Upcoming Trends in Unified Communications

As the first quarter of 2015 draws to a close, it has become evident that unified communications is not only here to stay, but also growing at a rapid rate. Many technology experts have predicted that IT will change more in the next 18 months than it has in the past decade. Alongside that, cloud providers are reporting that the double-digit growth that occurred in 2014 will carry on into 2015 as well. Because of these rapid changes, businesses across the world are familiarizing themselves with all that there is to know surrounding the cloud and it’s related programs and practices.

With more businesses beginning to go global, the need for reliable and efficient collaboration is becoming a priority for many company leaders and their workforces. In addition, more firms are beginning to jump on board with video call integration. IT experts also believe that the popularity of flexible scheduling and working from home will lead many businesses to prioritize mobile capabilities in the latter half of 2015. For more information on the upcoming trends in unified communications, check out the infographic below:

Shoretel Upcoming Trends in Unified Communications SG

Graphic provided by ShoreTel

Mobile Gaming vs. Console Gaming: Who Wins the Battle for Supremacy

1

by  mcunnelly 

Could 2015 finally be the year that mobile gaming platforms, such as the iPad, overtake traditional gaming consoles? Ever since mobile technology began to blossom, developers across the world have worked hard to not only replicate classic console games, but create their own engaging masterpieces.

From combat games to sporting contests and puzzles, mobile gamers now have a myriad of ways to entertain themselves and test their gaming prowess. In fact, such is the growing influence of mobile gaming that many experts predict that the industry will be worth a staggering $100 billion by 2017.

But why have mobile devices become the biggest draw in the gaming community? Aside from being easily transportable and instantly accessible, the leading iOS and Android tablets and smartphones now have stunning graphics, lightning fast processors and enough memory to cope with highly complex games.

Reasons why Mobile Gaming is a Growing Enterprise

In comparison to standard console games, mobile apps are markedly less expensive. On average, a new release on the PS4, such as Dying Light or FIFA 15, will cost around $50 to buy. In contrast, iPad games rarely cost more than $10 and the majority of the leading titles, such as Marvel Champions or Angry Birds, are free. This level of affordability means that many more people are able to play mobile games compared to console games.

However, there is one area of the gaming mobile world which some commentators see as problematic. In-app purchases are a large part of the industry and, although not required, these add-ons give you extra power, extended lives and more chances to beat opponents. These alluring offers have caused problems for parents who have given their children access to their mobile devices.

Stories of minors running up large bills through in-app purchases have caused a number of operators, including Facebook, to face legal repercussions for irresponsible practices. Fortunately, a number of developers are now refining the way they offer these purchases in an attempt to limit any future risk.

3

by  – EMR – 

Choices, Choices, Choices

The one area in which iPad gaming comes into its own is variety. Although a platform such as the Xbox One has hundreds of titles to choose from, the Apple store is stocked with thousands of iPad games. From simple games such as Candy Crush, to adventure titles such as The Silent Age, there is literally something for everyone on the iPad.

In fact, the iPad is also able to tap into markets that have been out of reach for traditional platforms. Because Apple and Android platforms have the ability to process payments and verify a user’s age, it means they can offer games for 18+ users. From casino games, such as blackjack and roulette, to poker, these games now embrace the mantra of “gaming on the go” and allow developers to move in ways the likes of PS4 and Xbox One cannot.

In fact, companies such as PokerStars are now able to develop mobile apps that mirror their desktop platforms. The result of this is a real poker experience against real people, instead of a virtual game of poker controlled by a piece of software.

Another area in which the mobile gaming sector excels is through additional benefits. Other than playing games, Blu-Rays and some limited internet access, modern-day gaming consoles do not do much else. In contrast, mobile gaming platforms are much more versatile and can function as a portal to the internet, a complete entertainment system and a new way to communicate with people. Movies, music, spreadsheets and relaxation apps are all available through the Apple store and the reason why the iPad wins hands down in terms of added extras.

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by  Veronica Belmont 

A Future for All

Although the debate over whether mobile gaming will overtake console gaming is one that many experts have been asking for the last couple of years, it now looks as though the market has responded in a different way. Instead of traditional platforms competing with mobile devices, both industries now appear to be moving towards each other. There is no doubt the traditional console gaming companies are wary of the mobile market, but a recent deal between Nintendo and mobile developers, DeNA, could change things.

