iPhone charging on MacBook

Apple’s iOS updates have always been eagerly anticipated. iPhone and iPad users around the world get excited to see what their devices can do next. The newest major upcoming release will be for iOS 17. This fall, Apple is set to introduce a host of exciting new features and improvements.

iOS 17 promises to deliver an even more intuitive and seamless user experience. There will also be big changes for Messages and sharing across phones.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the key features you can expect. Get ready to explore the latest innovations that Apple has in store for its users.

Get an Instant Transcript of Voicemails

How do you know if that voicemail that came in while in a Zoom meeting is important? iOS 17 is going to make that much easier to determine. When you get a voicemail, you’ll see a transcript of the message on your screen. No more guesswork!

Voicemail Transcript
Image credit: Apple

Personalized Contact Posters

Do you hate the picture that someone has saved of you in your contact? The one that comes up every time you call them? You’ll now have power over how you look when you call others.

Apple is introducing personalized Contact Posters. You can customize how you’ll look when calling people with whom you’ve shared your poster. You can appear as your photo, a Memoji, and more. You can also add text and colors.

Leave a Video or Audio FaceTime Message

You have better options when calling someone on FaceTime and they’re not there. Instead of just leaving a missed call. FaceTime will support audio and video messages. These are like enhanced voicemails.

Now, if you want to share an exciting visual in the moment, you can. Even if the person doesn’t pick up. You can leave it for them to watch later.

More FaceTime Enhancements – Reactions & Apple TV

Another cool enhancement coming to FaceTime are more expressive reactions. Some of the new ways to express yourself include:

  • Hearts
  • Balloons
  • Fireworks
  • Laser beams
  • Rain
  • and more

Also, a FaceTime call can now connect with AppleTV. See loved ones right from your large-screen television, as big as ever.

Stickers, Anyone?

If you’re a fan of stickers in messages, you’re going to love this next feature. Messages will be getting a big sticker enhancement in iOS 17. This includes new emoji stickers. You’ll also have the ability to create Live Stickers from subjects in photos.

You can also liven stickers up with effects. A sticker drawer is also going to be available to store them all neatly.

AirDrop & NameDrop for Easier Sharing

Sharing photos, videos, and files across devices will get better. In just seconds, you can use AirDrop to share files from one phone to another.
NameDrop gives you a quick way to share contact details. All you need to do is bring two iPhones together. It also works with an iPhone and Apple Watch. Oh, and music is included in the sharing fun!

NameDrop is also how you’ll share that cool Contact Poster you made.

Smarter Autocorrect & Dictation

Who hasn’t cursed an autocorrect choice that makes you look bad? Apple feels your pain and is introducing smarter autocorrection. This feature will get a machine learning language model upgrade. The update will help it predict text better to learn what you really meant to type.

Dictation is also getting an upgrade. It will use a new speech recognition model to improve its accuracy.

StandBy Glanceable Screen Mode

Apple wants your iPhone to be even more useful. Even when it’s charging across the room. So, iOS 17 introduces StandBy. This gives users a full-screen experience with information shown big on the screen.

You can personalize the display with a full range of helpful views:

  • Clock styles
  • Favorite photos
  • Widgets (including Smart Stacks)
  • Live Activities
  • Siri
  • Incoming Calls
Standby
Image credit: Apple

New Mental Health Features in the Health App

Apple is introducing more mental health features. The health app will enable users to log daily moods and momentary emotions. The goal is to help people see what contributes to their state of mind. As well as easily access depression and anxiety assessments used in clinics.

Screen Distance in Screen Time will also assist with digital eyestrain. It will encourage a user to move their device farther away from their face. It will do this if users have held their phone closer than 12 inches over a certain period of time.

Get Help with Smartphone Tutoring, Security & More

iOS 17 is shaping up to be an exciting update for Apple users. It offers a range of new features and enhancements. Even more than we could fit into this article.

