Monthly Archives: January 2012

Is “unlimited everything” all you need from your mobile phone provider?

I woke this morning to the news of Everything Everywhere owned T-Mobile announcing the launch of their “Full Monty” tariffs which give customers unlimited calls, text and data from £41 per month.

This is an excellent offer for the right customer, but I don’t believe it will be right for everyone and I fear that it will drive some businesses to make “consumer” style buying decisions around inclusive tariffs and handset choice rather than value decisions based on service and delivery. If mobile telecommunications offers more than just an ability to make calls, send texts and check the odd email then I do urge caution before discarding your current network of choice for a one size fits all solution. What more is there? The answer is plenty, talk to us if you would like to find out more.

Consider whether you need the handset being offered as you ARE paying for it over the course of the contract, is the signal strength and data connectivity strong in your main work areas and those of the regular customers and business partners you visit, and is this the best solution to make you more productive and help your business grow because this is what your telecommunications strategy should be doing for you in the short, medium and long term.

Undoubtably for some of my customers this is going to be a really good offering and I will be endorsing it to them, but like anything, it won’t suit everyone.

Talk to us to find out if it suits you.

 

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow – as long as you have a “Snow Plan”

I follow @Mcallistersrcvy on Twitter, mainly because their MD @markamcallister and the rest of the team provide excellent real time updates on road and traffic issues around Surrey and Hampshire.

This week Mark and the team have been providing #SurreySnow updates and according to their latest tweets, and I quote “Models today continue with cold suggestions. Next Fri & Sat poss 20 inches of snow & max temps of -4 deg c” there is the potential for some serious snow and the conditions could be worse than we saw in December 2010.

My new year’s business wish was for a fast start for 2012, January has been excellent but we want to keep it going in February and the last thing I think any business needs right now is the chaos that the cold, fluffy, white stuff seems to bring to our lives.

So last year we invested in technology that enables us to work wherever we want to, no matter what snow or erupting volcanoes want to throw at us.

I am not going to bore you with the full details but obviously I have my smartphone (A Nokia Lumia 800, running Windows 7.5) and my laptop, a 3G data connection, my critical business applications are run by Microsoft Office 365 (email, video & voice conferencing and collaborative working through Sharepoint) and all my customer details are hosted with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

This means that whatever I want to do I can get full access on both my phone and laptop to whatever I need, and more than that our entire team of 7 people can access all the same documents and details from wherever they are too.

If the snow comes we will hold our sales meeting via Lync (the conferencing and instant messaging part of Office 365), we will be able to share our sales forecast in Excel on everyone’s device of choice at the same time and any one of us can edit it accordingly, once we are done we can save it to Sharepoint ready for the week after.

Now I am sure there are many of you that can already do the same via a number of different systems and set ups, but there will also be a huge number of your clients, business partners, family and friends who cannot.

We would like to help these people, all you have to do is put us in touch.

What happens when the power goes out?

It was like one of those “exciting” times at school when something went wrong and we all dreamed of how this meant we would avoid having to practice our french verbs over and over again.

The power went out, lights disappeared, phones stopped ringing, PC screens blanked and the alarm began to beep to remind us to lock the doors properly if this lasted all day.

And with it went the broadband and the offices main communication tool – email. Faces appeared at windows, doors opened and neighbours joined each other in the car park to discuss want went wrong. Coxbridge Business Park was holding its own little street party, albeit a little late for the royal wedding.

But we didn’t get to go to the party.

The reason is our battery operated 3G broadband router kicked into life and laptops came out of bags and onto desks. VoIP systems were logged into via the Vodafone network and office phone numbers were diverted to mobiles. Business as usual. And all for a price less than our weekly milk bill.

It may not be fun, we might have missed the party but we were able to continue to operate, to support our customers and that is what is important to us as a business.

It does cost a little bit extra to have that sort of back up in place but the alternative for us is unthinkable – going offline – all the way offline.

Obviously we are more than happy to share with you exactly how we do it, we want to help, it’s what we do.

Keep an eye out for an exciting project from us in the next few months that will help you on an ad-hoc basis if your monthly budget prevents you committing to something with us over a 24 month period. Follow @thecloudcar for more details.

Should you knock on your neighbours door?

The digital age has connected us to other people in ways we probably didn’t really think of 10 years ago.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress and many others play a constant role in our lives.

We are connected to people on the other side of the world in seconds, but quite often we don’t know the person next to us. Is this right?

We moved into our new offices in late August 2011, and thought it would be a good idea to celebrate with our customers as a way of saying thank you, after all who says no to a free drink and nibbles session when we can fit it in.

As we were organising the date, food and the wine someone said “shouldn’t we invite all our new neighbours? It is the polite thing to do, isn’t it?”