In a reciprocal relationship, the two companies will now hold a stake in each other’s fortunes as Nintendo makes a move into the mobile market. The partnership will see some of Nintendo’s leading games reimaging for a portal paradise and many believe this will invigorate the fortunes of both companies. Although projections suggest mobile gaming will be a $100 billion industry by 2017, some of the leading players are not immune to downswings.

Despite being one of the most downloaded mobile apps of all time, Angry Birds and its development company, Rovio, are suffering a drop in revenue. Although the company is far from trouble, the dip in takings suggests that the mobile market may not be expanding as fast as some believe. For this reason, the working relationship between Nintendo and DeNA could signal a new trend in the gaming world. Although many will still argue that the mobile market is now the dominant force, it might be the case that the lines between console and portable gambling will become increasingly blurred over the next five years.

 

​The Smartphone: Revolutionizing the Way We Communicate

sim only

Tablets and laptops might still be the personal computers of choice but in recent years they are being outpaced by smartphones. A quarter of the world’s population are smartphone users and that figure is set to increase to two billion by 2016, and in today’s always-connected society, having access to the internet on-the-go is a major attraction.

Online capabilities

Getting online to browse the net, sending emails and using social networking means that smartphones have changed the way we now communicate and access online services. We use our phone’s online capabilities to catch up on the news, shop online, check our bank accounts, video chat to friends and of course send emails. Telephoning is no longer the primary use for our mobile phones and at least 55% of smartphone users only ever use their phones for emailing and social networking.

App popularity

Traditional phone services such as calling and texting are still important to users but why call and text when you can instant message for free? Communication apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat have over 450 million active users between them and that’s not to mention Facebook and their messaging service, which has 1.35 billion monthly users. In the UK alone, 28% of the time spent on phones was devoted to social networking apps. In the United States, 18% of phone time went on using games apps with 29% spent on social media; it’s telling that the mobile phone app market is forecasted to hit $143 billion by 2016, almost trebling since 2012.

More contract choice

The huge surge in smartphone popularity does mean that consumers are able to obtain some remarkably inexpensive deals if they’re prepared to shop around. Network providers are offering a wealth of low cost contracts designed to suit a variety of budgets. With monthly contracts available, consumers no longer need to be tied down to a two year contract, and can seek out the best sim-only deals, which is good news given the amount of low cost deals that pop up on the market every month.

Whether for work or leisure, the smartphone has definitely made a difference to the way we communicate, access entertainment and conduct business. This revolutionary device looks set to be one of the most popular communication tools of this century and perhaps the next.

Image by Maurizio Pesce used under the Creative Commons license.

How a leased line can help transform your business

broadband

A consumer broadband connection at home is usually good enough for what you need it to do – send emails, post on Facebook or maybe stream a movie. However in the world of business sometimes this broadband just doesn’t cut it.

If your company has different locations and offices in different parts of the world you’re going to need something faster and more reliable. When it comes to video conferencing calls, uploading large files and using data at peak times – leased line connections are the only option.

A leased line connection is essentially a reserved circuit between two points and they are predominantly used to connect businesses with offices in different locations.

The need for speed

Unlike broadband connections whereby the lines are shared with several users, leased line connection offers the client a cable line reserved only for their business. This offers the user many advantages; not least the ability to deliver high speed connection around the clock.

With broadband typically the speed of the connection slows down at peak times; i.e. times when there are too many users logging on. Leased line connections eliminate this problem, guaranteeing a consistently high performance at all times. This is particularly advantageous when it comes to video conferencing between different branches of the business. A slow connection could diminish the quality of the meeting or in some cases cut it out completely.

Most broadband packages offer a guaranteed download speed only and quite often the time it takes to upload a document or file can be frustratingly slow. This is no good in business where there is quite often an equal need to both download and upload items.

Maximum security

Another key advantage of a leased line when it comes to business is the advanced levels of security it offers. As it offers a data network connection between two points (and not over the internet) it means information can be passed much more securely without the need for encryption or VPN. Click here for some information on the advantages and disadvantages of using leased line connections.

