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Archive for the ‘Techno talk’ Category

How are small businesses using the web?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Small business owner with laptopUnderstanding how to leverage the power of the internet is essential to the success of the modern small business. Here are four surprising statistics about how small businesses are using (or not using) the web:

1. A quarter of small businesses still do not have websites

In 2011, less than 50% of SMEs had a website; three years later and that figure is down to 26.6%. Despite the rapid rate of uptake, some SMEs are still being left behind in the digital revolution.

2. YouTube is massive

Only 2% of internet users have never watched a YouTube video. This matters because YouTube (and online video in general) presents an opportunity for SMEs to connect with customers, better explain products and services and to compete with their larger rivals in a forum where customers are already looking for information.

3. Businesses miss “offline” promotional opportunities

Lectures, workshops and presentations are all great ways to demonstrate skills and experience, and to drive visitors to websites. However just 36% of small business owners take the opportunity, meaning two-thirds of small businesses are missing the opportunity to raise their profile and increase website traffic through word of mouth.

4. Social media is confusing

When asked what was the biggest hurdle to using social media effectively, 48% of small business owners claimed it was simply knowing where to start. Other issues included generating an ROI, or knowing which social networks to target. But with so many businesses confused as to how they should begin, these other problems could be directly related.

Letter To Paddington

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Mr Paddington Bear-Brown
32 Windsor Gardens
W9 3RG

Dear Paddington,

Thank you for your letter. As requested, here is some advice regarding using digital media to keep in contact with your relatives overseas.

It makes no difference to me that you have paws instead of hands although you may encounter difficulties operating a keyboard should you decide to fully embrace this technology.

I understand you are concerned that the letters you are writing take too long to reach your Aunt in Peru and the pace at which your life is currently moving is such that you require a quicker method of communication with her.

In the first instance, I would encourage you to use Skype. It is like a telephone but considerably cheaper – and often free – for international calls. Your local library will have more information regarding how this technology works and the equipment required if you wish to carry out research before committing.

I am fairly certain that the family you are living with in Central London will have wifi internet access in their house and computing facilities. Ask them to download and install Skype into the machine. All you would require on top of this would be a headset and microphone and I am sure your friend Mr Gruber that you mentioned would have several models available in his shop, or would be able to acquire them if not.

There may be situations where you do not require a real-time, 1-1 interaction with your Aunt where you actually hear each others’ voices. In this respect, I would suggest you join Facebook and add each other as friends.

I realise your Aunt has some reservations around this and believes it is ‘for the young folk’.

If we look at the data and demographics of Facebook users, this attitude, while understandable, is in fact incorrect. The 65 plus age group is the fastest growing on Facebook. It has a billion users worldwide and many of them are in your Aunt’s age group. You talked at length about your Aunt in your original letter and it is clear she is a very forward thinking and resourceful character and I’m sure she’d be able to figure it out and would enjoy being part of a modern communications platform.

Facebook would allow you to share pictures with each other and send short ‘status updates’ informing each other as to what you are doing. Some of your other friends – such as the Portobello Market traders – may already be on Facebook and you could add them as friends too or follow their business pages.

Please take care though as, without changing your privacy settings, much of what you say on Facebook could be accessed by the general public and I would hate for you to share private information unwittingly. I know how seriously you are about protecting your reputation. You might not want the market traders to discover your Aunt’s pet name for you and your already strained relationship with your neighbour, Mr Curry, might suffer further if he became aware of what you said about him in conversations with your friends.

You obviously enjoy travel and have a thirst for information about the world around you. So my final suggestion is that you consider joining Twitter. Again, this is free, and I must stress, 100% public.

It can be an extremely powerful way to find out what is going on, anywhere in the world. You choose who to follow and who’s updates you want to receive, or you can conduct searches on particular terms, for example, ‘marmalade’ and very quickly estbalish who is offering the best deals and then buy from them.

The company I work with delivers a very highly regarded social media training workshop and it would be great to see you at our next course. 100% of previous attendees said they considered it value for money and would recommend the course to a friend.

Give me a shout if you’d like me to book you a place.

Yours faithfully,


Colin Kelly
Head of Marketing and Training


The impact of 4G on m-commerce

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

4G Symbol4G mobile internet was introduced to the UK mobile market by Everything Everywhere (EE), the amalgamation of Orange and T-Mobile, on 30 October 2012, and is now currently available in a total of 27 town and cities around the country. However, whilst only 45% of the UK population currently has access to 4G, a new infographic from eBay has predicted that it will have a huge impact on m-commerce over the coming months.

