Getting the most out of your Google Assistant

google assistant, smart home assistant, smart home automationGoogle Assistant can help with almost anything these days, including looking up your old photos, helping you find new podcasts to fall in love with, and finding your phone.
If you’re forgetful or absent minded and you’ve got a Google Assistant then you’ll most likely already know how to use your Google Assistant to remind you to do things but there’s a whole world of things your Smart Assistant can help with.

Making lists and notes

First of all you’ll need to add an app such as Google Keep, Any.do, or Bring to your Google Assistant. Keeping things on brand will probably cause the least friction, and Google Keep is a great resource for keeping everything online you want to read, listen to, or watch later in one place. Even before you start adding your own lists or sheets to it, you can identify any websites you find with labels of your own, making them easy to organise. Read more

Starting Out With Smart Home Tech? A Smart Plug Is Your Easiest In

smart plugOne of the handiest and easiest Smart Home devices to set up is the Smart Plug. Because it’s either off, or on, it’s easy to get to grips with and will allow you to familiarise yourself with the principles of how Smart devices work. This week you’ll be connecting your smart plug, next week you’ll be securely installing and enjoying a complete Smart Home environment!

They’re handy because they allow you to control all the little devices you have around your home which wouldn’t normally be smart or be controlled remotely. So if you have floor lamps, desk fans, electric heaters, or a radio or TV which you’ve had for years but don’t need to be replaced, you can at least make them on-and-offable via a phone app, smart speaker, or home hub.

Each Smart Plug manufacturer is different, but the idea behind the settings on your new Smart Device remain the same, so if your device isn’t exactly the same, you should be able to figure out how to get the same results from your device notwithstanding.

Step 1, Download The Smart Plug App

First of all, it needs something to connect to, so download the plug’s user app to your phone or use a universal app which can detect and control any number of different Smart Home devices. Once you’ve got the software choose ‘add a new device’ from the menu and you’ll be offered a range of different items which can connect via the app, all other devices that the manufacturer makes. Choose the Smart plug and then plug the plug into the wall. The plug will tell you, usually via a blinking LED that it is in pairing mode. The app on the phone should detect this as well and you can now connect them. Once the smart plug is connected to the app you will be asked to give a name to the device. Don’t call it ‘Smart Plug’ but instead call it the object you want to control, and remember whenever you unplug the device, unplug the Smart plug to, or things will get VERY confusing! (You’ll likely have to pair your Smart Plug to your app each time you remove it from the socket, so best to decide where you want everything to stay before you start installing a raft of new Smart Plugs!) Read more

Looking For a Luxury Lifestyle? Try Living In A Smart Home!

Touch sensitive digital heating control panel mounted on a light coloured wall.Smart Home Technology offers a level of convenience and control which most home-owners haven’t seen for over a hundred years, when it was common for the affluent to have housemaids and servants living in the house. Instead of having people hovering around waiting for your commands, now we have technology such as Smart Speakers, Home Hubs and a slew of other devices which can all be controlled from a central station or an app on your phone or computer.

But at what cost? All that convenience which is afforded by connectivity comes at a price. If privacy is a big deal to you then the thought of having devices which have been shown to use recordings of consumers without their permission always listening is anathema. If you shop regularly online, or pay bills over the phone, as many more of us are doing all the time, then the thought that your data or conversations could be stored and shared, revealing your financials and personal information would put you off of investing in any kind of Smart device. Read more

Briant Broadband For Housing Blocks, HMOs And Developments

local broadband, fast broadband, Worthing broadbandIt’s in no way unusual for a home of multiple occupancy (HMO), apartment block or housing development to run from a single communal television receiver or satellite dish. Companies such as Briant Communications install, repair and maintain those all the time and the benefits are obvious: Professional, insured and guaranteed work and parts, accountability, dealing with a single operator, their familiarity with you, your properties and purchasing process are all a far better proposition than having residents finding their own unvetted, unknown, unprofessional installers scaling the walls, drilling holes and hanging uninsured, untested, equipment sourced from who-knows-where.

