What you need to know to make the best tech decisions for your small business.
(BPT) - The PCs you choose to power your small business can dramatically impact your company's productivity and competitiveness. However, many small businesses fall for common myths about computers, leading to poor purchasing decisions.
Here are four myths about PCs — and realities to help you make smarter technology decisions for your business.
Myth 1: Consumer PCs are interchangeable with business PCs
Reality: Because they're built for activities like watching videos, checking email and surfing the web, PCs for the consumer market will not always have the computing power or security features sophisticated business applications demand. If a family laptop reluctantly boots up or crashes, it's annoying, but not serious.
For a business, however, computers are mission-critical. Employees are more likely to run multiple applications simultaneously, use resource-heavy applications or use software as a service (SaaS). PCs built for consumers often lack the computing power to handle these tasks — resulting in lost productivity.
Consumer-level PCs may also lack built-in security features of computers designed for businesses, which could make your business — and sensitive customer data — vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Myth 2: RAM is the top factor in computer performance
Reality: Adding more random access memory (RAM) usually allows a computer to manage more data. But RAM alone won't improve a computer's performance — unless the PC has sufficient processing power. To make a PC faster and more efficient, you need a powerful central processing unit (CPU) to optimize the RAM. While RAM is the memory, the CPU (or processor) is the computer's "brain," receiving instructions, performing calculations and processing information.
To run today's resource-intensive business software efficiently, look for computers with plenty of RAM plus processing power, such as PCs combining an 8th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 processor with Intel Optane memory — delivering up to 2.5 times more responsive handling of everyday tasks and up to 66% faster web performance compared to 5-year-old PCs.
Myth 3: You can wait until PCs fail before replacing them
Reality: Long before a PC fails, its performance may suffer, costing your business time and money. Waiting for an older PC to start up every day can waste up to 11 hours a year. Crashing, freezing or slow computers can keep your employees from working efficiently, and may appear unprofessional to customers or clients. Sluggish, malfunctioning PCs can reduce employee satisfaction, as workers become frustrated with outdated technology.
Don't wait until your business PCs slow to a crawl before upgrading. Be proactive. Look for hardware that exceeds your software vendor's recommended system requirements. This will help ensure your PCs can handle future software upgrades. Then set a regular schedule for upgrading your hardware.
Myth 4: You're saving money by repairing old PCs
Reality: Repairing or adding RAM to squeeze more life out of older computers may seem economical. But the cost of keeping older PCs running quickly adds up. According to Intel(R)-commissioned research from J.Gold Associates, repairing breakdowns of a five-year-old computer costs an average of $662 per year. The same research found 43% of the small businesses surveyed had PCs that were over five years old — and malfunctioned each year. At that rate, you'd soon be spending more on repairs than on a brand-new, more powerful computer.
Besides losing productivity during breakdowns and repairs, older computers are also slower. Using five-year-old PCs can make your employees up to 29% less productive, potentially costing your business up to $17,000 per year, per worker.
Older PCs can also put your business at risk of cyberattacks. Per the J.Gold Associates survey, small businesses estimated that 34.47% of their computers over five years old had been hacked. With the average cost of a single data breach worldwide estimated at $35,745 per employee, an older PC rapidly becomes an expensive liability.
In the same survey, small businesses reported that just 5.92% of their PCs newer than one year old had experienced cyberattacks. Newer computers frequently offer built-in security features to reduce risk of cyberattacks. If you've updated to Windows 10, upgrading to a PC with the 8th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) processor can help you focus on growing your business instead of worrying about cybersecurity.
Blindly accepting myths about PCs can be expensive for your small business. Upgrading to more powerful computers can optimize the performance of your business software, enhance your cybersecurity and boost employee productivity. The next time you're making decisions about computer purchases, be sure you base your actions on reality. Then choose the right PCs to make your business more competitive.
Learn more at Intel.com/smallbusiness.
 Performance results based on testing as of March 2, 2018, and may not reflect all publicly available security updates. See configuration disclosure for details. No product can be absolutely secure. Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including performance of that product when combined with other products. For more information about performance and benchmark results, visit Intel.com/benchmarks. As measured by SYSmark 2014 SE Responsiveness Subscore comparing 8th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 8400 (16GB Intel(R) Optane(TM) memory module) vs. Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3330 (HDD Only).
