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Connect getting online Hotspot Internet Internet access IoT Mobile Tethering wifi

Four Ways to Get Online from Anywhere

get online from anywhere

The Internet is an integral part of our lives – some of us are probably more dependent on it than we would like to be. Fortunately, the market offers plenty of ways to access the Internet anywhere — either through a travel modem, a satellite dish, or a free public hotspot. Of course, these options are not really interchangeable, with each occupying its own niche. Below is a close look at the popular ways of getting online, along with highlights of their strengths and weaknesses.

How to Get Internet Anywhere in the World?

Strictly speaking, the only way to get online from anywhere is through a satellite Internet connection. The satellite method has been a media darling for the last few years thanks to the still ongoing Starlink project. However, satellite Internet providers have actually been on the market for quite some time now.

The biggest advantage of this option is availability. With satellites, there’s no need for laying trunk lines or having a massive tower — all you need is the sky above (so yes, it often doesn’t work in a cave — at least without an antenna). A satellite makes it a perfect match for remote areas and regions with underdeveloped communication infrastructure.

Unfortunately, the sky is not exactly an industry-grade data transfer medium and will create interference by simply acting like nature. Various forms of precipitation and other weather conditions can deteriorate the quality of the satellite signal.

And the drawbacks do not end there. Getting a satellite signal, let alone sending data yourself, requires much larger equipment than a portable WiFi device — think a sizeable dish plus a satellite modem. In other words, this is by no means an easy portable solution.

WiFi Everywhere You Go: Public Hotspots

A more realistic way of getting wireless Internet anywhere is by connecting to an available WiFi hotspot. Such hotspots come in two varieties — free WiFi provided by various amenities and services that offer connection for a fee.

The former is a familiar option that can be found at your local Starbucks or in the airport. However, while it is free, it rarely works at decent speeds sufficient only for simple activities like messaging and checking mail. More importantly, to get a secure Internet connection from a cafe, you are expected to know how to stay safe on public WiFi. Even with all the precautions, you’ll still be better off using a travel modem for sensitive operations like online banking.

The second option is somewhat more intricate. Recently, several startups came up with the idea of a service that lets users rent unused Internet bandwidth. This is actually a clever idea that, theoretically, should benefit everyone. Unfortunately, it is still in its infancy, so the coverage is quite scarce. Cost-efficiency is also far from optimal – sometimes, the Internet comes at a higher price than simply using your own WiFi anywhere device. In other words, it is a promising direction to look into but not a reliable method as of now.

Hotspot for Laptop: Mobile Tethering

It may not have occurred to you, but you are already carrying around a pocket WiFi — your phone. You can turn it into a WiFi hotspot for your laptop or any other device that works with the wireless network protocol by using mobile tethering. This can be especially handy if you can’t accomplish the task through the phone directly — for example, when you have software on your PC that you need to communicate with a server.

Modern phones also support several simultaneous connections, so you can share the Internet with several friends or co-workers.

Keep in mind, however, that it comes at a cost. For starters, it requires a working mobile connection, so it’s not exactly an international pocket WiFi. Even with no roaming involved, the total bandwidth of such a connection will be limited by your data plan.

On top of that, mobile tethering is taxing for the device, so be ready for a drained battery after prolonged use. In other words, it is a handy backup plan but not a particularly universal one.

Devices to Get Internet Anywhere: Mobile Modems

Perhaps the most versatile and convenient solution for going online from anywhere is a portable WiFi device. In broad terms, it is a middle ground between a satellite modem and a tethered connection. A modern travel modem is a lightweight, energy-efficient device that supports multiple connections, works with several data plans, and may come with integrated security measures like a built-in VPN.

Of course, it is still limited by its data plan’s bandwidth and connection speed. However, a dedicated travel WiFi device will probably offer several options to choose from. It will also not work without cellular coverage, which may be an issue for sparsely populated areas. Otherwise, when it comes to using WiFi internationally, it strikes a balance between convenience and reliability.

Wrapping Up

There is no shortage of ways to get online nowadays, with new creative options emerging nearly every year. Some are suitable for casual browsing, while others require industry-grade equipment. It is totally reasonable to expect that in the near future, we will have services that are more secure, convenient, affordable, and powerful than anything we have now.

However, even today, it is possible to choose the one that suits you perfectly — you just need to know what you are looking for.

