• “The future is here” is a phrase often spoken in these days of technological advancement, but what’s happening in Sweden as of late truly is the stuff of Sci-Fi movies… Whilst the rest of the world is still acclimatizing to the latest trend of ‘contactless’, whether it be contactless credit cards, key cards, or a plethora of other card-shaped items you never knew needed a contactless option, Sweden have taken this one step further…

    Riding on the back of the ‘contactless revolution’, a portion of the Swedish population have gone as far as to actually insert microchips into their bodies, serving as a sort of multi-purpose contactless device, the ‘swiss army knife’ of contactless transfers if you will. With these microchips implanted into their bodies, some Swedish citizens are capable of completing contactless transactions with nothing but the wave of their hand!

    This isn’t the first time Sweden has popped up in the news for their strange technology-related antics though… In Sweden, there is a peculiar community of, what can only be described as, amateur scientists, referred to as ‘biohackers’. This peculiar, quasi-futuristic culture are known for regularly going under the knife to implant themselves with the latest technology, some have also been known to implant microchips that are capable of opening doors!

  • British Telecom (BT) have decided to end their PSTN and ISDN networks in favour of Internet Protocol (IP) voice servers. The transition will begin in 2020, with complete closure of the networks in 2025.

    Ofcom predicts that there are still 2 million businesses using these networks with a lot of companies still unaware of the change. So what does this mean for businesses?

    PSTN and ISDN and why are they being switched off?
    PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) was set up for analogue voice communication and became a reliable way to make voice calls and carry an internet connection. ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Connection) came along and used the PSTN network to digitally transmit voice and video simultaneously.

    Why the switch off? Simply, PSTN and ISDN have become outdated. The connections are essentially the same as the ones for the original telephone. Also, the maintenance and running costs have become outdated.

    What will they be replaced with?
    Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will replace ISDN of which there are 2 'flavours’: Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Trunks which allow connectivity for on premises systems and Hosted VolP handsets where the systems are off premises in the Cloud.

    What steps should you take?
    If you are an existing business, take a look at when your current contract ends to make the change over. It’s advisable to use VoIP or SIP when renewing your contract (even if before the 7 year deadline) to avoid disruption at a later stage. This will help you save money and prepare your business for the change.

    For start-ups or transitioning companies, check the internet connection and bandwidth of the office location where you will be based. A weak internet connection or ISDN line will lead to problems once BT have made the switch.

    Contact us on 01228 516500 or email at info@gemini-group-uk.com, if you wish to discuss in more details or have any queries about your current networks in place.

  • Google’s annual IO conference was dominated by advancements in Artificial intelligence (AI). From improvements to their Waymo self-driving car, to smart compose for Gmail, which predicts phrases the user will type. But the announcement that is dominating all the headlines came in the form of ‘Google Duplex’.

    The ‘Google Duplex’ is an AI assistant that has been described as the "the most incredible, terrifying thing". The assistant is able to make calls for its user and this was demonstrated by the voice booking a haircut for its ‘client’. The crowd audibly gasped when heard this in action.

    The voice sounded just like a real person, the speech even included pauses, ums and ahhs, making it even more realistic. The difference between this and other assistants like Cortana and Siri is that the bot (a computer program which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods) matches the pitch and vocals of a real person and this can be used to make new bots. Imagine booking your next appointment and not having to speak or a bot booking an appointment with you without realising.

    AI has come along leaps and bound in recent years, and we can't wait for the future

  • Augmented Reality (AR) is often seen as the less popular brother of Virtual Reality (VR). However, many businesses are beginning to adopt the technology and discover it's many powerful uses.

    First off what is it?

    While VR takes the user to a whole new place, AR deals with the real world. The official definition states that AR is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

    Like with VR, AR has received a big push from the gaming industry. The biggest and most popular example of this is Pokemon Go, which put virtual creatures for the player to capture right in front of them through their smartphone device. AR has been a big thing since 2013 with Google designing Google glass, a pair of smart glasses that display information for the user free of hands.

    Other examples of leading brands using Augmented Reality to engage with their customers are:

    Facebook and Snapchat project playful face filters onto the user
    Specsavers invite their potential customers to 'try on' glasses from the comfort of their homes
    Ikea encourages users to place furniture into their homes.

    These examples demonstrate how AR benefits the user, allowing them to test out the product from their couch. A convenient and powerful tool making a real impact in the marketplace.

    Augmented Reality is also being adopted by the manufacturing industry. Companies are using wearable AR, like Google glass, to improve efficiency and ultimately profitability. The AR allows the employees to stay in one place and receive instructions on processes rather than move around to get the information they need.

    AR is a fledgeling tech that is making big strides so far this year, so who knows what will be next. Virtual tape measure perhaps?

  • Electronic versions of the traditional sign in book are becoming more and more popular, but what are the benefits of taking your visitors online?

    Accuracy.

    Visitor information is recorded more accurately than with a visitor log book. All information is kept the same and people are less likely to be missed

    Reporting.

    Visitor information is stored in a computer database, which allows the ability to search, sort, analyse, and retrieve visitor data for any given time frame. Visitor activity reports can be generated. This especially useful for security audits and in the case of an emergency

    Pre-registration.

    If you know a particular visitor is coming in for a meeting, their information can be added to the system ahead of time which speeds up the sign-in process when the visitor actually arrives

    Add a photo.

    Print ID badges quickly and add a photo to the badge for further identification while your visitor is the facility. Electronic visitor management system photos can also be used in investigating security breaches, even used to compare with security camera footage to further identify any person.

    Returning visitors are recognised immediately.

    All visitor information is saved in the electronic visitor management system. This allows returning visitors to be signed in with very little time or effort because the system remembers them. If a returning visitor was a security problem in the past, the Security Department can be alerted instantly.

    Interested in taking your visitor management online? Talk to us about creating a system that works for your business.

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