Monthly Archives

February 2017

Is it time to invest in your web presence?

Is it time to invest in your web presence?Your website is more than just a yellow pages entry: if you build a website and keep updating it regularly with new content then customers will return time and time again. Regular updates are vital, so how do you know when it’s time to refresh your web presence?

After Rebranding

If, since having your website built, you have renamed your company, changed your product offering or designed a new logo then your website should be updated to match. Your website is the modern equivalent of a yellow pages entry to sales brochure and if it does not match your company image then customers will find it unprofessional, and may not even link it with you!

As Technology Changes

Web browsers are changing and developing constantly. In the last few years there has been a huge change not just in the browsers people are using, but in the devices that they use to view internet content. If your site still has outdated features like Flash it may no longer work properly with modern browsers. If it is not mobile-optimised then it might look odd when viewed with a mobile phone or tablet – and these are rapidly becoming the dominant devices for internet access.

When Competitors Have Caught Up

When you look at your competitors’ websites are they more attractive or easier to use than your own? Customers are doing the same, and they will buy from the companies that make them feel the most confident. A good website is a big part of that confidence building, and can make the difference between making a sale and a customer moving on.

When Visitor Numbers Are Falling

If you subscribe to an “analytics” package from your website developer (and if you don’t then you really should), you will notice your viewing figures drop after a while. A good way to bring customers back is to refresh the site so they know it is still active.

Let Digitalquill boost your web presence in 2017: For more information call us on 01482 424402 or email office@digitalquill.co.uk.

Fire Door Inspection System

Fire Door Inspection SystemDigitalquill’s 31-point Fire Door Inspection System has been developed from recommendations from fire authorities and the requirements of the ‘Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and BS 9999. It is the most advanced Fire Door Inspection system on the market today, using RFID to streamline and automate inspections, as well as to notify authorized persons when a fire door has been left open.

Once the system has been installed, it operates by the NFC protocols (High Frequency RFID). This means there is no need to invest in hand-held devices: all the inspector needs is an NFC enabled mobile phone to conduct the inspection. We also offer low frequency RFID systems for locations where the NFC RFID protocol will not work such as areas with high EMI or metal surfaces.

Records are kept in the cloud, and updated whenever there is a data connection. This means a lost device need not mean a loss of data. It also allows the records can be reported on in real time with our advanced reporting tools.

Inspection schedules can be set up and managed within the system and users are alerted when inspections are due, while management is alerted if inspections are missed. Notifications can be done by email or SMS and management are not bothered by notifications when everything is running as it should.

Fire Door Inspection and Fire Door Monitoring solutions

Digitalquill’s Fire Door Inspection system can easily be integrated with our Fire Door Monitoring system: which uses magnetic catches that are installed onto each fire door – allowing it to be opened only for a maximum specified time before sending an alert to the nominated fire officer. This means that even if the nominated fire officer is not based at the site, some of their duties under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order: 2005 or any other national standards can be fulfilled.)

By default, the system inspects for 31 points but it allows flexibility for administrators to turn inspection components on or off depending on your requirements. If you need greater customization, then you can even add your own inspection criteria to the system to make it a fully featured Inspection Monitor system.

Examples of Inspection Checks:

  • Are the door seals free from damage?
  • Are the seals continuous around the whole frame?

Simple Fire Door Inspection Software

The process for the user is simple: they open our Fire Door Inspection App on their smartphone, scan the door when prompted, answer the questions by simply tapping a tick box on screen and, if the door does not pass, fail that question and give a reason why. A ‘Fail’ generates a configurable notification for further action.

The system uses the embedded RFID transponder at the location to uniquely identify that fire door. Because they cannot be cloned, the transponder scan proves that the door was visited by the Inspector. If a question was failed during the last inspection, then the app shows an icon onscreen next to that question to allow the inspector to see why it was failed last time – and to check that the relevant remedial action has been taken to rectify the problem.

The RFID transponders are unobtrusive and easy to install. They are either a small disc 20mm across, or an embedded glass transponder in the door frame. Therefore, the system is respectful of your corporate environment while keeping your staff safe and your company on the right side of the law.

Digitalquill – Experts in Fire Door Inspection Systems

Call Digitalquill today on 01482 424402, email support@digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

 

outlook out of office

outlook out of officeWe are looking for third-party Beta testers for out new Outlook Out of Office Add-on.

