Passwords aren’t enough! Secure your online accounts now.

Passwords just aren’t enough anymore!

We’re told that we should use strong passwords for everything we do online, and more so, we should have different passwords for all our account to stop hackers getting at our precious data.

Security experts recommend we make our passwords as long as possible, adding in capital letters, numbers and special characters to make our passwords harder to guess.

As an example of what is expected, a random password generator that I occasionally use to secure some of my systems here at PMC, throws out the following result: 53e;Lwl5fRmK+jT

To quote the eminent internet word-smith, Kimberly Wilkins  “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”

Okay, it’s a given, you need to make your passwords strong, but in the real world, we all need to remember those passwords for our day to day accounts, so most people do use simple-to-remember words or phrases with some extra punctuation or flourishes in there to make them harder to guess.

The main weakness of passwords is that they’re a single layer of protection; someone could easily look over your shoulder as you’re typing a password for example, or perhaps you’ve even been the unwitting victim of a phishing scam. Either way, when someone has your password, they can get into your account.  Worse still, if you’ve used the same password for other online services, then it really doesn’t take a determined hacker much work to find out more about you, which websites you use, who your friends are etc etc. Easy identity theft 101.

So how can we further shore up our online accounts?

Enter two-step-verification

From a personal stand point, I’ve been trying hard to advise friends and family to use two-step verification, but it’s an uphill struggle, it all seems more complicated than it actually is.  It’s really not, and this is part of the reason why I’m writing this blog, so I can say “Look, I actually took time out at work to write this!  It’s really important.  You should know about this.” You’ll all be making this PMC blogger a very happy guy if you look at two-step verification!

You should have this enabled on all of your accounts:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Microsoft
  • Yahoo
  • Paypal
  • Ebay
    etc, etc

So what is two-step verification and how does it work?

Two step verification is essentially adding a second layer of security on top of your password to protect your accounts. In short, after entering your username & password, before letting you into your account, the website or service in question would then text you a code for you to enter before it let you in. The thought behind this is that IF your password has been compromised, then the hacker, wherever they are in the world, still can’t access your account because they would need your mobile phone to get the verification code for that login.  Verification codes are a one-time only deal, so every time you want to get into your account, you get a new code sent to your phone, and most verification codes expire in a matter of minutes, too, providing that extra level of security for you.


Here’s step-by-step how you would log in to a Google account with two-factor authentication enabled

  1. Enter your username
  2. Enter your password
  3. Google then asks you for your verification code
  4. Instantly you get a text on your phone from Google with a six-digit code you need to enter that lets you into your account
  5. You enter the code and you’re in your account

*It’s worth noting that Google lets you disable the two-step verification code for your home computers so if this is a hassle for you, then you can at least turn this off for your personal device.

In short, this is it.  Simple.

Two-step verification makes sure that anyone trying to log into your account requires the verification code sent to your mobile device.

What if I lose my phone?  

As part of most two-step verification set-ups, you can set-up backup telephone numbers and  email addresses so you’ll never find yourself locked out of your account.  Google even lets you print out a set of single use only verification codes to keep in a safe place as a further backup.

Google explain more here:

There’s also an app for that!

The next step up from using text messages to get your authentication codes is to use an app.  Without getting too technical, what the apps do is generate an encryption key between your device and the service in question that allows them both to generate the same code independently of each other. This means that even if you don’t have mobile service to receive a text message, you can still get your authentication code.

The popular Lifehacker blog has listed the best authentication apps for both iPhone and Android devices here, personally I use the Google authenticator app, it allows me to generate codes for all of my online accounts, Facebook, AWS, Google, etc etc

Google Authenticator App

Google’s Authenticator App with multiple accounts. The blue marker is a timer, counting down the code’s expiry time. Codes are refreshed every 60 seconds.

Further reading

One of the best resources I could find was Google two-factor authentication page, it describes really well what it is and how it works.

You can enable two-factor authentication for your Facebook account, click the link here and find out more, go to “Login Approvals”.  I’ve got it set up in my authenticator app so it all works very well for me.

Find out more on using two step verification for Microsoft services here. Microsoft have their own code generator app for their services.

If you want to enable two-factor authentication for your Paypal account, you can enable it quite easily, but only text messaging is supported at the time of writing this blog.

In summary

Enable two-factor authentication on all of your online accounts now!


Five good reasons to use a headset over a deskphone

Telephone headsets; Everybody knows what they are, but does everybody know why they should use one?
Here’s five reasons why investing in a telephone headset could be one of the cheapest and best investments your company makes.

ZOETERMEER - Callcenter Teleperformance in Zoetermeer. ANP PHOTO XTRA LEX VAN LIESHOUT

ZOETERMEER – Callcenter Teleperformance in Zoetermeer. ANP PHOTO XTRA LEX VAN LIESHOUT

  1. Save your neck – If you or your employees are on the phone a lot, then craning the neck to use a handset will take its toll. It’s a simple solution to release muscle tension by using a headset, allowing the user to maintain proper posture as they work. This also ensures that employers are acting responsibly and covering themselves from claims of repetitive strain injury due to neck strains etc.
  2. Increase productivity – Freeing up your handset holding hand gives you an extra hand to type with. It makes things much easier when you need to take down customer details or interact with a computer as you’re talking to your customer or colleague on the phone as you’re working.
  3. Increase concentration – If you work in a noisy office you could invest in a binaural (two eared) headset, which not only helps block out some of the background noise, but also gives you two headset speakers in which to hear the caller through.
  4. Increase Clarity – If you work in a noisy office, then a noise cancelling headset will help cut out the background drone, allowing your customer to be able to hear you speak more clearly.
  5. Office Mobility – Cordless headsets allow office users who are more mobile, move around the office as they talk on the phone. If you have an employee who needs to access records as they speak, or perhaps works in a stock room, then a cordless headset can give that extra freedom to support the customer without interruption giving your business that extra professional edge.

Let PMC Telecom help you with your headset requirements, whether you’re a call centre manager requiring a regular, bulk supply of headsets, or a home or small office worker needing a headset to help you with your day-to-day tasks, check our full range of headsets online now, or for more technical information, give us a call today on 0161 737 9898 and we’ll help you find the right headset for you.

