〉Canva is a web-based graphic design application perfect for creating awesome marketing graphics
〉Allows collaboration and provides a very user-friendly alternative to other complex graphic design tools
In this episode of The Power Up Project, we’ll be talking about a free, web-based app called Canva. Hello, I’m Annie, and today I am taking over the sound waves from the two Bens to talk to you about a topic that’s quite close to my heart. I’m the community manager at Grassroots IT, so I look after our branding and marketing. And, today I wanted to talk to you about a free web-based graphic design programme called Canva. In the history of graphic design programmes and software, years ago, there was a programme called Quark. It was really expensive, and really took some special skills from graphic designers in order to be able to use it.
Then, Adobe came on the scene, with their programmes such as Illustrator, and InDesign, and Photoshop, and really took over the industry. They have an amazing array of creative programmes, and many of them are still used today by most graphic designers. But what happened in 2012 was that a new guy came on the scene, an Australian company that brought in a free, web-based app called Canva, and really, what this did is brought the power of graphic design to everyday people and their businesses.
So, Canva is a free, web-based app, and it really enables people to put together their own graphic images, which they can then use on social media, or blogs, or websites. Now, I should put in a disclaimer here, that I think it is really important that you employ the services of a professional graphic designer in order to put together your branding strategy, so when it comes to things like logo, and colours, and fonts, you are putting out the right message into the world about who your business is and what the personality of your business is. I’m also very passionate about that branding message being consistent across the different channels.
Now, where Canva is great, is that once you have your branding strategy in place, you can then put together your own images, for social media channels. You can use it to make posters, or business cards. You can create images or you can create PDFs that you can send off to a printer, to have professionally printed. When you’re within the Canva app, it is super easy to use, and you have access to lots of different functionality. There are many fonts, and colours, and lines, and graphics. There are thousands of stock photographs that you can access for a small fee. There are predefined templates that you can customise for your own designs. There are different templates for various social media channels, so for example, if you want to create a Facebook post, it is the right dimensions for a Facebook post, or Twitter, or YouTube channel art, et cetera, et cetera. You can think of it. Canva’s probably got it.
Now, while the free version of Canva is awesome, we’ve taken as step up, and we use the paid version, which is called Canva for Work. Now, while it is a paid version, it is not super expensive. It’s about $150 per year, which is a small percentage of some of those professional design packages. You can pay that monthly or yearly. You can pay an additional charge if you want multiple team members to access that same account.
Now, where Canva for Work comes into its own is, I think, its ability to resize images. So, if you for example, set up an Instagram image, and then you decide you also want a version of that image to appear on Twitter and on Facebook, you can, with the click of a button, copy and resize that image, and it will automagically put it into the right dimensions for those other social media channels.
Now, if you’ve spent time fiddling around with images, trying to get them the right size, then you will know that this is worth its weight in gold. So, I think that is awesome. One of the other features of Canva for Work is that you can upload your own fonts, and you can set up basically a canvas of colours, so that all of your branded colours are in one place, and it’s really easy for you to access, to set up new templates and new designs for your business.
Now, if you just want to dip your toe in the water, there is a 30-day free trial, so head on over to Canva and have a play. Get creative, and see what you can create for your business.
Thanks for listening to this episode of The Power Up Project, brought to you by Grassroots IT and Digit IT. Please, leave us a review wherever you get your podcasts, and until next time, keep powering up.
〉What is Microsoft Officevibe?
〉How can it help you and your organisation?
In this episode of The Power Up Project, I’m going to introduce you to a great little tool called Office Vibe.
Welcome to this episode of The Power Up Project. I’m Ben Love, your host for this episode. Today, I want to talk to you about a great tool that we use here at Grassroots IT called Office Vibe. Now, Office Vibe is a web based application that helps you to measure and monitor your employee engagement. Now, this can be extremely useful for your managers at a HR level at all different levels of the organisation because, I mean, let’s face it. We all think we’ve got a good handle on our team culture. We all think all of our staff are beautifully engaged, but the fact of the matter is that there will be a lot of stuff happening there in the organisation that you are not aware of.