The plugin allows Outlook Out of Office auto-responses to be sent from servers other than Microsoft’s Exchange: direct from a client PC. This Outlook Out of Office Solution means that third-party mail servers can have vacation auto-responses without the need for constant IT support interventions within Postfix mail servers.

It is more efficient than creating a rule in Outlook to respond to incoming emails as users do not have to leave their computers running with Outlook open while they are away.

Digitalquill Out of Office Plugin.

We have developed an add-on to Outlook at allows a user to set their out of office replies right from Outlook itself. The add-on is simple and easy to use: you set it up once and then the user just changes the message they want to be sent.

A simple tick box is used to activate and deactivate the auto-responder. The add-on controls a server side rule on the Postfix server so their computer can be turned off while they are away.

Beta Testers Needed

  • We are looking for volunteers to test the add-on. You must:
  • Be a linux expert capable of installing Sieve on your mail server
  • Have your own copy of Outlook
  • Be able to report back to us exact specifications of server configuration, Outlook and Windows versions

All Beta testers will be given 5 free licences for the final released product.

Digitalquill Auto Responder Plugin for Outlook

If you are interested in testing our new Outlook vacation responder or want more information then email support@digitalquill.co.uk.

Digitalquill IT Support Agent

Digitalquill IT Support AgentSmaller businesses have a challenge: you rely on your IT to keep the business running, but cannot afford to employ someone to monitor your systems 24/7. Think again, as Digitalquill’s IT Support Client allows us to remotely monitor health of your PCs and infrastructure, remotely support your users and allows your staff to raise and track tickets right from their desktop. It is seamless and allows you to have the benefits of internal IT support at the lower cost of outsourcing.

Big Data for Small Businesses

Big data and business intelligence systems are at the heart of the service. Because me monitor multiple companies we can identify and deal with threats as they merge, and can give you the benefit of our experience. We monitor the health of all the computers that we support, and have screens which show critical alerts in real time. This allows us to react before you even know there is a problem.

Personal IT Support

Your team members can raise a ticket for a problem right from their desktop, at any time. We are then able to support them remotely by connecting to their PC and guiding them through to resolution. This can save the disruption and cost of a visit from one of our engineers and get the member of staff back up and running.

Cloud Monitored IT Support

We can also monitor the bigger picture. Are there a number of PCs which are suddenly running at 100% CPU? This could indicate a virus infection. Because we are constantly monitoring we can rapidly look into the issue and issue alerts to all clients about any potential issues. We can then use the skills and experience of our team to solve your technical problems. And you don’t need to lift a finger.

Digitalquill IT Experts

Digitalquill can help you with all of your IT needs: call us today on 01482 424402 or email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk.

rfid transponder for asset management

rfid transponder for asset managementThere are many ways that an organisation can identify an asset in order to manage, track and locate it. Manual approaches are common: relying on a serial number and lists. This is time-intensive for the user as they have to type the serial number in whenever a transaction happens. It is also subject to human error.

As an alternative, there are Barcodes and RFID: two asset tracking methods which are often compared to one another. However, in reality they both have their own strengths and weaknesses and each is best for certain applications or environments.

Barcode strengths

  • Barcodes are cheap. Scanners only cost £20-£30 and the codes themselves cost nothing to produce.
  • Easy to produce – to keep costs down you can even print them yourself on stickers.
  • Familiarity – people are used to seeing and dealing with barcodes on a day-to-day basis

Barcode Weaknesses

  • Barcode stickers are easily damaged, especially if they are exposed to the elements or damage from scrapes and scuffs, such as in a warehouse environment
  • Barcodes can easily become detached from the asset and so can’t be scanned – this leads to huge time penalties as firstly you have to identify the asset by some other method, and secondly you have to go to the expense of putting a new barcode onto the asset and re-registering or updating that asset in your system
  • Easy to remove or swap – either accidentally or maliciously
  • Easy to replicate – a barcode number is not unique and can be copied
  • Asset tracking is obvious as barcodes cannot be hidden within assets

