Monthly Archives: October 2015

What is Android for work

By | Android for work, Google Apps for Work | No Comments

Android for Work is Google’s enterprise mobile device management (MDM) platform for companies to deliver a secure, productive, and rich mobile experience to their employees. Android for Work is a program for devices running on the Google Android mobile operating system that allows it to manage and secure business applications on a work-specific profile.

Android to Work

In the modern office environment, many people have resorted to using two smartphones, one for personal use and the other, a company-issued smartphone. With two phones, the IT department has full control over an employee’s work data and can remotely wipe it but has no control over their personal phone. It’s a viable setup, but not without a downside. A user has to carry two phones, two chargers, and have almost no free pocket space. The other alternative is called BYOD—Bring Your Own Device—in which the IT department installs company software in users’ personal phones.

Android for Work is a unique solution that uses Android’s multi-user framework to securely separate work and personal profiles on a single, unified interface. Through Google Apps and the Google Apps Device Policy app, it takes a personal device and adds an additional work profile that is owned by the user’s employing organization.

A user can have two copies of apps on the single home screen, one personal and one for work, with the work apps denoted by a little red briefcase badge. Users can arrange the Android home screen icons anyway they desire. However, Work apps show up last in the app drawer, after personal apps.

Notifications for each account still come in and stack in the notification panel just like before. Both work and personal notifications are separate, work notifications being marked with a small briefcase badge. Overview separates work and personal Gmail allowing users to toggle between them as they want. A share dialog is added so that the users can pick which account they want the shared item to go to.

A company called “Divide” acquired by Google forms the basis of Android for Work technology. The apps capabilities were limited, so Google designed the feature to allow for a better integration with Android and the Play Store.

Google’s main target segment comprises the businesses that don’t need super high security as Android is still not able to lock down a device, which will be a deal breaker for high-security organizations looking to switch to Android for Work. Google Apps Device Policy is used to lock down the OS but the list of available policies is limited to password requirements, forced device encryption, and disabling the camera. It is unable to stop someone from copying text from the work profile and pasting it into their personal Gmail.

“Android for Work” applications come with the following advantages:

  • Data Separation and Security

By using hardware-side encryption and policies that need to be managed by administrators, devices with Android for Work ensure that business and private data stay protected from malware.

  • Supports an employee’s personal devices as well as those provided by employers

Android for Work users can now use the same Android device for both official and personal accounts, and the employers have a choice to either provide a separate device or configure an employee’s existing personal device for official use with a new work profile.

  • Remote Management

An admin can remotely monitor and control the applications and data on an Android for Work device without posing any privacy-hampering threat to employee’s personal data on the device.

  • Smooth User Experience

Users can enjoy a seamless experience as Android for Work lets them swap between personal and work-related apps with ease. Work-related apps and personal apps are listed together in the app manager or the recent apps list. To avoid any confusion on the part of users, work-related apps have badges to tell them apart from personal apps.

  • Application Deployment made simpler

Administrators can use Google’s Playstore to find and download business apps for Android for Work devices. Google provides the basic infrastructure and framework that can be used by third-party EMM providers to develop newer and better Android for Work solutions.

Android for Work is slated to increase Android usage by enabling seamless IT management through numerous EMM providers willing to contribute. Through Android for Work, the technology industry is poised to get a unified way to secure enterprise apps, manage devices remotely, and keep work and personal data separate.

WhatsApp & Google Drive to ensure your data backup

By | Google Apps, Google Apps for Work, Social networking | No Comments

With WhatsApp steadily adding up nearly a billion users who use the app to be socially connected and enjoy photos and videos with friends and family or share valuable information and communicate with colleagues and peers, the question of backing up all that data, other than device memory, has been answered.

share-whatsapp-to-drive

WhatsApp users weren’t quite satisfied with their data stored only on their devices, since they are vulnerable to theft, malfunctions and physical damages. So, WhatsApp for Android will allow the users to store the backup all of their WhatsApp data in Google Drive. With all their WhatsApp data backed up in Google Drive, it can be completely restored on another device with ease. A blog post attributed to Google Drive announced the development and confirmed that this new feature to be deployed over the next few months, will allow users to create a backup for their photos, videos, chat history and voice messages in Google Drive. The more apps integrate with Google Drive in this manner the better it might get.

