How Gamers Can Be an Asset to Your Business

b2ap3_thumbnail_gamification_can_help_your_business_400.jpg“Do you think this is a game?” In the past, a boss may have used this line to criticize an employee for not taking their job seriously. However, in today’s more creative work environments, many companies are using game mechanics to achieve their goals. This business strategy is called gamification, and it’s the most fun way to get work done.

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Take a Risk with Gamification

Gamification motivates people by drawing from a person’s desire for achievement and competition. Turing a goal into a game can be done with common tasks like employee training and even project completion. Gamification can also be used to get customers more engaged with your product or service. When customers engage your company as they would a competitive game, brand loyalty increases and you’re provided with valuable feedback that can be used to improve marketing efforts, productivity, and customer service.

game ib 2Acquire Motivation Using Gaming Tactics
Gamification has broad (and board) applications. Businesses using gamification tactics aren’t necessarily dealing with customers playing cards and paying employees with Monopoly money, although, these strategies certainly qualify as legitimate gamification tactics. One successful example of gamification that you’re likely familiar with is reward points. Credit card companies reward consumers with points in order to motivate them to spend more money. These points can be redeemed for something a consumer cares about like airline miles and credit at their favorite retailer. Motivating with rewards is a powerful gamification tactic that drives sales.

game ib 3Guess Who? Assembling Your Gamification Team
Implementing gamification for your business takes some “outside the box” thinking. Successful gamification tactics capitalize on a person’s drive for fun competition. Therefore, you don’t want the person in charge of gamifying a company task to be someone with a straight-laced and by-the-book personality. Instead, look for the guy or girl that has a knack for having fun and knows how to motivate others. You will also want to involve a staff member that has a proven creative side. With your gamification team in place, all you have to do is roll the dice with your team and watch company morale improve! Before you know it, everyone will get the same enjoyment out of your business as a friendly game of poker (when the cards are going your way, of course).

game ib 4The Game of Life and Technology
In the same way that the most popular games of today are video games, there are great gamification solutions available for your company’s technology. Many of these gamification solutions can be installed on your company’s website. Gamification technology can also be utilized over your company’s network in order to track staff performance. This can turn the completion of projects into healthy competition.

game ib 5Gamification Helps Technology Users Get a Clue
Gaming elements are showing up in more technologies. Software manufacturers are even making a game out of teaching users how to utilize their software. Adobe, for example, has an onboarding program for Photoshop called LevelUp that teaches users the basics of the software with assignments where badges and points are earned. Fun gaming techniques like this are making technology less intimidating for people that aren’t technologically inclined.

game ib 6Be UNO in Sales!
What are some ways that your business and its technology can turn up the fun with gamification? Think about your favorite game. What makes it so engaging? How can you incorporate those elements into your business? Thanks to gamification, the next time someone asks you, “Do you think this is a game?” You can roll your twenty-sided dice and reply, “Why yes. Yes I do. Go fish.”

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AR Technology May Be an Adequate Substitute to “Fancy Book Learnin’” [VIDEO]

b2ap3_thumbnail_ar_applications_400.jpgHow smart are smartphones really making us? If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us would admit that our mobile phones are more for entertainment and efficient communications, and less about actually being used to make ourselves smarter. Thanks to augmented reality technology becoming more accessible, perhaps smartphones will one day live up to their name.

If you’ve not yet heard of AR technology or experienced it, don’t worry, you will. Wikipedia defines AR technology as:

A live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

One example of AR technology that you might be familiar with comes from sports broadcasts. When watching a football game on your television, you will notice lines and arrows on the field that are generated by a computer for the viewers at home.

These lines aren’t actually on the field, which might come as a bit of a shocker for a viewer who doesn’t know about this trick. They will be quite puzzled as to where these lines are when they go to attend a live game.

You can imagine just how far-reaching and fantastic the ramifications are for this technology. Due to our mobile devices primarily being used for entertainment purposes, it’s easy to let our imaginations run wild concerning all the different ways AR technology can be used to entertain us, and even market our businesses.

For example, think for a moment how intense video gaming would be if we played, not in a computer-generated world on our televisions, but in the real world with elements from the game interacting with our physical surroundings which we would access via portable headset. To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, check out this trailer for Microsoft’s AR technology project, HoloLens:

Pretty cool, right? Believe it or not, variations of AR technology can already be found on the consumer market, but it’s availability is still limited.

However, for the purpose of this article, we want to think beyond entertainment. Instead, think for a moment about real-world applications of this technology when it comes to education. By downloading an AR technology-enabled app, users will be able to learn in a much more dynamic way than simply watching a video tutorial (which is the current preferred way to learn a new skill by many of today’s computer users).

Consider this fascinating example; what if you need to make an engine repair on your car, but you’re in no way shape or form a mechanic? Theoretically, it will one day be possible to download an AR app designed for your vehicle’s make and model, and then simply point your mobile device at your car’s engine and follow directions. Thanks to the wonders of AR technology, arrows will appear on the screen directing you to which parts you’ll need to remove and install next. Technology like this will allow you to easily make needed repairs on your own, without having to spend years training as an auto mechanic.

