Reviews

Why It’s Perfectly Possible to Bring Brownfield Sites Back to Life

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Three elements are needed to make brownfield developments thrive: determination, expertise and intelligence.

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Determination

This is being driven with new force by a government commitment to finding plots for 160,000 new homes by 2020. They also know that a vibrant building sector is a traditional way of getting the whole economy moving again. In the past, the government often presented planning hurdles for brownfield development. It has been long and complex, but it can be navigated far quicker now that we have improved the second factor – expertise.

Expertise

This is being provided by the scale and experience of the UK’s land remediation services sector. In the government’s own words, “The UK is a world leader in the regeneration and management of industrial land.” This expertise is an export asset that is a net contributor to the UK economy in its own right.

Our market-leading firms have improved technological resources and know-how. For example, a variety of tailored treatment slurries, often utilizing cheap waste products from other industries, can be injected into contaminated material to neutralize or stabilise it for extraction. The resulting materials can often be used in construction, recycled into other useful products or rendered into safe landfill. See numerous case studies here: http://www.ashremediation.co.uk/.

Intelligence

Intelligence – in the sense of pre-knowledge of what issues will be encountered on any particular site – is the element that has often scared away investors and developers. This is changing. There have been advances in monitoring equipment and laboratory facilities, and UK firms excel at risk assessment. Hazard identification, exposure assessment, dose-response data and characterization are all combined to improve the planning, approach, communications and long-term physical outcomes. Detailed mathematical models of the pollutants in soil and groundwater are created to identify the safe amounts by which chemicals must be reduced, and monitoring throughout any remediation process keeps stakeholders reliably informed about progress on a reassuring day-by-day basis.

Many sites prove to be far less contaminated than developers feared, and often simple soil capping or a physical barrier within the ground can easily be handled by a non-specialist builder.

Environmental groups are pleased by the fact that brownfield developments protect greenfield sites. Brownfield land tends to be located closer to urban amenities, so it is convenient both for the builders and eventual residents.

Reviews

4 Digital Marketing Tactics to Consider for 2017

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Digital marketing was incredibly exciting in 2016, with fantastic new innovations such as live streaming coming to the forefront. But as we move into 2017, now’s the perfect time to re-think your initiatives from last year, adopting new tactics and technologies for the year ahead.

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Here are some of the tactics you should consider for your marketing strategy this year.

Live Streaming

Facebook Live (Facebook’s live streaming service) became available to all users in 2016 and has significantly increased people’s awareness of the fact they have access to live streaming. Twitter also started to bring live videos to their users, making live streaming even more readily available than it has ever been before.

The benefits of this include real-time audience interaction and feedback and the capability of being able to attract viewers then and there and through archived video content. Create content that’s authentic and adheres with your brand, such as behind-the-scenes footage, Q&A sessions, event broadcasts or how-tos.

Ephemeral Content

This is content that disappears after a period of time and was introduced in 2011 by Snapchat. Then with the introduction of Instagram Stories in 2016, it became even more mainstream. This trend looks set to become even more prevalent in 2017, so it’s important that you’re one step ahead of the game.

Think about creating content that’s natural and will make your customers feel in sync with you. Use these channels to create your content, and don’t filter or edit it too heavily, or consider asking a Dublin SEO agency such as http://www.rycomarketing.ie/ to help you.

Influencer Marketing

In 2016, on Instagram alone, $570 million was spent on influencer marketing, and budgets look set to increase in 2017. This is a highly effective way of getting your brand in front of new customers, as it helps you to appear more authentic.

Don’t drive all your budget at trying to get an A-list celebrity; instead, focus on getting an influencer who’s relevant to your industry to promote your brand.

Personalised Marketing

Users are increasingly looking for personalised experiences, and your marketing initiatives need to adhere to this. Start by looking at how your customers behave on your site, searching for patterns in the customer journey. And take a look at your demographics too, including gender, age and location, so you can further personalise their buying experience.

Reviews

Business and Culture

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Reading has just completed it’s Year of Culture 2016 which saw more than 30 local inhabitants volunteer to be ambassadors for the town. Based at the train station, they greeted and welcomed visitors to Reading and provided directions, advice and information about points of interest in the town. This was to support the ‘Inside’ exhibition opened in the prison building by Artangel. The volunteers jointly gave over 400 hours of representing the town and promoting visits to Reading’s attractions, the town centre and the Abbey Quarter.