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Connect Connected Devices sales tools

Top Sales Tools for Virtual Selling

virtual sales tools

We are in unprecedented times in business because of COVID-19 — and extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. All of the world’s problems, at present, have forced the tech industry to rapidly pivot to develop products and services to match business virtual needs. Virtual everything is at the forefront of everyone’s mind — and virtual selling will keep business and the economy moving. Here are the top sales tools for virtual selling.

Top Sales Tools for Virtual Selling

Prezi Video

  1. Prezi Video 

It’s time to say goodbye to screen-share. Sales pitch presentations are no longer happening in person, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the face-to-face connection for virtual selling.

Prezi Video is a sales tool that lets you interact with your on-screen content like a newscaster or weather-person as you present on live or recorded video. Prezi Video allows sales professionals to have a presence within their visual content while maintaining eye contact with their audience. Many professionals don’t understand the eye-contact as essential to help establish the human connection and facilitate the two-way conversation — but Prezi Video gets that eye-contact is essential for effective sales pitches.

Through Prezi Video, you can visualize data, share case studies, and showcase products as you engage and build rapport with potential customers on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, Google Meet, and most video conferencing platforms. Sales pros can also use Prezi Video to record engaging and memorable prospecting videos to share via email or social channels. Nifty.

Owler virtual selling

2. Owler

News monitoring tools like Owler can ensure you stay on top of industry updates, announcements, and events without the added effort. With Owler, you can create a customized news feed for competitor news – the platform allows users to filter in the most relevant information, provides complete company profiles, and generates automatic insights.

Owler Daily Snapshots feature is akin to having your very own theSkimm tailored for your business. If you were looking for a sign to graduate from Google Alerts, this is it.

Khoros virtual selling

3. Khoros

Community management can feel like a whirlwind at times with the sheer volume of conversations happening at any given moment. Khoros turns cacophony into a streamlined dialogue by simplifying social media listening with automatic insights and providing a clean interface to ease community management.

Customer acquisition and engagement doesn’t have to be dizzying if you have the right sales tools.

Regie virtual selling

4. Regie
Many sales tools offer endless optionality and functionality. While that might be nice for expansive enterprises, most companies drown in the product. It’s like attempting to mow your lawn with a helicopter; it’s technically possible, but you’re probably wasting your time (and money).

Regie is a sales engagement tool with guardrails. This tool takes your marketing list (or buyer persona) and turns it into qualified sales meetings. Regie streamlines your workflow and focuses on the most important leading indicators — sales meetings and qualified opportunities.

Regie automates repetitive sales operations tasks and offers timely recommendations on your sales and prospecting strategy. Regie is different not because of the endless things it can do, but because of what it won’t do — waste your time.

Salesforce virtual selling

5. Salesforce

As its name suggests, Salesforce is a powerful sales tool. This multifaceted customer relationship management platform helps with everything from task management to customer service, employee performance management, and tracking. You can customize Salesforce to your needs using the sleuth of add-ons and build your own sales toolkit.

 

RankTools virtual selling

6. RankTools

RankTools is essential for any sales team who relies on SEO and moving into 2021, that will be just about everyone as digital marketing has become more important than ever. RankTools offers a variety of different products that help with reporting and analysis and is pretty much a one-stop-shop for all your SEO needs.

The RankTools SEO Tool package fully analyzes your website to ensure you’re implementing all the necessary practices for the best SEO optimization, and you can even track your competitors’ websites to see what you’re up against. It doesn’t just show where you’re lacking but informs you of the steps you need to take to improve.

Lucidchart virtual selling

7.

8. AeroLeads

Any B2B business knows how tedious manually digging for leads can be and how time-consuming it is to keep databases up to date. AeroLeads scouts contact information and stores it in an easy-on-the-eyes interface while checking in on your existing contacts for outdated information. Use this tool to simplify your contact research and keep your data current and organized.

CircleBack virtual sales

9. CircleBack

We’ve all had that moment of endless scrolling through email threads looking for that one person whose name we vaguely recall. Can you count how many business cards you’ve lost or accidentally thrown in the trash? With CircleBack, you won’t ever have to spend another minute of your time digging.

CircleBack pulls contact information from the depths of your conversations (whether they be email exchanges or text messages) and compiles them into a single neatly organized address book. You can scan contact cards for safekeeping in an instant, automatically delete duplicates, and trust this tool to save contact information from all your interactions so you can stay productive.