RFID Strengths

  • RFID tags are very resilient and will take impacts without failing
  • If applied correctly, RFID transponders are difficult or even impossible to remove
  • If the correct RFID technology is chosen it is impossible to copy or duplicate a transponder
  • If you choose a reputable RFID supplier (such as Trovan) they will guarantee the RFID transponder for the life of the asset, giving peace of mind and protecting your investment
  • RFID tags can be applied covertly

RFID Weaknesses

  • RFID transponders are more expensive per item (although when compared to the regular replacement of barcodes throughout the life of an asset, this is actually not the case!)
  • Scanning hardware for RFID is generally more expensive

That being said, both RFID and Barcodes have their place: but if the asset is in any industrial setting; if your asset has a long life span; or is it of higher value then RFID is always the best choice

On the other hand, If you are tracking paperwork, or assets that have a short shelf life then barcodes are the obvious answer.

Tracking IT Resources with RFID

When your business deal in high value assets, you cannot afford to lose track of them. You may deal with solar panels, commercial gas canisters or high-value machinery. Whatever the asset, you need to be able to find, account for and service your asses with the minimum of delay. Digitalquill’s Asset Management System is designed for businesses like these.

Our RFID asset management system is currently being used by some major companies to track I.T. Resources. The transponders can be hidden inside the equipment, and tracking the assets is simple. Handheld RFID scanners at each point of the IT Support and IT equipment repair service quickly scan the item and record its current location, status and a time and date stamp.

Asset Tracking Software

Digitalquill’s Asset Management System lets you easily keeps track of all your business assets: you can instantly find out where they all are; where they have been; and keep a fully tracked  history of their movements – all at the click of a button.

We use cutting edge RFID technology, and the system is not industry specific. It can be used to track everything from gas canisters to solar panels. The Asset Management System links with our other software including our Proof of Delivery system. With one RFID transponder you can cover everything from picking and packing to delivery tracking.

Digitalquill: RFID Experts

For more information, call Digitalquill today on 01482 424402, email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk.

outlook out of office

outlook out of officeWe would like to introduce you to the latest Digitalquill product: The Outlook Out of Office Add-on. The product is in the final stages of testing and almost ready for release.

Outlook Vacation Auto-Responder

The problem with Outlook is that it is designed from the ground up to work with Microsoft Exchange server. Microsoft, as often happens, chose not to follow the agreed standards for mail servers and instead came up with their own methods – to encourage sales of their own proprietary product. Whilst their Microsoft Exchange Server is an excellent product, it is very expensive and therefore out of the reach of many small companies. Although Outlook can be configured to work with other servers – using Pop3 and IMAP account settings – it does not integrate fully with those servers.

IMAP Server and Outlook Out of Office Solution

A standard Mail server build using Courier, Cyrus or Dovecot, with a postfix as a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) can be built, and Outlook can access the mailboxes using IMAP. Under this arrangement, mail can be sent or received without any problems. However, when the user comes to take a holiday and they try to use the usual vacation alert settings in Outlook, this does not work.

The reason the out of office auto-responder does not work is because Outlook is designed to integrate with Microsoft Exchange Server. As a workaround, you have to contact your system admin or IT Support team to ask for a vacation auto-responder notice to be put onto their account. Sometimes they may be provided with a Webmail client, such as Roundcube, through which they must log-on and then set the out-of-office response separately.

Out of Office Settings in Microsoft Outlook

Another solution is to create a rule in Outlook to respond to all incoming emails. This does work but it also means that you must leave your computer running with Outlook open while you are away. Outlook rules are actioned at the client and not the server.

This can all be very frustrating for both users and system admins as this functionality exists in Postfix.

Why Not Change Email Client?

Changing to another email client such as Thunderbird is usually not an option as users are often familiar with Outlook and want to keep that client. We looked at this and thought it was a shame that the most commonly used email client and one of the most common email server configurations (Postfix with Dovecot, Courier or Cyrus) do not talk to each other

Digitalquill Out of Office Addon.

We therefore set about developing an add-on to Outlook at allows users to set their out of office replies themselves – right from outlook itself. The add-on has been designed to be simple and easy to use: you set it up once and then just change the message that you want to be sent.

A simple tick box activates and deactivate the auto-responder. The add-on controls server side rules on the IMAP server (using Sieve extension for Courier, Dovecot or Cyrus) meaning that your computer can be turned off while you go on vacation.