Artangel’s exhibition has attracted over 18,000 visitors and supports the argument that heritage and culture can really boost local economy and businesses. In fact, local businesses are keen to encourage closer working with arts projects and contributed £100,000 to the Year of Culture through sponsorship and donations. More investment is needed in arts, culture and heritage to increase economic growth in Reading. A recent survey of Reading companies found that 70% agreed that cultural events helped to build strong location identity which was crucial in relocating staff, recruitment and retention.

85% believed that business and the arts should work closer together to benefit the local economy and all of those surveyed agreed that business had a strong role to play creating a stronger sense of location identity in Reading. To get a more artistic looking website think about Reading web design and visit http://www.starwebinnovations.co.uk/

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Many businesses felt that Reading lacked a clear sense of identity and thought that this perception could be changed with heritage, shopping, arts, local people and cultural events. Other features that would greatly improve the town would be a new theatre, more independent shops, markets, live music events and festivals.

Helping a town to understand its historic, cultural, economic and social background is a crucial basis for developing and forging a sense of place. A community will have different characteristics such as population, linguistics, demographics, cultural history, customs, landscapes, events and spaces. Every place has its own story to tell which is forever evolving and growing.

Arts, culture and creativity can improve a community’s competitive edge as well as act as a foundation for a sense of identity. They can attract new visitors and populations and contribute towards building a skilled workforce. There is a theory that says modern, high-tech and well educated workers prefer to live in towns and cities with plenty of creative amenities. Maybe towns could call an area a dedicated arts or creative district and this would help draw attention to the many cultural assets in the community.

Public Art attracts visitors and investment, particularly streetscaping by designer artists. This can include specially designed lighting, benches and signs and the better an area looks, the more it will attract pedestrians. Revitalization of derelict areas can also include turning a space into a piece of artwork, for example, transforming a street by adding artwork displays to empty shop windows. An eyesore can be turned into an interesting space. Grand Rapids, Michigan in the U.S has a fantastic contest every year called Art Prize which effectively turns the city into a giant art gallery. Anyone can enter and any visitors can vote. Residents, businesses and artists all work together over many venues and some 1000 volunteers sign up to get involved. Business is booming as footfall increases massively through the city.

Reviews

Interior design with a twist

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We all know that the way choose to decorate our homes says a lot about who are and the same can be said of offices too. The structure, layout and décor of an office will speak volumes about the company and those who work there. With competition fierce for hiring top graduates and retaining the best candidates, some companies are going the extra mile to make sure that their office space is ergonomic, attractive and technological advanced. Continue reading

Reviews

Getting to Grips with Cookies

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An online browse nowadays isn’t complete without a website asking you if you’re willing to accept its use of cookies. Most of us say yes automatically – just so we can continue browsing unhindered. But what are cookies exactly, and should we be concerned about them?

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A lot of media coverage in the past has tended to focus on the potentially negative aspects of cookies, which have been positioned as pieces of digital spyware, rather than what they are, which is harmless small digital files designed to facilitate user experiences online.

So what are cookies exactly?

Firstly, the key thing to know is that cookies are not computer programmes. They are simply text files which perform no actions. You can even read them if you want to; and if you do, you’ll see that they contain a user ID – unique to the device – and a site name.

The beauty of cookies

These simple but powerful text files are downloaded on to your laptop or PC when you first visit a website. If you allow the cookie, your device will remember the next time that you visit the site, and look out for a relevant cookie. This allows the website to identify if you are a previous visitor, and it can then tailor information that is shown back to you. For example, it might remember fields in a form or other actions which help to improve your user experience and reduce admin time.

Other cookies provide more in-depth and sophisticated information, such as user browsing time, click-throughs and even the user’s preferred colour schemes and page structures. They can also be used to capture analytics on items bought or stored in an online shopping cart. This has real benefits for businesses. Swansea web design and SEO agency http://www.accent-adc.co.uk use the information to make targeted online advertising campaigns, and help businesses to reach their target audiences more easily.

