Business Info - issue 155

THE TECHNOLOGY & WORKPLACE MAGAZINE FOR SMES & PUBLIC SECTOR ORGANISATIONS WWW.BUSINESSINFOMAG.UK ISSUE155 DIGITAL SIGNAGE Bridging the tech equity gap with workplace displays PAGE 23 MARKETING Why it pays to watch your language in customer communications PAGE 10 Q&A How Vimeo makes it easy to create and manage video content PAGE 28 Beat the Big Switch Off Free migration to Spitfire FireSwitch cloud hosted telephone system FireSwitch HOSTED PBX 2.2 ® Telecoms and IP Engineering Solutions for Business since 1988 Innovative • Flexible • Reliable • Supportive • Cost Effective Sales 020 7501 3333 • Partner Services 020 7501 3150 Barnacle Goose [Branta Leucopsis] The Big Switch Off means that all-IP Cloud telephony is no longer a choice, but a necessity. That’s why it’s important to choose the right alternative for your business. Our latest fully featured hosted VoIP telephone system, with mobile and desktop softphones, has been designed to provide a resilient, cost effective and highly flexible solution. Additional benefits include an online management portal, call recording and business analytics, making monitoring and management easier than ever. Connecting people and sites together with next generation communication. All this, with free and simple migration. FireSwitch Hosted PBX 2.2 Key Features Softphone Call Recording Reporting Management Portal Inbuilt Call Resiliency Beat the Big Switch Off Free migration to FireSwitch hosted telephony Flexible pricing for small and medium sized business Barnacle geese migrate twice a year, sometimes travelling over 3,000 miles in search of warmer climates.

IN THIS ISSUE: 155 – Q1 04 Bulletin Technology trends and headlines 06 What CEOs think Key findings from the latest PWC Global CEO survey 08 What’s New This month’s most eyecatching new products and services 10 Customer communications The five customer communication trends businesses must take note of in 2024, according to Twilio 12 Printers Brother refreshes entire laser line-up with quieter, more compact designs 13 Printers Canon adds six new models to its i-SENSYS and i-SENSYS X ranges 14 Customer Communications James Mensforth explains how AI is helping to put emotion back into customer communications 16 I couldn’t do my job without… Krystol Slocombe, UK Field Marketing Manager at Lexmark, picks the work tools she couldn’t do her job without 17 Case Studies How Spitfire is helping two SMEs prepare for the future with innovative comms 18 On test The Business Info reviews team tries out a trio of must-have office accessories 19 Catering Give your business a boost with Nescafé B2B and Deborah Meaden 20 Sustainability Five steps that can speed your business along the road to net zero 22 Flexible working Rising numbers of selfemployed at risk of loneliness, warns Landmark Space 23 Digital Signage New report highlights the value of digital signage for deskless workers 24 Software How ControlUp can give your staff a better working experience 26 Managed Services UK insolvency firm saves £500,000 through Apogee managed services 27 Sustainability Aurora outlines 2023 ESG achievements 28 Q&A All you need to know about the Vimeo video experience platform 29 AV How Panasonic is helping Titanic Belfast bring the Titanic experience to life 29 Awards Commerce Business Systems celebrates being voted IT Supplier of the Year 30 MFPs Steve Pearce highlights the importance of engaging employees in net zero strategies 31 Telephony Are you ready for the ISDN switch-off? If not, this is what you need to do Editor: James Goulding 0780 308 7228 · [email protected] Publishing Director, Social Media & Web Editor: Neil Trim 01732 759725 · [email protected] Advertising Director: Ethan White 01732 759725 · [email protected] Art Director: Nick Pledge 07767 615983 · [email protected] Advertising Executive: James Trim 01732 759725 · [email protected] Business Info is a controlled circulation magazine. Applications for free copies will be considered upon receipt of a completed and signed reader info card or online form. Business Info is available on subscription @ £40 p.a. to UK companies or residents and @ £75 p.a. for non-UK subscribers. The opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers who cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. No part of Business Info magazine can be reproduced without the prior permission of the publisher. © Copyright 2024 Kingswood Media Ltd. ISSN 1464-8814 Design: Sandtiger Media – FOR THE LATEST INDUSTRY NEWS VISIT: WWW.BUSINESSINFOMAG.UK Kingswood Media Ltd., 7 Amherst House, 22 London Road, Sevenoaks TN13 2BT · Tel: 01732 759725 • Email: [email protected] BUSINESS INFO GET YOUR FREE COPY To make sure you get every issue FREE, as soon as it is published, just visit, click the ‘FREE Registration’ button and add your details to our mailing list. @BinfoMag BinfoMag If you no longer wish to receive Business Info magazine please email your details to [email protected] 03 magazine magazine 04 A living canvas Alfalite, the only European manufacturer of LED screens, has teamed up with digital artist César Yagüe to transform entire walls into living canvases that promote feelings of calm and serenity. Designed for corporations, hotels, entertainment venues, galleries, luxury homes and boats, AlfaArt is a turnkey solution consisting of LED displays (available in a range of sizes and formats), state-of-the-art media players, digital artworks and ‘white glove’ installation and after-sales technical support anywhere in the world. Customers gain access to a digital art gallery, enabling them to select pieces that resonate with their aesthetic vision and the mood they wish to create. Each AlfaArt artwork comes with an NFT certificate of authenticity, guaranteeing its provenance and exclusivity. ... Sleeve sponsor Real Madrid’s clash with Atlético de Madrid on February 4 saw the unveiling of the club’s historic new shirt featuring an HP logo on the sleeve. This is the first time in the club’s 121-year history that a sponsor’s branding has appeared on a Real Madrid shirt sleeve. As part of a multi-year global collaboration with Real Madrid Football Club covering its men’s and women’s teams and youth programs, HP is supplying technology and AI-enabled devices to support operations and enhance the fan experiences at the new Santiago Bernabeu complex. ... S-RM highlights value of cyber insurance Last year, the direct cost of a cyber incident went up by 11% to an average of $1.7 million, claims cyber security consultancy S-RM in its annual Cyber Security Insights Report 2023. This figure rises to an average of $2.7 million The strong arm of the law BeaverFit, a provider of shipping container training lockers, is supporting