June 25, 2017

Three Essential 2016 IT Trends To Understand To Ensure The Future Success Of Your Business

As leaders in providing information technology services and networking support in Orange County, Zephyr Networks understands and adapts to constantly evolving IT trends. The rise of mobile technology and private cloud services are two key examples of this ongoing evolution. What business owners need to understand is that everyone is connected to everyone, everywhere, all the time. Since such an intense and expansive level of connection is now available, the opportunities and the risks exist side-by-side.

At Zephyr Networks, our goal is to help you take advantage of the opportunities to improve the profit margins and the productivity of your business while minimizing the risks. In terms of this article, our focus will be on taking advantage of three essential 2016 IT trends to help ensure the future success of your business. In our next article, we will highlight the dangers of cybercrime in 2016 and how to improve your cybersecurity in order to minimize the risks.

Three Essential 2016 IT Trends —

  1. Taking Advantage of The Device Mesh
  2. Greater Emphasis on Private Cloud & Data Center Services
  3. Fast Data Processing Becomes More Accessible

1) Taking Advantage of The Device Mesh

2016 it trends, device mesh

2016 IT Trends Include The Device Mesh

In 2016, your awareness of the device mesh will go from a “What the heck is a device mesh?” to “Are all of our employee’s devices connected and optimized for the device mesh?” The device mesh includes traditional business computing, mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, new forms of wearable technology, and a bevy of consumer and home electronic and automotive devices. In the post-mobile world, the device mesh extends the connective range of the user to just about everywhere.

Even more importantly, it extends the range of your employees. Suddenly, they can be doing work and accessing proprietary information while on the go; in restaurants, on airplanes and even while commuting to work. As the device mesh grows, greater cooperative interaction between devices needs to emerge. Moreover, user experience of websites and online services must be optimized to meet the needs of this new bevy of devices. If your customer can’t see your offerings on their smart phone, they won’t remain your customer for very long.

In terms of your business, Zephyr Networks can help your company make the device mesh work for you while ensuring the security of your proprietary data across multiple platforms. Isn’t it essential that your employees can do their work safely and efficiently across multiple platforms? The device mesh should not be a spider’s web that entraps your company, but an array of exciting opportunities that help your expand your technological reach.

2) An Emphasis on Private Cloud & Data Center Services

InfoWorld’s David Linthicum has suggested that 2016 will be the year when the phase “cloud computing” is retired. Instead, people will go back to simply saying “computing” because the cloud has become that essential to the modern world. Zephyr Networks agrees with this belief, although the transition in the lexicon might take a little longer. After all, the adoption of new technological opportunities is always slower than expected as business owners resist change. Given this resistance, Zephyr Networks now provides a private cloud and data center services audit for our clients, providing an education side-by-side with a description of how this technological opportunity can help your company.

The most important access of a private cloud is so obvious that it almost feels absurd to say it aloud: Privacy and Autonomy for Your Company. Rather than being a little fish in the ocean, threatened by larger predators and pollution and anything else you can imagine, your company becomes a big fish in its own pond, protecting your company’s data while accessing a tailored package of services that make sense for your business. The focus of a private cloud and data center services audit is to understand exactly what your company needs to continue on its path of success. To learn more about how Zephyr Networks can help you keep pace with this 2016 IT trend, please contact us today.

3) Fast Data Processing Becomes More Accessible

In 2016, the fast data processing speeds used by Netflix and Amazon will now be accessible for small to mid-sized companies. Rather than be restricted to slower online processing speeds offered by cable companies and the like, your company can become a modern racecar without taking unnecessary risks. The goal of Zephyr Networks is to provide your company with the high performance technology options needed to succeed in today’s world.

The private cloud and low latency data center services offered by Zephyr Networks can help a small to mid-sized company succeed by accessing the benefits of fast data processing. Zephyr Networks believes that small to mid-sized companies to access the fast data processing capabilities of larger companies. With our Level 3 Data Centers, your company can access the data processing speed with low latency that is used by the Internet giants.

The data center services team at Zephyr Networks understand that your business needs high performance technology with super fast Internet speed. By offering the very best in private cloud and networking support, we can make this happen. To learn how Zephyr Networks can help your company take advantage of these 2016 IT trends, please call Zephyr Networks today by calling (800) 884-7559.