For customers, the experience is also beneficial, making the site interaction generally smoother and easier and reducing the amount of time spent filling out forms and setting preferences.

Any downsides?

There are opposing views to the value of cookies and their role in the online world. This viewpoint often depends on the user’s own perspectives on ‘big data’ and personal information being stored by organisations and companies. The information stored may not be exceptional or even particularly confidential, but some people do not want to have their information captured and added to marketing data lists at all.

The legal perspective

Whereas the use of cookies used to be seen as secretive, today websites are obliged to flag up their use to website visitors and check that they are happy to opt in for cookie use. Express permission has to be given by the user before cookies can be used on the site, which is given by a tick box. The UK’s Information Commission monitors companies to make sure they are complying with this legislation and strict data laws that define and manage how customer data may or may not be used. So ultimately, depending on how you feel about privacy and ease of browsing, your interaction with cookies online very much depends on your own preferences.

Reviews

Is your business getting left behind?

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Technology is everything in this day and age. It is easy to think that you are engaged in an older craft that doesn’t rely on technology, but you would be surprised. Unless you are the only person in your area doing what you do, you are likely to need to compete with similar local businesses. One of the most cost-effective ways to do this is to use technology.

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Using technology well

The media often reports that children are using too much technology, that we use our smartphones too much and ignore our children, or that we are turning into hermits; however, this is not always the case. As an example, take the Tech4Good awards. The Guardian reported that the winning product was a bionic arm made by a company called Open Bionics. This arm can be made for notably less money than its competitors, and it can be made quickly. In this case, technology is giving people the freedom to get out there and live their lives.

Ongoing progress

Every day there are new inventions in the world of technology. Even if you only really use a smartphone, you are still likely to make the most of new innovations. The BBC reported that Apple is making it possible for people to use their smartphones as digital wallets. In the future the likelihood is that we won’t even bother to carry a purse or wallet when we are shopping.

What does this mean for my business?

This basically means that you need to keep up. Don’t worry, you don’t need to invent the next bionic arm or throw away all your cash, but why not develop a really great website?. Using a local company such as rycomarketing.co.uk, which provides web design in Dublin, will allow you to work closely with the designers without spending a fortune.

Who knows, you might end up thinking outside the box like Open Bionics, which was a startup company when it invented something invaluable to people all over the world. Think about your field of expertise. What does it need and how could you invent it? Could a fabulous website help you to promote your invention or your existing business? The question is, could you be the next big thing in technology?

Reviews

6 Innovative Flooring Solutions For Commercial Premises

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Your floor is something that makes a surprisingly large impact and when considering flooring solutions for commercial premises it’s important to consider not just aesthetics, but durability too.

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There are plenty of durable, long wearing flooring options available and it’s important to consider what type of wear and tear will take place before you settle on a specific covering.

These six options offer something for every building and to suit all tastes, requirements and preferences.

Engineered Wood Flooring

Craftwood is an innovative new product that comprises of an engineered hardwood with an oil finish. Laid in planks like a standard wooden floor, Craftwood is designed to be easy to clean, colour stable and long lasting.

Rubber Flooring

If you like the look of vinyl flooring, then rubber may be your best bet. Nora Systems has created a high performance rubberised floor that’s ideal for busy environments and that reduces noise and enhances comfort.

Waterproof Floating Floors

Ideal for high traffic areas, NuClic no wax flooring can be installed over existing floors and is a flexible and interlocking covering that does not affect the original floor. A site like http://www.ukflooringdirect.co.uk/ could tell you more about this type of product and other similar bacteria-resistant options.

Vinyl Tiles

A great option for any area that needs to be kept clean but look good too, vinyl tiles come in different shades and textures, include wood, marble and stone. The appearance of tiles with the ease of use of vinyl makes these tiles really attractive to commercial enterprises.

Tile and Grout Flooring

Mosaics have become very popular and are an excellent choice for areas that repeatedly get wet. The tiles are laid and grouted over, and thereafter they are easy to keep clean and to maintain. This system can work with smaller or larger tiles and looks very appealing too.

