Author Archives: Jeb Brilliant

Do Not Bring Your Smartphones Into Meetings

by Jeb Brilliant

Tightrope walkingAre you one of those people who brings your cell phone into a meeting and pulls it out every time it vibrates? According to a recent study from the USC Marshall School of Business, you are probably annoying your boss and colleagues. The paper indicates that older professionals and those with higher incomes are far more likely to think it inappropriate to be checking text messages or emails during meetings.

          The study reveals that:

        • 86% think it’s inappropriate to answer phone calls during formal meetings
        • 84% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during formal meetings
        • 75% think it’s inappropriate to read texts or emails during formal meetings
        • 66% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during any meetings
        • At least 22% think it’s inappropriate to use phones during any meetings
*These are working professionals from companies of 50 employees or more who earn at least $30k a year.

In a small business, this can be like walking a tightrope. Some companies and coworkers expect instant responses to emails and text messages, but others clearly view these as distractions and do not want them to be part of meetings. I suggest understanding the expectations of your boss as well as the person leading the meeting. When in doubt, ignore the phone and pay attention.

Automated Technology At The Consumer Electronics Show

by Jeb Brilliant

clipboard01dsds433434I spent all of last week perusing current and future technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.  Throughout the show, I bumped into friends and we discussed technologies that were new and exciting.  The consistent theme this year was “automation.”

I saw many automated technologies that improved the ability to remotely control things such as the lighting and air conditioning systems in your home or office.  Here are a few others that really stood out to me:

Automated Doorbell
The first noteworthy innovation in automation was a doorbell that takes a picture of the person at the door and sends it to a phone.

Group U-Verse Poker
I witnessed the ability to play group poker on AT&T U-Verse using only a smartphone and a television.  The smartphone shows the cards that are dealt and the TV displays the common cards, pot and position of the players.

The best office automation product was a tablet accessory called the Kubi.  It is a motorized tablet stand that is remotely controlled, allowing the user to track the person who is speaking during a video call.  This is perfect for people like me who love to walk around while they are on the phone.

In my personal opinion, this is going to be the coming out year for home and office automation.  Plan on seeing light bulbs and AC plugs connected via WiFi, alarm systems with remote video monitoring by phone, and the ability to talk though the alarm system to someone in the office.

What kind of technology would you like to see in the next year?  Is there anything you have been eagerly awaiting? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter.


4 Fantastic Improvements To The iPhone App

by Jeb Brilliant

As we ring in the New Year, there is better time than the present to let you know about some exciting updates to the iPhone app.   We are grateful to our customers who downloaded the app and then took the time to share their feedback with us.  Our engineers heard you and have worked to make our already fantastic app even better.

Here are just some of the new features that will make it easier for you to access and use your service from your iPhone:

Improved Address Book- You can now view the photos of your contacts from your speed dial and address book.  You can also easily view and search your contact groups.

Improved Inbox Management- We have improved the ability to manage your inbox and delete multiple messages at once.

Improved Dialing Functionality- The app now allows you to dial vanity numbers without having to translate the letters to digits.  You can also redial the last number you called with ease.

Improved Conference Calling- Add conference rooms to your favorites so that you can more quickly dial into your next meeting.

Click here to learn more about the iPhone app and download it today!  Are you currently using the app?  We would love to hear what features are making it easier for you to do business.  Tell us on Facebook and Twitter.

5 Tips For A Successful Return To Work After Vacation

by Jeb Brilliant

welcome_backReturning to work after vacation is never easy.  This year may be especially difficult considering Christmas and New Year’s Day were both on a Wednesday.  Regardless of how much you love your job, returning to a full email inbox, a day of conference calls and planning for trade show season can be difficult.  Oh, did I already mention the mountain of email?
Here are a few tips I have received from friends over the last week:

  1. Return home from vacation a day early so you can do laundry, recover from vacation and make some lists to help you stay on track when you get back in the grind.
  2. Upload your pictures to Facebook and Instagram, pin your pages on Pinterest and post your Yelp reviews before you go back to work.  Focus on work when you get there and minimize your social distractions.
  3. Keep your energy level up while you work by listening to dance, exercise or running music.
  4. Leave some work for the next day.  You do not need to prove that you are the entrepreneur or employee of the year on your first day back at work.
  5. Allocate a little extra time on your first day back to socialize with your colleagues.  Undoubtedly, the office will be buzzing as everyone will be eager to talk about their holiday adventures.