The add-on is currently in the final stages of testing and will be released next month.  Works with Outlook 2007 onward.

Digitalquill

Our new out of office Outlook plugin is coming soon. If you are interested in the new Outlook vacation responder then call Digitalquill today on 01482 424402, email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

National Cyber Security Centre

National Cyber Security CentreThe BBC reported this week how the UK is being targeted by ‘dozens’ of serious cyber-attacks every single month.

The report said that Britain’s security has been threatened by almost 200 “high-level” cyber-attacks in just three months. Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said that many of the attacks directly threatened national security. He claimed that attempts by Russian and Chinese state-sponsored hackers were being investigated, where attempts had been made to “extract information on UK government policy” in areas including energy and diplomacy.

The alleged hacks bear similarities to those on the US Democratic National Committee. They led to the publication of a series of leaked emails from Hillary Clinton before the US election. US authorities believe the attack was an attempt to interfere with the results of the presidential election. Chancellor Phillip Hammond said the NCSC has blocked nearly 35,000 “potential attacks” in the last six months – that is around 200 attempts per day.

National Cyber Security Centre

The new centre to protect the UK against cyber-attacks is being officially opened by the Queen later today. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is intended to improve Britain’s ability to detect, prevent and respond to attacks.

The NCSC is part of intelligence agency GCHQ. As well as protecting against attacks on government and business, the NCSC aims to protect the UK’s economy and wider society. The UK is one of the world’s most digitally dependent economies. The digital sector is estimated to be worth more than £118bn per year.

Hackers put the Economy at Risk

A crippling cyber-attack on the country’s infrastructure is not the only thing that worries officials: the loss of confidence in the digital economy from both consumers and businesses as a result of hackers exploiting online vulnerabilities could also damage the nation.

Until now, the UK’s cyber protection was largely controlled from GCHQ in Cheltenham. The NCSC is a more public facing and accessible organisation. It protects a wider range of sectors, and not is not just for government and defence purposes. GCHQ will be the NCSC’s parent body so it can draw when needed on the intelligence agency’s skills and capabilities.

The NCSC is developing trial services to discover vulnerabilities in public sector websites, help government departments manage email spoofing, and is starting to take down thousands of phishing sites that are targeting the UK.

Time to Take Security Seriously

In the last twelve months or so we have reported on viruses, cyber-attacks and security breaches targeted at big organisations such as the National Lottery, Dropbox, Yahoo, Three, TalkTalk, KCOM, the Post Office, and the NHS. We have seen stories on hacked web cams and routers that have been used to bring down parts of the internet. One thing is clear: UK businesses need to get serious about the risks.

How to keep your business safe from Cyber Attacks

It is not down to the big companies to keep us safe: Some responsibility for security has to be taken by consumers and businesses. The best thing you can do right is to arrange for a cyber-security health check for your business. Digitalquill are experts in the field of IT security and we can help you find the right mix of policy, software and hardware that will massively reduce the risks to your business from malicious hackers.

Digitalquill Security Experts in Hull and East Yorkshire

If you need some advice on how to keep your business secure from cyber-attacks then call Digitalquill today on 01482 424402, email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

RFID loyalty cards

RFID loyalty cardsBusinesses don’t just need to attract customers: it is equally important to retain those you already have. There is a reason why the big retailers invest millions in their loyalty card schemes. The reason they can afford to give customers money back on their shopping is because loyal customers spend their money in one place. The retailers can track their behaviour, what they buy, when they shop and can target marketing at extremely tightly drawn demographics. Business intelligence is the key differentiator that an help your business grow, especially in a mature market with few new customers.

RFID Loyalty Cards

RFID technology is ideal for loyalty schemes. Our Client Management System is in use in a number of beauty salons: The customer scans their RFID card each time they visit, they build up discounts the more they use the services. In turn the salon knows what services they are using and can target them with marketing to entice they to buy more. The same goes for other businesses: such as hairdressers, garages, tanning salons, the list is endless.

Our Client Management System is a powerful customer relationship management (CRM) system for the service sector. By issuing an inexpensive RFID card, staff will no longer need to remember every customer’s personal needs and expectations: a full history of all of their prior engagements with the company are displayed on-screen – so the customer gets the service they expect every time.

