Technology has been incorporated into how everyday retail stores operate for quite some time now. Everything from the rise of internet shopping and e-commerce platforms, to trade shows and EPoS hardware equipment, these are all factors which can help retailers to improve their sales on a daily basis. After all, it is sales that are most important for any retail business. We all want to make life easier for ourselves whilst working within a busy store and so the above factors should help contribute to how smoothly your day runs.
So if we take retail trade shows as an example, there are many advantages of attending these types of events, especially from a business development point of view. A lot of magic can happen at a trade show, from networking with other businesses whilst discussing new product ranges, attending workshops and seminars for educational purposes if you’re a start-up retailer to learning about the most highly functioning EPoS hardware. It pays to have working equipment in every retail store and equipment has certainly come a long way since the invention of the till. Its specialist companies like Nisyst who provide retailers with relevant equipment they need for their businesses to function daily such as; barcode scanners, monitor screens, keyboards, label printers, PIN pads and many more. It all depends on the type of business you have really and what the requirements would be for that business. Getting ahead in the retail stakes is a competitive task but as long as you ensure your sales and stock checking equipment is up to date, this is sure to benefit you in the long run.
To put retail lingo into simpler terms, EPoS stands for Electronic Point of Sale. It is this point of sale system that processes and records all sales transactions in a minimal time frame which makes for efficient business performance. If you want to find out which product lines have been bestsellers for a particular time period or identify how many products were sold during one business day, EPoS hardware digitally stores a lot of statistical information ready to be accessed whenever you require it.
Once you can understand how important it is to have retail equipment that functions and how having current technology can help your business to grow, you will be thankful you did attend that retail trade show for the hints and tips alone.
I think I have a pretty inquisitive mind. Most kids go through a phase of endlessly asking ‘why?’ and whatever answer you give will be met again with the response ‘why?’ I don’t think I ever really managed to leave that phase behind – though I have learnt that it’s not always wise to keep asking endless questions of people!
My latest pondering came from a recent TV watching experience. The sound and picture had gone out of sync with each other. It was amusing at first – shortly followed by confusing. I gave up on the TV channel affected by this technical gremlin but I was now curious to find out ‘How TV transmissions work’.
How does the Signal Get to My TV?
We have two different modes of transport for the TV signal in the UK. They are Over the Air and via Fibre Optic cables. Over the air is the means of transmitting a radio frequency that is picked up via an aerial or satellite dish on your home and then converted into the TV picture by a set top box or by the TV itself. The cable route sends the signal to a set top box in your home via cables that are buried under ground.
What does the TV do with the Signal?
Well quite a lot actually – and quickly too. The signal received contains a mass of information. The main components are information for re-creating the picture and the sound. There may also be further information for interactive services – the information displayed on your screen when you press the TV Guide button or the ‘Red Button’ to access other services.
The sound and picture elements of the signal have to be very accurately synchronised with each other at the source of the signal so that when decoded in the home, sound and picture are delivered at the same time. This is what had gone wrong in the programme I was watching – and led me to write this blog.
What Equipment do TV Broadcasters Use?
Obviously you’re not going to find this kind of equipment in your local branch of Curry’s. However there are companies that specialise in the supply of professional broadcast equipment (such as that available from ShootView) to TV broadcasters, TV stations and other organisations in the media industry. The equipment they supply does all the clever processing of sound, image and data, merging it into one signal ready for broadcast to the end user.
Any Other Questions?
Well, as usual, my inquisitive nature is asking more questions. I’ve found that I’ve only just touched the tip of the iceberg of TV signal transmission. If like me you are asking more questions, you might want to visit some of these online resources. I visit the How Stuff Works website quite frequently and as usual I found some helpful information there. This article explores the transmission of radio frequency in greater depth than I can do here. The tech-faq website has a useful page on how television broadcasting works – again exploring the subject in greater depth.
The first generations of LCD and Plasma TVs with the boasting ‘HD Ready’ displays were well beyond the reach of most households. Some units cost £1200 and beyond. I’m not talking about full home cinema systems here either – just the TV screen.
As with all new technology waiting 18 months before committing yourself to buying is usually a good strategy. Anyone with a ‘Betamax’ video player in their loft can add testimony to this. Not all new technologies stay the distance. I think with TVs we’re on fairly firm ground though. That’s not to say that there haven’t been any improvements to the LCD and Plasma TVs that were the pioneers of the new TV generation.