According to eBay’s research, an item is bought through a mobile device every single second. 55% more Brits are shopping through mobile devices in 2013 than they were in 2012, and eBay predicts that 4G will increase UK mobile retail by a staggering £1.8 billion over the next twelve months.

4G is helping consumers to utilise m-commerce in a number of different ways. Previously, 49.6% of consumers were frustrated by the reliability of their mobile internet service, and 50.3% were frustrated by its speed. 4G breaks down these barriers and enables a more consistent, efficient shopping experience – but only when the site is prepared for this sort of viewing.

The advancements in 4G technology mean that the blame game has to end: slow mobile internet can no longer be the cause of a shoddy browsing experience, so it is essential that any business intended to sell products or services online has an offering that is designed to cater for this increase in mobile traffic – either by using a standalone app, a website developed specifically for mobile or a responsive web design which can adapt between platforms.

TWITMAS12 – Day 7

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Monitor Hub LogoThea here again folks and another day has drawn to a close. Today’s  Twitmas12 Day 7 was for the business folks out there. We called today’s offerings “Tech Tuesday and had a trio of prizes to award!

1) a year’s uptime website monitoring (worth $50/month!) from MonitorHub (Google+)

Broadband Cloud Solutions Logo2) a Domain and High Usage Web Hosting Package worth £99.00 (ex VAT) from Broadband Cloud Solutions (Google+)

3) Also, for someone locally in the West of Scotland – we’ve decided to throw in a place on our very popular, always-a-sell-out Embrace the Space master class – running in the New Year!

To win all you had to do was follow @broadbandcloud and @monitorhub. Then RT the relevant tweet from @nsdesign as per usual.

Our winner for  Day 7’s The Techie Bundle was @glasgowCARD – congrats to you!

Finally just to reiterate our thanks again to Broadband Cloud Solutions and Monitor Hub.

The fun will kick off again tomorrow form mid day! See ya then!

The iPhone 5 already accounts for 3% of mobile web traffic

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

It’s been less than two months since Apple’s newest mobile offering, the iPhone 5, was released, but new statistics from ad network Chitika have shown that the devices are already contribute up to 3% of all mobile web traffic – beating its nearest competitor, the Samsung Galaxy S3, which accounts for 2% despite its earlier May release.

The research showed that it’s not the just the iPhone that is increasingly dominant – all of Apple’s iOS devices combined account for almost half (46%) of all mobile web traffic, whereas rival Samsung’s line accounts for just 17%, and a culmination of all other smartphone devices make up the remaining 37%.

These stats have a huge relevance for businesses, and not just in terms of the popularity of Apple products. The figures demonstrate the rapid growth of mobile search, and indicate the increasing importance of mobile optimisation for all websites.

An infographic from Microsoft Tag has even gone as far as to predict that, by 2014, mobile internet will actually overtake desktop internet usage – so in order to reach the majority of internet users, companies will need to ensure that their website looks just as good on a smartphone or tablet as it does on a desktop screen.

Are you excited about the iPad Mini?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Tech behemoth Apple appear to have taken another step towards the release of the much-anticipated iPad Mini, a smaller version of their extremely successful iPad tablet. Earlier today, the company sent out digital card invitations reading “We’ve got a little more to show you” – and with a big Apple event planned at the California Theatre in San Jose for October 23rd, the launch of the reduced size tablet seems to be imminent.

Interestingly, the late head of Apple, Steve Jobs, has previously criticised the idea of creating a smaller tablet. “There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touchscreen before users cannot reliably tap, flick, or pinch them,” he commented in October 2010. However, snippets from the rumour mill indicate that Apple have reviewed his declaration, and managed to produce a product that will enable users to perform all the functions of a regular iPad, on a smaller, more affordable version.

The iPad Mini is believed by tech speculators to have a 7.85in screen, half the area of the full size 9.7in version, with a resolution of 1024 x 768 – meaning that app developers wouldn’t have to rewrite their offerings to size correctly on the new screen.  It seems that Apple are doing everything they can to make the transition as smooth as possible for users, but with the astounding popularity of every product they’ve launched over the last few years, if a new iPad is on the cards, it’s bound to be successful regardless.

Will you be picking up an iPad Mini on launch day?

Microsoft Surface

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Man holding a touchpadOn 18th June, software giant Microsoft made a major announcement introducing its new tablet offering – known as Surface. The new device will have a 10.6 inch screen and run on Microsoft’s most recent operating system, Windows 8.