If you follow our blog you’ll have seen some of the before and after photos we’ve shared. From multiple aerial and sky dish installations which have been an ongoing amateur project for years, undertaken by any number of bodgers, home-handymen and DIYers to splitters and cable installations which look like high tech birds’ nests shoved into lofts and cupboards under stairs before being abandoned. The photos don’t only show that our engineers take making the installation look good, we ensure that the kit works properly and any subsequent engineer who has to work with it will know it was a job well done, will see immediately where each cable goes, what switch does what and, ideally, be able to fix whatever broke immediately and with the least amount of fuss. Read more

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Get Networking, From Person to Person to Business to Business

networking, fibre, fibreoptic, data, broadband data, broadband internetThis past year has come as a revelation to most of us. We’ve become so used to science and technology being a reliable source of solutions to all of our problems that when something completely new and unpredictable comes along it turns out we’re as defenceless as newborn babes. Most of us have been forced to cope because there was simply no choice. We found that our networks of friends and family were easier to reach than ever before thanks to social media, video conferencing and instant messaging, and we found that many of our jobs could be done from home, even if the distraction of being at home and not “at work” was baffling, frustrating and frankly annoying!

It seems like networking has never been so important, from our connections with friends and family, to our local communities, to work and colleagues, and to sources of news and current affairs, being able to gather and absorb information quickly, in a way that’s easy to achieve has become part of our everyday lives.
Even for people who are naturally technology resistant, the last year has meant that they have embraced that which they would normally ignore. Necessity has driven that for some: if they can’t shop online & they’re considered to be vulnerable it can be difficult to get shopping done, especially if they don’t have young, fit, active people in their Bubble. Read more

Briant Communications and pr agency dubai during COVID 19

With a virus with no cure as yet affecting almost everywhere on Earth it’s important that you keep yourself and your loved ones safe from Coronavirus infection and contamination. Our customers’ safety and health is naturally one of our primary concerns, as is that of our staff, including protecting our staff of engineers and our office staff from COVID 19 too.

However, that doesn’t stop the need for aerial and satellite dish maintenance, installation and repairs, improved data networking, and Smart Home Technology installation.

In order to carry out our work while protecting ourselves and you we ensure that we undertake all the hygiene and social distancing protocols that the government and SAGE recommend. Current COVID advice, even under the current lockdown conditions is that maintenance and installation can take place provided PPE is worn and people take all reasonable precautions when a tradesman is visiting your home.

Fortunately for us, much of the work we undertake takes place exclusively outdoors so there is no need to worry about coming into contact with coronavirus unnecessarily. If, as happens on occasion, the engineer does have to come inside the property, then you can rest assured that they have been properly trained and advised about how to carry out their work safely, minimising the risks to themselves and you.

All of our engineers have a stock of facemasks and disposable gloves on their vehicles which they use whenever they come into your property. They have a plentiful supply of hand sanitiser and surface cleaning wipes which they use to clean their hands whenever they touch anything and to clean the van in order to minimise the risk of transporting contamination from one place to another.The good news is that there appears to be a vaccine which is 90% effective and safe for use according to the government  public media speaker from shakespearecomms.com.

Working and learning from home, Zooming, Skyping, and all forms of social media have shown us that fast, reliable, unlimited data isn’t a luxury or something that only a certain group of people use, it’s become important for everyone to be able to get on line for work, for school, and for health, both mental and physical., however the bad new is that it may not be available for everyone until spring of next year, so in the meantime there’s still an onus on us all to protect ourselves and follow the latest SAGE advice: Hands, Face, Space. That means that Christmas and the New Year are going to be like no others, but that doesn’t stop the wind from blowing, or the rain and the snow from falling. Keeping the family entertained while it’s not possible to go on traditional Christmas treats, treats as simple as visiting Santa at the shopping centre or going to the Christmas market, and being stuck indoors instead make it all the more important to have distractions and boredom busters on demand. Read more

Your 2020 Vision For Online Security Is Here

wireless, smart home, home automation, smart speaker, Technology and the way we organise our lives around it is rapidly changing, and not always for the better. There has been a great deal of controversy about how social media and online data has influenced recent elections in the UK & the US as unaccountable agents have poured money into advertising and ‘fake news’, targeted undecided voters, and used data captured from unwitting citizens who’ve done nothing more than like or share a post they’ve seen.

