Introducing… portable scanning

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With more of us working outside of the office environment than ever before, Laura Hinton was excited to be invited to the launch of a new portable scanning product from Fujitsu 

We knew Fujitsu were expecting big things from their new Portable ScanSnap iX100 when we received the invite for the launch which was held in the height of luxury at the Shangri-La Hotel, contained within London’s iconic Shard skyscraper.

On the night itself we were lucky enough to enjoy the panoramic views of London Bridge and Canary Wharf while learning about the tiny and reliable scanner which is set to enhance the efficiency of the mobile workforce.

Shard

Klaus Schulz, Manager Product Marketing EMEA at PFU Imaging Solutions, explained how the new portable scanner is in fact the lightest and fastest made to date.

Not only that it comes equipped with built-in wi-fi and can scan directly to mobile devices and to your PC. Perfect for those on the go, the device is slimline so would easily fit in a small bag, and can work on an office desk, in a copy shop or at a hotel reception.

And with the contact free scanner users do not have to fuss around with a scanner lid or spend time searching for the scan function. Nor do they have to wait around until the device boots up; it takes just three seconds to be ready to go to work.

Indeed, while the canapés were being served and the champagne poured, a number of guests tested the product and it was shown to handle a variety of documents incredibly well, proving, that perhaps the quality of this portable scanner is one of the best so far.

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APS teams up with challenger bank to provide credit to SMEs

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Advanced Payment Solutions APS, a leading challenger to the banks, offering alternative banking and payments solutions for consumers, SMEs and public sector organisations, is extending its credit facilities to support more small businesses with overdrafts and loans. Following an initial investment of £3.5 million into the credit fund from the company’s directors and board members, APS has partnered with Shawbrook, a challenger bank, to add a further £2.5 million to its lending capital. This fund will be used to support the growth ambitions of thousands of businesses, many of whom have been denied credit and even basic banking services, due to the perception that they are ‘high risk’.
As evidenced by recent growth in industrial output, the UK’s economy has started to revive. An important part of the business community, however, risks being locked out of this growth, as SMEs continue to be underserved by traditional banks. A recent report from Russell Griggs highlighted the sheer number of SME finance applications that were rejected over the last three years, with credit scoring often being given as the main reason. In addition, Funding for Lending figures earlier this year showed that banks are not geared towards lending to SMEs, with a drop of more than £700 million in funds distributed in the first quarter of 2014.
APS has signed up over 25,000 SMEs, making it one of the UK’s leading providers of alternative banking services to the sector. Designed with the needs of small businesses in mind, the majority of overdrafts approved by APS can be credited instantly, ensuring businesses can react quickly to opportunities and manage cash flow fluctuations. Based on APS’ customer data, many SME lending requirements are lower than £1000, and are used to modernise equipment such as PCs and phones, helping to boost efficiency and support growth.
If demand continues to grow for APS’ lending facilities, the agreement with Shawbrook will be extended to continue its support. Overdrafts and lending facilities are also provided to consumers.
Richard Wagner, CEO, APS, comments: “It is no secret that small businesses in the UK are contending with a variety of headwinds that can hold back their growth. Securing timely lending, however, should not be one of those limiting factors.

“We see that approximately 50% of the businesses that approach us have been denied even basic banking services, like a current account, from traditional banks, because they don’t qualify for credit. With this new and expanded lending capital provided by Shawbrook, thousands of SMEs across the country will have access to services like overdrafts and loans for the first time, enabling them to play their part in the UK’s economic revival.”
Kieran McSweeney, MD at Shawbrook Bank, adds: “As a challenger bank, we’re well aware of the pent-up demand for lending in the SME space, as traditional banks ignore business needs. Last year, we were able to support new businesses by lending them over £700 million, and this new initiative with APS will enable us to further increase that reach.”

