Apps That Help You Work from Anywhere
Dan: It's 8:30, and on the line I have with me Vince and Sam from Bit-Wizards because it is the Tip of the Wand and it is Tuesday for our show. How are you guys?
Sam: I'm very well thank you. How are you?
Dan: I'm doing good.
Sam: I'm doing great.
Dan: And Vince is there too, right?
Vince: Yes, sir. I'm here. Can you hear me all right?
Dan: I can. How about that success? You got to love it when technology works. And what better people to have on the technology side of things and then you guys?
Vince: Computers scare me, so hoping it's worked out.
Dan: Me too. Yeah, I still got that 486 [inaudible 00:00:31 ]. That's a speedboat right there. All right. So guys, how have you been?
Sam: I've been very well, thank you. How about you, Vince. Oh, Vince, I think you [inaudible 00:00:39].
Vince: I'm doing great. Everything's going great. We're just trying to hold down the fort virtually.
Dan: I gotcha. So, this is just a real quick question. Has this Coronavirus outbreak, like locally in our local area in Okaloosa County, has that had much effect on you guys? Are you being able to still kind of work the way you always do? Only maybe just keep a safe distance?
Vince: I mean, most people are operating at home. We do have some people that are in the office. They've chosen to be. But we're pretty spread out. We've got four quadrants here. Fortunately, nobody here has had any sickness or anything like that. We've been good, other than the normal earaches that kids have and the occasional cough due to cold, that type of thing and allergies. So, we've all been pretty good. Just trying to make sure that we maintain continuity for all of our customers. And we've instituted sort of our remote action plan and how we work, and so I've got our help desk running. Still the normal hours, 7:00 to 7:00 and Monday through Friday. And then, we've taken away what we would call our normal emergency calls, and if the customer needs us on a weekend or evening and we're not making it an emergency call anymore, we just do it. So, Sam you want to add to that?
Sam: No, that's exactly right that we thought, " Well, what can we do to help our clients?" Because one of the issues is that our typical help desk hours are 8:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday, and we know that a lot of our clients are having to now homeschooled kids. And so, when they're getting their work done, it is not during 8:00 to 5:00, so we extended out our help desk hours from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM to make sure that we can help everybody who needs help. And as Vince said, we're just trying to... even anything after hours, any kind of emergency stuff. We've suspended any emergency after hours. Right? So that we can best help the community as we can.
Dan: Well, it sounds like you guys got it going on and got it covered. Obviously, with all the people that are working from home right now, probably keeps you guys a little bit busy. I'm sure you set up a lot of folks, but you always set up people anyway when **inaudible** your customers just in case they have to do that with the VPNs. We've talked about that in the past. So, it sounds like you guys are on top of it and getting people to continue their business because just because this hits doesn't mean everything has to stop.
Sam: That's absolutely right.
Dan: All right.
Vince: Yeah, absolutely the truth. And we've done the same thing, I don't know if I mentioned it, but the Chamber is also a customer of ours and we've set them up to work up remotely. In fact, we're going to be doing the first Friday coffee in a remote state this weekend. We're working with RJ Multimedia on Friday to do our first Friday coffee, and now we've switched a lot of the meetings to virtually. In fact, Wednesday we're going to have a leading through crisis at 11:00 AM , and that's going to be done virtually online. And that's Barbara Britt is going to be doing that. She's a John Maxwell speaker. So, just check your Chamber Facebook page and your Chamber website, and you'll be able to participate in the Chamber activities. And the Chamber's being a conduit for information for small business, and you'll still move forward. And I think that's what a lot of businesses have done, is moved to remote operations, and that's what we're here to help facilitate. Whether it's remote or whether it's on **prim** or it's in the cloud or whatever it is, we want to make sure that you still have it and it runs smooth.
Dan: Perfect. Yeah, I think this is probably going to be the first Friday breakfast that's ever been remote.
