Android P: Features to Look Forward To

Fans of Android mobile devices look forward to each new version of Google’s operating system as it shows off new features. Aside from being easier and more efficient for developers to create applications on it, there are some improvements for consumers to look forward to when they update or buy a device that runs the new Android P.

App Actions and Slices
App Actions aim to anticipate the next thing you may do on your smartphone. Actions such as beginning a workout or giving your spouse a call will appear in notification bubbles on top of the screen as suggestions for what activity it thinks you will do next. It uses machine learning techniques to predict your actions according to your usage habits. For example, if you go jogging at 7:30 am each day, your phone will suggest that you use an installed fitness app during that time.

Slices offer a smaller version of an installed app when you do a Google Search, providing you with various app functions without activating the full app. For example, if you type “I want to book a flight” in the search bar, Search will display a basic version of an installed travel app. If you type “Philippines” in the search bar, Google Search will dig through your Google Photos for related images.

These functions will not work if the developers do not implement them on your favorite apps.

App Timers and Android Dashboard
Android P comes equipped with App Timers which help you control how long you use certain apps (especially games and social media) so that it reduces the compulsive need to check the phone often. Once the time limit expires on an app, it changes the launcher icon to a grey color for the rest of the day.

In line with App Timers, the Android Dashboard shows you how long you’ve been using your phone to help you with your “digital well-being.” It keeps track of the apps you often use, how many notifications you get, and how many times you unlock the device during the day.

Android Shush and other silent modes
Android P adds a new “do not disturb” mode in the device known as Shush. Place your phone on a flat surface with the screen down. Only notifications and calls from contacts that you specify will show on-screen.

Another way to activate this feature is to push the power and volume up buttons simultaneously. There is a setting that lets you choose between placing your device in “vibrate” mode or keeping the phone quiet.

Android P also introduces Wind Down, a “do not disturb” mode that turns on a night light in dark areas. Once the device detects that it’s time for bed, Wind Down forces the screen to enter a gray-scale mode while silencing notifications and phone calls.

Battery-saving features

  • Adaptive Brightness learns the apps you use and the level of light in your current location. This makes sure that the screen is not too dim or bright at all times, helping the battery last longer.
  • Adaptive battery uses artificial intelligence to anticipate what apps you may use in the next hour and those you will not. This should save processing power as well as battery power as the CPU of the device will not be used often.
  • App Standby Buckets groups installed apps into which ones you use more and cleverly sets aside battery power for them. This will basically cut down on device resources like the battery and the CPU according to your usage patterns.

If you need more information on how the latest version of Android and its functionalities can fit into your workplace, give us a call today!

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The Best New Features of Android P

Google revealed the preview edition of Android P at this year’s Google I/O event. Since the operating system is still going through tests, there will be functions added and removed as the weeks pass. Read on to learn about the most promising features of this work in progress.

App Actions and Slices
App Actions aim to anticipate the next thing you may do on your smartphone. Actions such as beginning a workout or giving your spouse a call will appear in notification bubbles on top of the screen as suggestions for what activity it thinks you will do next. It uses machine learning techniques to predict your actions according to your usage habits. For example, if you go jogging at 7:30 am each day, your phone will suggest that you use an installed fitness app during that time.

Slices offer a smaller version of an installed app when you do a Google Search, providing you with various app functions without activating the full app. For example, if you type “I want to book a flight” in the search bar, Search will display a basic version of an installed travel app. If you type “Philippines” in the search bar, Google Search will dig through your Google Photos for related images.

These functions will not work if the developers do not implement them on your favorite apps.

App Timers and Android Dashboard
Android P comes equipped with App Timers which help you control how long you use certain apps (especially games and social media) so that it reduces the compulsive need to check the phone often. Once the time limit expires on an app, it changes the launcher icon to a grey color for the rest of the day.

In line with App Timers, the Android Dashboard shows you how long you’ve been using your phone to help you with your “digital well-being.” It keeps track of the apps you often use, how many notifications you get, and how many times you unlock the device during the day.

Android Shush and other silent modes
Android P adds a new “do not disturb” mode in the device known as Shush. Place your phone on a flat surface with the screen down. Only notifications and calls from contacts that you specify will show on-screen.

Another way to activate this feature is to push the power and volume up buttons simultaneously. There is a setting that lets you choose between placing your device in “vibrate” mode or keeping the phone quiet.

Android P also introduces Wind Down, a “do not disturb” mode that turns on a night light in dark areas. Once the device detects that it’s time for bed, Wind Down forces the screen to enter a gray-scale mode while silencing notifications and phone calls.

