How (and Why) to Find Your IMEI on Android

IMEI in a binary code 3D illustration

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had an easy way to track your device even if it were lost or stolen? Thankfully, this feature exists to an extent for Android devices in the form of the IMEI, or international mobile equipment identity number. If you know this number, you could potentially help mitigate the issues that losing a device can present.

Your international mobile equipment identity number (IMEI) is a 15-digit number that is unique to every mobile device. As such, if you keep track of your IMEI numbers, you can keep a detailed record of every single individual device your organization uses. Generally speaking, you can find the IMEI number on your device’s box, but if you are like most people and have already thrown it away, there is still a way to find the IMEI. We’ll go over how to find it for your records and so that you have it on file in case you need to report a lost or stolen device to the authorities.

Method 1: Make a Quick Phone Call

All it takes is a quick phone call to find your IMEI number. To start, open up your Phone application (you know, the one you use to make calls) and dial the following number:

#06#

A dialogue box will open with information about your device, including your IMEI number.

Method 2: Find it in the Settings App

If you’d rather not just make the phone call, you can also find this information by digging through your phone’s settings. Here’s how to do it:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap About Phone
  • Scroll down until you see the IMEI number.

Knowing what your IMEI number is can help you keep your device, as well as its data, safe from prying eyes in the event that it’s ever lost or stolen. You can even remotely lock your device should you need to do so.

We can also hook your business up with a mobile device management tool that has even more comprehensive mobile device security solutions, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you are ever concerned about your business’ mobile device security.

What other tips would you like to see us cover in the future? Let us know! And be sure to check back every week for our weekly blog posts.

How to Record Screenshots, Audio, and Video on Windows 10

Screenshot of cheerful confident Asian male CEO discussing statistics review with charts graphs.

If you have ever had to write up a report or process for a particular task, you know that images can go a long way toward helping people understand what exactly needs to be done. For Windows 10 users, there is a built-in tool that you can utilize to take screenshots, record video, and even record audio alongside all of this: the Xbox Game Bar.

Before we dive into the details about how to use this feature natively available on Windows 10 devices, we would like to point out that it is entirely possible that the Xbox Game Bar has been disabled or uninstalled completely from your work-related devices. Due to its nature, it is mostly used for gaming purposes, so your organization may have disabled it for this reason. If you need to use this solution for any reason, be sure to check with your IT department to determine whether or not it is the right tool for your current needs; don’t just go installing software on your workstation all willy-nilly!

That said, if it’s not disabled by default, why not use the tool to solve a current problem? It beats downloading an expensive screen recording software!

Start-Up the Xbox Game Bar

To start up the Xbox Game Bar, all you have to do is hold the Windows key and hit the G key. This will open up the overlay. The overlay has four main features, from left to right:

  • Take a Screenshot: The screenshot button does exactly what you think it does; it takes a screenshot of your screen. You can use the keyboard shortcut here for easy access: Windows key + Alt + Prt Sc.
  • Record the Last 30 Seconds: This feature can be used to record video if you’ve missed something retroactively. This is kind of a clunky one to use, though, as it does not always recognize the application you might be trying to record (remember, this solution is for video games normally). You can use the keyboard shortcut for this feature, too: Windows key + Alt + G.
  • Start Recording: This button will start recording your screen. A separate window showing some basic controllers will pop up, including enabling or disabling audio input. You can use the keyboard shortcut to start recording: Windows key + Alt + R.
  • Turn Mic On/Off While Recording: When you hit the Audio option from the overlay, you will see the window that details which devices, including your microphone and playback device (usually your speakers or a headset), are being used when recording. You can adjust the audio mix at this time. To quickly disable or enable audio recording, you can use the keyboard shortcut: Windows key + Alt + M.

There are a couple of shortcomings of this application, though, namely that it cannot record File Explorer, and it cannot record more than one application at a time.

Some Practical Uses for This Feature

Now that we’ve put the idea in your brain, let’s go ahead and outline how this feature might be used. Here are some common ways that you might use the Xbox Game Bar:

  • Recording a video tutorial
  • Writing up documentation for a task
  • Identifying a problem to be addressed later on

All of that said, if you want a solution that is meant for more than gaming, we recommend reaching out to AE Technology Group for help. We can equip your business with enterprise-grade tools that might be a better fit for getting your work done. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

Remote Work: 3 Challenges and Solutions

Young man having Zoom video call via a computer in the home office

For the past year, remote work has been basically the only option for some businesses. If the pandemic has proven anything, it is that all of our preconceived notions of remote work being impossible for certain industries and sectors are simply not true. Most businesses can leverage remote work in some capacity, so in a post-COVID world, it is your responsibility as a business owner to act on the many benefits that working remotely can pose for organizations like yours as well as mitigate the challenges of remote work.

The Challenges of Remote Work

Let’s discuss some of the challenges of remote work, as well as how technology can help you address them.

Staying Connected

It’s one thing when you can just pop over to someone’s office and pick their brain about something on the spot, or turn around and ask a coworker a question. It’s another when you are in two different locations and physically separated from one another. Staying connected in the ways that matter—building community, rapport, and healthy working relationships—proves to be difficult in an online environment.

