Archive for June, 2009
Beat the Economic Crisis
Even with a growing number of Swine Flu instances in Israel, the pandemic pandemonium seems to have abated, at least from the headlines. However, it appears that the Swine Flu and the economic crisis have left an indelible mark on the business world.
As enterprises seek to bring down costs and minimize potential exposure to the Swine Flu (airplanes are “ideal” for picking up other people’s viruses through the air ventilation system), video conferencing has gained popularity as a way to reduce travel expenses while maintaining mission critical communications.
Recent studies are showing a dramatic increase in use of video conferencing systems both on the corporate and even private levels. This shift is attributed to the requirement of minimizing travel budgets.
Here’s the good news. With a now larger base of video conferencing systems installed around the world, there are potentially more business and people with whom you can work via your own video conference system.
The Wall Street Journal published an article (June 4, ‘09) on the latest attempt by airlines to squeeze more profit out of their passengers. American, Delta, and Continental, to name a few, have added some 10-16 seats in the Economy section (”Sardine Class”) of their new 737-800’s.
Where did they find all the space from?
Well, 2 inches have been shaved off of the legroom and seat pitch between the seats, and the seat cushions are thinner. That means you’ll have about 31 very tight and uncomfortable inches for your legs. (If you are taller than 5′ 10″, ask for a window seat so you can hang your legs out the window.) The big service galley at the back of the plane was also cut down, since food and beverages are no longer being served on flights.
The real “consolation” here is that with more people on the flight, you’ll still have the same number of bathrooms and the same amount of overhead storage space. With no real seat space to maneuver, it’s probably best if you don’t bring your laptop to work on the plane.
If you must fly, we recommend seats in the exit rows. The legroom there is still 39-40 inches.
The alternative? Buy a video conferencing system from Efrat Networks and sit in the comforts of your office to conduct business with anyone, anywhere in the world! We, at Efrat Networks, use video conferencing ourselves to avoid trips into town to meet with clients and vendors. We save on the commute, parking fees, and the lost time back and forth.
Efrat Networks sells and installs refurbished video conferencing equipment in Israel and around the world at a fraction of the cost of new equipment, with all the ease of operation and functionality of the new systems. In fact, our refurbished Polycom video conferencing systems have more features than new Polycom systems.
Call Efrat Networks today to shorten your commute with a Polycom video conferencing system.
Susan Boyle’s Popularity Slowed Down Business
As always, good news travels quickly. It didn’t take long for everyone and his brother to receive a ‘must see’ link from a friend to watch Susan Boyles sing ” I Dreamed a Dream” on Britain’s Got Talent, courtesy of YouTube.
Reality shows are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they are definitely a big part of the Internet today. Anytime online access to all these various shows, is an impediment to work and a bottleneck on the Internet. Because people are watching YouTube at all hours of the day, consumer grade bandwidth, i.e., your Internet connection, is peaking out at all hours of the day - downloads are taking much longer and sending/receiving emails just doesn’t go as fast as it should.
Eric calls the recent plunge in Internet quality that coincides with Susan Boyle’s YouTube debut as the “Susan Boyle Effect”, where so many new people discovered YouTube, that our Internet circuits are now overwhelmed with their downloads.
If you are running a business that is dependent upon downloading or uploading information/emails via the Internet, your productivity is dramatically effected by the Internet’s level of efficiency. It is not simply a matter of the size of the bandwidth, but rather the quality and number of users of the lines. For example, check out most any large city freeway in the US that has recently been widened for more lanes. Within a very short period of time, the ‘relief’ in traffic disappears and the lanes are just as crowded as before the additions.
Next generation bandwidth in Israel is expected to go live over the next few years. However, as with the freeways, this will bring more frequent usage of the Internet at a greater intensity of downloads. More important, the next gen bandwidth will be for inside of Israel only, meaning anything being down/uploaded from overseas, will be constricted by the increasing traffic.
Your business, no matter how many employees, cannot afford the productivity roller coaster that consumer grade Internet offers. Therefore, our advice is simple.
Efrat Networks offers a range of reliable and managed, commercial grade Internet accounts that operate on the “diamond lane” of the Internet highway.
