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Sometimes you need to get the team together for a chat without the cost and time of travel.

That’s what an audio conference bridge lets you do.

You know this, but you want one that is:

–          Easy and reliable to use

–          Good voice quality

–          No monthly charge

 

Watch this short video to learn more or call 01273 900 900

You thought credit card fraud was a big issue?

Well Telephone fraud is growing much faster and is now estimated to be costing businesses more than $5B per year and it’s getting worse.

So what is it?  Telephone systems are hacked into and used to make calls to international premium rate numbers. This is done out of normal office hours, typically at the weekend, when it won’t be noticed until you are greeted with a massive call bill on Monday morning. See: BBC Radio 4 programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p017fb0c.

All telephone system are at risk, but some are more vulnerable than others. EOS Communications has introduced a very high level of security into our VoIP System, but we have to be realistic – after all, determined hackers have got into top security Government sites in the past. So we have also developed a sophisticated credit locking system – if call costs exceed 70% of pre-settable limit, a warning is issued and at 100% the phone/s lock up.

This  “belt and braces” approach means that even in the unlikely event of a hacker getting into a company’s telephone system, the cost impact is greatly limited.

This entertaining video says it all: WATCH

If you would like to learn more, please call EOS on 01273 900 900

The planet is warming up.

We don’t all agree on the causes, but there is little dispute about the impact of climate change. It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of these changes, but small changes in behaviour add up when millions act in a common direction.

One example is reducing unnecessary journeys to work.

If you’ve involved with controlling expenses or increasing effectiveness or motivating staff, then read on…

EOS Communications is helping Businesses reduce their travel by using cloud-based technology.

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This benefits the business by:

  • Increasing effectiveness of staff
  • Reducing stress
  • Saving expenses

 

And it’s good for the planet!

As part of a “Green Incentive Package” EOS is offering Businesses a free review of their situation and a report on the options that are available to become “more green”.

You may be surprised by what you can do with VoIP Telephones and Cloud Computing!

If you are interested, just click on our Contact page and request your Free Review and Report

Or call us on 01273 900 900

 

We are pleased to announce that Adam Simmons, sprint canoeist for GB Canoeing and EOS Sponsored Athlete was recently able to win both events he entered at the 2014 National Championships.10688285_10153171556571982_5810901555903309175_o

Adam was competing at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham for the National Championships, where he competed in both the Kayak 200m sprint and Va’a 200m sprint event. The Va’a races were always a confident event for Adam, as he had been selected earlier in the year to represent Paralympics GB at the European and World Championships in the event (where he came 4th in both). The Kayak event, which is Adam’s main event, was more of a surprise win as it was the first time he was able to beat his far more experienced team mate since first joining GB Canoeing last year! It was a close win as well, as there were two races to decide the overall champion. Adam came 2nd in the first race but was able to win the next race with the best time of the day, thus getting the National Champion Title!

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Adam was able to make a trip down to our head office in Hove to catch up with our staff after the event and had the following to say about his first year with GB Canoeing:

“It has been a great experience and a lot of hard work! After being selected for the squad last year my goal was always clearly set on being competitive for the Rio Paralympics. Never did I expect that within my first year I would have competed for my country in both the European and World Championships – let alone getting a 4th place finish in both!

 

The National Championship double win was an amazing end to the season, being the first time I have been best in the country for my main event, the Kayak 200m, was a great milestone on my road to Rio!

 

None of this would be have been possible though without the amazing support of all my coaches, support staff, UK Sport & National Lottery Funding, as well as the support from EOS and all my friends and family!”

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The National Championships mark the end of the race season for Sprint Canoeing, therefore Adam has a good winter of training to prepare for the 2015 season where he aims to compete in the World Championships for Kayak. The 2015 World Championships mark an important milestone for both Adam and Para-Canoe, as it is the selection year for the 2016 Rio Paralympics – the first Paralympic Games to hold Canoe competition!

Adam Simmons – 200m Va’a A Men at Moscow 2014

 

EOS are proud to be able to share that our staff member Adam Simmons recently returned from the Moscow 2014 Sprint Canoe World Championships! We have been sponsoring Adam since he joined Paralympics GB as part of GB Canoeing last year!

Adam had just a few weeks to rest / train between the European Championships where he came 4th and heading off to Moscow for the World Championships. The training clearly worked well, as Adam was able to better his personal best from the Euro’s at the Worlds and maintain his 4th place finish.

Just a few tenths of a second off of a medal, Adam had this to say on the result:

The Europeans were my first international event with GB Canoeing, I was quite nervous but it was a great experience that really allowed me to go into the Moscow 2014 World Championships prepared. I had a better understanding of international competition and was prepared for all that went on! Maintaining the 4th place finish and improving on my personal best was better than I could have hoped for – especially when I have been training for under a year and only a few weeks in the Va’a.