The Google Drive backup feature will let users forget the local drive on their computer where they stored important photos, video clips, numbers and addresses, taking data storage to Cloud. However, the photos and videos that are backed up don’t get diverted to Google Photos automatically. No wonder, it can be expected that in the near future the backup and share functionality will smoothen and get smarter over time. Also it should be noted that this feature will delight the android users exclusively as it won’t be available on iOS, at least not yet.

It is believed that WhatsApp dev team was experimenting with a robust backup and restore option for media and chat history as early as April ’15 with Google Drive, since many users claimed to have seen the feature pop up in their devices. However, after a short while it was taken down. With an app update in July ’15, the feature was made available to certain select users in the version 2.12.194. Now with a formal announcement in the blog post, the backup feature will be made available to all Android users in a few months.

In the WhatsApp for Android version (2.12.194), backup notifications will request access to the Google Drive folder at 4 am, which happens to be the default time for chat/media backup. WhatsApp’s Google Drive backup feature can be found in the app’s Settings. For backing up their data, users will be required to enter a valid Google account where their files will be backed up for future use. Users can turn off the auto-backup option if they will and can also control the frequency with which their data is backed up ranging from daily, weekly, to monthly. Users can also choose whether to use backup only on a Wi-Fi connection, network data or both.

Scott Johnston, the Director of Product Management who announced the news, hinted the users to keep an eye out on WhatsApp settings, over the next few months, to see if the new backup feature becomes available to them.

Balancing Work and Family Life

By | Business | No Comments

Work-Life Imbalance tops the causes of stress among working adults. In a society that is increasingly becoming productivity-oriented, conflicts between home and workplace roles emerge regularly. This imbalance between work and family life has been the cause of several negative outcomes like interpersonal conflicts at work, failed personal relationships, poor work efficiency, mental and physical health issues.

Balancing Work and Family Life

Mental health is taken for granted by many who expose themselves to job-related stress unintentionally most of the times. In some cases, the cause of stress stems out from the urge to earn recognition from their peers or superiors as ‘hard workers’, as it might portray a higher sense of commitment and responsibility. This could quite predictably cause imbalance in both facets of life.

There could be several other reasons for stress. Prominent social beliefs that associate parenthood with a happy and fulfilling life may not hold true for everyone. Credible sociological studies have found it to be quite the contrary – Parents face more mental and physical health issues than their childless peers, having to bear the cost of raising a child being one of the prominent factors among others.

Clearly, stress has troubled employers and employees alike. Constant stress often leads to sexual health problems, cardiovascular diseases, frequent headaches and a weak immune system. Misguided attempts to beat stress may lead to alcohol consumption, smoking and even binge eating.

So the importance of fighting stress is vital for achieving a balance in work and family life. Daunting it may appear but it is achievable. Although without a concrete resolve to achieve balance, it is likely to end in failure.

Talking to family about one’s idea of work helps to pinpoint the stress factors that need to be dealt with. It also makes one’s family understand the obligations and responsibilities of the workplace, improving their understanding in the process.

It is necessary to create boundaries between family time and work hours. Boundaries are imaginary lines that shield work from being affected by family, at the same time they don’t allow family time being compromised by work obligations.

One should also make peace with the fact that in some scenarios either work or family will have to be given priority. A perfect balance at all times may not be feasible. There are no quick fix solutions to the dilemma of balancing work and family. Every person’s solution to their work-family equation should suit their individual needs and preferences. But a balance will truly be struck when a person keeps up with his family’s needs while performing adequately at work.

Here are a few points to take note of:

It’s all about the Attitude.

It is commendable to love your job, but as big a part of one’s life it may be, it ultimately needs to be “turned off” primarily to spend some time away from work. For people who are defined by the work that they do, this can be a lot harder. It’s admirable to accomplish excellence at work but an ‘always at work’ attitude ends up in alienating loved ones by repeatedly overshadowing them by one’s job, damaging relationships in the long run. It is also linked with reduction in effectiveness at work as the body and mind need a break from the monotonous schedule of thinking and doing the same thing repeatedly to rejuvenate and keep afresh.