If you’re looking for help learning how to use your phone’s features or enhancing security, give us a call. We can improve your experience with one of the most important pieces of tech people use today. Their smartphone.

Give us a call, and let’s chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

a computer chip with the word gpt printed on it

It’s hard to turn around online these days without running into ChatGPT. Both Bing and Google are levering this advanced artificial intelligence language model. And you can expect it to show up in more business and personal tools that you use every day.

ChatGPT has revolutionized the way businesses interact with their customers. It has also affected how they get things done. Teams are using it for everything from emails to generating ideas for product names.

The tool’s personalized and informative responses in real-time definitely draw you in. But integrating ChatGPT into your business operations requires careful consideration. You want to ensure that things don’t get out of hand with employees using the tool irresponsibly.

In this article, we explore the best practices for using ChatGPT at your business.

Best Practices for Responsible Use of ChatGPT & Other AI

Understand ChatGPT’s Weaknesses

This is still very new technology, and it makes mistakes. When you first use ChatGPT, you’ll see a warning about this. You shouldn’t use the responses it provides you without human review and editing.

Yes, it can write you an employee device use policy if you ask. But, there may be things in that auto-generated policy that aren’t quite correct. Use it as a prompt, but not as a replacement for human-generated content.

Another weakness is potential bias. As the engine trains on vast amounts of content, it can pick up some bad habits. Thus, you could get biased or shocking responses from ChatGPT. Understand that in human terms, the tool is still a toddler that needs supervision.

Define ChatGPT’s Role

Before integrating ChatGPT into your business, it’s essential to define its role. The role can range from answering customers to generating ideas for new products.

Defining ChatGPT’s role helps you leverage its power. But also ensures you put in guard rails. The technology still is very new, so you don’t want your employees using it for everything.

Determine exactly which tasks the company approves for ChatGPT use and which it does not. This empowers your team to use it where you deem best and avoids improper use.

Consider Customer Privacy

Privacy is a crucial aspect of any business, and ChatGPT should not be an exception. As you integrate the tool into your work, it’s important to consider customer privacy. In fact, in March, Italy banned ChatGPT due to data privacy concerns.

Be aware of any exposure of employee or customer data to ChatGPT. Limit the potential for data leakage.

For example, you can configure ChatGPT to stop collecting customer data. Such as, after data collection reaches a particular threshold.

Ensure Human Oversight

ChatGPT is a powerful tool, but it’s not a substitute for human interaction. It’s crucial to have human oversight to ensure the output it gives is relevant and accurate. Human oversight can help stop inappropriate responses that may negatively impact your business.

Integrate ChatGPT Into Your Existing Customer Service

Integrating ChatGPT into your customer service channels can benefit customers. It can improve customer experience while also reducing workload. You can integrate it into your website, social media, and other support channels. It can provide real-time responses to customer queries. But, again, human beings need to watch ChatGPT and its responses.

Leveraging it intelligently reduces the waiting time for customers. It can also improve their experience with your business.

Measure Performance and Optimize

Measuring ChatGPT’s performance is crucial to ensure that it’s providing value. Measure its performance by analyzing customer satisfaction, response time, and responses handled.

You can also look at productivity statistics. Is using ChatGPT to write the framework for customer emails saving time? Or does it take just as much time for your team to edit responses?

Based on the analysis, you can optimize ChatGPT to improve its performance. This helps it to be a better support for your business.

Be Transparent About Using It

Be transparent if you’re using ChatGPT for email responses or other things. Your customers will appreciate your honesty. For example, you could simply state in your policies the following.

“We leverage AI for certain content, and always edit and fact-check its outputs.”

The use of AI-generated content is a murky area right now. Responsible companies tell their customers exactly where and how they are using it.

Get Help Navigating the Changing World of Business Technology

ChatGPT is an excellent tool for businesses looking to leverage its AI power. But this tool is still in its infancy. Integrating ChatGPT into your business requires careful consideration. You need to ensure that it’s effective and secure.