Police Scotland’s CopStrong strength and conditioning programme with a specially designed 20ft Container Gym plus integrated storage and external rigging compatible with BeaverFit training accessories and equipment. The Performance Locker expands Police Scotland’s ability to provide group training and strength and conditioning sessions as it seeks to enhance police officers’ fitness levels, reduce the risk of injury and improve performance levels. Founded in 2010, BeaverFit provides training lockers and fitness equipment to businesses, universities, military units, private gyms, health clubs and other organisations worldwide. It’s time to decentralise change management process, says OC Tanner Less than half of UK leaders (47%) take employees into account when deciding on business-wide changes, from new management structures to the implementation of a new IT platform, and just 44% seek employee opinions as changes are rolled-out. These are among the findings of O.C. Tanner’s 2024 Global Culture Report based on data and insights from more than 42,000 employees, leaders, HR practitioners and executives from 27 countries, including 4,818 from the UK. According to Robert Ordever, European MD of O.C. Tanner, this research suggests that traditional change management practices, which tend to be linear, top-down and process-oriented, are no longer fit for modern work environments. He said: “Organisational changes can have far-reaching impacts on the workforce. Regardless of whether these changes are strategic, structural, technological or people-centric, not considering employees and seeking their feedback before rolling-out change is a recipe for disaster, potentially leading to widespread frustration, cynicism and disengagement!” Only half (53%) of UK employees believe the organisational changes they have experienced were well-managed; 23% describe them as poorly managed. The report argues that effective change management must start with the creation of a culture in which employees have trust and feel valued. Decentralising the change management process to involve managers at all levels is also important, as is ensuring regular, transparent communications so that all employees have a voice. Ordever added: “It’s crucial that an organisation’s people are the centre of change strategies. This approach will not only remove friction from change management processes but will increase employee wellbeing and strengthen workplace culture. The truth is that no organisational change is going to be effective or lasting without the buy-in of employees. The sooner leaders recognise this and ensure the organisation’s people are always considered, the more successful any changes will be.” BULLETIN BULLETIN

01732 759725 05 magazine Inside out mobile connectivity Tenants of Lucent W1, Landsec’s new mixed-use (office, retail and residential) development behind the world-famous Piccadilly Lights in Piccadilly Circus can look forward to reliable in-building connectivity from all four mobile network operators (MNOs), thanks to a 4G distributed antenna system (DAS) and managed service being deployed by Freshwave, a connectivity infrastructure-as-aservice provider. The DAS, covering landlord areas and available to tenants under Freshwave’s pay-as-you-occupy model, provides a reliable, high quality 4G signal by connecting directly into the four MNOs’ core networks. In-building connectivity removes reliance on outdoor mobile signals that can be blocked by building materials like concrete and energyefficient glass. BULLETIN for organisations that don’t have cyber insurance – 69% more than for those that do. The top three factors contributing to higher cyber incident costs are increased insurance premiums (37%), operational downtime (36%) and recovery and response costs (32%). ... Price hikes add to cyber woes Analysis by Veeam Software shows that last year, in the wake of a successful ransomware attack, 68% of businesses were forced to increase their prices by an average of 17%. More than three quarters (78%) also had to reduce their headcount. (Source: The Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2023 ... In the dark about switch-off Gamma Communications plc is warning that 30% of UK businesses are in the dark about the discontinuation of BT Openreach’s Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) due to be completed by December 2025. According to its report, The Big Switch-Off: Are UK Businesses Aware and Prepared?, only 54% of businesses that currently rely on legacy services for customer communications, order taking, internal communications, security and lift operation are currently aware of the Switch-Off. Three quarters (74%) of businesses are yet to complete essential migration tasks and 49% haven’t started researching alternatives. Gamma warns that scrambling to adopt new digital solutions at the last-minute could overwhelm providers. ... Seek and ye shall waste time App sprawl is causing 74% of workers to waste 1.5 days a week navigating disconnected collaboration tools. A survey of 3,000 US and UK workers by Asana’s Work Innovation Lab found that on average employees spend nearly an hour and a half a day looking for information needed for work, 57 minutes switching between collaboration tools and 30 minutes simply deciding what collaboration technologies they should use for a specific task. Over one third believe AI will help reduce the number of collaboration technologies needed, but only 28% say their organisation is well-prepared to deploy AI. ... Businesses pick up tab for inefficient browsing AI-powered market research platform AMPLYFI claims that workers waste 7.7 hours a week, the equivalent of one working day, searching for information. Yet, still, 43% of decision-makers are unable to find the resources they need. Over half (57%) believe there are too many channels to visit in order to source the information needed for their job. Search engines (55%) are the most common source of information, with 41% of knowledge workers having 6-10 tabs open in their internet browser at any one time. Over half (57%) of respondents said they find contradictions in data across different channels, leaving them unsure which to trust; 72% believe less than half the content they are able to access is relevant. Paul Teather, CEO of AMPLYFI, said: “AI is opening up new avenues for information gathering. Businesses can now harness a single source of information, conduct a lifetime of reading in 20 minutes, and create their own highly relevant content feeds, pulling from multiple sources across the internet. AI is ultimately allowing knowledge workers to put their fingerprint on the vast pool of data available.” ... Unfair weather friend As the organisation responsible