The team at eStorm Australia would like to extend our congratulations to our friends at Redlands College!
We have worked with Redlands College for over 2 years, and in that time have been continuously impressed with their level of commitment to high quality, meaningful technology in the classroom. This resolute purpose has earned them Apple Distinguished School status.
In the very competitive Education Market, Redlands College is leading the way with the use of excellent technology, used practically, to ensure excellent outcomes for students. Last night’s 7 News story gave a small insight into Redlands College’s digital learning strategy, using technology for teaching and learning.
Well done to Dale, Adam and the very committed team at Redlands College!
IT support is an important factor for a business of any size in today’s economy. The choice of hiring an in-house tech or outsourcing your IT can be tough so we wanted to give you a guide to choosing the right IT support for your business.
In-House IT Support
An internal IT department can definitely be beneficial to businesses both big and small. The team will develop an in-depth knowledge of your company, allowing them to implement programs and systems that are most fitting for you. Having your IT team know your company inside-out can provide quick fixes to problems that may otherwise be difficult to locate. With techs working in-house, support will be available quickly and efficiently as they are always onsite.
However, internal IT support is costly. With a lower-level tech’s salary ranging between $50,000-$80,000 p.a. (experienced IT managers will expect much more) plus the cost of regular training and the need to frequently sit certification exams to stay current in the ever-changing technology industry, in-house support it can be expensive.
As well as this, it can be a mistake to just reply on just one or two people to run your IT support. If one member is on holidays and the other calls in sick there will be no one to fix problems that may arise on the day.
Outsourced IT Support
Generally outsourced IT support is more cost-effective than in-house support. With the ability to call someone just when you need something fixed, or have 24/7 support and monitoring of your IT systems, outsourcing allows you to choose what works best for your business. There is generally pricing options of fixed fees, hourly rates or contracts available when outsourcing, tailoring the outgoing costs to suit you.
Outsourcing also gives you a larger bank of expertise. If you choose a good IT support company the staff will have experience and qualifications in a range of areas. The company will always have someone to help you, no matter what your requirements are. As well as this, the company you outsource from will have a large team of people so, you can guarantee that someone will always be available to help you.
The choice of what IT support option is right for your business ultimately depends on your business needs. If you are looking for someone to always be on site, but you will be okay if no one is available for a number of days, in-house support could be the better option for your business. If you are looking for 24/7 support and monitoring or techs who will be available ‘on demand’ and have a broad range of knowledge, outsourcing could be the best option for your business.
If you are looking to outsource your IT support, contact the eStorm office today to find out what services are available.
The Education 20 Group (E20) challenges teachers to find innovative ways to enhance learning experiences through technology. As a proud sponsor of E20, eStorm was invited to attend and judge their annual awards night which recognises the best digital learning creations of 2015.
The night showcased a large variety of creative ideas, making our role as judges very tough. We would like to congratulate every entrant on their inspiring digital learning innovations.
We saw a wide range of ideas from artwork created by a coding robotic, to programs designed to inspire potential entrepreneurs. With the major prize consisting of a new iPad Air (donated by eStorm Australia) amongst a range of other prizes, there was a lot of excitement around the winners.
2015 Winner: Minecraft edu Oakleigh SS
Highly Commended: THE OPEN ACCESS PROJECT Western Downs Libraries
Highly Commended: U!MAGINE Charles Sturt Uni
Highly Commended: CREATE A BETTER ONLINE YOU QUT
Highly Commended: Sphero devices and code for art making
Highly Commended: Natalie Denmeade Gamification
Peoples Choice: Te Akau ki Papamoa School
Read more about the winners and the event.
Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, which can place a strain on your business to keep up and compete against other companies already harnessing the benefits of rapid IT evolution. Businesses are forced to become more reliant on their IT systems, so companies looking to outsource their IT frequently approach us. If you’re considering outsourcing your IT we have outlined some of the benefits below:
Reducing costs is the main reason why companies choose to outsource their IT needs; savings can be seen with both labour and hardware. It is often cheaper to outsource instead of hiring your own IT administrator. With fixed termed contracts you can budget your IT expenditure, saving much-needed dollars over the long term.
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
Outsourcing your IT gives you access to resources usually reserved for much larger multi-national organisations. For often less than the cost of a single staff member, you can have the support, expertise, experience and efficiency of a large IT support team.
IT administration is usually not your core competency and therefore not the most effective use of your time. It is however the core focus of the IT company you outsource from. Outsourcing allows you to have a complete IT team at your fingertips, with a number of technicians holding skills and knowledge across a wide range of areas. This allows you to focus on growing your business, which is what you do best.