Need help navigating the changing technology landscape? Give us a call today to schedule a chat about AI, where to leverage it, and business concerns.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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At the beginning of each year, a group of global innovators meets. They introduce and show off breakthrough technologies. It’s done at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is typically held each January in the U.S.

This year, over 3,200 exhibitors from 173 countries showed off the future. Giving us a glimpse of what could show up in our homes offices, living rooms, or kitchens. The show includes both wacky and very sensible inventions. All designed to push the limits and expand how we use technology.

People love their gadgets, so it’s always exciting to see the new tech that CES showcases. It’s estimated that the global smart home household penetration was 14.2% in 2022. By 2027, it’s expected to more than double to 28.8%.

What new gadgets did innovators introduce at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show? Here’s a rundown of some standouts that you may want to check out.

Loona – Intelligent Petbot

Do you love the thought of having a pet, but not the mess? Can’t have one because of where you live? Loona might be your answer. The developer promotes this smart gadget as “the most intelligent petbot.” It’s currently gathering funding through a Kickstarter campaign.

Loona - Intelligent Petbot
Image from Loona’s Kickstarter page.

The cute little motorized pseudo pet can welcome you. It can also follow you when you walk around, sneeze, scratch, and much more. Just like a dog or cat, Loona investigates suspicious objects. Unlike most pets can beatbox, pose for pictures, and dance.

Ring Car Cam

Another consumer IoT device displayed at CES is already for sale on Amazon. It’s the Ring Car Cam, which takes the popular doorbell cam concept on the road with you.

This small internet-connected video cam has dual-facing cameras. It can capture images in the car and on the road. It includes two-way talk to connect with loved ones at home. It also has motion detection and real-time motion alerts.

AtmosGear Electronic Skates

If you’re feeling brave, you can soon strap on a pair of electric inline roller skates. AtmosGear introduced the skates at CES. It expects to begin shipping them starting in May of 2023.

The skates can get up to speeds of 25 km/H (15.5 MPH) and can reach a full charge in about an hour. The “skate” is actually a motorized frame that you can attach to “all roller boots.”

Tilt Five Augmented Reality Glasses

If you’ve been waiting to use augmented reality (AR) outside a video game, your chance may be here. Tilt Five introduced an AR glasses system that connects to a computer device. It can be used on board games as well as video games.

Ready to bring some holographic life to your tabletop play? The system includes the glasses and a board game. The glasses look somewhat like heavy-duty safety glasses. Both interact to bring an AR element into the real world.

Jabra Enhance™ Plus

This earbud/hearing aid combo can be very helpful to those with hearing loss. Jabra Enhance Plus are earbuds that offer a 3-in-1 experience. You can use them for listening to music, phone calls, and for hearing enhancement.

The small design makes them discrete, and they are also designed to be easy to use. They include state-of-the-art technology to provide superior audio clarity.

Hasbro Selfie Series Figures

Have you secretly wished to have your own action figure…of you! Hasbro has you covered with its new Selfie Series. You can use your phone’s camera to upload a pic and choose from figures based on several franchises.

Make a figure of yourself from these universes:

  • G.I. Joe
  • Ghostbusters
  • Power Rangers
  • Marvel
  • Star Wars

Use your smartphone and Habro’s app to customize your new digitized figure. Then all you have to do is buy it and wait for it to arrive.

Twinkly Squares

Twinkly Squares are like the Lite-Bright toy all grown up. The squares allow you to add panels of colored and automated lights to any wall. They’re great for a home office or to add a pop of color to any space.

Because these are IoT gadgets, you can also program and control them. Create digital artwork, have them sync with music, or use their voice feature.

Xebec Tri-Screen 2

Do you wish you had more screen space on your laptop? Don’t like the uneven feel of using a second monitor that is higher than your laptop screen? Then Xebec’s Tri-Screen 2 may be your answer.

This gadget enables you to expand your laptop screen on both sides. It sits behind the screen and expands the screen space both left and right.