for collecting weather information across Greenland for use in global climate surveys, ASIAQ Greenland Survey relies on robust equipment that can deal with unpredictable and harsh conditions on land and at sea, including rain, snow, high volumes of dust and moisture and temperatures as low as -20°C. It recently ordered new Panasonic TOUGHBOOKs from Danish IT supplier Northcom, continuing a long-standing relationship with the rugged laptop market leader. A key attraction for ASIAQ Greenland Survey, alongside the devices’ rugged design, is their reliable connectivity. This is essential for remotely calibrating equipment and collecting and transferring weather and environmental data from the field to the Survey’s head office in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. ... Data surge The global average data consumption per smartphone is predicted to increase from 21GB/month to 56GB/ month between 2023 and 2029, attributed to factors such as improved device capabilities, an increase in data intensive content and continued improvements in the performance of deployed networks (Source: The Ericsson Mobility Report, November 2023 Photo: Landsec magazine 06 ANALYSIS The proportion of CEOs who believe global economic growth will improve over the next 12 months has more than doubled year-on-year, from 18% last year to 38% in 2024, according to PwC’s 27th Annual Global CEO Survey of 4,702 CEOs in 105 countries and territories. CEO expectations of global economic decline have tumbled from last year’s record high of 73% to 45% in 2024, as global exposure to inflation and macroeconomic volatility fell by 16 percentage points (to 24%) and 7 percentage points (to 24%) respectively. CEOs in most regions of the world are also more likely to be optimistic about the outlook for their domestic economies, with the notable exception of those in North America and Western Europe. In Western Europe, 48% of CEOs expect their domestic economies to decline in 2024, compared to 32% who are expecting growth. Respective figures for North America are 52% and 31%. Businesses under threat When it comes to the viability of their own businesses, CEOs are less optimistic. While the proportion of CEOs who feel their company is highly or extremely exposed to geopolitical conflict risk has fallen 7 percentage points to 18%, the proportion concerned about their long-term business viability has risen as climate pressures and technological disruption accelerate. Almost half (45%) of CEOs don’t believe their business will be viable in a decade if it continues along its current path, up from 39% in 2023. This concern is more prevalent amongst CEOs of businesses with less than $100 million in annual revenue (56%) than amongst those in businesses that make $25 billion or more in annual revenue (27%). What CEOs think Growth prospects for 2024 In the short-term, CEO’s confidence in their own business’s prospects for revenue growth over the next 12 months has fallen from 42% in 2023 to 37% this year. Even so, CEOs in every region say they are more likely to increase than decrease their headcount in the next 12 months, with 39% planning to increase headcount by 5% or more in 2024. CEOs in the Middle East are most bullish about hiring (65%). Bob Moritz, Global Chair, PwC, said: “Despite rising optimism about the global economy, CEOs are less optimistic than last year about their own revenue prospects, and more acutely aware of the need for fundamental reinvention of their business. Whether it is accelerating the roll-out of generative AI or building their business to address the challenges and opportunities of the climate transition, this is a year of transformation.” The AI opportunity CEOs overwhelmingly see generative AI as a catalyst for reinvention that will power efficiency, innovation and transformational change. Nearly three-quarters (70%) believe it will significantly change the way their company creates, delivers and captures value in the next three years. CEOs are also optimistic about AI’s short-term impact. Over the next 12 months, 58% expect it to improve the quality of their products or services; 48% say it will enhance their ability to build trust with stakeholders; 41% expect AI to positively impact revenue; and 46% expect it to positively impact profitability. While CEOs are generally looking forward to the transformative benefits of generative AI, the great majority say it will require workforce upskilling to achieve (69%). They are also concerned about AI’s impact on cybersecurity (64%), misinformation (52%), legal liabilities and reputation risks (46%) and bias towards specific groups of customers or employees (34%). Progress on inflation and macroeconomic volatility fails to allay long-term fears of CEOs, reveals latest PwC Global CEO survey Progress on climate transition Another industry disruptor presenting opportunities in addition to risks is climate change. Nearly one third of CEOs expect climate change to alter the way they create, deliver and capture value over the next three years. In the meantime, CEOs are making progress turning commitments into action: 76% have either begun or completed steps to improve energy efficiency; 58% have done the same with regard to climate-friendly products, services or technologies. On a less positive note, only 45% of CEOs have made progress on or have already incorporated climate risk into financial planning (with 31% having no plans to do so). Action on adaptation to physical climate risks is also lagging at 47% (with 29% having no plans in this area). A change of model Almost all (97%) CEOs say they have taken steps to change how they create, deliver and capture value in the past five years. Over three-quarters (76%) have taken at least one action that has had a large or very large impact on their company’s business model. While CEOs are taking action to reinvent their business model, they face a number of challenges in doing so, including the regulatory environment (64%), competing operational concerns (55%) and a lack of skills in their workforce (52%). Moritz said: “This year’s data suggests a high degree of CEO uncertainty ahead, but CEOs are taking action. They are transforming their business models, investing in technology and their people, and managing the risks and opportunities presented by the climate transition. If businesses are to thrive over the short and long-term, build trust and deliver sustained and long-term value, they must accelerate the pace of reinvention.” Full findings can be found at PwC’s 27th Annual Global CEO Survey Thriving in an age of continuous reinvention As existential threats converge, many companies are taking steps to reinvent themselves. Is it enough? And what will it take to succeed?