A tool like Office Vibe can actually help you uncover that information because if you don’t have the information, you can’t do anything with it. If there is a problem emerging there with your team engagement, with your team culture, if you’re not aware of it, you can’t fix it. What Office Vibe does is that it will automatically and very, very anonymously survey your team on a regular basis across a wide range of questions of different areas which all come back to that engagement piece, and then it will present you with reports both a high level number, but then also broken down into different areas of engagement. And, not only that, it’ll take it the next step further, but it will help give you advice and guidance on how you can address individual areas of your staff engagement that may need a little bit of work.
We found it to be an extremely valuable tool. I have certainly uncovered a various things happening within my organisation that I wasn’t aware of, but with the benefit of people being able to submit anonymous feedback, people feel a little bit more empowered I guess to share that information. And so, I can take that information, and then I can make changes within the organisation. I can work within individual people. I can take whatever steps I need to help increase employee engagement and help make this a better place for everybody to work.
If you do have staff, I would encourage you to think about having a look at Office Vibe. You can find it on the internet. It is free for a lot of users. You can pay a little bit more to get some premium features. I don’t. I just use the free functionality and it does a great job for our purposes.
Thanks for listening to this episode of The Power Up Project brought to you by Grassroots IT and Digit IT. Please leave us a review wherever you get your podcast and until next time, keep powering up.
〉There is a new Autosave Feature in the desktop versions of Microsoft Office apps
〉What you need to look out for in your workflows if you’re used to the traditional saving methods Microsoft Office
In this episode of The Power Up Project, we talk about the new auto save feature in the Microsoft Office apps.
Hey, welcome to The Power Up Project. I’m your host for this episode, Ben love. So, Microsoft have just released a great, new little feature into the Microsoft Office apps. By that I mean Word and Excel and so on, that you use as part of your Microsoft Office 365 subscription.
The new feature that they’ve released is auto save. Now, this is something that those people who’ve been using the web app versions of this software for a little while now will be very familiar with, but it is new to those of us who are using the desktop installations of Word and Excel and so on. Essentially, what it means is that rather than having to remember to click save on your documents progressively as you’re using them, the system simply automatically saves your changes as you type. It literally does it in near real time. So, it’s a constant type thing.
Now, I personally think this is a fantastic feature. Like I said, I’ve been relying on this feature for a while now, when I use the web apps of Word and Excel, which I do a fair bit. But it’s great that it’s now there with those desktop apps. You can tell if you’ve got it and if it’s turned on by having a look in the very top left hand corner of your application.
For example, if you have Microsoft Word open, have a look in the very top left corner there when you’ve got a document open in Word, and there’ll be a little toggle switch, which turns auto save on and off. Now, it does default to on and it will really only work actually for documents that are saved in your OneDrive or that are saved within SharePoint. But honestly, for a lot of us, that’s really where our documents are all saved these days. For those people, it’s just going to be there automatically for you.
If you do have your document saved on a traditional file server, for example, or if you have it saved locally on your computer on the C: drive, for example, the auto save feature is not going to do what it should. It’s not going to be able to work its magic.
Now, this sounds like a great new feature. But anecdotally this is catching a couple of people unawares. The particular situation here is if you’re the sort of person who takes an existing document and uses that almost like a template. You might open up an existing letter that you had written to a client, you might make some changes to that for different client, and then you might click on the Save As button, and save a new version of that for the new client.
Now, that was all well and good when we had to click on the Save button. But if you think about that, what’s happening now is that with auto save turned on as you’re typing, you’re actually going to be saving those changes over the top of your original letter, and you probably don’t want to be doing that if this is the way you’ve been using your documents.