Sam: Yeah. That is the truth, and I don't think we've ever done it remote. I think they broadcasted it Facebook Live before so that we've got it recorded afterwards, but this is the first one that's going to be a full remote session. In fact, Bit-Wizards is sponsoring that first Friday coffee.
Dan: That's right.
Vince: And we'll be with Ted Corcoran and Heather Ruiz from Destin Commons. And a number of others will be there, but we'll be socially distant and we'll be broadcasting. And we're going to try to make it a real interesting first Friday coffee and help get some good information out there and try to maintain some sense of normalcy. I think that's been one of the things that Ted's been trying to do, and that's what I've been trying to do here at Bit-Wizards, is try to maintain some sense of normalcy. So, the people, they want to cling to what's typical and what's normal, and in a crisis like this, I think that helps bring some comfort to folks and helps keep things going. And that's the key thing that I've been trying to tell people is, don't let fear, rule you on this, right? Yes, there's going to be some stuff that happens that we can't control, and you're just going to have to make decisions based upon the information that you've got and learn from any mistakes that you've got. But the world goes on, and we're going to get past this and everything's going to be okay in the long run. I think that's the key thing for business owners is keep a cool head, don't overreact, take advantage of the resources that are out there and move forward. And I would put a plug in there to make sure that you support your small business. They're going to get hit really hard. I know, through my Vistage CEO peer group, there's a number of businesses that have already had to lay off a lot of folks, and the more that you can help support those small businesses, whether it's virtually, whether it's online or going to their takeout if they do food, or the other ways that they've presented, tried to continue operations and business. We need everybody's help out there.
Dan: Good point. Very good point. And trying to keep a little bit of a sense of humor isn't such a bad thing either. You'll find that even though a lot of military folks in combat zones always seem to find a little bit of humor, maybe a little weird, but a little humor in something just to kind of keep morale up a little bit. And this time right now with our whole country having to be invaded by this Coronavirus, a little humor, not to say that you're complacent, but a little humor doesn't hurt. And with that being said, here we go.
Announcer: Bit-Wizards Bits and Bites.
Sam: So, today's bits and bites actually isn't from the news. It's from one of our experiences because of the necessary changes to local businesses. We've seen some unintended side effects and consequences of the COVID-19 shutdown. I heard about an issue they're having in Las Vegas right now with their pig farms because, and no one would have anticipated this, but typically there's 20 tons of waste food from all the buffets on the strip every day and that's what goes to the pig farms out in Nevada. And now the pigs don't have anything to eat. So, there's all these unintended side effects that are happening that you wouldn't have thought would happen because of the lockdown. And today, I want to talk about one because the necessary changes to local businesses is becoming essential to stay in touch with your employees and your client base. But unfortunately, there's a new problem that's coming out here that's emerging, and that is that if you try to communicate with all of your client base all at once, you just try to send that one big mass email, it's starting to get identified as spam because it looks like spam. It looks like the the Viagara emails that you get and all of that stuff. When it's coming out of your company, even though it's a legitimate like, " Hey, we want to tell you about our new store hours or how we're delivering curbside delivery and all of this." And we just worked with a company last week who had gotten their email temporary blocked because they attempted to email several hundred people all at once in a single email to update their clients about their COVID-19 response, and we were able to clear up the confusion and release those automatic **inaudible** in Office 365. But it brings up a good topic for us to discuss.
Vince: Yeah. So, what we tried to get people to do is don't sign up for a bulk email provider and not to do this through your typical email channel like Office 365. The bulk email is set up and they are specifically listed in order to push communications, those types of things via email or text message or voicemail and to present information to get you to go to an established location like a website or Facebook page or something like that. And they're already registered in order to do that. Their servers are, so when they send out a big mass email, and those companies actually screen who is able to get on their service to make sure that they're legitimate so that they're not necessarily the Viagara email that Sam subscribes to... But I did check [ inaudible 00:09:59] in there.
Dan: There you go. Good job.
