Posts in Industry Focus

Get relevant and engaging content in front of your audience from as little as £9 per month

August 14th, 2018 Posted by A/V, education, hospitality, IT Services, Latest News, retail

SeenSpire is a fantastic new digital product which can add value to your digital signage with an endless supply of exciting, insightful and attention-grabbing Infotainment content.

This digital signage content subscription service allows you to attract and keep viewers’ attention where they work, wait or buy.

As much as 80% of your content playlist can be automated, which means once it’s uploaded, you can get on with the business of running your business, whilst your audience’s attention is driven to your screens, where you can display relevant content.

SeenSpire is perfect for any location. Keep employees ‘in the know’ and engaged in the workplace, let potential customers know of any offers on the shop floor or provide useful information in waiting rooms.

The content platform is offered at a simple and reasonable price-per-screen model and there are two ways in which you can subscribe. Sign up to the Infotainment application and you’ll be granted access to an entire content library with over 300 content feeds ranging from news and weather, to sports, lifestyle and many more.

If you’re active on social media then engage your audience via the social media app which enables you to repurpose your existing social media content for your digital signage and huminaze your brands. Run competitions in real time and encourage engagement through the use of hashtags.

Or subscribe to both and cover all angles.

All content can be personalised with your company’s logo to ensure brand consistency whilst maintaining recognition and confidence with your audience.

And setting it up couldn’t be easier either. A member of our team can show you the basics, but with it’s intuitive and simplistic drag and drop menus, you will have content uploaded and displaying in no time at all.

If this sounds like something your company or organisation will benefit from, then give us a call on
+44 (0) 3300 020 000 for more details or sign up for a FREE 30 day trial now

GDPR: how to email data securely to comply with the new regulations

April 5th, 2018 Posted by Industry Focus, IT Services

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on May 25, will govern the storage and processing of data rather than its collection. It also includes some very important consumer rights. The most important are the right to be informed, the right of access, the right to correct errors, the right to erase data, the right to restrict processing, and the right take it elsewhere (data portability). How useful these will be in practice remains to be seen.

Emails are like plain text postcards because they can, in theory, be read at any of the many servers through which they pass, or by someone tapping a line. Of course, “read by” is unlikely to mean “read by a human being.” However, software can look for things like passwords and credit card numbers.

A more likely problem is sending emails to the wrong address, either because users have got their own email addresses wrong (this happens surprisingly often), or through human error. Pick the wrong address from a list of auto-complete suggestions and you could send personal data to the wrong recipient. This would be a data breach that might have to be reported.

It would obviously be good thing if all emails were encrypted by default so that only the intended recipient could read them. Three decades of history says this isn’t going to happen soon, if at all. Public key encryption is too hard for people who just want to send normal emails.

Some large organisations do have encrypted email services, such as the NHS, but that doesn’t help the rest of us.

Some people do choose secure email services, such as ProtonMail in Switzerland and Tutanota in Germany. However, you also have to send external recipients a password – for example, in an SMS text message – to decrypt the email.

Tutanota users get an email that says “you have an encrypted email” and you click a link to read it, and reply to it, in a browser. You have to export the email if you want to keep a copy.

There are also plug-ins for Gmail and the Microsoft Outlook email program that provide secure email services. If one of your employers is using a secure system, they might let you join in.

If there’s no other alternative, you should encrypt and password-protect your images and documents before sending them as email attachments. Again, you must send the password separately, either via a different messaging service or in the post.

Fotolia_40957727_XS1

Online storage locations

It’s a good idea to upload attachments and then send people a link. However, bear in mind that you are uploading documents to the company that probably runs the biggest surveillance operation on the planet. Encrypt your documents before you upload them.

Encryption protects data if an online storage service is compromised – it has happened – or if your email is hacked.

Unfortunately, using Google Drive brings up an extra complication. If you are using Gmail, then you can assume that your data is being held in, or passing through by arizona bus company, or accessible from the USA.