How To Avoid 3 Technological Office Time Sucks That Could Hurt Your Company’s Productivity In 2016

technological office time sucks

Technological Office Time Sucks

Your company needs to avoid technological office time sucks in 2016 to be more productive and profitable. Given the omnipresent role of technology in the modern world, Zephyr Networks understands how frustrating it can be when your productivity seems to be going down and not up.

With all of the wonders of modern computing and communication, shouldn’t your productivity be shooting through the roof? Shouldn’t you have more time than ever to get your job done?

Zephyr Networks wants to help your company avoid technological office time sucks in

Increasing Productivity In The Modern World

By facing up to and avoiding three modern time sucks, Zephyr Networks wants to offer you this easy guide to becoming more productive. By following these simple suggestions – we admit the first two are easier to implement than the third – you will discover that modern technology once again becomes a positive as opposed to a negative. You will be able to get out of your own way by ambushing these 3 productivity killers in advance, optimizing not just your workday, but increasing your personal happiness as well.

3 Technological Time Sucks To Avoid

By addressing these three technological office time sucks that Zephyr Networks can help your company avoid, you will be back on the road to optimizing your company’s productivity and profitability.

1) The Quicksand of Social Media

The simple truth is that 75% of the time that people spend on social media is just a big waste of time. But the addiction creeps up on you and takes over. It happens to the best of us. At work, you start wondering what might be happening on Facebook or Twitter. Why not take a quick peek? You just want to make sure that your significant other or your kids aren’t posting anything stupid or your friends aren’t planning a big party without you. Innocent, right? Not so much.

Zephyr Networks can provide content filtering for your office computers that prevent access to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and whatever other social media websites are distracting your employees.
When it comes to such filters, the preferences of marketing departments to use social media for research can be a problem. Selective filters for different departments can prevent such problems.

Social Media Filters = A More Productive Office

social media quicksand, technological office time sucks

Social Media Quicksand

Compulsive social media checks are a definite example of technological office time sucks. Checking Facebook and Twitter throughout the day can add up to hours a week of lost work time. More importantly, they take your employees out of the flow of their work.

If employees want to check Facebook or Twitter, they can schedule social media time during their lunch breaks and check Facebook and Twitter on their phones. Your employees might grumble a bit, but who cares if they end up being more productive and your company ends up being more profitable.

2) The Stampede Of Too Much Email

Email is impossible to avoid in today’s world, but the flood of spam, personal content and useless messages can hurt a business. Why is your workplace email box overflowing with hundreds of emails every day? Zephyr Networks have learned from experience that being too connected can be a major productivity killer. Why do you employees need to be connected to a flow of information that distracts them from their work? Such distractions are downright damaging.

social media stampede

The Stampede of Social Media

When it comes to your email inbox, you need to take a structured approach. Automate some basic email tasks to help you prioritize your inbox. Most emails don’t need to be replied to and many more don’t need to be read. If you are going through every email in your inbox every day, you are wasting a tremendous amount of time.

Your office email box should not be one more of the  technological office time sucks hurting your business. It should be segmented like a Gmail inbox where messages are divided between primary, social and promotional. The latter two should be ignored during the workday. By having your employees segment their Inboxes, they will save a lot of time. You also can have your employees use a separate email for work that focuses exclusively on business essentials.

3) The Freedom Of Cloud Computing

Okay, Zephyr Networks understands how this solution is the hardest to implement and it doesn’t have to be done overnight or in one fell swoop. However, isn’t it time for your company to embrace the freedom of cloud computing and remote work opportunities? Are both the morning and evening commute sucking valuable hours from your employee’s workdays? In most big cities, employees that commute to work five days a week lose over 10 hours of potential productivity.

Fortunately, thanks to cloud computing, working remotely is easier than ever. With web-based software and collaboration tools, office workers can get everything done even when they’re miles away from home base. Telecommuting is growing quickly as remote employees report higher productivity and morale.

Cloud Computing = Remote Productivity

cloud computing

Access The Freedom of Cloud Computing

Even if you can’t work remotely all the time, you may be able to slightly shift your work schedule so you’re not traveling at rush hour. Couldn’t some employees handle the first part of your workday from home before they make that commute? By avoiding rush hour, they’ll be saving time and relieving stress.