Data Access

Many employees have multiple devices, like company-issued smartphones, laptops, and of course, their work desktops. Files might be spread out across these devices, and if the employee is out of the office with no way to access important files, there is a chance that work might not get done. Therefore, staying connected to important documents and files is incredibly important when out of the office.

Security

One of the biggest pain points of businesses when working outside the safety of the office is security. Without the protections of the in-house network, who knows what threats could target your employees’ devices—devices that might not have security solutions installed on them. It’s critical that you take this into consideration when planning your approach to remote work.

Technology to Address The Challenges of Remote Work

As usual, technology offers several solutions to the above dilemmas. Here are some ways that modern technology solutions can help you keep your organization running in the face of remote work.

Voice over IP

Having an all-in-one communication platform like VoIP is a great way to stay connected while out of the office. VoIP lets you use an Internet connection to do everything you would normally do with your in-house telephone system, plus more. Some VoIP solutions also have video and IM chat functionality, giving you and your team more ways to stay connected even while out of the office.

Cloud Computing

Wouldn’t it be great if all of your business’s important data and information could be found in a place where you can access it on any approved device, be it a laptop, desktop, or mobile device? The cloud allows your organization to do just that by taking advantage of an online environment for everything from application hosting to data storage. The possibilities for how your business can use the cloud are quite limitless.

Virtual Private Network

To aid in network security while working remotely, you can use a virtual private network, or VPN, to securely connect to your in-house network. What this does is encrypts data traveling to and from a device, keeping it secure from any prying eyes. This is especially important for employees who might have to work in public locations due to disruptive home lives or travel.

Let Us Help!

Implementing technology that helps your business be successful in and out of the office is critical to staying competitive in today’s economy. To this end, a managed service provider like AE Technology Group can help your organization implement the best tools on the market. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

How to Get Control of Your Email Inbox

Photo of computer screen up close showing email inbox with 179 unread emails

As you read this sentence, think about the current state of your email inbox. Is it clean and crisp with only a handful of new emails on a daily basis, or is it an entangled mess filled with hundreds (or even thousands) of unread and often unimportant emails? If it’s the latter, you’re in luck; we’ve got some tips to help you finally get a grip on your email inbox.

First, we need to start by controlling the level of emails that flow into your email inbox. Let’s discuss some of these methods.

Send Fewer Emails

This is a pretty simple rule; if you cut down on the number of emails you send, you should, in theory, cut down on the number of emails you receive. Generally speaking, email is meant to be used (and is most effective) for tasks that are not immediately pressing. While we understand that this isn’t always possible, even a little action on your part could make a world of difference. If you send one fewer email a day, you can potentially cut out at least one email in your inbox per day.

Depending on the topic, you might be able to use an instant messaging application or a phone in place of the email. These are generally more reserved for immediately pressing tasks rather than the passive nature of an email, but you do cut down on the chance that your email will be lost in the ether.

Unsubscribe from Email Lists

A business owner needs to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in their chosen industry, and doing so might entail subscribing to email lists. These are automated lists that send you emails on a regular basis, and if you don’t keep up with them, it is easy to lose track of how many you have subscribed to. These quickly add up and can often drown out emails that actually are important.

A good rule to follow is that, if you have not opened an email newsletter from a particular organization or website in the past month, it’s safe to say that you are no longer interested in reading their content. Granted, some email newsletters are monthly, but if they are, they shouldn’t be clogging up your inbox. We’re talking about the real offenders that might send you several messages a week (or even a day). Many email newsletters have an Unsubscribe link at the bottom of the message, but you should be careful with these; the last thing you want is to walk into a phishing attack.

Archive Whenever Possible

The idea of deleting an important email can paralyze you with inaction. While you could organize your inbox into folders and other segments for management, even this can sometimes create situations where you start to accrue too many messages. The fact that you don’t know what will be important in the next couple of months or years is also a challenge, as you cannot possibly expect to predict the future.

An email archiving system that is backed up and maintained by your organization can resolve these issues. If you have important messages that you need to keep around, you can simply archive them in a system where they can be searched for and pulled out at a later date. Most cloud-based platforms like Office 365’s Outlook or Google Workspace’s Gmail give you this capability.

Schedule Time Every Day

If you are having trouble making a dent in your inbox, you just do whatever you would normally do for a large and daunting task: break it down into more manageable chunks and chip away at it over time. If you delete or archive more emails a day than you receive, you should theoretically be able to clean it up in a respectable amount of time. Devote a short amount of time each morning or afternoon to checking and managing your inbox. You might be surprised by how much this helps in the long run.