GDPR does not oblige users to store data on servers inside the EU. However, there are extra requirements if servers are outside the EU. First, you need to have a legitimate reason for transferring personal data outside the EU. Second, you must have the consent of the person whose data is being exported. Third, you must give that person the option to opt out.

In another post, the aforementioned Liz Henderson explains how to create a GDPR Privacy Notice, and you could adapt her sample to cover Gmail storage outside the EU.

You could switch to using an email service that operates wholly within the EU (see above), if only for any people who opt out, or you could upgrade to Google’s paid-for service.

Google claims that its G Suite and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services are fully compliant with GDPR, because it offers to sign EU Model Contract Clauses and a Data Processing Amendment. The fine print notes that “the parties acknowledge and agree that Non-European Data Protection Legislation may also apply to the processing of Customer Personal Data” and that “Google will not process Customer Personal Data for Advertising purposes or serve Advertising in the Services”.

 

Re-thinking Customer Loyalty in Cornwall

July 20th, 2017 Posted by Industry Focus, retail

A new app – Alliop, is revolutionising the way customer loyalty works in Truro.

alliop

By downloading the free  smartphone app, customers can earn ‘stamps’ at outlets, which accumulate to unlock rewards.

Customers are encouraged to tap their smartphone on the provided iBeacon, a small battery operated standlone Bluetooth-enabled transmitter, which wirelessly connects with modern smartphones. A quick tap adds points, which accumulate in order to gain rewards as set by the business.

By offering rewards in a similar way to the traditional loyalty card, customers are incentivised to continue visiting.

Early adopter Cornish Food Box Company director, Tor Amran, comments: “Previously we had two paper stamp cards for coffee and pasties, but we had no idea how many cards were in circulation, how many stamps people had or how frequently they were visiting. With Alliop we now have access to this information at the push of a button and we can contact customers directly with bespoke messages.”

Several companies in Truro are now involved with the scheme – Illustrated Living, Mustard & Rye, Plum Boutique and Secret Truro. The hope is to spread take up of the app across Cornwall so visitors and locals can all take advantage.

Business Insights

Alliop’s easy-to-use marketing tools allow businesses to send targeted and personalised SMS messages, emails and push-notifications via a comprehensive customer relationship management portal. With each tap businesses can gain greater insight into a variety of areas including frequency of visit and how recently customers have visited. Further to this, customer details such as email address and mobile phone number allow for direct communication to develop engagement further.

If you’d like to know more about Alliop,how it works and pricing, get in touch with Microcomms and we can talk you through the technology and help you engage your customers in a loyalty scheme that works for both of you.

 

Phishing Posts that really catch people out

June 28th, 2017 Posted by Industry Focus, News

As hackers grow in sophistication, so do the phishing scams they try and entice innocent users with. We’ve rounded up some of the most common and well-used versions:

The Public Speaker

This is a long-running scam that preys on the hopes of public speakers, inviting them to speak (and be paid a hefty fee) at a conference in the UK or somewhere else in the world.  In the last year or so, the scam has taken a nasty turn, targeting ministers, pastors, and preachers to invite them to a bogus religious conference and again offering them a big paycheck.

Now, the scam has taken a new direction, aimed at women and parents, or at least speakers on these subjects.  Please beware if you get a letter like this.  The idea is to get your personal details under the pretext of sending you some money, or getting you to send some money to take care of administrative fees or governmental controls, with a promise of a big check to come.

But this is a scam.  You will never get the promised big check.  The conference is not real.

So the answer is simply to ignore the email.  Don’t be tempted!

The Tax Rebate

Fraudsters are generating phishing emails by posing as HMRC in order to gain access to people’s bank accounts. It appears the occurrence of these emails has become increasingly common as a Which? survey found that of 2016 adults, 40% had received communication of this nature.

The general format of these e-mails can look very convincing as they make use of genuine HMRC branding. Sometimes emails are signed off with the name of an actual HMRC employee making them seem even more realistic.  The contents will generally be offering you a tax refund and asking for bank details in order for the money to be refunded.