“Absolutely right” I said, “what better way to say hello than with a drink in our hands”

We then sat down and thought about how we would invite them, letter? email? phone call? – we couldn’t decide, and once again that single voice chirped “just knock on their door and hand them an invite, they are only over the road” BAM! The sky turned black, the thunder clapped, the lightning flashed and I am sure I heard the opening bars of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana reverberate around the room.

The response was swift, “Knock on their door? People don’t like door knockers anymore do they? We will get told to go away and fornicate because they are busy won’t we?”

“Surely they will understand once you explain” replied the brave chirper.

So we did it, we were met with a mixture of responses, lots of smiles from an existing customer and  from the lovely guys at thebluedoor, the rest of them were either suspicious, nervous, unsure and one was outright stunned that such an invite had been handed out. Oh well, at least everyone had an invite and knew that they were very welcome to pop over on the day.

The day arrived and we had apologies from our customer that poorly children would prevent their attendance, we partied with thebluedoor but sadly we didn’t meet a single one of our other neighbours.

Obviously there could be a whole range of reasons why, but I always think back to that warm September day and think, did we make the right approach?

I welcome your comments.

BlackBerry Playbook OS2 – Is it too little too late?

RIM’s problems have been clear for all to see with Google Android the leading smartphone operating system, Nokia appearing revitalised and fresh with Windows 7.5 and all Office365 can bring, not to mention apple iPad emphatically dominating the tablet market.

I remembering blogging last year, although not on this timeline, that I was eager to get my hands on the BlackBerry Playbook, there had been delay after delay on it’s launch and I really wanted one to supplement the productivity of my 9780.

When I did finally get my hands on it in July 2011 I was underwhelmed, the novelty factor of a sweeping and smooth touchscreen on a BlackBerry faded quickly and within weeks it was gone and my 9780 was traded in for an HTC Trophy to harness the power of our Microsoft Office 365 integration.

Now despite reading about some very impressive features, being able to use your BlackBerry handset as mouse and keyboard is a big plus for those of us that just cannot punch out emails and reports as quickly on touch screens, but it might be too late, well for me at least.

Now everything I need works seamlessly through my windows phone, and with handset choices from HTC in the Radar & Titan, ZTE Tania, Samsung Omnia W and Nokia Lumia 800 & 900 (4.3″ AMOLED screen!!!) to choose from when I get bored I can’t see a move back to BlackBerry for the Playbook only.

For those of you loyal to your full QWERTY keypad, the good news is that you will soon be able to access the full Android app market on your BlackBerry once they launch the new OS, so if you haven’t moved maybe it isn’t too late and in true Rocky fashion, RIM will pick themselves up off the canvas and land a knockout blow of their own.

Supporting Farnham Rugby Club by sponsoring Sportsman’s Lunch 2012 – A reminder.

With just over a month to go until the team at Callmaster Mobile dine with Willie John McBride and other Farnham royalty we thought we should remind you all why we are supporting the club and why you could too.

Cast your mind back to early morning, Sunday 23rd November 2003.

There are 82,957 people crammed into the Telstra Stadium in Syndey, Australia.

There are millions more, myself included, staring at TV screens in pubs, bars and homes around the world.

The 2003 Rugby World Cup final between England and Australia is heading to extra-time with only 26 seconds left on the clock.

As a stunned audience hold their breath, the oval ball leaves the right boot of England’s Jonny Wilkinson and heads straight between the gleaming white posts.

In the most dramatic of circumstances, the Rugby World Cup is won.

And a nation rejoices.

Across all sports we dream of these moments, of the ultimate victory, to be crowned the best in the world. However these moments are not possible without hard work, determination and excellent coaching from day one.

So if you enjoyed that moment in 2003 like I did then you also owe a small debt of gratitude to Farnham Rugby Club who helped nurture and coach the prodigious talents of Jonny Wilkinson on the fields at Wrecclesham.

At Callmaster Mobile we are trying to pay them back for what they have given us.

Many of you local to Farnham will probably know that the construction of their new facilities on Monkton Lane is already underway and this has only been possible due to the generosity and support of players, parents, friends, sponsors, and many others. For our part we have launched a scheme for anyone affiliated to the rugby club where, if you connect a mobile phone with Vodafone, through Callmaster Mobile, we will pay 5% of your monthly bill into the coffers of the club, every year for as long as you stay connected through us.

If you would like to support this great club in this way, after all it is a bill you are probably already paying so why not get some of that money redirected, then please get in touch with us and mention Farnham Rugby Club.

We are also sponsoring the annual Sportsman’s Lunch event on Friday 13th April 2012, we would love to hear from anyone who is also attending.

The speaker is Willie John McBride, who famously captained the most successful British & Irish Lions side ever on the tour of South Africa in 1974. At over 6ft 3inches tall and 220lb in his prime I hope that he is looking forward to the Callmaster Mobile arm wrestling challenge on the day :)