Personal Service Across Multiple Sites

The Client Management System is even more useful for multi-site businesses. No matter which location the customer attends, they get the personal service they expect. You get a full and accurate record of every interaction between the customer and your business at the click of a mouse when they present their RFID card.

Digitalquill RFID Experts

Digitalquill can help with all of your RFID needs: call us today on 01482 424402 or email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk.

Fire Door Keep Shut

Fire Door Keep ShutPropped open fire doors are a significant health and safety risk. They are intended only for access and should be left closed at all other times. If they are propped open, they are no longer an effective fire and smoke barrier.

Add to that the legal risks relating to fire safety, and it can be a real risk to businesses if employees do not respect fire doors. Fire Door Monitor is an innovative solution that allows your nominated fire safety representative to discharge their legal responsibilities with the minimum of fuss.

Compliance with Fire Safety Legislation

Fire door monitor also monitors and maintains records of inspections carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 BS 9999. The law stipulates that inspections must be carried out on all fire doors every six months. The legislation places responsibility on a designated fire officer (which is the owner or managing director of the company if no-one is specifically named as such) to carry out these inspections.

RFID Technology for Fire Safety

The Fire Door Monitor System uses RFID transponders placed at each fire door/ The our software manages the inspection schedules and informs the responsible person whenever inspections fall due. Wireless magnetic catches are installed onto each fire door, which allows it to be opened only for a maximum specified time. The system then sends an SMS or email alert to the fire officer to visit the site. A full reporting suite is available, so it is possible to see which of your fire doors are being opened and for how long.

Easy to Integrate

Fire Door Monitor is easy to integrate into your building. As a cloud-based system, it can link to your existing internet gateway or it can be used in a totally self-contained way over a 3G connection. In this configuration, there is no need to run wires, and it does not need to use your existing network.  We simply attach wireless devices to each of the doors and ensure they are all within range of the Hub. Repeaters can be used in order to extend the range of the hub which is then connected to the internet via an existing gateway or self-contained 3G.

Low-Cost Fire Door Monitoring

The Fire Door Monitor software is available for a low-cost monthly fee. The only thing you need to purchase up front are the hardware sensors for each door and the hub. You then pay a monthly subscription for your continued peace of mind. Call us today on 01482 424402 or email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

business intelligence data

business intelligence dataConsider where you can use business intelligence (BI) systems and analytics to gain better knowledge and insight into your business, customers and market in which you operate. Knowledge is key to unlocking opportunities and converting leads, and modern data mining techniques can open up markets you would never have considered.

In simple terms, BI is about making your business more intelligent so that you can take better business decisions. This is done by analysing the knowledge you gain through information gathered about your previous and current actions and their results. Business intelligence solutions allow you to examine every part of your company and every activity. You can monitor the effectiveness of your marketing, sales or operations. Most importantly of all, BI allows you to gain knowledge about your customers to target your interactions with them more effectively.

What Data?

All business create data, you may be unaware of that data or you may not see it as having value, but all data sources can be used in BI to give you useful information to move your business ahead of your competitors. Sales trends, correlating sales to other external factors such as the time of the year or weather. Production plants can be monitored, optical sensors can monitor items on a conveyor or you can simply count numbers of people through the door.

With BI you can get into some very deep and interesting analytics, supermarkets are currently trailing putting sensors into shopping carts allowing them to see the paths that customers take around their store, they can see where customers linger and where they don’t visit. This in conjunction with information about the store layout allows them to pinpoint where special offers should be placed.

RFID Systems can also be used along with mobile apps to track what your customers do with your product after sale. All this information can be brought together in business intelligence systems to give you statistical patterns.

Software and Data in Harmony

To make the most of all that data, you need the right cloud software platform so you can analyse it and look for patterns, trends and opportunities. Too many businesses invest in data collection or software in isolation: only by using the two in harmony can you truly unlock the potential of your business data. Business intelligence is not just for the big players: no business is too small to gather and use data, and it is a key opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by using the power of technology to learn about your business – and your competitors.

Digitalquill: Experts in Business Intelligence

We make our systems easy to use and easy to understand. We work for a number of small and medium businesses in Hull, East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire and help them to maximise the use of their business data. This increases sales, improves customer retention and drives up average transaction values. For more information call us on 01482 424402 or email office@www.digitalquill.co.uk.