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Can Mobility be Used for Employee Retention?

When they leave a job, one of the major factors cited by employees is their need for a better balance between their work and their life. Additional research shows that mobile technology plays a key role in assisting with the search for that work-life balance, though respondents did express mixed feelings regarding its impact upon their personal lives. So with the advent of modern mobility tools, most notably instant messaging and video conferencing provided via smartphones and tablets, can we bring our families a little closer to us when we're at the workplace? How about when we are traveling on business? Of course we can. We all certainly strive to find that perfect balance between our personal and work lives. Yet we also value the flexibility that mobile tech gives us to communicate whenever and wherever we want. And the important question is exactly how we use the power of that tool: Do we use it to communicate and work? Do we use it to stay in contact with our families? Or do we let it organize our lives and let it dictate how they should be run? A Faustian Bargain? When we think about the use of mobile technology in our lives, it's difficult to imagine a time when it wasn't there. Yet it's a Faustian bargain we've made to get it: we've gained something important, yet we've given up something equally as important to get it. In this case, we've gained an enormous amount of networking capability, incredible flexibility, instant access to knowledge ... and we can even call people without being attached to a landline, too. And the price we've paid for all that is our own instant availability — just the same way we would expect that other people would be, and resources as well. Yet at the same time, we would do well to remember that any disruptive technology will affect our behavior in a plethora of ways that can be, and heretofore have been extremely difficult to foresee. Technology does indeed help us to be more productive at work, without damaging the all-important work/life balance. Conversely, that same technology allows us to be more available to our families while we are at work. Everyone has already experienced this phenomenon: Let's say you have a particular task that requires your full concentration. You can't be disturbed by phone calls, co-workers, or anything else — it's a very good thing to be able to do that task from home or somewhere outside of your usual workplace. On the flip side of that, who hasn't been away from their desk, and gotten a call from a family member about some emergency that needs to be attended to right away? Where are the Savings? There are savings to be had by encouraging employees to use mobile technology, but for the most part, they are difficult to measure via a dollar sign. It would be easier to measure an employee's productivity and efficiency if they were working from home and not at the office; or if they were on the road, staying in touch with both their office and their family via mobile technology. Turning the scenario around, the same employee may not need to be on the road quite as often, as they may be able to conduct their business via video conferencing instead of having to actually be in the remote office. This would end up saving the company money in terms of travel costs. On the employee side especially, more savings can be found in terms of eliminating costs of commuting to the office — and back again — when your presence isn't directly required at the office. Much of your work can be accomplished at home, through the use of the same tools that you would use to keep in contact with your family: Video conferencing, email, and instant messaging.

Will Apple’s New “iPager” Simplify Mobile Phone Calls Too?

By Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View/ UC Strategies Expert For those of you who have followed my posts about UC and Mobile Customer Services, you have seen me emphasize the need to look at end user communications needs from two different perspectives, i.e., the contact initiator vs. the contact recipient. Further, as mobile users rapidly adopt personalized multimodal smartphones and tablets, there is a growing shift to visual user interfaces and text messaging that can be complemented, as needed, with voice and video conversations. Finally, because “unified interactions” can now include contacts (“notifications”) from automated business process applications (CEBP), it is now important for user recipients to have more dynamic control over such real-time notifications, including screening options and flexible choices in responding quickly and easily. Until now, because all end user communications were lumped together on a single device, it wasn’t that easy to separately control a user’s functional needs as a contact initiator or recipient. A first step in the direction of facilitating more efficient voice connections was the introduction of Instant Messaging (IM) as a starting point for contact initiators to make contact in near real-time and then escalate to voice (or video). Unfortunately, IM contacts are limited to people you know and access through “federated presence” information about availability. Mobile devices also made it slow and inconvenient to easily respond to any kind of real-time notification, when the recipient’s mobile device was in a recipient’s pocket. This is becoming even more of a problem as smartphones are increasing their screen sizes and becoming “phablets.” So, that’s when the communications industry came out with an extension to a physical smartphone in the form of “smart watches.” These “iWatches” provide quick access to the visual information that is supplied by the smartphone, as well as enabling simple responses to a notification message. The problem, though, is that the smart watch doesn’t do much for efficiently initiating telephone calls with a simple visual request message to and from mobile users, rather than the old, “blind “ and disruptive call connection to a PSTN number, or now requiring IM and federated presence. Apple’s “iPager” My colleague, Dave Michels, describes Apple’s new iPager capabilities in this blog. http://www.talkingpointz.com/new-from-apple-the-ipager I am a little disappointed that they labeled the device as a “pager,” since the old “pagers” were only one-way notification devices that required other means of responding. Apple’s “iPager” provides flexible means of response as well, making them good for both initiators and recipients. Copyright © 2014 The Unified-View, All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Introduction to IP Surveillance System