 “Just waiting for an older PC to start up every day, an employee can waste up to 11 hours a year” is based on a 2018 web-based survey commissioned by Intel and conducted by J.Gold Associates, LLC., of 3,297 respondents from small business in 16 countries (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA) to assess challenges and costs associated with deploying older PCs. Assuming one start-up per day and using an average start-up time calculated by taking the midpoint of the time that survey respondents estimated it takes to start up a PC over 5 years old, employees were estimated to spend up to 11 hours a year starting up a 5-year-old PC (4.07 minutes X 5 days per week X 52 weeks per year divided by 60 (to get to hours) X utilization rate of .67 so 4.07 X 5 X 52 / 60 X .67 = 11.8). Full report available at Intel.com/content/www/us/en/business/small-business/sme-pc-study.html.
 The J.Gold study is based on a 2018 web-based survey, commissioned by Intel and conducted by J.Gold Associates, LLC., of 3,297 respondents from small business in 16 countries (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA) to assess the challenges and costs associated with deploying older PCs. J.Gold research indicated that the failure of a PC under warranty cost a company $1,070 for each failure, and the cost of failure for a machine out of warranty was $1,525. We can allocate a cost per user per year based on the above calculated costs of failure (assuming an in-warranty failure cost for year one and a non-warranty failure cost for all other years) where: Cost = 43.42% (average failure rate) X $1,525 (cost of failure outside of a warranty) 1 (usage from Q2). Full report available at Intel.com/content/www/us/en/business/small-business/sme-pc-study.html.
 Ibid. “Using five-year-old PCs can make your employees up to 29% less productive” is based on the productivity impairment respondents estimated was attributed to using a five-year-old PC multiplied by the average amount of time respondents estimated was spent on a PC.
 Ibid. “Potentially costing your business up to U.S. $17,000 per year per worker” is based on survey respondents’ estimates that for PCs more than five years old, employees would be up to 29% less productive. Based on an average assumed employee’s salary of $60,000, the lost productivity cost will amount to $17,000.
 Ibid. Allocating the cost of a malware attack or data breach by employee can be calculated by the following formula: $35,745 (Cost per employee) = 34.47% (average percentage that have had a breach) X $103,705 (the average cost of the breach).
 Ibid. “Small businesses had reported that just 5.92% of their computers had experienced cyberattacks” is based on the responses to a question in the J.Gold 2018 web-based survey.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have become growing parts of technological advances over the past few years, impacting almost every sector from transportation to medicine. In the 20th century, when computer programs were first developed, each line of code had to be written by a programmer outlining exactly how the computer was to respond in any given situation. However, with machine learning, computers are starting to figure out the rules on their own.
According to Tricentis, learning requires following a set of rules presented to the machine as an algorithm. These systems are often used for math-based applications like accounting because it is easy to show the machine what to do when certain conditions are met. With learning systems for artificial intelligence, the machine can begin to add to the programmer-developed rules and come up with its own, potentially better, way of solving problems.
More recent approaches to machine learning are focusing highly on pattern recognition. This is especially the case in fields like medicine and transportation with the goal of creating fully autonomous machines that can solve problems like diagnosing cancer from a scan or expertly navigating a traffic situation.
Currently, AI needs to be fed information from sensors and image data that has already been labeled and processed by humans. This is an incredibly labor-intensive process. According to Deepen AI, a single hour's worth of driving data can take up to 800 man-hours to label and analyze. However, as technologies improve and the methods of machine learning become more robust, computers will begin to take on the analysis task themselves. Simple prototype traffic cameras are already in place in New York City, and similar programs are expanding to other places.
The iterative method uses an initial guess to generate a series of approximate answers that keep being refined. What makes machine learning particularly strong is its ability to improve over time, creating a final program whose details even experts in the field cannot explain. The key to this is using a dataset to repetitively test the program. For example, a simple program can be created that can differentiate pictures of numbers. Programmers can then test the machine with hundreds of photos, and based on the results of the test, the machine can alter its rules, take the test again, and see if it has improved.