Battery-saving features

  • Adaptive Brightness learns the apps you use and the level of light in your current location. This makes sure that the screen is not too dim or bright at all times, helping the battery last longer.
  • Adaptive battery uses artificial intelligence to anticipate what apps you may use in the next hour and those you will not. This should save processing power as well as battery power as the CPU of the device will not be used often.
  • App Standby Buckets groups installed apps into which ones you use more and cleverly sets aside battery power for them. This will basically cut down on device resources like the battery and the CPU according to your usage patterns.

If you need more information on how the latest version of Android and its functionalities can fit into your workplace, give us a call today!

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Android P: Top Features You Must Know

The days of Android Oreo being the latest operating system for Google’s mobile platform are numbered, as the search engine giant gave a sneak peek to Android P during the recent Google I/O conference. While it’s just a preview, it gives developers and consumers some hints on what the future holds.

App Actions and Slices
App Actions aim to anticipate the next thing you may do on your smartphone. Actions such as beginning a workout or giving your spouse a call will appear in notification bubbles on top of the screen as suggestions for what activity it thinks you will do next. It uses machine learning techniques to predict your actions according to your usage habits. For example, if you go jogging at 7:30 am each day, your phone will suggest that you use an installed fitness app during that time.

Slices offer a smaller version of an installed app when you do a Google Search, providing you with various app functions without activating the full app. For example, if you type “I want to book a flight” in the search bar, Search will display a basic version of an installed travel app. If you type “Philippines” in the search bar, Google Search will dig through your Google Photos for related images.

These functions will not work if the developers do not implement them on your favorite apps.

App Timers and Android Dashboard
Android P comes equipped with App Timers which help you control how long you use certain apps (especially games and social media) so that it reduces the compulsive need to check the phone often. Once the time limit expires on an app, it changes the launcher icon to a grey color for the rest of the day.

In line with App Timers, the Android Dashboard shows you how long you’ve been using your phone to help you with your “digital well-being.” It keeps track of the apps you often use, how many notifications you get, and how many times you unlock the device during the day.

Android Shush and other silent modes
Android P adds a new “do not disturb” mode in the device known as Shush. Place your phone on a flat surface with the screen down. Only notifications and calls from contacts that you specify will show on-screen.

Another way to activate this feature is to push the power and volume up buttons simultaneously. There is a setting that lets you choose between placing your device in “vibrate” mode or keeping the phone quiet.

Android P also introduces Wind Down, a “do not disturb” mode that turns on a night light in dark areas. Once the device detects that it’s time for bed, Wind Down forces the screen to enter a gray-scale mode while silencing notifications and phone calls.

Battery-saving features

  • Adaptive Brightness learns the apps you use and the level of light in your current location. This makes sure that the screen is not too dim or bright at all times, helping the battery last longer.
  • Adaptive battery uses artificial intelligence to anticipate what apps you may use in the next hour and those you will not. This should save processing power as well as battery power as the CPU of the device will not be used often.
  • App Standby Buckets groups installed apps into which ones you use more and cleverly sets aside battery power for them. This will basically cut down on device resources like the battery and the CPU according to your usage patterns.

If you need more information on how the latest version of Android and its functionalities can fit into your workplace, give us a call today!

Posted in Android, General Articles A, Google | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Virtualization is not the same as the cloud

Virtualization and cloud computing are two technologies that have long been confusing business owners. But that shouldn’t be the case. Understanding the differences between the cloud and virtualization is the fastest way to use these technologies to your greatest advantage.

Virtualization

Imagine a company with five servers, each assigned a single task such as storage, email, etc. If one day there were a spike in email traffic, the email server might become overwhelmed, causing it to slow down. Adding another server would remedy the issue, but it would be expensive and inefficient on days with less traffic.

With virtualization software, you can combine the resources of all five of the servers in our example. So if the email server got bogged down, it could borrow resources from any of the other servers with extra capacity. The process is not as simple as it sounds, and businesses often turn to an experienced IT service provider to set up a virtualized environment.

Because virtualization software can be installed on a server in your office, it is totally independent of cloud technology. Sometimes, people misunderstand the difference because the vast majority of cloud solutions use virtualization to improve their services.

Cloud Computing

With cloud computing, users can edit documents, save files, and interact with apps that aren’t actually on their computer. Instead, they access these items by connecting to a server via a network or internet connection. If your organization can get the information you need when you need it, you already gain a competitive edge.

