you boost productivity or learn new best practices. If you’re on a plane and have several hours left of your flight, it might not be a bad idea to check in on what’s hot and upcoming in your chosen industry. While some airlines have concerns over the safety of Bluetooth, the FAA has confirmed that Bluetooth will not interfere with critical airplane communication systems (in other words, it depends on your airline).

What are some of your favorite ways to stay productive with your mobile devices? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our blog for more productivity hacks and technology tips.

Think Strategically When Upgrading Your Workstations

b2ap3_thumbnail_upgrade_your_it_400.jpgWith technology growing faster than most businesses can keep up with, organizations have to continuously upgrade their solutions in order to maintain a semblance of modernity. The only issue with this is that many businesses can’t keep up, simply because they don’t have a team that’s dedicated to this important task. What technology upgrades should be made a top priority, and why?

Naturally, the first thing you need to know about workstation and technology updates is that you need to integrate them periodically in order to ensure optimal security for your organization. Most viruses and malware will attempt to take advantage of weaknesses in your infrastructure in order to infiltrate it. These weaknesses in your software and operating systems’ source code will ultimately allow these threats to force their way into your network, putting any contained information at risk.

These flaws are often addressed in software patches and system updates issued by the software developer, but tackling the updates in a timely fashion is a whole other monster. Managing all software updates is easier said than done, especially without a dedicated IT department watching over your technology. Regular maintenance is often pushed to the back burner, and dangerously close to being forgotten by all. Therefore, the best way to make sure that your systems are prepared to handle the threats that are found in today’s computing environment is to make upgrading your technology a priority for your organization.

Software Updates
There are several applications that your organization needs in order to stay functional, so your software updates aren’t limited to just your workstations’ operating systems. The fewer unnecessary security flaws that can be found in your IT infrastructure, the safer your information will be. Furthermore, users who are working with top-notch, optimized technology will be far more productive than they would be if they were using sluggish, bogged down computers. It doesn’t make any sense to let your employees use machines that hold them back from achieving their maximum productivity. In fact, sometimes you might encounter a situation where using a different software will be better for your business strategy. It’s always recommended that you consult with a professional technician before making drastic changes to your business’s software infrastructure.

Antivirus Updates
Your antivirus solution is often a software solution, but it’s worth mentioning on its own for the sole purpose that virus and malware definitions are continuously being updated. If your antivirus and other security software solutions aren’t properly maintained, it’s like you’re basically “leaving your keys in the front door,” so to speak. Your antivirus solution needs to be managed on all workstations, or better yet, centrally controlled from the server to ensure that all users are protected and up to date.

Hardware Updates
Older hardware that’s been around the block a time or two might have proven reliable, but it eventually starts to show signs of its old age. Hardware failure grows more likely, and you run the risk of losing information due to the degradation of your technology. This is why monitoring your systems for faulty tech, and periodically upgrading to more recent models is preferable, if not necessary.

Granted, all of the software and hardware upgrades your business might need may feel overwhelming. This is why Amaxx offers our remote monitoring and maintenance solution that’s designed to administer patches to your mission-critical systems remotely. This helps your organization ensure that your systems are always up-to-date. We can also monitor your infrastructure for any irregularities that might be caused by hardware malfunctions, hackers, and much more. Give us a call at 614.486.3481 to learn more.

Tip of the Week: 4 Windows 10 Features that Let You Do More

b2ap3_thumbnail_will_you_upgrade_to_windows_10_400.jpgWith Windows 10’s arrival comes all sorts of great new features, many of which are unprecedented. Here are four new features that you should check out on your Windows 10 device.

Microsoft OneDrive Integration
Microsoft’s cloud storage solution, OneDrive, is a major focus with Windows 10, especially with the cloud growing more important for modern companies. With Windows 10, OneDrive is far more integrated than it was in the past, all to handle your data-sharing needs. Now, rather than being forced to use OneDrive with a Microsoft device, you can access your files with Android and iOS devices. In fact, you can even use OneDrive to access any of the files on your Windows 10 PC remotely, adding even more value to the service.