Plank Vinyl Tiles

Similar to vinyl tiles, plank vinyl tiles are laid in long planks and look like wood, stone or any other similar material. They may also have designs on them. The enhanced rolled edges of these tiles add depth and are designed to withstand high traffic and regular use. Low maintenance yet very attractive, plank tiles are often used in areas between warehouses and similar, where flooring needs to withstand heavy use.

Reviews

Safety Concerns in Pallet Racking

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There has been concern over the safety of racking systems in Australia, after WorkSafe Western Australia carried out a far-reaching inspection programme across the region’s wholesale industry. Concerns were raised that the industry was failing to use adequately safe racking systems.

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A Full Scale Inspection

The series of inspections took place across regional and urban areas alike, with officials going to 127 wholesale premises to assess the range of hazards that workers face in their daily jobs.

Joe Attard, the Director or WorkSafe, said that wholesaling by its nature include a range of activities that could be dangerous and result in injuries to staff. As a result of the visits, the inspectors issued over 200 notes of improvement, and two more serious prohibition notices. This majority of these notices were issued specifically for unsafe pallet racking practices.

Common Injuries in Wholesaling

The most common form of injury with wholesaling comes from muscular strain and injury from carrying, lifting or putting heavy objects down. This can be partly mitigated with the use of automated machinery, but the nature of the job means that most workers will need to engage in manual lifting and shifting for at least a portion of their day.

Quality and compliant pallet racking in Ireland, such as those provided by groups like duffydiscount are suitable for businesses wanting to ensure that their premises are kept safe, to protect both staff and customers alike. Without these, there are three key areas of concern:

Firstly, many racking systems do not display safe working loads, which make them subject to overloading and the risk of toppling or falling. Secondly, racks are not always bolted down or secure, making them unstable and in danger of being topped by forklifts.

Last but not least, poor quality or poorly maintained pallet racks tend to be missing their safety lock pins, which are an essential safeguard to ensure that supports are maintained in place.

Other notices were also issued in relation to warning signs, hazardous substances and machinery guards. WorkSafe reminded wholesale business owners that they had a responsibility to their staff and customers, to maintain safe working conditions and to protect people on site.

As well as better pallet racking systems, training was recommended to help workers to lift correctly at all times and to identify potential health and safety risks within their work environment.

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A look back on Windows 10

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Windows is one of the most commonly used operating systems, so the release of a new version is always a major event. When it launched Windows 10 back last year on the 29th July it was set to be bigger than most because of the way it was delivered.

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Existing users of newer versions of Windows (7, 8 or 8.2) had noticed that a new icon had appeared in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. When the mouse cursor is hovered over it, the text ‘get Windows 10’ was shown.

Microsoft wanted to get as many people as possible to upgrade to the latest version. So for the first time, the company had offered a major Windows release as a free upgrade. For the first year of its life, Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users could get Windows 10 for nothing.

Can I still Upgrade to Windows 10?

Windows 10 doesn’t seem too different at first from the previous version, but there were some big changes. The most evident is that the Start menu made a comeback. A lot of users missed this feature when it was dropped from Windows 8. The new Start menu is a mixture of the menu seen in earlier systems such as Windows 7 and XP and Windows 8’s tiled Start screen look. There are improved search capabilities, and users are able to resize and customise the menu to their needs.

Windows 10 has a new internet browser called Microsoft Edge. This is built to make reading and researching online simpler. So for web designers in Taunton like somersetwebservices it made creating an easy to navigate mobile responsive site all the more important, especially with the latest rank brain algo that came out a few months ago.

The Cortana voice-controlled personal assistant, already familiar to Windows Phone users, will be in Windows 10 too. Apps will be included for things such as photos, music and maps. Some features of older versions will disappear, though – Windows Media Center, for example.

Windows 10 is compatible with touchscreen and tablet devices as well as conventional PCs, so it will suit a wide range of systems. There are links to Xbox and it allows for the streaming of games from Xbox One to PC.

Getting Windows 10

Of course, software testing services will have had early versions of Windows 10 for some time. For the rest of us, users of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 with the latest updates may already have seen the Windows 10 icon.
Once you’ve updated, it will be download in the background. You’ll be notified when this is done so you can install it at your leisure. If you’re thinking of buying a new computer, there’s no need to hold on all new Windows systems bought will be eligible for the free upgrade.