Extras that’ll help you make the most of your Macs

You’re au fait with iPhone, know your way around iPad and work on a desktop Mac, but there are one or two members of the Apple stable that you’re not entirely sure about. What is Time Capsule? Do you really need an Apple TV? Is AirPort Extreme related to flight mode? Here’s our guide to making the best use of Apple peripherals…

In reception

Got digital signage in your reception? Add an Apple TV into the mix and you can use it to stream high quality video and audio to any display using the AirPlay feature that comes built into iOS. This means you can bypass complex scheduling programs and avoid endlessly looping the same footage simply by loading your latest collateral onto an iPad and letting whoever’s manning reception send content to the screens – very handy if you’ve got a client coming in and just happen to have a new product demo you want to screen…

And iPad itself can make a powerful greeting and registration tool, either replacing paper check-in and registration systems, or as a tool for your staff to create and edit schedules for a visit on the fly, along with any key information about the client, and share it with the team.

In the boardroom

Apple TV really comes into its own in the boardroom, where it can be paired with a large scale display to replace costly, unsightly and frankly unreliable projectors.

Stream content to the display from your iPad via Apple TV, and you no longer have to worry about getting the lighting right, casting shadows on your presentation if you move around the room, or losing pace when you move between resources – everything is instantly and dynamically accessible right from your iPad. If more than one person in the room has an iOS device, you can enable Mirroring and allow people to share the screen of their iPhone or iPad on the large scale display, making collaboration quicker and easier.

And not only does iPad mean you can ditch the day book and take all your notes digitally (much easier to share and save them that way!), you can cut printing costs by sharing meeting documentation via an app like GoodReader rather than printing off copies for everyone involved. If that’s not enough to convince you that it’s time to get a tablet, remember that the FaceTime video calling feature will let you replace glitchy conference calls with clear face-to-face communication with any client with an iOS device.

In training spaces

If you’re delivering content to large groups, it’s still worth bearing AirPlay in mind as a delivery solution as it requires very little setup, and will allow you to stream to multiple sets of speakers at once and, as we said above, Apple TV is a great alternative to a traditional projector. iPad is a great training tool as it’s easy to use in and of itself but allows you to share audio, video, images and documents – you can even sign forms electronically. The camera is also a quick and easy way to capture any evidence of training you may need for your record.

However, the killer feature here is Guided Access, which allows you to lock iPad to a specific app and limit the functions available within it, so no-one in your training session can log into Facebook or level grind on Candy Crush when they’re supposed to be learning about health and safety.

That said, if you’re delivering training to iPad users, you could always record your session in iMovie (free with all iPad released after September 2013) and send it directly to end users over AirDrop, Apple’s wireless filesharing service, so they can complete it whenever and wherever is easiest for them.

In the office

We’ve covered going paperless with GoodReader and replacing conference calls with FaceTime, but these aren’t the only ways Apple devices can help your office workers. Time Machine is a hassle free way to ensure your end users back up their data. All you have to do is attach their machine to an external drive (this could even be storage on your network), set up Time Machine using these instructions, and then any content on the device will be backed up automatically, as frequently as every hour if you like.

There are also a few programs we recommend everyone in a mixed platform environment takes a look at. The first is Parallels Desktop, a form of desktop virtualisation software. This allows you to run your standard Mac desktop and a virtual PC desktop alongside one another. The virtual PC will be able to run PC-only apps, access portals that only run in Internet Explorer and access fileshares that are only available to PC users – all while accessing  your Mac apps on the same screen.

For mobile device users, Access are indispensable file sharing solutions. A secure, private file sharing service that allows workers on mobile devices to see and access your network storage as they would in the office, with all the same access permissions and restrictions that they have there. It’ll even let them open and work on files without moving them to third party apps that might not meet your security requirements, and there’s a two-way sync so you don’t have to worry about version control.

The other big benefit is that is can act as a corporate equivalent of Dropbox. Like Dropbox, it gives your users anytime, anywhere access to files stored in the cloud (either public or private). The one big difference: Access is encrypted and secure, meaning it’ll help you meet compliance requirements far more than a free public service with questionable terms of service could.

Finally, if you need to support extra mobile devices or want a quick way to throw up a guest WiFi network with restricted permissions, you can use an AirPort Extreme base station to set up a high speed, dual band WiFi network that’ll support around 50 users – perfect for events, visitors and that awkward moment when the conference centre’s WiFi fails you.

Want to know more about how Apple peripherals can help your business? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email B2B@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Call us: 03332 409 306

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