Susan and CALC participate in the NYC “People’s Climate March”

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From left to right: Susan Labandibar of Tech Networks of Boston, Laury Hammel of the Longfellow Clubs, Bob Master of Commonwealth Care Alliance

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Susan Labandibar of Tech Networks of Boston and the Climate Action Liaison Coalition (CALC) were in New York City this past weekend for the “People’s Climate March”. They were among 400,000 people marching and calling for action against climate change. Early reports suggest this was the largest climate march in history!

This was a precursor to very important decision-making on Tuesday at the 2014 UN Climate Summit. The UN is meeting to come up with a plan for a new global climate treaty that would be signed at the end of next year. 140 world leaders, including President Barack Obama, are expected to discuss ways to tackle the growing threat of carbon pollution. CALC’s Executive Director Quinton Zondervan and Program Director Michael Green will also be in attendance.

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This is a timely matter as a report was released yesterday showing greenhouse gas emissions were up last year, proving we are not doing enough to stop climate change.

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Tech Networks of Boston selected for 2014 Boston Award

Tech Networks of Boston is honored to have been selected for the 2014 Boston Award in the IT Services & Computer Repair Services category by the Boston Award Program.

The Boston Award Program identifies companies who have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Boston area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2014 Boston Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Boston Award Program and data provided by third parties.

The Boston Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Boston area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

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Mobile Broadband Internet for Nonprofit Organizations

Tech Networks of Boston is happy to offer its non-profit clients mobile broadband Internet access for just $10 a month through its partnership with Mobile Beacon and TechSoup.

Mobile Beacon, a nationwide leader in providing low-cost, 4G mobile broadband service is now part of TechSoup’s Product Donation Program. TechSoup is a nonprofit organization that provides other nonprofits and libraries with the technology, learning resources and services they need to help fulfill their mission.

All TechSoup products and services are provided for a small administrative fee. The company offers more than 400 technology products, provided by more than 45 donor partners. Mobile Beacon becomes the first mobile broadband service provider to join the TechSoup donation program.

“Connectivity is a baseline requirement for nonprofits today – it’s how they connect with their communities, supporters and funders, and how they show their face to the world they serve. We are absolutely thrilled to have Mobile Beacon as the first connectivity solution on the TechSoup platform,” said Roger Abraham, vice president of Product Programs at TechSoup Global.

Through this partnership, Mobile Beacon is donating one 4G modem, USB modem or mobile hotspot for a nonprofit organization to connect to Mobile Beacon’s 4G service. Although 4G service is not included, it is available for purchase at a heavily discounted rate of $10/month for an unlimited 4G data plan.

The purpose behind the partnership is to help make affordable, next-generation mobile broadband service available to community anchor institutions, who in turn, can better serve their constituents. Mobile Beacon’s offering is meant to benefit nonprofit organizations, schools, and public libraries that lack traditional Internet access or have slow access or bandwidth constraints, and help them get connected both in the office and remotely.

“Broadband adoption is a critical national priority, and yet the research on this topic consistently shows that one of the major barriers to adoption is cost,” said Katherine Messier, managing director of Mobile Beacon. “Addressing that problem has always been the heart of Mobile Beacon’s mission. Now, through our partnership with TechSoup, we can make our low-cost 4G service available to a greater number of nonprofits,” she added.

Examples of how Mobile Beacon’s broadband service can benefit nonprofits and communities:

• Staff or volunteers can reach their databases remotely while conducting outreach in the community.

• Libraries can enhance digital literacy programs by creating webinars and loaner programs to provide remote access to disadvantaged patrons without internet access at home or persons with disabilities who cannot attend in-house training .

• Healthcare workers can access mobile electronic health records, and social service workers can submit caseworker reports securely.

• Schools can extend access beyond classroom walls to students without technology resources at home.

• Volunteer groups can take advantage of video and other web-based training tools for more cost-effective training and recruitment.

Interested 501(c)(3) nonprofits, schools, and public libraries may contact Tech Networks of Boston to find out if they are eligible for this program. You can also read more about this promotion here.

Techie Tips: How to free up space on an iPhone or iPad

With the plethora of business applications available for mobile devices, iPhones and iPads have become indispensable tools for busy professionals. A problem we all seem to run into is that these applications, along with the eBooks, music files, and photos take up a huge amount of space on the devices.

iPads and iPhones don’t have file systems you can see, but there are still apps and files eating up space. You are able to see what’s consuming that limited space and free it up.
Each bit of data on your device is associated with an app. For example, downloaded Kindle eBooks are tied to the Kindle app. Music files are part of the Music app, videos are part of the Videos app, and photos are part of the Photos app.