If you’re the sort of person who does that, if you do open up a previous document that you’ve used and intend to use that almost like a template for a different purpose, what I’d suggest you do is maybe copy that document first. Copy paste, duplicate that document on the file system and then open up the copy so that you can do that auto save. Either that or as soon as you open up that document, before you start making your edits, click on Save As and save it as a new document. So that as auto save then does its thing, you will not lose that original content.
Thanks for listening to this episode of The Power Up Project brought to you by Grassroots IT and Digit IT please leave us a review where ever you get your podcasts and until next time keep powering up.
〉What are Dashboards?
〉How can dashboards power up your business?
In this episode of the Power Up Project, we talk about the power of dashboards. Welcome back to the Power Up Project, I’m your host Ben Dampney. Today, we’re going to power up your business with dashboards.
Dashboards are a single page that show key pieces of data in an easy to digest format. They can range from graphs, charts, gauges to heat maps or flashing alerts on a page. This can be a webpage, it can be an online document, it can be an updated Excel spreadsheet, for example. Now, every business can benefit from financial dashboards. They give you a visual representation on a single page of current and historic financial performance. These can be created in most modern financial accounting packages, such as Xero. They can also be generated using Microsoft Power BI connected to older packages that do not include this sort of functionality, things like MYOB or Reckon for instance.
The beauty of financial dashboards is they turn numbers into gauges and graphs that can be read easily and allowing you to quickly understand your financial metrics. However, I’d encourage you to think about the key metrics or performance indicators in your business. For our IT business, outside of financial reporting, we’re actually interested in a couple of different indicators. We have a dashboard that shows client servers if they’re down, service tickets that require attention, and clients that are awaiting a response from us around a service item. Being aware of these items and numbers allows us to ensure that key components of our customer service delivery don’t get overlooked. We actually have a big screen in our office that shows these key metrics, and everyone at any point in time can look up and see exactly where those key indicators are at. Ideally, we’re trying to get to zero, which is green, which means no one’s waiting for us to do work for them, we’re proactively managing our clients and their systems.
Now, another dashboard we have shows us engineer billable time and open tickets. It’s a great way to ensure our engineers are being utilised correctly without being overburdened. We can also use this dashboard to make employment decisions, as we can easily see trends in engineer workloads, if one’s getting too much work for instance, we can then look to employ someone based on some of these metrics.
Another example might be for a transport company who may be interested in average weekly trip times, vehicle service intervals, driver load times, all of which can affect your profitability and ideally let you know what your utilisation is of your vehicles and your staff.
Now, in all instances, I’d encourage you to ensure that the dashboard you use is clean and simple. This is a really important part of dashboards, in my mind, the critical part. They need to show the five or six key drivers that will have the most effect on your business. Now, these should align directly with your business goals. If you follow the trends in the dashboards you have, you have information that enables you to manage your business with precision, rather than feel. You feel busy, but what does the stats and dashboard exactly show you around your staff utilisation, your sales delivery, etc.?
So I encourage you to check out dashboards, they’re awesome. Power BI’s a really simple tool to use, there’s lots of plug-ins and templates you can go and grab it and start straight away. Xero has some great financial dashboards that you can look at and set up. There are many other products out there that will do dashboards according on your data .
Thank you for listening to the Power Up Project, brought to you by Digit IT and Grassroots IT, and please remember to leave a review for us wherever you found this podcast. Until next time, keep powering up.
My three takeaways from running our live event, The Small Business Download, in October 2018, including:
〉Being with other people who understand that you “don’t know what you don’t know”
〉The value of collaborative learning
〉Finding the low hanging fruit
〉Join us for a free webinar on 22 November: Office 365 in the Real World
In this episode of The Power Up Project, we recap on The Small Business Download 2018.
Hi. Welcome to this episode of The Power Up Project. I’m your host, Ben Love, and today we’re going to be recapping on a recent live event that we hosted, called The Small Business Download 2018. This was a fantastic event. It was a learning event which we put on for our clients, our partners, anybody else who wanted to come along. We had a panel of five industry experts, covering a range of business and technology topics, who were there to talk to us, to take questions, do a little bit of workshopping, even, at the end of the night there, around some of the problems and questions that our attendees had.