Dect Phones

What is DECT used for, and why do I need a DECT homephone?

What is a DECT phone?

DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications is standard terminology  for a  wireless communication device using 1.8 to 2.4 GHz frequency, previously it stood for Digital European Cordless Telephony prior to 1995, and there is a common misconception that the “T” stands for technology.


DECT can also be used for:

  • Cash Terminals
  • Traffic Lights
  • Door Openers
  • Cordless Phones
  • Wireless ISDN Access
  • Cordless EC Terminals

Why should I care about DECT?

Security – The DECT standard is by default, very secure. it deals with common security issues via encryption and its inherent secure nature.

Threat: Eavesdropping –  DECT has 64 bit encryption stopping people from snooping on your communications & data. This is a very secure way to ensure nobody can get hold of your company’s data. In order to  bypass this security a “hacker” or malicious user would have to have equipment that can monitor digital radio transmissions, and then have software that can decrypt the information, this would be extremely unlikely.

Threat: Virus – If somebody manages to send a virus to the DECT system it simply won’t work as the DECT standard does not allow execution of programming code strings or macros. It’s a bit like sending a Windows Virus to a Mac, or vice versa, nothing would happen.

Parameter Spec
Frequency band 1880 MHz to 1900 MHz
Symbol rate 1152 k Symbol/s
Carrier spacing 1728 kHz
Frame duration 10 ms
Access channels/RF carrier 12 duplex 32 k bit/s channels
Traffic channels/single radio TRX 12
Traffic Channel assignment Instant dynamic
Control carriers Not required
Modulation GFSK (BT = 0,5) and optional higher level Modulation schemes possible
LO stability 25 ppm
Portable average RF power 10 mW
Portable peak RF power 240 mW 24 dBm
Speech codec 32 kbit/s ADPCM
Base Station sensitivity at 0,1 % BER -86 dBm (for GAP)
Base station antenna Diversity Switched

Top 5 Locations In The UK To Run A Successful Business

Starting or running a successful Business can be one of the most exciting and satisfying experiences in your life. Are you looking to start your own business? Or are you looking to add more businesses to your existing portfolio ?

We list the best 5 places to start a business.

Our findings are based on the following:

  • Sales data
  • Business activity
  • Population
  • Affluency
  • Infrastructure
  • Business Support (Science parks, universities, business centres etc)
  • Availability of commercial premises
  • Average house prices, crime rates & tourism.
  • Government funding

We’ve left London out of this list, as we would have to be divided  into the boroughs as they are vastly different, however we are confident London as a whole would come second in our findings

Without further ado here are the top 5 places in the UK to start a business:

  1. Manchester
  2. Edinburgh
  3. Bristol
  4. Cambridge
  5. Leeds

5th place – Starting a business in Leeds:


Image Credit: Albert Pego /

Leeds is reported to create 4% of the UK’s economic output and 44% of West Yorkshire’s economic output according to the Leeds government website.

Leeds By numbers:

Leeds also has a great labour force, In 2013 it was reported that 36% of the working population had at least NVQ Level 4’s. In addition to this only 10% of Leeds population is of working age without qualifications. This actually makes a lot of sense as Leeds has three good universities all within close proximity to the city centre which produce around 36,000 graduates each year. stated in 2013, “Leeds has had a very successful decade over this period without a huge rise in employment numbers“


The number of new start ups is growing too. In 2012 Leeds had 6174 start ups. In 2014 that number had risen to 6778.



Leeds actively supports new businesses. They have an EU backed “Business & IP Center” at Leeds library. This was launched in March 2013 and is still going strong. It enables people to have free access to business databases, market research and directories. There are also a wide selection of free, business workshops you can attend.


Leeds has great funding available for new businesses. The Business Growth Programme grants funding from £10,000 to £50,000 to new businesses which are based in Leeds or if that business is planning to set up in Leeds.

The Growing Places Fund is also available and give businesses a large range of loans. In 2014 they had £6m available to lend to businesses up to £1m. The only restriction is, the business must find 75% of private funding if they are to use the Growing Places Fund.

Quality Of Life

  • £154, 750 average semi detached house price. (June 2015)
  • 21.5mbps: Average broadband speed (October 2015 – Uswitch)
  • 80 Crimes per 1,000 people. (March 2014)

Q&A with Local Leeds Business: Elementary Digital Director Gyles Seward

Q1) Why did you start your business in Leeds?

Elementary Digital – all of the team had begun their working lives in the city and had a deep understanding of the Leeds digital agency community in the area and the county. Furthermore we understood businesses in the Leeds area having worked with companies throughout the area for over 10 years. Finally Leeds has the second biggest digital community outside of London and the city attracts the best digital talent from around the country, this makes it attractive from a resource point of view and business want to work with digital agencies in Leeds, of which Elementary Digital are proud to be one.

Q2) What are three positive things about starting a business in Leeds in your experience?

  • Business Community Support – Leeds has a fantastic support network for start up businesses with funding, coaching and financial guidance to help start-ups not only develop but grow as well.
  • People – a digital hub–  Leeds has a wealth of talent available and as you grow there is a huge resource to tap into
  • Transport links – positioned pretty much in the centre of the country you’re only about 2 hours from London or Edinburgh (by train) and there’s excellent motorway links to pretty much any part of the country, it means business can be done easily on a regional or national level

Q3) Can  you name any negatives  of starting a business here?

  • Stigma – despite the government’s promotion of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, businesses operating outside of London don’t always get the credit they deserve. Leeds has developed a real specialism in the digital sector and has some of the most respected digital marketing agencies in the country (and globally)
  • Investment – whilst Leeds has a big digital community, investment in this business sector has been slow and there’s a lack of quality talent from the local education system, that’s not the fault of the students…
  • Migration – becoming a powerhouse for digital marketing also has it’s problems, in recent years there has been an influx of tech business to the city taking the talent away from independent firms and a migration of skilled people down south.

Q4) If you were to be given the opportunity to start again at a different location – where would you choose?

Elementary Digital can be run anywhere really as we adopt a location agnostic model (remote working), although we do have a head office in Leeds. If we did need to define a location it would be London (although we do have a London office). The reason being is it’s the centre of digital marketing in the UK and to be a successful digital agency you need to be in London.