LED TV’s Join the Fold
LED TVs are very similar to LCD TVs – in fact the actual screen is still of a Liquid Crystal type. The difference is in the technology that’s used to provide the lighting behind LCD display. Traditional LCDs use something called CCFL lighting – essentially a fluorescent tube type of light. LED TVs use light emitting diodes placed behind the screen to provide the backlighting. The advantage of LED TVs is that they can be made a lot thinner. Not that conventional LCD TVs were bulky to start with.
You Look Great – but You Sound Awful
The newer TV’s do look good. Their slimmer form and lighter weight lends them well to being wall mounted. They do however have a big drawback. The small cabinets that the screens are mounted into don’t really allow much room for decent speakers. If you’re upgrading from a CRT TV you’ll probably be quite disappointed with the sound your new TV delivers. There’s a number of solutions to this – probably the best of which come in the form of soundbars. Soundbars can be mounted just below the TV and dramatically improve the sound quality. If you don’t want to a add full surround sound system to your room then soundbars are the way forward. This articles on CNET.com offers more information on soundbars and reviews some models.
SMART TV – Making Your TV Interactive
SMART TV is probably one of the most promising additions to new TVs. It adds internet capability to your TV set. The TV connects to your home network either by WiFi or via a wired Ethernet connection. This allows you to access ‘catch up’ TV services like i-Player, browse the internet and watch youTube videos directly on your TV. There are also a number of services that allow you buy on demand movies which are streamed directly to your TV set. You can find out more about SMART TV features on this blog.
Upgrading on a Budget
The absolute latest models of LED SMART TVs can still set you back £1000+. These TVs will be cheaper in a few years time. However, if the full feature set of these TVs is not a priority for you then follow these two pieces of advice for buying cheaper alternatives.
Avoid the high street. Online is where you’ll find the best offers for cheap TVs
Decide which features are important to you – Don’t need or want a 3D TV? I’m not a fan of 3D – I find the glasses a distraction.
There’s still a great choice of TV sets out there that will be available to you if you’re on a budget.
At least three or four times a day you can hear a printer scream within our house. Recently the house became eerily quiet when my trusty old inkjet printer finally gave up the ghost. Shopping for a new printer, it seems printers at some point became as confusing as trying to buy a mobile phone. I found myself facing store assistants trying not to scream: No, I don’t want to take photographs…or develop them. I don’t want to photocopy things. I’ve no use for fax. I just need a printer! I want to print things!
Eventually, I resorted to the internet to order my replacement Lexmark printer, inadvertently realising if I also get my Lexmark Ink cartridges from an online retailer, I needn’t brave the shops at all. I just couldn’t believe how complicated the whole process was, but on the upside, it got me educating myself a little bit about the history of computer printers.
I knew Charles Babbage was supposed to have first drawn up the idea for a mechanical printer to accompany his difference machine. I could easily believe that when laser printers were first made in 1938 by a student called Chester Carlson nobody liked them (I’m only just beginning to stop flinching at the mention of them, if I’m honest). What I actually learned was that right now there are three types of modern printer that the average person encounters on a normal day…
1# Liquid Ink Jet Printers – I’ve you’ve managed to navigate the internet in as much as to reach this page, you’re probably familiar with these. Liquid Ink Jet Printers are the most commonly used PC printer used by consumers. And, in case you ever wondered, they work by driving measured droplets of ink to onto paper to make a digital image. Neat, huh.
2# Toner Based Printers – My memory of Toner based printers consists of a former boss roughly thrusting a toner cartridge into my hand like a rely baton and barking at me to get back to the office and ‘change the ink’ on the printer. I didn’t even know I was holding ink. Toner based printers are an example of laser printers.
3# Solid Ink Printers – Solid ink printers, as you might imagine, prefer solid blocks of non-toxic ink over the toner cartridges used in laser printers. The ink melts within the printer (in a good way) to produce high quality and glossy prints due to the inks waxy nature. To prove how safe solid ink is, the president of Tektronix, actually once ate part of one!
Everyone knows the power of the internet for businesses and the figures speak for themselves – there are over 2.2 billion users who search the internet for bargains. Nearly anything can be purchased online – from small everyday objects such as DVDs and games to large purchases that you may only make once in a lifetime such as cars and even houses.
Recently this has come under great scrutiny as sales online has directly affected the sales in the high street. The internet’s most recent scalps of Comet, Jessops and HMV have reduced the impact of the high street on our shopping. For those who still rely on people physically going into their stores, it must be a real worry to see such established brands fall by the way side.