So what I wanted to share with you today is the three top takeaways that I really got out of the entire thing. The first one, you don’t know what you don’t know. Now, this is obviously a truism which we’ve all heard before, but what I’d say about this is that one of the real values of investing time in events such as The Small Business Download is that it gives the gift of being in the company of other business leaders who recognise that, at some level, there are things that they don’t know, so they are consciously making the decision to invest the time, the money, the effort, to come along to events like this and to learn.
Now, this may sound fairly self-evident to a lot of you out there, but a lot of people do not go out of their comfort zone to put themselves in the situation where they will potentially learn something that they weren’t aware of previously. A lot of people are confident in their own knowledge, a lot of people are quite comfortable that the way they’re doing the job right now is the way that it should be doing, and so they don’t take that next step. So the first lesson that I really learnt out of this is just reinforcing that, that you don’t know what you don’t know, and it’s good to step outside and just expose yourself to some opportunities, cross-industry perhaps, to see what else is happening out in the big wide world.
Lesson number two that I took away from The Small Business Download 2018 is that collaborative learning is powerful. Now, one of the wonderful things about getting all of these people in the room, facilitated by our panel of five experts, was that we had people there across a broad range of industries, across a broad range of organisational profiles of size, of nature. We had some commercial organisations, we had educational institutions, we had non-profits, and everybody was there, sharing in the experience and collaborating together. There was a lot of sharing of stories, war stories in some cases, successes and victories in others. There was a lot of questions that arose from one industry, which interestingly enough, some people were able to map into an entirely different industry, to gain a unique perspective on something that may have been sticking them up for a little while now. So lesson number two was collaborative learning can be powerful, cross-industries, cross-organizations.
And number three, and this is the great one, and this is my important takeaway for you out of this episode, there is plenty of low hanging fruit. So some of the things that we touched on, on the day, in a very tactical sense are, for example, that a lot of people are not using a large part of their Office 365 subscription. A lot of organisations will subscribe to something like Office 365 for a particular component, such as the email for example, but with the money that you are paying every month, there is a vast list of other products and services that you get access to, and a lot of people aren’t even aware of what else is out there and aren’t integrating those things into their business processes or getting any value from them at all. Now, that’s just one very tactical example.
For other people, it was about education. Some of the people I was talking to on the day there, they realised that they already had the tools in place in their business, they already had the technology implemented, they had processes and workflows put in place, but there was a missing piece there, to really drive the organisational change and get the value from the technology, and that was education. They identified that there was a need to bring in some more training for themselves or for their people back at the office on how to use these tools, how to get the most from these systems, and how to really leverage them in their day-to-day operations. So that was another really good piece of low hanging fruit for some people, that a little bit of education and training into the organisation could yield very, very large results.
At the end of the day, though, I think the message that everybody really came away from The Small Business Download 2018 with was that it’s really all about the people. It’s not really about the technology. The technology is just a tool. It’s like giving a builder a hammer. It’s actually the builder who has the skills, the knowledge, the experience, to put together the house. The hammer is just the tool, and it’s the same with all of our organisations. It is all about the people. So we need to not get too distracted by the technology, we need to not get too distracted by the operational metrics we put in place, by all of these other things that we’re told that we need to put in place in the business. Those things are important, don’t get me wrong, but what we really need to do is remember to keep front and centre that everything we are doing here is about the people. It’s about our staff, it’s about our clients, it’s about our suppliers, our industry partners, and our community around us. That’s really what everything came back to on the day.
So thank you for listening to my recap of The Small Business Download 2018. I had three key takeaways for you from that. The one I really want to leave you with as your next action steps out of this episode is that there is plenty of low hanging fruit. Have a look at your subscriptions that you already have in place, such as Office 365, and see if there are parts of that product, parts of that service, that you’re not using and not getting that value from. And the other piece that went there was about education. Have a look at the tools you’re using and your processes, and have a look at your people, and have a think about whether bringing in a little bit of extra training, a little bit of education, mentorship, might actually help your people get a significant amount more value out of the systems that you already have in place.