Q5) Would you recommend Leeds as a great place to start a business?

Without a shadow of a doubt, a great city, brilliant opportunities and not a bad place to be involved in. We very proud of our Leeds roots and we’ve grown year on year since we started, largely supported and working with the wider Leeds business community.


4h place – Starting a business in Cambridge

Image Credit: Shutterstock | Roberto Lo Savio
Home of the prestigious University Of Cambridge, founded in the 13th Century – A city with masses of talent and great start up support.
The University Of Cambridge is one of the top 2 in the Country, and the top 5 in the world. As you would imagine it dominates startup activity in the city. The University produces extremely high quality graduates and the area has a reputation as a hub of cutting edge technology. For any tech or science start ups who need great facilities, it would be hard to top what Cambridge has to offer.

Cambridge by numbers:

  • Population: 129,000 (Estimated based on 2011 census)
  • 82,212 working age population educated to NVQ level 4 or above (Cambridgeshire insight)
  • £576 average weekly earnings.
  • 45 min from London Kings Cross
  • 2 Universities
  • 32.9 mph High average road speeds & low congestion



With the University of Cambridge finding talent for your new startup should certainly be no issue . The quantity  of people in Cambridge with an Education above NVQ Level 4 is around 65%, which is extremely high and very few people in Cambridge have no qualifications at all.

There has been 2570 start ups in Cambridge as of 2014. This is on the increase despite the only downfall of staff costs being higher. But in a city with one of the most prestigious Universities in the world – what would you expect?


Due to the prestige and influence of Cambridge university, there is great funding for start ups.  Cambridge University have an enterprise arm which has 1000 commercial agreements with businesses providing consultancy, expertise & new technologies.

Investment is readily available too, with Angel investors such as Cambridge Angels being prominent.  There is also an £11m “Grants4Growth” programme, this along with many other schemes in Cambridgeshire gives businesses funding to small and medium size businesses.

They also run “IdeaSpace” which is run by the University Of Cambridge. It’s a community of people and graduates in Cambridge which are starting high impact ventures. Ideaspace creates new business models & technology  which are intended to affect millions of people in a positive way. The Ideaspace community have access to many resources thanks to the University Of Cambridge having a heavy influence.

Cambridge Council have a list of organisations that can help with a start up.

In addition Cambridge University also offer:

In addition to all of this, Cambridge are part of a tech cluster called “Silicon Fen” – this is where a large number of super high tech firms are focusing on cutting edge software, electronics & biotechnology. They have full support of the University and thus new startups should have no problems looking for funding in these industries.

With such a large array of positive influencers on business, you can see why Cambridge has made our top 5.

Quality Of Life

Local Cambridge Business: Genie Ventures – Q & A with Ciaron Dunne CEO

About Genie Ventures
Ciaron Dunne is the co-founder and CEO of Genie Ventures. Genie businesses include the search agency Genie Goals, the popular broadband comparison website Broadband Genie and the office search engine Office Genie.

Q1) Why did you start your business in Cambridge?

We actually started off flitting between Cambridge and London. I settled on Cambridge partly because I lived here, and partly because the rent (at the time, at least!) were much cheaper and I didn’t want all our early revenues vanishing to our landlord.

Q2) What are three positive things about starting a business in Cambridge in your experience?

  1. Customers love coming to Cambridge. Most of our customers are based in or around London, and it’s very easy to sell the idea of a day in Cambridge – old pubs, punting, the beer festival, colleges and so on! Cambridge has a lot to offer, and we’ve had great success playing on that.
  2. Cambridge has a hugely strong, positive brand in its own right. Cambridge is associated with smart people (for obvious reasons), world-class technology companies, growth and success. Whether those are all true or not is another matter, but – as a marketing technology business based in Cambridge – customers and partners make the positive association. We trade on it as much as we can.
  3. Cambridge is just full of crazy, fascinating people from all over the country and the world. I struggle to think of a more multicultural and multinational city. It’s quite incredible and inspirational. Our own team is a great example – a real mixture of people from anywhere and everywhere. It’s a privilege to live, work and recruit in such an amazing place.

Q3) Could you name a negative of starting a business here?

Commercial rents are wages are high (compared to the rest of the UK, rather than just London), and there’s a shortage of internet / e-commerce companies for us to hang around with. The train station is too small for a city of this size, and of course there’s never enough parking. Plus of course it’s a relatively well-off area so you don’t get any subsidies or grants for starting a business here. The traffic is appalling. Apart from all that, I can’t think of anything!

Q4) If you were to be given the opportunity to start again at a different location – where would you choose?

I would still choose Cambridge. But my second choice would be Birmingham – partly because I’m from near there and like it, and partly because I think it has massively untapped human potential for tech companies.

Q5) Would you recommend Cambridge as a great place to start a business?            

Yes of course. It’s an amazing city, full of incredibly motivated people and very close to London.


3rd place –  Bristol


Image Credit: Shutterstock | Jacek Wojnarowski

Is the European Green Capital the place to start your business?

Bristol, the Green Capital according to the European Commission is one of our personal favourite places for a startup. It’s an amazing city with real character. Only 90 minutes from London with great public transport links internally.

Bristol By Numbers


Bristol has a well established Tech cluster making it the perfect place for Microelectronics & aerospace engineering related start ups. There is also a great turnover of graduates coming out of Bristol & the nearby Bath (12 miles away.)

Brighton is featuring “TedxBristol 2015” on the 11th of November. If you haven’t heard of Ted Talks, look them up! – They are awesome.


Brand new business survival rates are pretty high too. It was reported on 2012 that over 60% of startups managed to get through their first year with a positive ROI. The Bristol Post did a feature entitled “Dragons Den on Steroids” – Bristol Tech Start Ups Buzzing After Seedcamp Talks” in 2014.

There has been 2055 start ups in Bristol in 2014.