If your business is already online, it can still be difficult to survive with market fluctuations and getting your brands seen online. Search Engine Optimisation is big business and companies can spend massive amounts of money on their online marketing – sometimes successfully, other times with little effect. Just as unsuccessful marketing in real life can be a business’s downfall, so can a misplaced online campaign.
However, if your company has a good online presence and you are getting a good few hits, this can mean nothing if your website just makes people leave! Just as shops on the high street are better places to be in when they are clean and nicely laid out inside, your website should also be a nice place for people to browse your products and find out the relevant information.
If your website is difficult to get around, it will be very hard to get into a good position online and even harder to keep your customers interested. Luckily, there is a wide range of companies who specialise in e-commerce web design to get the customers who visit your site to stick around complete their purchases. Hopefully you will be able to keep your online and physical stores running alongside each other without one having to prop up the other.
When all of this is in place: your website, marketing and physical presence, you can continue to increase your foothold in the marketplace.
Not the most riveting title I know, but it is important to know these things nonetheless – after all, TV remains one of the most popular and frequently used gadgets in the home. A recent report by Ofcom stated that 96.2% of UK homes are in possession of a digital TV, and there are over 60 million TVs in the UK. One of the most interesting facts gleaned from this report was the idea that the average person spends approximately 4 hours watching TV a day. In short, you would be hard pushed to deny the importance of such a device. So considering the importance of the TV in the home, surely it is equally important to consider just how you view your TV; this is where TV brackets come into play. TV Brackets act as a means to create the optimal viewing experience; they ensure that there is no obstruction and that the TV is at the perfect angle. Before you can go out and purchase a TV bracket though, you will notice that they come in a plethora of different designs and styles, so which one do you choose? Well hopefully this brief guide will help clear up any ambiguity as to the meaning of these terms.
Fixed TV Wall Brackets: these are the most user friendly TV brackets and can be put up with ease, whilst black are the standard issue colour they can also be attained in a variety of others. They are also the most affordable alternative; however they are designed for those that are certain of where they wish their TV to be positioned as they cannot be moved.
Tilting TV Wall Brackets: the optimal viewing angle is said to be 10% above the line of site at a tilt, with this in mind then, to truly perfect the viewing experience you will need to invest in a tilting wall bracket. It is great because the tilt can act as a means to prevent glare and also neck pain. Although the result is entirely different, the tilting wall bracket acts in very much the same way as fixed wall brackets. The key difference is of course the hinges and the price, which is a little higher.
Flush TV Brackets: these are for those that want peace of mind as to the safety of the television set itself, it can be very nerve-racking knowing that your TV support is held aloft by such as small contraption. These brackets are permanent and are far more secure than any other bracket.
Cantilever Arm TV Brackets: If you believe that you are extremely susceptible to change and will inevitably wish to change the way you view your TV from time to time with total freedom – cantilever arm TV brackets are for you. These arms are very sturdy and support TV sets of all sizes. They are also known as a ‘swing arm’ or ‘pull out’ bracket; they offer the most in terms of manoeuvrability. Some may see them as less inconspicuous than the other types of brackets though.
So there you have it, all I know about the different variations of TV wall brackets. Hopefully this will put you on the right path to discovering the model that suits you, if you are looking to pinpoint a company that specialise in TV brackets then Brackets R Us come highly recommended and can be found by following the link.
The English language has adopted so many acronyms, most of which the majority of us have no idea what they mean, and it doesn’t really matter too much either so long as you know what the acronym refers to. How many of us know what DNA actually stands for? But I’m pretty sure that we all know what DNA is. But when it comes to HDMI cables, I’ve been told that I need one, but I don’t have a clue… so I’ve done some research (which mainly involved talking to a friend in the electronics business!) and thought I’d share my new found knowledge.
So, HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface, and basically refers to a cable that transfers data from one source to another. A single HDMI cable can be used with any TV or PC video format that requires high definition. Traditional TV components and wires will not do this without interference, and this is the reason that if you want to watch high definition TV (or play computer games in high definition (HD) you will need to invest in HDMI cables.
Before HD TVs came onto the market, pictures were displayed in what we now refer to as standard definition. (Of course, then it didn’t need to have a specific name, it was that or nothing). Older Analog TVs received signals in the form of constantly wavering electronic signals, and interlaced the pictures together. But in the digital age we receive television in a very different way, and this allows the resolution to be a lot higher than we used to be able to achieve. Modern digital TVs also have more pixels (due to the rectangular screens) and a higher refresh rate. They can display a wider range of colours and detail, meaning that they need more data and they need it a lot faster. Enter HDMI.