Are you looking to save costs and increase efficiency in using your existing business tools? Join our Free Webinar with Mia McIntyre to learn how real businesses in the real world utilise their Office 365 tools to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Click below to register
〉Why data encryption is important for data security
〉Simple steps on how you can start protecting your data
In this episode of The Power Up Project, I’m going to be talking about why you should be encrypting the data on your laptop.
Hey, welcome to this episode of The Power Up Project. I am Ben Love, your host, coming at you directly from Orlando in Florida. If you can hear ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ playing gently in the background there, please excuse the distraction. Today’s topic is encrypting the data on your laptop hard drive. I’m going to start with the first question around that though is ‘Why would you do that?’ Well, we all know that encryption is basically scrambling the data that you have stored in such a way that only you can read it. If that data gets into somebody else’s hands, they will not be able to read it. Why would you want to do that? Well, let’s say that you lose your laptop. Let’s say that it gets stolen from the office. Let’s say that you leave it in a taxi.
That means if you have an unencrypted hard drive, it means that the person who stole that laptop can very easily take that hard drive out of your laptop, put it in another computer or put it into a little USB caddie, and they will have full access to every bit of information that’s on that hard drive. Now, that’s quite terrifying, particularly if you work with really sensitive information, particularly if you have personal information for your client, such as credit card details or healthcare related information. You can really see it could be a very smart idea to make sure that your laptop hard drives are encrypted.
Now, in Australia, we also have a thing called the Mandatory Data Breach Notification Scheme. This is basically a law that states that if information is lost from your organisation somehow and that information has the potential to cause significant harm for other people, then you must notify the authorities. Now, this can be quite a daunting thing to face for organisations, but one of the great ways to make sure that you don’t have to notify is to make sure that the data on that laptop hard drive is encrypted because in that case, nobody will actually be able to read the data. Now, I’m not a lawyer, that is not legal advice, but that is anecdotally what we’re seeing happening in the industry. We can probably agree by this point that it is a good idea to encrypt the data on your laptop hard drive. How do we do that?
Well, in Windows 10 Professional and Windows 10 Enterprise, there’s a great little feature called BitLocker. On macOS, there is a feature called FileVault. They all do basically the same thing. Basically, they run behind the scenes there and will encrypt every bit of information on your laptop hard drive there so that you and only you can access it. Now, there are various requirements to be able to turn on BitLocker in Windows 10 primarily around the hardware in your laptop. You need a little thing called a TPM chip, but most of the business grade laptops that are out there that Grassroots IT works with will have a TPM chip in there. The macOS hardware already has everything that it needs in there as well, so you should be good to go.
After that, there’s just a few little settings that need to be turned on to enable that file encryption. Now, that can either be turned on manually per computer or if you have a fleet of computers in your organisation where we need to turn on BitLocker, we can do so centrally with what’s called a group policy. We can talk to your IT person. We can just push that out to all the machines in your network and make sure that’s done. It is a very easy process to step through, it is very secure and reliable, and it will potentially save you a whole lot of heartache further down the track. But, the question remains then: ‘Are there some cases where you might not want to encrypt the data on your hard drive?’
Look, I’m going to leave that open and say yes, there are. I can’t think of any of those particular scenarios right now off the top of my head to be honest, but I’m sure there are edge cases there where you don’t want to enable encryption. It would be a good idea to think about it, have a chat with your IT people, and you’ll probably come back and find that the answer is yes, that you do want that enabled. In summary, why would we want to encrypt the data on our laptop hard drives? Well, to keep that data safe in case we lose our laptop or our laptop gets stolen. How do we do it? We simply turn on a feature called BitLocker for Windows or FileVault in the macOS.