Vince: But anyway, there are some of the third party servers... And some of them are actually done through what are called a customer relationship management system or a contact management system. So, some of these third party service providers, and we use one of them... Well, we use a couple of them ourselves. HubSpot is one and that's a CRM. MailChimp is another. Constant Contact is another one. And then, more of the bulk email where you integrate in with a system is an application on your website. It's like Mailjet or Salesforc. And there's analytics, and it looks and it can actually tell you who opened it, who read the email, because it knows who the list is. It puts like a little tracking pixel in there in order to let you know. And you can track the analytics to check the open rate and who got the email and who didn't get the email, and if you've got any bounces, it helps you manage those great big bulk lists. Salesforce is another one that is a CRM.
Sam: And I just wanted to add to that, that if you've got to communicate with your entire client base, then yes, don't just email out and risk getting your company blacklisted as a spammer on the internet. Definitely use one of these third party services like HubSpot or MailChimp or Salesforce [inaudible 00:11:21]. You get all the added analytics, too. But then, also, it doesn't just have to be an email. There are multiple ways for you to communicate with your clients. At Bit-Wizards we use video quite a lot actually. If we need to send out an update to our clients, a lot of times we'll sit down in front of the camera a little, we'll shoot a video, and we'll send that out. And I will post it on our Facebook page and post it on our website. We'll post to lots of different places and send out a link to that video. But a lot of times for us it's better to have a face-to-face conversation when they can see your thing and see exactly what it is that you're talking about. So, in this era, as we're getting a situation where we have to rely on mass communication, it's often, we believe, that communication is the key difference between you and your competitors, so that's why we study this for our managed IT services so we can work for our clients. And that way, we administer and maintain these communication platforms, whether that is HubSpot or it's a website or whatever that is, so we can give our clients an easy way to communicate with all of their clients without them actually getting blacklisted on the internet as a spammers.
Vince: But the important thing is to make sure that you shoot this out with a link to the video. Don't try to attach a video to your email. It'll be way too big. We use some products, like Soapbox is one. That's a great way to do this. There's a number of tools that are built into some of the webcams and stuff like that where you can do this and then upload it to a service like Wistia or YouTube. And then, send the link to the video. And the videos have a much higher open rate than what typical email does. If somebody sees a preview of a video, and what you'll do is you'll embed a picture inside of the email so it looks like a video with a little click or a play symbol in the middle of it, and then we get people to open them up a lot easier. And they typically watch the videos pretty much all the way through, and it's a great way to keep them... You don't need a real long one, 30 seconds to no longer than than three minutes. Three minutes is kind of a long video, but it's a great way to communicate with customers.
Dan: Gotcha. I agree with you. I can identify with that myself. Just being a consumer, when I open an email, if there's a video, I like watching a video, but I don't want to sit and watch a three or four or five minute video. Something short and sweet, give me the information, and then I can move on.
Sam: Absolutely. Yep. [ inaudible 00:13:45].
Vince: I'll change all my communications with you, Dan, to email from now or **inaudible** lips there. I'll change it all to videos for you.
Dan: You can send me a video. I'd send you mine, but I got to comb my hair first. I'll have to do that. Okay, you guys ready?
Vince: Me too. I'm in my pajamas right now.
Dan: Yeah. I got hat hair. No, I have no hair. Nevermind.
Announcer: Bit-Wizards. What's up our sleeve?
Dan: I heard the echo.