In a cut throat corporate world every advantage is needed to ensure your business competes. Having a speedy and reliable internet connection is one such advantage. This article outlines some of the issues the UK faces going forward in securing superfast broadband.

Top games inspired by TV shows

Top games inspired by TV shows

Inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places. There seems to be no shortage of crazy ideas for video games, and when you consider that two of the biggest ever titles were focused on the lead characters of a slightly tubby Italian plumber called Mario and a blue spherical hedgehog called Sonic, it’s no surprise that developers are seeking ever more wild sources of inspiration.

However, there is one area that games makers keep returning to and that is the TV series tie-in. There’s good reason for this too. The TV shows will already have a dedicated fanbase, and the marketing of the game can also benefit greatly from the instantly recognisable brand.

So which TV related games have had the greatest success? Here are a few of the best.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

buffy the vampire slayer

The Buffy hit had a good run on a variety of consoles with releases on the XBox, PS2, Nintendo DS and – if you can remember it – the Game Cube. It’s a natural TV show tie in with an instantly identifiable heroine, comic-book action and a steady supply of vampires to destroy. Whilst it never quite managed to ape the success of the similar Tomb Raider format, it did offer good entertainment for the most ardent of Buffy Fans.

X Files

The_X-Files_title_logo

Another hit series of the 90s that made an admirable leap into the world of gaming was the X Files. In this you saw the classic pairing of Mulder and Scully investigating paranormal murder activity in a spooky town, and whilst the PS2 action may seem a touch dated now, it was a good attempt at Resident Evil-styled gaming.

Game of Thrones

Logo_Game_of_Thrones

A more modern twist on the TV series game tie-in can be found in the Game of Thrones franchise. This wildly popular fantasy show has seen its characters populate a variety of games over many different platforms. So now you can play Game of Thrones slot machines and score some big bonuses, as well as immerse yourself in the highly-realistic experience offered by the PS4 and X Box One.

Top Gear

TopGear

And whilst it may not seem like the most suitable TV show to enter the gaming fray, the makers of BBC’s Top Gear have used the online environment to boost the show’s profile through gaming. Now, via the BBC website, you can download a variety of apps for your mobile that will enable you to Race The Stig, experience the infamous Top Gear Stunt School, and even be judged on your parking skills!

 

15 Amazing Facts about NFC Payments

NFC – or Near Field Communication payments are literally the wave of the future. While there is an NFC payment thrust in the mobile phone industry, there is slow, but steady acceptance of NFC payments in the retail arena too.

nfc  payments

 

Image Credits: Gigaom.com

Here are some things you may not know about NFC payments – but it’s still early days and it’s never too late to learn!

  1. NFC technology allows two NFC-enabled devices to exchange data at the distance of a mere few inches.
  2. NFC technology is completely wireless.
  3. NFC Technology can be contactless – NFC payments can be made through just the mobile phone as well as by tapping an NFC-enabled terminal.
  4. NFC technology definitely trumps the Bluetooth, as it consumes less power, and no pairing code is required either.
  5. Since NFC technology is less power-consuming, it means your phone has a longer battery life. This is important, especially if you are to adapt to the NFC payment lifestyle!
  6. NFC payments render the need to lug around a wallet full of cash, change and cards completely unnecessary.
  7. To become part of the NFC technology family, and conduct NFC payments with a tap, sometimes all you will need is a mobile phone with a SIM, as the SIM acts as your identity tool with the NFC network.
  8. More and more smartphone systems have incorporated NFC technology, so you may already be ahead of the game!
  9. While many people prefer traditional means of payments, with NFC payments, you are safeguarded from theft, or financial fraud.
  10. NFC payments are even more secure, because once you tap the Point of Sale terminal for a payment, you will be asked to confirm your NFC payment via a password, fingerprint scan, or other security measure.
  11. You can pay for a variety of services with NFC technology – in retail stores and online, and for micro transactions such as parking fee or bus fare too!
  12. NFC technology is fun – it allows your phone to ‘read’ NFC tags which may offer discount vouchers, helpful information, or the ability to pay instantly for something.
  13. Like most credit card systems, your NFC technology savvy mobile phone will allow you to make payments all over the world!
  14. NFC payments are travel-friendly: because all NFC payments are safe and secure with the advantage of PIN approval.
  15. NFC technology uses your phone to connect your bank account or mobile account to other people and businesses for payments – but at no point does any of your personal information go to the payee!