So far, the best delivery systems we’ve seen in AR tech involves special glasses, like Google Glass. Despite technology like Glass receiving a lot of attention, it fizzled after its premiere, due perhaps to its steep price tag and social stigma stemming from privacy concerns. As it stands, the most realistic way for AR technology to catch on is to make it available on a platform that’s already being widely used by consumers (instead of requiring consumers to shell out extra money for a standalone device).

If technology like this were available on our smartphones, then maybe our phones will actually make us smarter, and thus, deserve to finally be called smartphones.

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Tip of the Week: How to Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365

b2ap3_thumbnail_office_365_multi_factor_400.jpgHackers are growing bolder by the day, taking on huge organizations like the IRS and Sony Entertainment, and forcing businesses to stay on the defensive at all times. In spite of this, what can the average small business do to keep themselves safe? For starters, you can integrate multi-factor authentication, a solution designed to make it extra difficult for hackers to access online accounts.

Better yet, it’s super easy to setup multi-factor authentication of your Office 365 account, and all accounts associated with your company. Follow these steps and you’ll be done before you know it.

First, you’ll want to log into the Office 365 Portal with your administrator credentials. Then, click on the users and groups tab.

From here, go to the Setup link, located to the right of Set Multi-factor authentication requirements.

This will show a display featuring all of the usernames associated with your Office 365 account. Select the box to the left of the user that you’ll be applying multi-factor authentication to. Then, go to the information box to the right of the user and select Enable, located under quick steps.

A box should open called About enabling multi-factor auth. Make sure you check out these links if you need more information concerning multi-factor authentication. When you’re ready to proceed, all you have to do is click enable multi-factor auth.

ib auth 1Office 365 will inform you that your settings have been applied. You can click close to end the process.

Now that you’ve finished the setup process for multi-factor authentication in the administrator settings, users will be asked to make certain changes to their accounts the next time they log in. After the initial login process, a user will need to verify their identity and set up multi-factor authentication on the user-end.

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The user will be required to select which MFA method they prefer, like their mobile phone number, so they can receive a call or SMS messages from Microsoft. After entering the preferred phone number, click verify.

Next, Microsoft will contact your phone with a unique code that you will enter in order to verify the number. Depending on if you’re using a browser-based MFA setup, you may be asked to change your password too (it’s a best practice to regularly adopt new passwords).

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After creating and implementing a new password, multi-factor authentication will be set up for all the Office 365 accounts that you desire to have an extra layer of protection for.

For more information about multi-factor authentication, and how you can take advantage of similar services for all of your online accounts, give Total Networks a call at (602)412-5025.

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Will We See 5G Soon? Probably Not, But Let’s Talk About It Anyway

b2ap3_thumbnail_wireless_future_400.jpgIt seems like just yesterday that the world adopted 4G as the accepted model of wireless technology communication, but it’s still important to look toward the future and push for greater heights. Wireless technology has permeated society to the point where it’s steeped with smartphones and other mobile devices. So, what’s next in the wireless game?

The Next Generation of Wireless Communications
When we say 4G, we’re talking about the fourth generation of wireless technology solutions. Thus, the first generation of wireless technologies, 1G, would be the primitive cell phones from the 1980s, and each generation sees an increase in the power and mobility of wireless devices. 2G was a step up from 1G, making all transmissions digital rather than through analog, 3G was a further improvement to the wireless transfer of data, and 4G is the current technology. We’ll give you three guesses as to what comes next.

You’ll be happy to hear that 5G will probably be the next step in enhancing wireless communications. However, it’s not necessarily “here” yet; in fact, it’s likely 5G won’t arrive for at least five years from now. The reasoning is that it’s not entirely clear at the moment how this type of wireless technology can be effectively delivered to the mobile device users of the world. Processor magazine says that researchers are looking into “what technical advances can achieve goals like minimum 100Mbps data rates, 45 b/s/Hz [bits per second per Hertz] spectral efficiency, 100Tbps per square kilometer density.”

In other words, when we do actually get 5G, we can expect it to be pretty fast.

The Next Generation of WiFi
With so many new devices connecting to the Internet, it’s natural that networks grow more powerful to accommodate the increase in traffic. One standard that will see some improvement is the Wave 2 802.11ac, which is designed to handle multiple devices at the same time. It’s thought that this will become the most accessible type of connection available in the near future.

In the next two years or so, we should expect to see improvements in the way wireless networks deliver quality service to users. As reported by Processor:

Peter Crocker, founder and principal analyst at Smith’s Point Analytics, says “the reality is that Wi-Fi will be part of 5G, and it’s going to bring together a bunch of different transport technologies from Bluetooth to Wi-Fi to LTE and 3G, making all these things work together.”

Regardless of how and why wireless technology is created, there’s no doubt that it’s shaping the way that the modern business functions. If you’re ready to take advantage of the numerous benefits that mobile technology can provide for your business, contact Total Networks. We’ll assess your current wireless networks and identify points where you can improve its functionality. Give us a call at (602)412-5025 to learn more.

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