Business Technology in Lincoln – 2017
The world of technology is ever-expanding, with practical applications in all areas of how we do business and for maximizing efficiencies in a business’s operations. Thus, the impact it’s already made is profound, and the possibilities for the future are exciting.
For every problem to solve or goal to achieve, there’s a solution to be found that involves technology. In narrowing the possibilities down to what we’re able to cover in just a few short columns, we’ve selected several local experts to share what’s going on now and what the future looks like based on their offerings and specialty areas.
To kick things off, Layne Sup with Infinite Systems, Information Analytics, and Binary Net discusses everything from hardware networking to software engineering, bandwidth and connectivity, off-site data storage, and IT support.
“Between the three companies – Infinite Systems, Information Analytics, and Binary Net – we cover much of the business technology spectrum.
Infinite Systems is the (MSP) Managed Services Partner wing of the group that focuses on providing our clients networking, workstation and server management and support. On a daily basis, Infinite Systems provides support and troubleshoots customers’ technical problems.
Customers want to solve their IT problems easily, quickly and efficiently. They are looking to us as their trusted advisors to provide them the best possible solutions to facilitate their IT needs so they can focus on running their businesses. We utilize powerful software to keep a watchful eye on our client’s computer health, protection status, and data. If a problem is identified, we are able to address it immediately before it becomes a bigger issue.
Binary Net occupies the bank vault of the 1st National Bank Building, in which customer servers are stored in a secure, climate-controlled environment. But we go way beyond just storing customers’ servers. We also offer solutions to optimize the functioning of our customers’ servers, which are also monitored 24/7. If a problem comes up we have staff who will address the problem at all hours of the day and night; whether that means remotely or on-site, there is someone working on it in a timely fashion. We also offer bandwidth services as well as customer support.
At Binary Net, one of the services we offer that set us apart from others is our WordPress Management package. We provide technical guidance and support for nearly every aspect of the site, with the only exception being custom code that customers have built themselves. It’s really nice to know if you have to call support, you can talk to the actual engineer who maintains your site instead of calling a hotline. All of the WordPress core and plugin updates are handled by our staff, which can save a lot of time on the customers’ part when updates go awry. Website security is handled by Binary Net, which covers not only the security of the site content itself, but also ensures that if the site is ever hacked by an attacker, Binary Net will repair the hack for no charge as part of this service. Since fixing hacked sites in today’s world can easily be a multi-thousand dollar venture, this is huge for our clients.
With Information Analytics, our primary focus is to provide information services such as web development, hosting, databases and custom programming. We offer Managed Hosting plans now that allow us to apply automatic software and security updates to our customer’s sites. Oftentimes when businesses get sites designed, they are not informed of how important these updates are to keep them up to date and secure. Information Analytics is different because we explain these options to our customers and educate them on what software they are using.
Consumers are increasingly more involved in the selection, creation, and management of their digital identity. Information Analytics wants to partner with them to provide excellent customer care and content.”
Looking forward, he concludes, “As far as new trends that have gained traction, mobile-friendly website layouts are important now because Google ranks websites according to their ‘mobile score,’ meaning that it appears great on all mobile devices. This scoring, if higher for mobile, allows Google to rank the site higher in search results.
Security and cloud solutions have been two areas of growth which we benefit from by having direct access to a development team (Information Analytics) and data center (Binary Net) that allows us to offer custom solutions like cloud storage, server hosting, offsite backups and security solutions to lock down remote connections.
Each customer’s needs are different, and that will continue to be the same. As such, we get to know our customers and their specific IT business needs. We then customize specific technological solutions that will optimize their businesses. Not only do we provide customers with top-notch technology services, but we are also constantly updating our internal infrastructure as well as educating our employees on the constantly evolving new technology that is out there. We believe technology should enhance people’s lives.”
Next up, if you’ve not heard of the Internet of Things (IoT) yet, you can be sure that you will soon. Getting ahead of the curve now should be part of your long-term business strategy if you hope to maintain a competitive edge.
“The Internet of Things is here, and it’s opened up a world of possibilities,” says Kevin Knudson with QTEQ. “Presently, and moving forward, there are about 50 billion reasons to keep up on your technology products and services. Google ‘Internet of Things by the year 2020’ and you will find many articles on the ways it is expected to transform everything about technology, even as we know it now.
The Internet of Things, simply put, is anything connected to the Internet. An example of this is the ‘Smart Home,’ which applies to places of business in the same way. We now have the ability to adjust the thermostat, turn lights on and off, monitor security systems and more from a smartphone or other personal devices.
Smart devices are here to stay, and now you can work securely from anywhere too. Tablets, laptops, and smartphones are all tools now used for the mobile office. By creating a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, your company can access your own private, protected data from any device with internet connectivity.
Then there’s the cloud, a term that encompasses anything stored offsite. Virtualizing your server presents the opportunity to save thousands of dollars just by having it in the cloud. It eliminates the need for hardware or software upgrades in your business and reduces the maintenance and support needed.
At QTEQ, we love helping businesses with their technology plans and pride ourselves on offering the best products and solutions on the market. As a fellow owner of multiple small businesses, it’s my passion to help small businesses thrive, not just survive. We are always looking for ways to drive profits, boosting the bottom line for our clients.
For those who are interested in incorporating technology into their businesses, the professionals at QTEQ can help you learn how and where it would be most advantageous. That includes what will provide the best return on your investment. We want to become your business partner and help you double your profits this coming year, all the while helping you to be best prepared for 2020. There are a lot of great, affordable options today. You can upgrade and save money, which is an excellent place to start.”