Thanks for listening to the Power Up Project, brought to you by Digit IT and Grassroots IT. Please remember to leave a review for us, wherever you found this podcast. Until next time, keep powering up.
In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:
〉Transcription tool in Office 365 products.
〉What can the transcription tool do?
In this episode of the Power Up Project we talk about transcription in office products.
Welcome back to the Power Up Project, I’m your host, Ben Dampney.
Today we’re going to power up your business with transcription in office products. We have the ability in the Modern Suite of Office to transcribe our speech into documents or words in those applications. The applications that are currently waxing is Word, Outlook, OneNote, and PowerPoint, and I think this is a fantastic tool that people should take advantage of and try.
It’s a way that you can use your voice to get your thoughts and create a document in any of those products. That’s going to lead to increased speed and accuracy of what you’re producing but also maybe give you some options you may haven’t previously been able to do. Things like diary writing, letters, seem to come more naturally, I guess, if you’re speaking them rather than typing them. This feature is built into those products now in the Modern Suite of Office, you’ll see it as a transcribe or dictate button in the top right corner in those suite of products.
You can also add it into, for example, OneNote for Office 2016 and 2013 by going to the garage, the Microsoft Garage gives you the ability to download that product and add it in. Now, another feature that you may be aware of is some of the Office will also have a read aloud option that will read emails out to you. This is a great way to get through content that you may have, if you’re working on other things you can listen to those documents while you’re using your mouse and cursor on other locations on the page.
Now, a really exciting development that’s coming out that I think businesses should maybe consider is the fact that Microsoft is going to add automated transcription capabilities for one draught for business for both video and audio files slated for release later this year. This is a powerful, powerful offering that Microsoft is bringing. The ability to be able to get a video transcript or an audio transcript of content means that you can search for it in one drive, means that you can send message or meeting notes after the fact with details of exactly what’s been said in either a video or a meeting or recording in some fashion.
This is a fantastic service that previously up to now has been unavailable, using human labour, I guess, to the extent that that this will be available. It’s going to be automated, that’s what Microsoft is telling us, and will give us some fantastic insights into our data but also the ability to get more from our data that we have. Keep your ears out for that, that’s all I have today. I’d encourage you to all go out and try, firstly, the transcription services that are available in the Office Suite of products. Also, keep an eye out for the transcription of media content that’s coming later this year. I’m excited about it, I think we’ll to get way more for our content on the this.
Thanks for listening to the Power Up Project brought to you by Digit IT and Grassroots IT. Please remember to leave a review for us wherever you found this podcast and until next time, keep powering up.
In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:
〉Recap on what Microsoft Stream is
〉Amazing news about Microsoft making it more accessible
In this episode of the Power Up Project we touch on Microsoft Stream and how it’s now available to even more Office 365 users. Welcome to this edition of Power Up Project, I’m your host Ben Love.
So we’ve spoken before about Microsoft Stream, which is one of the components of the Office 365 Suite, which so many of you use. Now Microsoft Stream just as a recap, is kind of like your own private … Private, that’s not the right word. It’s like YouTube where you can upload videos but it is private and secure to your organisation, so it’s not a public service, like YouTube is, that anybody can access. It’s part of your Office 365 tenant. It’s really primarily intended for internal use by other members of your Office 365 organisation. So it’s secured, it integrates really well with SharePoint and with Microsoft Teams, and with all the other cool bits of Office 365. But, up until now it’s only really been available either as a standalone purchase or in some of the higher end Office 365 plans.
Well, a recent announcement from Microsoft, finally, they’re bringing this thing down into some of the Office 365 business plans. So Office 365 Business, Business Premium, and Business Essentials, which are just three of the plans that you can choose from, will start to include Microsoft Stream. So this I fantastic news, mainly for those I guess smaller organisations that aren’t on the larger Enterprise E3, Office 365 plans, either because the don’t have the head count requirement or they don’t need some of those more advanced features. Well now we’re seeing Microsoft Stream as part of those plans.