01732 759725 magazine 07 HYBRID WORKING KYOCERA Document Solutions (UK) Limited It's time to get serious about cybersecurity. Like businesses across the UK, our customers are bombarded with thousands of suspicious emails, targeted with malware, and manipulated with phishing attempts and social engineering. Fortunately, thanks to our 24/7, 365 UK based cybersecurity professionals, we're able to protect them from the serious harms that aect so many organisations; ranging from considerable financial losses, to lengthy disruption of critical systems, to theft of personal data and intellectual property. With risk of cyberattack on the rise for businesses of all shapes and sizes, can you aord not to have the best protection? Get in touch today and discover how Kyocera can safeguard your organisation, all day, every day. Find out more at Discover more: kyoceraduk kyocera-doc-solutions-uk +44 (0)333 015 1855 [email protected] magazine 08 Flagship video bar Boom Collaboration has expanded its video bar portfolio with an intelligent all-inone solution for larger meeting rooms. The flagship Boom HALO features a 4K UHD camera (with 120° wide angle field of view, 10x zoom and automatic privacy shutter), a six-microphone array, high fidelity dual 10W speakers, plus a multitude of advanced features including facial recognition, speaker tracking, intelligent noise reduction and AI auto-framing. Expansion ports for additional microphones and speakers ensure optimal coverage in any space, while Bluetooth 5.0 offers easy pairing with mobile phones and other devices. Boom HALO is available in black or white. Sharp NEC Display Solutions Europe has added energy efficient ePaper displays to its offering. Available in 13in and 25in sizes, the full colour displays provide a digital alternative to paper posters for applications involving regularly updated static content, such as POS promotions, menu boards, allergen information in retail and hospitality environments or timetables and check-in information. Sharp/NEC ePaper displays operate with zero power consumption when displaying content, only needing minimal power when updating it. They provide a very paper-like reading experience, with no reflections or blue light. Looks like paper WHAT’S NEW INNOVATIONS Recycled plastic for all Logitech is building on existing sustainability initiatives with a commitment to incorporate postconsumer recycled plastics and next life materials in the entirety of its video conferencing portfolio. This includes new conference room products, like the Logitech Sight, made with a minimum of 50% recycled plastic, and existing products like the Rally Bar, Rally Bar Mini, Tap IP and Tap Scheduler and Scribe. All are now being redesigned to include recycled materials, with no change in price or quality. Logitech already uses recycled material in its personal workstation peripherals including webcams, mice, headsets and keyboards. Logitech reduced its Scope 3 emissions by 21% in 2022 and aims to remove more carbon than it creates by 2030. 5G first from Zebra Zebra Technologies is meeting customer demand for efficiency, productivity and more reliable and secure connections with the launch of the first MC9000 ultrarugged mobile computer to feature public and private 5G (data only) and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity – the fastest connection speeds available today. Designed for indoor and outdoor use, including cold storage, the MC9400 Series features Zebra’s SE58 extended range scan engine, enabling users to scan barcodes from 100 ft away, and Identity Guardian, a biometric facial recognition and authentication solution giving workers fast and secure access to their device. Unique user-based profiles are stored in an encrypted QR code, enabling the device to be shared between multiple users. Made for professionals MMD, the brand licensing partner for Philips Monitors, is bringing new functionality to its B2B portfolio in the shape of the Philips 49B2U6900CH. Built for professionals, this 48.8in SuperWide Double QHD resolution curved screen features an integrated, adjustable 5 megapixel webcam (with auto-framing, noise cancelling microphone and busy light indicator); USB-C connectivity, which allows users to charge external devices and transfer video/data with a single cable; earphone hook; and a Smart KVM switch that lets users switch between sources simply by pressing the Ctrl key three times. Quietly does it Brother UK is refreshing its entire laser printer line-up in response to changing business requirements, with more customers now working from home or in downsized offices. The 36 new devices are more compact and quieter than previous models but still offer fast print speeds and high-quality output. The new portfolio includes four ranges: colour and mono devices for SOHO users (up to 26ppm); and colour and mono multifunction devices for SMBs (up to 30ppm). SMB models will be available on managed print service (MPS) contracts. laser-printers/colour-laser-printers

01732 759725 magazine 09 Speak and be heard Snom’s new C620 DECT conference phone converts virtually any space into a conference room, giving multiple users the ability to speak and be heard at the same time, as if in a face-to-face meeting. The system consists of a SIP-DECT base station featuring a built-in hands-free phone and a built-in microphone, plus two wireless microphones and a docking station to charge the conference unit. Fully charged, the conference phone offers up to 24 hours talk time (12 hours in wideband audio mode) and 70 hours on standby. For larger meetings with up to 21 participants, two additional Snom C52 DECT expansion speakers can be connected for crystal-clear audio. INNOVATIONS Remote control Jabra+ for Admins is a free cloudbased software platform for the remote monitoring and management of meeting rooms and video devices. Initially available via an Early Adopter Program, with wider distribution in the summer, the unified software platform gives IT administrators visibility of rooms and devices and the ability to control, configure and update settings and firmware remotely. Jabra+ for Admins can also integrate with IT help desk systems and third-party tools. Later this year, Jabra plans to add the ability to monitor and manage personal devices. TV scheduling PPDS is making it easier for users of Philips B-Line 4K Business TVs to create and schedule eye-catching content with the launch of the PPDS Publisher app. Available in