To carry out its purpose, a cloud platform sometimes uses several virtualized servers to provide users with a simple system that appears to be all their own, even though it’s actually shared with several other users and servers. There’s no need to purchase additional servers, and you can also save valuable office space by not having to deploy bulky equipment in-house.

Obviously, scalability is critical in today’s ever-changing business conditions. What cloud computing does is make it easier to manage business tasks to maximize productivity. What’s more, it helps streamline operations as more cloud services are integrated. Businesses don’t have to worry about infrastructure maintenance because it is covered by the cloud service provider.

Virtualization and cloud computing are both economical technologies that small businesses should take advantage of. If you want to see what they can do for you, give our team of experts a call today!

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The cloud and virtualization, simplified

Cloud computing and virtualization are similar but not interchangeable. Both have their own benefits, so it’s worth learning how each technology works. With this knowledge, you can make the most out of your technology investment.

Virtualization

Imagine a company with five servers, each assigned a single task such as storage, email, etc. If one day there were a spike in email traffic, the email server might become overwhelmed, causing it to slow down. Adding another server would remedy the issue, but it would be expensive and inefficient on days with less traffic.

With virtualization software, you can combine the resources of all five of the servers in our example. So if the email server got bogged down, it could borrow resources from any of the other servers with extra capacity. The process is not as simple as it sounds, and businesses often turn to an experienced IT service provider to set up a virtualized environment.

Because virtualization software can be installed on a server in your office, it is totally independent of cloud technology. Sometimes, people misunderstand the difference because the vast majority of cloud solutions use virtualization to improve their services.

Cloud Computing

With cloud computing, users can edit documents, save files, and interact with apps that aren’t actually on their computer. Instead, they access these items by connecting to a server via a network or internet connection. If your organization can get the information you need when you need it, you already gain a competitive edge.

To carry out its purpose, a cloud platform sometimes uses several virtualized servers to provide users with a simple system that appears to be all their own, even though it’s actually shared with several other users and servers. There’s no need to purchase additional servers, and you can also save valuable office space by not having to deploy bulky equipment in-house.

Obviously, scalability is critical in today’s ever-changing business conditions. What cloud computing does is make it easier to manage business tasks to maximize productivity. What’s more, it helps streamline operations as more cloud services are integrated. Businesses don’t have to worry about infrastructure maintenance because it is covered by the cloud service provider.

Virtualization and cloud computing are both economical technologies that small businesses should take advantage of. If you want to see what they can do for you, give our team of experts a call today!

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The lowdown on virtualization and the cloud

Virtualization and cloud computing are sometimes used interchangeably, and it’s easy to see why people confuse the two. To set the record straight, virtualization is NOT cloud computing. But these two revolutionary technologies often overlap.

Virtualization

Imagine a company with five servers, each assigned a single task such as storage, email, etc. If one day there were a spike in email traffic, the email server might become overwhelmed, causing it to slow down. Adding another server would remedy the issue, but it would be expensive and inefficient on days with less traffic.

With virtualization software, you can combine the resources of all five of the servers in our example. So if the email server got bogged down, it could borrow resources from any of the other servers with extra capacity. The process is not as simple as it sounds, and businesses often turn to an experienced IT service provider to set up a virtualized environment.

Because virtualization software can be installed on a server in your office, it is totally independent of cloud technology. Sometimes, people misunderstand the difference because the vast majority of cloud solutions use virtualization to improve their services.

Cloud Computing

With cloud computing, users can edit documents, save files, and interact with apps that aren’t actually on their computer. Instead, they access these items by connecting to a server via a network or internet connection. If your organization can get the information you need when you need it, you already gain a competitive edge.

To carry out its purpose, a cloud platform sometimes uses several virtualized servers to provide users with a simple system that appears to be all their own, even though it’s actually shared with several other users and servers. There’s no need to purchase additional servers, and you can also save valuable office space by not having to deploy bulky equipment in-house.

Obviously, scalability is critical in today’s ever-changing business conditions. What cloud computing does is make it easier to manage business tasks to maximize productivity. What’s more, it helps streamline operations as more cloud services are integrated. Businesses don’t have to worry about infrastructure maintenance because it is covered by the cloud service provider.

Virtualization and cloud computing are both economical technologies that small businesses should take advantage of. If you want to see what they can do for you, give our team of experts a call today!

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How long should business phone systems last?

The phone remains one of the first points of contact businesses have with their customers. That’s why so many companies are upgrading to affordable and hi-tech “VoIP” systems. Voice over IP solutions are a smart investment given their longevity and more.