Battery-Saving Features
One of the cool new features of Windows 10 on a mobile device or laptop is that you don’t have to closely monitor your battery levels like you used to. Windows 10’s new battery saver feature automatically detects when your power level reaches a certain point, and it powers down background applications that aren’t absolutely essential. In theory, it gives you a chance to save your work or plug in your computer, making the chances of an accidental power-down less likely. To enable Battery Saver, go to Start menu > Settings > System > Battery Saver.

Background Scrolling
One annoying issue for Windows users is when they are actively working in an application, then hovering the cursor over another open app that’s on the screen. When you go to scroll up or down, you can’t, because the app isn’t selected. While this is only a small issue, Microsoft still thought it should be addressed. To turn on Background Scrolling, go to Settings > Devices > Mouse and Touchpad.

Customized Start Menu Apps
Windows 10 practically got rid of the Windows 8 Metro interface, but it’s still available in the new Windows 10 Start Menu. Rather than a full screen interface, you have the option to place your most important applications in this easy-access menu. To do this, click the Start Menu and click on All Apps. Scroll to an application you’d like to add, right click it, and select Pin to Start. This puts an application shortcut right in the Start Menu for you. You can then edit the apps in the Start Menu by right-clicking them. You can change their size, or even remove them.

Windows 10 has proven to be an exceptional operating system for both the office and personal computing, and there’s sure to be more great new tricks out there allowing you to be more efficient with it. What are your favorite new features? Let us know in the comments.

The Newest Smartphones From Samsung, Apple, and Microsoft

b2ap3_thumbnail_smartphones_on_market_400.jpgSmartphones are firmly established as a staple of modern society. In fact, sales of smartphones grew a whopping 23 percent during the previous year. It’s the nature of mobile devices for consumers to look forward to the latest models. To that end, here’s our preview of this year’s top three smartphones.

Due to the sheer demand of smartphones flooding today’s market, there are way more than three models to choose from. However, for the sake of being concise and relevant, we’ll focus on the flagship device from these three mobile manufacturer; Samsung, Apple, and Microsoft.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Samsung has taken the lead as far as smartphone marketshare goes, garnering 24.6 percent of the market in 2014. They’ve achieved this success with their line of s-model phones and Note phablets. All eyes are on Samsung and its latest offering, the Galaxy Note 5.

Galaxy Note 5 Specifications
Display: 5.66-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with 1440 x 2560 resolution made from Gorilla Glass 4
Operating System: Google Android v5.1.1 (Lollipop)
Processor: Samsung octa-core Exynos 7420
Memory: 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB models available; 4 GB RAM
Cameras: 16 MP camera with optical image stabilization, 5 MP front-facing camera
Battery: 4,100 mAh
Communication: NFC, Bluetooth v4.1, Wi-Fi, Infrared, microUSB
Other features: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, gesture, UV, heart rate, Sp02, integrated s-pen

iPhone 6s
The iPhone has been Apple’s best-selling device for almost 12 years, and the iPhone 6s looks to continue this trend. The latest iPhone will include an all-new A9 processor, designed to exceed in computing power Samsung’s Exynos 7420 processor. It’s also been confirmed that the iPhone 6s will get an upgrade to its body. Presumably, this will make it stronger and more durable, especially in light of how the previous model was ridiculed for bending too easily. Additionally, the iPhone 6s will have a larger display than the iPhone 6.

iPhone 6s Specifications
Display: 4.7-inch Retina display with 750 x 1334 resolution with ion-strengthened glass and a oleophobic coating
Operating System: iOS 9
Processor: Apple A9
Memory: 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB models available; 2 GB RAM
Cameras: 12 MP camera with phase detection focus, 5 MP front-facing camera
Battery: Li-Po 1,810 mAh
Communication: Bluetooth v4.1, Wi-Fi, v 2.0, reversible connector
Other features: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer

Lumia 940
Microsoft recently acquired Nokia and its line of Lumia smartphones. Despite the fact that the Lumia phones have received great reviews, they’ve never made the kind of sizable impact that Microsoft would have liked. Thanks to the success of the newly-released Windows 10 OS (a system that promises one single interface across every device, including the Lumia smartphones), the time may be ripe for Windows Phone to finally take off.

