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.
(BPT) - Do you think you could live without your mobile phone? What about the navigation and backup camera in your car? Could you drive as well without them? Could you get by without your smartwatch reminding you how often to get up from your desk to keep healthy or weather conditions for the day so you know how to dress?
Our obsession with technology and the information it delivers daily has progressed beyond the point of external mobile phones and smartwatches to implanted heart monitors and Fitbits. At one time, consumers were too paranoid to enter their Social Security or credit card number online, but now, they are willing to implant sensors and other wearable technologies into their bodies. In turn, companies are leveraging these devices to collect as much data about their potential customers as possible.
The latest fashion: Wearing data
Think about it: You’re carrying (and generating) large amounts of data everywhere you go with wearable and implanted technologies. This means 24/7 data collection for the companies that manufacture those devices, which in turn helps them create a 360-degree view of the patients, athletes or customers they serve with the appropriate products, services and marketing campaigns.
According to research by Talend, a cloud and big data integration software company, 33 percent of consumers already own wearables like the Apple Watch or smart clothing, and another 30 percent are expected to make a purchase within the next three years. That’s a lot of new sources of data for companies to utilize — and a plethora of information companies can use to more accurately define the preferences and needs of its customers.
How we’re using wearables
Topping the list of today’s most common consumer-use cases for embedded wearables is healthcare (57 percent), privacy (28 percent) and convenience (20 percent), all contributing to the rapid dissemination and uptake of these devices.
Healthcare is the leading use for implanted technologies, with the introduction of advanced-tracking devices such as Medtronic’s FDA-approved Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor with TruRhythm Detection, introduced in March of this year, which is designed to accurately identify abnormal heartbeats. This life-saving device is implanted just beneath the skin and communicates wirelessly with the patient’s bedside monitor, which uploads device data to the Medtronic CareLink network. Once the data is loaded, algorithms can be run to determine if the patient is experiencing slower than average heart rate, which can deprive the brain and other organs from getting enough oxygen. This advanced use of embedded wearables and machine learning helps physicians find answers for patients at risk of cardiac arrhythmias to better manage a range of patient populations.
Outside of healthcare, the second biggest use for embedded wearables is physical security. Several companies have started utilizing biochip implants to replace card keys and manual entry codes for employees. For example, Three Square Market offered employees implanted chips in July to make purchases in their cafeteria and break rooms, open doors, log in to computers and use the copy machine. Approximately 50 employees underwent the minimally invasive procedure, many of whom believe the chip is worth any potential discomfort, as it helps to streamline their daily processes. Though this may seem like a massive invasion of privacy for many, for others, biochip implants present a way to make life easier.
Establishing trust: Should you be worried about privacy of information?
While the results of Talend’s survey seem to point to the fact that consumers are getting more digitally comfortable, with greater trust from consumers comes greater responsibility for companies to understand the many ways they need to protect customer data.
According to Talend’s survey, the most likely scenario that would drive consumers to break up with a brand and take their business elsewhere is a breach of personal data. In fact, 78 percent of consumers want to be assured they have full visibility into what companies are doing with their data. But as implanted and wearable technology becomes increasingly common and technology improves, the trade-off between data privacy and convenience will only increase.
Consider a future of augmented reality where implanted contacts could allow you to visualize and interact with the world around you in practical ways, or a future with implanted audio wearables that translate languages in real time. Would that convenience and experience move you to adopt wearable technology even if it means relinquishing more of your personal information and privacy?
At what point of technology adoption do we all essentially become cyborgs, guided each day by the obvious and subliminal information being fed to us via embedded and external devices? The day of total automation may be here sooner than you think.
Tech Transforms Dining Out Experience
(Family Features) Satisfying a craving has become easier than ever with the growing menu of interactive tools available at restaurants. From ordering to entertaining to rewarding, these resources make it simple to enjoy visiting your favorite eateries.
With technology transforming nearly every other aspect of life, it should come as no surprise that mobile and electronic tools, such as Outback Steakhouse’s new mobile app, are fast-growing restaurant trends.
Other enhancements make it faster and more entertaining to dine away from home. To make the most of your next meal out, find out which of the following services your favorite restaurants is offering:
Mobile apps. You use your smartphone for everything else, so why not at your favorite restaurant? Mobile apps give customers more control over their dining experience, allowing them to choose how and when they want to pay the bill, receive exclusive offers, join the wait list and check in. Using the new Outback Steakhouse mobile app, you can peruse the menu ahead of time and when the meal is done, there’s no need to wait for the bill; you can pay right from your phone, split the check, add a tip and even securely store payment details for future visits. To learn more, visit outback.com/app.
Call ahead seating. While you used to have to physically go to a restaurant and wait in line, you can now call ahead to find out the estimated wait time and put your party on the list for now or a later time, before walking out your door. Some restaurants even allow you to view the current wait times and join the list on their websites.
Online ordering. When restaurants first began offering carry out menus, you had to physically go to the restaurant, place your order and wait while it was prepared. Today, you can either call your order in or with a few clicks, place your order online and have it delivered or ready for carry out at the time you choose. Some restaurants even allow you to save favorite orders for future use.
Interactive table kiosks. This trend started with tableside games for simple entertainment while you waited for your order, but quickly evolved into much more. Now, not only can you pass the time playing games solo or with table mates, you can peruse the menu, place orders and pay your bill all on your own schedule.
Through technology, restaurant service has evolved into an uber-personal affair. Interacting with the special features available through your favorite restaurants lets you customize nearly every aspect of your culinary experience.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Interested in Publishing on The Tech Idea?
Send your query to the Publisher today!