sizes from 43in to 75in, Philips B-Line Business TVs can be used for entertainment and/or information, as an alternative to digital signage in offices, meeting rooms, medical waiting rooms and hospitality and leisure facilities. With PPDS Publisher embedded in all new models and available in a free software update for existing TVs, businesses can use the associated free iOS/Android app to create and curate a portfolio of content that can be shared with a network of Philips Business TVs. Users can create and display content in real-time; schedule it for specific times and durations; create playlists and slideshows; and choose how it should be displayed e.g. on the entire screen or presented alongside other content, such as live sporting events. Keep chatting Quinyx has enhanced its workforce management app with a new chat tool that enables frontline teams to engage in two-way conversations with colleagues and groups. Available from within the Quinyx app, where workers already keep their work schedule, Messenger eliminates the need for third party apps and centralises work-related discussions and connections in one unified platform. Because it is fully integrated with Quinyx, Messenger maintains existing roles, permissions and hierarchies. AI you can trust With the launch of Generative AI by iStock, powered by NVIDIA Picasso, Getty Images is helping creatives use AI-generated visuals without the risk of breaching copyright. Positioned as another option alongside iStock’s library of authentic and commercialready imagery, Generative AI by iStock lets creatives produce and license high quality AI-generated images for their marketing and advertising activities. Because the tool has been trained exclusively with content and proprietary data from Getty Images’ creative libraries, users can be confident that any content generated is commercially safe. For added reassurance, any licensed visual that a customer generates comes with the standard $10K legal cover offered with iStock’s image and video libraries. generation/faqs magazine 10 CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS Each year, new words are added to the English dictionary, slang terminology becomes more widely accepted and text abbreviations take on new meanings. It can be hard for brands to keep up. Not only do they need to understand how the use of language is changing, but they need to know who is receptive to more modern uses of vocabulary, as well as where it is appropriate to engage with customers in this way. Brands communicate across a multitude of channels, including marketing emails, chatbots, call centres, emails and live chat exchanges, and they need to know how their customers want to engage in each environment. So, what are the preferences of today’s consumers? Twilio, provider of a Customer Engagement Platform (CEP) that enables brands to build personalised relationships with their customers, surveyed 2,000 UK consumers to find out. It identified five key trends. q Consumers opt for colloquial communication. In general, customers are happy for brands to use informal language when communicating with them. In fact, over half (54%) are open to brands using emojis and 48% are open to the use of slang. Complicated language and overly formal language are pet peeves of 66% and 47% of consumers respectively, highlighting the need for brands to use more Watch your language straightforward language to engage customers. But it’s a balancing act. Almost two thirds of consumers (61%) draw the line at text talk and abbreviations, so brands must be mindful not to overstep the mark with inappropriate informality. w People want brands to mirror their language and communication style. Consumers today have a high benchmark when corresponding with brands, with 50% expecting them to mirror their own communication style with similar length messages, formality and use of abbreviations and emojis. This is particularly true of younger generations, with 67% of 16-24 year-olds and 65% of 25-34 year-olds demanding this of brands. Consistency is key. Over three quarters of consumers (77%) expect brands to maintain the same style across different communications channels, including WhatsApp, email and live chat. Brands need to ensure customer data insights don’t sit in a silo but can be leveraged across customer engagement channels. This will also enable AI tools to assist contact centre agents in generating ‘mirrored’ responses. e Shorter, snappier exchanges have become the default way to communicate. The efficiency pillar of the ‘E3 formula’ (efficiency, expertise and emotion) reigns supreme in brand-customer engagements, with 51% of consumers expressing a preference for short, easily digestible messages in customer service scenarios. This reflects a desire to get to the point and reach a solution in a timely manner. Almost nine out of ten consumers (85%) expect timely and fast responses from brands and over 70% are irritated by small Twilio research highlights five customer communication trends brands must take note of in 2024 talk and delayed responses. r Multilingual consumers increasingly switch between different languages and expect brands to do the same. Almost half of consumers (49%) expect to be able to specify their preferred language and over a third (34%) want brands to be able to switch seamlessly between languages. Almost three quarters of consumers (72%) expect brands to be able to accommodate different abilities, ages, regions and cultures in their communications, with 28% anticipating that AI will assist with this level of personalisation. t Accurate writing remains important. Over half of consumers (54%) expect brands to deliver wellwritten communications. The payoff for doing so is clear, with consumers stating that well written communications make brands look professional (69%), competent (58%) and trustworthy (51%). Poor grammar, such as the incorrect use of apostrophes or the incorrect application of 'there', 'their' and 'they're', is a pet peeve of 50% and 65% of consumers respectively. Brands should consider implementing AI tools that enable personalised interactions and ensure communications are well written and grammatically correct. Commenting on these findings, Sam Richardson, CX Consultant at Twilio, said: “Engagement styles in customer service and marketing can make or break relationships with customers – especially in scenarios where customers may be dissatisfied or reaching out with a complaint. So, understanding customers’ language preferences presents a worthwhile return on investment for brands looking to ensure they can meet consumers’ increasingly high expectations.” Sam Richardson