Implement Spam Protection and Technology Solutions

AE Technology Group can help your business manage its email and implement great new technology solutions that keep threatening or time-wasting messages out of your inbox. To learn more about how we can help you with spam and email management solutions, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

The Metric of Productivity With Remote Work

Online business briefing. Male African American employee speak on video call with diverse multiracial colleagues, on laptop screen diverse business people, meeting online, group brainstorm, remote work

For any business endeavor, productivity has to be at the very top of the hierarchy of metrics. Think about it, it doesn’t matter what field you work in or what market you cater to, if your business isn’t productive it is going to have a hard time being profitable. For almost a year, many businesses have relied on remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and regardless of what you think about remote work, metrics have shown a fairly surprising rate of productivity out of remote workers over this time. With 12 months of data in hand, we take a look at why productivity is still a king of metrics and how the ongoing pandemic has affected the workforce’s productivity.

Remote Work?

Before March of 2020, a large percentage of businesses wouldn’t dream of letting their staff work from home for more than one day or less. It had been tried—with varying degrees of success—for the past decade. Most business owners cited drops in productivity as the core reason why it was disallowed. When governments started instituting shelter-in-place mandates last March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many business owners had little choice but to allow their staff to work remotely. They could sustain operations apart or shut down together.

Most immediately chose to allow for remote work.

There were a litany of problems with this. Firstly, not all businesses had the infrastructure in place to allow their staff to work remotely. They had to scramble to purchase remote-access software or other solutions that would allow people to work remotely without taking on extraordinary risk. At the same time, hackers and scammers shifted into overdrive as the pandemic was a perfect opportunity to try and get over on people and businesses.

Finally, a workforce that was clamoring for years for additional flexibility got their wish but weren’t ready to do their jobs from home.

This whole storm led to a hiccup of productivity. For the first two months of the pandemic, more businesses failed than in any two-month stretch since the housing crisis. Productivity was way down, and many businesses made the decision to either pull the plug completely or make the investment overhauling their workspace so that their employees could come back to work. All-in-all, March-to-May 2020 was a stressful time to be a small business owner.

A Productivity Miracle

As summer 2020 approached, something happened. People settled in. Government stimulus programs helped businesses afford the technology they needed. Productivity went up. Not just to pre-COVID levels, but slightly higher. The newly-remote worker took this as an opportunity to show their employers that they could be productive from home, and they were. Businesses were learning how to properly get the most out of their employees, even if they hadn’t seen them face-to-face in months.

The reason that is actively cited for this is technology. Communication and collaboration had to improve for business to work, and they did. In fact, productivity is known to grow by 20-to-25 percent in organizations that prioritize connectivity between employees. Technology makes this possible, so any productivity growth that was there in the summer of 2020, had to do with the fact that (despite people being in different locations) they had to be more connected in order to effectively do their jobs.

Reality Sets In

As the pandemic has dragged on, productivity levels have slowly started to decrease. People working from home for long periods of time remained productive, but the people that were never allowed to began to struggle, and it showed up in the productivity statistics. From June to October of 2020 productivity was at comparable levels to where it was in 2019, but as winter came, productivity dropped substantially. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, productivity dropped a total of 4.8 percent in the 4Q of 2020.

That is the single largest drop since 1981. Let’s take a look at the reasons why productivity is trending downward (it’s not all the weather).

  1. Stress – The pandemic has had a marked effect on public stress, that much is true. How quantifiable is it? Right now, the collective stress levels are comparable with the levels when the pandemic started a year ago. In the past year, America has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, racial protests, a contentious election, a riot in the Capitol, and a stumbling vaccine rollout (just to hit the big points) and mental health professionals are suggesting that the people of the U.S. are experiencing collective trauma. People simply don’t have the capacity to continue to be stressed at levels we are now seeing and it has a major impact on their ability to be productive, inside of an office or at home.
  2. Fatigue – Regardless of what you do for a living, when your job changes drastically, but expectations don’t, it will tire you out. People that are working remotely are tired of being at home all the time. They are tired of their kids not being in school. They are tired of utility bills increasing. They are tired of being tired. Fatigue is one of the largest productivity killers inside any business, and with people largely stuck at home, it’s difficult to get the energy to sustain the focus that is expected.
  3. Lack of Incentive – Workers, whether they work at home or at a brick-and-mortar location, aren’t seeing the returns they’d like to see from their hard work. Many workers, especially front-line healthcare and retail workers have been going to work the whole pandemic with very little reward for the perceived risks. For remote workers, especially those who have children, their priority hierarchy is dictated by the situations they face. If they need to home-school their kids or find solutions for pandemic-related issues, it won’t be a big surprise when their work suffers. Businesses are doing all they can to stay afloat, so wage growth or other incentives that they may have seen are all but removed from the equation, as well.

Productivity is extremely important for every business and to get the most out of your staff, you will need to stay engaged. Where your workforce works have less to do with their productivity than other factors, that if confronted, will work to boost their output. One of the biggest misconceptions business owners and managers have is that paychecks are the best motivator. Sure, they are effective, but if you are seeing drops in productivity with remote work (or your in-house staff) engage your staff. Make them see that you are trying as hard as they are and only when everyone does the best they can, will we pull ourselves through this period.

AE Technology Group can help you utilize technology to boost productivity. If you would like to learn how, give us a call today at (516) 536-5006.