Nowadays, people are apt to shoot off an email and converse via text. The art of enjoyable conversation is gradually disappearing. One area that could improve is our telephone calls, especially in business.
It is that time of the year, the kids will be breaking up soon and we will all be heading en masse to Europe for our holidays. Last year we wrote about how to keep your data costs down whilst roaming on holiday in our blog, Costa Bravo, Not Costa Lotto. This year the picture is different….or is it.
EU roaming charges
Since the 15th June, we have been free to roam the EU with our mobile phone, using the same tariff as we enjoy (pay for) at home. This means that if you have an unlimited call and text plan, then you will be able to make the same calls and texts, though a few operators put a ‘fair use’ allowance, this is liable to be generous enough for your two weeks in the sun. This is the time to pay close attention to your tariff and ensure that you stay within its limitations.
Data plans are also the same, this means the ability to look up local restaurants and attraction opening times with the same allowance as you have always had at home. The charges for going over your data has also been reduced, in some cases as much as 25 times cheaper, even so, you should try to keep within your usual usage and our tips from last year will assist with that.
I travel a lot
If you travel to the EU for work often, then as long as you spend more time in your home country that abroad in any 4-month period, then the same ruling should cover you. If you need extra, then there are still some tariffs with roaming minutes included. If you are planning a longer trip than a few months, or a temporary move to another country, then you may need to talk to your operator.
We are here to help
Here at Voot, we want you to get the best out of your tariff, and so please talk to us before making extensive travel plans, to check and see how you can roam like at home.
Many businesses start at home, or in a business incubation unit. Ours is no exception. "Easy in, easy out" they shout - and in most cases its absolutely the perfect way to start.
what many business centres fail to tell you however is that you will be allocated a telephone number for their internal telephone lines - and you will be free to have that number printed on your stationery, website, directories everywhere as your relentless marketing drive aims to push people to buy from you.
As you become more and more established you may well move into a larger office, until one day if things go well, you decide its time to seek pastures new. And thats when your problems start...
The telephone number you've taken doesnt belong to you. You've just rented it. And for the business centre thats an excellent commercial decision - as it means you will be less inclined to move... Your easy out option becomes a huge issue - because it could damage your business to lose your main point of contact.
Here at VOOT we are delighted to offer businesses a much better option. Your own geographical number - that we can point in any direction you like. At your business centre phones, or at your mobiles. And you OWN the number, meaning that as your business grows we can work with you to deliver a phone system, transfer it to any premises you may choose.
Numbers start from just £5 per month. PLEASE - speak to us before you move in to a business centre. We're happy to talk...
It is all too easy nowadays to forget that Apple and Samsung are not the only manufacturers of mobile phones. Many people know that others exist, but are reluctant to move from the security of the two main players. Chained to our phones for most of the day as we often are, it is worth considering other makes, to see if they could possibly be a better fit.
Now that Blackberry has chosen to use the Android Operating system, this is an easy move from a Samsung. There is the Blackberry KeyOne, which brings back the physical keyboard for those that prefer this method of input. Stacking up with a 5.7” screen and 3GB ram it certainly has the capacity to be a mobile office. The Blackberry Priv is also one to consider, this time with a slide out keyboard.
HTC have always produced great phones with superb cameras and camera software. The latest is the HTC U11, which has some squeezable sides. Yes, that is what we said. If you love Alexa from Amazon, then you will be interested to know HTC will be bringing her along with this phone.
If you love being the one with the latest software, then Google’s Pixel phone could be for you. Packed with Google goodies, such as Assistant and unlimited storage for your photos. The phone has some impressive stats too; a type C USB and 4 GB ram are among those. Two sizes of Pixel and Pixel XL for more screen real estate.
The latest offering from Sony is the Xperia XZ Premium, the world’s first smartphone with a 4K HDR display. If you are into video and motion capture, then this could be your dream phone. Being Sony, you also get your PS4 gaming experience from your phone.
OnePlus make some quality phones and their latest the 3T claims to be the fastest charging at ½ hr for a full days’ worth of battery power. With 6GB Ram and 128 GB of storage this could be the powerhouse, you need.
We have not completed a full review of these phones, yet, but perhaps a chat with one of us to discuss your particular needs from your phone, will help us steer you.
My mother said, if you want to save money ask a Yorkshireman how to do it.....So we asked Nigel, and he said....