No wonder then NFC technology is poised to take over the world of retail and ecommerce.

Author’s Bio: Syed Irfan Ajmal is a serial entrepreneur with his latest project being Inbound.Zone. His Twitter handle: @SyedIrfanAjmal

Reducing BYOD security risks

take your own device to work

One of the most common concerns relating to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schemes is with regards to security. In the past, IT departments could carefully manage the IT system and ensure that all relevant security measures were in place. The system was effectively a closed one and access could only be gained via approved personnel and approved devices. The IT equipment would only be used within the office and in most cases, for work-related tasks – as a result this dramatically reduced security risks.

A BYOD scheme involves employees bringing their own device into the workplace. This device will also be used at home for personal activities. For example, for an employee participating in BYOD, a Dell personal device may be used. This device can be configured by the employer to allow it to access company data and information. However, when the employee leaves the office they will use the same device for personal tasks; this in itself provides huge security risks.

Policies and identification

In order to ensure that security levels remain as high as possible, companies typically provide a set of BYOD security policies. These policies are provided to employees in order to protect the integrity and security of their devices when they are away from the workplace. A company may provide two separate passwords which restrict access to certain internet sites. In addition to this, there may be restrictions placed on the applications that can be downloaded to the device.

In terms of identification, it is extremely important that a company possesses the details of all those involved in the BYOD scheme. This will enable them to monitor how each device is being used.

Planning and accountability

It is extremely important that companies plan their BYOD strategies well in advance of the actual launch. IT specialists should be consulted and a clear and defined code of practice implemented. In addition to this, choosing the correct platform is essential; a company that utilises BYOD needs a flexible platform that can be adapted or modified efficiently. Employees should understand that there are certain levels of accountability related to BYOD responsibilities.

Many companies choose to provide BYOD security training and obtain signatures from employees who complete the course to ensure maximum understanding and education of the scheme.

 

 

Why Wouldn’t You?

Why wouldn’t you update your tech?, Intellicig are running a a campaign called Why Wouldn’t You and you can read more about it on their blog (http://www.intellicig.com/blog/2014/12/why-wouldnt-you/)

So here at Geeks Have Landed we thought we would get involved and look at items and tech we used to use and see how this has evolved.

Years ago we could only dream of having the innovations in gadgets that we own today, to be able to have a smart phone which is more powerful then the early computers, a phone you can carry with you and not have to hunt out a phone box to make a call and a tablet so powerful it can hold a library of books which is great for holidays or when you are short on space.

In this article we will look at how we used to do things and what technology has replaced and hopefully made things easier.

     biantone pong

 Binatone Vs PS4

 

Binatone

was one of the early game consoles that would use your TV to play the game like pong tennis etc, its simple graphics did not deter from the fact that it was extremely addictive.

ps4 console

PS4

has taken gaming to new levels and is definitely the next generation of gaming consoles with high resolution graphics and amazing game play we have certainly moved on in the world of gaming

 

 booksBooks VS Kindle

Books

We have all had stacks of books around the house I know most of mine are next to my bed, I do like the feel of a good book but they do take up room and you have to wait to visit a shop to buy one or for the postman if you buy online.

 kindle fire hdxKindle HDX

The kindle is one of the first most popular e readers and in the most recent guise can also be used to watch films surf the net and play many apps.The advantage of the kindle is that it can hold thousands of books and if you fancy a book you can have one  delivered to your kindle instantly and start reading which is a big advantage over waiting to buy a paper back. 

telephone box

Telephone Box Vs Mobile

We have all seen a telephone box but when was the last time we used one, the heavy doors and correct change required probably make them something we would rather forget but before mobiles they were essential and probably life savers. 

iphone 6Mobile

I would think most people own a mobile if not a smartphone, smartphones are a camera a games machine a video recorder, voice recorder, personal organiser I could go on, and oh yes you can also make a good old fashioned phone call. Old-fashioned four legged TV set isolated

Old TV vs 4K Curved TV

When the first TV’s came out they were black and white and most people were lucky to have one in their house and channels well certainly not more than a few.

 curved tv4K Curved TV

The latest TV’s are capable of stunning high definition and now are available in super 4K with curved screens for better viewing and as for the channels well if you have cable or sky then the channels go into the hundreds.

records

Records Vs Streaming music.

