Google has started to roll out its latest headline-grabbing feature for its Google Meet video calling: noise-cancelation. David Phelan for Forbes Consumer Tech writes it could be something big as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other apps compete with each other to win, and keep, new users.
Back in May, Microsoft promised an update which would subdue the noises of dogs barking or keyboards clicking. Now, Google Meet has pressed the button on its own way of making video calls more productive and enjoyable.
After all, we’ve got used to video that varies in quality and that checkerboard effect where a colored outline chases participants round the screen according to who’s talking.
But it’s the audio quality that often suffers in video calls and straining to hear participants over errant noises can be quite tiring, especially for calls that just go on and on.
Like Microsoft’s solution, keyboard noises will be quelled in the Google Meet update, along with that desk fan that’s becoming increasingly essential as the summer continues.
The sound of snacks being consumed will also become less evident in the new, updated Google Meet – though be warned, if your camera is on, the vision of a bag of potato chips being tipped into your mouth will endear you to nobody, even if they can’t hear the crunching that accompanies it.
The Cloud De-Noiser as it’s called uses machine learning to remove the noises but allow what’s being said to still be completely audible. Serve Lachapelle is the G Suite director of product management and he created a demo, seen on Venture Beat, of just how effective the process is.
It’s worth a listen because at times it’s hard to believe just how effective it is. Those potato chip rustlings are especially impressive. Lachapelle talks while he’s rustling the packet and though there is a different audio quality to his voice, every word is audible and understandable, but those pesky chips are as quiet as if you were eating jello. Or something else silent.
The desire to mute those snack sounds originated, Lachapelle explained that video conferencing between his office in Stockholm and offices in the U.S. meant there was a big time difference. Though the Swedish office was coming to the end of its day, the American office was starting, so cereals were being gobbled down Stateside or dinner polished off in Europe. The need to get rid of those noises was what set the project going in the first place. Quite right, too.
It’s being rolled out now to G Suite customers on the web, with iOS and Android to follow.
Pros and Cons of ERP and CRM Systems for Small to Medium Businesses
Enterprise resource planning ERP and customer relationship management CRM software enables small businesses to replace different departmental information systems and databases with programs that work together and utilize a single database. ERP and CRM software is available for key business functions such as geo-spatial mapping and keeping in touch with your customers, their continually changing requirements, order processing, production control and finance.
By using a common technology platform and database throughout the company, small businesses can integrate departmental activities and achieve a range of cost, operational and productivity benefits.
Implementing an ERP and CRM system requires careful planning to achieve the target improvements, benefits and minimize the risk of project failure.
A key benefit of ERP and CRM software is that it provides the various departments of your company with the same snapshot of important business information. That saves time and money!
In many small companies, departments have their own information systems, creating information silos that other departments cannot access or share.
When an order progresses through the company, for example, departments such as order processing, production control and dispatch have to re-enter data and search for information about stock levels, lead times and customer requirements.
With an ERP and CRM system, all relevant data is available to those departments, eliminating the need to re-enter data, reducing the risk of error, improving productivity and speeding up the time to fulfill orders.
The availability of consistent data improves the speed and quality of decision making.
Your management team can identify any potential production bottlenecks that might affect delivery times or affect productivity levels.
Financial controllers obtain an immediate, up-to-date picture of orders, work in progress and stock levels to improve financial planning.
Production planning staff can manage stock levels efficiently in line with orders and delivery schedules. Human resources staff can identify the need for recruitment or redeployment in line with changing business needs.
Senior managers have an overall picture of operations so they can make effective decisions on investment and resource allocation and respond quickly to changing business opportunities.
Deploying an ERP and CRM system can help you transform different aspects of your business and cope with the challenges of growth.
By implementing systems for ownership, management and control of your customers’ personal information, reducing duplication in administration, streamlining processes such as order processing and production planning, ERP and CRM systems free staff to concentrate on more important tasks and deal with increasing volumes of business efficiently. By equipping employees with powerful business tools, ERP and CRM systems enable your team to make a greater contribution to efficiency and profitability.
ERP and CRM systems offer small businesses many important benefits.
However, implementing an ERP and CRM system carries significant risk.
A company-wide deployment represents a major investment in time, effort and capital.
The cost of a complete ERP and CRM system may be beyond the means of a growing business.
Although you can deploy individual modules for different departments as funds are available, you would not reap the full benefits of a company-wide system for some time.
Deployment also can lead to disruption as employees go through a learning process to adjust to the new system.
To achieve a balance between the risks and rewards of an ERP and CRM system, you need to identify priorities, lead the change from the top and allocate resources to training and project management.
Seek advice from a consultant with experience of ERP and CRM in small businesses so you select the right system for your company and manage the change effectively.
About the Author
Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton of SmallBusinessChron has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner’s World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.