Saving money on landlines, might be as simple as asking yourself do you really need a landline? With VOIP systems redirecting the call to a mobile, you can still have that landline number, but with the mobile freedom. Check out our blog from March
If you need to keep a landline, you can still save money on calls. Firstly, stop making calls to mobiles from your landlines. Today. Now. This minute. They cost up to 12ppm and usually you will get mobile to mobiles calls within your mobile tariff minutes. Shockingly 70% of landline users do not really know what is and what is not included in their tariff. As there are over 300 tariffs today available, you are excused, a little. However, you should check the contract today and consider whether it is still a good fit for your business.
The average per minute rate for calls from a landline is 3pm and most carriers have a minimum call charge, BT for example is 4.5p. Some carriers do say no minimum call charges, however if you can get a carrier with charge per second-with no call setup fee or minimum call charge, take the deal.
Lastly SAY NO TO 0870! Calls are 8ppm; there are websites you can find alternative numbers to call.
You can make some big savings on mobile phones. Tariffs change every 3 months, so consider that when you come to renew your contract.
Most people cannot wait to get themselves a shiny new phone each time they renew their contract, but if you really want to save money, consider whether you can survive with the relatively new phone you already have in your hand. Sim only deals can be as good as the current (May 2017) 20GB for £20 with unlimited minutes and texts, ask us about it.
Do make sure to analyse your phone bills. You will need the last three bills - jot down your mins/texts/data usage for each month and work out the average. Then check out the tariff choices available. If you do this regularly, when you come up for renewal, you will be sure you can get a better deal for you and your usage. If you signed a 24-month contract, remember there are early upgrades available.
Watch your data usage
We have an example of one of our customers, who refused a £4.25 500mB data bundle that we had advised. They went on to use over 500mB in one month at £2.56 a mB, resulting in a £1,300 bill...
Most mobiles today have a data quota limit with a warning, which you can set to make sure you do not go over your contracted data usage.
For those that know us, we do not highly recommend directory enquiries, pleasant and informative as they are, the cost outweighs the use. If you really cannot resist calling them, please never ever say yes to your call being diverted through to the number, as the call on some networks is over £5.00pm with ongoing metering! They will text you the number if you do not have a pen and paper to hand. A 10-minute call that should come from your bundle could end up costing you £50.00 – do that once a week and you have just added £200 a month to your bill...
Try not to dial Non Geographic numbers from your mobile – basic rule is anything starting with an ‘08’. They are not included in your bundle and rates are generally 3 times those of calling from a landline...
Saving money on broadband is not as easy, though finding a good deal to start with, will get you halfway there. Do you really need to have broadband both at work and at home? Alternatively, could you combine the two with a dongle? Not sure, why not ask us and we will steer you in the right direction.
Instead of hitting the usual comparison sites, try Ukbroadbandfinder.co.uk – put in your postcode and check, which carriers operate in your area and their rates.
Football fans in general get a pretty rough press. Indeed even this evening it appears that some nutter has caused an explosion, injuring a Borussia Dortmund player on his way to a Champions League game with AS Monaco...
Here at Voot we love our football, and it pains us that this often leaves us compared with idiots like this. We have great faith in the 'football family' worldwide - it connects people, a common interest, and brings people of all cultures together in passion, emotion and respect. And tonight, it didn't let us down.
The football family came together, and embracing Twitter the hashtag #bedforawayfans was created, and along with it literally hundreds of offers of rooms for AS Monaco fans came pouring in from the residents and fans of Dortmund, meaning they can stay in the city and see the rearranged game tomorrow. Wonderful. This is what the Football Family is all about, this is what football is all about, and it fills us with admiration for those fans who have embraced it.
Its not about idiots like the guy who got the game abandoned. Well done to all, and here's to a replay without further a incident off the pitch.
EE is the best mobile operator for 4G coverage in 14 of the most populated areas in the UK, says a new report.
The network dominated rival firms O2, Vodafone and Three, according to statistics from RootMetrics.
It assessed coverage in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Bradford, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield.
EE delivered at least 90% coverage in 11 of the 14 areas, while Three failed to hit that figure in any of the cities included in the report.
O2 and Vodafone, meanwhile, only hit the 90% mark in three areas.
Below are the 4G coverage results (%) for each area included in the report, starting with Sheffield - our most local tested area;
Leeds and Bradford
Samsung’s Unpacked event could have been a nervous affair after the disastrous Note 7. However, Samsung showed that they had picked themselves up and dusted themselves down and brought us some innovations. DJ Kohl kicked off by saying, that they had placed Quality, Safety and Craftsmanship, at the forefront of the business. They had run an 8-point test, higher than the industry standard on their batteries. Confident that this was in place, the S8 and sister phone S8+ were unveiled.
As teased in the adverts leading up to this event, the phone does have a wraparound screen and the reduced top and bottom panels, bring us a huge infinity display. The back mirrors the curvature of the front and so looks elegant and feels great in the palm. The home button is now in the screen, as a capacitive along with the navigation keys.
