Boost Cloud Connection to Boost Productivity

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How faster internet can immediately improve productivity

At the time of publishing this article, global data usage currently sits at just over nine billion gigabytes per year. However, research conducted by U.K mobile network, Giffgaff, suggests that will rise to over sixty-seven-billion gigabytes by 2021. According to Cisco, Global IP traffic will increase nearly threefold over the next five years.

This dramatic increase in the demand for data isn’t just because of an increase in users, it’s because the way we use the internet has changed radically. The recent shift towards cloud computing solutions as-a-Service (Xaas) such as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Security as a Service (SECaaS), as well as other bandwidth-hungry business applications such as Peer-to-Peer File Sharing, video conferencing and content streaming, all require much more data than previous internet traffic.

When you combine this growing demand for data with the substantial increase in the amount of Wi-Fi devices fighting for bandwidth on a company network, it leads to a whole new series of hurdles which were never considered during the construction of most business networks. If not planned for correctly, each of these hurdles is going to create lag in network speed and down time for both companies and customers.

So what does this mean for your company?

If your business’s internet connection feels slow today, it will be even slower in the future and may already be costing your organisation thousands of dollars in lost productivity.

Studies conducted by storage specialists, Sandisk, have shown that the average worker will waste one week per year, waiting for their company’s network to load. While a mere week may not seem like an important amount of lost productivity, multiplying that time by the number of employees in your organisation – it suddenly becomes a significant amount of lost productivity.

So what’s the solution?

If you’re running a company with anywhere from 100 to 1000 employees, then you need an internet connection that can keep your workforce up with the pace of business.

With BTAS Connect Fast Fibre, your business can achieve internet speeds up to 400Mbps, making cloud-based applications behave as though they were on your own network - reducing application lag and allowing your employees to create and collaborate seamlessly.

Once you’ve supported your business with that speed of connection, it also allows you to further improve your telecommunications infrastructure, move more applications to the cloud and boost productivity via a private WAN, centralised VoIP voice services and virtualised telephony architecture – all of which can help to reduce costs.

BTAS Network provides optimised, fast, monitored and managed Ethernet and Wi-Fi networks for reliable, frictionless internal networking for your organisation.

To find out more about how BTAS Connect and BTAS Network can improve productivity within your organisation, just head to our product pages.

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Customer Experience and Call Centre Conversions

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Happy customers spend more.

A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review into the effects of customer experience and sales-based transactions, found that customer experience is a major driver of future revenue. Some of their research even indicated that customers who had the best past experiences spend up to 140% more. 

So as your call centre is often the first chance for your organisation to provide a positive customer experience, here are three things you can do to help improve that experience and increase conversions.

1. Improve Call Quality with VOIP

When combined with a noise-cancelling headset or hand-piece, VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) calls can provide far superior sound quality compared to traditional narrowband telephony. This simulates a personal, local call by cutting out the noise of a bustling call centre or office, which makes it easier for your employee to build a strong rapport with the customer.

A clearer conversation also means that neither party should have to repeat themselves, which allows the conversation to flow at a more realistic rate, which can significantly improve customer satisfaction.

2. Cut Wait Time with Presence Technology

In an inbound call situation, the employee who takes the call may not be the best person in your organisation to answer the caller’s query.

Previously, this has meant putting the caller on hold and blindly forwarding their call to another department, which can lead to a lost call if the customer is placed on hold for too long.

Luckily, a modern unified communications solution will allow your employees to instantly see who is available and unavailable in your organisation. So they can quickly find the best person to forward the call on to, and know that they’re actually there to answer the call. This can result in a far superior experience for the caller and the agent taking the call.

3. Remove Repetitive Questions with Instant Messaging

If a call does have to be passed on to another employee, it used to mean that the customer would often have to repeat themselves as their basic information is repeated along the line.

By equipping your staff with an integrated instant messaging program, the employee who took the call can inform the next person down the line about the customer’s information, their question and any other relevant information. This not only improves efficiency within your organisation but it also drastically improves the customer experience by reducing repetition.

So whether you use your call centre for marketing, telesales, as a help desk, or for any part of your organisation; BTAS can provide custom solutions to improve the customer experience. 

BTAS has a specialised practice focusing on contact centre technology, with vendor trained and certified engineers and consultants.

Our contact centre solutions are built around a multi-channel approach, which allows your customers to communicate with you via whatever means they are most comfortable with.

To find out more about how a BTAS Contact Centre can help you improve the customer experience, just head to our product page.

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The Benefits of Instant Messaging

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Reduce emails and boost productivity

Instant messaging in the workplace has been around for a while.  The consumerisation of technology, and popularity of social media and messaging apps, have already filtered into the workplace and changed work interactions.

Organisations have tried to harness messaging in different ways, back in 2011 Thierry Breton - the CEO of French IT company, Atos, caused a huge stir by announcing his plan to ban all internal emails.

Such a ban is difficult to enact for even the smallest of businesses, but Atos employs over 70,000 employees, across 42 countries. So how did Breton plan to keep employees communicating without internal emails?

Internal instant messaging.

Breton’s plan was to reduce the amount of clutter in the workplace, as he saw the trend of excessive emailing as a sort of digital pollution. Breton said, “...we are producing data on a massive scale that is fast polluting our working environments and also encroaching into our personal lives.”

It wasn’t just the clutter, Breton had also started to notice that many of the younger people Atos employed were more comfortable using messaging apps. As for upper management, Breton noted that they were spending up to twenty hours a week on emails. When you consider that France has a 35 hour work week, it all adds up to a lot of lost time.

Of course, email is still an essential tool for every business. It’s fantastic for sending and receiving files, and few companies could function without external emails. However, data shows that email use is beginning to wane (especially in younger users) in favour of instant messaging.

So should your company incorporate instant messaging into your unified communications plan?