So a lot of what we talk to our clients about, around this piece here, is how fantastic video is and stream is a great enabler of that for internal staff and team communications, for training materials, for documenting processes, huge range of uses there. So great news there. Microsoft Stream if you’re on one of the Microsoft Office 365 business plans, rather than the Enterprise level plans. It’s coming your way.
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Power Up Project, brought to you by Grass Roots IT and Digit IT. Please leave us a review wherever you get your podcasts, and until next time, keep powering up.
〉What is Microsoft Teams Inline Translation
〉How to enable Inline Translation
〉Does it work and how accurate is it?
In this episode of the Power Up Podcast, we share a little bit more information on Microsoft Teams Inline Translation.
Hey, welcome back to the Power Up Project podcast. My name is Ben Love. I’m your host for today.
Now a few episodes back, I shared some new features. Well, one particular new feature I want to touch on in Microsoft Teams, which was the Inline Translation. So just to recap, Microsoft Teams is a product from Microsoft, part of the Office 365 family that lets you do, amongst a lot of other things, a text chat so you type chat messages back and forth. So it’s a real head-to-head competitor with Slack, which a lot of people have been using and also Hipchat, which less people have been using, but still one of the big ones.
So what we touched on last time is that Microsoft released a feature which was inline translation within chats in Teams. So what that means is that if somebody in a chat enters some words there, a sentence or whatever in a language that is not your native language, Teams is able to translate that automatically for you into whatever your native language was.
Now, at the time that we mentioned with this, we hadn’t had a chance to play but, I have since had a chance to play and I just want to share a couple of things that I’ve learned. First of all, you need to enable this feature using some funky behind-the-scenes stuff called PowerShell. Now, for an IT person that’s pretty straightforward. For your average user, it’s probably not. So if you do want this feature enabled, get in touch with your IT person and I’m sure they can switch that on for you. I imagine at some point soon they will move that into a nice little on-off button somewhere in the settings. But for now, you need that PowerShell script run to enable this feature on your Teams, on your tenant.
The next thing is that this Inline Translation feature is not available in the newly announced free version of Microsoft Teams, so if you are an Office 365 user, you’re good to go, but if you are not and you’re taking advantage of the free Microsoft Teams version, apparently this inline translate is not part of that particular package. So be aware of that.
The other thing I wanted to follow up onto is how it actually works. So, we’ve done a little bit of testing here. The accuracy of the translation between a couple of different languages into English and vice versa seems really good actually. It’s using one of Microsoft’s cloud translate micro services, so that’s a micro service that is part of the larger Microsoft as your suite of stuff that you can actually use yourself, build it into your own software products and whatnot. It’s very cool.
But Microsoft are leading on that to provide this translation service within Teams, which makes perfect sense if you think about it. That’s what micro services are really intended for. The accuracy of the translation is really, really good subject of course, to some of the vagaries of how people use language colloquially and some of the different grammatical constructs that you can use in some languages to the other, but in terms of actually communicating and getting the message across, it’s actually really, really good. But, what you need to understand too is that in order to translate a line of text in a chat, you still need to click a button so it’s very easy to do. I mean, right next to the actual line of text you wish to translate, you just pop open a little menu and say translate, so it’s very quick and very easy to do, but it does not automatically recognise that a line of text needs to be translated. If that makes sense.
Now, I’m wondering whether they’re going to bring this automatic real-time translation into the product at some point in the future. I imagine they will, to be honest, but for now, it makes sense that this is the way it is, because there will be times when you don’t want this thing to decide that you want that translated, so I don’t see it as a problem the way it currently is. In fact, I had a quick chat with someone from my office whose familiar with WeChat, which is one of the other really big chat platforms on the Internet, but WeChat is very much a Chinese language thing predominantly, and it has offered this inline translation for a little while now.
Primarily between Chinese and English I believe, I haven’t used it myself. This is just anecdotally and with WeChat, you also need to click a button and say, “Please translate this line of text.” So that’s another interesting little thing there, WeChat, which is definitely ahead of Teams and came out with this feature well before Teams is still sticking with the manually translate this line of text option. So, interesting thing for us to learn there.