The new 1nm processor received a justified wow from the audience. The expandable storage takes up to 256GB. The IP68 rating, giving you the dust and waterproofing, one expects from a smartphone today. The batteries are a sizeable 3000MaH on the S8 and 3500MaH on the S8+, with wireless charging. The new charger does allow a choice between laying your phone down, or propped up. The USB connection is the type c, favoured by those of us, who always get them upside down.
I do not know about you, but passwords are becoming such a pain. The fingerprint was helping; however, it can be easy to fake. Samsung have introduced Iris scanning and Face-mapping with the S8 and S8+. Just look at your phone and it unlocks! Samsung are working with financial partners to use this technology for your everyday banking needs. Samsung Knox is still there too, so you can lock away your most sensitive data.
Samsung have optimised the 8mP front camera for selfies, with an autofocus, so everyone in frame is looking their best. The rear 12mP camera is ready for action, as soon as you are, using its dual pixel has a multi frame processor, giving you the best of shots every time.
A new AI assistant was launched in the form of Bixby, who uses voice, touch and images to formulate a contextual understanding of your requirements, a swipe to the right on the home screen, now brings information from Bixby , presented as cards. Though most of your interaction with him will be in voice commands, summoning up your apps as needed.
The earphone jack is still here and to bring you a more immersive experience, and as a result, of Samsung’s partnering with Harmon, every S8 and S8+ will come boxed with AKG earbuds.
The S8 with its 5.8” screen and the S8+ with its 6.2” screen will be available in the UK from 21st April in the Midnight black or Orchid Grey colours.
VOIP- Voice over Internet Protocol
VoIP has come a long way since the early days, when mid-sentence there was the possibility of being cut off. Nowadays it is as clear as your landline and as reliable. The internet just got faster and business has too. If your business is yet to consider using VoIP, then you are seriously missing the increased productivity and lead generation.
Look bigger than you are
VoIP is much more efficient than the old copper-wired options, and is cheaper to add extensions. You can have multiple regional phone numbers, all directed to one phone, giving you the appearance of being a national company with regional offices. The system is easy to install and requires minimum of maintenance, compared with the older PBX systems. Keeping the same numbers as you move premises can save losing customers. You will get all the usual add-ons, of caller ID, voicemail, conference calling with the added benefits of video conferencing.
Flexible and Mobile
VoIP can do a lot for your company when it comes to increasing your flexibility and mobility. To begin with, VoIP is so much more than an Internet telephone system. It can integrate with all major software programs, including email, e-faxing, and video conferencing. You can take a call with the touch on the keyboard and continue working and collaborating on software. Increased flexibility for travelling sales staff, means wherever there is Wi-Fi, they can take the call, and work on any documents too.
In general, the costs of VoIP systems compared with landline systems are far cheaper, and massively reduced call costs too. You will be asking yourself, why you have wasted so much with landlines. If you connect VoIP system to your CRM package, you can drill down each call on cost, and time taken. This will give you real-time data on how your employees respond to your customers and use their time, it will mean you can predict future outcomes and gain a competitive advantage.
Call us for more information on how VoIP could completely change the way your business works.
Well. Its finally here. The Blackberry with Android, and a proper Blackberry keyboard. Not a keyboard that hides away behind a sliding screen, a la the Blackberry Torch. A keyboard that sits unashamedly at the bottom of the screen, and allows you to type effortlessly, and (more importantly than anything) accurately for those of you that are absolutely fed up of sending messages that make zero sense to people because AutoCorrect decided you really did want to type Rhett instead of 'the'....
Heres a 'first look' video from The Verge.
We like it. A lot.
In business, the tablet makes great sense. They are certainly cheaper to source and more portable that a laptop, and as someone who lugs around a laptop on occasion, it is cumbersome and takes a while to load up. Tablets on the other hand are like smartphones, always on, ready to start work immediately. They certainly are less intrusive at meetings, even against the new MacBook’s and you can have a choice of OS, iOS, Android or Windows. With wireless connections and high-speed mobile broadband, you do not even have to be near a router!
Advantages on the bottom line
Larger screen estate for Office apps means that staff can work remotely. Therefore, any business reliant on paperwork and form filing will find a tablet a real boon. On the shop floor, sales staff can use them as a point of sale to show customers pictures of products that may not be in store, but available to order online. They can also run their CRM, email and calendaring, synchronizing them with their desktop or phone. In a busy factory, line managers can update on production. Technical staff can access libraries and technical drawings. Maps and schematics are easily stored on the tablet or cloud
Insurance assessors, surveyors, or financial services providers would find them most useful for compiling information and photographs onsite. For executives, they can write communicate, delegate and sign off documents all on a tablet, perhaps at the golf club.