Machine learning is becoming a growing part of the technology field, and its applications are only increasing each year. Ultimately, machines will not only learn enough to help us with day-to-day problems but will also understand how to teach themselves new techniques to keep up with human needs.
Read more: What Businesses Need to Know to Get the Most Out of Their IT Team
If you’re like most Americans, you probably own two or more computers and have three or more smartphones in your house. As you prepare for traveling during the busy holiday season, you’ll likely plan on taking some of those devices with you. Protect yourself and your devices from cyberattacks during the holidays with this guide.
Personal Device Protection During the Holidays
(Family Features) If you’re like most Americans, you probably own two or more computers and have three or more smartphones in your house. As you prepare for traveling during the busy holiday season, you’ll likely plan on taking some of those devices with you. Protect yourself and your devices from cyberattacks during the holidays with this guide from the experts at Trend Micro, and find more information at trendmicro.com.
(BPT) - Summer is almost over and the school bell is about to ring. To make sure you and your family are set up for success, equip your home with the best technology devices on the market. Consider this your gadget guide for the best school year yet.
Studies show that listening to music while studying can help with concentration. The new Sonos Play:5 is small but packs a powerful punch, giving your kids a soundtrack to homework time. The Sonos Play:5 streams over WiFi, not Bluetooth, so the music never stops — unless, of course you want it to.
Wi-Fi that works
With a bunch of new gadgets and more time spent on the internet, you’re going to need a strong Wi-Fi signal to make sure everything works properly. Gone are the days where a basic spider-looking router was the go-to networking solution. With smartphones, laptops and all kinds of connected home devices, it’s crucial to purchase a robust Wi-Fi system that will support all your gadgets. With the eero Home WiFi System you never have to think about Wi-Fi again. It ensures every room is covered with a fast, reliable Wi-Fi signal. Additionally, it comes with parental controls built into the smartphone app so kids won’t get distracted when doing their homework. eero also released eero Plus, a subscription service that at $9.99 a month (or $99 a year), offers enhanced security and advanced parental controls. As the number of connected devices in the home increases, so does the potential for network insecurities. eero Plus protects users from viruses, malware and phishing scams and allows parents to have confidence that their children can't access anything inappropriate while surfing the web.
With a new school year comes book reports, research projects and presentations. Gone are the days of notebook paper and library books, now it’s all about online resources. It might be time to invest in a new computer, like a MacBook Pro. It’s razor thin and feather light so your kids can easily transport it to and from school, plus it’s even faster and more powerful than before.
The newly released Amazon Echo Dot is just the sidekick you need to help get you through the school year. With a built-in speaker, it functions as an alarm clock in the bedroom, a homework assistant in the office and it can even order you a Domino’s pizza in the kitchen for your kids’ study sessions. The Echo Dot controls many of your smart home devices, makes calls, sends and receives messages, and provides information so you’ll never question the capital of California or how many centimeters are in an inch again.
Now that school is back in session, it’s likely that your kids will be coming home while you are at work. To help give you a little more peace of mind, install Ring, the video doorbell that allows you to see, hear and speak with visitors at your front door, all from your phone, tablet or computer. Now, at 2:45 p.m. you can actually see your kids walking through the front door.
(BPT) - What drives you in the search for the perfect PC? Is it premium design and the high-end components? Or are you a performance person where nothing but the best specs will do? And what about price? Do you worry that you'll have to sacrifice some of the things you want simply because they are too expensive?
There are many things to consider when looking for the perfect PC but price and performance are not mutually exclusive. With today's modern devices, you can have both. So start your search by focusing on the parameters below and you'll find the perfect PC that fits your needs, and your budget, in no time.
This is where your tech really shines, thanks to the latest advancements that separate the newest devices from their predecessors. Crafted from 100 percent aluminum, the Acer Swift 3 packs the power of a 7th Generation Intel Core processor into an ultra-slim .7” frame with full high-definition capabilities and 12 hours of battery life.