Conclusion

Having great connectivity with your customers and understanding your customers persona has always been a hallmark of good sales in business — and never so more than now. Find sales tools that will catapult your sales in the new year — it all begins with a finely-tuned virtual sales tool at present.

 

Top Image Credit: nataliya vaitkevich; pexels

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Connect corporate wiki Culture Knowledge Management knowledge management software Learn

Should You Create a Corporate Wiki for Your Business?

corporate wiki

Knowledgeable, informed employees build successful companies. The question is, how can you get that knowledge out of employees’ heads and distributed to the wider team?

One way to do so is with a corporate wiki. Wikis have existed for a while, but only recently have companies adopted them for internal knowledge-sharing. But wikis don’t build themselves; on teams that aren’t willing to invest time in them, they may create more confusion.

The alternative is doing it the old-fashioned way: Employees ask each other questions as they come up. But that method pulls people away from their work and, when an employee leaves, may result in lost knowledge. 

Is a corporate wiki right for your business? Find out by asking yourself these questions:

1. How much does the organization of knowledge matter?

Some companies simply have more knowledge to organize than others. A lawn care company, for example, might not need much more than a customer address book and accounting documents. 

Contrast that with a law firm. Misplacing an affidavit or pre-trial document could be disastrous to a client’s case. Across a few dozen clients, there might be a warehouse’s worth of documents to organize. 

Corporate wikis are easily organized and searchable. Because they’re accessible by the entire team, employees can update and recategorize old pages. And because corporate wikis are digital and cloud-hosted, there’s no risk of information getting lost. 

2. What tools must be synced?  

The typical enterprise uses 91 marketing cloud services, not to mention those associated with other departments. On teams that use a lot of tools, integrations are critical. 

Does your company use Slack for communication? Do you have important documents stored on Google Drive? Does your sales team live in Salesforce?

Many corporate wikis integrate with all those tools and more. When in doubt, ask: A provider may be willing to develop a new integration if it would help them close a sale. 

3. How important is collaboration?

Three in four employees believe collaboration and teamwork are important in the workplace. With that said, some roles and teams are more self-guided than others.

A freelance writer may only need to communicate with one editor about his or her work. But on a highly collaborative team, knowledge must be shared freely. Otherwise, operations may grind to a halt. 

Remote work has made collaboration even more challenging and critical. Employees in different locations are much more likely to miscommunicate than those sitting next to each other. 

Corporate wikis facilitate collaboration from anywhere. Teams using them can discuss, collaborate, and communicate no matter how far they are apart. 

4. Is oversight important?

Because everyone can share and edit the content within them, corporate wikis require oversight. Some contributions may be more professional or accurate than others, creating inconsistencies. 

Before implementing a corporate wiki, it’s important to appoint an internal content manager. This person may also be in charge of external content, like a content marketer, or be a subject-matter expert. 

The biggest benefit — and the biggest pitfall — of a corporate wiki is its collaborative nature. Ask the manager you appoint to set some ground rules: In what situations should a page be revised? In what situations should it be left alone? How can workers know whether they’re qualified to make changes?

5. How tech-savvy is the team?

Corporate wikis are digital tools. Teams with members who struggle to navigate software might want to think twice before investing in a corporate wiki. 

While wikis are easy to set up, they do come with a learning curve. Different team members learn at different speeds and in different ways. 

To ensure employees know how to use a corporate wiki, you’ll need to set up a corporate training session.  Check your training budget and your team members’ schedules. Both in terms of time and money, make sure you can accommodate at least two training sessions. 

If your employees have tech skills but sometimes struggle with motivation, you might also need to budget for incentives. Use small awards, like “Most pages created� or “Most valuable contribution,� paired with gift cards to encourage corporate wiki use. 

6. What proportion of knowledge is sensitive? 

Remember, corporate wikis are searchable. Before investing in one, ask yourself how much of your company’s knowledge is sensitive information. You might not want your customers’ credit card numbers searchable by the entire company, for example.

Some corporate wikis employ a practice known as “data masking.� Any information that fits a certain mold is automatically stripped or obfuscated before being uploaded with this process. Data masking is ideal for financial, healthcare, and business strategy details you need to keep private.

The bottom line is, you get out of a corporate wiki what you put in. If you’re willing to curate content as a team and invest in training, it’s a great choice for managing your company’s knowledge.

