Three ways hosted telephony can save businesses money

Hosted telephone services are, essentially, telephone systems run within the cloud. Where traditional systems would use physical assets to route and control their calls, hosted telephone services use advanced cloud-based communication technologies to deliver the same call control and routing without the need for on-premise equipment.

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Hosted telephony is a great investment for businesses looking to save money as they can reduce costs in the following three ways:

Reduction of system costs

By upgrading to a cloud-based infrastructure, businesses can negate the need to lease or fund hardware systems on site as your system no longer requires them; thereby greatly reducing costs in system management and maintenance.

Reduction in hardware costs

To run a business on a traditional system, there is a cost to buy telephone handsets on which to conduct the calls. With a cloud-based system, handsets can be purchased on a monthly payment basis to last the length of the cloud-based system contract.

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The new set up also allows for the telephone system to be hosted on mobile phones running on both Android and iOS and although it may be separately agreed, most cloud-based providers such as https://www.idtexpress.com/blog/category/voice-termination/ offer az termination, ensuring highly competitive call rates.

Reduction in maintenance costs

If something were to go wrong with the new cloud-based system, then the majority of errors can be fixed remotely which can lead to a reduction in call-out costs or in-house maintenance.

Cloud-based communications based upon VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) have become a huge market which is still growing. In 2012 there were an estimated 99 billion registered users and forecasts are predicting that by 2020 there will be circa 205 billion registered users. This huge growth results from technical advancements and ever-changing business needs. You can read more about the statistics here: https://www.ironpaper.com/webintel/articles/voip-market-stats/.

Transitioning into VoIP can be a significant change for businesses and so before making the switch, a suitable level of research and analysis needs to be undertaken. However, there is plenty of information on the internet with a simple search. This can be vital in giving business owners the peace of mind that they are making the right choice for their business and investing in the right areas to maximise growth.

VoIP is clearly working for businesses, evidenced by its ever-growing market share.

5 more types of in-store marketing to know

In-store marketing sees a location such as a showroom or retail store being used as a base for marketing functions which go beyond sales (forming relationships, discovering wants, presenting answers and closing deals) and distribution (delivering services and products to customers). Here are some types of in-store marketing.

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1 Customer Experience

The customer journey involves a series of stages and touchpoints. Retailers use it to discover problems, gaps and things which are functioning well that may be scaled. In-store experiences represent an opportunity for the retailer to formulate a strong culture and brand identity. One example might be a coffee shop with professional and interesting baristas as opposed to a cafe lacking the human touch.

2 Customer Relationships

Customer relationships are relationships between a retailer and their current, future and former customers. This may include interactions in person, via other communications, and with services, products and environments. Growing customer relationships is important – for example, having staff who know their customers by name, or promoting an in-store loyalty programme.

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When shopping you may encounter in store media such as successful in store media from Mood Media.

For more retail tips see https://www.shopify.co.uk/retail/119517891-10-retail-experts-share-their-1-tip-for-marketing-and-growing-your-store.

3 Price Promotion

Price promotions see products offered at a discounted price. Usually, big signs advertise the sale. In-store promotions may also see coupons and related communications being used to draw shoppers’ attention.

4 Promotion

Promotions may be conducted using samples, in-store events, demonstrations, activities, workshops and interactive environments. Such events communicate marketing messages, and see successful brand awareness and sales targets being generated. Display windows in stores may be designed to bring in customers, with new designs each season.

5 Product Launch

Product launches may involve employing in-store promotions to stimulate demand and engender brand awareness for new items. Promotions can be designed to raise awareness, recognition and enthusiasm for products, services and brands.

Brand awareness means that your customers can recognise your brand by its features. Brand recall is the unassisted recall of a name in a particular product category. For example, customers may name up to seven names for a product category like ‘airlines’. Meanwhile brand recognition is the assisted recall of a name. For example, when a brand name is shown, customers can correctly recognise that the name is a brand of bottled water.

Moving House Security Checklist

When looking for a house to buy, it is important that you look for one that will meet your needs.