Funding for startups in Bristol is very positive. The website is a really good source of information, they detail government finance support schemes such as:

  • “The Small Loans for Business Scheme provides loans of up to £50,000 to small and medium sized businesses that have viable business plans but have been refused bank finance.
  • The Enterprise Finance Guarantee provides lenders with a government guarantee to loan money to businesses.
  • Finance for Business offers flexible finance solutions such as loans and equity finance for businesses that have viable business plans but have been unable to get support from commercial banks and investors.
  • The Grant for Business Investment (GBI) Scheme provides capital to support business investment or job creation projects. Grants begin at £10,000.
  • West of England Growth Fund. The Fund can support a range of projects and activities, such as investment in capital assets, research and development projects and training programmes”

There are also non government run schemes and organizations such as Inets South West Microelectronics.

Quality Of Life

Bristol is a great place to live. Picturesque, clean, great public transport with a further £400m being invested in transport infrastructure to reduce energy usage

  • £329,667  average semi detached house price. (September 2015)
  • 20mbps: Average broadband speed
  • 60 Crimes per 1,000 people. (March 2014)
  • Large student population
  • Amazing attractions and beautiful scenery

Local Bristol Business Q&A with Giles, CEO at Office Pantry

First of all, Giles, tell us a bit about Office Pantry
Office Pantry  deliver food to companies nationwide, from snacks and meeting packs to fruit boxes, so I get to eat food for a living and share the good stuff with our customers.

Q1) Why did you start your business in Bristol?
We actually started our business in Bath, before moving to the bright lights of London. After 12 months there, we moved to Bristol in May and haven’t looked back since. Moving to Bristol has been our best business decision to date.

Q2) What are three positive things about starting a business in Bristol in your experience?

Far more than 3 but:

1) It is a tech hub with JustEat, Oracle and HP all having a large presence here.

2) The startup scene is thriving  with loads of events for every industry. There is even an Entrepreneurial Spark hub which is a free startup accelerator.

3) You see people again! A strange thing to say but having been in London it is amazing to see people at events again. Either bumping into them in the street or at other events. It leads to actual follow-ups which is fantastic.

Q3) Could you name a negative of starting a business here?

It feels a bit like being in the film Hot Fuzz – everyone is super positive about the city, and I feel if I say something negative the Bristol cult will come out and get me. So nothing negative to see here everyone. nothing *at all*.

Q4) If you were to be given the opportunity to start again at a different location – where would you choose?

Probably Manchester if in the UK as I haven’t been here before. Otherwise the world is your oyster right so how about Vietnam? I hear great things from my friend Josh who runs Echoes His team are split between Bristol and Vietnam. Another friend of mine Louise has even moved out there full-time.

Q5) Would you recommend Bristol as a great place to start a business?

Undoubtedly, but don’t all come at once please – let’s keep it a hidden startup gem for as long as possible.


2nd place – Edinburgh


Image Credit: Shutterstock | Shaiith

A city rich with culture and buzzing with tourism, and a real science and technology hotspot. Is the heart of Scotland a good place to start your business?

Edinburgh is home  to some of the country’s leading science parks and research centres. It has a large airport with over 40 airlines in operation. It is also just one hour from Glasgow – which is another major place for startups and has 3 great universities of its own, not including any around Glasgow or surrounding areas. It has fantastic access to talent with over 300,000 of the working population with NVQ level 4 or above.

Edinburgh By Numbers


For startups Edinburgh has absolutely loads to offer. They have industry leading start up support such as Techcu, providing affordable office space & services. Edinburgh also home to accelerator. Great for businesses in the early stages needing to get off the ground quickly.

There is also lots of advice and resources available for funding for new business, including access to Angel Investors and government backed initiatives. We have found bgateway offer great advice and can definitely point you in the right direction.

Quality Of Life

Q&A With Sarah Connelly, director of Odyssey Boutique

About Odyssey Boutique
Odyssey Boutique – is a destination store for ‘real’ lingerie, year-round swimwear and highest quality waxing for the fashionable girl-about-town. Odyssey Boutique sell exclusive lingerie from designers such as Stella McCartney, Lascivious, Simone Perele and Heidi Klein

Q1) Why did you start your business in Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is my home town, and much as I’d love a place in the sun, I know the in’s and out’s of the city which make launching a business much easier than starting somewhere completely fresh.

Q2) What are three positive things about starting a business in Edinburgh  in your experience?
I’ve lived and worked in Edinburgh my whole adult life so I understand the seasons, the trends, the people. I also have the back-up of family & friends when I need extra hands on deck. Plus Edinburgh is so easily connected I can jump on a train to London or on a flight to Paris for trade shows and be back in a flash. Never missing a beat is core to managing a successful business.

Q3) Can  you name any negatives  of starting a business here?
The climate is not my friend, a wet summer or snowy winter can cause havoc on clients reaching me. So I’m looking into alternative plans to ensure I can always be in touch with clients when they need me.

Q4) If you were to be given the opportunity to start again at a different location, where would you choose?
I wouldn’t do things differently. It’s a cliché, but so true: you learn from your mistakes. In the future I’ll work more remotely thanks to online and telecoms facilities, connecting with my team and keeping an eye on things from somewhere sunnier.

Q5) Would you recommend Edinburgh as a great place to start a business?
Edinburgh is packed with independent businesses from all sectors, and with the cities stunning scenery it’s a perfect location to have a meeting walking around Princes Street Gardens.

1st Place – Manchester


Image Credit: Shutterstock | Shahid Khan

Welcome to Manchester, the winner of our guide for best places to start a business in 2015. Manchester is a fast evolving digital hub with rich historical culture.  With superb transport links to other major UK cities such as Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham and London, this ensures Manchester hits the ground running as a place to start doing business.

There are many factors why we chose Manchester as the best place for startups in the UK in 2015. It has one of the biggest university campuses in Europe. It has great transport links, a large international airport and 5 universities hosting a massive wealth of talent. Manchester also has the largest economy outside London.

Manchester is a hub of entrepreneurship, with over 13,000 startups in 2014. You can really see the effect on Manchester too, it is changing so rapidly, with the northern quarter almost doubling in footfall over the last 2 years alone.