Here are some of the benefits to consider:

1.    Real Time Responses

One of the biggest benefits of instant messages is that they elicit a swift response. This is in part due to their short nature, which encourages the receiver to act swiftly upon the message request.

2.    Precise Targeting

Unlike emails, which are often sent to a large group of people, instant messages are directed at specific employees with specific requests. This encourages workers to ask the right questions from the right people and assists with decreasing the amount of needless emails in your employee’s inboxes.

3.    Boost Productivity

Instant messages are written in the same format as an SMS, so you aren’t socially expected to use formal greetings or sign offs, which makes instant messages quicker to write and quicker to read – especially for quick questions, quick decisions, the smaller communication points that end up cluttering email inboxes. This gives your employees more time to focus on the task at hand, and helps to boost productivity.

If your employees are already using ‘informal’ or consumer-grade instant messaging at work, or you are considering introducing instant messaging into your unified communications plan, then talk to BTAS.

BTAS Unicoms has a strong and secure instant messaging feature integrated into the overall platform. Not only does this keep your communications systems streamlined and secured, but it also reduces overall costs by negating the need for third party applications and licenses.

To help your business get the most out of BTAS Unicoms, we’ll also provide thorough, on-site training to ensure that all of your employees are comfortable incorporating instant messaging into the way they work.

To find out more about BTAS Unicoms, just head to our product page, submit an online enquiry, or call us on 1300 55 44 11.

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Can IT Managers Realistically Expect to Stay on Top of Their ICT Environment?

Time strapped IT managers are often forced to prioritise “keeping the lights on” with their information and communications technology (ICT) ahead of exploring new strategies, or even getting around to analysing and optimising the environment already in place. This means if there are gaps in their infrastructure, they may slide “under the radar” while more pressing current ICT matters are attended to.

The danger of just “keeping the light on” is that any potential risks may accelerate over time. If IT managers remain fixated on where they are now, and less on planning for the short and long term futures, there is a real danger of quickly being left behind, particularly at the rapid pace that technology changes.

  • Maintenance costs now vs. expensive rectification expenses later

As an example, allowing product support to fall off and reach end-of-life could result in escalating future maintenance costs. We’ve found, in experience across various industry sectors, that customers who have to rectify a situation now end up paying significantly more than if they had addressed it six to twelve months earlier through regular maintenance and/or schedule product support and updates.

  • Approaches to risk

IT managers have clear perspective on and awareness of the risks, however they have often been hesitant to take measures against risks. Not always by choice, but perhaps due to time pressures, resource constraints, knowledge gaps or a combination of all of the above.

Although the cliché “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” does often hold up well, having information and processes to help predict network issues, breakages or bottlenecks will greatly reduce risk by being ready to act and reducing the impact any outages should they occur.

  • Budget pressure and cost savings

Today’s business operating environments typically involve “doing more with less”. From discussions with various IT managers, we know that budgetary constraints are at the forefront of their minds.

Most IT managers also have to be exceptional budget managers that run their departments efficiently. However, while they may know their own best practices and be widely read, it is difficult to find more efficient ways to manage cost savings.  

  • The mobile revolution

The proliferation of mobile devices has also placed expectations on IT managers to implement wireless networks, though it is not as straightforward as many people may think. We’ve found through our deployments that providing good quality coverage and speeds, with the simplicity experienced from a home grade wireless network, requires a more secure and robust approach for a workplace environment.

  • We need to move to the Cloud!

With the industry buzz around the Cloud, IT managers are experiencing pressure from management to consolidate or move to the Cloud. However, some IT managers have turned to us for advice because they are unsure of what the shift to the Cloud means or what it entails, and importantly, what it means for their organisation.

Different IT managers have told us the Cloud means different things to them, so we used it as an opportunity to help them understand the benefits and risks of the approach. Through these types of honest discussions, the IT manager may realise that a move to the Cloud is not a good fit for the company.

An outsider insight

Controlling all aspects of ICT can be a fulfilling part of and a great source of pride for IT Managers, and any probing questions (justified or not) about risk may put the spotlight on their ability to do their job and deliver ICT goals. With increasing complexity, constrained resources and greater demands form management and users, it has become increasingly necessary to find trusted advisers with specialised knowledge.

The value we try to offer as an outside partner to an IT manager is our specialised insights and skills. We’ve found that IT staff at the admin level tend to be generalists than specialists, so there are situations where they are looking for external assistance.

As an external partner that works across industries and companies, we can offer insight, best-known-methods and cost-effective services. In short, we fill in the gaps by providing information, analysis and optimisation.

The benefit of foresight

Depending on the business environment, visibility is sometimes that is highlighted by IT managers as an important consideration. IT managers may not know what they have and/or what they need, and that is something we have been able to help with during discussions.

BTAS Snapshot is designed to provide an “early warning” look into a business’ network infrastructure. It’s not an audit or a consultancy, but a holistic overview of an ICT environment.

The purpose of Snapshot is not to just look at the technology, but to provide an executive or IT manager with a broader picture of their current ICT setup. It is a business-driven engagement measured against a key metrics looking at all aspects of the business, including finance.

Snapshot is a fixed engagement over four weeks, and is designed not to be a labour intensive experience for a business. While it provides insight into how more radical changes can be made to the ICT infrastructure, it is the “quick wins”, such as moving from ISDN to SIP, that will bring the immediate benefits to a business.

For companies that may not have the budgets, they can look at using the potential savings to fund some or all of the improvements. Not only can Snapshot help to justify any additional investments to an ICT setup, in certain situations it could also potentially cover the costs.

To find out more about BTAS Snapshot and how it can help your business, visit the product page or contact us.

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UC success depends on getting users engaged early

A TechTargets article reveals the challenges organisations face in creating a successful and smooth transition to Unified Communications.  The main obstacles are lack of information about the tools at hand, and inadequate employee training on how to use them, which leads to lack of engagement and low usage.