Five 5 digital solutions that can help growing companies survive threats to functional operational and IT, thrive if exposed to natural disasters, and provide powerful enhancements that secure your business’ unassailable position.
Digital and cloud enabled systems support IT solutions are no longer optional for businesses. Growing companies must embed a digital-first approach into every facet of the business process if they expect to grow in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace.
Contributing Source: Jason Albanese, Co-founder and CEO – INC.com | Published Sep/21/2017
Amazon made headlines again when they recently announced they’ll be hiring 50,000 jobs across the country. Considering this hiring surge accounts for nearly one-quarter of the 222,000 jobs that the U.S. added in June of this year, I think it’s safe to assume Amazon is experiencing a growth phase.
Yet, as with any expansion, Amazon is likely facing a slew of challenges as they welcome new workers into the fold. Is each facility prepared to handle the influx of employees? Can the current human resources system manage a massive spike in users? Is the company generating enough revenue to support 50,000 new wages?
I have no doubt that Amazon is well prepared to handle this expansion, but this is not always the case for most businesses. In fact, last year, the Kauffman Foundation and Inc. Magazine discovered that nearly two-thirds of companies that had previously been on Inc.’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies list had either been sold, reduced, or gone bust.
While growing pains can make or break a company, there are a number of digital solutions you can adopt that will make the expansion much easier. Why? Because companies that embed digital into their everyday operations are more agile than traditional businesses when it comes to managing change. This agility will come in handy when you need to make a last-minute pivot to handle the demands that come with any growth phase.
So, if you’re going through growing pains (or are hoping to in the near future), here are five digital solutions you’ll want to consider:
1. Incorporate data into everyday decision-making
As your company grows and expands, it’s important to keep a close eye on performance both internally and externally. And the best way to monitor this is by measuring and tracking data. With the right data-driven dashboard in place, you’ll be able to:
Empower leaders to make difficult hiring and firing decisions by using data that backs those decisions.
Put new policies into place that are supported by persuasive numbers.
Provide leadership with a better idea on where operations may need to change, which will enable them to streamline the business.
But, for many smaller companies, the first step is to start tracking and storing data in the first place. Unlike larger corporations, small businesses tend to be lacking in this area.
If you want to start tracking data externally, consider implementing a customer relationship management tool and investing in analytics on your website, marketing campaigns, or apps. For internal data tracking, project management tools and time-tracking software can yield a treasure trove of insight. In both cases, however, you’ll need to put controls in place that will enable you to collect Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and use dashboards to contextualize the data.
2. Ditch the paper
Growing a business puts a demand on resources, so you’ll want to find ways to cut costs throughout the process. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to ditch the paper.
Whether it’s by getting rid of paper contracts, enforcing a new policy on e-statements, or removing printers from the office, digital communications can save your company quite a bit of money. It will also dramatically streamline your processes and operations.
3. Create an omni office environment
I touched on this in a recent article, but if you’re outgrowing your current office space, then consider what it might take to create an omni office workspace for your employees.
While companies like IBM and Yahoo are no longer allowing employees to work remotely, a hybrid approach with support for remote workers might be the best solution when it comes to creating an effective work-from-home policy. But no matter what you decide to do, enabling your employees to spend some time working from home can help keep overhead costs low, while potentially increasing productivity.
4. Secure important functional operational areas
Cloud mostly refers to the hosting of virtualized systems infrastructure and data in some datacenter aside from your own. In particular, this applies to office software and management and project accounting software as a service in, the cloud. What does this mean for small business organizations and large corporations that need protection of proprietary information to assure their company’s continued survival and success in highly competitive markets and challenging political and economic times? Most manufacturers, government agencies and public / private sector corporations would want to consider the risks. How would disruption in functional operational areas impact on market position and bottom-line in the face of IT systems anomalies, cyber-attack, hurricane management or other natural disasters?
I have to agree that eliminating tape, disk to disk, courier and select file backup protocols with tech savvy Virtual Private Cloud VPC on-premise continual backup would not only save your company tens of thousands per month, but when combined with cloud enabled IT backup and systems support, could make the difference between surviving threats mentioned above, and thriving in the face of these threats, while attaining assured readiness for the biggest challenges, and reduced cost.
5. Constantly monitor the latest technology trends
Can virtual assistants improve your company’s order fulfillment process? Can AR or VR enable your team to create prototypes that are easily shared across continents? Will IoT devices and smart sensors work to reduce manufacturing costs? Maybe or maybe not, but if you are not at least aware of these trends, you will not be able to make informed decisions about which might be applicable to your company.
The latest technology trends could be the key to getting your company through a growth phase with ease. But if you don’t know what’s happening, then the opportunity to integrate this tech into your operations will never see the light of day.
If growth and expansion are on the horizon for your business, you’ll want to make sure your company is digitally mature before you get too big to function. You can bet Amazon is taking full advantage of digital solutions as they expand their workforce and you can do so today by taking the above into account.