Meanwhile, the versatile Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Series 2-in-1 can transition from a laptop to a tent to a tablet with ease, and has a full high-definition wide-viewing angle display to play media powered by its Intel Core processor.
Finally, the HP Pavilion x360 allows you to work, write and play naturally on the touchscreen. It's a convertible 2-in-1 with an optional active pen, the enhanced experience of FHD IPS display and audio tuned by the experts at Bang & Olufsen. It also allows you to store millions of documents or hundreds of movies with up to 1 terabyte of HDD storage.
Powerful and portable
The size of your new device plays a huge role in how you use it. If you plan to travel with your device, then you’ll want a more compact model like the slim, lightweight, ultraportable 2-in-1 ASUS Transformer Mini. This powerful tablet features a comfortable, angled keyboard and a handy kickstand delivering 140-degree views no matter where you take it. Plus, channel your inner creator with Windows 10 Creators Update and Active Pen, which creates the feeling of writing with a pen on paper.
Whether you plan to carry your PC into that next business meeting or out with friends, appearance matters, and nothing tops sleek and stylish. The Samsung Galaxy Book 10 is a 2-in-1 with a gorgeous display and a brushed metal finish that’s sure to get noticed. And with the included Samsung S Pen, 10 hours of battery life and the ability to sync up with your Samsung phone, its functionality can't be topped.
Safe and secure
The more time you invest in your PC, the more important it is to protect it. The Lenovo Yoga 510 (Flex 4) keeps your content uniquely yours with a simple, secure log-in fingerprint reader and Windows Hello. It’s the perfect gatekeeper for a device with plenty of storage for all your most cherished keepsakes.
Personalized for you
Each of the devices mentioned above is available at an affordable price allowing you to find the perfect PC to meet your needs and your budget. Once you narrow in on the features and functionalities that are a must have for you to help you tackle your personal and professional to-do's, you'll find that there is a PC out there to fit your needs.
So don't delay. Start your search for your next device today, and put the power of state-of-the-art technology on your table, your lap or in the palm of your hand. Stop by your nearest Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com, or your local retailer to find the one that's right for you.
(BPT) - American's use of computers has shifted dramatically in the last five years. In the past, desktop computers were the main tools for accessing the Internet and communicating with others. Today, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are taking over.
The use of mobile devices has skyrocketed, with nearly 7 out of 10 U.S. adults (68 percent) having a smartphone, up from 35 percent in 2011, according to the Pew Research Center. Tablet computer ownership is growing too, with 45 percent of adults owning this type of mobile device.
Mobile devices are popular because they provide instant access to virtually anything a person wants to do. From watching videos to online shopping and interacting on social media, mobile makes any task easy - and it's all within an arm's reach.
Along with this move to mobile devices comes a sharp increase in mobile data usage. Many Americans are quickly learning how expensive data on mobile devices can be.
One easy way to control mobile data costs is to connect mobile devices to your Wi-Fi network at home. Simply go into your devices' settings, select Wi-Fi and make your home connection your default option. Most mobile devices will then automatically connect to your Wi-Fi when at home and reduce your mobile data consumption.
This is a useful technique, but what if you live in one of the 18 million households across the United States that does not have access to "traditional" wired Internet or are stuck with a slow connection?
The best solution for these households is satellite Internet. Hughes, the inventor of satellite Internet, has recently announced their new HughesNet Gen5 service. HughesNet Gen5 is the first and only U.S. satellite Internet service to offer Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defined broadband speeds - 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload - from coast to coast. HughesNet Gen5 high-speed satellite Internet even comes with built-in Wi-Fi making it easy to connect wireless devices at home.
For these 18 million households, HughesNet Gen5 is a major breakthrough, providing speeds much faster than the slow DSL that many of these consumers are currently using.
In addition to fast speeds and built-in Wi-Fi, HughesNet Gen5 also comes with generous, affordable service plans. It is no longer necessary to rely on mobile data at home. Get the most out of your devices with a reliable, high-speed connection. HughesNet Gen5 lets you do more of what you love online, wherever you live. Learn more about HughesNet Gen5 at www.hughesnet.com.
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