Sam: So, over the past few weeks, we've talked about some options and the ramifications working from home during this time of social distancing. And this is how we can work together to flatten the curve so we can help our fellow man in our community and our nation and support the country. Today, though, I thought it'd be good for us to discuss tools that are available to you to continue working even while you're on the road from mobile devices. And the reason for that is, this is really anything to do with the working from home so much as these are tools that are already in place. Because Android and Apple phones and the tablets have become so ubiquitous now, we carry around these incredibly powerful computers in our pockets that we're now hanging over $1, 000 for for every year for two years. We just have decided that's normal life. And what's great about these devices is they're always connected, and so many of the tools that you use to run your business are now also available on mobile devices. And I thought Vince and I can take a few minutes this morning and talk about some of the ones that we use regularly because I know Vince has a... I believe he has an iPhone. He has an iPad as well. And I know we've got some Android tablets and Android phones that are floating around the office as well. In fact, we all have our mobile devices. One of the things that struck me first when I first came **inaudible** was I walked into comps room area, it was packed in there, and everybody in there was on either an Android phone, an iPhone, or a Windows phone, and they were surface tablets and iPads and Galaxy tablets all over the place. It was very impressive. And so, these tool sets really are changing the way that we live our lives because we carry around a high end computer in our pockets with us at all times right now. So, I thought, Vince, it'd be a good idea, we could talk about some of the productivity tools to use, some of the communication tools to use, and maybe even some security tools we use on our mobile device.
Vince: Yeah. First and foremost, that is Microsoft Office, and the nice thing about it is is it's got the full suite of productivity tools. It's got the Word, Excel, PowerPoint, all those normal things that you you're used to using. But two of the other ones that are really awesome are Outlook, obviously, to get your mail so you've got a nice email client, and then OneNote, and one note is a great way to not only have your notes but then share them among your team. And then, you can share those things through SharePoint or OneDrive. Now, the nice thing is is that when you buy a Office 365, like through Bit-Wizards or if you buy direct from Microsoft or however you do it, you're allowed as an individual to load it on up to five devices. And so, there are different versions of these pieces of software that are made specifically for the platform. They're actually separate pieces of software, so you have one for your standard Windows desktop, you've got one that you can operate through a browser, and then you also have them for your Android phones and your iPhones.
Dan: Okay. And if you get five of those, Vince, so if you get five, the five can be all different types, but they're all considered five. You don't have to have five of one or five of the other.
Vince: No, not at all. So, like **inaudible** for example, as Sam mentioned, I have an iPhone. I've got an iPad Pro, and then I've got a mini iPad that I use when I travel if I just want to read on the plane. And then, I've got a Microsoft Surface book. So, I've got a Office 365, all of the Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook, as well as OneDrive all on there. And then, I'm able to get access to my documents through the way we talked about how OneDrive syncs, and it will, when you go ask for it, it will go out and get it from the web and then bring it down so I don't have to use up all the storage on my local device. And I can get access to my files literally from anywhere. I have literally signed contracts from my phone with a digital signature that have been shared this way through different types of software that we have within our suite.
Dan: My gosh. Now there's no reason in the world why you should have to wait to get in business done then. This is instant right on the spot.
Sam: Absolutely. This is actually something that I'm really proud of. Microsoft, their CEO, Satya Nadella, came in... I don't know, it was quite a while ago now, maybe five years ago, and really changed things. And he said, " We're going to go with a cloud first, mobile first platform," and all of a sudden the office tools that have been staples of business for decades were now available on mobile devices and they've just been getting better and better. Another tool that I use is **inaudible** is called the Microsoft To-Do app, and I thought, " Oh, great, another to-do app. There's so many of them out there." This one is simply fantastic. It synchronizes onto my Mac, onto my Windows 10 machine, onto my iPhone, because all of my devices, if I have a thought, " Oh, I've got to get that something done," I just punch you right into this app. It's super, super easy. It's very easy to organize, easy to get me to remind myself about things. Another app I've been using for business related person is an Adobe scan app, which is actually a free app on both platforms, and it is an incredibly useful little app. What it lets you do is scan either a Y fold or a document or anything like that with just the camera on your phone, and it is intelligent enough to size the document. And if you're taking it at an angle, it's able to square it out and straighten it out. And then, it's also able to read your handwriting and the typing this on there and what we call OCR, Optical Character Recognition, and pull the text off of that document, even if you're scribbling notes on a whiteboard. So, I use that one. That's pretty good. There's another one here. Vince was just talking about signing documents that we use. It's called PandaDoc, which is a service that we subscribe to, but for sending out documents back and forth, if we need to get a contract signed, we put the contract in PandaDoc. It keeps track of every single person that's touched the document, that's opened it, that's looked at it, that's reviewed it, that ' sent it back for changes and red line stuff. And then, all of the signatures happened through that digitally, and we can do the entire thing, if we need to, right from a mobile phone. And then, the last one on this productivity side of things for me was BambooHR Hiring. Now, we use an HR application called Bamboo internally at Bit-Wizards, which is great for our HR department, but it doesn't really apply to me too, too much except they have an app just for hiring. So, when people are submitting resumes, which is... It's definitely going to be a focus of discussion here in the news coming up here more and more, but as people are submitting resumes, I'm able to be... I'm sitting, waiting for, I don't know, a grocery store waiting for something for the line to move so I can keep going, I can be sitting there on my phone reviewing resumes as they're coming in on my phone and taking notes and commenting and setting up callbacks and everything right from within my phone. And it's not even an email system at all. It's all built right in on the app, on my phone.