Remember to stay relaxed when you are back in the office.  Do not negate all the wonderful relaxation you experienced on your vacation.  Welcome back and Happy New Year!

14 Tips For The Savvy Holiday Traveler

by Jeb Brilliant

holiday_travelDuring this holiday season, many businesses will shut down while their employees travel to see friends and family.  As a frequent holiday traveler myself, allow me to share some of my travel knowledge and experience with you that I have gained over the years.  Here are 14 tips that will help you be a savvy traveler this holiday season.

  1. Schedule Early Flights: Scheduling your flights early in the day allows time to reschedule in the same day if your original flight is delayed or canceled.  Otherwise, you may find yourself arriving at your destination a day or days later.
  2. Carry-on Only: With luggage fees becoming the norm, carry-on is the best way to travel.  It is also the best way to guarantee that your luggage arrives at your destination along with you.  Also consider the fact that in adverse weather conditions, your checked bag may sit out in that weather as it’s waiting to board the plane.
  3. Ship Gifts Ahead Of Time: By shipping your gifts to your destination ahead of time you eliminate the need to travel with them.  You can always insure your shipment and give TSA one less reason to rifle through your luggage.  If you buy gifts online, plan ahead and ship from the merchant straight to your destination.
  4. Do Not Go To The Airport Hungry: Given the stress of holiday travel and the prices of airport food, arrive at the airport with full stomachs and some snacks to spare.  This is one less thing you will need to take care of as you wait for your flights and will serve to keep the spirits of even the youngest travelers high.
  5. Do Splurge On Airline Lounge: While $50 for an airline lounge may seem extravagant, it might just pay off.  These lounges feature food, drink, WiFi and may even include showers.  If you are traveling with young children, the lounge may be free for them.  Consider what you might have spent on airport food and it may just prove to be worth it.
  6. Dress Up. Not Down: I believe that I am actually treated better at the airport when I dress nicely.  By wearing my suit coat and button down shirt I am also keeping them from getting wrinkled in my bag.
  7. Optimize Sleep: When I am not traveling with children who need to be monitored, I pack a sleeping mask.  Couple that with noise-canceling headphones and an ambient noise app on my phone and I sleep like a baby.
  8. When Traveling Abroad, Use The ATM At Your Destination: If you need cash at your international destination, it is best to withdraw it from an ATM when you arrive.  Yes there will be fees for this, but the exchange rate and fees should be more favorable through your bank than they will be at the airport currency exchange counter.
  9. Use Credit Cards As Much As Possible: Use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which can be as much as 3%.  Also consider the fact that most credit cards offer some level of protection if your purchase is damaged or stolen.
  10. Get A Local SIM Card When You Arrive: Avoid steep roaming charges with a local SIM card and forward your calls to that number for a fraction of the cost.   Take a look at our Low International Rates before you travel.
  11. Reserve The Lowest Acceptable Rental Car: When you arrive at your destination, ask what upgrades are available and you may very likely get one for free.  This also works at hotels when asking for a room upgrade but keep in mind that availability might be scarce given the peak travel time.
  12. Utilize The Hotel Concierge: If you are planning a fancy dinner or want tickets to a show, the concierge at your hotel can be a terrific resource to help you find the best deal.
  13. Join Loyalty Programs: Join your preferred airline frequent flyer club as well as rental car and hotel loyalty programs.  If the option is available, funnel all of those points and miles toward your airline miles.
  14. Be Kind: Above all else, remember to be kind while you travel.  As you speak with anyone behind a desk or counter, remember that delays and crowds are not their fault.  By being kind, you ensure that you will receive the best possible service in even the most difficult of times.  In such circumstances, it never hurts to politely ask for a free travel voucher or hotel room.

On that note, we wish you safe, on-time and worry-free travels this holiday season.  Remember that is here to serve you 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.  Happy Holidays!