The article quotes independent research by Nemertes, and highlighted conclusions include:

Enterprises are struggling with unified communications (UC) success because employees are not adequately trained on the applications or they simply don't know their company has the tools.

Some IT departments are frustrated they can't get employees to use new UC tools, which can include telephony, video capabilities, cloud, conferencing and collaboration apps.

Often IT rolls out a new UC product and makes sure it works properly, yet no one is there to train employees on the ‘cool new tools’.

A clear disconnect exists between the IT rollout and the employee uptake.

Notifying employees about the new service may simply hinge on a quick, ineffective email.

Companies generally rate their UC success via metrics like employee usage, user feedback and business impact. Evidently, employees are simply not using UC tools.

For its report, Nemertes interviewed 50 senior-level IT leaders representing 45 companies, mostly with 2,500 employees or more. In 2015, about 61% of benchmark respondents rated their UC efforts as successful or very successful.

In 2016 that number is down to roughly 43%. Lack of use was the biggest reason for the drop-off.

You can read the full TechTargets article here.   

BTAS Unicoms provides mid-sized organisations with integrated voice, video, messaging, data, mobility services and collaboration tools that are secure, robust and agile. Our deployment communication and training processes work hard to ensure your staff are prepared and ready for the change to modern Unified Communications (UC) in the workplace.

The BTAS approach to improving uptake and user engagement is by involving users earlier in the deployment process with clear, concise, relevant information that prepares the way for UC becoming a reality. 

The internal information campaign is supplemented with structured in-person training coupled with self-paced web learning, online knowledge-bases, clear ‘how-to’ guides, quick reference cheat-sheets and FAQs.

We believe the successful uptake of UC depends heavily on user engagement and we make that a central part of UC deployment.

Visit our product page to learn more.

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Top Tips to Improving Your Wi-Fi

Anyone with a smartphone or tablet has come to rely on Wi-Fi for Internet, but in some cases, the experience is not as fast or reliable as it should be. Here are some simple yet effective ways to get the most out of a Wi-Fi connection.

Better placement

A router tends to be placed in a corner of a building, usually near a window, to eliminate clutter. However, this may cause the Wi-Fi signal to spread omni-directionally and limit its range.

It is better to place a router in the centre of a room or office, preferably at eye-level or higher, so that it provides even coverage and optimum signal strength. To avoid any signal interference, it is also a good idea to keep the router away from other wave-based devices, such as printers, microwave ovens, and other routers.

Use guest networks

If you regularly have visitors to your office, set up a guest network on your router with a separate, simpler password. Once the visitors leave, you can disable the guest network and not have to worry about your Wi-Fi being used later without permission.

To set up a guest network, access the admin settings on the router and give a name to your network, set a password and even limit the number of users simultaneously connected to the network. Some routers also have the option to block and remove connected devices that are taking up too much bandwidth.

Manage your connections

If you haven’t been using guest networks, you may have given out your primary Wi-Fi password to people in the past. It may be possible that people are still connected to your Wi-Fi and using your bandwidth.

The best way to avoid this situation is to change your Wi-Fi password regularly, particularly if you tend to share it with people. Changing the Wi-Fi password once every six months will ensure only the right people connect to your network.

Extend range with repeaters

Unless you work in a home office, a basic router will not provide enough coverage beyond a room. If you don’t want to upgrade to a more powerful router, a simpler and more affordable option is to use a repeater.

A repeater takes the Wi-Fi signal from your router and repeats it to where it is located. The
Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) method is the simplest way to connect a router with a repeater, and usually consists of pressing a button that automatically configures the connection settings.

Time for an upgrade

Some Wi-Fi environments may need a few tweaks to run optimally, but others may need more significant improvements. In those cases, upgrading to a new and modern network will bring about higher Wi-Fi speeds.

BTAS Network is our end-to-end management of your local area network (LAN) and Wi-Fi. Not only do we offer choice when it comes to the right network for your BYOD strategy, we also provide you with a variety of ways to invest in it.

In additional to capital and operational expenditure options, BTAS Network is available as NoD. It also comes with 24/7 network monitoring and managed security by our dedicated Network Operations Centre (NOC).

By offering BTAS Network as NoD, customers can have an experience that is faster and less complex. They also have the ability to cut costs, in some cases getting 120% network capacity for only 70% of the cost.

To find out more about BTAS Network and how it can help your business, visit the product page or contact us.

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Designing Your Office for Collaboration

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Collaboration is one way to boost productivity in the office. However, successful implementation consists of more than just putting a group of people together in the same room.

Fostering teamwork

There are several things an organisation can do to foster a collaborative environment. If you are moving offices, you have an opportunity to plan and design your new location around collaboration.

Consider organising the new office around focused work, conference calls, and telepresence. This means setting aside quiet, social, and collaborative areas where speakerphone can be used without disturbing other people.

Place meeting rooms and project areas within close proximity of teams. Remember that any room or space that’s located too far from the workspace will typically go unused.

Evolving to digital

Provide for and support the transition of analogue work into digital documentation. Enable workers to share information from personal devices, such as notebook PCs and tablets, to a larger format, such as TVs and projectors, to encourage group participation.

Instead of assigning staff to a fixed desk, encourage them to switch where they sit, to connect them to other people, projects, and ideas. Provide a range of furniture and technology that will support employees in their preferred work mode, whether it is focused, social, learning, or collaborative.

Decide where to place network cabling and phone points throughout the office, and what type of phone system and/or unified communications solution to install. This means checking if the office space is already cabled, or if it will need to be done before you move in.

It is worthwhile to find out what is and isn’t available at your new premises well before the move date. That way you will be able to plan ahead and not get stuck with poor performing infrastructure that will hamper your staff from collaborating.

Ready to work together

To help prepare an office for collaboration, BTAS Snapshot provides a high-level management summary of the current status of the organisation’s communication environment. The on-site and remote discovery, analysis and measurement activities take on average three weeks, and are followed by a detailed report and stakeholder presentation.