So, that’s really our recap on the inline translation feature in Microsoft Teams. Look, bottom line is it works bloody well. It’s really super clever. It’s very, very quick and easy to use. And if you do use Teams, which I would encourage you to have a look at, and you do communicate with people who speak another language, even if only just to have a play and test about I’d get in there, give it a go. It’s a fun bit of tech.
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In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:
〉What are Hosted Phone Systems
〉Is it expensive to have a Hosted Phone System?
〉What the benefits of a Hosted Phone System and why you would you need one
In this episode of the Power Up Project, we talk about hosted phone systems.
Welcome back to the Power Up Project. I’m your host, Ben Dampney. Today we’re going to power up your business with a hosted phone system. A hosted phone system is a phone system that is hosted, funnily enough, on a remote service via in the cloud. We recently moved a client of ours from an old, digital, on-the-wall phone system to a new hosted phone system using the existing cabling infrastructure. We deployed a mix of IP handsets, which is a traditional desk phone. You are using your IP cabling or managed cabling. Also, soft phones. Now, a soft phone is a phone application on your desktop or laptop. It can also be on a tablet or a mobile phone.
Now, the beauty of this is that you can be connected through those devices using a headset or through the speaker and microphone natively to make and receive calls, which can actually dramatically reduce the cost of deploying these sort of solutions, without putting a handset on a desk so to speak. It also allows for hot-desking and travel, meaning you don’t need to be tied to the phone that’s on your desk. You’re actually able to use your device wherever you have your laptop, or potentially tablet or mobile phone with the application.
These hosted phone systems can lead to reduced call costs. They’re often traditionally very much cheaper than your big tier-one phone system guys, particularly the big T and others. It also gives you flexible provisioning, so you don’t have to buy 30 handsets if you have 30 staff. You can only deploy what you need at that time that you need it, particularly on the soft client side or the soft phone side. You just run up an extension when you need to use it.
Also, as I alluded to earlier, it gives you remote access to your phone system. A fantastic example of this was the phone system we recently deployed for someone. The business owner was overseas in Thailand for work, and he was able to work using the soft phone client on his iPhone and the hotel wifi where he was staying. He had the ability to make calls as though he was sitting in his office, which is incredibly powerful, but also his staff had the ability to see his presence. They knew if he was on the phone or available to take calls, so they could transfer incoming calls from the phone system on their main number, through to his soft phone client on this mobile phone. As far as his clients were aware, he was working and available as though he was in the office, which is a really powerful tool.
Hosted phone systems also are incredibly easy to programme these days. They give you so much variability in call flows, as in how a call moves through your business. One of the key factors we find people taking them up for is that they would like to more directly get calls to the people that need them, rather than going to reception and then through the accounts and then to one particular person. Automated systems can be used to get calls directly to the people that need them answered more quickly and more efficiencies and cost-savings in your business.
Voicemail to email is another fantastic feature of hosted systems or virtual PDXs, in that you can receive a voicemail via email, meaning you get the voicemail immediately on whatever device you have. If you’re out of the office, it gives you some powerful ability to more easily and quickly react to someone’s query. We all know these days people like to get information or be able to contact you as quickly as they can.
Call presence I also talked about earlier, but it’s a powerful feature as well. It gives you the ability to know where your staff are and who’s on or off a call, if they’re in a do-not-disturb status. Some of these features are in traditional systems, but certainly widespread across hosted phone systems.
Listen, I’d encourage everyone to explore the opportunity of a hosted phone system. There’s trials out there that you can take up. They’re very easy and simple to deploy. You can have your existing, traditional, primary phone number be diverted through or ported across to a phone system so you don’t lose any of your existing customer base due to a phone number changes. Look, I think they’re great for cost savings, great for efficiency, and I would recommend you go out and try it today.
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