A schedule should not be overwhelming.

While juggling and multi-tasking, it is most important to keep a rational schedule. Both ‘work and non-work commitments’ and ‘downtime and non-work time’ should be awarded equal weightage. The commitment to personal activities and family should be as unavoidable as the commitment to work.

Say “No.” It’s okay to do so.

Trouble might arise by committing to more than you have time for. Every request that heads in your direction should be seriously considered and only after double-checking one’s schedule should a decision be made. If it’s too overwhelming, there’s no harm in turning it down. Undertaking tasks and social invitations that are a handful won’t do anyone any good if you’re unable to handle it or too tired to enjoy.

Enjoy list-free time.

The skills honed at work may seem to help in your personal life but if to-do lists start making your personal time all the more work then it’s advisable to stop it. List making should be scrapped for a couple of days to take things head on.

With those tips above, one can go on to make a checklist of what brings them stress. That will be half the battle conquered. Once you know what’s been irking you, it is easier to get help from family, friends, and colleagues. If they don’t or they can’t give you enough support, one must not hesitate is seeking professional help. All it takes to beat your blues is to acknowledge one’s problem areas and speak up.

How important are customer reviews ?

By | Business, Marketing | No Comments

Market research surveys are often used by companies to collect various types of information about their consumers and clients. Some of this information is gathered by businesses prior to introducing products but a majority of customer data is gathered after the introduction of their products.

CustomerReview

Whatever be the case, customer feedback is important for a number of reasons.

Importance

To determine a customer’s needs and tastes, customer feedback is vital, particularly when a business introduces new products. Companies conduct focus groups, in-person research or customer phone surveys to determine the features, flavours or styles that consumers are looking for in a product. Customer feedback helps companies determine what’s important to their customers, according to The Calgary Beacon article “9 Great Reasons to Conduct Customer Surveys.” Without customer feedback, a company could not possibly learn about the product needs of the consumer. As a consequence, its products are likely to fail in the marketplace.

Brand Performance

Customer feedback also helps a company to better understand how a customer rates and uses their product versus a competitor’s product. It is vital in determining where a company’s products and services excel or fall short in comparison with alternatives on the market.

Function

Customer service satisfaction surveys are the most common type of market research surveys. Companies can determine whether customers are getting their questions answered and problems resolved. Additionally, through surveys, a company can evaluate the performance of its customer service reps and take corrective measures, especially if the feedback indicates that the customer service reps were being rude to customers.

Lessons Learned

Customer feedback from lost customers is especially important as it helps the company in determining why customers are no longer buying its products. The goal of the survey becomes determining courses of action that the company can take to win a customer back.

Market Trends

Customer feedback also is important in detecting certain trends among consumers. For example, a new competitor in the market may introduce new and improved version of a product that potentially threatens the current version a company sells. If customers indicate they would prefer and buy this new version, the company will have to consider adopting innovative changes in their current product.

SEO Benefits

Customer reviews can also have a positive effect on search engine rankings. Since descriptive reviews tend to contain an abundance of keywords, they help a website rank higher on search engines for the products and services on offer.

Other benefits

Reviews on a general level help a company understand the needs of their customers and help them in improving the products and services they sell, adapting to the latest trends, and dealing with their customers. If certain products have received positive reviews, it may be wise to get them back in stock. If certain products prove unpopular, reviews bring it to your attention sooner allowing you to take action in time. Reviews are the real views of your customers, a direct line of communication that allows you to monitor how customers perceive the company’s brand.

A good way of encouraging customers to leave reviews is to offer small incentives, such as entrance into a competition or a small discount on the next purchase in exchange for leaving a review. Another practice is to send an email after each order inquiring if the process was satisfactory and requesting the customer to review their purchase.

It doesn’t matter which industry a company belongs to, or the size of its business, positive testimonials from customers dramatically improve online visibility and brand image. Customers are conditioned to search for information on the Internet. It has become a norm to browse the internet for a desired product or service that could range from a local restaurant, the latest electronic gadgets, etc.