With more people moving towards the cloud, there have been a lot of innovations in that area in recent years, particularly for business use. “Cloud-based solutions, or Software As A Service (SaaS), have been around for quite some time,” says Darren Lichty with Panology Tech Solutions. ”However, the recent trend is one of more small businesses leveraging them. This gives them access to valuable technology and tools while controlling cost. Technology no longer needs to be a major investment and can grow with your business. Panology has extensive experience using these solutions to help our clients succeed.
The objective most commonly expressed by potential clients is saving money while retaining access to the support they need. Panology achieves this objective by replacing the traditional monthly contract with a quarterly heath check and update. In many situations, this can save the client up to 75% compared to the traditional model. With our package pricing model, knowing how much it is going to cost up front helps to plan for, and avoid, unexpected expenses that can really hurt a business.”
Specifically regarding selecting the technology that will benefit a business the most, Lichty further advises, “Technology should empower your business to achieve its goals. If it is holding you back, replace it with an alternative. Keep in mind, technology will not solve problems with your internal processes, but it can help those processes run more efficiently and consistently.
Start by clearly identifying the goals you wish to achieve (in order of priority), then seek out the tools and technology that will help you achieve those goals. Likewise, seek the advice of an expert who can answer your questions clearly and provide you with options. This should be a conversation, not a statement. Panology prides itself on educating and empowering our clients to make informed decisions.”
The integration of technology, while oftentimes complicated and thus best left to the experts, can prove to be incredible once accomplished and put into use. Once you have it, you can’t imagine what life was like without it. Consider audio/visual technology as yet another example, and one that has been rapidly advancing too.
“Many clients approach us looking for out-of-the-box thinking and engineering for huddle rooms/spaces, remote connectivity, video walls, digital signage, and sound masking,” says Michelle Brinkman with Echo Systems. “Ease of use, flexibility, and scalability are all important across the board with any of these or other types of technology for business use. As others have mentioned, remote connectivity is the big one right now. People want to be able to log into their system to make changes and perform service-related tasks. The ability for clients, strategic business partners, team members or other guests to sit down in a board room and connect their laptop or table wirelessly to a video wall or screen display is desirable as well. In order to achieve your goals for audio-visual systems integration, get professionals like us involved as early on in the design process as possible. This also holds true for most other technology that a business would want to incorporate.
The one thing constant about the tech industry is that nothing is constant. We spend a lot of time, energy and money keeping up with technological advancements in order to be on the cutting edge while staying away from the bleeding edge. Not only are we innovators when it comes to design and installation, but we also have a dedicated service department. This includes 24/7 phone support, remote monitoring and the ability to fix certain things remotely. One of our core values is service after the sale; we focus on building lifetime relationships and you can expect us to be a partner that you can count on.”
When it comes to technology in the workplace, as evidenced by all that we’ve discussed up to this point, there’s a lot of ground to cover. There are the devices you use to conduct transactions, to communicate with clients and perform critical tasks, to store and access your data, to research and analyze it, A/V for presentations and training, not to mention access to a bevy of apps and programs. Not to be left out, there’s even a host of building technology systems and devices that when fully integrated, can have a major impact on your people and their productivity in the workplace as well as minimizing your expenditures and asset protection.
“From a building technology perspective, there are a whole host of Building Management System (BMS) programs that effectively incorporate more advanced technology in the workplace,” advises Pat Killeen with Engineered Controls. “These will apply whether your building is new or existing, which for the latter would be part of a retrofit project.
Briefly, a few of our BMS technology offerings for commercial buildings would include:
- Affordable integrated building control and automation systems that make your buildings smarter and more efficient by providing essential instrumentation and control.
- Systems that make lighting much more efficient. Our lighting controls solution offers smart scheduling, presence detection, and photocells to ensure lights aren’t left burning in vacant areas and that lights are off in areas where there is already plenty of natural light.
- Integrated security solutions to meet your every need. These include standalone and networked access control solutions, an intrusion detection or video surveillance solution or a fully-integrated security system.
- Gas detection systems for parking garages and mechanical rooms with chillers and boilers. These are areas where safety is a concern and where people can become sick or even die if not ventilated properly.
- The latest in parking gate controls and revenue generation system solutions for airports, education, event, healthcare, hotels & public buildings, cities and municipalities, office, and retail.
At Engineered Controls, our specialty is providing high-quality products and services that create efficient, safe, and comfortable building environments. To that end, if someone was looking to leverage technology to improve the energy efficiency of their facility, we have products and services that will do that. On the other hand, if someone is looking to protect their people and assets, we have safety products and services that do that as well. We have a team of engineers who create custom integration solutions to pull all of your building equipment into a common platform regardless of manufacturer.
Work with a building technology contractor to choose a system that has the ability to be scalable as your business needs grow. Do not skimp on features of the equipment thinking that the lowest-priced option is equivalent. The axiom ‘You get what you pay for’ often applies. A good building technology partner will be able to explain the difference in the products available and is willing to inform you of your options. It is also beneficial to know the reputation of the building technology partner. Ask for credentials, experience, and references.”
One thing you can count on with technology for business use is that there will always be something new and innovative that will help you achieve your objectives. If you’re not ahead, you’re behind. There are so many possibilities to explore, and a good starting point for anyone is to reach out to our local experts.