About APS
Advanced Payment Solutions (APS) is a leading challenger to the banks, offering alternative banking and payments solutions for consumers, SMEs and public sector organisations who are security conscious, short on time or funds, need to complement existing accounts or are fed up with traditional bank services. APS is one of the most awarded alternative banking solutions provider in Europe and one of the most successful prepaid card businesses, with over 1,200,000 (one million) Cashplus cards issued and more than £2,100,000,000 (£2.1billion) in payments processed.

Top tips on training Generation Y and Z

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By Graham David, managing director, Blue Beetle

In a digital age, for Generation Y and Z, training must be brought to life, interactively, bit by bit. Generation Y has been shaped by the technological revolution that occurred throughout their youth with smart phones and tablets now the norm and being online and connected 24/7 seen as essential to the vast majority. Five years from now the intake of Generation Z employees will consist of people who have only ever known a wireless, hyper-linked world.

The challenge for businesses and organisations looking to further the learning and development of their Generation Y and Z employees lies in ensuring they are focused and engaged in order for the training being delivered to have real and lasting impact.

Here are some top tips to remember when developing training for this group:

1. They like a collaborative approach to learning, want on demand delivery of information and knowledge at their fingertips as they are tech-savvy. Yet they can have a short attention span, become bored easily and lose concentration.

2. Traditional ‘talk and chalk’ training is unlikely to be the most effective method of delivering essential skills training as it can be dry and too ‘static’ in format.

3. Training needs to be interactive, high-impact and entertaining in order to grab and maintain their attention and ensure the knowledge is retained and put into practise outside of the training room.

4. Using high quality theatre techniques in a business context can deliver results as it is engaging and captures interest right from the start of a training session.

5. Role-play is almost universally disliked and guaranteed to have delegates sinking into their seats. Instead why not use ‘live action case studies’ using actors to present situations specific to both the topic in hand and to the organisation in question. This brings ideas and training concepts to life and ensures that delegates leave having seen, understood and retained the messages and can go away and act upon them.

6. Another method of training that is effective with this group is the training video. Provided that they are not too long and dull, they are an excellent way of incorporating a case study element, without the need to bring in actors.

7. Encourage delegates to make their own training videos using their own devices. This encourages a collaborative approach that harnesses their technological skills and allows them to be creative. Asking delegates to curate their own content via their devices and then find ways to use it, for example by creating their own Flipboard on the subject, or their own training video, is a powerful and effective way to achieve good results. This can then be beamed on to a large screen and shared with all attendees.

8. Further enhance the collaborative learning element that is so important in creating an effective learning environment for Generation Y and Z by incorporating Twitter, discussion forums, instant messaging and the like into the design of a training course. In their own personal time these employees are choosing to spend a lot of time on their devices and expect to be able to connect to each other and send relevant information or updates as and when they please, so encouraging these activities as part of the learning process can be highly effective in getting the message across.

9. Keep training bite-sized in order to maintain interest and concentration. Break it up with other activities.

10. Training that blends energy, humour and strong content will be effective in delivering the required results.

www.bluebeetle.com

Review: Momentum Ski Festival 2014

Momentum Ski Festival 2014 review

Out Of Office Magazine reviews The City Ski Championships at the Momentum Ski Festival 2014, and gives you the 2015 dates for your diary

The Momentum Ski Festival took place in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, from Thursday 13 March to Sunday 16, 2014. The event also included the Financial Times Alpine Business Forum.

This year’s festival saw 250 people taking part in racing at the 15th City Ski Championships, debating at the FT Alpine Business Forum, and taking part in a full compliment of après-ski events featuring fantastic bands.

There was a fantastic mix of attendees. There were business leaders there to networking and getting to know clients, groups of staff taking full advantage of a great incentive while building bonds with colleagues, and sponsor businesses building connections with the event and other businesses in attendance.

The history 

The Momentum Ski Festival was founded by Loredana Barindelli and Amin Momen in 1996. They have experience in the ski industry dating back to 1986 – and believed passionately that they could offer their corporate clients a complete service with maximum flexibility. We certainly agree here at OOO.

The location

The festival takes place in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, a few hours away from Geneva and Zurich Airports by train or car.