Different phone systems
Phones have come a long way, from analog landlines to digital handhelds. Today’s businesses need a phone system that can service their numerous needs, and in most cases, VoIP phones are the answer.

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a system of hardware and software that uses the internet instead of wired circuits to transmit data. VoIP does more than just transmit audio; it can also send a variety of data (video, multimedia, SMS, etc.) and perform other tasks as well.

A VoIP system’s hardware (phone units, cables, CPUs, etc.) and software (one or more applications that run the system) can be either on-premises or hosted.

  • On-Premises — Their hardware and software are physically housed within the premises of the company.
  • Hosted — Some of the hardware, like phone units and other equipment, can be found within the premises. But most, if not all, of the software are hosted online. Service providers look after hosted systems for their clients.

Lifecycles: On-premises vs. hosted
With hardware, it doesn’t matter whether it’s on-premises or hosted. Hardware is affected by the wear-and-tear of daily usage. Barring any accidents or physical damage, VoIP hardware should last as long as analog handsets, usually several years.

It’s another matter with software, which needs constant updating. It’s faster and cheaper to update software that’s hosted in the cloud versus one that’s on-premises. The differences in longevity between the two should be negligible; both can last upwards of 10 years, depending on your IT support.

Technology today vs. before
Cloud technology has fundamentally changed the way IT solutions are produced. In the past, hardware and software were built to last. Today, they’re built to adapt and change.

The effect of this shift on hardware and software is dramatic.

  • Most hardware components are very similar, with replacements and upgrades coming every 5-8 years on average.
  • Cloud software is faster, easier, and costs less to upgrade. Critical updates can be released almost constantly, with complete overhauls taking no longer than 2-3 years.

As your business grows, your phone system should be able to adapt to rapid growth, the need for more speed, and integration with the other systems in your business, like email or management software.

Be a step ahead
Your business cannot afford dropped or missed calls. Imagine what one day of phone downtime would do to your company. The time to replace your phone system is not after it fails. The best time is before that, when you can plan and budget properly.

Nowadays, it’s not longevity that’s important; it’s staying ahead of the curve. Call our experts today so you can always be a step ahead.

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Business phones: How long should they last?

Good communication remains critical to the success of a business. A company should have an efficient and effective business phone system for internal and external communication. And given the rapid developments in technology, it’s important to invest in a phone system that lasts.

Different phone systems
Phones have come a long way, from analog landlines to digital handhelds. Today’s businesses need a phone system that can service their numerous needs, and in most cases, VoIP phones are the answer.

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a system of hardware and software that uses the internet instead of wired circuits to transmit data. VoIP does more than just transmit audio; it can also send a variety of data (video, multimedia, SMS, etc.) and perform other tasks as well.

A VoIP system’s hardware (phone units, cables, CPUs, etc.) and software (one or more applications that run the system) can be either on-premises or hosted.

  • On-Premises — Their hardware and software are physically housed within the premises of the company.
  • Hosted — Some of the hardware, like phone units and other equipment, can be found within the premises. But most, if not all, of the software are hosted online. Service providers look after hosted systems for their clients.

Lifecycles: On-premises vs. hosted
With hardware, it doesn’t matter whether it’s on-premises or hosted. Hardware is affected by the wear-and-tear of daily usage. Barring any accidents or physical damage, VoIP hardware should last as long as analog handsets, usually several years.

It’s another matter with software, which needs constant updating. It’s faster and cheaper to update software that’s hosted in the cloud versus one that’s on-premises. The differences in longevity between the two should be negligible; both can last upwards of 10 years, depending on your IT support.

Technology today vs. before
Cloud technology has fundamentally changed the way IT solutions are produced. In the past, hardware and software were built to last. Today, they’re built to adapt and change.

The effect of this shift on hardware and software is dramatic.

  • Most hardware components are very similar, with replacements and upgrades coming every 5-8 years on average.
  • Cloud software is faster, easier, and costs less to upgrade. Critical updates can be released almost constantly, with complete overhauls taking no longer than 2-3 years.

As your business grows, your phone system should be able to adapt to rapid growth, the need for more speed, and integration with the other systems in your business, like email or management software.

Be a step ahead
Your business cannot afford dropped or missed calls. Imagine what one day of phone downtime would do to your company. The time to replace your phone system is not after it fails. The best time is before that, when you can plan and budget properly.