FUTURE PROOF YOUR IT
By being immersed in everything IT; the company you outsource from invests in research and development to find and test new technologies that can be utilised in your work place. This means that when a project is proposed, it will be up to date with the latest and greatest technology available. This ensures there are no shortfalls when it comes to your IT infrastructure. The projects will be managed from conception to completion.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND RELIABILITY
Outsourcing your IT department means that you have 24/7 IT support. You no longer have to worry about members of your IT administration being away or leaving your business. It is the responsibility of the company you outsource from to ensure they have technicians ready to help as and when you need it. They are accountable for the work they undertake, so your IT investment is protected.
IT companies often partner with leading vendors to ensure the best pricing and support for both hardware and software. Our partners at eStorm include HP, Microsoft, Apple, VMWare, and Amazon. This diverse group of partners allows us to select the most appropriate hardware and software for your business.
If you are thinking about outsourcing your IT, contact the eStorm office today to find out about how we can help you.
The fourth generation Apple TV was announced at Apple’s September event and now that it has been released worldwide we wanted to give you the low-down on what’s new to help you decide if you need it is something you need.
The big selling point for the new device is the ‘tvOS’ platform, which includes a TV app store that has not previously been seen on the Apple TV. This means that 3rd party developers can add apps that will increase the value of the Apple TV immensely over time. Previous generations have been limited to the apps that Apple had put on the device.
With Channel 10’s ‘TenPlay’ already on the device, and Plus7, 9Jumpin, SBS On Demand and ABC iView expected to be available soon, the Apple TV is eliminating the need for a set-top-box.
The Apple TV now also allows you to access movies, music and photos from your computer to watch on screen, which can be extremely useful and will significantly reduce the need to AirPlay media from your phone or computer.
Siri has also been incorporated into the device, allowing you to press a button on the remote and speak commands such as “Find movies with Orlando Bloom” or “Open Netflix”. Siri will search across the apps you have installed in order to find what you asked. Siri is also useful when watching a movie, you can ask for the movie to be fast forwarded 20 minutes, or if you missed something you can say “what did they say” and Siri will rewind the movie 15 seconds so you can hear it again.
You can also now control the volume and turn subtitles on and off with one swipe of the remote.
The Apple TV now doubles as a device similar to the Nintendo Wii. You can use the remote as a swinging baton to play games such as Beat Sports.
With Apps such as AirBnB, Periscope, Sing Alongs, online shopping and much more to come, the fourth generation Apple TV is definitely a device worth having in our opinion.
The fourth generation Apple TV comes with the option of 32gb and 64gb of storage needed to store your apps and games.
For more information on the fourth generation Apple TVs, please contact the eStorm office today!
Each year Business Review Weekly (BRW) publishes a number of high profile lists that recognise noteworthy Australian business people and companies. One of these lists is the BRW Fast 100 list which ranks Australia’s fastest growing, public and private, small and medium businesses. The quality of the 2015 BRW Fast 100 list was as high as ever, as businesses and entrepreneurs from all of Australia’s major vertical industries presented the solid business practices required to deliver growth.
Companies and entrepreneurs on this year’s BRW Fast 100 list have increased their revenue and continue to grow and outperform their competitors.
This years list saw eStorm Australia come in 10th position, an achievement we are very proud of! Here at eStorm Australia we pride ourselves on continuously delivering on our promise to bring technology on the frontier of IT to you and offer the best solutions tailored to your business.
We would like to thank all of our clients for helping us in this achievement and we look forward to continuing to grow with you.
–eStorm Australia Team
The complete BRW Fast 100 list can be found online at www.brw.com.au/lists/fast-100/2015/
Today Apple have announced the updated range of their iMac products, introducing a new 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K Display and 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display.
The new desktop computers feature faster processors and graphics, two Thunderbolt 2 ports and up to 2TB of Fusion Drive storage for stock configurations. The 4K 21.5-inch iMac has a 3.1GHz Core i7 Broadwell processor and integrated Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200, while the 5K 27-inch iMacs have 3.2GHz to 3.3GHz Core i5 and i7 Skylake processors and dedicated AMD Radeon R9 GPUs.
Apple have also launched new Magic Accessories, including the Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 and Magic Keyboard.
The new Magic Mouse 2 now has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that uses a Lightning USB cable to fully charge in two hours. It also has a redesigned internal structure that includes fewer moving parts.