Crans boasts some of the most breath-taking views of the alps, from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc. It’s south facing so it gets plenty of sun too. This can make the snow a little soft at the bottom of the mountain – so we found that it was worth getting out on the piste early before the snow gets soft.

There is a whole host of great restaurants, bars and hotels to choose form as well. It’s no wonder the Momentum Ski Festival keeps returning to this location!

The music 

14 Carat Grapefruit and The Elements kicked off a full programme of après-ski events on the Thursday evening. Friday early evening featured 29 Fingers, then Saxmaniax on the Saturday.

After the awards ceremony on the last night Rick Parfitt jnr. – son of Status Quo’s singer/guitarist – made sure the dance floor stayed packed by playing hits from Led Zeppelin’s Rock & Roll to Black Eyed Peas’ I gotta Feeling. After the encores DJ Ibba lead the party into the early hours of the morning.

The racing

The competition kicked off on the Friday under a beautiful blue sky with the slopes in good condition for the Radar Trap event. One at a time, competitors pushed off from the start hut with the sole aim of recording the fastest speed.

A crack team of Montana Ski School instructors were on hand in the afternoon, offering racing tips before the start of the legendary Accenture Dual Slalom. Teams of four battled it out on the Nationale piste, normally a testing World Cup track for such champions as Didier Cuche and Lindsey Vonn.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the course spectators looked on while they enjoyed a superb lunch of raclette washed down with local Swiss Valais wines.

As Saturday arrived, so did the big race – the individual giant slalom sponsored by JEANRICHARD and Snow+Rock.

For those that didn’t compete in the races and wanted to improve their technique (like us) you are free to ski before, during and after the races and carve out your own path on the piste. I preferred heading up to the glacier early, then finding my way down to the Nationale to watch a spot of racing while eating lunch, before heading off the après ski in the late afternoon. However, it’s worth noting that no mater what level you are, you are encouraged to race. We’ve promised to compete next time!

The debating

Even though it was mostly skiing, partying and informal networking there was also the Alpine Business Forum, run in association with the FT.

Hosted by FT Weekend Magazine Deputy Editor, Ravi Mattu, 2014‘s discussion topic was ‘The New World Of Work (A Brave New World?)’.

On the panel was the Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams MBE, as well as acclaimed author Robyn Scott, author and researcher Marc de Rond, and Bruno Grande – COO of JEANRICHARD.

Over 70 delegates packed the conference room for the absorbing session at the Hotel de l’Etrier.

The big finale

The Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony on the Saturday at Centre Le Regent was a great finale to a fun, action-packed three days of skiing and networking.

After spending the previous two days of racing commentating live from the slopes, BBC broadcaster Matt Chilton returned to host the awards.

Momentum Ski founder Amin Momen celebrated another successful event, announcing his delight in more than £7000 raised in charitable donations for Borne.

We asked founder Amin why the event is good for staff incentives and networking.

He said: “The Championships is a great experience for racers of all levels, you can organise your own race too. Accenture have its own competition.

“The festival gives you the chance to get quality face time with your colleagues or clients, while you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery.

“People are very approachable and you can mix with your colleagues, other businesses; like suppliers, and there is a real mix of sectors too.”

We would highly recommend this event to any business looking to make new connections and contacts or as a staff incentive. It is the perfect package to offer staff as a bonus, or invite a group of clients. And if you’ve never been skiing before it’s a great place to learn. You can organise lessons and attend the clinics to perfect your technique, or if you prefer something quieter then there are plenty of spas, shops and bars too.

Next year’s event takes place from the 12 to the 15 March 2015

Book now to avoid disappointment

Book here: momentumski.com/festival/book

Partners: Financial Times, Accenture, JEANRICHARD, Snow+Rock, Borne, Dare 2b, RKHHarrison, Cavendish Ware, Crans Montana, Valais Tourism, College Group, Valet Alpin, Taking the Piste and Switzerland Tourism. Travel partners: Swiss, Zurich Airport, Swiss Travel System, Europcar, Swisscom, and American Express.