Image credit: mentatdgt; pexels

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Bluetooth Connect connect to the world Connected Devices connectivity ReadWrite

Setting the Record Straight on Bluetooth Security

bluetooth

As a follower and fan of technology news, you may have seen the occasional headline regarding Bluetooth security. More likely than not, a sensational “Major Bluetooth security flaw leaves millions of devices at risk,â€� or “Bluetooth bug leaves you open to attack.â€� The headlines catch your attention, making a vulnerability sound akin to a plague of locusts or the great flood coming straight for your Bluetooth enabled device or network. But, here, I’m setting the record straight on Bluetooth security.

Collaboration Between Security Research and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group

What is often overlooked is the fact that there is a planned and purposeful collaborative relationship between the security research community and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) – the not-for-profit trade association that oversees Bluetooth technology.

The Bluetooth SIG encourages the community to actively review the specifications, which are all open to review.

Finding and exposing these bugs is a painstaking process performed under specialized conditions in a lab environment.

With any technology we depend on, a concern around security is more than warranted and the Bluetooth SIG – along with its members – is vigilant in protecting against bad actors.

Our belief that security is critical to a world without wires is precisely the reason why we work so hard to improve the security features of Bluetooth technology.

We view our collaboration with the security research community as fundamental to the continued advancement and improvement of Bluetooth technology as a whole. Let’s take a deeper dive into how the Bluetooth SIG approaches security.

An Evolution in Bluetooth Technology

Throughout our 20-year history, the Bluetooth SIG has worked with its member companies to make Bluetooth technology the de facto low power, wireless standard. According to the 2020 Bluetooth Market Update, 4.6 billion devices will ship this year using Bluetooth technology.

We’ve ensured that Bluetooth technology could evolve from a simple, yet brilliant pairing solution for wireless audio to the underpinning of intelligent automation in the IoT across emerging markets like smart buildings, smart industry, and smart cities.

To provide excellence in Bluetooth connectivity, we work with nearly 36,000 companies in our member community, each of who uses Bluetooth technology as the connective tissue across a wide variety of applications.

The growth of legacy and new industries and the explosion of connected devices required to sustain them means that security must remain top of mind for technology professionals. However, security implementation is neither turnkey nor one-size-fits-all. For Bluetooth technology to be truly ubiquitous — it can’t be.

Because Bluetooth is everywhere — yet can’t actually be everywhere.

The omnipresence of Bluetooth is why the Bluetooth SIG has developed a three-pronged approach to prioritize security and protect Bluetooth technology.

The approach addresses security within Bluetooth specifications and interfaces, providing Bluetooth SIG members with ongoing security education. The education portion involves a Bluetooth Security Response Program. It is also specifically designed to leave room for continued innovation and iteration of Bluetooth technology.

No technology is flawless. By explaining the extent and intent of the Bluetooth SIG’s security process, we hope to provide an educational lens to the narrative around Bluetooth security and move it from one dominated by fearmongering headlines to one that is transparent about our security process – which continues to strengthen existing protections and introduce new security measures to meet the evolving requirements of the connectivity landscape.

Specifications: The Building Blocks of All Bluetooth Devices

To understand security, it’s important to understand the building blocks of Bluetooth technology – Bluetooth specifications.

In essence, specifications are the requirements that developers use to create connections and interoperability between Bluetooth devices. More use cases for Bluetooth have emerged beyond audio streaming and simple data transfer to include device networks and location services across all applications. The applications for Bluetooth include industrial asset tracking to commercial lighting.

As Bluetooth specifications expand, the security measures they include have had to expand as well.

The most prominent Bluetooth specification is the core specification, which defines the fundamental building blocks that developers use to create the interoperable devices that make up the thriving Bluetooth ecosystem.

But there are also over 100 additional profile and protocol specifications that define how to build everything from an interoperable Bluetooth headphone to creating large-scale Bluetooth mesh device networks for lighting control.

Developer Guidelines

Developers follow guidelines within each specification to purpose-fit their implementation as needed for their product design.

Each specification has its own techniques and tools that allow developers to address security precautions for their products and secure communications between Bluetooth devices.

You can think of it as a tool chest that developers can select from to implement the appropriate security level for their products. Some of the security features available to developers of Bluetooth Low Energy products include:

  • Protection against passive eavesdropping
  • Protection against man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks
  • Encrypted communication between two Bluetooth Low Energy devices using AES-CCM cryptography
  • Privacy and protection from identity tracking
  • The full list is available in the Bluetooth best practices guide, available to all members here.

Security Reviews

While specifications go through security reviews during the development process, it’s up to each of the SIG’s 36,000 members to choose the best security option necessary for their implementation.

