What is the “Internet of Things” or IoT?

You arrive at your home or business and the door unlocks because it knows who you are. The lights switch on automatically and your favorite music begins to stream gently through the room. It’s already the perfect temperature, and as you head to your fridge, you notice an alert on the screen reminding you of a meeting.

It may sound like a scene from a movie but it is actually reality today thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). Almost anything that can be turned on or off is now able to be connected to the internet. An new industry has been created to help users create a custom experience designed around their unique needs. Electronic locks, lights, healthcare wearables and household appliances are just the beginning. IoT goes beyond devices you can use to surf the web – it’s a global revolution.

Adapters can transform even the most random appliance into a connected gadget and  add new layers of functionality. Cloud software is creating connections, resulting in not just a new experience, but a new way of interacting with the data produced. It may all seem futuristic, but IoT is less about technology and more about enhancing relationships between people to people, people to things and things to things.

Millions of people are already wearing a Fitbit to track steps and calories and others are letting their fridge order groceries! The practical applications are almost endless and include:

  • GPS trackers on pets.
  • home security via webcam.
  • patient monitoring of blood pressure/heart rate.
  • weather monitoring.
  • remote power points.

No more worrying all day if you left the iron on, just push a button on your phone and know for sure it’s turned off.

Of course, with all this comes security risks. The idea of having your toaster hacked is a bit mind-boggling but any technology connected to the internet is open to exploitation. The webcam that allows you to monitor your pets may also allow other people to glimpse inside your home – but only if it’s not secured properly. Unfortunately, it only takes one small gap for a cyber-attack to get through, and once in all connected devices may be at risk.

Having your lights taken over by a far-away prankster may seem like a small risk, but gaps may allow them into your computers, phones, tablets and other devices too. This is the part the news reports and movies skip over – the networking protections that exist in the background, shielding against attacks.

Taking the time to properly secure your IoT device is essential to making sure you get the whole, happy future-tech experience. We’re big fans of the potential of IoT and can’t wait to see what comes next!

Do you have an IoT device that needs securing or would like to learn more? Give us a call on 08 8326 4364 to help.

5 Ways to Make Your Laptop Last Longer

Extend the life of your laptop.Due to their portable nature laptops usually receive rough treatment but are one of the most fragile pieces of tech you’ll ever buy. Here are five easy tips to help extend the life of your laptop.

  1. Avoid sharp movements during use:
    While some new laptops have an SSD (with no moving parts) for storing data, many laptops still have a mechanical drive. The drive has a head and a constantly spinning data storage disk. The head hovers microns over the surface of the spinning disk and one knock can cause them to collide. Just like a deep scratch on a DVD the data on that section will be corrupted and lost or even worse all the data on your drive can become unreadable. We also see a lot of people putting their computer into sleep mode or not even powering them off before moving the device. Always make sure you power down or put into hibernate the laptop before moving it or packing it away.
  2. Keep it cool:
    Your laptop has a few ways of telling you when it’s too hot – the fan, auto-shut off and the heat of the case. Many component in your laptop are generating heat and the harder it’s working, the more heat it generates. The fan runs to blow that heat out the vents and keep the components cool enough to continue operating. Because there is no clear temperature indicator, your fan volume is the best guide to monitoring laptop heat. While the laptop is working hard (and getting hot), the fan will spin faster and louder – it is not uncommon for it to sound like a hair dryer. Help it out by keeping your fan vent clear of books, blankets, and other blockages. A regular internal clean out (performed by a professional) is also a must to help keep the laptop innards clear of dust.
  3. Respect the cords:
    Inside those power cords are a bunch of delicate wires begging you to be gentle with them. You would think they should be able to take a beating, get bent, twisted and run over with chair wheels, but unfortunately they are not. Keep cords clear of sharp or flat-edged items and when wrapping for transport try to remember how it came out of the box. When moving the laptop wrap the cord gently around itself or the power adapter and secure with Velcro or similar.
  4. Carry it in padded style:
    A laptop will endure many bumps and bangs as the bag is moved around, even with careful use. So look for a bag that not only fits your laptop but is also well padded. Ideally your bag will have front, back, bottom, top and side padding as well as a waterproof outer. If backpacks aren’t your style, look for padded or hard-shelled sleeves.
  5. Regularly back it up:
    Laptops provide fantastic mobility but are quite fragile. While a regular backup won’t make your laptop components last longer, it will make any issue you encounter easier to deal with as you won’t loose all your precious data. Consider a cloud based or off-site backup for additional protection, so no matter what happens with your laptop you still have all your important files.

Call us at 08 8326 4364 to give your laptop a life-extending service.

Should You Buy A Consumer Class or Business Class PC?

Consumer or Business Class Computer?You are thinking of buying a computer for work but don’t know whether to go for a “cheaper” consumer or home type of PC or go for one built specifically for business use.