01732 759725 magazine 11 AD AURORA CONTACT US TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP YOU GET THE BEST VALUE FROM YOUR MOBILE CONTRACT [email protected] (020) 7503 3003 BUSINESS MOBILE magazine 12 PRINTERS The refreshed portfolio of laser printers introduces the quietest models available on the market, which are more compact and still retain enhanced image quality and high print speeds. The vendor says the improvements are in response to changing demand from businesses, with more customers now working from home or in downsized offices. The vendor’s new laser devices cover four ranges: colour and mono models for small office and home office (SOHO) users and colour and mono machines for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). Brother’s SOHO devices – with print speeds up to 26ppm, an 8.8cm touchscreen and 512Mb in-built memory – are designed to enhance energy efficiency, with an eco-mode introduced into all models as standard. The business says that speed, connectivity and efficiency have also been priorities in the designs Major refresh for Brother laser printer line-up for its new SMB range, which is enabled to print, scan, copy and fax. Devices can print at speeds of up to 30ppm, are equipped with NFC, wireless and USB connectivity, and are supplied with in-box toners that yield up to 2,600 pages in mono and 1,400 in colour. All of the new SMB models will be available on managed print service (MPS) contracts. The range refresh follows Brother’s overhaul of its MPS offering in August 2023, launching three new offerings: MPS Essential, MPS Professional and MPS Enterprise. Changing needs The new solutions are tailored for businesses of different sizes, from single-office operations to muti-site corporations, and are designed to satisfy a wide variety of customer needs. Terry Caulfield, chief commercial officer at Brother UK, said: “Customers’ needs are changing and we know from speaking to users that they want a faster and better connected print set-up, that’s also quieter and more compact. “Regularly refreshing our products is also a vital part of remaining at the forefront of users’ minds when they select a printer. They expect tech that doesn’t compromise on performance capabilities and are built to deliver reliability and energy efficiency. Our new line-up gives businesses the tools they need to achieve these goals. “What’s also changing is how customers want to procure these devices. Subscriptions are becoming more common in many aspects of our lives, and that includes tech for the office. Demand for MPS is surging among small businesses in particular, and we’ve created our Essential offering specifically for them. Our whole portfolio is geared towards making sure that businesses have everything at their disposal to push the possibilities of productivity.” To find out more about Brother’s new line-up of laser devices, visit: printers/laser-printers/colourlaser-printers Brother UK has overhauled its laser print line up, launching 36 new devices to offer customers faster and better connected printing Terry Caulfield

PRINTERS 01732 759725 13 magazine Canon has launched upgraded versions of its bestselling i-SENSYS & i-SENSYS X printers with the addition of six new A4 devices. Canon expands office portfolio with new i-SENSYS and i-SENSYS X models ecosystem, enabling customers to take their digital transformation strategy to the next level. Built with sustainability in mind The i-SENSYS & i-SENSYS X range is part of Canon’s awardwinning A4 laser line-up that was recently recognised by Keypoint Intelligence as the Most Energy Efficient Laser A4 Brand, 20232025. The new refreshed range builds on this accolade with a lower TEC compared to previous models, of up to 0.39kwH, and the ability to apply toner at lower temperatures to further reduce energy use. Premium security features The enhanced i-SENSYS & i-SENSYS X models come equipped with robust security capabilities to help ensure the confidentiality of information processed. The latest firmware is pre-installed to enhance document security, while future firmware updates will be available to automatically download – improving organisations’ defences against potential security threats. The expanded range offers proven reliability and easy serviceability, utilising advanced technology from the widest hardware, software and solutions portfolio in the market. The new i-SENSYS & i-SENSYS X printers will offer additional benefits for modern businesses through a variety of improved features including faster scan speeds, lower energy consumption, easier-touse interfaces and enhanced security features. In addition, the refreshed i-SENSYS X range comes with features designed to help you manage your documents and information, including compatibility with Canon’s award winning uniFLOW Online, an advanced secure print and scan solution allowing organisations to manage their entire print environment through the cloud. The new devices strengthen the portfolio of hardware sitting at the heart of Canon’s Digital Transformation Services Peak performance, lasting quality With its user-friendly display settings and exceptional print quality, the new i-SENSYS & i-SENSYS X devices are ideal for busy working environments. Organisations will also benefit from an average warm up time of less than four seconds, and scan speeds of up to 190 images per minute (ipm). Scanning performance is another highlight, with 30% improved document reading time compared to previous models. Richard Stewart, Workspace Portfolio Marketing Manager, Canon UK, said: “Today’s modern businesses have to be smart. They must be secure and efficient while looking carefully at how they can improve their own sustainability efforts. “This new range fits perfectly into our comprehensive portfolio – offering our customers devices which are market leading and energy efficient. With high performance speeds, strong security credentials and premium quality, the i-SENSYS and i-SENSYS X models empower businesses to make their operations smarter.” For more information, please visit: business/products/office-printers/multifunction/colour/ magazine 14 CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT Emotion is a powerful force in business, helping to secure opportunities and motivate teams. Without