Posted on July 22, 2016 by Charlie Galaviz
Virtual Reality — no longer merely a fantasy for technology enthusiasts around the globe. VR is still in its infancy stage, but it’s projected to be a billion dollar industry. Now is the time to consider how VR can impact your business model.
Here are 5 business types that can benefit from virtual reality in 360°
At first glance many would overlook how virtual reality can be applied to a law practice. VR can be applied both inside and outside of the courtroom. Expert witness testimonies can be re-created in a virtual world, which provides more factual insight and detail into the actual sequence of events. A judge and the jurors can apply this insight at trial when examining the evidence. VR technology decreases the margin of error when the final verdict is reached.
2. Real Estate
360° VR naturally has no better practical fit than the real estate industry. Prospective buyers can experience immersive virtual tours of properties and increase the number of homes they view due to geographical restrictions. Realtors benefit from the increased listing exposure and they free up time that would normally be spent giving tours.
Travel teleportation has come a long way over the past 2 years. Ski the French Alps, play with gorillas in the African Congo or swim with dolphins from the confinements of an office chair. The dopamine released into the brain while experiencing VR stimulates a reaction to increasing the pleasure which can only come from experiencing the real thing. The travel industry can lure in wanderlust seekers using these micro-experiences to promote tourism.
Marketers of businesses of all sizes are trying to figure out the secret sauce to reaching ROI goals. Many believe that secret sauce may be unlocking the recipe to creating virtual reality content that is equally relevant and entertaining to target audiences. The good news is that marketers are currently sitting on a level playing field. The bad news is that entering the world of VR is a headache inducing and expensive. If successful VR content is achieved, it has a market demand and virality aspect that can be a game changer for a marketing team.
Communications providers are not the first industry that comes to mind when considering the impact VR immediately has on the industry, but the future is closer than we think. VR allows for a visually and audibly immersive conversation. It breaks down the barriers of a mobile device and increases cognitive personal connection. The future is bright for communication providers.
In conclusion, there are many exciting ways to revolutionize your business from a product and marketing perspective. The key is opening up your business to innovation and challenging the status quo. Consider this standard infographic that was converted into a 360° image. The future of your business is now.
Posted on July 20, 2016 by Dan Quick
It’s almost a little embarrassing to be here again, but it seems like whenever we reach a new high watermark of accomplishment, something else comes along that sets a record again. This time, we’re honored that CIOReview named us as one of the 20 Most Promising Telecom Providers in their July issue!
From the Folks Who Know
What makes this particular accolade special is that the editors at CIOReview are experts in far more than just telecommunications. By curating content and insight by, for, and from CIO’s from all industries, CIOReview has a holistic understanding on technology and business. That’s what makes this recognition stand out from all of our other awards, we know that VoIP wonks will understand what we do and why we do it, but for relative outsiders to also recognize our accomplishments is a real honor.
What Tipped The Scales?
As you can read from the article above, our focus is more than just to provide businesses with the best telephone solutions for today, but rather to build systems that will work well into the future as well. By identifying and studying trends in the industry, feedback from our customers, and our own internal insights, we’re building and delivering what will become the foundation of all of the unified communications systems for the business of tomorrow. It’s that type of forward thinking that the editors deemed to be worthwhile in honoring us as one of the 20 Most Promising Telecom Providers.
Much of that process has already begun with the award-winning Dash, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. To stay abreast of all of our latest and greatest developments, make sure to follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for updates on our total, and promising, telecommunications developments.
Posted on July 14, 2016 by Dan Quick
For over 200,000 employees of businesses across the globe, the VirtualPBX suite of features is an irreplaceable tool for their day-to-day operations. For millions more, though, they may not even realize how a hosted telephone system can benefit them. For these folks, and for those who haven’t tried each and every one of our terrific features, we have this feature comparison on Follow Me Calling vs Hot Desking.
Forward and Receive Calls To Anywhere
In a nutshell, both Hot Desking and Follow Me Calling are emblematic of the true advantage of a virtual telephone system in that they are both ways to work from anywhere. Being tethered to an onsite PBX prevents employees from traveling with the flexibility that comes from a hosted communications solution, and both of these features free businesses from those types of restrictions. But there are a couple of distinct differences between the two features that make them appropriate for different types of situations.