The amount offered is usually up to £500, so as not to raise the recipient’s suspicions. The main aim of these emails is to extract money from your bank account, get you to send money or to gain enough personal information about you to sell you details to identity theft criminals. An example is below:

Phishing email 1.png

 

HMRC will never send notification of a tax reimbursement or ask for personal or payment information by email. So you can safely ignore these emails.

Google Docs

This is a sophisticated phishing scam that asks for permission to access files stored in Google Drive. The attack involves an email being received saying a Google Doc has been shared with you.

The message looks legitimate and appears to be from a contact you already know. But when clicked, permissions are granted to a third-party that has no relation to Google. The below image shows the phishing scam in action:

google-docs-oauth-phishing-email

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do if you get ‘phished’

“If you have disclosed confidential data (e.g. a username or password), go to the real site and change it immediately, to stop the criminals hijacking your online account,” You can also report emails to your email service provider.

If you see a phishing email at work, the best approach is to forward it to an IT department or report it in via internal company systems. If it appears to come from a colleague, but it does look and feel ‘phishy,’ don’t reply in the mail, call them or go to see them to confirm the validity of the mail and the contents.

Never reply to the message, even if you fancy taunting the ‘phisherman,’ you would only be confirming your email address is valid and live.

If you do click on a phishing link, it’s also worth reporting the incident to Action Fraud.

 

The Minack

The Minack – reaching the individual amongst the crowd

December 19th, 2016 Posted by Case Study, hospitality

The Minack Theatre is Cornwall’s world famous open-air theatre. Created in 1931-1932 by the Rowena Cade and her gardener Billy Rawlins, it is a thriving Cornish visitor hotspot.

Visited by thousands of tourists and locals alike every year, the Exhibition Centre tells the fascinating story of the Minack in words, pictures and film.

The Minack

The Exhibition Centre

Microcomms were approached by Theatre Manager, Phil Jackson, to help solve an audio problem inside the Exhibition Centre. The space is not huge and the exhibitions are interconnected. One of the main draws is a wonderful short film about the making of the Theatre and the life of Rowena Cade – this is played on a loop with full speaker surround sound. However, in other parts of the exhibition are other films and clips which also carry their own sound sequence.

The challenge Phil presented us with is the main film can be heard across the centre, so how to avoid a soundclash without providing headphones for the smaller clips? Our Audio Visual Director, John Darling, came up with the solution of interactive screens with tight directional sound speakers. These provide an area of perfect sound directly next to the screen. The soundtrack is only heard when standing close and doesn’t flow out into the wider exhibition space – meaning you can speak directly to the individual amongst the crowd.

Paul Ainsworth

Microcomms & Paul Ainsworth

December 14th, 2016 Posted by Case Study, hospitality

Described by the Michelin Guide as ‘A delightful Georgian townhouse on a harbour backwater, with a relaxed, buzzy vibe; run by a friendly, enthusiastic team. Seasonal modern cooking displays originality and the occasional playful element, and textures and flavours are bold yet refined.‘  – this is Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 in Padstow.

We are very happy to have been involved with Number 6 since it’s incarnation in 2012. The building the restaurant is housed in was being completely refurbished, unfortunately, the incumbent network company let down Paul Ainsworth’s team. Microcomms stepped in to rescue the project’s technical infrastructure – we’ve been working together ever since!

Paul Ainsworth

Padstow Townhouse

Paul_Ainsworth

Rojano’s in the Square

Padstow is a lovely, seaside town with old Cornish buildings. Walls are never straight, Internet can be patchy and cable-crazy networks often look like they were built in the 1960’s. Microcomms are helping to bring the Paul Ainsworth group’s buildings forward in time with new state-of-the-art networking and cabling, perfect WiFi and strong telephony services. Working closely with supremo General Manager, Alex Tozer, we are updating the infrastructure across Number 6, the gorgeous Padstow Townhouse and the Italian eatery Rojanos in the Square.

We’re working closely with Alex on both customer-facing challenges and the behind-the-scenes office requirements. As well as providing great client WiFi and telephony it is also vital that the three Padstow sites are able to interact easily, share communications and operate using the same systems for continuity.