When it comes to upgrading the communications environment, BTAS Network is our end-to-end management of your local area network (LAN) and Wi-Fi. This includes 24/7 network monitoring and managed security by our dedicated Network Operations Centre (NOC).

BTAS Connect uses fast fibre as the backbone to deliver high speed Internet and Wi-Fi to mid-size organisations. In addition to offering choice to companies in terms of design and architecture, it delivers cost efficiency by providing the latest in technology and increased competitiveness around pricing in the market.

To find out more about the above products and how they can help your business, visit the product pages or contact us.

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The IoT and data centres: A match made in heaven

With estimates as hyped up as 50 billion devices expected to be connected by 2020, the internet of things (IoT) will be the most significant change to the way data is managed in a generation. And that has enterprise data centre operators going back to the drawing board. Data direction The surge in the range of devices and sensors that create and send data means the IoT revolution will bring huge data inflows to centres that will need to be...

With estimates as hyped up as 50 billion devices expected to be connected by 2020, the internet of things (IoT) will be the most significant change to the way data is managed in a generation.
And that has enterprise data centre operators going back to the drawing board.

Data direction

The surge in the range of devices and sensors that create and send data means the IoT revolution will bring huge data inflows to centres that will need to be stored, analysed and used. In fact, the very direction of the data flow represents a significant shift from the past, with centres traditionally feeding data-hungry networks.

But the big promises and opportunities of the IoT means that data storage costs are expected to balloon with huge amounts of inbound traffic.

Real-time (and order) is of the essence

While the discussion around the IoT is centred on the possibilities for healthcare, education, public transport and other improvements in civic life, IT managers will need to consider the time- and order-sensitive nature of IoT data.

Whether it’s sorting through peak-hour public transport or remotely monitoring elderly citizens’ health, getting accurate and reliable data on time and in order is important so that automated decision-making has all the available information.

That means data should be sent in real-time, or time stamped in batches.

Planning

Getting the architecture right will be key to successfully hosting the rapid connectivity that is a core feature of the IoT. To avoid storage and networks creaking under the weight of the data, and to account for yet-to-be-conceived IoT applications, data centre operators will have to completely rethink systems and management.

One consideration might be the move away from big data centres to smaller pockets of storage across a range of sites. Coping with the enormous number of devices and sensors will be a challenge that will almost force a return to a more distributed network. But that might also mean a better handle on security.

A host of other planning considerations will need to come into play, including network bandwidth to cope with increasing frequency of the packets of small data, how that data will be backed up and the increased processing required to sort through all the data that comes into the network.
While the IoT promises to drive a new industrial revolution, the gauntlet has been thrown down for enterprise data centre operators to meet the challenges of its introduction.

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Improving Aged Care with Mobile Devices

Visual devices such as tablets enable aged care workers to provide a better level of care, according to Australian Ageing Agenda. The result is from a study run at 12 Wesley Mission aged care facilities in Queensland.

The purpose of the research was to evaluate the benefits of providing care workers with a tablet loaded with a picture care plan (PCP). The PCP is an illustrated point-of-care app that illustrates information to care workers prior to providing care to the resident.

A handy device

87 per cent of the 85 respondents found the app to be helpful, while 76 per cent said it increased resident safety and quality of care. A further 69 per cent said it made them more confident in their work.

More than half of participants (60 per cent) often or always used the app when providing care, while 15 per cent said they used it sometimes. The main feedback for the tablet and PCP was that it was user friendly (81 per cent), helpful (75 per cent), and time-saving (73 per cent).

When it came to areas of improvement, respondents highlighted the weight of the device (306 grams). Some commented that the tablet was somewhat heavy and pulled on their utility belt or shoulder bag.

Wi-Fi speed was also highlighted as an issue, with a slow connection resulting in a delay in accessing information. While the tablets were speedy and user friendly, the information only displayed as fast as the Wi-Fi they were connected to.

Support the technology

As the pilot with the tablets demonstrated, aged and healthcare facilities need fast and reliable technology infrastructure to support devices used by care workers. BTAS Connect can bring fast fibre-powered WAN and Internet powered to your village, while BTAS Network is end-to-end network management for peace of mind.

Symmetric connectivity of BTAS Connect means uploads are equally fast as downloads, so you’ll be able to add high quality content to the Cloud within minutes. High speed broadband also means you do not need to worry about the reliability of your file transfers or the availability of the Internet.

BTAS Network is designed to not only manage your network, but also secure it. Our Network Operations Centre (NOC) will proactively monitor your network, ensuring you remained focused on running your village and not distracted by the running of technology.

Contact us today to find out how BTAS Connect and BTAS Network can enable your business.

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The Advantages of Virtualising Your Office

Virtualization is an industry buzzword that may be as widespread as the Cloud, but it is just as often misunderstood. For that reason, many businesses have not fully realised the potential benefits of the technology.

Doing more with less

Virtualization is the process of establishing the virtual version of a technology that may be found in an office such as a network, server, storage device, or operating system. That means both physical and non-physical pieces of technology have the potential to move from the office and virtualise in a different location.

If done correctly, many businesses could benefit from substantial cost savings and flexibility advantages by implementing a structured virtualization plan in their offices. A lot of the savings of virtualization are related to hardware and software purchases, or depending on the situation, the lack of them.

For instance, virtualization makes it possible to install multiple operating systems on a single server.  This means one hardware configuration can effectively serve as four or five different configurations, saving both hardware and energy costs.

The digital domain

Networks and associated resources can also be virtualized, with a single real network divided into several virtual ones. In addition to the cost savings, the structural complexity of the network will be simplified and performance will be optimised.

A well-implemented virtualization scheme can make it easier to rollout hardware and application upgrades. This is because virtualised technology exists as digital data, so it can be copied and installed quicker than on physical devices.

