Tech Thursday Round Up – December 16, 2010

  • Coffee Shop vs. Cubicle: Skype Survey Results
  • American Airlines and SCORE Partner to Provide Small Business Education
  • Epson and Thinxtream Offer Free Apple Mobile Printing with PrintJinni
  • Lenovo Takes Multimedia Computing to New Heights with Three New Idea Products
  • Office Depot Releases Small Business Index Survey Results
  • Software and Websites are More Important to Small Business Owners than Social Media
  • Cbeyond Helps RhinoTech Enhance Customer Service and Improve Productivity
  • Smith Micro Enables Mobile Operators to Enhance and Monetize Voicemail

Coffee Shop vs. Cubicle: Skype Survey Results
At Dell’s Global SMB Summit last week, featuring many of Dell’s Take Your Own Path Heroes, one of the “hottest” topics was how work has changed. It’s no longer about the place of work, in an office per se, it’s about your work being where you are. In fact in many office buildings a good number of the staff are not in the office but on the road meeting with clients, in the car, on the train or in an airplane.
Skype Blue Logo.jpgLast week Skype released a survey conducted by Incites Research that shows a clear shift from the traditional workplace model to a “living workplace,” with 62 percent of reporting firms employing remote workers. Additionally, these remote workers spend 40% of their time away from the office.
The two communications tools expected to have a decline in usage in the next year are e-mail and landline phones, while the communications tool that is expected to have the biggest gain in usage next year is video calling. See post here for more details and survey results.


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American Airlines and SCORE Partner to Provide Small Business Education
american.JPGAmerican Airlines, a leader in helping businesses manage their travel, has partnered with SCORE, an organization dedicated to counseling, training, and mentoring small businesses. American will sponsor some of SCORE’s digital small business education tools, including portions of the SCORE website and an eGuide, which helps small businesses identify opportunities for growth while providing helpful tips to manage their business.
Since 1964, SCORE has successfully helped entrepreneurs and small businesses realize their dreams. Recently, Gallup conducted a census survey of all SCORE mentoring clients. According to the survey results, SCORE’s economic impact from their small business mentoring, tools and resources showed that SCORE clients started 68,452 new businesses and created 30,603 jobs in 2009.
ScoreLogoCMYK-150x58.jpgAmerican Airlines has a long history of supporting small businesses, both through sponsorship of organizations like SCORE and through the American Airlines Business Suite™, offering travel programs specifically designed to make employee travel more affordable, more productive and more rewarding for those small and mid-sized companies that depend upon face-to-face contact across the nation, or the globe, to succeed. American offers online resources at www.aa.com/business to help business owners and decision makers learn more about what programs are available to help manage travel budgets and address other travel needs specific to their businesses.
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Epson and Thinxtream Offer Free Apple Mobile Printing with PrintJinni


Popular Printing App Previews and Prints Directly to any Epson Wireless All-in-One iOS4.2 Compatibility and Native Support for Apple iPad Users