If you get the chance to visit Cornwall – don’t miss these great places to eat and stay!

Social Wifi

Social WiFi – 5 good reasons to implement it!

November 9th, 2016 Posted by hospitality, Industry Focus, Subjects, Wireless

Free WiFi in a restaurant, café or bar is pretty much the norm these days. However, not everyone is fully aware of how important the wireless network is for the happiness of customers, and the great business opportunity it can provide. The network we most commonly encounter at a restaurant is just a tool connecting us to the internet. A customer walks in, uses the internet and walks out, never leaving a trace.

Social WiFi is different to a straightforward free service; it provides the ability for your customers to connect with your WiFi through social media networks. This is a win-win for both you and your customers. It enables a business to identify a customer and engage them in a two-way communication.

See our 5 great reasons why Social WiFi brings benefits: 

Social Wifi

1. Get to know your customer

As soon as your customer connects to your WiFi service, instead of being presented with a boring looking sign in screen, they get something that instantly asks them to interact with your brand. Customers can then use their Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn or email to formally connect to your network which is a one off task as next time they come back the WiFi system will let them on straight away but your analytics system will let you know they have returned. Even before logging in, when the user connects to the network, cookies are gathered. As soon as they sign in, your venue is provided with some detail about your customer as long as they opt in for this. We strongly encourage the use of a permission-based approach by offering them the ability to opt in.

2. Marketing through referrals

Social WiFi transforms an average restaurant into a modern meeting place. The system is connected to social media. By using them the customers can share their location on their News Feed and tell their friends about being in the restaurant. Assuming that every customer has at least 200 friends on Facebook and at least 10 people per day check in at your venue, the information gets to at least 2000 people per day. A lot, isn’t it? According to statistics 50% of people learn about restaurants and cafes on social media, so it is important to be present there. You can even have pre-constructed Facebook posts, which they can send out with one click “Currently enjoying a delicious dessert at XYZ”.

Social Wifi

3. Harness Customer Feedback online

Two pillars of every good restaurant are good food and good service – and both of those things need to be monitored all the time. If you use Social WiFi, every person who logs in to your network can receive an email after leaving asking for their opinion. The customer could be able to rate their visit on a scale from 1 to 5 stars and additionally write comments, which will only be visible to the manager or restaurant owner with access to administration panel. A great way of hearing in real-time what is going on in your venue.

4. Effective Wi-Fi marketing and mailing

There are thousands of restaurants, cafes and bars in the UK. How do you stand out from the crowd?  After gathering customer data Social WiFi allows you to conduct active marketing campaigns in the form of mailings, which due to acquired data can be very specifically targeted. Social WiFi also makes it possible to inform customers about special offers whilst they are in your venue.

5. Building loyalty

It is expected that by 2020 there will be about 24 billion devices connected wirelessly to the internet. For this reason, it is important to focus on WiFi as a tool not only for promotion, but also for building loyalty. If a customer leaves you an opinion, you can contact them, offer them loyalty points or a special offer and make them more attached to you. Remarketing works in a similar way – if someone has already been to your venue, it means they are 100% part of your target audience. Having collected their information you can now use this for on-going marketing, for example through monthly emails. If you incorporate a survey or questionnaire, you can also collect this data and begin building an improved picture of who your customer is, what they like and dislike, their product preferences and so on.

Social Wifi

Benefits for your Customers

By using their social media credentials to sign in to your WiFi network, the customer does not have to undertake the time-consuming process of entering all their details. They can be automatically connected through their social media. This means they get faster access to your loyalty program and discounts, amongst other things. Reducing the barriers for customers to connect is an obvious win for them.

Benefits for your Business

Social WiFi opens the channels to leveraging the growing social media networks. Due to increased customer engagement, ease of use for the customer and the collection of useful customer’s data, your business should also see an increase in sales. Finally, collecting customers’ emails and having these automatically added to your mailing list means you’ve opened up an on-going communication channel with your customers.