Virtualization is also a good way to outsource IT services so systems for different businesses can be run virtually and securely on the same server. This type of flexibility not only cuts down on IT-related spending, but also frees up physical office space and better realigns resources within the company.

Eliminate the complexity

A quick and easy way to virtualise your network environment is with BTAS Network, which is available as Network on Demand (NoD). It also comes with 24/7 network monitoring and managed security by our dedicated Network Operations Centre (NOC).

By offering BTAS Network as NoD, customers can have an experience that is faster and less complex. They also have the ability to cut costs, in some cases getting 120% network capacity for only 70% of the cost.

To find out more about BTAS Network and how it can help your business, visit the product page or contact us.

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Seniors Benefit from Going Online

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A university study has found the use of digital technology by older people contributed to their social and emotional wellbeing. Australian Ageing Agenda has seen this research lead to grassroots initiative to bring more local seniors online.

Transitioning online

A professor from the University of Wollongong carried out the research and found that the social elements of the Internet helped older people deal with their isolation. The results from the research were so encouraging that the professor started a not-for-profit social enterprise, called “Living Connected”, to help older people understand and use digital technologies.

The digital inclusion of seniors has the potential to mean a lower burden of care for both the Government and carers. By using a computer to engage and connect, older people will be able to do things for themselves and this can translate to a better quality of life.

Living Connected, which includes a volunteer-run personalised home service, has so far helped approximately 50 seniors in the Illawarra region in Sydney. Some the services include computer classes for aged care residents and workshops to train volunteers.

Bringing it to the masses

The initiative is in the middle of a crowdfunding drive to help bring it to more aged Australians in more locations. People in Brisbane and Adelaide have already expressed interest in expanding Living Connected to their communities.

The NBN has also looked into Living Connected, and the crowdfunding aims to grab the attention of other larger supporters. Longer term, the goal is to develop systems that will aid in trouble shooting client problems remotely.

Expanding the scope and reach of Living Connected will ensure that the group can continue to provide support for older people who cannot afford the technical costs of going online, or don’t understand how to use the Internet. Once those barriers are removed, they can experience the social aspect of the Internet and not feel as isolated anymore.

Connect your guests

In order for older Australians to fully enjoy the benefits of being connected to the Internet, aged and healthcare facilities need fast and reliable technology infrastructure. BTAS Connect can bring fast fibre-powered WAN and Internet powered to your village, while BTAS Network is end-to-end network management for peace of mind.

Symmetric connectivity of BTAS Connect means uploads are equally fast as downloads, so you’ll be able to add high quality content to the Cloud within minutes. High speed broadband also means you don’t need to worry about the reliability of your file transfers or the availability of the Internet.

BTAS Network is designed to not only manage your network, but also secure it. Our Network Operations Centre (NOC) will proactively monitor your network, ensuring you remain focused on running your village and are not distracted by the running of your technology.

Contact us today to find out how BTAS Connect and BTAS Network can enable your business.

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Gigabit Networks Will Need to be Wired

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Superfast Gigabit broadband may be around the corner, but Network World expects the highest speeds to come from wired, not wireless, networks. Adequate planning and the right technology will also be key in unlocking the full potential of thousand megabit broadband.

Preparing for Gigabit

Although Wi-Fi is now commonplace and often the preferred method to connect to networks, upgraded wired installs will better handle the throughput of Gigabit. Implementing Gigabit at a networking level is also expected to be simpler with the wired route.

Although today’s Wi-Fi technology is already speedy, Internet metrics company, Ookla, recommends using a Cat 6 Ethernet cable for Gigabit. If taking the Wi-Fi route, the latest standards, such as 160 MHz channel, four-stream 802.11ac with 5GHz frequencies, are required for Gigabit, though even then it will be limited to 600 Mbps.

Another issue affecting Gigabit over wireless is signal interference. A sporadic and halting connection, due to nearby interference to Wi-Fi, will mean a less than perfect Gigabit experience.

Going back to wired

To achieve the fastest results with Gigabit, a hardwired connection will be needed. Cat 5e specs should be able to handle Gigabit, but Cat 6 will provide the highest and most reliable speeds, since it is less susceptible to crosstalk than Cat 5e.

The Ethernet ports on a router should also be checked that they are prepared for Gigabit speeds, as well as whether the router’s CPU can handle the load. x86 processors are the fastest option, followed by ARM and MIPS.

The trend for some businesses has been to move away from wired to wireless, but the introduction of Gigabit may push them to return to Ethernet. This will ensure they can use the promised speeds of Gigabit to adopt newer technology, such as virtual reality, and maximise existing ones, such as video streaming.

Time for an upgrade

BTAS Network is our end-to-end management of your local area network (LAN) and Wi-Fi. Not only do we offer choice when it comes to creating the right network that runs fast, we also provide you with a variety of ways to invest in it.

In addition to capital and operational expenditure options, BTAS Network is available as NoD. It also comes with 24/7 network monitoring and managed security by our dedicated Network Operations Centre (NOC).

By offering BTAS Network as NoD, customers can have an experience that is faster and less complex. They also have the ability to cut costs, in some cases getting 120% network capacity for only 70% of the cost.

To find out more about BTAS Network and how it can help your business, visit the product page or contact us.

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Videoconferencing: Productivity gains a screen away

Saving time and money, boosting collaboration and cutting emissions – these are just a few of the reasons behind the growing popularity of videoconferencing. Here's a quick look at the many business benefits.

Benefits of videoconferencing

While your travel agent might not like it, videoconferencing can lead to a huge reduction in business travel time and cost while increasing productivity. A study by the Carbon Disclosure Project found that businesses could achieve a return on investment in as little as 15 months, while also curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Other benefits include a faster decision-making process, maximizing the input of key employees and lowering stress on staff, resulting in improved morale and better work practices, such as allowing for telecommuting.

Strategically, videoconferencing can help firms get to market faster and improve customer responsiveness, while speeding response time to crisis events.