Choices to make
Firstly choosing the OS, as said earlier, you can get any of the main three. Once you have made that choice, it will have narrowed the field considerably. Much like last month’s blog Hot Tips on choosing a new phone, the options are similar, here again size does matter. Next choice will be to choose a decent amount of RAM for your tasks. If you are going to be running many apps at the same time, that will increase the need for RAM. Utilising cloud-computing means you do not need as much storage on the device itself, so you can get away with a smaller capacity and therefore cheaper tablet. You will need extra support for HDMI on the USB port, if you want to connect for presentations. Nowadays, with the price of data dropping all the while, having a 3g or 4G tablet makes absolute sense.
Call us today, and ask how tablets could transform your business. We have some marvellous deals too.
Choosing a new phone is a big deal! It is not only a phone in your pocket these days, but can also double up as your wallet and mobile office. You want to be able to take pictures, email, and share content on social media channels and so a number of variables will assist you in the decision
This really comes down to, if you want the easiest phone, with regular updates and the latest apps, coupled with less risk of malware or viruses. In which case the Apple iPhone, with the iOS, is the choice for you.
However, if you want a bit more freedom to change and personalise your smartphone experience, then Android is the OS for you. You will have a greater choice of phones, and many manufacturers. The openness of the OS allows developers to bring widgets, apps, keyboards and more to increase your pleasure. Blackberry; have moved into Android territory, now with their new phones.
This matters a great deal, if you just want something to slide into your top pocket, or fill your jeans back pocket, then you will be looking at a phone screen size of 5.4 inches or less. These little phones also have the advantage of only needing one hand to reach the whole screen. If you want, screen real estate to work on, then a supersized six plus-inches, is going to satisfy you.
If you require a phone to last longer, then make sure you get one with a battery greater than 3,000maH.
These days, you take pictures more than ever, to share on social media, to email a client with ideas or just documenting your day. Look at the number of pixels, the higher the number of microns the better, and the aperture, this should be as low as possible. Ignore the mega pixels.
Unless you store everything on clouds, then you will want more than 16 GB of internal storage, we are expecting phones this year to be 32GB and more. Consider external storage, with SanDisk announcing the new 256 GB SD card there will be plenty of room on your phone.
Other points to consider:
A few other questions to ask yourself could include ‘Do you need your phone to be waterproof? ‘Does the phone need dual front speakers, for watching video or gaming?’ Would wireless charging be useful?’
We hope these tips will assist you in your choice of smartphone this year; however, we are always ready to answer any queries and help you decide on the right phone for you and your business.
Sometimes you feel you would lose your head if it wasn’t screwed on, so how can you secure your phone and keep it safe?
Here are some top tips to securing your phone
1. Have a place for it. Keep it in one place about your person, in a particular pocket. When at home, keep the charger in one place and you will know where to look first.
2. Have a secure lock screen, and use it. It is possible to fake fingerprints! Obvious patterns are too easy to guess and so too are number codes. Try to make yours obscure. Using a password is probably the strongest form of lock, as the possibilities are endless…
3. Even though it is a pain, logging in and out of apps can save you the embarrassment of being fraped. Worse, money moved out of your accounts.
4. If you are on an Android phone, you can lock your apps up. That will keep them safer. Consider locking up your banking and more sensitive apps with this extra layer of protection.
5. Use a password manager if you forget passwords easily. These neat little apps will help you log in and out using just one password.
6. Antivirus, is a must on phones today. IPhones do not have these apps, as on a more closed system, so less risk.
7. You should not ‘jailbreak’ or ‘root’ your phone, unless you really know what you are doing in terms of security.
8. Always use the reputable app stores, ‘side-loading’ can be the easiest way of introducing malware, viruses and giving control of your phone to an unseen invader.
9. Avoid public networks, and if you need to use them, do not use sensitive apps such as banking on them, or indeed over 4G. Keep safe by using your own secured Wi-Fi at home.
10. If you want to be super secure, you can encrypt your messages and emails. Using WhatsApp or iMessage will encrypt, however you can also delete those messages, just in case someone opens your phone. Emails are trickier to encrypt, a specialist app such as Protonmail will assist.
11. Use the security features your antivirus app may have, such as tracking, remote wipe and camera trap. Might not stop your phone being stolen, but may increase the chance you get it back.
12. Get insurance, these tips will help prevent snooping, fraping, malware and other invasions upon your phone, but if it happens that your phone is lost or stolen, insurance will make sure you have a phone in your hands again.