With Aussie SMEs relying on technology more than ever before, endless possibilities are at our fingertips to further enhance business efficiency and engage with customers to ultimately benefit the bottom line – a hot topic with the recent 2015 Federal Budget announcement.
Officeworks has partnered with prominent tech expert and media figure, Trevor Long to demonstrate the various ways in which SMEs can integrate technology into their businesses via his comprehensive A-Z guide
A recent study found only 17% of Aussies are early adopters of technology1, however keeping up with the latest in tech is as easy as ABC according to tech expert Trevor Long, who has partnered with Officeworks to share his list of technology tips to make your life easier.
A.Apps for that
Did you know there’s an app that can control door locks at home while you’re at work? Or that you can use an app to track and find your keys or glasses? Browse your app store today to find tools to help you day-to-day.
B.Backup is essential
There is no excuse for losing photos and files in today’s digital age, when you can back-up your data to a hard drive in minutes. Opt for hard drives with an internal shock sensor and ramp loading technology for extra protection against data loss.
C.Cloak it in the cloud
Forget the white fluffy things, these days the Cloud could be the best thing for making your life easier. Cloud computing allows you to store and access data and programs on the internet instead of your computer’s hard drive, making it the perfect solution for those on the go. Storing your mail, contacts and documents in the Cloud makes them accessible from any device that’s connected to the internet - any time.
D.Drive with hands-free
If your car doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth for your phone, grab a hands-free charger that plugs in to your phone. Answer calls and charge your phone simultaneously.
Think about the environment when upgrading your tech. Be sure to drop off your old devices (computers, batteries, ink and toner cartridges) in-store at your local Officeworks collection box to ethically dispose of your e-waste.
F.Facebook is your friend
Facebook continues to dominate the social media landscape, with 95% of social media users on the platform2. If you’re a small business, use a Facebook page to geo-target people in your local area, or people all around the world by specific personal traits (demographical and interests-based).
If you have multiple people accessing and editing documents and spreadsheets, try a Cloud solution like Google Docs which allows you to edit at the same time as well as see each other’s changes in real-time.
H.Hosts with the most
Two-thirds of SMEs have a website3, so if that’s you, ensure you find a good web host as not all are made equal. The right web host will ensure fast connection foryour visitors, and a reliable service. Your web host could be your most valuable online business partner.
Watch movies, TV shows and documentaries instantly with online streaming providers that have recently launched in Australia. Alternatively, use an Apple TV or Chromecast to watch entertainment from any of your devices on your HDTV.
Pairing multiple devices to the one Bluetooth speaker is now possible so you don’t have to argue with your friends and family over what music you should play.
Keyboards have come a long way – ergonomic ranges are now available for those who spend long periods of time behind the desk, while wireless keyboards are perfect if your desk’s cord clutter is starting to become a concern.
L.Laptops to live by
We live versatile lives so choose a laptop that can adapt to your needs. Convertible laptops are becoming an increasingly popular device, with the ability to switch from laptop to tablet instantaneously.
M.Mobile means agile
Is your office on-the-go? Connect every device in your mobile office with one simple connection using a WiFi hotspot that can connect up to ten devices on super-fast mobile broadband.
Don’t compromise on the hardware that supports your office or home network. Quality routers will ensure the fastest flow of information from computer to computer when sharing files.
69% of SMEs in 2014 reported their website improved the success of their business3, which highlights the importance of having a digital presence to gain a competitive advantage. Google has recently updated its search rankings to benefit those who have a mobile compatible website – make the move or risk losing business.
Need to process transactions on-the-go? PayPal Tap and Go enabled card reader is specifically engineered for Aussie SMEs needing to accept card payments on-the-go via its PayPal Here app.
Sharing photos for business purposes? Remember potential customers will judge your business on the quality of the photo. You don’t need to invest in a
professional camera, your smartphone will do just the trick with the latest devices boasting powerful 16MP cameras.
R.Record your notes
Voice recording devices are quite possibly one of the handiest additions to a meeting or presentation. Simply switch the device on and it will transform audio into a digital transcription - allowing you to sit back and take in what’s going on around you.
With 76% of Aussies owning a smartphone2, make sure you take advantage of voice-command features for iPhone and Android with the likes of Siri, Cortana and Google Now. These should be your best friend, given you can set your alarm, send a text or schedule a meeting without lifting a finger.
T.Tablet turned notebook
If the reason you don’t own a tablet is because you prefer typing or writing notes, choose a tablet that comes with a Stylus Pen, which can also be used like a mouse. For SMEs, consider how a tablet can enhance your customers’ retail experience using your chosen payment app, as opposed to a bulky cash register.
U.Uninterrupted power saves the day
An Uninterrupted Power Source (UPS) is a tech essential, as it provides emergency power during a main power outage. An uninterruptible power supply will prevent data loss and allow the chance to shut down your device or service correctly.
Anti-virus and internet security software is important not only for protecting you from viruses and malware, but to help prevent you from falling victim to scams. You really can’t put a price on your online safety.
Is there an area in your home or office that has poor WiFi coverage? Try a wireless range extender to boost your internet speed in those black spots.
X-Ray vision and virtual reality is making waves in some of the most influential tech companies in the world. It’s worth looking at how your business could potentially use virtual reality experiences to engage customers and generate some positive word of mouth.
Y.Yes to wearable tech
The new phenomenon has brought us products like Jawbones, Fitbits and smartwatches changing our lives – for the better. Stay on top of your fitness, calorie intake and sleeping patterns using wearable tech to increase your overall health.
If you work in an open plan office but struggle to concentrate with all that’s going on around you, perhaps try using noise cancelling headphones to help you focus on the task at hand.