How do you currently use WiFi to connect and interact with customers? Have you considered changing to a Social WiFi connection? Speak to us today at Microcomms – we’ve got solutions suitable for small cafes through to large restaurants and bars. Prices start at as little as £100.

 

School Bell Demo

Ringing the changes: Hybrid School Bell Demo

October 17th, 2016 Posted by A/V, Case Study, education, Industry Focus, Latest News, News, Subjects

John Darling, Microcomms Director of AV and Joslyn Bellamy, Business Development Manager had the pleasure of demonstrating a new bell system at a leading Independent School in Truro last week.

Barix Extream School Bell Utilising Barix Exstreamer technology the system is scalable, robust and exceptionally good value. Originally the School had been looking at IP speakers for their bell system, however John Darling was able to explain the pitfalls of IP technology and the benefits of the Barix system.

IP Systems versus Hybrid Systems

– IP Speakers are expensive, individual units cost £200 and each speaker has to be wired back to an amplifier.

– The technology we recommend is a hybrid system utilising 100v line standard High Impedence Speakers and the site wide networked audio distribution offered by the Barix Unit. A concurrent network is created with speakers ‘daisy-chained’ together removing the need for wiring to run from each speaker back to an amplifier.

– Standard speakers also offer a school friendly replacement price with individual units running from £20-£30, taking away the financial penalty if a child/member of staff accidently damage a speaker.

Unusual school bell

School’s Out!

– We recommend Bellcommander software which interfaces with end users through an incredibly simple Windows based calendar system which uses MP3s for sound. It comes with several standard bell sounds but can be customised to your own preference (Imagine ending term to the refrain of ‘Schools Out’ by Alice Cooper!)

– Bellcommander enables up to 200 bells a day and offers the ability to link with school PA systems and can be used for playing ambient sound as well as bells – ideal for a parent’s evening with soothing classical music being played in the background.

So….what did the client think?

The School’s Senior Management team were really impressed with the demo – praising the simple format of the user interface and the scalability of the overall network concept.

If you’d like to talk to us about School Bells or any other AV needs please do drop us a line!
Joslyn.bellamy@microcomms.co.uk / john.darling@microcomms.co.uk

MICROCOMMS AND EDEN PROJECT GET SOCIAL WITH WIFI

September 8th, 2016 Posted by Case Study, hospitality, News, Wireless

Over the summer, we installed a fast social WiFi portal from Airangel at The Eden Project. The innovative Social WiFi platform enables organisations to engage directly with visitors whilst they’re on-premises, and collects valuable marketing data and contact details, allowing ongoing communications and promotion of the venue’s events long after they leave.

Social wifi from AirAngel

The MyAirangel cloud based management platform also allows the Eden Project to easily manage their public WiFi network and view detailed visitor and usage reports.

The WiFi was first put to the test when legends Duran Duran headlined the finale of BBC Music Day at the Eden Project. They were joined by special guests Nile Rodgers, Izzy Bizu and Laura Mvula. The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2.

During the 2016 Eden Sessions fans were confidently able to share photos, videos and chatter from the gigs. The Sessions season culminated with a sell-out concert for British female chart-topper Jess Glynne. With the event packed to capacity, more than 1 in 8 visitors were online at any one time.

Nick Argent, head of ICT at Eden said, “Whilst social WiFi is a technology product, the real value comes as a marketing tool. We’ve had a great response, with more than 15,000 users registering on the Airangel portal during the Eden Sessions concert season (June/July 2016). Remarkably 16% of visitors opted to use their Social Media accounts to login. This gives us an additional group of digitally engaged followers who are connected to future events and promotions.”

Visitors who logged onto the WiFi were directed through the Eden Facebook page meaning an increase in page likes for the venue. The Eden Project sees high level of engagement on Facebook and was really pleased with the simple rollout and success of the system at its first concert.

Time is running out – get social wifi now!

April 29th, 2016 Posted by hospitality, Industry Focus, Networks / Data, News, Wireless

social wifi for hospitality businesses in cornwall.  Summer 2016

Microcomms 1 hour promise