Data is big business. It can be used to affect elections, to help decide where public money is spent, when to buy and sell assets, and it can also be used to get access to your home.

Shortly before Christmas Ring was dealing with a controversial data breach when it was shown that if customers don’t take the initiative to change their passwords and security settings it was relatively simple for people to access home cameras in order to see into children’s bedrooms and talk to the occupants. And while it’s easy for the tech savvy to scoff and wonder “well what were they expecting if they didn’t secure their devices?” it’s also equally true that most people don’t understand the ramifications of installing popular Smart devices into their homes and assume that if they’re going to be sold as security and monitoring tools there should be a certain amount of security built in. Read more

Top 5 Quick Fixes For Smart Technology

WiFi enabled tablet in persons handsLike any technology that is made to be used daily by consumers, Smart Home Tech can get a bit uppity, run slowly, crash or perform strangely. This can be caused by any number of issues, but mostly they can be easily fixed by following the mantra “Have you tried turning it off and on again!?”

(Here’s an interesting fact, Tommy Flowers, the man who designed and built Colossus, the bedroom sized computer which Alan Turing used to break the Enigma code recommended that his machine was never turned off, as it would take more than 3 days to start again! PC users know the feeling.)

But what if a ‘dynamic power cycle’ (unplugging it without turning it off) doesn’t have the desired effect? Is there anything else you can do or is your Smart device kaput?

Chances are that there isn’t really anything wrong with it at all, and here’s what you can do to fix many of the most common problems Smart Home Tech users experience. Read more

Improving Security In Schools & Colleges

burglar alarms, cctv systemsSecurity in environments where children, young adults and the vulnerable is of paramount importance. Of course we in Britain face nothing like the security issues that our friends in the USA have, but yet it remains important that people in positions of responsibility over the young and those in need of additional consideration are able to secure their premises here in the UK.

Security systems in schools don’t only protect the children, school estates are often victim to vandalism and burglary while teachers and the children under their supervision can be victims of violence and accusations of malpractice, assault or violence, that’s why many schools are even considering hiring unarmed security guards to ensure the safety of the children.

The problem lies with the expectation of privacy in such an environment. There’s a misconception that the faces of children can’t be filmed in public without their consent and people think this extends to school property. The reality is that in spaces such as classrooms, hallways and corridors there is no reasonable ‘expectation of privacy’ so you could put cameras up, however, teachers and pupils don’t appreciate having cameras trained on them all day. Unfortunately, it’s in the classroom where misbehaviour occurs and recorded footage proving who was at fault would be beneficial. Read more

If You Think Your Job Is Rubbish, Look What We Do!

Briant Communicationsfibre optic, repair, maintenance, industrial, don’t only provide data cabling and fibre optic cables for household users. We were recently called out to attend a large industrial site, UBB in Essex. Unfortunately it wasn’t a bakery or biscuit factory, no, just our luck it was a 6 acre waste treatment and recycling plant.

As part of the waste treatment process it is left to maturate for several weeks, meaning that the smell inside swimming pool sized tanks was, predictable. Unfortunately the grot which is left in food containers when they’re thrown into the average household recycling attracts a variety of wildlife, who grow big and plump off of all the scraps which are available. The creatures which cause the biggest problem for us when it comes to fibre optic data communication is rats. They make their homes in the undisturbed, secure spaces where cables and fibre optics are housed and channelled, gnawing trunking and sheaths. And it’s this activity which gives us our biggest headache as the damage to fibre optic cabling is a great deal harder to fix than simply reconnecting two ends of wire, as it would be with metal cable. Read more