If the internet search guides the customer to your company, the website should have enough information available to influence their decision. In that scenario, reviews could be the deciding factor. If a company has more favourable reviews in which customers are praising its products or services, it leads to new client acquisitions.

There are several sites that publish user reviews and ratings to help consumers find local products and services: Google Places, Yelp, etc. Companies should be focused on understanding these review services and determining what could provide the most benefit to their business.

Reviews, even if negative, can bring positive developments, as long as they aren’t too common. A few bad reviews will provide legitimacy to the rest of the good reviews and reassure visitors that the feedback is genuine and left by real customers.

What is Google Atmosphere?

By | Google Apps for Work, Online Event | No Comments

Google Atmosphere is an online event that provides leading CIOs and CTOs a platform to talk about how technology of the future will take shape and how to adapt to it. Google Atmosphere is also a collaboration and knowledge-sharing platform for top management executives around the world.

Atmosphere with Google

The first ever Google Atmosphere in 2008 was initially started as a conference for 250 CIOs but now it has become a global annual-event to be organized in various tech-savvy cities around the world. During the year 2014, grand conferences of Google Atmosphere have been held in London, Munich, Paris, Sydney and many other cities acting as regional tech hubs. Google invites its brightest to impart their valuable knowledge and invitations are also extended to the most innovative minds in the tech world to interact with the tech-savvy audience at the conference.

What is Google Atmosphere about?

Google Atmosphere is a two-hour event that provides insights to its audience about how to increase creativity and innovativeness, irrespective of industry. Attendees can choose one of the two sessions targeted to discuss:

  1. How to create highly productive teams, and
  2. How to secure and keep IT agile.

Each session offers unique insights from distinguished speakers on these topics.

Google Atmosphere tends to reverberate that everyone has the gift of creativity, innovation in some or the other way. The idea is to not wither away in the face of odds, as some of the best innovations can be attributed to those who didn’t give up on their idea, irrespective of how unlikely it seemed at the time of conception, be it Alexander Graham Bell’s Telephone, Thomas Edison’s Light Bulb, or the Google search engine itself by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. At some point, all these ideas faced ridicule, or criticism as not being beneficial to anyone but to imagine that there was a time the world lived without either of these things, and how different it would be today without these inventions.

Why is it beneficial to spend two hours to attend Google Atmosphere?

Some Business Executives may be satisfied with the way their day to day operations take place and may not really feel like drastic changes are needed. Critical and creative thinking is how problem-solving capability increases, in case of satisfaction with the status of creativity and innovativeness of a company. Google Atmosphere is a great platform to expand one’s platter of knowledge. If nothing else then it is certainly offers an opportunity to sharpen problem-solving skills aided by innovative and creative thinking.

One thing that innovators have in common is the relentless urge to disrupt the usual. At Google Atmosphere, Google in collaboration with top industry experts from around the world will share what drives creativity and innovation, what type of tools and technology help you get that winning edge and how you and your organization can find business solutions through Google for Work and Think Creatively and Innovate Boldly. An interactive live stream for industry leaders, Google Atmosphere will cover tried and true tips to help evolve your business to increase flexibility, productivity and growth.

What to expect at the next Atmosphere event?

At the upcoming Google Atmosphere event scheduled for October 2015, Rich Rao, Google for Work Director, will start the discussion underlining characteristics needed to achieve global success. He will indulge the audience in topics like winning customer affection, cost cutting increasing connectivity, and the advantage being up to date with technology. Alphabet executive and founder of Nest Tony Fadell, shares his vision of the path of future technology and business.

Other notable speakers to feature include Sarah Franklin, VP Marketing & Lauren Grau, Developer Program Manager from Salesforce, enriching the experience for thousands of customers. Woolworths’ CTO Ryan Fahy will explain how Google Apps for Work has connected thousands of Woolworths’ employees to enlighten them on culture and the best customer service practices. Forrester Consulting’s Sean McCormick, Sr. Consultant and Ted Schadler, VP and Principal Analyst will present two big market trends and challenges faced by business leaders and provide the ROI analysis of Google Apps for Work in facing challenges.