Epson - Exceed Your Vision_FINAL.jpg.jpgPrintJinni for Epson allows users to easily download, preview and wirelessly print e-mail attachments that maintain their original formatting – the print preview matches the print. Printing is easy and truly direct without the need to install printer drivers or additional software on a Mac or PC.
In addition, this latest version of PrintJinni for Epson utilizes the iPad’s larger screen size and rotational capabilities while providing a more intuitive interface. It offers faster navigation to multiple e-mail accounts, downloaded files, and printer settings. iPad users can now email and print their Apple iWork documents wirelessly.
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Lenovo Takes Multimedia Computing to New Heights with Three New Idea Products
Thumbnail image for lenovo-mast-logo.gifLenovo introduced the IdeaPad Y460p, IdeaPad Y560p and IdeaCentre K330, which all sport high-performance processors and are packed with multimedia features.
IdeaPad Y460p and Y560p – High Performance Entertainment System in a Sleek Design
The Y460p and Y560p are designed for easy use with a one-handed hinge open feature and user-friendly ports. Other key features include OneKey Rescue and Lenovo’s VeriFace™ face recognition.
IdeaCentre K330 – The Power Performance Desktop
The IdeaCentre K330 features the Lenovo Dynamic Brightness System2 to adjust screen brightness based on ambient light and the Lenovo Eye Distance System3 to alert users when they are too close to the screen for ultimate eye protection. The OneKey Recovery makes data backup and recovery a simple one-touch task while the tool-free CPU design eliminates the need to use a screwdriver to open the K330 so upgrades and replacements are quick and easy.
All of the devices will be available on Lenovo.com in early 2011.
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Office Depot Releases Small Business Index Survey Results
Thumbnail image for office_depot.JPGOffice Depot announced the results of its latest Office Depot Small Business Index – a monthly survey commissioned to gauge the economic trends of small businesses in America.
Overall, the survey reveals that attitudes toward the economy and state of small businesses are mixed following the completion of the mid-term elections.
According to the latest survey, fewer small businesses believe that the results of the mid-term elections will have a positive impact on their business, while a higher percentage now feel that the results will be negative (post-election – 22 percent vs. pre-election – 17 percent). Both the importance and impact of the elections are closely tied to business size (number of employees), as the larger the company, the more likely they are to feel that the election results will be important to their business.
Not surprisingly, however, the economy has had a significant impact on small businesses and their attitudes toward the 2010 mid-term elections (both pre and post-election), as about two-thirds of the respondents who agree that the elections were important and impactful (positively) to their business indicated that their company has been affected by the recent economic downturn – higher than their counterparts who do not place as much importance on the elections.
Virtually unchanged from before the election, about one-quarter of the small businesses indicates that their company will be hiring new employees in the near future (next six months).
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Software and Websites are More Important to Small Business Owners than Social Media
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New Study
by The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute Finds Women, Millennials and Companies with 10 or More Employees See Greater Value in “Social” Tools
In prioritizing which technology is most important to their companies, America’s small business owners still value business software and their company website more highly than social media sites and services. However, while software and core Web presence rank highest in helping them to operate more efficiently and acquire new customers, a new study by The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute also identified specific segments within the small business community that are starting to embrace social media as a communications and business building resource.
The research, fielded earlier in 2010, reveals that “using software to make my business run more efficiently” and “using websites to tell prospective customers about our business” are currently the two most important ways that small business owners tap the power of technology. In contrast, “using social media as a tool for communicating about our company” and “using social media as a way to find out about prospective clients or prospects” ranks significantly lower when viewed, in aggregate, across all respondents. The categories of small business owners where social media is more strongly emerging as an important tool include Women, Millennials, Companies with 10 or more employees and businesses that have experienced – or expect to experience – growth in revenue.
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Cbeyond Helps RhinoTech Enhance Customer Service and Improve Productivity
Thumbnail image for cbeyond.gifRhinoTech, a business that manufactures products for the screen printing industry, wanted to improve its customer service levels while continuing to improve productivity. Having already relied on Cbeyond (www.cbeyond.net/smb), a leading provider of IT and business communications solutions to boost productivity, RhinoTech selected Cbeyond’s new Virtual Receptionist to “answer” incoming calls and better direct customers to the people or departments they need to reach.
RhinoTech has used Cbeyond for its Hosted Microsoft Exchange email service and mobile solutions for several years, so when the 10-year-old company was ready to enhance its image among its customer base, Cbeyond’s Virtual Receptionist product was an ideal fit. The Cbeyond solution provided a central number for RhinoTech’s Florida headquarters and satellite office in Minnesota. Moreover, it was easy to use and was less expensive than hiring a full-time receptionist.
“This isn’t the type of solution we see every day for small businesses like us,” said Todd Michaels, RhinoTech’s Vice President of Operations. “With two offices and an expanding national and international customer base, we needed a sure-fire way for customers to reach us and not rely solely on mobile phones as our point of contact. Having the ability to intelligently route calls not only enhanced the professionalism at the front lines of the business, but has also allowed me to focus on my core business operations.”
Virtual Receptionist is the latest in Cbeyond’s suite of messaging and collaboration solutions.
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Smith Micro Enables Mobile Operators to Enhance and Monetize Voicemail
New Service Enables Mobile Operators to Offer Premium Voicemail Service, Highlighted by Transcription of Voicemail Messages to Text
smithmicro.JPGSmith Micro Software, Inc. announced its new mobile carrier-grade Visual Voicemail with Voicemail-to-Text service.
Fully interoperable with existing voicemail systems, the service combines Visual Voicemail and Voicemail-to-Text transcription providing carriers with an easy-to-deploy, fully integrated, revenue-generating application. In addition, Visual Voicemail with Voicemail-to-Text reduces carrier storage needs by off-loading messages to the user handset. It also eliminates the need for voice-channel calls to the voicemail system, reducing system load and voicemail infrastructure costs.
Smith Micro’s Visual Voicemail with Voicemail-to-Text delivers voice messages directly to users’ phones, in audio and / or text form, and stores them in a visual inbox. By leveraging the new service, there is no dialing or waiting for voicemails; users can simply press play to read the transcribed message in text form or playback the message audibly to listen to the message instantly. The Visual Voicemail with Voicemail-to-Text inbox works directly with the individual’s contact list and shows the name of who left the message, when it was left and whether they have replied. The service also enables consumers to compose new voice messages and send them without ever calling the recipient. Smith Micro’s Visual Voicemail with Voicemail-to-Text is commercially available today on a variety of Android devices.

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About Laura Leites

Laura plans and manages Smallbiztechnology's live and virtual events, including the five-city Small Business Technology Tour, now in its third year. She also produces events for clients through her event planning company, L2 Event Production. Her popular roundups of events and competitions for small businesses is published weekly on Smallbiztechnology.com and Small Business Trends.