These cables allow a much faster connection, and reduce the need for a number of different wires, as all components are carried within the one wire. There you go, simple. Be careful with your new found knowledge!
PAT is an acronym for portable appliance testing, and it is a crucial component of any health and safety policy. It is thought that around a quarter of all electrical accidents in the work place are caused by small electrical appliances, and that is why it is so crucial that they are tested on a regular basis to ensure their safety. All bosses are legally obliged to carry out the tests on a regular basis on all equipment that is used by their employees. However, it is important to note that no attempt is made to specify how often this should be done.
PAT testing can be carried out by most qualified electricians, and there will probably be a number of providers that cover your area. As with any other electrical work, it should not be attempted by any one that is not properly qualified. I spoke to DKP Electrics (www.dkpelectrics.co.uk) to find out more about what you can expect if you are arranging a PAT test for your work place.
Firstly, the amount of time that it will take will depend on the size of your operation and the number of appliances to be tested. The first stage will be a visual inspection, the check that the equipment is fit for purpose and of a good condition. This will also include ensuring that everything has been properly installed and is not in a position where it may be easily damaged.
Using specialist equipment, the electrician will check to see that the item is properly earthed and that the electrical resistance is within guidelines. A report should then be provided to the owner, documenting the results of all tests and any recommendations or fails. Keeping suitable records is absolutely essential and so it should be filed safely in a place where it is accessible.
Many employers decide to label equipment that has been tested with the date of inspection, this will help them to more easily identify when another inspection is necessary. The whole thing can normally be completed in a day, and shouldn’t cause too much disruption to your business.
Advertising media is constantly changing with technological progression, cultural changes and as people’s opinions alter. Target audiences are changing too, with some sticking with older methods, whilst some companies will have to utilise cutting edge methods to reach their full potential.
These changes are forever speeding up too, as technology has made the world a smaller place, it has made people increasingly aware of what is going on in the world – even if it is thousands of miles away from them.
Advertising on radio then television and onto the internet happened at a fairly decent pace, matching the increased usage of the methods in everyday life. Wherever there is opportunity to advertise, people and companies will exploit this in a variety of different ways. Billboards when people started moving move with the invention of the motorcar, radio and television adverts when they became popular and internet advertising – all of these advertising opportunities occur almost as soon as the media becomes available. Of course, they change over the years, but they still evolve within their own limits.
Television advertising has always been on in between adverts, but has also changed to include other methods such as DRTV, teleshopping and even dedicated channels.
Adverts are progressing more and more towards customer interaction, with the use of social media ‘likes’ and other interactions, companies basically use their customers to advertise for them. If a person with 100 friends on Facebook likes something, then even if a quarter of their friends see it, the company gets a free advert to 25 people. This can quickly snowball into a huge amount of people liking something, especially if the company or product is original, not already well known and generally attractive for people to like.
Whether you like it or not, this type of advertising will be around for a while longer yet. If there is something beyond it, or if it will dominate advertising for years to come is anyone’s guess – but either way, we should start getting used to it.
The growth of services like Love Film and Netflix have really made it easy for any body to have access to any kind of programme that they want, when it is convenient to them. And SkyPlus and other similar services have allowed people to record the programmes they want to watch when they want them.
New TVs on the market often have wireless internet devices inside them, allowing their users to access online content without having to worry about wiring it up in some way, making life easier for everyone. Doing away with wires is not only good for setting up your new tv, but it is aesthetically more pleasing, considering that a lot of people now have their TV’s mounted to the wall using flat TV brackets.
We also cannot ignore the 3D technology that is allowing people to get top quality 3D entertainment in their own homes. Viewers can, by wearing a pair of special 3D glasses, get the same effects as being in a 3D cinema. Whilst some people find the need to wear dark glasses in their own homes a little bit odd, there is little doubt that 3D technology is something that will evolve in the coming years, and we will surely see the release of similar technology that doesn’t require the glasses in the coming years.
In the meantime, people continue to spend less and less time sat around the television, accessing content through computers, laptops, tablets and even mobile phones. The beauty of this is that you can watch something whilst travelling to or from work, or waiting for someone in a pub, making better use of your time. No one can really accurately predict the future of television, but it looks likely that the traditional idea of a television could be one that will have to be changed and as it becomes more and more intrinsically linked with other technologies, it is likely that we will end up with devices that really are all things to all people- a tv/computer/book/gaming device. How convenient.