After racing, Adam also got the chance to head into Moscow for a bit of sight seeing – below is a picture of him at Red Square:

 

At EOS, we are glad we can support Adam as he continues on in the race season. On the 5th Sept, at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham Adam will compete in the National Championships in both his main event, 200m Kayak and also the 200m Va’a. We with him luck and will be sure to keep you updated via the blog!

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As some of you may know, in December 2013 EOS Communications started a sponsorship of Adam Simmons. As one of our staff, Adam had the opportunity to join the Paralympics GB Sprint Kayaking team in Sept (more details here:http://www.eoscommunications.com/eos-communications-sponsor-teamgb-athlete/ )

In under 9 months, Adam has gone from being scouted as a potential athlete to a full member of the squad. Last week, Adam went to the Sprint Canoe European Championships in Brandenberg. This was his first international event with the Paralympic Team. While his main event is the 200m Kayak Sprint, for this event Adam competed in the Va’a 200m sprint. For those that don’t know, a Va’a is paddled on a single side with an out rigger.

Switching to the Va’a just 3 weeks before the European Championships was a steep learning curve for Adam, but we are delighted to say he achieved 4th place in the finals. While he just missed out on a medal, for his first international event and within such a short time of starting this is an amazing first step on the international scene for Adam!

There is little rest on the international circuit for Adam as next month (6-10th Aug) he is off with GB Canoeing to the World Championships in Moscow! We wish Adam all the best of luck there and will be sure to do another blog post upon his return.

 

 

Conferencing Solutions for Business

In the first of a series of articles, we look at pros and cons of video calls.

 

Video call or conferencing – what’s the difference?

  1. Video call: normally a two-party call.
  2. Video conference: involves three or more parties, who connect to each other via some form of conferencing bridge.

 

How does it work?

Early forms of video calls involved ordinary telephone lines but the first good quality video calls came in the 1990s and typically involved the use of expensive ISDN digital channels terminating in “video conferencing rooms” at each end. Strictly speaking these were not conference calls, but two party calls, often with several participants at each end. These set ups were usually the preserve of corporate companies with big budgets.

As broadband services became more ubiquitous and faster, it became possible to use a cheap webcam with a PC or MAC displayed on a monitor. This made it available to a much wider audience, but often at the expense of quality.

 

What is it good for?

Video calling can transform the way you do business. If used effectively, it can save hours of travelling time and is inherently “green”. However, it can  also be a distraction that gets in the way of real communication.

 

What are the problems with it?

There are a number of challenges that often get in the way of an effective video call:

1. Broadband speed and reliability

Most of us are only aware of the headline (downstream) speed. However, the upstream speed is equally important in a two-way video call.

2. Equipment quality

However good the video camera and microphone is at your end, you also depend on the equipment at the other end.

3. Lighting

In a formal video conferencing room or a studio, the lighting is generally under good control. With DIY video calls one or both parties may have poor lighting and combined with a cheap webcam, this can result in a poor experience.

4. User movement

Because participants may be in unstructured environments, perhaps with a webcam on a laptop or tablet computer, it is more likely that users will move around in an unpredictable way. Even if the upstream bandwidth can cope with this, the effect at the other end is distracting if not annoying.

What is the solution?

There are numerous web sites promoting video calling. The general rule is that you don’t get something for nothing. To have a professional solution requires at least a modest investment in decent video equipment, good quality broadband and establishing a reasonably controlled environment with good lighting. This can be achieved using a separate video camera or a built-in camera  (e.g. Yealink vp550 http://www.voicestart.co.uk/eos/Conferencing/Eos%20Yealink%20VP530.pdf)

The final requirement is user discipline; you don’t see a BBC presenter shifting around unpredictably during the news for good reason!

But do businesses need it anyway?

On a personal level, the value of seeing distant family on a Skype or Facetime call is undeniable, but for a business the value depends on what you are trying to achieve. Once the novelty of seeing a face at the other end fades, the benefit drops rapidly.

A video image cannot  compete with the nuances of face to face communication, due to inherent delays and (often) poor resolution. For example, if you are negotiating a deal, there is value in seeing the eyes and that requires a higher level of resolution and immediacy than is normally available.

In some cases, it may be useful to see a physical object (e.g. a design discussion) but mostly in a business conversation it is more relevant to see a screen image from the other party’s computer (e.g. to view a spreadsheet, powerpoint etc.)

Is there a pragmatic solution?

Effective and productive business communication can be achieved by combining an online viewer (e.g. http://www.teamviewer.com/en/index.aspx)  with a professional audio conferencing solution.

