A first for Small Business: Dual-Band Wi-Fi Signals in One Device

 

Comcast Business

Comcast Business

Comcast Business recently launched the nation’s first wireless gateway service built specifically for a commercial environment with an integrated modem equipped to produce dual-band Wi-Fi signals. The Business Wireless Gateway allows entrepreneurs to assign one private wireless signal for their back-office needs and a separate public signal (Xfinity WiFi) for customers or visitors, creating a simple and secure solution for businesses of all kinds that want to take advantage of the many benefits of Wi-Fi.

This device and Business WiFi service are included with most Comcast Business Internet plans, and Comcast Business supports the device and provides customer service 24/7.

“We are making the Business Wireless Gateway available nationwide because research has proven time and again that Wi-Fi is a game changer for brick and mortar based small businesses,” said John Guillaume, vice president of Product Development, Comcast Business. “Many different types of customers – coffee shops, law firms, real estate offices, gyms, libraries and more – want to attract and retain visitors to their location and give employees the tools they need to be more productive. Wi-Fi can be critical on both fronts, and this device can help make that easy to manage.”

A recent survey of “Main Street” small business owners by Bredin Research indicated that some small business owners who don’t offer public Wi-Fi to their patrons have concerns about technical support, cost and customer misuse. Developed by Cisco, Comcast’s new Business Wireless Gateway addresses each of these concerns and more:

Private Wi-Fi

  • Fast – more than enough Wi-Fi speed to handle the demands and multiple devices of today’s modern businesses.
  • Private – a network that is separate and distinct from the public Wi-Fi, so the business is not impacted by activity by patrons.
  • Cost Effective – included with most Comcast Business Internet tiers.
  • Helps Productivity – through an expanded Internet experience for employees, who can connect wirelessly and quickly to the internal network, cloud applications and shared devices like printers.
  • BYOD – the rising popularity of bring your own device (BYOD) policies further enhances the appeal of Wi-Fi in the business setting, as employees increasingly want to use their own devices for work.

Public Wi-Fi

  • Speed – according to third party analysis, Xfinity WiFi is the fastest Wi-Fi in the nation.
  • Happy Customers – ensure visitors’ Wi-Fi experience is positive, which can lead to repeat visits, customer loyalty and new business.
  • Become a Destination – be a part of the largest public Wi-Fi network in the country and listed on an interactive Wi-Fi locator map – available through the Xfinity WiFi app and online.
  • Easy Installation – no additional equipment or routers required for public Wi-Fi; the public and private Wi-Fi networks, available through one device, are set up by Comcast Business technicians.
  • Increased mobility – Businesses will receive two logins to access millions of Xfinity WiFi hotspots for business or personal purposes while on the go.

“Today’s ‘main street’ small businesses want to offer Wi-Fi to their customers to get them in the store and keep them coming back, but concerns can arise from over security and how challenging it will be to set up and maintain a Wi-Fi network,” said Matt Davis, director of Consumer and Small Business Telecom Services at IDC. “The Business Wireless Gateway from Comcast Business gives SMBs a single box solution to quickly set up both public and private Wi-Fi, with public access being managed and maintained over the Comcast network. This can alleviate security concerns because customers are not accessing the same Wi-Fi network that your employees are.”

For more about Wi-Fi use in small businesses on social media, follow #SMBWiFi.

About Comcast Business

Comcast Business, a unit of Comcast Cable, provides advanced communication solutions to help organizations of all sizes meet their business objectives. Through a next-generation network that is backed by 24/7 technical support, Comcast delivers Business Internet, Ethernet, TV and a full portfolio of Voice services for cost-effective, simplified communications management.

For more information, call 866-429-3085.

Follow us on Twitter @ComcastBusiness and on other social media networks at http://business.comcast.com/social.

Student Entrepreneurs To Showcase Their Businesses at the Entrepreneuring Youth Expo

At the June 5th Ignite Possibilities Business Expo hosted by local non-profit, Entrepreneuring Youth , one young entrepreneur will take home $1,500 and earn a trip to a national business pitch competition in Silicon Valley; Another eight will be named finalists and earn cash prizes to re-invest in their businesses.