Gigoam Research found that 87 percent of remote users “feel more connected to their team and process when using videoconferencing.” When your colleague in another city is suddenly right on your screen, staff discussions become a lot more engaging – although telecommuters will need to ditch those pyjamas for office clothes.

How do these systems operate?

A variety of software and hardware applications have been developed to facilitate videoconferencing.

Common bundles allow you to conduct interactive videoconference calls while collaborating on individual projects. Depending on the bundle, these services may include new telecommunication devices or computer workstations which operate in unison with advanced software.

These systems allow businesses to converse with their colleagues in rural locations or overseas while working on the same report or file, allowing for document sharing and storage.

How can these systems cut costs?

First-class executive travel is a thing of the past with videoconferencing, since the only travel required is moving to the conference facility in the office, or to your desktop computer or smartphone.

In addition to the savings in business travel time and cost, the elevated quality of collaboration allows businesses to avoid project double-ups and the time-consuming process of back-and-forth file exchanges.

Videoconferencing can unlock considerable cost savings for any organisation while delivering productivity gains through enhanced collaboration, along with improved morale and environmental benefits. For businesses that embrace the trend, global communication is now just a screen away.

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Why it’s Time for a Network Tune-Up

Your network and telecommunications system may have served your business well for many years, but that does not mean it is running at peak performance. As more technology is added to support your growing business, performance and optimisation may have been overlooked.

It is possible that your company may have outgrown the technology environment that was set in place years ago. While your network, security, access permissions, and applications appear to be working well, there could be some key technical issues slowing down the overall performance.

Looking in the right places

The only way to know what is really happening with your telecommunications environment is to look under the hood. This can be achieved with a communications performance snapshot, which assesses your infrastructure for any technical weaknesses, security risks, and key areas that can be improved upon.

One key benefit of a communications overview is finding ways to improve your existing infrastructure. In certain cases, a small upgrade could be enough to improve efficiency and bring about significant cost savings.

The performance snapshot could also uncover instances where incorrect settings are used or security has been incorrectly configured. These are quick and inexpensive fixes that would remain unresolved if the communications overview had not been carried out.

Find out the bottlenecks

Staff productivity is important for businesses, but inefficient and unreliable technology can hold them back. If your network is running slow or your telecommunications drops out, this affects business deadlines and can costs you in lost man-hours.

A common culprit may be outdated or legacy hardware. Updating the right components to newer and faster alternatives can bring about significant improvement across the whole communications environment.

You may also have some solutions that are close to full capacity, so you can use that insight to make long term plans for upgrades. This will ensure you are putting the necessary focus on the continued improvement of your entire network while not spending too much all at once.

Get more from what you have

A performance snapshot can also show you what is clogging up your communications environment. In addition to knowing about the congested areas, you’ll also see what’s no longer necessary and how you can free up further capacity on your network to speed up processes.

Insights from the performance snapshot will aid in creating a proactive environment. With a reactive approach, you are limited to waiting for something to happen, and when it does time may be wasted in reporting and fixing the error.

Having the ability to be proactive means potential technical issues are fixed before they can become a problem for your business. You’ll have the necessary information to identify any shortcomings that could cause potentially serious damage down the line, and ensure they are corrected.

Snapshot your performance

The value of a communications overview is that it provides a holistic view of your current setup. Beyond understanding what the network topology, security, capacity, and weak points are, there is value in assessing existing contracts with external vendors and providers.

We are able to assist with BTAS Snapshot, where we inspect your current telecommunications infrastructure to get a picture of what works and what could be improved. In cases where improvements need to be made, we look at the overall complexity and the potential savings.

BTAS Snapshot is designed to provide an “early warning” look into a business’ network infrastructure. It’s not an audit or a consultancy, but a holistic overview of an network environment that identifies any weaknesses and inefficiencies.

While it provides insight into how more radical changes can be made to the communications infrastructure, it is the “quick wins” that bring the immediate benefits to a business. Not only can BTAS Snapshot help to justify any additional investments to a communications environment, in certain situations it could also potentially cover the costs.

To find out more about BTAS Snapshot and how it can help your business, visit the product page or contact us.

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Finding the health apps that help

In our technology-driven world, the smartphone is an extension of our bodies – a go-to when we need, want or simply think about anything.

With access to Earth’s collective knowledge at the touch of a button, including information about our own bodies, each passing day brings more advanced and amazing healthcare tools. With so many health apps available, people are self-diagnosing before they even see a professional. And with so many choices, it can be hard to know which apps are the best.

We’ve collected the most innovative and useful apps below. They can point you in the right direction, reduce unnecessary callouts, improve data collection for long-term care and boost the accuracy of diagnosis.

WebMD

In tandem with perhaps the most famous medical website around, the WebMD app features physician-reviewed health content, symptom checkers, drug and treatment information, and even medication reminders.

First Aid – Australian Red Cross

This helpful app features vital first-aid information along with step-by-step videos and guides covering everything from broken bones to getting caught outside in a hurricane. Even better, it preloads data on your phone, so you can still access the information even if there’s no reception.

Sugar Sense

This app is a must for every diabetic. Not only does it track blood sugar, glucose, carbs and gives an estimate on HbA1c levels, but it also includes guides that show how diet can impact blood-sugar levels.

AsthmaMD

As the name implies, this app is dedicated to tracking and monitoring asthma, its causes and relevant treatments. It also passes on specific data to research scientists who study the condition.

MyChart

An easy way to keep track of lab reports, appointment information, current medications, immunisation history and other health-related data. Aligned through healthcare providers, it is possible to message clinics directly for appointments, prescription refills or non-urgent requests.

CareZone

Managing medication schedules, dosages and stocks can be a headache at the best of times. Using your phone’s camera, CareZone can log a variety of relevant information. Symptoms can then be shared and recorded with doctors (or family), insurance information is always on hand and reminders can be set for appointments.