The new Magic Trackpad 2 features Force Touch (similar to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus) and a larger edge-to-edge glass design with 29% more surface area.
The new Magic Keyboard features Bluetooth for wireless connectivity and also has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that will charge through a Lightning USB cable. The updated keyboard has been redesigned to give 33% more stability and offers a lower profile for more precise and comfortable typing.
All products are available through Apple’s online store and retail stores today.
Apple Insider has done a review on the new iMacs and has written a guide to help you find what product will be best suited to your needs. Read more here.
On Tuesday Microsoft Corp unveiled their first laptop, a new range of Lumia smartphones and a new Surface Pro tablet which will all be running their latest operating system, Windows 10.
The laptop, named the Surface Book, has a 13.5-inch display with 267 pixels per inch and features a track pad made of glass. Microsoft have claimed that it will be twice as fast as Apple’s MacBook Pro.
The Surface Book combines 6th Generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and up to 1 TB of storage with Intel HD graphics and optional discrete NVIDIA GeForce graphics. Microsoft have stated that the Surface Book could be used for photo and video editing, fast rendering or gaming.
Like the Surface tablet, the screen can be detached and Microsoft is boasting an “advanced touch and precise inking experience”.
With 12 hours of video playback battery life and full size backlit keyboard Microsoft is pitching the Surface Book as the “first full laptop in the Surface family.”
The Surface Book goes on sale in Australia on November 12 with preorders starting from October 7.
If you have any questions in regards to this product or would like to enquire about setting this up in your business, please contact the eStorm office on [email protected] or 1800 ESTORM
For more information on Microsoft’s newly updated products please visit this page.
Microsoft have globally released Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows and Mac, as well as several new and enhanced Office 365 services today.
Office 2016 will bring new versions of desktop apps, including the popular programs Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and Access.
Microsoft is recommending the new update particularly to enterprise customers, as the Office 2016 includes a range of security features; including support for data loss prevention across the Office 2016 apps, multi-factor authentication and “other mission critical control capabilities”, according to a blog by general manager of Office 365 technical product management, Julia White.
Microsoft launched its Windows 10 update in July, designed to work across laptops, desktop and smartphones and Office 2016 has been designed to work smoothly with the operating system update.
The new Office 2016 apps are available in 40 languages and require Windows 7 or later versions. Microsoft also said starting Tuesday, Office 365 subscribers can choose to download the new Office 2016 apps as part of their subscription.
What’s new in Office 2016:
In the Word app there are finger-friendly cursor controls for easy text selection, copying and pasting, plus tapping on a spelling mistake brings up a touch menu of possible replacement words. There’s also a new Bing-powered feature for Word called Insights, and this looks up background information, websites and news stories for selected words. Track changes, comments and co-editing are available too, as mentioned below.
Excel has benefited from a substantial makeover, and additions including snap functions and smart scrolling which make tapping in your spreadsheet data an easier process. It has the same touch-friendly interface, but it’s not as stripped down as with Word, and it has a status bar that lets you switch between sheets in your workbook and view the results of common formulas for selected cells.
Office 2016 includes colourful new themes that match closely with the Windows 10 themes, and the latest office releases for Mac, iOS and Android apps. The colourful range of options appear on application ribbons and include blue for Word, green for Excel and red for PowerPoint. Ribbons also are redesigned slightly to make room for the ever-present “Tell Me” search field, detailed below.
Perhaps one of the most helpful inclusions of Office 2016, the Tell Me box has been incorporated to help users be more productive in Office 2016. Microsoft has added the Tell Me box that sits in the centre top of the program title bars for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Embedded in the title bar’s ribbon just to the right of a lightbulb is the search field with “Tell me what you want to do…”
If users need help trying to figure out how to add an image to a Word document, create a formula in Excel or add an animation to their Powerpoint project, simply ask the Tell Me box. Just start typing in questions using natural language query, and Microsoft will narrow the answer down the best it can.
Bring it all together with OneDrive cloud storage
Easily save to your cloud storage and switch from one device to the next without missing a beat. Office apps pick up right where you left off, regardless of the device you were using.
Move over Powerpoint…Sway is here
Sway is the new, ‘cooler’ way to create a presentation. Sway allows you to drag and drop photos, videos and files from YouTube, a computer, Facebook, Twitter or OneDrive onto a web browser, smartphone or tablet app. Sway lets you organise content in an engaging way to help communicate in a nonlinear (PowerPoint) manner.