Some of the major factors you need to consider when looking for a house include safety and security. Keep in mind that buying a house usually has an element of risk, but the good news is that there are ways to minimise this risk. Here is a guide from The KJM Group with some useful tips.

Searching for a House to Buy

When searching for a house to buy, it is good that you determine the place you would like to live in. Apart from considering things such as local amenities, school catchments and local transport links, you should also consider the security and safety of the area. Find out about the crime rate in the area you want to live in, and the kind of people who hang out in the area. Avoid buying a house in areas where unsavoury people hang out.

You can find crime statistics for the area you want to live in on the Police website and UK Crime stats website. These statistics can help you know about the crime rate in the area. One visit to the area you want to live in is not enough. Visit as many times as possible and at different times of the day to make sure that the area is ideal for you.

Ensure that you visit the area after dark as this will give you the general picture of the neighbourhood at night. Are there signs of anti-social behaviour in the area? If yes, it may be a good idea to consider looking for another place to buy a house. Does the area have adequate street lighting?

An area with adequate street lighting will make you feel safe. Therefore, it is good to ensure that the area you want to live in has adequate street lighting. If possible, find out about the general atmosphere and previous crimes of the area from people living in the area.

When searching for a house to buy, check the condition of the windows and doors before making your decision. Even though doors and windows can be replaced when you move, it will cost you. Therefore, it is good to look for a house with a solid door and windows in good condition as they are easy to secure.

A house with a gravel driveway can also be a good choice since this driveway can be a security measure. This is because of the fact that walking on gravel makes a noise that can scare a burglar or alert you that there is someone on your property.

Moving Day

Moving day is usually a stressful and busy day as there are many things to do for the move to be successful. As such, it is easy to forget the security basics. This article will help you avoid forgetting these basics. So read on to know about what you should do and not do on moving day when it comes to security.

Contact a Professional Locksmith

This is the most important thing you should do on moving day. This is because of the fact that you may not know how many copies of the old key are out there. Therefore, it is a good idea to change the locks for security reasons.

Additionally, your insurance policy could become invalid if you don’t change the locks. Also, remember to check the condition of the shed or garage lock. If you will be storing valuable items in there, put on new locks and ensure that they are secure.

Find Out About the Details of the Security Alarm/ System

If the current owners will leave a security alarm/system, ask them about the details of the alarm/ system including its password, manufacturer and when it was installed. Once you know everything about the security alarm/system, change the password immediately.

Keep an Eye on Your Belongings

When moving, it is very important to keep an eye on your belongings ensuring that you move your belongings into your new house without leaving any of them inside a van, on the pavement or in the garden. Don’t grab a cup of tea in your new house before bringing all your items inside, since a thief can easily steal your item when no one is looking.

Do Not Make It Obvious That You Have Just Moved In

Once you have brought all your items into your new house, hang curtains or blinds so that your neighbours cannot see your items. Make sure that your boxes aren’t in open view as they can let people know that you just moved in.

Most insurance companies recommend changing locks when moving in. Sadly, 74 per cent of people don’t change the locks when they …

The Truth About Ageing and Healthy Eating: Busting the Myths

Life expectancy in the UK has been on the rise for the last 200 years, with at least 16% of the population aged above 65 years. It is also worth noting that the highest percentage of seniors in this age group are 85 years and above. Unfortunately, most seniors do not lead a healthy lifestyle; a factor that impacts their quality of life and health significantly. This is due to a popular misconception that most people seem to believe. Some of these are myths and do not have any basis at all. Here are some of the beliefs about ageing and healthy eating that a live in care agency decided to look into.

Ageing brings about several changes in our bodies and how we perceive food. Many are of the belief that ageing prevents us from accessing nutritious and healthy diet, and that it reduces our need/desire to eat good food. This makes most people eat less than they should. Regular physical activity and proper nutrition play a huge role in protecting our bodies from health conditions related to ageing such as cognitive decline and cardiovascular diseases. It also helps preserve dental, oral, bone, and joint health.