These are only a few of the countless health apps available, but they are extremely useful for you and your patients – with the added advantage of regular updates and improvements – to streamline the healthcare process.

Contact us today to find out how BTAS Connect and BTAS Network can enable your business.

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The Benefits of Unified Communications

Unified communications (UC) has the ability to streamline all channels of communication, converging email, instant messaging, voice and data to ensure all of your systems and software are speaking to each other. It’s also easy to use, with one user interface for all staff across a range of devices most applicable to them.

Single interface

With UC, you will have access to the office via a range and multitude of devices, whether it is smartphones, PCs, laptops, or tablets. This means you are able to create your office environment anywhere you please, and work just as effectively.

You will also have a single interface on your PC, smartphone, or tablet. This enables you to see in a handy overview every colleague, their current status, what device they are using, and options on how to contact them.

Convergence can significantly improve the way you, groups and companies interact. This is because a single, streamlined platform increases response times and bridges gaps between dispersed teams, while real time, effective communication can increase decision making in the business.

More functionality

UC comes with advanced telephony functions such as short-number dialling, which eliminates the use of area codes, and is particularly helpful with businesses that are located across geographical areas. There is also a unified voicemail box that works for multiple communication devices, such as a desk, home, mobile, or IP phone connected to a computer.

Advanced call forwarding supports different types of devices and incoming calls can search for an idle extension in a department. Multiple devices can also be set to ring simultaneously regardless of their location, ensuring the caller gets through to the right person at the right time.

You can also make use of a single number for all of your phone devices. With it, you can start a phone call from the desk phone and continue the call on the smartphone as you walk away from the desk and out of the office.

Bringing workers together

Today’s modern workplace is no longer limited to the office desk, with staff often working outside of the office in various capacities. Mid-sized organisations of 100 to 1000 can use UC to achieve greater efficiency from staff and infrastructure through smoother and more reliable communications.

BTAS Unicoms provides mid-sized organisations with integrated voice, video, messaging, data, mobility services and collaboration tools that are secure, robust and agile. Our solution is designed to help staff easily contact (presence), communicate (voice, video, and conference), and collaborate (share and edit documents) with their internal or external stakeholders.

Contact us today to find out how BTAS Unicoms can enable your business.

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What to Expect From 802.11ay Wi-Fi

New Wi-Fi technology called 802.11ay promises higher speeds and greater reach, according to Network World. It will also support an even wider range of products than 802.11ad.

802.11ay promises to be a very scalable spec. 802.11ad has one set of data rates that everyone supports, but 802.11ay will have more parameters to deliver a wider range of performance and products.

Instead of viewing 802.11ay as a new spec, it will be more of an extension of 802.11ad. All the basic principles of how the networks form will remain the same, but greater capacity will be added on top of it

Ramping up 802.11ad

The IEEE Task Group's first draft for 802.11ay is targeted for later this year. If the first draft does get completed then, the first 802.11ay products may appear on the market within 12 months.

In the meantime, the current, high speed 802.11ad will pick up more market share. 2017 is expected to be the year when companies start to release more 802.11ad products.

The older 802.11ac format delivers solid performance but it has reached its limit, particularly on the consumer side. If a company wants true gigabit wireless networking for their applications, 802.11ad is the only way to deliver the necessary speeds.

Businesses are expected to benefit from the added capacity of 802.11ay. Cloud applications demand a lot of bandwidth and low latency, and only high performance Wi-Fi is capable of delivering a good experience.

Time for an upgrade

A lot of the easy PC applications have been moved to the Cloud. However, the next wave of software is already demanding a lot more bandwidth and lower latency that only a modern network can deliver.

BTAS Network is our end-to-end management of your local area network (LAN) and Wi-Fi. Not only do we offer choice when it comes to the right network for your BYOD strategy, we also provide you with a variety of ways to invest in it.

In additional to capital and operational expenditure options, BTAS Network is available as NoD. It also comes with 24/7 network monitoring and managed security by our dedicated Network Operations Centre (NOC).

By offering BTAS Network as NoD, customer can have an experience that is faster and less complex. They also have the ability to cut costs, in some cases getting 120% network capacity for only 70% of the cost.

To find out more about BTAS Network and how it can help your business, visit the product page or contact us.

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How Much Data Can Fibre Carry?

A typical fibre network can carry a lot of data, but experimental technology from Facebook and Nokia has found a way to boost its capacity by 2.5 times. According to Network World, the two companies have been using a submarine cable across the Atlantic to test ways to push more data through fibre optic.

Nokia recently tested new technology on a pair of fibres used by Facebook on the 5,500-kilometer AEConnect cable in the Atlantic between Ireland and New York. A new technique developed for increasing cable efficiency managed to boost the capacity of the fibre connection by approximately 2.5 times.

Currently, Facebook's fibre can carry approximately 13Tbps (terabits per second). Using the recently tested experimental technology called PCS (probabilistic constellation shaping), the fibre could transmit a record-setting 32Tbps.

Nokia optical networking marketing director, Kyle Hollasch, said fibre’s ability to carry data depends on various factors, such as how long it is and the characteristics of its glass. "Every fibre in the ground, everywhere in the world, is different," he said.

Pushing the boundaries

Companies like Facebook are already pushing the limits of fibre, with high resolution video straining networks that link consumers and datacentres. The good thing about fibre optic is its capacity can be boosted from what was available when the cable was laid.

New equipment, such as PCS, on each end of a fibre link can help to transmit data more efficiently. Nokia expects the technology to be ready for submarine cables and fibre networks, several which Facebook has invested in, in three years.

"Facebook pays the same for this cable regardless of how much data they put on it," Hollasch said. “So they might as well put as much as they can.”

Fibre for everyone

The speed of fibre optic has made it a top choice for large business such as Facebook, but mid-sized companies can also benefit from the connection. BTAS Connect is already providing fast fibre-powered Internet and WAN to numerous mid-sized businesses, and it could be yours as well from $400 per month (plus GST).