 

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Here are 5 ways to free up your data:

1. View Per-App storage usage
2. Delete Apps
3. Clear an Apps Documents
and Data
4. Delete Music, Videos, Photos
and Other Media Files
5. Erase browsing data

Use these tips to free up space and allow full functionality of your device!

How does your business lead the way in sustainability?

Did you know a lot of your company’s carbon footprint is from traveling to work? Many companies are transforming their business models to embrace energy efficiency or resource management.

Tech Networks of Boston has an electric vehicle, the Mercedes Smart available for company use. We also offer employees an MBTA program in which we reimburse half of their MBTA pass. These perks save our company travel expenses going to and from client sites, and are great incentives for employees to stick to using public transportation.

At TNB we are investing in clean energy through renewable offsets, cutting down on our waste stream, and purchasing new lighting technologies to make our building more energy efficient.

What are your favorite ways to increase your organization’s sustainability? Send your stories to marketing@techboston.com or comment here!

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The Help Desk is now our Client Services Team

We have upgraded our Help Desk Services to better suit your needs. Our former Help Desk Team is now called the Client Services Team and they are geared up to help you right away. Client Services is prepared to help you with any and all requests on the spot – no need to leave a message or wait for your request to be delegated. It’s part of our commitment to constantly innovate to bring you the highest-quality service possible.The Client Services team is fully included for all of our valued clients. Upon submitting a help desk request, you will receive a notice confirming we are aware of your issue, and our system will generate updates as we solve your problem. Our techs Stephen, Justin, Evan, Colin, Nasir, Tarique and Mike look forward to assisting your needs with friendly and efficient service.

New Business Showcase: Cookie Boss

TNB discovered a cool new student-run business who created cookies for our most recent BARS Boston event and for the TNB Roundtables. Cookie Boss is a Boston-based company run by students in the BUILD Boston program. These students work hard every day to create delicious treats that come in a selection of different shapes, textures and flavors. The cookies can even be designed with your company logo or picture! We ordered rectangle sugar cookie flavor of our TNB logo, round TNB logo cookies, and round BARS Boston logo cookies for our event on June 24th. The cookies come individually packaged so they are great for giving away as gifts. They tasted great too!

Cookie pic TNB logo cookies made by CookieBoss

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BUILD Boston’s mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. Students create businesses at a young age and use the confidence and skills gained to propel them into college and rewarding careers.

Learn more about Cookie Boss and BUILD Boston on their site.

CALC leading the charge against the rising flood levels with Boston Businesses Acting on Rising Seas

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As CALC looks forward, we see a future for Massachusetts and our small businesses impacted by rising seas. For this reason, we are joining our partners at the American Sustainable Business Council to spearhead the project Boston Businesses Acting on Rising Seas. This project follows from ASBC’s work with South Carolina Businesses Acting on Rising Seas (SCBARS). This project will engage Massachusetts’ coastal businesses and municipalities to demonstrate the ultimate physical and economic consequences of climate change and rising sea levels, as articulated in a recent report from The Boston Harbor Association. The businesses will publicly display where sea level rise will reach by the year 2050 in a 100-year flood on the interior and exterior of their buildings. Through their engagement, businesses will take a step towards engaging the in advocacy necessary to mitigate and adapt to the change the science shows is coming. They will begin by sparking the conversations in their communities, and hopefully join CALC in taking action and advocating for robust policy at the municipal and state levels.

Susan Labandibar speaks at CommonBound Conference June 8th

Susan spoke at the CommonBound conference on June 8th about technology’s role in the new economy. This topic encompasses our strategic priority of contributing to the missions of organizations that improve our community. Susan highlighted that as the economy changes, you must also evolve the way you use technology, such as TNB using technology to create successful collaborations.

One example of the new economy creating opportunities for technology is the creation of B Corporations. Tech Networks of Boston was recently granted B Corp certification, which legally allows a company to prioritize mission over money. The government is realizing that encouraging businesses to put community before profit increases innovation for the greater good. Information Technology is becoming more and more useful for building community and the CommonBound Conference was a perfect showcase for the like.

CommonBound 2014 is the New Economy Coalition’s largest and most significant convening yet. This conference showcased a wide variety of new economy strategies, and participation from organizations such as the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, Demos, Climate Justice Alliance, Shareable, PolicyLink, and more.

To learn more about the New Economy Coaltion (NEC) visit neweconomy.net.