For these middle school and high school students from five area schools or community organizations, the business expo (which runs 5 pm – 7 pm at the Rivers Club in Oxford Centre) marks the culmination of several months of hard work and three rounds of intense scrutiny by outside judges on the development and pitching of business plans as part of the George W. Tippins Business Plan Competition.   The expo also provides the opportunity for students to promote the businesses they created and get practice selling their products in a tradeshow-style environment.

Also recognized will be teachers and volunteers who help to grow Entrepreneuring Youth, whose mission it is to guide hundreds of young people to start and manage businesses as a way to help them discover confidence and life opportunities.

The event is FREE to the public, thanks to the generosity of EY. Attendees are asked to pre-register through Entrepreneuring Youth’s website (eyouthamerica.org) and come to the event eager to financially support the young entrepreneurs by purchasing their wares.

“It’s remarkable to watch students advance from just having an idea  - to writing a business plan  - to competing and winning in our competitions – to selling their products and seeing, first-hand,  how their ideas now have value to others,“ says Jerry Cozewith, President and Co-Founder of Entrepreneuring Youth.

Cozewith believes that gains in confidence come, in part, from the advice of business leaders who’ve run companies themselves and volunteer time to help guide the students as mentors and judges.  About 40 judged the recent George W. Tippins Business Competition.

“Most of all, we want the students to enjoy being entrepreneurial and experience where that kind of mindset leads them,” says Cozewith. “Events like this help them taste what it’s like to talk to customers, promote their products and compete. Being named a ‘winner’ for one’s own creation is definitely a confidence boost and is important to ALL young people trying to figure out their place in the world.”

EY Announces Finalists for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

EY today announced the finalists for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 in the Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia region. The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. These business leaders were selected by a panel of independent judges. Award winners will be announced at a special gala on June 20 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown Hotel.

The finalists are:

Michael Cherock, AE Works Ltd.

Jim Kudis, Allegheny Petroleum Products Company

Jan Lehigh, Alpine Packaging, Inc.

John Burke, Armada

Ron Bianchini, Avere Systems

Mike Geiger and John Iaquinta, Big Plan Concepts

Jerry Shafran, Compliance Assurance Corporation

Dean Grose, Comtech Industries, Inc.

Ray Yeager, Ductmate Industries, Inc.

Luis von Ahn, Duolingo

Kevin Hutchison, Health Monitoring Systems, Inc.

WendyPeters Staso, Huckestein Mechanical Services, Inc.

Jeanette Spofford, Justifacts Credential Verification, Inc.

Edward Perrin, Karndean Designflooring

Jim Ross, Kenny Ross Automotive Group

Todd Wolynn and Albert Wolf, Kids Plus Pediatrics

Robb Myer, NoWait, Inc.

David Levine, NuGo Nutrition

Bruce Mallinson, Pittsburgh Power Inc.

Paul Hennigan, Point Park University

Bill Sarris, Sarris Candies, Inc.

Rob Robillard, Sensible Organics

Paul Silvis, SilcoTek Corporation

Lani Lazzari, Simple Sugars

Pam Petrow, Vector Security

Joe Ferrara, Wombat Security Technologies, Inc.

Additionally, it has been announced that Heather Bresch, CEO, Mylan Inc. will receive the EY Global Impact Award and Richard P. Simmons, Chairman, Emeritus, Allegheny Technologies Inc., will be honored as the EY Master Entrepreneur.

Now in its 28th year, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries throughout the world.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 15, 2014. The awards are the culminating event of the EY Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

Tech Startups: Get Smart about Patent Litigation

The Webb Law Firm

The Webb Law Firm

By Daniel H. Brean, The Webb Law Firm

It is a sad fact, but success often breeds opportunistic lawsuits.  The technology sector seems especially vulnerable to this phenomenon, and the litigation de jour is patent litigation.  Startups have never been targeted with patent infringement lawsuits more than they are today.  Companies that dance in the footsteps of elephants (i.e., tech giants) and show promise as new competitors may find themselves being sued for infringement by a well-funded plaintiff.  Additionally, when startups garner enough attention they can find themselves targeted for patent infringement by patent assertion entities, or “patent trolls,” who are not market participants but merely own patents and attempt to enforce them in order to monetize them.  Patent trolls send demand letters and file lawsuits to pursue these monetization efforts.  The end result of these actions can be suppression of competition and stymied innovation.