The Hermes VoIP Telephone System (http://www.eoscommunications.com/#WhatWeOffer) allows multiple remote parties to be conferenced in directly from a phone.

Alternatively, the “Meetme” Conferencing Bridge solution http://www.voicestart.co.uk/eos/Conferencing.php  lets you invite participants via MS Outlook with simple instructions to join the conference and viewer session. Any information on the PC or MAC can be seen by all and discussed on the audio conference.

Finally, if the material is being worked on jointly by participants, is to use a cloud-based drive such as MS Sharepoint or GoogleDrive (see: http://www.eoscommunications.com/cloud-computing/

 

For most businesses, this is a cheaper and more pragmatic approach than investing in heavyweight video conferencing solutions.

Make sure to follow this blog, as future articles will cover other common telecoms services!

Stay up to date with EOS Communications on:

www.facebook.com/EOSComs

www.twitter.com/EOSComs

 

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Ever Thought of Taking Time Out from Work? I gave it a try and this is my story.

What made you go?

I love animals and I really needed a break from the daily grind!

 

Where and What?

I had decided to go to Thailand and found a couple of tour operators offering elephant trekking which sounded great. However after doing research I learned that all elephants used for the tourist industry are subjected to horrendous torture methods of training which I had no idea about. So, I chose Elephant Nature Park which is a safe haven for elephants which have been rescued from terrible conditions and now live freely in herds.

 

Where?

Chiang Mai – Northern Thailand

http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/

 

How long?

2 weeks

 

What did I do?

Duties included feeding and bathing the elephants, washing and chopping fruit, cutting bamboo leaves and grass, unloading food trucks, poo picking, making pillars and posts from pebbles and stones.

 

What was good?

Seeing the elephants free and living naturally was amazing, it is by far the most pleasurable way to enjoy them rather than seeing them being forced to work with metal hooks which are commonly used or doing humiliating circus tricks.

 

What was bad?

Cutting grass with a machete was fun but hard work!! A truck load every day is needed to feed 33 elephants, the workers that do this daily are extremely fit and healthy.

 

Scary moments?

Spiders in the bananas in the kitchen – big ones!

 

What did I learn?

Seeing at first hand what Sangduen Chailert (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_Nature_Park) has done achieved made me realise that one individual can make a huge difference, never underestimate the power to make things come true that are important to you. Gandhi said: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”.

 

Founder : Sangduen “Lek” Chailert

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Would I do it again?

Yes, I plan to go back there early next year.

 

Was it expensive?

No – £250 per week pays for as much food as you can eat and your accommodation, plus the added benefit of knowing that the money is used to help care and feed for the elephants.

 

How will it benefit my everyday work?

Seeing such compassion and kindness between the elephants and volunteers gave me a real sense of our connection with the natural world that is so easy to lose in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I hope to carry this with me now I am back in the office!

 

More Stories in my next Elephant Blog! Make sure to keep an eye on EOS Communications Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

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*This blog was written by Adam Simmons, member of GB Canoeing Paralympic program who is currently sponsored by EOS Communications*

Since my last blog, I have battled the bitter cold, a flooded lake (will explain!) and had most of the winter weather to contend with. That is the joy of off season training though, the reward is what comes next.
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Above is a picture of the lake where I train – plus a bit more water. You should just be able to make out the road that runs around the side of the lake as well as one of the jetties where we get on and off. Unfortunately, when the lake is this flooded we cannot use it. While this might sound a bit crazy at first – the reason is we cannot get onto the lake to train (the water at the edge is too shallow for the boats). As a result, we have to do our sessions on Kayak Machines – not as fun! Luckily, all winter we have only had about 10 days of training where we haven’t been able to get on the lake!

Below is a picture from earlier this week, when the weather was looking a bit more appealing!

 

The cold can also be a bit of a pain when training. On the one hand, we need to be warm for peak performance – but if we are wearing too many layers it hinders movement as well as can cause us to overheat during efforts! To try and get the best of both worlds, the GB program has recently got us some heated gilets. They have heating strips through them but are still thin meaning they don’t obstruct movement when training. As they keep a constant heat, during rest periods they keep us warm but during efforts they still dissipate excess heat!

Plan for 2014!

As I mentioned at the start, winter (off season) training has one aim – to get us the best foundation ready to go into the summer and racing season. Our race season starts on the 22nd March when everyone on the team will do a time trial to set our baseline times. Yesterday, I completed my first practice for that and am really happy with how it went – especially when the weather conditions weren’t as good as they could have been!