Working remotely can remove unwanted distractions at the office and help employees focus on what they do best. By giving them set goals to accomplish, they will become responsible for their own time on the clock. If they fail to accomplish the set goals, take away the privilege of being allowed to work remotely part time. When such a punishment becomes a reality, you will be amazed at how much more productive your employees become when working remotely.

Zephyr Networks Can Help

Zephyr Networks specializes in helping our client companies take advantage of cloud computing opportunities that can help their business. Our goal is to help make modern technology work for you. By avoiding the above time sucks and optimizing your office’s relationship to modern technology and networking, you can increase productivity and profitability.

To learn more about how Zephyr Networks can help your company avoid technological office time sucks in 2016, please contact us today by calling (800) 884-7559.

Zephyr Networks Highlights The Importance Of Mobile Technologies For Small To Mid-Sized Businesses

If you have yet to figure it out by now, mobile technologies swiftly are becoming the dominant mode for both online sales and business communication. In 2014, retail sales of mobile devices shot through the roof, generating over $520 billion in revenue. From a recently published study The Mobile Revolution: How Mobile Technologies Drive A Trillion-Dollar Impact, that astounding figure is correct.

 Mobile Optimization Leads To Productivity & Profits

In addition, mobile content and apps generated $530 billion in revenues globally in 2014. Overall, the study found revealed that mobile technologies generated an incredible $3.3 trillion in revenue. Although the figure is downright awe-inspiring, it makes sense when you consider that consumers worldwide value mobile technologies at 11% to 45% of their incomes. Indeed, the vast majority of people around the world are willing to give up luxuries for a year if forced to choose between luxuries and keeping their mobile phones.

Zephyr Networks appreciates such positive moments when the tide of history moves in the same direction as our business model. For several years, we have emphasized the importance of our customers integrating mobile technologies into their technology profile. At Zephyr Networks, we can manage the mobile capabilities of our clients, integrating mobile devices into their workflows and overall technological & networking possibilities. We’ve also built a workflow around mobile devices in the past.

BCG Study Of Mobile Usage With Convincing Results

mobile technologies

Mobile Technologies = Business Success

The Boston Consulting Group and Qualcomm collaborated on the extensive study of 6 countries’ adoption of mobile technologies. They have provided an extensive summary of those findings in a convincing fashion. The 6 countries examined in the study are United States, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, China and India. Representing 47% of global GDP, these 6 countries show how important mobile technologies are to business ventures across the board.

Mobile technologies are emerging as a growth engine for small to mid-sized businesses with the top 25% of adopters seeing two times revenue growth and up to eight times the number of jobs created. Small to mid-sized businesses that adopt mobile technologies to stay connected with customers and streamline operations are growing revenue twice as faster as their competitors. 82% of small to mid-sized businesses on the cutting edge of mobile adoption say that mobile technologies are giving them greater flexibility and agility in connecting with customers and generating customer loyalty.

Mobile Technologies & Small To Mid-Sized Businesses

Small to mid-sized businesses that embrace the mobile revolution are seeing up to 50% of all searches for their businesses from mobile devices. The study found that mobile adoption leaders have successfully integrated their mobile platforms with existing business applications, further strengthening customer relationships. In addition, they were able to generate greater visibility from the perspective of both production and distribution.

The experts cite a recent Jupiter Research study that explored how mobile payment solutions including Square are enabling small to mid-sized businesses to be more agile, efficient and responsive to customers’ selling strategies. Please know that the goal of Zephyr Networks is to seamlessly integrate mobile technologies into your business, making the transition to mobile optimization smooth and positive.

Zephyr Networks Supports The Mobile Revolution

If you want to learn more about how mobile devices can help increase your company’s profit margins, please call Zephyr Networks at (800) 884-7559 today.

8 Smartphones with Outstanding Battery Life

With so much of our lives revolving around communication, having a Smartphone has become a necessity.  But your device needs to keep a long-lasting charge.  With that in mind, here’s a list of 8 Smartphones with outstanding battery life.

Smartphone Talk Time Web Browsing

Total Time per charge

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

28.5

11
OnePlus One

34

Blackberry Passport

24

Huawei Ascend Mate 2

25

Nokia Lumia 1520

29

12.5
iPhone 6 Plus

24

12
Samsung Galaxy S5

21

10
Droid Turbo

48

 

*Amounts are listed in hours and based on manufacturer’s testing.