CEO Eduardo Guilisasti and IT Manager Daniel Durán of Concha y Toro, South America’s largest wine producer will describe what makes their brand a global success, while highlighting the tech they use to optimize operations. WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey CTO and David Fano will give an insight about their idea of an optimized working space, also WeWork went international with Google Apps for Work.

In general, Google Atmosphere provides insights on how to add creative value to problem solving. It is a free-of-cost learning avenue offered as a part of Google for Work, primarily designed to understand the process of innovation and then use the insights to guide the audience to implement creativity in crafting solutions for their businesses and their customers’.

Google Atmosphere can be a positive learning experience. It has a line-up of seasoned speakers who will make it impossible for the audience to end the event without having learnt anything new and useful.

Being a part of Google Atmosphere will give a sneak peek into valuable ideas from hundreds of business innovators that can help you discover what could be the next best transformation strategy for your organization. So, all learning enthusiasts should make it a point to make time for registering and participating in the event.

Are smartphones improving or impairing productivity at work?

By | Business | One Comment

According to a study by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Smartphones, thought to hamper workplace productivity due to their ability to make telephone calls, surf the Internet and play games may not be the costly distraction companies make them out to be.

discussion

Before the age of smartphones, customers and clients had to be contacted on their office phone. Smartphones provide employees and clients the ability to contact one another quickly and efficiently. Conflicts are resolved faster using smartphones. An individual is considered ‘rude’ if he does not respond to a simple text message, email, or phone call within a certain period of time.

According to a study by the University of Kansas, “Smartphone Micro-breaks During Work Day are Productive.” The study recommends that employees should be given a few short breaks throughout the day. It increases the productivity and more deadlines are met, as mini-breaks allow employees to take their minds off potential work stress and keep their mind fresh. The study says “workers who use their phones for short breaks throughout the day tend to be happier and have a more positive attitude.” Let’s take a look at some of the credible reasons to allow smartphones for official purposes.

  • Organizing tasks

Smartphones help maintain a schedule and keep users up to date about upcoming events and allow them to manage their daily tasks more efficiently. A smartphone allows communication everywhere, away from office or home and personalizes data according to set preferences and priorities.

  • Easy access

The best feature found in smartphones is that they enable access to anything from anywhere. Editing or creating documents and organizing appointments can be done on the move. Maps, locations, weather reports and latest updates from the business world can be accessed using a smartphone. Using a smartphone makes it possible for a mobile workforce to stay in touch with the business.

  • Integration with Business apps

Integration of business applications with smartphones to stay connected with business activities allows users to create and send or receive up-to-date reports of financial and business operations.

  • Business Presentations

Since smartphone devices give video input and output, users can view their business presentations and videos in their gadgets. Business users can connect their phones to a TV or computer monitor and show PowerPoint presentations or display whatever is running on the phone’s display.

  • High Security

While certain smartphone features may attract regular consumers, business users are more concerned about the security of their data and official information. Solutions like Google Apps for Work offers Mobile device management MDM at no extra cost, give users more powerful security options that allow its users to keep personal and business data separate on the same device.

  • Endless Apps

The early twenty-first century has brought with it hundreds and thousands of smartphone apps. A smartphone’s portability and programmability has made it a device with almost unlimited applications. There are tons of work-related scheduling, task-management and productivity apps available, to keep track of one’s tasks, meetings and important deadlines. Besides, Media downloading, Internet and stereo apps keep users connected with the world of audio. Smartphone torches, Compass and levelling apps and have made smartphones handheld utilities.

  • Web Everywhere

In earlier days, Web browsing had to happen at a desk in an office, where a wired internet connection could be made available to the computers or laptops. Later on, wireless access and laptops allowed the Web to be accessed pretty much anywhere in the house or office. But in the age of smartphone technology, including broadband and wireless, Web access has made its way onto the subway, into cars and to the park or wherever there is a cellular connection.

Unlike the traditional mobile phones, smartphones are powerful devices with advanced features. From the point of view of businesses, important business files and presentations can be easily shared. Users can also send emails directly from apps. In this way, valuable time saved from performing communication actions can be allocated to other more important business matters.