For example, a Bluetooth enabled condition monitoring system in a factory would require significantly different security features than a wireless mouse. It is up to the developer to choose the necessary security features to implement in their Bluetooth product.

Having Bluetooth specifications provide these options and flexibility is the magic of what makes Bluetooth technology unique among the wide variety of low power wireless technologies available.

These options give members the freedom to choose the best security features for their products, but that can also mean that members might choose security or privacy features that aren’t sufficient for their application. This leads us to part two – education.

Education: The Tools to Design, Develop, and Deploy Secure Bluetooth Devices

To help members choose the appropriate security options for their applications, the Bluetooth SIG regularly publishes study guides, training videos, and a wide variety of other educational material.

These educational materials explain why certain security options work better than others in specific applications. They also explain the common security risks in each specification and how best to avoid them.

Common implementation best practices include:

  • Following the latest version of the Bluetooth specifications to ensure developers have the most current guidance
  • Documenting the security requirements of product design so that appropriate security is used in the implementation
  • Testing and auditing the security features of implementations
  • Ensuring that UX interfaces provide appropriate notification to users of any security or privacy issues
  • Enforcing secure coding practices in the development of any interface facing external data sources, especially wireless ones

While these education materials point members in the right direction, Bluetooth technology is an open, global standard. The Bluetooth SIG and its members share the responsibility of producing secure Bluetooth devices and applications with the security research community’s help.

Community: Sharing the Responsibility of Bluetooth Security

The Bluetooth SIG has enjoyed a working relationship with the security research community for a long time. Part of this working relationship process is encouraging ongoing review of the technology and reporting of vulnerabilities within specifications through the Bluetooth Security Response Program.

The response program ensures that reported vulnerabilities are investigated, resolved, and communicated across our member organization.

For example, last year, researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) helped to expose a flaw related to pairing in Bluetooth BR/EDR connections.

What occurs after a report on a flaw is filed?

Once reported, the Bluetooth SIG works quickly to remedy the vulnerability — providing a recommendation for members to integrate any necessary patches while the Core Specification can be thoroughly — and quickly updated.

The collaboration between EPFL, the Bluetooth SIG, and its members ensured continuous improvement and technology security.

Relationships like these enable us to quickly address any security issues that result from new development in Bluetooth technology.

With Great Prevalence Comes Great Responsibility

The potential and power of Bluetooth technology continues to grow. With billions of new Bluetooth enabled devices shipping every year, Bluetooth wireless technology is embedded in the fabric of our lives.

Bluetooth is what connects us to each other — and to the world around us.

As the community continues to expand the capabilities of Bluetooth technology — it’s key focus is to ensure our Bluetooth communications remain secure.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

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Connect Connected Devices free internet internet in pandemic Web

How to Get Access to Free Internet, TV, and Phone Services

free internet access

Quite often, people get disappointed when they receive huge internet bills by the end of each month. The growing prices of this service have made it extremely difficult for some households to gain access to our World Wide Web. Here is how to get access to free internet, TV, and phone services.

A majority of the people living in the US are unaware of the fact that they can get internet access for free without breaking the law. Here are some interesting options for you to sign up.

EveryoneOn.org

Everyone On is a government initiative that partners with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring internet access in every household.

The government service is mainly for those people who cannot afford to pay for such luxuries. For instance, the internet is not a priority for disadvantaged families, homeless individuals, and low-income households.

Therefore, the US government is responsible for providing connectivity to such users.

An interesting fact about Everyone On is that it emphasizes the reality that students today need the internet to learn and compete against other peers who are more affluent and well-groomed.

It goes without saying that the internet provides an endless supply of knowledge and skills that students need to acquire to survive in this competitive world.

Certain parameters decide whether you qualify for the program or not. In case of disqualification, you can always opt for their economical plans, which start from $10 per month.

Freedom Pop

Freedom Pop has been in business for quite some time now. It is a great platform that offers free internet access for your computer as well as your smartphone. Freedom Pop is exceptional for users who cannot justify their internet expenses because their usage is too low.

To get internet access, you will have to set up an account and pay an initial deposit, which is only a few dollars. Freedom Pop will then send you the equipment that you need to activate your connection.

You will get 2GB of free internet for the first month; not a ton of data but still a decent amount. From the second month, you will get 500 MB of free data. This data limit works well for users who just have to send and receive emails.

