The era of 5G is upon us. Let’s look at what that means.
There have been four generations of technology standards for broadband cellular networks. But the fifth will be a gamechanger for small businesses. 5G’s more reliable, lower latency service offers several benefits to smaller firms including: enhanced customer experience (CX), higher productivity and easier recruitment. Let’s explore each in greater detail.
What Exactly is 5G?
You’ve likely heard of 5G before, as many cell phone providers began offering it back in 2019. While still in its beginning stages, the technology is growing quickly. Recent estimates predict that 5G networks will carry 1.7 billion subscribers by 2025.[i]
5G stands for the fifth generation of wireless technology. It offers more bandwidth and greater download speeds than its predecessors. 5G can also connect with many different devices simultaneously, resulting in faster, more efficient, and more unified digital experiences for both customers and businesses.
Better Customer Experience
5G will allow small businesses to offer better digital experiences. Media downloads are significantly faster in 5G than 4G, meaning customers can stream video or download documents without lag time. 5G will also make immersive presentations and augmented reality increasingly commonplace, which will allow products or services to be showcased in a more dynamic way.
Higher Productivity and More Efficient Collaboration
Small businesses can use 5G to achieve productivity gains. The technology supports more connected devices, which certainly can impact worker output. Siloed workers become more connected. Duplicate efforts are streamlined. And manual processes are automated, leaving more time for creativity and strategic planning.
Enhanced Mobility and Easier Recruitment
Over the past two years, work has changed dramatically. The remote work stigma has crumbled, and it’s now normal for companies to have an entirely remote team. Naturally, this has had a major impact on hiring. Recent data shows that the Great Resignation is alive and well, with half of all workers currently looking for new jobs.[ii] Many employers have wisely seen the writing on the wall. They are beginning to recruit beyond their immediate region to get ahead of the competition. The rise of 5G will accelerate this trend. More businesses will find it feasible to support remote work and will expand their talent pools accordingly.
Embrace the 5G Future
Sir Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is akin to magic.” He certainly could have been talking about 5G. With its ability to improve CX, productivity and recruitment, the technology can deliver great things for the economy – nowhere more so than with small businesses that are savvy enough to realize its full potential.
Cloud computing can increase your firm’s scalability, flexibility and productivity.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard quite a bit about the cloud over the past decade and a half. Anyone with a smartphone has at least a basic understanding of this type of computing. Yet the cloud is far more than a convenient place to hold photos, videos, documents or other data for individual use. Cloud computing has, in fact, become an integral component of how today’s businesses operate. It offers firms unprecedented ability to scale their operations, off-load cumbersome maintenance, improve productivity and even cut costs. Let’s look deeper at the advantages it offers to small and large businesses alike.
Expanded Flexibility The most obvious advantage of cloud computing is expanded flexibility, which can mean a couple of things. First, our economy is experiencing tremendous upheaval, with the Great Resignation and the ongoing push for hybrid work shaking old paradigms to their core. Cloud computing represents an incredible opportunity for businesses to free their workers from being tethered exclusively to on-site technologies, giving them access to the tools, documents and systems they need from anywhere at any time.
The second way cloud computing improves flexibility is by supporting customization. It’s highly likely that your business’s IT needs will grow and change over time. By migrating systems to the cloud, adding new seats, deploying new functionality and carrying out updates becomes much easier.
Cut Costs Businesses must always be mindful of their costs, which is another advantage cloud computing brings to the table. The cloud can reduce IT spending in several ways. First, when you migrate to the cloud, you can say goodbye to dealing with expensive hardware, which the cloud vendor owns and manages off-site. Lower maintenance comes along with cloud adoption as well, with responsibilities also transferred to the vendor and allowing you to reduce your internal IT budget. Don’t discount productivity gains either. With cloud computing, companies can easily update their systems. Staff then will have more time to focus on creative work.
Increase Recruitment Closely connected to the issue of worker flexibility are recruitment and retention. Cloud computing is a key enabler of the hybrid worker revolution, as it supports communications and collaboration solutions like UCaaS, CPaaS, CCaaS, DaaS and more. With the demand for hybrid or fully remote work on the rise, having the infrastructure to support these workers is a fantastic advantage when trying to attract the best talent.
Be Mindful of Security If you choose to adopt cloud computing for your agency, always remember to inquire about the vendor’s security and data protections. In a heavily regulated industry that deals every day with sensitive information, agencies must be mindful of the security of their technology systems. The good news is most cloud computing vendors will offer products and services that already feature robust safeguards like DDoS protection, data integrity and 24/7 support. However, there is a great deal of variation between providers, and it is always a good idea to inquire directly about your security needs to ensure you have adequate protections in place.
Final Thoughts Each year that goes by seems to validate the increasing adoption of cloud computing. With cloud computing often leading to additional flexibility, higher productivity and cost savings to boot, it’s no wonder more businesses are seeing it as a powerful method to gain new efficiencies and spur exciting growth.
Do you want to learn more about cloud computing and how it can help your business? Check out this great article. And if you’d like to discover top companies that provide cloud services, this piece details some of the top companies in the field.
We’re buried under data – both tangible and digital. Do you have a plan for disposing of it securely?
By Bryan Johnson, IT Director, Alliant National Title Insurance Company
We live in a world of data. The internet runs on it. Companies and governments collect it. Each person carries around a tiny data collection device in their pocket in the form of a smartphone, which catalogs our spending, socializing and travel habits.
Unsurprisingly, personal data is an important part of real estate transactions, and the business can involve the exchange of names, employment information, contact numbers, email addresses and, of course, financial information. Considering that trust is critical to any given transaction, real estate professionals should make all possible efforts to safeguard this personal information and properly secure or dispose of it as appropriate once a transaction is completed. Trash can on a laptop. 3d illustration stock photo
Formalize Your Policy
When thinking about customer data and how it should be handled, start from the beginning. Set up a formalized policy that will be the standard across your agency. Having a clear, step-by-step process will make it easier to reduce mistakes when handling data. It will also streamline your ability to bring people up to speed on your processes and procedures – ultimately saving time and money.