Receiving a demand letter or a complaint for patent infringement can be intimidating.  The technology and the law at issue is often highly complex, and the burden and expense of litigating can render a dispute a “bet the company” scenario.  Most patent trolls are looking for at least tens of thousands of dollars to settle cases early on, with the settlement demands increasing if the litigation proceeds past the initial stages.  Ultimately, they will seek millions of dollars in damages for the cases that go to trial.  Operating companies may be seeking even more money, mandatory licensing schemes, and might also want to get an injunction to stop a company from making, using, and selling its technology.  Often these demands are made with barebones analysis and paper thin allegations, relying on the expense and hassle of defending an uncertain and vaguely-defined case to lead most companies to try to resolve matters outside of formal legal proceedings.

While there is no doubt a place for legitimate disputes regarding the scope of patent claims and the need to enforce patents, curbing abusive patent litigation is so important to this country that all three branches of our federal government are taking steps to help stem the tide.  Congress has been considering legislation to reduce patent infringement litigation abuse for the past few years, and seems to be nearing the passage of such reform.  Such legislation would, among other things, potentially increase the burden of filing lawsuits by requiring more specificity about the alleged infringement from the patent owner when the case is filed.  The Supreme Court is set to consider this term whether there are better ways to make those who file baseless lawsuits pay the legal fees incurred by their targets who defend themselves and prevail in the litigation.  And President Obama recently issued several executive orders to improve the quality of issued patents, and even worked with the Patent Office to launch a website with information to assist those who may find themselves threatened with patent infringement allegations (http://www.uspto.gov/patentlitigation).  Getting up to speed on patent litigation via this website is a must for any new or small technology company.

This new website explains the basics of how to tell if a patent is infringed and how to tell if it is valid.  It identifies some options to fight a lawsuit or to challenge the validity of a patent in a proceeding at the Patent Office.  It provides information on how to learn who has been sued or threatened with litigation over a particular patent, and how to find the court documents or demand letters in those related cases, along with crowd-sourced discussions about the patent owners and the patents in some cases.  It includes guidelines for how to understand and respond to both demand letters and complaints.  There is also a glossary of patent terminology and there are links to resources for legal research.   Finally, the website provides guidance on when you may need to seek legal help and how to find qualified counsel.

Hopefully, you never find yourself targeted with spurious patent infringement claims, but if you ever do, do not allow yourself to be blindsided or intimidated when faced with an allegation of patent infringement.  Once a demand letter is sent or a lawsuit is filed, a lot can happen very fast and legal assistance may be necessary.  Knowledge is power, so empower yourself to defend against infringement allegations that have no merit.

Daniel H. Brean is a senior intellectual property attorney with The Webb Law Firm in Pittsburgh, PA.  He is an experienced patent litigator and patent prosecutor, working primarily with mechanical, electrical, and software technologies.  Dan also has considerable expertise in the area of industrial design protection and design patents, frequently publishing and speaking on these topics.  Questions or comments for Dan may be directed to dbrean@webblaw.com or (412) 471-8815.  The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and should not be attributed to The Webb Law Firm or any client thereof.

Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence launches Entrepreneur Hotline

Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence

Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence

Searching for answers regarding the startup, growth, or transitioning of your business? Look no more! The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence has just launched a business advice hotline that can assist you with any of your business questions. The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence has been helping entrepreneurs succeed for over 20 years. In 2013, the Institute helped startup 47 new businesses, impacted 450 jobs and raised over $13 million in new funding for clients. The Entrepreneur Hotline will provide free, fast assistance to your business questions.

Call now! 1-844-PITTIEE.

About The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence
The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business helps entrepreneurial business leaders harness the power of innovation, collaboration, and knowledge to increase profit margins, create jobs, diversify revenue streams, connect to emerging markets, and secure new research and development dollars. We take pride in knowing that, collectively, the people we serve fuel southwestern Pennsylvania’s resurgent economy.