Security and safety are of primary concern when it comes to leading a peaceful life in this modern era. Proper surveillance definitely helps in beefing up the security at our homes, offices, important buildings, business centres and even public places. Crimes can be reduced to a great extent with the help of efficient surveillance systems, especially when the crime rates are going up with every passing day. Surveillance is the monitoring of activities and behaviour of people for the purpose of directing, managing as well as protecting them. CCTV is the first surveillance system that pops up in our mind every time we think about adding to the security at our homes or offices. The advancement of technology has given rise to IP-based surveillance cameras that offers a paradigm shift to the idea of CCTV. IP surveillance system is referred to as using of Internet Protocol as standard of communication for transmission, storage and networking of surveillance images. IP surveillance is digitized version of CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) where a security camera can record video footage of certain area or place and the content recorded can be distributed over an IP network. The IP based surveillance system is the most commonly used protocol for communication over Internet and computer networks. IP based camera surveillance is ideal for the purpose of sharing high quality video streams over long distances. Overview IP based surveillance system uses IP camera for observing or monitoring an area. These cameras are connected to a recording device named NVR (network video recorder) or to an IP network. The videos are viewed by security guard or a law enforcement officer. The video streaming is managed with a VMS (Video Management Software). Analysis of footage has become easier with the use of software and IP surveillance cameras are simple and inexpensive enough and can be used for home security purpose also. As Internet protocol is an open standard for communication, the manufacturers of surveillance equipments can standardise and provide users with more flexibility to choose the best solution. Advantages of IP surveillance system Image quality is always an important factor in security camera. In an IP surveillance system, the images obtained are digitized only once and does not require any kind of conversion. As a result, the image does not degrade during long distance transmission. Again IP storage enables the ability to store data in any geographical location. A fully integrated IP surveillance system can be used for multiple applications simultaneously such as building management, access control, intruder and visitor management, point of sales system and many more. As the device is installed over an IP network, they can be easily configured to be accessed and even controlled remotely. Another important aspect is the cost of implementation. In installation of IP based surveillance system, the infrastructure required is very less and thus cuts down the cost a lot. You are saved from a lot of wiring. Just a good WiFi is enough most of times. Application of IP surveillance system There are innumerable areas where IP system is best suited for the purpose of monitoring and managing security. Some of the areas of application are listed below: 1. City surveillance: IP based surveillance system is one of the most effective and useful tool for preventing crime and protecting people. The use of IP networks has enabled deployment of security cameras city wide. Remote surveillance feature has also equipped police to respond quickly to crimes, as they can see activities live! 2. Banking and Finance: IP security cameras are installed in banks as well as ATM locations to provide security and also to identify criminals when needed. 3. Retail: In retails shops, IP surveillance system can reduce theft significantly. A major benefit is that this system can be integrated with the EAS system or POS system of the store. Legal Considerations: While installing and using the IP based surveillance system, the users have to abide by some rules and regulations as stated under the Data Protection Act 1998. If it is found that the security camera is being used to harass someone or invades someone's, you could face the wrath of the law. About The Author Michelle Patterson is an avid technology blogger and writes extensively about IP/VoIP and Unified Communication. She works with some leading companies to understand the trends of these modern communication technologies.