Local vs. Network Drives vs. Cloud Storage Services
Once you start actually disposing of your customers’ files, keep in mind that data can live in multiple locations. You may have files on your local work computer that also live on your company’s network or on a cloud storage service. To ensure a given file is gone for good, you need to erase it in all locations. Many network and cloud storage solutions will also still retain copies of deleted files in what is commonly called a recycle bin. If you intend to permanently delete your files, you will need to make sure they are purged from the recycle bin as well.
There is a lot of information stored on hard drives. Once you no longer need a particular drive, it is always a good idea to enlist the services of a professional data destruction company. Most major cities will have several companies from which to choose. These businesses can either physically shred your hard drives or even degauss them, which involves an incredibly powerful magnetic field that completely erases all data.
A Not So Paperless World
Although personal computing has been commonplace for more than 25 years, we live in a world where paper still flows and customer information still exists in a tangible form. Be sure to treat your clients’ physical information with the same care as you do their digital. To dispose of paper data, deploy a good shredder. After that, it is ideal to use the services of a professional recycler or data destruction provider.
Increased access to data is one of the great double-edged swords of the information age. While it has made conducting business easier, faster and more convenient, it has also left individuals and companies vulnerable to data breaches and fraud. By leveraging data effectively and safely, you will be able to conduct your real estate transactions with greater speed and dexterity. Just be sure you don’t mistakenly end up putting private information at risk!
The more we use mobile technology, the more passwords we accrue. It’s not unusual for an individual to have more than 20 different sites — bank, social media, Netflix, home security — that she routinely enters. Add to this borage of passwords the lack of cohesiveness between websites. One password might require lower and upper case and numbers and punctuation, and another asks for your childhood street address.
How does one simplify the technology puzzle and avoid getting overwhelmed by too many passwords? Here are five steps to follow to keep the letters, numbers and punctuation that make up your internet profile easier to recall and more secure.
Step 1: Use passphrases instead of passwords
Many experts suggest length is key to preventing a hack. The longer the password, the better, even upwards of 20 characters. Use a phrase that is easy to remember such as a favorite cheer for a sports team or something that is second nature in response to you. Some examples might be I-need-my-coffee-at-8AM! or GoBadgerBasketball1984.
Step 2: Use a password manager
How many of you have snapped a photo of your passwords or a photo of a driver’s license to remember information. What happens when your cell phone is gone? Can you access this information? There are hundreds of password managers that can be utilized both via desktop or laptop and smart phone. Although the inputting passwords up front might take time, it’s the sense of organization that is the reward. It’s best not to use the same password for every site. It’s also nearly impossible to remember a different password for each site.
A password manager allows you to use one code to access all of your other codes. This helps secure credential storage as well. The manager can assist in synchronization across multiple devices.
Step 3: Use Two-Step Verification
This is also known as two-factor or multi-factor authentication. This means that a password and a secondary smartphone code are required for access. This might be something such as a finger print, face identification or other tech-savvy options. These are much more secure and nearly un-hackable. Individuals should enable this security whenever possible, especially for financial, email, and other secure and/or private accounts. This can also be enabled with a password manager.
Step 4: Do Your Research
Stay up-to-speed on current online hacks and breeches of data that have occurred. A good resource is https://haveibeenpwned.com to see if any of your online accounts have been compromised. This could be a healthy routine to visit the site once a month to check in on all online accounts and data that you want kept private.
Another easy safety device is to set up alerts on your phone or through Google, Yahoo, etc., that alert you to current scams or if any of your information has been violated. There are thousands of security breaches daily, and don’t panic if you are contacted; it does not mean your information has been compromised. Do your due diligence and determine if you need to go to your password manager to update information.
This information might seem overwhelming; however, being knowledgeable and proactive about passwords and data is crucial to a healthy cyber profile. Technology is constantly advancing. Use these nuances to your advantage. Streamline passwords and stay tech-intelligent.
Alexa! Hi, Siri! Hey, Google! “Can you tell me what the temperature isgoing
to be today?”
no question that voice search, which allows users to speak directly into a
device in lieu of typing text into a search field to generate results, is
with the increasing popularity of voice search (also known as digital
assistants), businesses would be wise to add it to their digital arsenal.
improves the user experience of search engines—it’s faster and easier—and
provides more accurate results. Bottom line: if your website content is
effectively optimized, especially for mobile users, your business could be the
first one that Google recommends.
big deal when you’re considering the ways that voice search affects SEO.
“Voice search trends are already making it
clear that effective, customized SEO plays a vital role in getting your content
featured. Optimizing your site and content for voice search is step one in the
transformation to voice marketing. Consider all things audio and how they
translate when broadcast on an audio
channel,” writes Merilyn Pereira, a staff writer for martechadvisor.com.
persuasive: Google claims that by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be
conducted using voice search. And even if you’re not a tech titan, it’s not
difficult to optimize your website content with voice search technology.
however, a few tips that make the optimization process easier, including
creating content that keeps the conversation flowing, researching keywords that
often appear in mobile searches and foregoing superfluous lingo and buzzwords.
“The expression “keep it simple” applies now more than ever
before. From talk to text, voice prompt calling and more, we’re doing less
typing and more talking.
Companies can optimize both content and
connection by keeping things simple. Skip the jargon. Use clear, succinct
verbiage to improve your efficacy and amplify your message,” suggests the Forbes
Communications Council, which outlines 14 other top
tips to optimize your content for voice search.