emotion, there is no trust – and trust is the foundation of business, both internally between teams and externally across companies. In a challenging economic environment, emotion has never been more vital for companies wanting to establish meaningful relationships with their customers. In our new global report, The Voice of SMBs 2024, more than half (54%) of organisations stated that the biggest growth-driver in 2024 would be increasing connections and relationships with customers. This was the top growth-driver across every region surveyed (North America, Australia, France, Germany, Spain and the UK). Almost half (46%) of UK employees surveyed said that meaningful conversations and connections with customers were only becoming more important. Despite the value of such interactions, our own AI Index report, released last May, shows that teams are spending just 4.2 hours per week on meaningful interactions with customers, leaving businesses with limited means of cultivating emotion in their customer engagements. For SMBs, the challenge is to identify and address inefficiencies and use any time clawed back to Show some emotion develop a competitive advantage out of more meaningful conversations. But in a world where resources favour bigger organisations, how can they do this? The answer, in short, is technology, specifically using technology to restore the lost art of meaningful conversation. Building relationships As a specialist lender for SME property developers across the UK, CrowdProperty has always placed a high value on the human voice. From that initial conversation through to the acceptance of an offer, it regards phone calls as essential for building relationships with customers, understanding their needs and finding solutions. To help it achieve these goals, it uses Aircall’s customer communication and engagement platform, an entirely cloud-based voice solution designed specifically for sales and customer support teams and integration with CRMs and other business tools. Aircall enables CrowdProperty to work more efficiently and provide a better customer service, for example by following up all leads within 30 minutes, by saving five minutes per call through better designed processes, and by improving the team’s call answer rate. With Aircall’s bird’s-eye view of caller and customer activity showing that calls were going unanswered from as early as 8am, James Mensforth, Sales Director UK&I at Aircall, the customer communication and engagement platform, discusses the role of emotion and human connection in business CrowdProperty adapted its working hours accordingly and in the process boosted its call answer rate from 60% to 97%. AI efficiency Last year, Aircall gave SMEs even more scope to make efficiency gains by introducing new AI features designed to reduce the workload of sales and support teams, including call transcription, call summaries, key topics and advanced analytics e.g. talk-to-listen ratios. Such data is valuable not just for coaching purposes but also for identifying the ingredients of successful calls that can then form the basis of playbooks and development programmes. Used in this way, AI can empower customer-facing teams to get their time back, build stronger customer relationships and human connections and restore emotion to the sales function. In last year’s AI Index, two thirds of respondents said they expected AI to improve customer service and support (68%) and contribute to greater sales performance/revenue growth (65%). Particularly for SMBs, data-driven decision-making and innovative technologies hold the keys to competitive advantage through increased efficiency that will give customer-facing teams more scope to create the human connections that they and their customers crave. The Voice of SMBs 2024 Actionable global growth insights for customer-facing teams Key findings: Voice of SMBs 2024 Global Report n UK businesses (66%) are more optimistic about growth next year than their European counterparts – with France and Germany 10% lower. n 75% of UK SMBs say their main focus next year will be customer satisfaction – higher than the global average of 72%. n Globally, 61% of businesses say they are prioritising customer experiences above growth in 2024. n 46% of UK employees believe that meaningful connections with customers are becoming more important. These are seen as the top growth driver in every region. n Less than half (45%) of UK SMBs say AI-supported tools will help drive customer satisfaction in the year ahead (the lowest rate out of all countries surveyed, other than France with 39%). n 40% of UK SMBs have included upskilling, training or coaching as part of their growth strategies, far higher than the global average of 32%. James Mensforth

01732 759725 15 magazine AD ? The reviews the Service and IT Team receives from customers have been instrumental in CBS winning the award. Our decision-making process focuses on the evidence submitted by entrants and the reviews from clients of Commerce Business Systems were so positive Yorkshire Prestige Awards Judging Panel IT Supplier of the Year “ “ We are delighted to announce that Commerce Business Systems (CBS) has been awarded “IT Supplier of the Year” at the 2024 Yorkshire Prestige Awards. The Yorkshire Prestige Awards recognises and celebrates businesses, throughout Yorkshire, which consistently provide excellence, through their products and services, to businesses and local people in the region. The awards team conduct extensive research to seek out regions, world-wide, which demonstrate a “vibrant and independent scene”. Prestige Magazine’s readers are then asked to nominate businesses that have proven to be the best in the market over the last 12 months. These are then shortlisted and put forward to the Prestige Awards where a panel of judges decide who wins. Contact us on 01274 496220 or visit our website magazine 16 WORKPLACE I couldn’t do my job without... Krystol Slocombe, UK Field Marketing Manager at Lexmark, picks the tools she uses every day and couldn’t do her job without colleagues or stakeholders – Teams keeps us all connected. Like everyone else, pre-COVID much of my time was spent in face to face meetings. I still really value in-person interactions and make sure to schedule these into my diary. But I think the real valueadd with Teams is that I can have multiple meetings with partners across the UK on the same day, which does mean I can get more done in less time and deliver