NetZero

Back in the days of dial-up internet, NetZero used to be a huge platform. However, with emerging technologies like cable and fiber internet, NetZero lost its importance.

Although the company is still in business, they are only offering their services to selected areas. Nevertheless, with NetZero, you can access the World Wide Web for free. So, if you have a phone line at home, you can use it to connect your computer to the internet.

Bear in mind that the company only offers 10 hours of internet per month in their basic free package. If that is not enough for you, you can always sign up for other plans that offer standard internet service with greater data caps and speed.

Wi-Fi Map

Wi-Fi Map is an application that enables you to find all the free Wi-Fi hotspots near you so that you can easily connect your device to the internet. The application is available across various countries and it is great for people who are traveling.

One drawback of this application is that the free version only covers around 2.5 miles. This means that you will have to upgrade to its pro version to find hotspots that are far away from your location.

If you do not want to pay for the upgrade, another option is to watch ads to get access to different hotspots. This way, you can seamlessly connect your smartphone, tablet, or any other device and enjoy free connectivity.

Is Free Internet Worth it?

It is a known fact that free internet is an insecure internet. Therefore, instead of using free networks, go for a budget-friendly internet package that offers good internet speed at reasonable prices.

Plus, when you sign up for this service, you will get access to the service provider’s hotspots. The majority of the providers in the US have their hotspots around popular areas to facilitate the customers in the best possible way.

Here are some renowned service providers from LocalCableDeals that offer high-speed internet packages at highly competitive prices:

  1. Charter Spectrum
  2. Comcast Xfinity
  3. Optimum by Altice
  4. Cox Communications
  5. AT&T Internet

You do not necessarily have to spend hundreds of dollars on the internet every month.

For a mere $49.99 price tag, you can enjoy Spectrum Internet that offers speeds up to 940 Mbps in some areas.

Such incredible speeds are sufficient to support all your online activities including 4K streaming, online gaming, and heavy downloading. If you are one of those households that require multiple services at reasonable prices, make sure to check out Spectrum Select Package, which offers super-fast internet, more than 125 HD channels, and crystal-clear phone service.

Buy your services from a well-reputed provider so you get the best value for your money. Free services do not come with 24/7 customer support.

However, if you choose to go for one of the aforementioned providers, professional technicians are just a call away to resolve all your problems at any time.

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Connect intranet managing remote teams Remote Teams Tech

7 Tools That Support Remote Team Collaboration and Communication

7 Tools That Support Remote Team Collaboration and Communication

Collaborating with a remote team is challenging, but the right tools and strategies can streamline the communication process.

The two main challenges facing remote teams are major time zone differences and lack of in-person collaboration. Online collaboration is effective, but time zone differences make it hard to connect in real-time.

For instance, when a team member in India needs to connect with a team member in the United States, there’s a time difference of nearly 12 hours (give or take, depending on specific time zones). For these two team members to connect, one will need to get up extra early and the other will need to stay up late.

The other big challenge with large differences in time zones is that productivity will always lag behind by 12 to 24 hours. This lag time makes it difficult to meet strict client deadlines and can put projects behind schedule.

If your organization has a remote team, whether your employees are spread out across the states or the world, the following tools will help you maintain efficient online collaboration and communication to ensure you deliver on time.

1. A company intranet

A company intranet is like a private internet for your entire team that can only be accessed by your team members. It can be implemented locally in the office with your own set of servers and networking equipment, or it can be hosted in the cloud.

With an intranet hosted in the cloud, your team can access it from anywhere and you avoid maintenance and upgrade fees. If your team is 100% remote and you don’t have an office, your intranet will need to be hosted in the cloud.

According to Happeo, cloud collaboration makes remote teams successful through tools like video conferencing applications, intranets, and document repositories. A company intranet can provide easy access to all of a team’s collaboration tools.

Intranet security

The privacy and security of an intranet is unparalleled even by the most highly secured software application you can install on your company website. For instance, installing proprietary collaboration software on a subdomain on your company’s website isn’t as secure as you think. Even when your team members use secure login credentials, your web server could get hacked on the back-end, compromising your sensitive data.

On the other hand, a hosted intranet is separate from your company website. With a reputable service provider, the servers used to host your company intranet are locked down with the tightest security. When you intranet isn’t hosted on your website’s domain name, hackers won’t know where to look for it.

2. A navigable, online self-help portal

An online self-help portal will make your employees self-sufficient and empower your team to find answers on their own. Usually, a self-help portal is hosted on a company intranet.