Manchester is also home to Media City “The Landing” – which is amazing. It offers up to 6 months office space (serviced, with super fast broadband included, and administerial services) for absolutely free to tech start ups. On top of this being a great deal, it’s an absolutely stunning location for an office, only 10 minutes from the centre of Manchester by tram and in the same place as the BBC centres. You will frequently see celebrities in this area, and with the beautiful open gardens and coffee shops which grace the office complex area – who can blame them?

Leeds, number five on our list, also shares great road links with Manchester, and being only 50 minutes away via the trans-pennine M62 (the highest motorway in England), ensures that these two great cities combine to form an integral part of the Northern Powerhouse.

Quality Of Life

  • 188,477  average semi detached house price. (September 2015)
  • 23mbps: Average broadband speed
  • 106 Crimes per 1,000 people. (March 2014) (down to 64 in Salford)
  • Massive student population
  • Lots of Tourists
  • Amazing attractions and beautiful scenery
  • Close to Derbyshire

The quality of living in Manchester is great with rural surrounds only a stone’s throw away. House prices are very low compared to the South and having a strong public transport infrastructure offering reasonably priced tickets making  our London friends green with envy


If you are thinking of starting a business in Manchester you have to aim high. Manchester was the first industrial city and the birthplace of the computer – pretty ironic now it’s a digital hotspot. It is not surprising according to the MEN News that Manchester is the the sixth most popular place for migrants to start a business.


There are extensive fundraising opportunities and schemes for new businesses in Manchester. provides some great information. But on top of fundraising there is genuine support in Manchester for new businesses. With Media City offering completely free offices for 6 months for new tech start ups and located in a beautiful location adjacent to the old Coronation street set with fantastic views of Salford Quays it’s certainly opportunity to create something special

The North West Business Fund also provide a ton of fundraising opportunities, such as

Micro Loans – £25k –  £50k

Energy and Environmental Grants – £50k -£2m

Biomedical £50k-£1.5m

Northwest Digital & Creative £50k-£1.5m

Northwest Fund For Mezzanine £750k-£2m

Venture Capital – £50k-£2m

There are also various Angel Investors available, such as North West Business Angels


Q&A with Manchester based company, Recruit my Buddy

RecruitMyBuddy are an innovative new recruitment website who encourage people to recommend their peers for jobs roles that are posted on their website. Reacting to the desire to do away with recruiters, it is looking to bring the personal touch back to the jobs market with candidates being put forward for jobs they would suit by the people that know them best.

Q1) Why did you start your business in Greater Manchester?

With the North West undergoing what some would see as an economic revival as part of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ concept, it was a no-brainer for us to begin Recruit My Buddy in Manchester. Businesses are growing quickly across the country – but particularly in Greater Manchester and surround regions and that fits our business model perfectly; we’re able to offer start-ups and SMEs an affordable-yet-reliable recruitment solution, supplying talent without the usual high fees associated with recruitment.

Q2) What are three positive things about starting a business in Greater Manchester in your experience?

To choose three is quite difficult – as is to avoid clichés!

It’s safe to say that certain industries are thriving at present – we’ve found that one of these is digital marketing. Greater Manchester is now home to some of the leading agencies (and marketing departments) in the country and has become a real hub for this skillset. We’ve been able to piggyback on the growth of this industry a little; building some strong, lasting relationships through providing quality referrals to a range of companies.

Greater Manchester is also home to some fantastic talent across a range of industries so filling jobs hasn’t necessarily been difficult for our network of referrers, which has led to some great repeat business for us.

Finally, the culture, atmosphere and general feel of business around Greater Manchester is fantastic. We love working in positive environments and pride ourselves on being friendly and approachable. Our ethos is matched time and time again whenever we go out and meet current and potential clients.

Q3) Could you name a negative of starting a business here?

Nothing springs to mind as a negative – we don’t tend to highlight negatives as something that would hold us (as a business) back. Anything we’ve been challenged by we have used as an opportunity to learn and develop in such a fast-paced industry. Starting a business anywhere will have its challenges; but we firmly believe we’ve selected the right area to begin Recruit My Buddy’s growth.

Q4) If you were to be given the opportunity to start again at a different location – where would you choose?

We’re both from Preston, so for simplicity we’d probably say there. That being said, though, travelling just 30 miles or so has opened our eyes to the amount of opportunities there are for businesses out there. So even if we started again, we know our ‘base’ wouldn’t be where we do most of our business.

Q5) Would you recommend Greater Manchester as a great place to start a business?

Without a shadow of a doubt, Greater Manchester offers a mass of support networks for start-ups, but businesses have got to spread their wings and push their own boundaries if they want to develop in today’s age. We knew we needed to start local, as word of mouth is so important in this industry. From here, a natural ripple effect is taking our business to the next level – pushed by us travelling a little further afield to support growth.


The UK is an amazing place to start a business right now. While the financial climate of our country overall is not all sunshine and rainbows, there is definitely scope to start your own business.

Faster internet speeds lead to more cloud based technology

Credit: Khwanchai Khattinon | Shutterstock

Credit: Khwanchai Khattinon | Shutterstock

Starting or running a successful Business can be one of the most exciting and satisfying experiences in your life. However there is one important factor which should be considered before you start regardless of what your business is going to offer. It’s fair to say no business can run to its full potential without having certain trading tools we all take for granted such as a Telephone, Computer & Internet.

However there many locations in the UK where the infrastructure is so poor theses tools are still not stable enough in order to run a business.

This is set to change,  Ofcom have reported “Nearly one in three UK broadband connections are now Super fast(30Mbit/s or above )” that is up from 1 in 4 in 2013.

UK Businesses are getting better access to super fast broadband and this is revolutionising the way businesses are run. It is predicted within the next 5 years all your documents, email, applications will be stored in the “cloud” and even the traditional phone system will be replaced by hosted Voice over IP (VoIP). Hosted voice will completely change the way you communicate and it will unify all your current voice ( & video) equipment into one single application.