on our plans quicker. e Mobile phone I have an iPhone and I use it every day, although not primarily for making calls (I mostly use Teams for that). I need my phone to enable secure access to my laptop, whether I’m working at home or in the office. At Lexmark we have to enter a code to log on to the system and this is sent to us via SMS on our phone, so if I forget my phone, I can’t get any work done! The camera on the iPhone is also really good and I often take pix or videos at events and share them with our agency so they can publish content on our website or social media channels. It helps make sure our content is up to date and relevant as I can share in real-time straight from my phone. r PowerPoint In my role, I have to produce a lot of presentations, , for example reporting on campaign performance or PR and social media performance. PowerPoint is absolutely the best tool to do this. We do have templates already produced so it’s pretty straightforward to create a new presentation and doesn’t take up too much time. I also find PowerPoint really q My colleagues I really appreciate my colleagues and my manager, who are an integral part of my day-to-day work. Whether it's collaborating on projects, seeking advice, or just providing friendly support, their contributions are invaluable to me, and I absolutely couldn’t do my job without them! w Teams I know everyone mentions Teams, but it really is an essential tool today. I use it every single day, whether I’m working at home or in the office. From meetings with our partners’ marketing teams to discuss quarterly marketing plans, or monthly updates with external suppliers re our promotional activity, to internal meetings with handy when I’m planning and briefing our agency. I often produce a mock-up of my vision and share that with them so they can visualise what I am looking to achieve. t Excel Number crunching, budget planning and monitoring are all tasks I need to keep on top of. We attend and host a number of events at Lexmark, whether it’s exhibiting at trade shows and exhibitions or hosting our partners at product events, and keeping track of spend and the overall budget is critical. Excel makes it easy to update, view and analyse data and it’s also easy to pull and print off reports too. y Loose Women When I’m working from home, I often have Loose Women on the TV in the background. I don’t actually watch it, but I do like to hear a bit of ambient noise while I am tapping away at my laptop and sipping my peppermint tea. Krystol Slocombe

01732 759725 17 magazine COMMS Case Studies Big Switch Off – FireSwitch Spitfire IoT – Wilcomatic Wash Systems The Challenge Wilcomatic Wash Systems are the UK’s leading provider of commercial wash systems for road and rail with more than 2,000 installations globally, cleaning more than 8 million vehicles per year. Supporting Wilcomatic’s equipment is a 60-strong team of field engineers, but it is becoming more and more difficult for traditional maintenance and service programmes to keep pace with equipment requirements as technology and monitoring systems continue to advance. Wilcomatic needed to find a solution that used data via the mobile network to help monitor installations, was easy to deploy and maintain and above all was cost-effective, so they turned to Spitfire for help. The Solution Spitfire has provided Wilcomatic with an IoT data connectivity SIM solution, currently serving in excess of 600 machines across the UK. Live data points including temperature, fluid volume, on/off, fault codes and volume and type of transactions are fed back to a cloud-based reporting dashboard, where actions and priorities can be observed in real-time. The Benefits Being able to remotely monitor and predict Wilcomatic’s maintenance requirements in the field has meant a more efficient service for both Wilcomatic and its clients. By using Spitfire’s IoT data SIMs, Wilcomatic is able to greatly reduce the data connectivity costs (by a factor of 10 compared to that of a fixed line Internet connection!), paying only for the data that is used. The solution also enables new machines to be added to the network in less than 24 hours and they can be located anywhere on site, not restricted to where a physical cable has been laid. Thanks to Spitfire’s IoT Data SIMs, Wilcomatic is able to achieve the best possible connectivity, no matter where the machines are located. Overall efficiency gains from the solution are significant, with the data collected from each machine relayed to an activity dashboard where judgements and remedies can be easily actioned. This allows for engineering workflows to be optimised, machines to operate at maximum capacity and issues to be dealt with in a timely manner. Spitfire recently started working with a small chain of food retail outlets based within London who faced some challenges when it came to telephony. Using analogue lines at each store, they were aware of the upcoming need to move to a futureproofed solution and wanted to benefit from improved communication between sites. The director of the business regularly works from home with a dedicated analogue line for business use and occasionally travels to visit suppliers. To address these challenges, Spitfire recommended the implementation of a new FireSwitch hosted telephone system. Handsets were deployed at each store and at the director’s home office, providing a single communications platform across all sites with free internal calls. Existing telephone numbers were easily ported from their analogue lines to Spitfire’s resilient SIP network, meaning the customer no longer relied on outdated legacy infrastructure. As the existing broadband services were carried over the analogue lines, the customer opted for Spitfire VoiceAssisted broadband circuits to futureproof their data network. The broadband service carries both their voice and data traffic, with features designed to help assure call quality, such as Real Time QoS for the prioritisation of telephone data traffic across the network. The director of the business was given full access to the proprietary softphone application for smartphones, meaning important business calls could be made and received when working away from the office. Spitfire FireSwitch enabled this customer to beat the anticipated rush to the 2025 Big Switch Off, allowing for a seamless transition, and with the added benefit of cost savings and improved flexibility for remote working and inter-site communication.