Where are You Going to Be?
This is a question that some mobile employees or digital nomads can never answer with confidence, but it’s also the crux of determining which advanced call forwarding system is right for you. Follow Me Calling allows an employee to program a cascading series of numbers (up to 8 different locations or devices) to ring sequentially in order to find where they are at. This is great for employees who generally know all of the places they might be at, even if they aren’t sure when they’ll be there.
Conversely, Hot Desking allows employees to assign any phone in the world to be their current “desk phone” even if they had no intention of being there for the moment. The benefit of Hot Desking is that an employee can assign as many different numbers in a day as he or she wants and they can continue to bounce around to wherever their work takes them.
Tip of the Iceberg
Whether you’re a Follow Me Calling devotee or are more into the idea of Hot Desking, the results are the same- VirtualPBX gives you the power to work on your schedule, on your terms, and on your turf. Even if that turf happens to be the airport hotel in Atlanta because your flight got pushed back a day. The best thing is that these two unique features are just a pair of the dozens of ways that a VirtualPBX communications platform can help you do your best work, from wherever you need to be doing it.
For a complete list of all of VirtualPBX’s great features, visit our benefits section. And for more tips on how to work on the go, be sure to follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for the latest useful information for business travel.
Posted on July 12, 2016 by Dan Quick
Playing with the Pokémon GO App revealed that there was a Rattata on my coffee mug.
Merriam-Webster defines the word fad as a something (such as an interest or fashion) that is very popular for a short time. That would be how many people might describe Pokémon in light of the skyrocket in popularity of the new Pokémon Go App from Nintendo. The only catch of this description is that Pokémon actually came out in 1996. That all aside, what exactly is Pokémon GO anyway? And what is causing the fervor over this newest edition of the series? Below you’ll find the layman’s rundown of what in the world is going on, and more importantly, how you can profit from it.
Pokémania? What is it?
You’d think that a good way to begin understanding the world of Pokémon is to first grab your nearest adolescent or millennial and have them explain it. Having tried that first, I quickly realized that most of the nomenclature of follows the same conventions of The Smurfs wherein everything is smurfy or smurf-juice or smurftacular. This is less than helpful. Then I tried playing along with a coworker on his app and, while that helped to illustrate the addictive qualities of the game, I was almost left with more questions than before. Therefore, following some extremely in-depth research into the surprisingly expansive Pokémon universe, I’ve boiled it down to the basics here-
- Pokémon GO is a free app on iOS and Android that uses the player’s device to create an Augmented Reality (AR) of their surrounding world that is connected to Google Maps.
- In this AR version of their surroundings, certain monsters (Pokémon) pop up all over the place and the goal is to capture and collect them with Pokéballs. It’s basically just like a huge scavenger hunt that requires a smart phone.
- There are a set number of the creatures in the game (about 720 in total) and only the first 151 original ones are in the app. Note that this likely means several expansions to the app are in the future, thus keeping the game fresh.
- There are ways to get more of the valuable Pokéballs to capture Pokémon which you will need (trust me, I used up like 10 of my co-worker’s ammo trying to snag a Golbat.), along with other discoverable items scattered throughout the world.
- The catchphrase of “Gotta Catch ‘em All!” is no joke. The stories of mobs of people scouring random locations and coordinating Pokémon crawls are popping up all over the country with no signs of slowing down.
There are, of course, myriad other nuances to the whole world of Pokémon that I’m certainly enraging avid fans by having excluded, but for people who just want the basics, this is a good place to start.
One of our Support Team All-Stars got into the spirit with an example of how to shamelessly plug your business with Pokémon GO.
Why Should You Care?
This is the part that most people will likely overlook, but Pokémon GO is a legitimate revenue stream for your business. What’s that? How are a bunch of tunnel-visioned teens going to impact your bottom line, you ask? They don’t even have the money to spend that you want to collect, you say? False. TechCrunch reported that the daily in-app revenue of Pokémon GO is nearly five times that of the highest earning mobile game on iOS. These players are outspending the most ravenous online gamers at a dizzying rate to the tune of $1.6 million per day, and that’s not even accounting for all of the Android users out there, either. They have money, they want to find more Pokémon, and they might as well be doing it in your own place of business.
