Microsoft Officially Launches Windows 11…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 —Microsoft launched Windows 11 this past week, and here is what you need to know about the new OS rollout.    

This past week, Microsoft launched Windows 11. The new release introduces several new capabilities such as the software’s appearance, allowing users to run and download Android apps on their Windows PC, improvements and updates to Teams, and more. However, not every new feature is immediately available. The roll out will continue through the middle of next year, with newer devices having quicker access to the updates, while users with older devices should expect to wait. (Source: CNET)

Why this is important for your business:

Remember the big deal when Microsoft released a new operating system? The “start” button?” The Rolling Stones? The anticipation? OK, that’s not the case anymore. As a small business owner, however, you need to make sure that you’re upgrading to Windows 11. My recommendation has nothing to do with the features or bells and whistles. It has to do with security. If you want to reduce your risks of viruses, malware and ransomware you’ll want to make sure that every device in your office (and at your employees’ homes) are running Microsoft’s latest operating system with the latest security tools.

2 — What’s new in Office 2021?

Microsoft recently released Office 2021 for small businesses, students, and consumers. Some of the updates to this version consist of real-time co-authoring, the way Windows 11 feels and looks, the added ability to integrate with Teams, updates and improvement to Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, and more icons and stock images, to name a few. (Source: Computer World)

Why this is important for your business:

Did you know Office 2021 does real time translation? Or a built-in YouTube just for your company? Or the virtual meeting technologies that are in Zoom? Probably not. So here’s my advice: if you’re upgrading to Office 2021, cough up an extra grand and hire a Microsoft consultant or trainer to teach you about all the features in this application that you probably don’t know about and can likely help increase productivity. You own it. Use it.

3 —Google is about to turn on two-factor authentication by default for millions of users.    

Google reminded users this past week that— by the end of this year — it will enable two-factor authentication for an additional 150 million accounts. An additional layer of the initiative will make it a requirement for over 2 million users on YouTube to activate two-factor authentication to guard their channels from being taken over. According to Google, only 10% of active users applied two-factor authentication to their accounts in 2018. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Multi-factor authentication, while not perfect, has been proven to be a strong deterrent against hackers going after your company’s data. Unfortunately not enough individuals and small businesses implement it. So Google is going to push this technology down our throats and you know what? They’re right. Hopefully this will increase awareness.

4 — Customer service automation platform Aquant raised $70 million.   

Aquant— a customer service automation platform— recently raised $70 million in funding. The company’s CEO shared that the funding will be put toward ramping up product development as well as expanding its go-to-market, client services, and engineering teams by adding positions in Israel, Europe, and the U.S. Aquant— which is based in New York and was founded in 2016— works to provide teams, reps, and leaders solutions to service challenges by taking unstructured data and transforming it into structured data. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your business:

As Aquant writes on its own blog:

“When you take an in-depth look at your KPIs, you begin to spot other factors that may look like your customer is happy when they actually aren’t. For instance, imagine that one of your all-star techs retires. They have been servicing an important account for years, and KPIs indicate A+ service. A less-seasoned technician inherits the account, but due to a lack of experience, the KPIs have started dwindling and the client calls with a complaint. When you go on to review the 12-month average, you can’t pinpoint exactly where the issue is because the data is now skewed.”

Aquant’s AI-based technology leverages data to make its users aware of potential customer service issues…and opportunities. Big companies are taking advantage of this stuff right now. But it will soon be commonplace for smaller businesses in the not-so-distant future.

5—Amazon is reportedly working on a fridge that tracks what’s inside.  

According to recent reports, Amazon has been developing a smart fridge that will be able to help consumers re-order items that are running low. The technology— which is similar to what Amazon uses in its Amazon Go stores— would make it so the refrigerator could monitor products inside as well as track your buying habits. If items you buy often are running low, you’d get a notification from the fridge and be provided with an easy way to place an order. Amazon would plan to manufacture the fridge itself (Source: Engadget)  

Why this is important for your business:

Anything, even a refrigerator, can be turned into a smart device using the Internet of Things. Even your products. Or your equipment. Or your vehicles. At the very least, at least you’ll know who’s stealing your lunch from the employee break room.