We all love the old vinyl especially if we grew up with them, the lovely crackly sounds and nostalgia surrounding them making listening to music into a wonderful experience.

 spotify

Streaming services like Spotify

Steaming give you access to thousands of songs instantly you don’t get the nostalgia of a record but the flip side is the ability to play virtually any song you can think of there and then and when something takes your fancy this is a great service and one I know I couldn’t be without

.

Beginners Guide To Purchasing Internet Security Software

security

If you are new to the Internet and don’t know much about Web security, the available options may seem confusing at first. Even if you are not totally a novice to the Internet, you still need to do all you can to fully secure your system. Protecting your PC is just as essential as wearing your seat belt whilst driving. The following article is a beginner’s guide to buying Internet security software which you should find easy to implement and understand.

 

Windows updates

Windows updates are meant to fix issues with Microsoft, but sometimes, there are bugs that are not detected right away, or hackers take control of the operating system. In order to use the update correctly, you should refer to your control panel, click on ‘allow download of system checker’ and scan for updates. This will ensure your system stays safe and secure from errors.

 

Wireless or wired networks

If you have a wireless network, this can be more expensive than fibre broadband network and is more prone to identity theft and hacking. Unlike wired fibre optic networks, wireless ones can be subject to online attacks whenever you are browsing the Web. It is therefore advisable to opt for a more secure network such as fibre optic connection in order to protect your computer from malicious attacks.

 

Antivirus software

Good antivirus software will thoroughly scan your computer, including its hard drive, memory, emails, files, and everywhere else to detect and remove Trojans and viruses. Most antivirus software offer affordable protection against worms and spyware. Once you choose a top-rated virus scanner, make sure you also download the latest virus definitions otherwise you will leave your computer vulnerable to attacks. Make sure you configure your installed antivirus software so that it can update automatically once a week.

 

Firewalls

Most PCs already have hardware firewalls, which are also found in your router or cable. Firewalls are usually built in and configured to prevent online hackers accessing files on your PC. If your computer doesn’t have firewall software, you can easily purchase one from the Web. Simply download it the way you would any other software. The only exception is Windows firewall, which is standard and comes with all modern versions of Windows. Firewall security software works by monitoring all the traffic that comes into your system and prevents harmful files from sending data out from your computer.

 

Although hardware firewalls are extremely useful for stopping unwanted traffic from coming in, they cannot fully detect or restrict harmful software from sending information out to the Web unlike software firewall. Modern firewalls are capable of checking Internet databases in order to identify the best programmes and configure access to them automatically. If you opt to purchase this software from a known brand, you can rest assured that the high-end firewall will be able to go farther and control programmes that are not found in databases. You will certainly not find this level of functionality in a standard firewall, and you will stay safe from those annoying popups whenever you are browsing the Web.

Top 10 Techie Gift Ideas for the Holidays

christmas tech

The holidays are here, and fortunately for tech lovers, there are plenty of hot gadgets to select from this year.  Whether you are looking for the best in Bluetooth-enabled devices, action cameras to something as simple as a key finder, there’s literally the perfect fit for virtually anyone.

Here are the 10 top techie gifts to explore this holiday season:

1.  Tile

 tile

MSRP: $25.00

Tile is just the key for anyone who constantly loses things. It’s a wireless tile fob that uses a Bluetooth signal to locate any number of objects—such as keys, purses, bags, books, your car, etc. Just attach the fob to any item and use the Tile app to track it (works up to 100 feet away). The app, which can support up to eight tiles, is able to download on both the Apple app store and Google Play.

2.  Sonos Play: 1 Compact Wireless Speaker

 sonos

MSRP: $199.00

The PLAY: 1 is a small and powerful wireless speaker. You can place it anywhere, and then sync it to your Wi-Fi network to listen to your favorite online music stations. What’s great about Sonos speakers is that you can add additional speakers to fully integrate wireless music in your home.