Progress By Numbers

Facts 2014 2015
Number of UK fixed residential & SME broadband lines 22.8 million 23.7 million
Proportion of adults with broadband in the UK (fixed & mobile) 77% (Q1 2014) 80% (Q1 2015)
Superfast fixed broadband take-up (excluding leased lines) 23.2% (end 2013) 30.0% (end 2014)
Superfast fixed broadband lines 5.3 million (end of 2013) 7.1million (end of 2014)
Average UK broadband speed 17.8Mbit/s (Nov 2013) 22.8Mbit/s (Nov 2014)
Proportion of people who use their mobile handset to access the internet 66% (2013) 72% (2014)

Information Source:

The guardian reported studies even show that a fast broadband speeds have a direct correlation to earnings for domestic users.  There has been a study based on 22,000 households that showed an average increase of £201/month per family.

This trend has an impact on GDP. Ericsson research has showed that doubling a countries internet speed would increase GDP by 0.3% and for every 10% increase in the number of people online, a nations GDP rises by 1%. Looking at the above figures of 80% of UK residents having broadband – you can see why the government is investing £530 Million trying to improve broadband speeds.

“We want to achieve a transformation in our broadband access, with everyone in the UK able to access broadband speeds of at least 2 megabits per second (Mbps) and 95% of the UK receiving far greater speeds (at least 24Mbps) by 2017. We are also exploring options to extend the benefits of fast broadband to remaining areas.” –

With this rapid increase in Broadband, for business & home it is enabling businesses to facilitate technology which as previously not been an option such as Hosted VoIP. With all the advantages hosted VoIP can give your business do you really want to wait 5 years so your area’s infrastructure is strong enough to start or run a business using Voice over IP (VoIP) and cloud computing? If not here are the top 5 locations throughout the UK where business grade super fast broadband is readily available

UK Broadband speed Map

Use the interactive map below to see internet speeds around the UK

Map Credit: | Produced with Google maps

Man receives free pizza & ice cream after a social media battle between Three & O2. #Waggytails

But is it all a marketing ploy?

  • Dan May sent a tweet hash-tag to O2 asking for his free pizza via their  #waggytails promotion
  • Dan didn’t get any pizza, and was left hungry and disappointed
  • He complained on Twitter threatening to switch to Three who picked up the slack and immediately sent Dan pizza and ice cream (good move Three!)
  • O2 fired back and responded with free pizza every week for a year.
  • Dan is no longer hungry.

In a pretty crazy series of events, mobile phone giant Three gave Dan May a pile of pizzas and a mountain of ice-cream in order to win his business. Whilst not to be outdone, O2 have followed up and given the same customer a whole years supply of pizza and a Fitbit as a nice bonus; presumably to encourage Dan to keep himself fit if he’s going to be enjoying lots of delicious pizza.

The whole thing started when Dan started the feud on Twitter between the two companies.


O2 had launched a promotion where users tweet their address with the #waggytails hashtag and receive free lunch in the form of pizza or ice-cream. As an O2 customer, Dan did just that; however, he was left feeling disappointed and hungry after not receiving a response or a pizza, so he decided to take to social media and make a valiant stand for his love of italian foodstuffs and delicious ice cream. That’s when things really kicked off!

We’ll leave it to the twitter stream to take over from here…


 As you can see, Dan threatened to move to Three, however this did not fall on deaf ears like you would expect. Instead Three saw their opportunity to help Dan out of his hunger woes (and hopefully win his business) by picking up on his plea for pizza in a marketing move that went the extra mile.  One-nil to Three (I enjoyed typing that!).

However O2 not to be outdone by their rivals came up with the goods and trumped Three’s offering with a voucher for “Free Dominoes Pizza!” for a year for Dan, completely blowing Three’s pizza & ice cream out of the water. Game and Set to O2.

Winner, “Free PizzaDan.”

The plot thickens

 It should be noted, that on March 25th the Mirror along with other major news outlets reported that Three have bought 02 for just over £10 Billion. Now we haven’t actually heard much about this takeover in the media since around then. But HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS have seen this Twitter Pizza drama.

On face value – we think Three’s marketing team did an amazing job here. They picked up O2’s loose ball with quick wit and good intentions. O2 couldn’t lose face and needed to throw more money at it to keep themselves in the game.

Three didn’t need to come back with any better offer, the social media work had been done for the day so they left it at that – however the outcome of the campaign being that thousands of people will have been talking about Three & O2 is a win-win for both. The fact Three own O2, gives you the impression there might have been some collusion between marketing departments here, but maybe that fishy smell is just the anchovies on the pizza?!

The Real winners – Low price Pizza

The best deal we can find for free Pizza is 2 large for £20  from Pizza Hut. – If you know any other great pizza deals please let us know on our Facebook page.

PMC Telecom respond to a question asked on Twitter

We explain how VoIP systems and IP Phones will benefit your business.


This is a question we get asked a lot at PMC Telecom. We have reached out to Sarah to give her some advice on what kind of phone system would suit her needs. We started by asking:

“In an ideal world, what would you expect from your phone system?”

“At the moment I use my mobile phone most of the time, but I do have an office phone. My problem is my business is expanding, and although I take most of the calls currently, more and more I need my staff at my office to take the calls depending on what the customer needs. I know that when I call big companies you get a list of options to choose from and depending on what numbers you choose denotes who the call goes to. I’d like that for a start.

My friend who works in a busy office has her own direct dial number, so rather than calling the main switchboard, if I need to speak to her directly I can call her directly. I’d like to have that same facility in my office if possible. I’d also like to be able to forward calls directly to another number (my mobile?) regardless of where I am in the world and to take calls on my laptop if possible (I sometimes use Skype calls anyway) and if at all possible keep all this under one phone number.

Also, I’d also like to be able to record calls for reference and staff training.

There is also a very high chance that I will need to move office in the near future, so this makes the whole process even more complicated. I know this is a big ask for a small company, but if you can help advise in any way possible, that would be brilliant!”

On the face of it, this all sounds like a tall order. So what did we advise?

Based on the needs of Sarah’s business we suggested Voice Cloud HD, Our Hosted VoIP Solution. It’s the absolute perfect system for Sarah’s business and addresses all of her requirements directly.

Why Voice Cloud HD?

For a company which is likely to expand its telephony needs, a cloud solution is a great option since it is so easy to scale quickly as a business expands. There are no requirements to install complex and expensive PBX systems on site, simply using your business broadband to connect to the cloud gives you HD call quality along with a multitude of features to configure your business phone numbers however you want from an easy to navigate online portal.