Top 10 Myths About Healthy Diet and Ageing

  1. Your stomach size reduces as you age
    This is far from the truth. The size of the stomach doesn’t shrink as we age. Only eating habits, how much you eat, and appetite may change over time.
  2. You should eat less food as you age
    This, again, is a myth. You don’t need to eat less food as you get older. Although metabolism tends to slow down a bit as we age, this doesn’t mean you should eat less food. Enjoying a hearty meal of good food is what fuels and protects our body cells. This plays a huge role in ageing gracefully.
  3. It’s good to lose weight
    Many of us have grown believing weight loss is the key to a healthy body. This is however not entirely the case for seniors. Unless advised otherwise by your doctor or dietician, unintentional weight loss and dieting should be avoided.
  4. Only eat when you feel the need to
    The natural ageing process may affect how the brain responds to hunger hormones. Significant loss of appetite isn’t however ‘normal’ and could be a sign of a health issue.
  5. It would be best if you focused on a low-fat diet
    Despite being the popular opinion for younger generations, this isn’t particularly recommended for older people. Essential fats play a crucial role in providing calories for seniors, one of the reasons older people should eat more food.
  6. You need to eat more vegetables
    A portion of nutrient-dense food is recommended for all. Vegetables alone won’t provide you with all the essential nutrients (carbohydrates, fluids, vitamins, and proteins) needed for a healthy body. Proteins are particularly crucial for they help strengthen the immune system, muscles, the brain, and other body organs.
  7. Drink water only when thirsty
    Dehydration affects the normal functioning of the kidneys and the brain, a reason you should drink plenty of water through the day.
  8. Dietary supplements are enough
    Seniors too should be allowed to enjoy good food just like anyone else. While you cannot live off meal supplements alone, only real food will provide you with all nutrients in their full spectrum. Food enjoyed in the company of friends and family is more enjoyable than supplements.
  9. You should eat three meals every day
    While three meals are recommended for all, you don’t necessarily have to eat all these meals at one go. If struggling with appetite, you should then consider having smaller servings of the same, but frequently. Well-portioned snacks are recommended in such instances.
  10. Malnutrition means you are getting older
    While anyone can suffer from malnutrition, seniors are at a higher risk as compared to younger individuals. You should, therefore, watch out for signs of starvation to get ahead of it.

Such myths are the reason most people struggle through their senior life, and live alone. Ensuring these individuals have access to healthy and nutritious food is recommended.…

4 Reasons to Be Using Dash Cams

Do you have a dash cam in your HGV?

If you don’t, you are missing out on a lot. Purchasing and putting a dash cam in your HGV will be a huge investment into your safety and future. Over the years, dash cams have been used to capture surprising accident footage from around the world such as those involving lorries, vans and other commercial vehicles.

With the dash cam footage, it’s easy to prove the driver is unsafe or if the driver wasn’t at fault for the accident, thus proving their innocence. Cobra UK, one of the leading security solutions provider in the United Kingdom, requested the government to pass legislation to install front-facing cameras in commercial vehicles. It’s an ideal way to provide protection against ‘crash for cash’ scams. Here are the top 4 reasons why you should install dash cams in your HGV.

1. Protection From Scams

There have been many cases where people claim cash from insurance companies from crashes that are scams. It’s very hard for innocent drivers to protect themselves in these cases. However, if you have a dash cam, you can reveal your side of the story effortlessly. This is especially true for HGV drivers who are taught in their HGV driver training course to be particularly aware of these scams and to ensure a dash cam is always fitted in their vehicle.

In these ‘crash for cash’ scams, the con artist will rush in front of a fast-moving vehicle and do something to cause an accident intentionally. For instance, they might slam on the brakes without any reason for it or slow down their car without turning on the brake lights. The victim crashes on the scammer’s vehicle from behind and the victim will be found at fault. However, with a dash cam, it’s easy to prove who is at fault.