What information does a self-help portal contain?

A self-help portal can contain an infinite amount of knowledge regarding company policies and procedures, and even links to files. Essentially, any kind of information your employees might need, including answers to questions customers might ask, should be housed in a self-help portal.

Employees can use a self-help portal to immediately look up answers to questions posed by clients, customers, and other team members. This accessibility reduces the amount of time it would take to contact a manager or supervisor to find the answer.

A self-help portal can be created by using FAQ software or by hiring a development company to create a proprietary application just for your team. Either way, it works just like a website with a main menu, links for navigation, and a search function.

The key to using an online self-help portal is to make it user-friendly and continually update and add to the information as processes change and your company evolves.

3. A well-designed training program

Every remote team is supported by a well-designed training program. How you onboard your remote employees matters, and how they’re trained will set the tone for how they’ll perform.

Well-trained team members communicate and collaborate more efficiently than team members who work according to their own standards. It’s important to create a training program that can be implemented consistently by any and all of your trainers.

With remote teams, it’s especially important to train your team over an extended period of time rather than give them a manual to read and call it a day. Training manuals serve a purpose, but they shouldn’t take the place of actual training.

How you train your remote team depends on your industry. For instance, if you’re a marketing firm, your training program should include providing constructive feedback after each client interaction, after work is submitted, and throughout the entire process for at least one full project. This will give your team the feedback they need to align with company standards every step of the way.

4. A unified task management platform

Nothing disrupts remote teams like having tasks managed in multiple applications. This can be a tricky situation to get a grip on because all of your remote employees will probably have preferences for the software they like to use for managing tasks. To maintain good collaboration, you’ll need to require all team members to use the same application.

You might have a task management application that you prefer, but stay open to using other platforms recommended by your team. They might know about a platform that is superior to what you’ve always used.

5. Communications training

Ongoing communications training is one of the best ways to keep a remote team on track and should be an irreplaceable part of your company’s communication strategy. Everyone talks about great communication, but few can demonstrate what that looks like. For instance, communication is more than sharing information with another team member. Communication skills involve knowing how and when to deliver a message along with being able to have a productive dialogue with others, especially when there’s a disagreement.

Traditionally, organizations have sent employees to weekend communications training programs, but today it’s easy to take those same courses online. Find an organization that specializes in teaching communication for team collaboration and start requiring your remote employees to complete the courses of your choice.

6. Top-of-the-line computers

It’s difficult to work in the tech industry on older computers running deprecated browser versions because the machine can’t handle an operating system upgrade. Sure, you can find laptops on eBay for a couple hundred bucks, but you’re not doing your company any favors that way.

If your remote employees depend on current technology to get the job done, buy them the right equipment. You don’t need to spend $5,000 per person on new MacBook Pros, but you do need to consider a person’s work before buying them a machine.

7. World clock applications

The simplicity of a world clock application can’t be underestimated. Your remote team needs to know what time it is around the world where other team members and clients are located. This will help keep them on track to deliver tasks on time. For example, if someone from India sets a deadline for Tuesday, a team member in the U.S. can submit the task on Tuesday and yet it’s already Wednesday in India.

World clocks with a little forethought will help team members across different time zones set and meet deadlines smoothly.

Remote collaboration can be exceptionally efficient

Despite team members living in different parts of the world, remote collaboration can be exceptionally efficient – even more efficient than an in-house team.

The problem in-house teams face most is wasted time. It’s a drag having to get ready for work, commute to the office, and then sit at a desk all day. Remote teams are surprisingly more efficient because the freedom helps team members tailor their work to a schedule that works best for their lifestyle. Without the commute, they have more time and energy to devote to getting the job done.

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Tailoring Your 2020 Strategy to Win in the Remote Workplace

remote workplace

In a survey last year, three out of four workers worldwide said they considered flexible working to be “the new normal,� according to the 2019 Global Workspace Survey. Since then, remote work has spiked. Tailoring your strategy in 2020 will be a key factor in ensuring business success and achieving, or at least continuing to progress towards, your business goals in 2020. Fix your strategy to win in the remote workplace.

A strategy that moves the needle on business objectives doesn’t need to be tied to an office space. It often checks off three important boxes that can be completed near or far: prioritizing employee experience, tracking progress in real-time to know when to revise, and finding new ways to collaborate when setting and executing strategy.