Surface will also come with a ‘Touch Cover’, a combination of a protective cover and a keyboard – a feature which seems designed to provide an edge over Apple’s renowned tablet, the iPad, as many users find extensive typing difficult on this device.

However, critics have suggested that although Surface has impressive features, it is unlikely to make the same impact as the iPad. This is an opinion which stems from Surface’s inferior display and likely high price – even though Microsoft has hinted at a ‘competitive’ price, no figures have been released, sparking suspicion that the price will not be competitive enough to detract attention from Apple’s offering, or alternative options like a notebook or cheaper Android tablet.

Ezra Gottheil, of Technology Business Research, asserted, “[The Surface] will have some legs in the enterprise – it will be a lot easier of a sell there with compatibility through Office, it’s probably more manageable, and it comes from a vendor that IT is more comfortable with. But it won’t be a major impact on the iPad … If the Surface is going head-to-head with the iPad, why not just buy an iPad?”

Only time will tell how consumers respond to Microsoft’s invention, but with the public increasingly turning to mobile devices for web browsing, any technology companies hoping to maintain a positive reputation in the market will need to focus on offering a range of products with a competitive edge.


Google’s Chromebook and Chromebox

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Google Search On Apple iPad2Google’s Chrome operating system is not a new concept – computers with this function were officially released last year, to mixed reviews about their all-in-one web browser approach, and sales were not especially encouraging. However, Google have now revamped their approach to Chrome, and launched two new machines in association with Samsung – the laptop-style ‘Chromebook’, and a desktop style ‘Chromebox’.

Google and Samsung’s relationship is already cemented by their collaboration on the mobile Android system, so the partnership for the release of these machines comes as no surprise. However, the offering itself is unusual, offering an entirely new incarnation of the PC experience.

The development of the new machines stemmed from the concept that increasing numbers of computers are reliant on the internet for the majority of their functions. Google says that the new machines are up to three times faster than the first generation – this, coupled with their automatic software updates and compatibility with Android-style apps and Microsoft Office, means that the Chromebook and Chromebox may fit comfortably into the niche between tablet and desktop PC. However, the lack of competitive email management software and the necessity to have a web connection for tasks as basic as editing a document will put off some prospective buyers.

Google’s senior vice president of engineering, Linus Upson, admits: “We need to keep improving what you can do offline”, so it seems that improvements may be on the way to turn the Chromebook and Chromebook into fully functional, competitive machines. A spokesman for Google said, “There’s a lot more on the way, so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the benefits of the (always) new computer.”

IE10 will support Flash video content

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Video contentRecently, the web design industry was alight with news of the newest incarnation of HTML, HTML 5, and its capacity to host video content without the need for third party programmes such as Adobe Flash or Quicktime.

It is therefore surprising to learn that IE10, the latest version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser, will support Flash, in spite of its push to HTML5.

Screengrabs of the upcoming browser indicate that there will be two versions of IE10 – one desktop based, and one Metro-style format. Although there will be a version of Flash integrated into the latter, not all websites using Flash will be supported.

However, there will be a ‘whitelist’ of popular sites which the browser will support, including Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook and Netflix, but any sites not on the list will require the user to switch to the desktop version of the browser.

To aid the transition, Adobe has opened up its code to high profile companies such as Google and Microsoft so that they can make amendments to make IE10 compatible with their software.
Although they are supporting the new HTML 5 coding, Microsoft will not have fully integrated in time for their Windows 8 release – which may explain the need for two versions of IE10 which support two types of video technology.

Optimising web pages for tablet technology

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

A recent study by Adobe has revealed that tablet traffic has grown 10 times faster than smartphone traffic, highlighting the two as distinct mediums with different benefits and ever changing levels of popularity.

The information came from Adobe’s Digital Index report, which emphasised the switch in consumer preference from smartphones to tablets.  The data showed that the share of website visits from tablets grew more than 300% over the last twelve months, and it is expected to continue to increase.

It is estimated that the percentage of traffic coming from tablets will exceed that of smartphones by early 2013, and will account for 10% of total website traffic by 2014.

Findings from the initial Adobe Digital Index report, conducted in 2011, showed that tablet users spent more per purchase than any other online customers. This data demonstrates the growing importance of tablets as a channel of engagement, through which businesses can connect with their consumers.

It is becoming increasingly important for companies to optimise their web pages for tablet technology, to ensure that their site is accessible to the increasingly high proportion of the target market using them.

As Brad Rencher, senior vice president and general manager of Digital Marketing Business at Adobe, commented, “As businesses rethink their digital experiences to include mobile strategies, tablets are emerging as the consumer device of choice”.