Dan: My goodness. And so, when you set up your customers, you set up the 365 and you can explain all these different options they've got available to them, not just through 365 but through other platforms. So, you can get these folks, not only cook them up with all the technology they need, but also ideas on how they can move forward with their business. That is great. Bit-Wizard, you guys got it going on, I'll tell you.
Vince: Well, thank you, Dan. Another area that we try to look at is connecting people together and making sure that they can communicate. And I'm sure that everybody's feeling the pinch on that right now, with the exception of Bit-Wizards customers because we've got it booked up. But there's some communication platforms that are out there, and some of them come as... They have a base model that's free, and it's a way for people to communicate and collaborate in real time. And also, in some cases, replace their phone system as a whole. In fact, we're using one right now to communicate between all of us, and that's RingCentral. And so, RingCentral is a combination of our phone system here at Bit-Wizards, along with our online meeting platform, and it even into faxes and it can take text messages and a whole slew of things. So, we've got one central location to be able to do that, and any member of our team could spin up a meeting or do a phone call from anywhere, wherever they're at. They can even forward their out of office phone calls from their office to their cell phone. I can walk out of this meeting in real time and transfer it over to my phone and continue to operate just as if I was sitting here in front of my desk right now. One of the other tools that we've also used in the past, and a lot of people are using, you're probably hearing a lot about it right now is Zoom, and Zoom is very much like RingCentral. Everybody's probably heard of the old WebEx, but the guys that originally built WebEx sort of felt like once WebEx got bought out and was part of a great big company, that they really weren't innovating or going forward. So, they went off and started a whole new company centered around streamlining the online meeting process and how that works, and so they created Zoom, which allows you to do these online meetings. In fact, Zoom is so good at it that RingCentral basically white labels a version of Zoom and uses that as part of their service. And now, Zoom has now gone off beyond where they're at, and they've added in phone calling, so they too are able to do text messages and faxes and phone call, as well as providing online meetings. Or you can even take it up, like you can in RingCentral and some of the others, and you can do like virtual seminars and things like that where you go to thousands of people and things like that.
Sam: It's important for me because I keep that RingCentral app on my cell phone, which means I can call somebody from my cell phone, and the number is actually my desk phone number. So, as I'm out and about, I'm not having to give out my personal cell phone number ever. I'm making the calls from my cell phone, but it's going through this RingCentral app or the Zoom app and it's coming across as if I was sitting at my desk. It's pretty fantastic.
Vince: And it blocks all those 1-900 calls that Sam tries to do all the time.
Dan: Busted. No. So, the idea is you've got one phone number, and that one phone number will get to everything.