Let’s address Sarah’s questions directly:

“My problem is my business is expanding”

An expanding business is great news, and with a cloud based phone system it means you don’t have to worry about expanding in regards to your telecoms. You can add or take away “lines” very quickly as needed – there is no hardware at your office and because it’s served from a dedicated high speed server hosting facility, changing your line requirements is very simple to do.

“I know that when I call big companies you get a list of options to choose from and depending on what numbers you choose denotes who the call goes to. I’d like that for a start.”

Auto Attendant is one of the many premium features are actually included with Voice Cloud HD and are no longer restricted to large companies with big budgets. Using the Voice Cloud HD portal it is simple to set-up “groups” (Sales, Marketing Accounts, etc) within your organisation to receive calls when the customer chooses the option directed at that particular group, this way, the caller gets transferred directly to a member of staff who can help them more effectively.

It is worth noting that there are a whole host of other premium features included with Voice Cloud HD such as:

  • Voicemail to email inbox – listen to voicemails from any internet enabled device.

  • Music on Hold – Choose from a variety of licence free music genres or even upload your own custom Music on Hold track.

  • Call recording

  • Remote call management

  • Free calls between different offices regardless of location on Voice Cloud HD

  • View all business calls logs from any internet enabled device.

“My friend who works in a busy office has her own direct dial number, so rather than calling the main switchboard, if I need to speak to her directly I can call her directly. I’d like to have that same facility in my office if possible.”

Using Voice Cloud HD it is easy for us to set-up direct dial numbers on your account which will only ring certain user’s handsets, laptops, or any other internet enabled device. Further to this using hosted VoIP technology enables a person to be contacted via their direct dial on whichever device they are using and regardless of where they are in the world.

“I’d also like to be able to forward calls directly to another number (my mobile?) regardless of where I am in the world”

With a Hosted VoIP solution such as Voice Cloud HD, this isn’t even an issue. In fact it’s something our customers find hard to believe how flawless it works. From the Voice Cloud HD Portal, it is easy to chose any number to redirect your calls to, this can include your skype number

“There is also a very high chance that I will need to move office in the near future, so this makes the whole process even more complicated.”

Voice Cloud HD completely takes away your telephony worries. If you need to move office, simply unplug your phones, take them to your new office, plug them into your new office broadband connection and voila! Your numbers, contacts and any other information remains exactly the same, the only concern you need to have is to ensure that you have a business grade broadband solution set up and ready to go at your new office as you move. As your company expands we can accommodate your broadband requirements by either adding value to your current infrastructure or even add additional broadband should you need it.

“Also, I’d also like to be able to record calls for reference and staff training.”

Voice Cloud HD comes with all big business premium features as standard. This includes call recording. You can retrieve your call recordings from anywhere using your laptop or any internet enabled web browser.

If you would like to learn more about Voice Cloud HD you can read more here

Business Phone Systems – A Guide for your first office

Considering a business phone system in 2015

Choosing a phone system for your first office can sometimes be overlooked by new business owners, or business owners with expanding needs.

When choosing Business phone system, some people fall into the pitfall of getting a system which is satisfactory to their current needs, but with little regard to how they could possibly run into problems in the future. If you’re reading this, you are likely far more prepared than this, and you are looking for some information to future proof your business. There are several options available from a small multi line PABX to much larget PABX systems. There is also the recently popular cloud based phone system over the traditional phone system to consider.

Choosing a phone system

When choosing a phone system there are several factors to consider:

  • Do I invest in a phone system sufficient for just for my current requirements or do I want to invest in a system which can grow with my business?
  • Should we use Analogue, ISDN lines or move over to a Cloud based hosted VoIP platform?
  • How does the call quality differ from the current options available?
  • Which solution would suit us best if say we have home workers, remote offices or sales reps out on the road using mobiles?
  • What important data can we retrieve from our phone system call logs, call duration, time kept on hold etc?
  • What infrastructure do I need in place in order to have a phone system installed?
  • Do we need specialist training on how to use the system? 

Types of Phone System Solutions

Simple plug and play single line DECT or Corded telephone and headset package 

If you simply work from home and require a simple plug and play solution which runs off a single analogue line then why not consider a telephone and headset bundle package starting from only £26.30. This enables you to make and receive calls without having to hold the handset for long periods of time making your work flow much more efficient and no neck pain! You could even go for a Cordless DECT phone with a headset bundle also giving the benefit of no neck strain however also giving you the freedom to walk around the home or office.

Small business multi line PABX

If you work home or a small office and have more than one person working in the company, having a single line would restrict you from working efficiently and productively. Imagine having to wait for your colleague to finish off a call in order for you to make that all important sales call to your client or even a potential customer trying to contact you and hearing an engaged tone.

We can arrange multiple lines to be installed at your office still keeping your current number for both lines. We supply Orchid Telecom simple plug and play analogue phone systems which can be installed in less than 20 minutes with no technical experience necessary. These systems would enable you to answer the calls on both lines, put the caller on hold and even transfer the call to your colleague.

Medium to large size business multi line PABX

We would recommend if you have four or more employees to go for Panasonic KX-NS700 Smart Hybrid PBX System  This feature rich hybrid phone system offers rock solid stability you would expect from Panasonic, it’s totally expandable, you could simply start with one or two analogue lines and expand up to  for up to 120 incoming lines and 288 extensions by simply adding  lines and expansion cards into the system. The systems is packed rich with features which include:

•            A PBX also utilises Auto attendant – this directs all incoming calls to the appropriate destination by asking the caller to choose an option by using their numerical keypad on their phone.

•            Direct calling – Your customers can now call your employees phones directly if you wish, they will have their own extension number which is dial-able from outside the company.

•            Individual voicemail – You customers can now leave voicemails specifically for an employee which will be left on their extension number.

Ok – That’s great but what’s this Cloud Hosted PABX I keep hearing about?

Hosted PABX

VoIP Phone Systems are phone systems run over the internet. What this basically boils down to is rather than using your phone line, you will use your internet connection , Cloud based Hosted PABX are certainly the future of telephone systems, there hundreds of advantages of using a cloud based hosted PABX over standard hardware system. We can supply a number of solutions in order to offer a Hosted PABX to any company within the UK ensuring crystal clear call quality, stability, cost savings and features only top of the range phone systems could offer.