Here is her full speech:
“ What is the new economy? It’s human scale, resourceful, restorative and compassionate. Just like in colonial times, it’s profoundly DIY and it’s profoundly democratic. But unlike colonial times, it is built on highly sophisticated technology that is so simple to use and so affordable, that almost everyone can use it.
Why is this so important to the development of the new economy? Well, let’s step back for a second and let me tell you that we already know how to live within our planetary means, even with a population of more than 7 billion people. All we need to do is reduce the standard of living worldwide to that of the average citizen of Bangladesh. Now that doesn’t sound so appealing. The new economy is more than just the democratization of technology, but let me tell you, there is no way we’re going to build durable economies without it.
The democratization of technology has had profound implications on the business I work in, Tech Network of Boston. Tech Networks is an IT services company that started twenty years ago delivering used computers to inner city college students. When computers became cheap and ubiquitous, we shifted our focus to maintaining computer networks for local area non-profits. Then, guess what happened? The same thing. Email, shared files and applications began to move to the cloud. Software in particular became so easy and cheap to use that almost anyone could download and install them on their phone. So then we started helping people use technology to collaborate.
For three years now, our mantra has been: “We’re Better Together.” And over time, we’re learning how to build even more powerful collaborations and break down silos. Some people think that we earn our living by maintaining servers and building network infrastructure, but that’s becoming less relevant. We are helping non-profits use information technology to serve their employees and their constituents, to scale in size and impact, and to innovate.
But Tech Networks, like so many other social enterprises today, is itself an innovative organization that defies traditional labels. We’re a Certified B Corporation on the road to becoming a Massachusetts Benefit Corporation. That means that we are legally allowed to prioritize mission over money. Thank God. If I had investors they would have fired me a long time ago!
Our mission, like the new economy itself, is complex. In the new economic ecosystem there are no clear boundaries. Yes, we enable positive change in the world by helping non-profit organizations take advantage of IT. But we have many other relationships within the community, including our IT community of practice, our workforce development partnerships, and our initiatives outside the IT field, like Southie Trees which focuses on maintaining and expanding tree coverage in South Boston, and the Climate Action Liaison Coalition, which enables businesses to take action against climate change.
Tech Networks is extremely grateful that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has created a legal status for businesses like ours. But there is so much more that government could do to encourage the growth and development of the new economy. For the last thirty years, the City of Burlington Vermont has explicitly followed an economic development plan that features government, small businesses and non-profit organizations working together to build a durable economy that meets the needs of all residents. It’s my hope that cities and towns across the nation will take notice of the success that Burlington has achieved by following this model.
I’m going to wrap up with a story with a personal story about government, the new economy, and an opossum in a trash can. One of the crowning achievements of the Department of New Urban Mechanics at the City of Boston was the “Citizens Connect” iPhone app. Whereas, prior to the app, City of Boston employees used to drive around the City, looking for potholes and other problems, the Citizens Connect application allows any smartphone user to snap a picture of a broken street light, pothole, or other annoyance and automatically report the location to the City. There is also a Twitter feed, so people can follow along as the problems are reported and fixed. I had just downloaded the app after learning about it at a neighborhood association meeting. I was bored, it was 11:00 on a Friday night in the middle of winter. I clicked on a few pictures of potholes, and then I saw a picture of a red trash can with something in it.
The accompanying text was: “Possum’ in my trash can. Can’t tell if it’s dead. How do I get this removed.” I got on my coat, walked ten minutes to the trash can location, and, sure enough, there was an opossum trapped in a trash can. 15 minutes later, I filed the return tweet: “Possum? Check. Living? Yep. Turned the trash can on its side. Walked home. Good night, sweet possum.”
Talk about “We’re Better Together” When citizens, businesses, and governments work together, you never know what can happen. Sometimes, you might even save an opossum.”

 

Boston Businesses Against Rising Seas Launch Event: Climate Adaptation for Small Businesses

The rising sea levels in Boston have been a rising concern in recent months. Businesses are realizing they need to put climate change in their business plans and take precautionary measures to protect their data.

Please join us June 24th, as Tech Networks of Boston, the Climate Action Liaison Coalition and the City of Boston launch the Businesses Acting on Rising Seas (BARS Boston) program. Tech Networks of Boston’s President Susan Labandibar, and other key speakers will focus on specific steps business can take to prepare for rising sea levels and other anticipated climate disruptions, including moving data storage to the cloud to improve business continuity.

The BARS Boston launch event will take place on June 24th, 2014 from 6:00-8:00pm at the District Hall in Boston, MA and you can register here. This event is free and open to the public.

Check out these scenes of how the rising sea levels will eventually impact our city! We hope you will join us!
Boston Harbor 12 feet