Why is managing the account so important? We aggregate Internet services to provide the best available connection to the Internet. When problems arise, we also have a direct, 24/6 line to our service providers, enabling us to make adjustments quickly to keep you working.
Efrat Networks can also provide a higher order of management of this bandwidth to allow you to prioritize services such as VoIP and video conferencing, and also to filter out content and services that may detract from your employees productivity. Combine this with our new Cellcom backup links for your home office or business, and you have a winning combination of high reliability and high quality Internet, all day, every day, at an affordable price.
Please call Efrat Networks today to review your bandwidth needs.
Hosted Exchange Improves Your Business’s Productivity, Efficiency, and Security
Hosted Exchange is a platform for e-mail, calendaring, and unified messaging. ‘Hosted’ means that instead of owning a Microsoft Exchange Server, the application is hosted on the server(s) of a third party. It has nothing to do with Hostess Twinkies…Exchange server hosting means that a specialist IT company, like Efrat Networks, runs the technology and charges businesses a small monthly fee to use it. This allows them to enjoy the same enterprise-strength IT that Fortune 500 companies have, but at a price they can afford.
What are the primary benefits to using hosted exchange, particularly if you are using a mobile device for sending and receiving email?
Productivity - Exchange allows your team to collaborate more efficiently on projects through the ability to share calendars, tasks, and important contacts. Sharing notes and files on the included shared folders can act like a virtual message board, promoting more efficient teamwork.
Anytime, Anywhere Access to mission critical data - The office isn’t the only place where you and your team can be connected to your business. Exchange allows everyone on your team to access their important data and communications from any Internet connection or on their mobile device (i.e. - Smartphone, BlackBerry, iPhone, web book).
Archiving - Outlook stores your inbox, sent items, and contacts in a single current .pst file. Unattended, this file can get monstrously huge, leaving your Outlook crippled. Most people do not do the archiving that is required with Outlook to keep the .pst file down to a manageable size. Using Exchange, you no longer need to archive your Outlook folders. Exchange does it for you.
Security - Using mobile devices increases the possibility of theft or loss. Exchange hosting ensures your information’s security on your desktop, and if your mobile device is lost or stolen that unit’s settings can be quickly removed from the Exchange service. Also, with all emails and information to our Exchange being encrypted, you can be sure your company’s communications are kept from prying eyes. If your laptop is lost or stolen on a business trip, you can buy a new laptop, configure your exchange account, plug it into your hotel’s Internet service, and have all of your Outlook email, contact, calendar, and tasks back exactly as they were before the theft, over night.
Make the most of your IT (or lack thereof) - you don’t need a dedicated IT department just to get your company on the fast track to enterprise-level communicating. Efrat Networks’ team of IT professionals can set you up with an Exchange service that will truly make your work more productive and efficient.
Quick and Easy Implementation - Getting your email up and running on hosted Exchange is easy. Our technical support team can have your email up and running within minutes of signing up.
Call Efrat Networks today to set up your hosted Exchange accounts.
Unfortunately, for most small and mid-size businesses (SMBs), the cost of running an MS Exchange server ‘in-house’ is simply too much money. Up-front costs can exceed $10,000-plus staff time to maintain the server. This is why hosted Exchange makes sense for smaller businesses.
Save Lots of Time Scheduling Meetings
Since we already spoke about using hosted Exchange within a business to share your schedules, how about sharing your available time to colleagues outside of your Exchange group?
Jiffle is a scheduling tool which seeks to put an end to the back and forth deliberations that precede a properly scheduled meeting. Plug in your availability and let people request a slot.
Jiffle is web based but there is integration available for both Outlook and Google Calendar. The premise is simple enough. You tell Jiffle when you’re available and then share your availability. You can share it either publicly or with a set of contacts. When someone needs to schedule a meeting with you they can see instantly when you’re available. They don’t need a Jiffle account, just the URL you share with them. From there they can pick a time, enter in their contact info and notes, and the request appears in your email inbox.
When you accept a potential meeting time your calendar is populated with the information from the other party and your own additional notes if you’ve added any. Other users only see when you are available, no other information about your calendar is shared.
Jiffle is free for individual use.