Don’t Introduce Smart Tech Into Your Home without Security

New electronic gadgets and home tech can be great. They can also expose your network to security risks. Get help from a pro. Give us a call for a home security audit.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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Customers look for convenience. In today’s world that means technology that makes their life easier. From webforms to POS systems, you need to keep the customer experience in mind in all you do.

When people aren’t happy with their experience interacting with a company, they leave. And their experience might not have anything to do with your products or services. Maybe they found it hard to navigate your website. They may have a question, but no one was around to answer it.

Customers expect you to make it easy for them to do business with you. Companies that do that, reap the benefits. Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than those that aren’t.

Technology is key to converting website visitors into clients. It’s also key for keeping customers happy and returning to buy again.

Where should you focus? Below are several ideas for all business budgets.

Cloud Forms

Are you still emailing forms in Microsoft Word to your customers? Using cloud-based forms makes the experience much better. Your customer doesn’t need to save a form to their computer and remember to email it back. Instead, they can follow a link and fill out the info online from any device.

Moving your forms to the cloud makes it easier for you as well. The form data comes in automatically. These systems also collate forms and provide analytics.

If you use Microsoft 365, then you already have a cloud form tool. Look for Microsoft Forms in your available applications or visit Microsoft’s site.

Digital Signatures

Experts expect the use of eSignatures to grow by 69% by 2024. The ability to digitally sign documents means more contracts get signed. People don’t have to print out a form, sign it, then scan it back in. Any of those activities could mean a bump in the road.

Printers run out of ink. People have trouble with a scanner they rarely use. The list goes on. Any problem can mean a customer rethinks signing a document that you need.

Using digital signatures streamlines the process. You can handle the transaction online. You also ensure you have a legally binding signature.

Smart Chatbot

When someone makes a buying decision, they often have a question. If they don’t have a quick and easy way to get an answer, they may go elsewhere.

Chatbots are really smart these days. If you program them right, they can answer a large percentage of repeat questions. They’re there 24/7 on your website ready to help in a moment of need.

Many customers actually like them. About 68% of consumers are happy using helpful chatbots. They say they like that they get a fast answer from a bot. This isn’t always the case when customers send an email.

SMS Notifications

SMS notifications are another type of technology that can improve customer experience. Emails have become flooded with junk mail. When someone needs to know about a shipment or purchase, they often prefer it by text. This way the message isn’t missed.

Think about implementing SMS notifications for important customer alerts. Make sure you have an opt-in and opt-out method. It’s also a best practice to let the customer choose which alerts they want to receive. Such as payment notifications, sales, or shipping details.

Business Mobile App

People have been in a transition from websites to apps for a while. Of course, the internet isn’t going away, but apps are gaining ground. A big reason for this is the rise of smartphone use.

Smartphone searches are overtaking web searches. And when people are on a mobile device they prefer apps over websites. Studies show that mobile users spend 90% of their time using apps, and just 10% using an internet browser.

Think about implementing a mobile app for your business. This can make it easier for customers to do business with you. It also gives you more marketing and service capabilities, such as push notifications.

If you’re on a tight budget, you could start with a “wrapper” app. These are solutions that take your existing website and transform it into an app.

FAQ Kiosk

For retail stores, having an FAQ kiosk available can provide a positive experience. It can allow customers to get questions answered quickly. It could also help them look up sales and coupons.

Service businesses can also benefit by using this digital tool. They can use it for commonly asked questions. They can also use it to direct clients to staff offices.

VoIP Phone System

You might think of your phone system as an internal piece of IT. But it’s also one of your most customer-facing technologies. The experience people get when they call is a vital part of how they view your business.

VoIP phone systems give staff the flexibility to help customers anywhere. This is true even when away from their desks. They also enable things like group ring, auto-attendant, and voicemail to email. All these features make for better caller interaction with your business.

Get Help Planning Your Technology Roadmap

Which technology upgrades will benefit your bottom line the most? How should new systems integrate into existing solutions? These are some of the things we look at when helping you look ahead to the future. Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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Free illustrations of Metaverse

The new buzzword around town is “metaverse.” But what does that actually mean for businesses? Is it just something that social media companies need to be concerned about?