After the time trials, the whole GB squad will be entered into a race on a monthly basis to get used to race situations and also to keep track of how we are doing compared to other people in the squad. While these races don’t have medals on the line, they do hold the key to qualification to the World and European Championships in the summer. For each event and classification, the fastest person on the GB team in the races leading up to the Championships in July and August will be selected to represent the team.

This year, the World Championships are at the start of August and will be hosted in Moscow!

While this may seem a fair way off, my aim over the months leading up to the World Championships will be to maintain and improve upon consistent times in the races to make sure I secure my place at the event!

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As always, I am extremely grateful to EOS Communications for their continued support – without their sponsorship I would not be able to solely focus on my training!

 

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*Note: The advice given here is for an average office using computers for Office applications and not always applicable for speciality work like video editing etc which may have even more gains!*

 

Part 1 – Hardware –

http://www.eoscommunications.com/blog/increasing-computer-efficiency-in-the-office-part-1

 

Part 2 – Efficient Usage!

 

After following the advice in step one, you have got a speedy, efficient and cost effective computer set up in your office. In this part, we are going to look at how to keep it that way and how to enhance your usage of your computers! While this is mainly through maximising the software you are using, there are also some good housekeeping tips!

 

1) Use protection – Antivirus is a must!

There are hundreds of reasons why virus, adware and other malicious programs can ruin your computer and even your business. At the very least, they will be annoying and disruptive – maybe covering every website you view with strange adverts. On the worse end they can steal your companies data, passwords or even spam your clients!

Now while there are some really good free solutions, do explore spending a bit of money to get a more efficient and frequently updated program. A great suite of antivirus is ESET

( http://www.eset.co.uk/Business ). It covers you for pretty much everything and also uses very little computer power so you won’t slow down your whole machine

 

2) Learn Shortcuts and Hotkeys

This may be obvious to some, but there are many very efficient ways to do basic tasks in most software suites (and systems as a whole). Common hotkeys such as Ctrl + C (to copy the selection) may be basic to some reading, but I am sure there are a lot who will still select text, right click it, then click on “copy”. It still works, but it is considerably slower than using hotkeys.

If you use Windows, Microsoft have a good list of basic keyboard shortcuts than can really help save you time and increase your efficiency: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/keyboard-shortcuts#keyboard-shortcuts=windows-7

3) Improve your typing skills

Most people will spend a large portion of their day now typing emails or documents. If you find yourself using just your two index fingers while looking at the keyboard, you would certainly benefit from spending some time improving your typing!

A quick little typing test you can take is here: http://10fastfingers.com/typing-test/english . A rough average typing speed is 42 words per min (based on 14 million tests). If you are below that, may be set aside from time to improve your typing speed so you can free up time to get more productive things done!

 

4) Only Install Essential Programs!

Any program you install on your computer will take up space on your storage device (HHD / SSD) and also slow down the operating system as a whole over time. Try to only install things that you definitely need and will use. Do you need to have 4 different web browsers, 6 music players and 3 email clients? Probably not. Just in the same way you wouldn’t let your office files get messy and filled up with junk, don’t let your computer.

Another word of warning is on “free” software. A good rule of thumb with computers is that if you aren’t paying for it, you aren’t the customer. Take Google for example, it is free to search because they make their money from advertising revenue. Fine in that situation, but some software will often suggest you install a “partners” software at the same time. These could be toolbars on your internet browser (which will slow down that program) or even full on software applications. While not always a case, lots of these “partner” software packages come riddled with viruses / adware that you really don’t want, so make sure you have antivirus!!

 

5) Run System Management Tools / Back ups

Things like frequently de fragmenting your hard drive (DO NOT EVER DE FRAGMENT A SOLID STATE DRIVE) can really speed up your files and programs loading and running. I am sure many have had the horrible experience of a defrag taking hours if not days, this won’t be the case if you do it somewhat regularly, about once a month. As well as defrag, you can also run tasks like scan disk and other operating system based management tools.

In addition to running the tools, also use some common sense with spring cleaning. If you have lots of files that you will never use again, then delete them. Same with programs. However, don’t be too hasty to delete things that may be useful again in the future – always back up things you may need in the future. The cheapest way to do this is to buy an external hard drive or to use cloud storage. Back ups should be done on every computer on a regular basis to avoid disaster if there is a problem down the line!

 

6) Look at cloud based software and storage

This blog was written on a cloud based office suite. It allows multiple people on our team to contribute, proof and edit all at the same time on the same “save”. As a result, there aren’t hundreds of emails pinging back and forth but just one file we all work from (even at the same time). Microsoft 365 offers a lot of features that can massively help work flow between a team, especially if they are not all located at a central office (such as home workers etc).

Part 3…. coming soon!

In part 3, I will be looking at how to get different peripherals that allow you to get the most our of your time on the office computer!