2. Evidence for Insurance

If there is a lack of evidence to prove that the accident was a result of a crash for cash scam, you can use the dash cam to prove the liability with the insurance company. Eyewitnesses are useful in these cases but their testimonies are often spotty and might miss some crucial details. However, dash cams can provide the insurance company with impartial evidence with all the facts to determine who is actually at fault. It can be used to solve disputes and make sure you are not found at fault for an accident of which you are innocent.

3. Reduced Premium Rates

Whether you are driving one HGV or an entire fleet, you must be aware of how expensive insurance policies can be. If you are a relatively new driver, your premiums are even more expensive. The same goes if you have been involved in an accident previously, whether or not it was a crash for cash scam.

A good thing is that insurance companies have started identifying the benefits of using dash cams and how they make their jobs easier. Now, insurers can close cases faster and forget about spotty or blurry eyewitness testimony. Dash cams have become so popular such that brokers have started offering discounts for drivers or companies who want to install them on their vehicles. It’s a great way to protect yourself in the event of an accident and you can also get many savings out of it.

4. Create a Record of Driver Behaviour and Make the Necessary Changes

Here, you have the divisive option. If you have a fleet of HGVs, you will enjoy this bonus of installing dash cams. Your drivers might have a hard time agreeing to it but if you are an independent driver, there is nothing to worry about. As the fleet manager, you can observe your driver while on the road and make the necessary changes if required. You can also use any available telemetric data to make sure that your drivers are putting out the best face for your company.

In conclusion, dash cams might seem trivial but can come in handy if you are involved in an accident. They will provide the best information to the insurance company to handle the case effortlessly.…

Why Getting Mortgage Loans With Bad Credit From Sub-Prime Lenders Is No Problem

A low credit rating is generally thought to be enough to kill any real possibility of getting approval on a loan. But that is not completely true, with millions of applicants for loans of all sizes approved each year. Even the chances of getting a mortgage loan with bad credit are still quite high, with little in the way of problems so long as the detailed criteria is met.

Of course, there are always ways around the hurdles presented by some of the criteria specified, but whether looking for 80% or even 100% loan financing, it is important to know that the lending industry has become more open to applicants with low credit scores. It really comes down to making the right approach to the right lender.

The most likely contender in the lender options stakes are sub-prime lenders, who are recognized specialists in loan products for bad credit borrowers. There are both and positives to dealing with these lenders, and negatives. But overall, they have helped to make commercial mortgage loans attainable for practically everyone.

Why Sub-Prime Deals are Good

The advantages with going to a sub-prime lender to get financing to purchase a home really come down to accessibility and loan structure. While approving mortgage loans with bad credit give traditional lenders the shivers, these experts have developed deals that benefit both sides of the transaction. So, it is hard to find a better option.

They are also the only realistic chance of securing 100% loan financing. This is because banks always draw a stern line somewhere, usually seeking a substantial down payment as a gesture to secure their trust. However, sub-prime lenders have recognized that the chances of saving a down payment of $10,000 or $20,000 are slim when credit scores are also being handled.

Instead, using that money to establish a steady habit of mortgage loan repayment is seen as a better option. Also, offering a 100% finance deal means that private mortgage insurance can be avoided, which is another unwelcome expense as far as borrowers are concerned.

The Negatives of Sub-Prime Deals

The main problem with sub-prime lenders is that the deals they offer are usually accompanied with high interest rates. No one expects to get a mortgage loan with bad credit and secure the lowest interest rates, but the overall cost can be quite a bit over the normal.

When applied to 100% loan financing, this means that borrowers face the maximum repayments. With a 10% down payment, a $250,000 mortgage becomes a $225,000 mortgage, so the monthly repayments are lower. But total financing means more pressure and a greater potential to default.

Still, lenders have thought of a solution. They are willing to negotiate longer term mortgage FHA Loans Houston so that the monthly repayments can be kept reasonable. This seems to be a great idea for the borrower, but the compromise made is that the amount of interest paid over the lifetime of the mortgage increases even further.