Managing a Mobile Workforce

Around the world people are used to working in their offices only. Even though technology has developed to an extent where you can work from where you want if your physical presence is not needed, employees never had the autonomy of choosing when and where to work. But now with the rise of mobile technology, employees are getting opportunities to work from where they want to. Today employees can work from home or even from an outstation location using their personal devices. With cloud based storage storing everything from databases to documents, and even applications, the need to carry a whole lot of data baggage is gone. However, mobility in working increases the responsibility of the managers. Earlier they could supervise and direct their employees, and have a face-to-face conversation with them since they all were seated and worked at one place. But, now with a mobile workforce, managers do not have face to face contact and cannot oversee what is being done. In these circumstances, there are certain things the manager must do to supervise his staff efficiently. First, the managers must always stay connected to their employees. Even if his employees decide to work from home, he should conduct in-person meeting before the project starts and on a regular basis in-between the process also in order to keep a check on how his workforce is progressing. The communication process has become extremely handy these days hence it is wise to use them to the fullest. It is not always necessary to call in-person meetings. If the employees are given mobility, they will be working from some other place. In such cases, they won’t be able to come for face-to-face meetings. The manager can hold a meeting using VoIP technology. VoIP technology has advanced enough and has the potential to deliver voice messages and communications, multimedia sessions, video calling and conferencing over IP networks. Therefore, by using this any manager can conduct a group meeting or manage each worker individually. Second, the manager must decide the process objective target and explain it clearly to his workforce. The target of the project, what is their goal that they have to achieve must be made very clear to the employees before starting the project. However, the manager must explain the target in such a way that they should reflect practical end result not the procedure and how much hours would be spent on the specific project. The approach should create a positive impact on the employees mind and motivate them for working. Third, the manager must first sort the priorities after setting the target. He is aware that in order to achieve that target which task is to be completed first. Therefore, accordingly he must divide the work equally in his workforce and also he must brief them about which task is to be completed first, depending in the priority of work. Fourth, if the BYOD policy is used or is allowed to be used in the enterprise, the manager must make it sure that it is used properly. All the employees need to have all the necessary tools and equipment in their personal devices so that they can complete their task successfully and can contribute their part on achieving the goal. Lastly, after the project is completed, the manager must go through it once and then must evaluate whether the set goal has been achieved or not. About The Author Michelle Patterson is an avid technology blogger and writes extensively about IP/VoIP and Unified Communication. She works with some leading companies to understand the trends of these modern communication technologies.

Unified Communications - The Power to Transform Unified communications

Unified Communications - The Power to Transform Unified communications Unified communications is also popularly known as UC. It is a blend of diverse services such as business telephones, instant messages, operating machines, speech recognition and data transfer. This communication is not a single product, but comprises a customer interface and customer experience across a variety of devices and diverse sorts of media. Efforts have been made for creating a single product, except it is at present still a combination of multiple products. On a broader sense all the data moved in an IP system comes under a unified communication (UC) system, irrespective of whether the data originated from a single or multiple products. This facilitates the use of different medium for receiving or sending data. For instance, an user is able to send email from their laptop and another user on the same network is able to view it on their tablets. Bluetooth is an excellent instance of an UC. It is the system where one sends only one type of data from a source and the receiver gets the same on other devices. The communications landscape has undergone tremendous changes over the past few years and UC is the result of all this evolution. The past and alterations: History of UC is summed up by the creation of up to date techniques in IT. Earlier phones were linked by means of some patent company and telephone calls were received from central bureaus with the assist of digital or analogue circuits. A decade back, a wide range of companies introduced their products and, since then, fresh procedure of messaging and highly developed telecommunication systems started with familiar brands being introduced under UC. Unified Communications Interoperability Forum, also called as UCIF, is a society as well as non-profit coalition for various companies who sell their products in the marketplaces. Unified communication and unified messaging: There are several differences between unified communications and unified messaging. UC consists of a combination of real time and non-real time message procedures, which are based on the location and preference of the end point devices. On the other hand unified messaging consists of communications which are carried from one media to another and email, messages, texts and voice mail are examples of that. UC is the entire process that is carried out till the message is delivered to the receiver who is logged-in in the same network. UC is about the real time communication applications like click to call and non-real-time applications like the instant messaging. UC also facilitates applications like the video conferencing, SIP engines etc. Unified Messaging or UM is the telephony or GUI interface that is used for accessing messages through voicemail, fax, email etc. Constituents of unified communications: UC incorporated multiple forms of messages, so it is basically a mixture of large number of constituents. The products that are included in Unified Communications are as follows: • A caller controlled communication arrangement • Instant messaging • Unified messaging • Speech access • Mobility • Conferencing United communications is the future of business communications and companies that are going to implement it earlier will definitely have an edge. The market is a highly competitive place and the latest communication technologies are going to make all the difference. Both small as well big corporate houses will have to re-evaluate their communication system and choose the latest ones like UC to create a seamless business communication system. About The Author Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

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