Lumia 940 Specifications
Display: 5.2-inch display with 1440 x 2560 resolution with Gorilla Glass 4
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10
Processor: Dual-core 1.82 GHz, Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808
Memory: 32 GB, 64 GB models available; 3 GB RAM
Cameras: 20 MP camera with phase detection focus, 5 MP front-facing camera
Battery: Li-Ion 3,000 mAh
Communication: NFC, Bluetooth v4.1, Wi-Fi, microUSB 2.0
Other features: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, sensor core

These three smartphones are the flagship devices sold by each manufacture, but they’re not the only devices offered by each company. If you like what you see here, but you’re looking for variations in regards to features, check out these alternative models:

  • Samsung Galaxy s6, s6 Edge, s6 Edge+
  • iPhone 6+
  • Lumia 940 XL

Which smartphone is right for you? While you’re sure to have personal preferences toward a particular brand, it’s in your best interest to do your due diligence when shopping for a new phone so you can obtain a model that best meets your needs. Want to know about how mobile technology like this can improve your business? Call us at 614.486.3481 to learn more.

3 Mobile Apps Every Modern Office Worker Needs

b2ap3_thumbnail_applications_for_work_400.jpgMobile devices are changing the face of businesses in obvious ways, like employees accessing their work outside of the office. Additionally, there are many not-so-obvious ways that mobile devices and apps have changed work environments. Let’s focus a moment on the little things around the office that have changed since mobile devices took over.

Calendars
Calendar making used to be a profitable industry. Calendars adorned office walls and inspired workers daily to be better people, one disposable page at a time. Also, let’s not forget about how calendars make for that perfect, gender-neutral gift to contribute to any office’s end-of-the year holiday gift exchange. Now, everyone just gives each other gift cards and hilariously-themed calendars collect dust at mall kiosks.

What happened? It turns out that every mobile device comes with its own calendar app. As workers adopted it, software developers integrated calendar apps to the cloud so that workers could sync their calendars for easy scheduling. This mobile trend effectively “did in” the usefulness of the 12-month calendar, but you may still find one or two on the office walls for novelty’s sake.

If you’re not taking advantage of your mobile device's calendar, check out these links on how to use your calendar’s sync feature.

Notebooks
Another paper casualty of mobile devices is the office worker’s trusty notebook. You used to see notebooks brought into every meeting, and the super serious note-takers would distinguish themselves with leatherbound notebooks, emblazoned with their company’s logo. While office supply stores are bemoaning the demise of notebooks and pens, workers are taking better notes and collaborating in new and exciting ways via cloud-based apps.

There are a variety of mobile note-taking apps on the market, and they each allow you to do much more than scribble ideas and cartoon characters on paper. Mobile apps like Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, and Google Keep allow users to capture screenshots, upload files, record audio, and of course, jot down meeting notes. These notes can be tagged to make them searchable, and stored in the cloud so that every member of your team can access them.

Fax Machines
The adoption of mobile devices should’ve been the final nail in the coffin for the office fax machine. Actually, email should’ve been the technology that killed off the fax machine. Yet, despite advancements in email, cloud computing, mobile devices, and even the leadership baton being passed from one generation to the next... and then to the next, fax machines still have a strong presence in most modern offices.

It’s our hope that the advancements of mobile technology have caused the mighty fax machine to lose some sway over its users. Remember, if you’re altogether tired of dealing with your fax machine, then Amaxx can provide you with technologies to phase it out, like our fax server solution and a host of digital communication apps for your mobile device.

Why You Need to Adopt Mobile Solutions
Maybe you’re old fashioned and you just like the feel of working with paper, the thrill of turning over a calendar page at the first of the month, and the ear-piercing sound of receiving a fax. That’s all fine and good, but as a modern business owner, it’s in your best interest to adopt mobile solutions for your company. If you don’t, then your mobile-device-loving employees will bring their gadgets into the workplace and do so on their own. The danger of them doing this is that you’ll lose control of how company information is shared and stored, which could lead to a major data breach.

Instead, you need to be proactive about implementing an official mobile solution for your office that everybody can access and use from their approved mobile devices. Due to all the different devices out there, and the different expectations of your employees, getting everybody to use the same mobile solution can prove to be quite challenging. At Amaxx, we’re here to help equip your business with mobile and cloud-based solutions that meet your company’s needs perfectly. For more information, give us a call at 614.486.3481 .