Great, So How Do I Pokémon GO?
Start by never asking that question verbatim, they’ll see your naiveté a mile away. Next, follow these 6 simple steps to bring in the crowds.
- Head over to the App Store or Android Market and download the app to get started, you’ll need one to accomplish all of the following steps.
- Keep an open mind and go play around with it for a bit. You don’t have to be the Great White Hunter and collect all of the Pokémon in your area, but familiarizing yourself with the interface and language will help.
- Find out if your business is a Gym or Poké Stop. These are randomly assigned hubs for players to get Pokéballs or to boost their stats.
- Be ready to put some money into the app and look at it the same way you would as a boosted social media post or Google Adwords investment. Plus, this is way less expensive (which will become clear in the next step) considering an initial investment of $100 will bank you a whopping 14,500 Pokécoins.
- This is the most important part, make sure that you buy a Pokémon Lure. These are virtual devices that draw more Pokémon activity to your location. And where there are Pokémon, there will be players. An 8-pack of lures costs 680 coins and one lure gives you an hour of boosted activity. With the aforementioned $100 investment, you can effectively create 84 hours of activity at your store for $1.19/hour.
- Next is to get creative on an incentive for the players when they arrive. You can search online for chalkboards and sandwich boards of businesses that leverage their lures to street traffic but remember that the “street” here is the key. It has been a long time since the walk-by customer was so prevalent as it is with this game, so be sure to capitalize on the heavy foot traffic with something that is playful yet still adds value.
Stay Tuned For More
We aren’t saying this is the new Burma-Shave ads or anything, but Pokémon GO easily has the momentum to be a fast and easy way to keep your business ahead of the curve. Plus, as we’ve shown here, the barriers for entry into the market are unbelievably low and, at least for the time being, not likely to be leveraged by your competitors. You should make sure to follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for more useful tips Pokémon GO and other, more conventional, marketing tactics and trends for your business.
Posted on July 7, 2016 by Dan Quick
Everyone is looking for ways to connect with and sell to new customers. Growing your audience and engaging with them with meaningful, and ultimately lucrative, interactions is a fundamental building-block to creating a healthy, sustainable business. One healthy, sustainable business right now that has something to tell you about how to manage that is one you’ve probably heard of – Google. In their 2016 Google I/O keynote speech about local search, they revealed some stunning information about how to execute successful growth strategies for your own business.
Local Search Fueled by Local Numbers
Local telephone numbers are integral to creating your Google Places account. Without an active, verified local telephone number, your Google Places information will be incomplete and you’ll miss out on all the local searches for your business. Why is that important? Because according to the authorities on search (seriously, who knows search better than Google?), mobile and local searching is growing 50% faster than standard searching. Furthermore, local searches tend to be people who are ready to shop which is why 75% of local searches result in an in-store visit within one day! Store visits, as you likely know, are an incredibly high indicator of sales conversions, especially after following previous online research. In fact, that is where all of this compelling evidence supporting the power of local search powered by local telephone numbers culminates into the best statistic yet. After compiling literally billions of data points over the past year, the local search experts at Google have determined that a whopping 28% of local searches result in a sale.
Stop Giving Away 1 out of 3 Customers
All of this together mounts a pretty compelling case for updating (or even beginning) you Google Places account today. Get that process started by establishing or updating your local telephone number with VirtualPBX today. It’s an inexpensive and irreplaceable identifier for your business with an immediate, directly positive impact on your bottom line.
What Else Can Local Search and Local Numbers Do For You?
The benefits of adding a local number to your Google Places profile are clear and powerful, so you’ve got nothing but great things waiting for you once you’ve done that. But watching the whole presentation can teach you all sorts of other great pieces of advice, so we’ve embedded it below.
How else can you let a few minutes’ investment result in boosting your ROI on web search results by nearly a third? Spoiler alert- you can’t, so take advantage of this local search advantage while you can and before your competitors do!