Nowadays, it’s not longevity that’s important; it’s staying ahead of the curve. Call our experts today so you can always be a step ahead.

Posted in General Articles C, VoIP | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The lifespan of a business phone system

Today’s technology allows customers to engage with brands and companies across a broad range of platforms and mediums. But the telephone still remains an essential communication tool for businesses. It makes sense then to invest in a phone system that lasts, and our advice will help you find just that.

Different phone systems
Phones have come a long way, from analog landlines to digital handhelds. Today’s businesses need a phone system that can service their numerous needs, and in most cases, VoIP phones are the answer.

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a system of hardware and software that uses the internet instead of wired circuits to transmit data. VoIP does more than just transmit audio; it can also send a variety of data (video, multimedia, SMS, etc.) and perform other tasks as well.

A VoIP system’s hardware (phone units, cables, CPUs, etc.) and software (one or more applications that run the system) can be either on-premises or hosted.

  • On-Premises — Their hardware and software are physically housed within the premises of the company.
  • Hosted — Some of the hardware, like phone units and other equipment, can be found within the premises. But most, if not all, of the software are hosted online. Service providers look after hosted systems for their clients.

Lifecycles: On-premises vs. hosted
With hardware, it doesn’t matter whether it’s on-premises or hosted. Hardware is affected by the wear-and-tear of daily usage. Barring any accidents or physical damage, VoIP hardware should last as long as analog handsets, usually several years.

It’s another matter with software, which needs constant updating. It’s faster and cheaper to update software that’s hosted in the cloud versus one that’s on-premises. The differences in longevity between the two should be negligible; both can last upwards of 10 years, depending on your IT support.

Technology today vs. before
Cloud technology has fundamentally changed the way IT solutions are produced. In the past, hardware and software were built to last. Today, they’re built to adapt and change.

The effect of this shift on hardware and software is dramatic.

  • Most hardware components are very similar, with replacements and upgrades coming every 5-8 years on average.
  • Cloud software is faster, easier, and costs less to upgrade. Critical updates can be released almost constantly, with complete overhauls taking no longer than 2-3 years.

As your business grows, your phone system should be able to adapt to rapid growth, the need for more speed, and integration with the other systems in your business, like email or management software.

Be a step ahead
Your business cannot afford dropped or missed calls. Imagine what one day of phone downtime would do to your company. The time to replace your phone system is not after it fails. The best time is before that, when you can plan and budget properly.

Nowadays, it’s not longevity that’s important; it’s staying ahead of the curve. Call our experts today so you can always be a step ahead.

Posted in General Articles B, VoIP | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

5 new features for Outlook

Lately, Microsoft has given some love to Outlook — not just the desktop app, but also the web and app versions. In fact, they just released a bunch of new and improved features. Let’s take a look.

#1 RSVP
Outlook makes it fairly simple to invite people to a meeting, but now it will also keep tabs on who’s coming. Just click the new “Tracking” option under “Meeting Occurrence” and see who has committed to the meeting and who hasn’t. RSVP isn’t just available for the meeting organizer, but the attendees, too.

#2 Multiple time zones
Traveling internationally and trying to sync appointments on different continents? Not fun. But now you can set up event start times and end times across different zones.

Outlook now allows you to show multiple time zones – three within Windows, and one within Outlook for Mac. In Outlook for Windows, add one by clicking File > Options > Calendar Time Zones and clicking “Show a second time zone”. In Mac, add one additional time zone under Outlook > Preferences > Calendar Time Zones. For Outlook on the web, click the “Time Zone” drop-down arrow in your Calendar meeting invite to add an additional time zone.

#3 BCC warning
If you’re on the receiving end of a blind carbon copy (bcc) email, that means the other recipients didn’t know you were copied on it. In Outlook for Windows, you’ll now get an alert if you attempt to reply to that message, such as “You were bcc’d, so perhaps you should reply only to the sender?” That way you’ll remain anonymous.

#4 Office Lens for Android
If you use Outlook for Android, the app will integrate the Microsoft Office Lens feature.
When that happens, you can tap the photo icon while composing a message, then take a snapshot of a whiteboard, document, photo or the like. Outlook will optimize it and then embed it into the email.

#5 Bill-pay reminders
What about your bills? Outlook will identify them in your inbox, show you a summary card at the top of your email each day, send an email to remind you two days before the due date, and automatically add an event to your calendar so you don’t forget to pay on the actual day.

If you want to learn more about these new and improved features, with more on the way, just call us today for a quick chat with one of our Microsoft Office experts.

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