Apple’s New Call Forward Feature, Not So User Friendly

The noble idea in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite of making your Apple devices work together better turns continuity into annoyance.

Apple’s new call forwarding feature might not be so user friendly.  Answering messages and answering calls on whatever Apple device is convenient (your iPhone, iPad, or Mac) can be a headache.  For instance if a call comes in, it will ring to the iPhone first, then a few seconds later to the iPad and Mac.  Due to this delay, answering the call on your iPhone doesn’t stop the other devices from ringing.  And you can be left with multiple devices all ringing at once, creating a cacophony of sounds.

An easy solution, turn off notifications.

Go to System -> Preferences -> Notification -> Messages adjust the Messages alert style to None.  You can also turn off sounds from this same location, uncheck Play sound for Notification.

If you prefer to receive messages only to your iPhone you can turn off iMessages to your other devices.

To stop forwarding to iPad or turn the notification sound off

Settings -> Messages, switch off iMessage

Settings -> Notifications -> Messages -> Notification Sound -> None

Stopping iMessage on your Mac will disable all features, including send, receive, and read.

Messages -> Preferences -> Accounts -> Apple ID, uncheck Enable this Account

 

The Google Drive Suite Of Google Apps Part 2 – 13 Premium Apps

Beyond allowing a company to store and access files from anywhere, Google Drive allows access to an amazing suite of Google Apps

This is the second part of a two-part blog focusing on the remote access potential of Google Drive and the variety of Google Apps available in the cloud. Zephyr Networks has seen first-hand with our clients that Google’s cloud-storage solution is a valuable resource for small to mid-sized businesses. Beyond allowing a company to store and access files from anywhere, the first 5 GB of cloud storage are free. What is even more impressive is that Google Drive allows access to an amazing suite of Google Apps, including full integration with third-party applications.

In Part 2 of this article, Zephyr Networks extends the list of productivity applications that work with Google Drive to include the Google Apps that have to be paid for on an ongoing basis. You can find the comprehensive list of all of the apps available, including those in the Beta-testing phase, at the Chrome Web Store. Zephyr Networks helps to guide our client companies in knowing what Google Apps makes the most sense for their business model and needs.

Part 1 of this article focused on 20 completely free Google Apps. Part 2 focuses on 13 Google Apps that need to be paid for based on usage rates, monthly subscriptions and premium plans. The majority of these paid apps are free to try, and some of the apps continue to be free if the usage rates remain beneath the pay threshold.

Part 2 – 13 Premium Google Apps

  1. HelloFax makes it easy to sign documents and send faxes online. Send and receive faxes. Sign documents and fill out forms. Price: Up to 5 fax pages per month free.
  2. SlideRocket creates stunning presentations. Save and share directly from Google Drive. Manage a library of presentations, slides and assets. Price: Lite is free; Pro is $24/month.
  3. Balsamiq Mockups lets you create, edit and share sketch-quality wireframes, all within Drive. Price: Full functionality starts at $5/month.
  4. Floorplanner gives you the tools to make floor plans fast. Recreate your home, garden or office with a library of objects to reshape, resize and rotate. Price: 1 project is free; 5 projects is $14.95/year.
  5. Conceptboard is an app for visual online collaboration using whiteboards. Price: Individual plans range from free to $9/month.
  6. MindMeister Create, edit and share mind maps. Plan projects, manage meetings and sketch out business plans online with partners and colleagues, all in real time. Price: Personal plan is $4.99/month.
  7. Smartsheet Project Management combines a familiar spreadsheet interface with automated workflows, sub-tasks, dependencies, and collaborative worksheets with interactive file sharing and notifications. Smartsheet Price: Paid plans start at $15.95/month.
  8. WeVideo makes video editing easy for everyone and accessible from anywhere. Features optional storyboard mode for quick and easy editing. Style your video with creative and professional themes. Price: Up to 15 min export is free; 1-hour export is $4.99/month.
  9. Zoho Writer is an online word processor that lets you access, edit and share your documents online. Features instant collaboration, inline commenting and chat facilities. Price: Personal plan is free; Standard plan is $3 per user/month.
  10. Zoho Sheet is an app to create and edit spreadsheets from anywhere. Share spreadsheets and collaborate in real time. Price: Personal plan is free; Standard plan is $3 per user/month.
  11. Zoho Show is an online tool for making powerful presentations. It allows users to collaborate on presentations and make remote presentations to clients. Price: Personal plan is free; Standard plan is $3 per user/month.
  12. Heap Note is a note-taking, task-managing, and task-scheduling app, all in one. Price: Up to 5 tables free; Premium plan is $1.99/month.
  13. PowToon is a video animation and presentation application. Create an animated video, and then convert it into an animated presentation. Price: Monthly plans start at $9/month.