The beauty of the cloud is that there is no upfront cost for any extra equipment, all you need is a POE switch, the phones, and an internet connection.

  • Minimal installation cost – no need to hire a telephone engineer to install lots of hardware into your office
  • Trade from anywhere in the world– you have one number and if a client calls that number you can take the call from home, office, hotel room, or even the beach
  • Free online portal – You can change all your settings in real time, out of office, voicemail to email, call forwarding etc. No need to call the office asking to put on your out of office again!
  • Free office to office calling – Imagine having offices round the world, you can speak to them 24/7 for free, even transfer calls and have group conference calls
  • Scalability – Hosted PABX enables your company to grow from just one employee to hundred thousand employees. There is no limit on how many handsets. As your company grows you simply purchase another handset and user licence
  • Trade more efficiently – Traditionally when you  to leave the office, a client would have to call you on your mobile in order to make contact, this is not the case with hosted, if anyone calls your landline number is can seamlessly call your mobile number enabling you never to miss that important call. However if you do miss that call the system would then email you a voicemail ensuring you can trade 100% efficiently 

Cloud based Non Geo Graphic numbers

 Cloud based Non geographic numbers are a great way to give your business that more professional, established feel, depending on your type of business there are a number of different variants which would fit into your business profile

0845 – Ideal to use as a standard business number, as the calls are charged at local rate

0800 – Freephone number ideal to attract sales calls

0871- 0844 – These are great for generating revenue when offering services such as technical support and advise lines

03 – Ideal to use as a standard business number, as the calls are charged at lower call rate ideal national presence

  • One number stays with you for life, even if you live in Scotland and then move to London, that number is yours
  • FREE  call recording – record all you incoming calls for free, simply log onto the free portal to retrieve the files
  • FREE online portal with hundreds of features, music on hold – with apology on hold announcements, unlimited call queuing, call statistics
  • Follow me – Simply set your number to divert to your mobile via the online portal without your customer ever knowing. This is ideal for any person who is out of the office and wants to make it easy for potential customer to contact you. 

Contact PMC telecom today to discuss your business needs and find the Best business phone systems for your needs on: 0845 180 9988


Avaya is teaming up with steel ORCA to offer Software Defined Data Center

PMC Telecom take a look at Avaya and their latest move

There are interesting times coming up for Avaya and Steel ORCA. This year marks the opening of Steel ORCA’s state of the art digital utility centre, and it’s going to be one of the newest and most advanced data centres in the world today. Steel ORCA offer colocation, offering customers the ability to rent space at ORCA’s data centre, but continue to use their own servers and hardware. ORCA also offer managed services and cloud solutions on a global basis with a strong emphasis on the reliability and resiliency of its data centres.


We at PMC telecom believe that cloud based services are the future. Sure we wasn’t a big fan a few years ago, when things were slower, and more inaccessible but now it truly is becoming available to everyone. Cloud service providers such as Steel ORCA are building next gen facilities, implementing fabric-based SDN architectures to prepare them for the ever increasing challenging demands of delivering global cloud based services to their clients such as Fujitsu.

Steel ORCA have chosen to implement an end to end mesh technology of Avaya Fabric connect, rather than a box by box architecture. Avaya fabric connect lets Steel ORCA to manage their clients services on the fly, without making physical changes to the network itself. Avaya Fabric connect will help them provide services which are more secure and robust than ever before.

Steel Orca sets the stage for a full Avaya SDN Fx this year

The Avaya SDN Fx architecture is first to delivery programmability and automation from the network to the user providing ultimate ease of use. They are making it much easier to configure the increasing amount of devices at the user end which need to be connected, and they are building a platform on which moving forward, connecting devices to the users side, will becoming easier and easier…


“Competitive pressures are driving businesses to deliver unique, reliable services while reducing costs, maintaining high levels of security and to do it faster than anyone else. Companies seeking this competitive edge can find it within Steel ORCA’s unique environmental approach to creating a Digital Utility Center. By using Avaya’s SDN Fx architecture with Fabric Connect, Steel ORCA breaks the mold to offer unparalleled value, speed and resiliency to customers via their best-in-class, next-generation data” center architecture.”

                Jean Turgeon (JT), chief technology architect, SDN, Avaya

PMCtelecom are proud to offer a range of devices from the ever growing but reliable telecom provider Avaya. You can browse out Avaya handsets Here or if you know what you’re looking for see below or make a search for a product number:

*See Avayas official press release here:

Is there an Avaya product you need? Search your desired product number in our system or see below:

700276132 700356447 700381569
700462518 NTYS08AAE6 700382005
70033912 700356447 – 700434897 700381908
700430408 700476849 700445976
6402D 700458524 700383920
700258577 700476849 700381908
8410D 700458532 700381965
Avy-CM-2 700445976 700385982
Avy-CM-3 700381999 NTYS19AC70E6
Callmaster IV 700346802 38UTN0002UKAC
36650-20 700381916 380TN002UKAL
700383938 700059314 38UTN0002UKBG
700460215 700381957 38UTN00001SAW
700466105 700259674 38UTN00001SBG
NTYS22AB70E6 38UTN00001HBS

Microsoft announce free upgrades to Windows 10

Here’s something quite interesting you may have spotted today if you use Microsoft windows. In the bottom right corner of your screen, you should see a new little Windows icon. Click this and you’ll be able to reserve your free copy of Windows 10 as soon as it’s released.

Windows 10 announcement

We can only agree that it’s a great idea for Microsoft to be offering free upgrades to its operating systems. With lots of compatibility issues between all the older versions of windows, it can be a minefield for developers and users alike unsure if their software will work with their copy of Windows. Now with Microsoft putting huge swathes of people on the path to using the same version of their operating system, no matter how old their PC is, we can all look forward to being able to use the same software, trouble free.

This all won’t happen overnight as lots of people will take time to upgrade, but it’s a great start to provide a smoother user experience for all windows users.

You can read more on Microsoft’s website, here:

Read more on Venturebeat

The Guardian’s article–indows-10-for-free-july