Sway, in preview since October, will be available in Office 2016 and to business and education subscribers in Office 365 later this year.
Real-time co-editing In Word
Another extremely useful feature Microsoft has added to Office 2016 is a feature that Google Doc users have been enjoying for years now – real-time co-editing in Office documents. Real-time co-editing makes it easier for teams working on the same document not to double up or change information without the other team members knowing.
Real-time presence in Word
Part of co-editing in Word is actually seeing what the other person is doing – as they are doing it. To achieve that, Microsoft has added a Real Time Presence feature that allows a user to see where in a document teammates are editing.
Attachments to emails made easier
Outlook also got an update in Office 2016. When a user adds an attachment to an email, the Attach File menu option now includes Recent Items, which includes any Office documents that have recently been closed. This will save you the trouble of searching through all of your files to find what you are looking for.
Work groups Via Outlook
Outlook 2016’s other new feature involves creating work groups. Microsoft believes teams are collaborating more via email, video, IM, and in physical and virtual meetings. To help facilitate this cooperation and collaboration, Microsoft have added the ability to keep tabs on group activity, access conversation history, and manage files and group notes stored on OneDrive.
Upping security in Office 2016
This update is particularly beneficial for business customers. Microsoft have upped the security in Office 2016 with tools to prevent data leakage and manage file permissions. Administrators now can enable and set Data Loss Prevention policies for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
From the management point of view, policies can fight data leakage by allowing administrators to restrict what files can be sent to whom, and prevent data from being copied and pasted outside of Office 2016 applications.
IT administrators can place restrictions ranging from “notification” of a violation, allowing users to “override” rules with a justification, to finally “block” dissemination of content. In addition, Microsoft adds file-level encryption of Outlook, Word, Excel and other content. One also can choose to store data in a Customer Lockbox to control whether Microsoft can access sensitive information.
Better security: Word
The Data Loss Prevention features are extended to Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Users will be alerted when inside an app if they try to save a file containing confidential information in a directory, folder or service where it might not be secure.
Skype embedded into Word, Excel And PowerPoint
Microsoft has integrated Skype into Office 2016. Users can now initiate Skype voice and video calls, and text-based chats directly from within an Office document.
Overall, Microsoft have included a lot of new and updated features in Office 2016.
For information on pricing, or how to upgrade your service, please contact the eStorm office on 1300 378 676 or [email protected]
This month Apple released the new iOS 9 update, available for all iPhones and iPads and we wanted to give you a run down on what’s new with this update.
Phone Number Lookup
In iOS 9, your iPhone can gather data from the Mail app to suggest who might be calling when an unknown call comes in. The same works for outgoing calls; if you call someone who you have not yet added into your contact list but you have communicated with via email, your iPhone will pull their name and number with a “maybe” next to it, eliminating the need for you to dig back through your emails to find their number.
You may remember in previous versions of iOS that you had to go into just about every settings tab in order to do something simple like manage your location services, but with iOS 9 this has become a whole lot easier. One quick swipe down from the top of the settings menu lets you search for any one of the settings that are typically buried.
View all your selfies or screenshots at once
If you head into Photos, you’ll find two new sections: selfies and screenshots. Whenever you take a screenshot of something on your screen you it will automatically be placed in a separate folder just for screenshots, making the process of digging through to find something a lot easier. The selfie folder could also be very useful for those trying to narrow down their new profile picture.
Using an iPad is much more multi-task friendly in iOS 9. You can now see multiple apps on your screen at once, change the size of the split screen and manipulate both windows at the same time. For example, you could browse a recipe on Safari whilst writing a shopping list in Notes using the split screen. Switching between apps can be frustrating so we are big fans of this update!
Create more with Notes
An update to Notes also shows a vast improvement with iOS 9. The updated version allows you to add bold titles, web links, pictures, custom drawings and checklists to enhance the text of the note. You can now use the Notes app to speak thorough notes, complete work and more. Notes also allows for easy note deployment through messages, mail and social media.
Although this setting does all of the things we could manually do on an iPhone, this mode does it automatically without us having to think about it. The low-power mode gives you more battery by doing things like stopping apps from refreshing in the background and cutting off animations. Your iPhone will still perform all key functions though.
See what’s killing your battery
This brings us to our next point, iOS 9 allows you to see what is draining your battery so you can minimise that app and maximise your battery life if you need to.
The News app
Apple have also reinvented The News app for iOS 9. Instead of having to purchase subscriptions to publications, you can now instantly follow publications such as The Daily Mail for free.