The Google Drive Suite Of Google Apps Part 1 – 20 Free Apps

With a vast variety of Google Apps in the cloud, remote access can be taken to a new level of excellence

Zephyr Networks knows from experience that Google’s cloud-storage solution is a valuable resource for small to mid-sized businesses. Beyond allowing you to store and access your files from anywhere with the first 5 GB of cloud storage free, it also allows access to an amazing suite of Google Apps, including full integration with third-party applications. With the vast variety of Google Apps in the cloud, remote access has been taken to a new level of excellence.

In this two-part article, Zephyr Networks offers a list of productivity applications that work with Google Drive. You can find the comprehensive list of all of the apps available, including those in the Beta-testing phase, at the Chrome Web Store. Zephyr Networks helps to guide our client companies in knowing what Google Apps makes the most sense for their business model and needs.

Below is the first part of the article that covers the available free Google Apps offered in the Google Drive Suite of Applications. Part 1 focuses on 20 completely free Google Apps. Part 2 focuses on 13 Google Apps that need to be paid for based on usage rates, monthly subscriptions and premium plans.

Part 1 – 20 Free Google Apps

1. Google Docs Access, create, and edit old Google docs in Google Drive. Edit documents with collaborators, and see changes as they type. Price: Free.

2. Google Slides creates presentations with rich animations, drawings, transitions, themes, and more. Presentations are automatically saved and stored in Google Drive. Price: Free.

3. Google Sheets creates and shares spreadsheets. Then publish them publicly, share them with others, or keep them private. Price: Free.

4. Google Drawings builds diagrams, and creates flowcharts. Easily add them to other documents, or embed them on a website. Price: Free.

5. Google Forms creates online forms and surveys, and then check the results in a neatly organized spreadsheet. Share forms from a link, embed them on your website, or right inside an email. Price: Free.

6. Google Apps Script is a JavaScript cloud scripting language that provides easy ways to automate tasks, across Google products and third-party services, and build web applications. Price: Free.

7. RealtimeBoard is an easy to use whiteboard that helps you visualize and collaborate. With markup tools and mini-chats, work on your projects and discuss in real time. Price: Free.

8. Pixlr Express is a photo editor with nearly 250 effects, including borders, overlays, color adjustments, crop and rotation editors. Price: Free.

9. PicMonkey is a free photo editor with collage, touch-up, fonts, effects, filters, frames, and stickers. Price: Free.

10. draw.io. draw.io is a free diagramming application that enables you to draw flowcharts, network diagrams, wire framing and mockups, and more. Price: Free.

11. Pixlr Editor is a full-featured web-based photo editor. Tools include drawing, clone, sharpen and blur, filters and adjustments. Price: Free.

12. Gantter is an enterprise cloud-based project scheduling application. Easily import and open existing Microsoft Project files. Price: Free.

13. Marqueed is a collaboration tool to discuss and work on images and designs. Price: Free.

14. PDF Mergy provides a simple way to merge PDF files. You can either select the files you want to merge from you computer or drop them on the app using drag and drop. Price: Free.

15. Open Drive is a collective encyclopedia project based on cloud public files. It’s designed to provide free reusable contents. Price: Free.

16. Form+ provides an interface to create forms by just dragging and dropping components. Supports the creation of forms with a wide variety of input types. Price: Free.

17. Ultradox generate contracts, invoices and much more from Google Docs templates. Create personalized documents from your own templates by turning Google Docs into a template engine. Price: Free.

18. Presentation Remote enables you to use a smartphone as a remote control for presentations. Price: Free.

19. TwistedWave is a full-featured audio editor that allows you to edit audio files from your computer or Google Drive. Save in one of the many supported file formats with multiple export capabilities. Price: Free.

20. Revisu enables creative teams to share their designs, track versions, and collect feedback. Automatically keep collaborators in the loop whenever a new version is uploaded. Price: Free.