Symmetric connectivity of BTAS Connect means uploads are equally fast as downloads, so you’ll be able to add high quality content to the Cloud within minutes. High speed broadband also means you do not need to worry about the reliability of your file transfers or the availability of the Internet.

Contact us today to find out how BTAS Connect can enable your business.

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Leaders Summit 2017: Customers, Capital, and Technology Lead Aged Care

The customer, capital, and technology control the state of the aged care industry today. In the next five years, these three factors will grow to dictate everything done in villages.

DoComeMonday Media Publisher, Chris Baynes, made this observation at Leaders Summit 2017, the leading conference for the aged care industry, which was held on March 16-17 at the Hilton in Sydney. BTAS was present at this year’s event and continued its sponsorship from last year.

Baynes said the influx of baby boomers will create a completely new but different market for aged care providers. “Early baby boomers will want to stay at home and this is already taking place in the US,” he said. “If we don’t take a hard look at ourselves, we run the risk of being no longer relevant in five years.”

In the area of technology, Baynes foresee Big Data being used by villages to make informed decisions about residents and their care. “Big Data is not something we talk about in aged care, but we’re going to have to be involved with it in a significant way,” he said.

Industry leaders will also need to find effective methods to recycling old villages. “We have 45,000 units that need to be redeveloped and this is a major problem,” Baynes said. “Even if it is done over a ten year period, that’s only 4,500 units per year.”

Scaling up to demand

Recently, the Treasurer of Australia announced the introduction of incentives for people aged 55 and over to downsize from their large family homes. These incentives consist of more lenient rules around the aged pension, caps on superannuation, and an once-in-a-lifetime windfall to downsize from their home.

If that windfall is up to $200,000, then 50,000 families a year may consider downsizing and look for alternate accommodation. Although the incentive program is expected to roll out in the next couple of weeks, Baynes does not expect it to bring immediate benefits to the aged care industry.

“The reality is if we have 50,000 new customers, there’s no way we’ll have a spot for them,” he said. “For a number of reasons, we are unable to produce 50,000 units in the next five years.”

In the long term, apartment builders are expected to be the big winners, since people will be downsizing to them. The aged care industry will not only need to be aware of this trend, but also find ways to adapt to it.

Connecting carers and residents

In the next five years, aged and healthcare facilities will need fast and reliable technology infrastructure to meet the needs of elderly Australians. BTAS Connect can bring fast fibre-powered WAN and Internet powered to your village, while BTAS Network is end-to-end network management for peace of mind.

Symmetric connectivity of BTAS Connect means uploads are equally fast as downloads, so you’ll be able to add high quality content to the Cloud within minutes. High speed broadband also means you do not need to worry about the reliability of your file transfers or the availability of the Internet.

BTAS Network is designed to not only manage your network, but also secure it. Our Network Operations Centre (NOC) will proactively monitor your network, ensuring you remained focused on running your village and not distracted by the running of technology.

Contact us today to find out how BTAS Connect and BTAS Network can enable your business.

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Frost & Sullivan: Health, Aged Care Tech Growth in 2017

Leaders Summit 2017, the leading conference for the aged care industry, will be held this week (March 16-17) at the Hilton in Sydney. BTAS will continue its sponsorship from last year and be present at this year’s event.

Leading up to Leaders Summit, Frost & Sullivan announced that healthcare services, aged care technologies, and screening and diagnostics are key growth areas for Asia Pacific in 2017. The analyst firm highlighted a need for innovation in terms of site-of-care delivery, treatment pathways, and payment models in order to deliver better healthcare.

Greater demand in Asia Pacific

Major health policies and initiatives are expected to be realised in part in 2017, which in turn will drive growth in the industry. The Asia Pacific healthcare market, which includes medical devices and healthcare technology, is expected to represent close to 30 per cent of global revenue in 2017.

The healthcare sector in Asia Pacific is also one of the fastest growing globally, with a growth rate of eight per cent projected for 2017 versus the global projected growth rate of 4.8 per cent.  The means the Asia Pacific healthcare market will increase from US$472.5 billion in 2016 to US$510.7 billion this year.

This growth can be attributed to industry concepts such as value-based care, personalisation and preventative healthcare gaining acceptance. This in turn is creating demand amongst consumers and healthcare providers for new technologies and innovative care delivery platforms.

Digitally-driven healthcare

Ageing populations worldwide continue to stretch the healthcare system and threaten an unsustainable rise in healthcare spending. Australia joins Japan, Korea, and Singapore as the fastest aging nations in Asia, with the ABS predicting that 7.75 million Australians will be over 65 years of age by 2044.

Frost & Sullivan Partner, Rhenu Bhuller, said these social trends will push healthcare service providers to reinvent their business models. “Care will move toward community and home, leading to opportunities for tele-health, remote patient monitoring and mhealth," she said.

The successful implementation of remote care delivery models in countries like Australia will help transition healthcare from tertiary/secondary care towards the home. As the industry moves toward this digitally-driven care delivery model, providers and carers will turn to technologies such as Big Data and predictive analytics, AI and robotics to do more with less.

Preparing for the future

In order for technology to provide aged Australians with the freedom to exercise real choice, aged and healthcare facilities need fast and reliable technology infrastructure. BTAS Connect can bring fast fibre-powered WAN and Internet powered to your village, while BTAS Network is end-to-end network management for peace of mind.

Symmetric connectivity of BTAS Connect means uploads are equally fast as downloads, so you’ll be able to add high quality content to the Cloud within minutes. High speed broadband also means you do not need to worry about the reliability of your file transfers or the availability of the Internet.

BTAS Network is designed to not only manage your network, but also secure it. Our Network Operations Centre (NOC) will proactively monitor your network, ensuring you remained focused on running your village and not distracted by the running of technology.

Contact us today to find out how BTAS Connect and BTAS Network can enable your business.

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