Tag Archives: cycling

Instant Quote for Used Phone…Enabled by QR Codes

Everyone has seen adverts for these companies, the model obviously proves profitable. Old smartphones can be traded in, for money, to be recycled. These companies make money, the consumer makes money and the phones do not end up straight in the landfill. However the process is not flawless, the companies like to view the phones before they pay money for them and consumers are easily put off by such obstacles. This means that only around 10% ever get recycled in such a manner.

So what is the solution? QR Codes of course. American company MaxBack has released a QR Code which, when scanned, assesses the phone and makes an instant offer. This clever use of the QR Code works in several ways. Firstly its entire target audience has smartphones so can scan the device, secondly it is self selecting. If someone has a smartphone which is so run down it will no longer scan a QR Code then it cannot get the offer. Finally it means that when someone sends their phone off they can do so with a good awareness of what they will receive in return.

So don’t get bogged down in the numerous terrible uses of QR Codes, embrace those who do the technology justice! For more information on our Mobile Barcode Reading SDK check out our website.


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Barcodes for Small Businesses

In charities and small businesses there is no room for waste, even small changes can sometimes be big decisions due to the resultant effect on already tight cash flows. However if you want to keep an organisation running smoothly and efficiently, investments must be made.

The Watford Observer has reported that the county council has awarded £750 to the Rickmansworth Toy Library to allow them to implement a barcode lending system. Many people working in business will be reluctant to take lessons from a local toy library, however it is something worth paying attention to. An efficient and automated system not only provides a check on human error but it also allows staff to concentrate on the less monotonous tasks which can really propel an organisation forward.

In small business there is always the option of a manual workaround, and often they do save money, but a long term view can help a small group of people have a big impact. For more information on what barcode reading could do for your business check out our ready-to-use barcode application.

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London Olympics – Reflections on the Games and Future Legacy

So the London Olympics have come to an end, and sadly I have been beaten. No, I was not competing, and neither did I get fed up of it, quite the opposite. As I settled in to watch the opening ceremony the cynic within was ready to start lampooning the cheap efforts to replicate Beijing’s extravagance. However I found myself enjoying a great evening of entertainment (almost patriotic!) and have not looked back for the past sixteen days. If I’m not at work or out on my bike then I’ve been firmly parked infront of the box shouting and screaming in support of the South Korean Handball team or a Grenadian sprinter. As a company we all sadly missed out on tickets to the games, such was the demand, but we did make it to some of the free stuff. The ‘training team’ we sponsor were there to cheer on Team GB in the men’s road race, although that particular event didn’t go to plan the dominance of GB on two wheels has been a highlight of the Olympics for us (especially after Wiggo’s win at the Tour). 

This last week I have been working in Edinburgh where another of Britain’s great events is held, the Fringe Comedy Festival. I had read many articles talking of the Olympics damaging the festival but there was no sign of that, the city was as packed as ever during the festival month. The city centre a constant crowd of different nationalities and people flyering. The BBC had erected 2 huge screens in the centre where you could enjoy a drink and watch the sport alongside a huge enthusiastic crowd. Even better, the sun was out, in Scotland! A great evening was spent with a Gin and Tonic watching the 200m final with the Jamaican clean sweep. There was also time to get out into the hills with some of the Softek Software training team, and the hills around Edinburgh do not disappoint!

So as a business based near London, but experiencing the Olympics across the UK, all I can say is it has been brilliant. Too often the UK seems in the news for negative reasons and as a company dealing internationally it can knock the image and consequently sales. However in the wake of this event British business should have a new confidence in the world market. Maybe we no longer have the overwhelming muscle now enjoyed by China, and reflected in their Olympics, but we can deliver a good job which most importantly will last the test of time. It astonished me that London 2012 is the first games to have an emphasis on legacy, no throw away lavish celebrations but an attempt to ‘inspire a generation’. This is a great image to share with the world and to associate with Britain, quality which will last for centuries not just a quick short term success.

I will end this post before I get too misty eyed, after all the world goes on and we have the Vuelta Espana to get excited about next. What was your lasting impression of the games? Is this a fair reflection or is it seen differently from around the world? For more reflection check out this report card from Yahoo USA.



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Softek Cycling Project

Those who follow us on twitter may be aware here as Softek we are a cycling mad bunch. Whether its a sneaky office bike ride on a quiet day or turning on the Giro d’Italia finish on an afternoon in the office, we love it. Therefore when the opportunity has come along to sponsor the kit of a small cycling team starting up in Edinburgh we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity. Although starting right at the bottom we look forward to seeing what they can achieve, and we’ll share the kit and results on here as they arrive!

So although we may not be about to hit the big time cycling world this is exciting stuff for Softek Software, keep an eye out for them on the roads and news on their progress here!

More info soon!


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Diversification: Pro Cyclist sets up a Blueberry Farm?

No one should need reminding in this day and age that continual expansion is not also the best thing, just look at RBS’ huge losses after continually trying to expand rather than consolidate a solid business. However one headline which caught my attention this week was that two time winner of the Giro d’Italia  Ivan Basso had started his own blueberry farm in his home town. Although still only 34 years of age and with no plans of retirement it is clear he has his eye on the long term.

Even more surprisingly I learnt that this was not uncommon among European cyclists who will often invest in the likes of olive groves to secure there long term future. The only business lesson I will even attempt to squash out of this is the genius is going for something tried, tested and with solid returns. These wealthy people are not attempting a ‘dragon’s den‘ style investment with ridiculous returns but something which will always be needed, recession or not; food. Therefore when looking to expand a stable business is it not best to look for how to create the strongest base rather than the gambling on short term growth.

However Basso’s judgement has not always been so hot in the world of cycling; banned for two years for involvement in doping. Although he has seen a resurgence in his career following the work of the late anti-doping coach Aldo Sassi (same trainer as Tour de France 2011 winner Cadel Evans) last year he missed the Giro to concentrate on the Tour de France and finished a disappointing 8th. Next year it appears with Contador either unwilling or unable to ride the Giro Ivan Basso will be back and fighting for the pink jersey.

Since the blueberry harvest will apparently take 8,000 man hours I can only say I hope it doesn’t clash with a grand tour… that would be one busy month!

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Business Efficiency

Today the last two teams have been confirmed to the UCI World Tour (for Pro Cycling). The teams are the recently merged Radioshack-Nissan team and the first ever Australian Pro Tour team called GreenEdge. You will notice that the second team, GreenEdge, does not adorn the name of a large multinational company. This lack of sponsorship would usually mean a team would fail at the first hurdle but this team is following a trend set elsewhere in cycling; being funded by a very rich fan of cycling.

However as anyone in the world of business knows an investor, whether in the industry for love or money, never wants to simply throw money at a project. No one wants to play with their own money. However since the teams license was only confirmed 40 days before the World Tour starts at the Santos Tour Down Under is it any wonder they have failed to secure a headline sponsor? Although cycling offers fantastic returns for the investment compared to other avenues of advertising it is hard to pitch an opportunity such as that when you can’t even guarantee the team’s presence at the biggest races. Furthermore although some companies are scared to be associated with cycling due to image problems with allegations of doping still appearing it is worth noting that Phonak made huge profits the year that Floyd Llandis was stripped of his Tour de France victory.

So what was the point in this article other than a fine excuse to write about cycling? The point is that deadlines are there for a reason, in order for a business to operate as a complete business it needs all the aspects to be working to the same schedule. You cannot have the media department pitching to other businesses if they cannot confirm what is happening on the business side of things. So although there are often conflicts within a company between departments they are all reliant on each other and that is something worth remembering.

Did this make sense?

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