According to people like Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, the metaverse is coming. He stated that “Life without AR will soon be unthinkable.” Whether that’s a short-term or long-off prediction, companies need to be ready.

First comes the understanding of what the metaverse is. Metaverse is a general term – hence why it’s not capitalized like a proper name. The metaverse refers to a collective upgrade of the internet to a 3D virtual environment. This would be a world interconnected between various sites. These sites would reflect the immersive games that you see today.

Did Facebook/Meta invent the metaverse? No.

The idea of connected 3D immersive worlds has been around for decades. Several online gaming companies have staked a territory in the metaverse. But their applications are less interconnected.

What’s one of the best representations of the early metaverse? It’s a short-lived software called Adobe Atmosphere. This 3D immersive experience included interconnected online worlds. It also gave people the ability to chat with others. It was a bit before its time but shows how the concept of the metaverse has been around for a while.

The metaverse is getting attention now because technology has advanced. It has begun to catch up to the needs of such a world. This includes fast internet connections and immense processing power. It also includes a delivery method for 3D that works on most PCs.

Are we there yet? Not quite. But the metaverse is picking up steam. Recently, Microsoft announced a partnership with Meta. This partnership is to bring Microsoft 365 apps into the metaverse. This means collaboration in an entirely new way. Microsoft notes that 50% of Gen Z and millennials expect to do some of their work in the metaverse in the next two years.

Microsoft Teams Meeting in VR
Image source: Microsoft

How Does the Metaverse Impact Your Company?

With companies like Microsoft looking at the future of AR/VR, it could be a reality soon. You can expect the metaverse to touch your own company in some way in the next few years. Here’s a preview of what it may impact.

Where to Advertise

When the internet was first introduced, companies didn’t immediately realize its potential. Now, most companies wouldn’t consider operating without a website. It’s a necessity for driving leads and converting sales.

If the metaverse takes off as a new 3D iteration of the internet, it could be just as important. This means exploring metaverse-type advertising in virtual worlds. Also, potentially creating your own VR site or showroom.

How to Service Customers

As the popularity of social media took off, companies realized customers used it to reach out. Seventy-nine percent of consumers expect companies to respond to a social media message. And they expect that response within a day.

To address that need, many businesses have a social media presence. They use this for marketing and to answer questions and inquiries from customers.

The metaverse may be the next step. If people begin hanging out there, they will expect to interact with businesses in that space. Just like they do now with social networks.

This means companies need to be aware of how customers may be using the metaverse as it grows. Adding a question about metaverse use to a year-end customer survey could be a way to be proactive on this topic.

Employee Training

One of the touted benefits of the metaverse is its ability to enable more immersive training. This could greatly increase training capabilities for everyone from doctors to forklift operators.

Imagine being able to replicate a task more closely in a virtual world. A person could safely make mistakes there. Then they could grow proficient before doing that thing in real life.

Start thinking about the types of training that your employees need. Then, look at ways that a VR world may make the training safer or more efficient. The metaverse may not have what you’re looking for now. But with the pace of technological advancement, it could in a year or two.

More Immersive Remote Team Collaboration

Virtual meetings skyrocketed out of necessity during the pandemic. Now, meeting by Teams or Zoom is commonplace. The next generation of online team meetings may end up being in a virtual world.

As we noted earlier, Microsoft is already working on bringing its apps into a virtual space. Add a few avatars and an immersive setting. Suddenly, you have a completely different meeting experience.

What’s one more way to enhance remote team collaboration in the metaverse? It has to do with building design and maintenance. Imagine being able to walk through a 3D recreation of a space before it’s built. Then fine-tuning the construction while inside that space.

Is Your Business Ready for the Next Digital Transformation?

What are your digital transformation plans for the next 12 months? The next three years? If you’re not sure where to begin, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a technology brainstorming session.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.