Other Options to Consider

Of course, with open minds, it is not impossible to hammer out an agreement that suits both sides. For example, mortgage loans with bad credit can be split between an 80% mortgage and a 20% personal loan, a deal commonly known as a Piggyback Mortgage.

While the personal loan can have a larger interest rate, the payoff for borrowers is that they effectively get 100% loan financing. Also, the mortgage gets a lower rate over its 25 or 30 year term, thus saving a significant amount of money in the long run.

What is more, when a down payment is hard to get together, this kind of mortgage loan agreement is a practical solution to problem.

Feng Shui Tips and Tricks on How To Clear Away the Clutter in Your Home

Every season, it is common for a home to accumulate clutter due to our activities. By the end of summer, beach shoes that smell damp, straw sun-hats and gritty sand start to clutter up our interiors, while in our outdoor areas, withered blooms and a rusting barbecue is calling out for our attention. But as invigorating as a great clear-out might be, it is wider opportunities which excite feng shui, says Sue Holmes, a consultant. She also states that feng shui is an art that creates harmony in our living spaces. From a traditional Chinese perspective, it involves balancing yin and yang, which creates a balance between stillness and areas that move, dark and light, soft and hard.

Home Comforts

Sue says a seasonal clear out needs to go further than just a few small irritations in order to get to the root of larger issues in the home. Clearing the clutter away from home and into storage facilities such as Blue Box Storage keeps the negative energy away from your home. Everything impacts on energy inside a room, which means a cumbersome and large fan could become an obstacle. But when it comes to making a dramatic difference to spaces in your home, this item could become a type of red herring.

Sue instead suggests that it is the factors that affect the flow of “chi” or “qi” which is an energy of the relationship between the home and a nearby road, alignment of the interior doors, or how the furniture is placed which really deserves more attention. Many people know about those spiky plants which give out negative energy known as “sha chi” or reasons why the toilet lids need to stay down. Yet they are not very likely going to be the more important considerations when it comes to feng shui of an individual’s home.

For Sue, improving feng shui in our environments that bring about a harmonious and comfy feeling is more “instinctive” than we may know. Think about the position of your bed in your room. You would never think about positioning the bed so your head is in the centre of your bedroom. It is more common to position your head against one of your walls. Positioning the bed between either a window or door is also not ideal, as chi flow across your bed is not very restful. It all involves creating a balance that is pleasant, beautiful and harmonious, to connect to subtle energies of a place that brings a room to life.

The Elements of Feng Shui

Five classical elements of Chinese culture include water, earth, metal, fire and wood that all need to balance. The consultants that specialise in feng shui work on invoking energies in locations that are significant which brings about positive changes when it comes to your prospects of happiness, wealth and health. It should not be taken literally. For example, water energy will mean something that flows, earth energy is associated with something that is nurturing, wood energy represents growth. It involves bringing about the very best potential of a building and using what you have while playing down negative points.

Addressing specific concerns or intentions using feng shui usually necessitates the assistance of a trained professional. Yet while some of the styles associated with feng shui, for example, “flying stars “will offer you with guidance that is detailed on ways to arrange living spaces, most consultants are in agreement that an approach that is more pragmatic can be as equally as powerful.

A Holistic Environment

For Anjie, feng shui is an approach that is truly holistic to living environments,  which integrate ecological awareness and mindfulness that result in creating spaces which support and nourish their inhabitants. An upshot involves a set of suggestions that are practical like a fiery red bed that stimulates passion, a stone sculpture or large stones that will “earth” a person that is a bit self-centred, a mirror or fish-tank that supports a connected feeling with others.

Similar to Sue, Anjie thinks we all need to reassess how our homes are supporting us. Anjie who is a professional holistic interior-architect, states that she often encounters people looking to integrate eco-friendly or feng shui designs into a business or their homes, yet they prefer to wait until they have moved or until the space is clean. These, of course, are a more appropriate time to redecorate or renovate, yet many people do not know is that you should be incorporating Greenliving and feng shui all the time. It involves a lot more than just moving your furniture around. It is more about shifting the environment energetically and physically in order to support the life you want to live.…