3.  GoPro Hero4

go pro

 

MSRP: $399.99

The Hero4 is one of the best in the line of GoPro action cameras. It’s a great product to have for avid adventurists who want to record their latest endeavors. With the Hero4, you can film and record as you run a marathon, rock climb, snowboard, etc. It features: a 12MP camera that can take the ultimate, fast shots; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity; an instant online share feature; a smart remote to remotely monitor the camera; editing capabilities with the GoPro App/GoPro Studio; and more. The whole concept between GoPro is to make you feel like an action star—and with its impressive list of specs, it undoubtedly does exactly that.

4.  Automatic Link Smart Driving Assistant

smart drivingMSRP: $79.99

In the past decade, we’ve drastically seen gas prices soar. We hunt for the cheapest deals—even if it’s a two-cent per gallon difference—but what if there was a better solution to save on gas? There is with the Automatic Link Smart Driving Assistant. It monitors your driving and shares feedback on how to adjust your driving to conserve on gas. According to the company website, it can save you about $800 in gas each year. In addition, it also: helps diagnose any automotive mechanical issues and can notify your family in the event of a car accident.

5.  Jabra ROX Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Ear buds

 jabraMSRP: $129.99

Jabra ROX takes Bluetooth stereo ear buds to a whole new level. Listen to your iTunes library, audio books or online streaming content with clarity and great bass with Dolby Digital Plus. It’s NFC abilities allows you to also share songs and create playlists.

Integrated in its design are magnetic earpieces, which helps keep the cords from tangling. The cords themselves are made out of Kevlar. Jabra ROX will literally trump all other wireless Bluetooth headsets.

 6. iHome iBN97GC NFC Bluetooth Stereo FM Clock Radio and Speakerphone with USB Charging

ihome

MSRP: $109.99

For years, iHome has led the way in terms of clock radios for iPhones. What makes this latest model so much better is that it has Bluetooth. Now you can do more than set your alarm, charge your phone and play the radio—you can now wirelessly play content from your smartphone (supports Android and Bluetooth devices) or mp3 device.

7.  Sling Media Slingbox M1

sling

 

MSRP: $149.99

The Sling Media Slingbox M1 is the opposite of a Roku, Chromecast or other streaming media player—that let’s you watch content from a stream service like NetFlix, or Hulu Plus. Instead it let’s you watch recorded and live TV onto your Internet-enabled smartphone, computer or tablet.

8.  RCA RTS7010B 37″ Home Theater Sound Bar with Bluetooth

  soundbar

MSRP: $48.00

Sometimes, your home audio just needs a boost. And for that, the RCA home Theater Sound Bar—with Bluetooth is the perfect addition. At 37” it provides a wide, dynamic sound. It features four built-in speakers and Bluetooth 3.0—letting you pair other devices to the sound bar for the ultimate audio experience.

9. Muku Shuttr – Selfie Remote / Camera Shutter

muku

 

MSRP: $39.00

If you’ve ever taken a selfie, you know that getting a good angle is a difficult task. With the Muku Shuttr – Selfie Remote/ Camera Shutter, you can remotely take the perfect selfie with the simple press a button. Just position the phone where you want it and control the shutter when you are ready for the shot. It works up to 30 feet away and doesn’t require an app for download.

10.  Kindle Fire HD 6 Tablet

kindle fire

MSRP: $99.00

If you want an affordable tablet and also don’t want to haul around something massive, the new Fire HD 6 Tablet is the perfect device. At just under $100, it comes with a 6” HD display, a fast, quad-core processor that is faster than the other Kindle models, and a front and rearview camera. Unlike the other Kindle models, the Fire HD 6 comes in five different color choices.  Not everything that’s high-tech has to cost a fortune!

Explore these great devices and you’ll not only be pleased by their specs and performance—you’ll feel like a kid with a shiny new toy. Whatever your holiday brings, be sure to get the best in tech!

Andrea Fisher is a digital marketer and content specialist for DIRECTV CINEMA. She has been published in a variety of publications, including the Chicago Tribune and Business Insider.

 

 

 

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