Prioritizing Employee Experience

With the workforce at home, employee experience might seem like an afterthought — out of sight, out of mind — however, neglecting to prioritize employee experience would be a major blow to strategy execution. After all, as leaders carve out a way to make sure strategy is implemented effectively, it’s important to remember that execution is performed by, well, actual people.

Business goal-setting lives in the world of paradox.

Goal setting needs to be both ambitious but realistic, visionary yet concrete. It is essential that this balance surfaces in your overall strategy along with specific and actionable plans that help to execute your strategy throughout your organization.

One way to ensure this is to slice company goals down into smaller, measurable fragments. With measurable fragments, employees, and relevant larger groups (departments and teams) are more likely to stay the course even as they’re located remotely.

Specificity and quantifiability allow easier progress tracking and improve motivation, resulting in a great employee experience across all levels and teams.

Focusing on transparent actions and cross-level communications.

Transparent communication is naturally, one of the best solutions for ensuring people in your organization feel heard. Transparency propels motivation, alignment and engagement while helping your team to better understand each other and achievement (or lack thereof) of respective goals.

Transparency helps to highlight individual progress or times when an employee might need help, particularly when it is effectively integrated with communication tools, automated dashboards, and executive reporting.

Tracking Progress In Real-Time to Know When to Revise

While breaking down goals and outlining how to achieve them in your organization is a key foundation to a successful strategy, oftentimes leaders will “set and forgetâ€� goals — a sometimes fatal mistake for a blossoming business.

Furthermore, in a distributed workforce regular checkpoints become essential for keeping projects on track, but if the goals aren’t at the forefront of day-to-day actions, execution can become unproductive or stray off course.

For some teams with established communications systems, the leader’s whereabouts are nonessential to the success of the team.

Track productivity and aligning remote workers around unifying goals and targets in real-time is an effective way to promote strong leadership and delegate clear tasks amongst team members. It is critical to identify immediately when your strategy isn’t resonating with the people responsible for executing it.

You will likely see this in a post-quarterly review, but what if you could see it on a daily basis (or even in real-time whenever you needed it)? Think of the impact that might have on redirected strategy or execution gone wrong.

There are many new tools designed to automate the work that teams are doing — after all, automation is a top priority for many businesses as they seek to improve processes and expand. Some of these are one-off tools, but there are options available that allow you to automate and integrate with many existing tools that your workers already use (ex. Slack, Jira, Microsoft Teams).

Using seamless integration ensures that everything your employees do to progress toward company goals is automatically recorded in real-time and compiled into a simple and visual dashboard.

Tracking progress automatically is the best way to ensure maximum productivity. Automation can help scale activity tracking to an enterprise-level while also providing fascinating data insights into a remote worker’s performance—and the performance of the company as a whole.

Using data to inform performance (and, conversely, performance to inform data) highlights the human issues that sometimes lie behind organizational problems. It equips an organization to change and improve and its employees to be productive team members and contributors to the company’s cause.

Finding New Ways to Collaborate When Setting and Executing Strategy

Two of the biggest challenges in collaboration that may confront remote workforces are a feeling of disconnect to the organization’s goals and priorities as well as a general lack of visibility into workloads, progress, teams, and management.

These are common challenges for teams meeting face-to-face as well, and they go hand-in-hand when inhibiting teams from being productive and collaborating properly.

Shifting to a remote workforce completely changes the context in which teams work together, and it can make tasks and projects more difficult to accomplish. One solution to this disconnect is relying on management software to increase transparency within and across teams in an organization.

Use data and communication throughout an organization via a goal management platform.

Companies can encourage and illuminate ways for all employees to be productive team members who are all making a difference to the organization’s overarching goals. Technology like this can also help organizations make sure every teammate is aware of their responsibilities, and more importantly accountable for them so that everyone in the organization is contributing – which is a big part of being collaborative.

In short, aligning employees against a shared set of objectives and then using data to provide a centralized, transparent tracker for each goal is a highly effective way to promote collaboration across functions, geographies and roles.

Pivoting your strategy to win in the remote workplace doesn’t take much effort.

Take a few simple shifts that can transform the execution of a strategic vision and lead to business wins down the road. Prioritizing employee experience and how employees carry through overarching yearly strategies.

The manner and frequency in which you monitor progress when it comes to meeting goals; and actively finding new ways to collaborate from afar when setting and executing your strategy all play a key role in determining its success and should be evaluated on a regular basis.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

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