Sam: But it's all hosted through a cloud service, so it's, really, it's not a phone like you would think of a phone anymore, it's like an app. And that app could run on my computer and is attached to an actual phone, or it can just run on my smartphone as an app on my phone and still operate the exact same way. Now, there's other apps we use all the time that we really don't even have time to sell fast. Slack and Teams, use those for communication. LastPass, all of our passwords, we store them in LastPass. I know we've talked about it on the show quite a bit, but I use that all the time on my phone because if I need to get to a password and I'm not sitting at my computer having it accessible at my fingertips, it's absolutely critical. Now, that might mean I'm punching in this 24 character long thing of letters and numbers and symbols, but at least I have them available to me. And the other part that we do in our managed IT services is that we do what we call mobile device management, and that is keeping track of those devices within your company, if you have company owned iPads or iPhones or Android phones, so that we have tools available to be able to keep track of those and monitor them and send the apps to them and make sure that they're not been used for things they're not supposed to be used for.
Dan: Like those 1-900 numbers.
Vince: The key thing is Bit-Wizards is that...
Vince: The key thing at Bit-Wizards is that we've adopted a cloud first mobile, first strategy, and we try to lead the way in providing mobile apps via Windows on your desktop or your Mac or iPhone, iPad, Android, or tablets and assist our customers to be able to have that cross productivity across all of their platforms.
Dan: Sounds good. You guys, you amaze me every time I hear you guys. Okay, let's move on.
Announcer: Bit-Wizards, from the spell book.
Sam: Okay. I'm going to rush through this one so that Vince can get to our customer appreciation **inaudible** here, but I wanted to give you a buzz word that I've been hearing a lot lately and that's the term 5G. You're going to see it a lot on the news. What 5G is, is the new generation of cellular wireless, and what I want to say about that is each generation of our cellular connectivity that we have has gotten better, it has gotten faster. However, it has required all new radio tower technology, every iteration they do, all new chips in our cell phones to be able to do this. But we all rely now on our cell phones having internet connection. In fact, we take it for granted. When it first came out on the original iPhone, we had like Edge, and it was super slow and it was really only good for checking email. And we had 3G for a while. I remember in **inaudible** waiting to get 3G, can we please get 3G? And you get two megabit internet, then you are able to stream some music every now and then. Now we have this 4G, this LTE. It's everywhere. 93% of the US **inaudible** LTE. It is plenty fast. In fact, it's more than likely faster than your home internet. So, the next generation is 5G, and the question is, why would we need 5G? It doesn't make any sense. We've already got fast enough internet. Well, the difference was 5G is not just how incredibly fast that is. It is probably 20 times faster than most business internet connection. But it's the low latency, it's how fast it's able to connect with itself, and so this is going to open up a world for us where IOT devices, self-driving cars will be able to communicate large amounts of data with each other on the road. And all of these future technologies are coming out. That's why there is so much buzz around this 5G. So, if you're looking to buy a new cell phone, you're going, " Well, I've heard about this 5G, and I don't see it on my cell phone coming up here," you don't have to worry too, too much by it. It's more about the technology that is coming down the pike, and 5G is going to pave the way for that. But it's going to take a while to roll out because it does require new cellular data to be rolled out across the country. We try to stay on top of that bleeding edge, cutting edge technology so that we can stay informed of these technological advances that affects the enterprise.
Dan: Awesome. And Vince, we've got about 20 seconds. Sorry.
Vince: We just want to do a big shout out to Backridge Tree Service. Rob and Alicia Calley and their team located at 717 Edge St in Fort Walton Beach. They offer the highest level of arboricultural services. Rob is an ISA certified master arborist, and so they have adopted technology within their business and we're proud to have them as a customer. We want to thank you from our hardworking Bit-Wizards team, and please, if you've got some trees to cut down right now, Rob Calley and Alicia could certainly use your support. Give them a call and make sure you utilize them and get your trees cut down, get your yard all [inaudible 00:00:29:17].
Dan: Gotcha. Hey, thanks, Vince and Sam. Appreciate it. We're kind of short on time, but until next Tuesday, stay safe.