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Ensure your business performs at its optimum with the best possible gadget and tool upgrades. Here are 10 ways to refresh your office tech.
The technology that supports your business is vital to your success. But out-of-date software and obsolete hardware can hamper productivity and increase the chances of systems being hacked. Up-to-date products can deliver powerful improvements, from lower running costs and better customer service to higher sales through increased capacity.
According to the not-for-profit TechSoup for Libraries, desktop systems and servers need to be replaced every three to four years, while laptops, phones and other mobile devices need replacing every two to three years.
Printers and networking equipment may last five years or more, while software and operating systems vary widely. Here’s our guide to what gadget and tool upgrades you should be considering to refresh your office tech.
If you like the ease and portability of a tablet but still need a desktop computer for longer work sessions, consider a tablet that can be linked to a keyboard and larger screen.
The slim Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e weighs just 400g but is packed with the latest technology, including face recognition, geomagnetic and gyro sensors, and crisp Bixby 4 speakers. It’s compatible with Samsung DeX so you can connect it to a keyboard cover or large screen and use it as a desktop computer.
It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of backing up your work. Hard drives are also an efficient way of expanding a computer’s memory capacity and giving staff access to files without the hassle of wires.
Hard drives come in all shapes and sizes these days: there are portable options, wireless ones, desktop hard drives and those that are network attached. The Seagate 2TB Backup Plus Slim Portable Hard Drive Blue is a sleek and convenient way to boost your office storage capacity. It’s USB powered and comes with drag-and-drop file saving.
We may live in a digital world, but don’t underestimate the benefits of owning a decent printer. Old printers can use a huge amount of ink, and take forever to dry.
For a small office, the Epson WorkForce Pro Wireless Inkjet MFC Printer will handle all your printing, copying, scanning and faxing (yes, faxing!) with ease. Its 4800 x 1200 dpi print resolution gives print jobs a professional quality and it’s also speedy, printing up to 22 colour pages a minute. As it’s compatible with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print, you can even print directly from your smartphone or other mobile devices.
Feel like it’s time to upgrade your computer monitor? For jobs that involve spending a lot of time looking at a computer screen, it’s worth doing your homework. There’s a huge range available, from simple low-cost models that will suit the average user, up to high-end computer monitors aimed at designers and creatives.
Noise levels in a busy open-plan office can be intense and for some tasks, staff need to be able to block out distractions. A simple solution is to provide headphones for staff who need to make calls on the go, listen in on conference calls, transcribe voice recordings, or simply find they concentrate better when listening to music.
Beats Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones allow you to swap seamlessly from work call to office soundtrack or gym session with the enhanced phone call performance and call handling features from either earbud. An entirely redesigned acoustic package provides pure sound reproduction, enhanced clarity and top-level dynamic range.
Has upgrading your small business’ security been a long time coming? While digital security is vital, don’t forget about your physical assets. Installing a camera system to monitor your office out of hours is a fairly simple way to add an extra layer of security.
While there are many smart security cameras on the market, one of the best of the bunch is the Arlo Ultra 4K Wireless 3 Camera System. It comes with three cameras (extras can be added) and records high-quality 4K HDR video with sound to the cloud. It connects to WiFi and comes with a long-lasting rechargeable battery, so maintenance is a cinch. The Arlo system can be hooked up to Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant, so you can control the camera simply using your voice.
An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) will keep important electronics running when a power outage occurs and is a sensible investment, particularly for those who work in remote areas.
Updating technology to the APC Back-UPS Pro 1200VA 10 Output Power Supply helps avoid damage done to your system or networks if the power supply runs dry. The UPS has a 720W and 1200VA power capacity and will run for almost eight minutes at full load. It will also alert you when the batteries need replacing before they go flat so you won’t be caught out.
A USB-C hub is a nifty little device that instantly transforms any work station into a highly efficient hub by allowing multiple connections on a single-port USB-C (or USB Type-C) laptop or tablet. It means you can add things like a hard drive, mouse and keyboard. Choose a model with plenty of ports, and if possible a power pass-through USB-C port so you can charge your laptop as well as connect peripherals.
Sick of searching for a cable every time your smartphone needs recharging? Wireless charging allows devices to be charged (over very short distances) without cables; it’s quick, easy and tidy. Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) wireless charging is being built into an ever-growing list of smart devices, including the latest iPhones.
The Scosche Magnetic Window and Dash Mount uses magnets to keep your phone securely in place while it charges with Qi technology. The mount can be attached to a car windscreen or dashboard, or used on your desk. The wireless charging pad has a 10W power output and comes with a USB car charger with Qualcomm quick charge 3.0 to give your mobile devices a longer battery life while you’re out and about.
A graphics pad and stylus is ideal for designing, editing images, retouching and sketching. If you’re in a creative field, this tech upgrade is a valuable tool to help with artistic flow.
The Wacom Intuos Pro Pen 2 is a pressure-sensitive, cordless and battery-free pen that connects wirelessly to PCs and Macs. Its tilt recognition allows you to pan, zoom, rotate and navigate with the same precision you’d get from a traditional brush or pen, and its medium-sized screen provides ample workspace, while still fitting in most laptop bags to ensure maximum productivity even on the go.