You may have seen business computers with the same brand names that you have at home but that is where the similarities end. Investing in the right system now will definitely pay off in the long term – saving you time, money and a whole lot of heart ache in the future. Below are some tips on what you need to know to make the best choice for your budget and your business.

Durability and Reliability

Consumer PCs don’t have the same build quality as business ones, in fact consumer models have a far shorter expected lifespan and they just are not built to last. Business-class computers are built to last with higher quality components that undergo rigorous testing.

Usage Requirements

How will you be using the computer? If it is mainly for home use with a bit of business usage then a consumer PC with the appropriate work software and settings will be fine.

On the other hand if the machine is used in business then a computer business-class computer is a must. Especially if you will be loosing money and / or have staff sitting around doing nothing while the computer is getting fixed

Warranty and Service

When a consumer PC fails, the burden is on the owner to return it to the place of purchase for repairs. Repairs can take weeks and often involve a frustrating process of paperwork and follow up. With most business class machines the warranty is onsite and the repair technician will come to you, often within hours. Business users enjoy a professional experience with priority status and a dedicated support line, all designed to reduce your down-time and get you back up and running faster.

Business-class Features

Businesses need certain features built-in to the computer and ready to go from day one. These features make your network more secure and you and your staff more productive. For example, fingerprint readers, remote desktop software and in built data encryption tools. The operating system that comes preinstalled on a business-class computer will also have business features while the consumer options don’t. Computers designed for home use come with Windows Home or Starter editions don’t have the ability to join corporate networks. This then requires extra money to upgrade the software and configure the computer.

 

Still confused then save money and heartache now and talk to us today on 08 8326 4364 about choosing the right computer for your needs.

3 Reasons To Upgrade Your Computer

The business case for faster & better computers

Older desktop and mobile devices run slow and may cost your business in repairs and downtime. They also lack the latest security technologies which may place your business and customers at risk.

Broad Choice of Form Factors

Check out the following for some reasons to upgrade your current computer.

1. Increased Productivity

Increased ProductivityDevices powered by the latest 6th generation Intel Core processors deliver up to 2.5x faster performance compared to systems five years or older. Mobile devices also have 3x the battery life compared to 5 year old systems. A new device wakes in an instant and are up to date so users are never left waiting. New computers also run the latest MS Windows 10 and associated MS Office software suite all with no issues.

2. Hardware Enhanced Security

Hardware Enhanced Security

Safeguard your business data with hardware enhanced security. Windows 10 introduces secure authentication with Windows Hello and Intel RealSense Technology.

3. Broader Form Factor Choice of Form Factors

Broader Choice of Form Factors

New form factors allow you to choose from a wide range of designs. Current form factors include:

  • The traditional tower computer.
  • Space saving All-In-Ones.
  • Mini or ultra small form factor computers
  • Tablets
  • Hybrid and 2 in one laptops
  • Traditional laptops
  • Ultrabooks.

You also don’t need to sacrifice flexibility for memory, storage space, ports etc as most of these options are full configurable.

Get the performance and security you need to move your business forward with a new PC. Contact us now to discuss your options.

Grow Your Business Expo at Tonsley

This Thursday 24/11/16 we will be exhibiting at the inaugural Grow Your Business Expo @ Tonsley. The event is free and targeted towards both new and established business owners.

Local business experts will be on hand to share their knowledge. With over 30 exhibitors and 3 speakers it will be a great event.

On our stand we will have some new hardware on show and will help with any questions IT related. We will also have some freebies and will giving away a VR headset in our business card draw so come along and say hello.

To register or find more information check out the following link:

https://www.marion.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=131&t=uList&ulistId=0&c=29380

grow-your-business-expo-sponsors

 

What to do with IT Equipment in a Storm?

Protection from storm damageWith all the problems Queenslanders are experiencing at the moment with storms and flooding (and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected) I thought I’d write up some tips on how to protect your computers and related equipment during a storm.

The best things to do in a electrical storm is to turn off and unplug all your equipment but more often than not this is unpractical. So what can you do to still use your computer but lessen the chance of problems?

1)      Get a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). These provide a dual benefit of battery backup and surge protection. If you lose power the battery will allow you to save your current work and shutdown the computer without any loss of data or software corruption. Remember though as with all batteries their performance decreases over time – so check and replace the unit or the inbuilt battery regularly.

2)      Save your work often. Even with a UPS your battery may not last long.

3)      Backups. Regularly perform backups and always keep at least one copy of the data offsite. Online or cloud based backups are good but consider the amount of time it will take to download or your data (in case off loss or how you will retrieve that data if your Internet is down).

4) Have a plan so all your staff know what to do when a storm approaches and / or you have a power failure.

5) Test you plan and your backups regularly.

You can get the low end UPS’s from your local electronics store but remember as with all things you get what you pay for. Those cheap power boards with surge protection provide only limited defence in terms of surge protection. If you need a larger UPS to provide longer battery life or need to protect a server please talk to your IT provider or contact us.