Archive for February, 2018

Trains Collide North of Egyptian Capital, 15 Killed

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Two trains collided on Wednesday north of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, killing at least 15 people, authorities said, the latest deadly accident involving the country’s underfunded and mismanaged railways.

Another 40 people were injured in the accident, which took place in the Beheira province in the Nile delta, according to the country’s state MENA news agency.

The collision involved a cargo train and a passenger train heading to Cairo, the Health Ministry said. The casualty number was likely to increase, it added.

Egypt’s railway system has a poor safety record, mostly blamed on decades of badly maintained equipment and poor management./ Miami Herald


The Energy and Water Regulatory Commission will not Allow a Sharp Increase in Electricity Prices

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

The Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (KEVR) will not allow a sharp increase in electricity prices. This was stated by the commission at an extraordinary briefing.

The three electricity distribution companies in Bulgaria – CEZ, EVN and North Electricity, announced that they want new electricity prices.

“At the same time, because of the sale of the CEZ, the price will rise sharply … these are speculations if someone wants to implement political projects at the price of CEZ, there is no way to do so, “said Ivan Ivanov, chairman of the KEVR. Ivanov specified that he would be able to say what would be the increase in the electricity price after March 31st.

Every year, companies want a big increase, but we do not agree, he added.


New Zoho Chatbot Zia Geared for Small Business Teams

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Introducing Zoho Zia, the AI Chatbot for CRM

There’s a new AI chatbot geared specifically to small business sales teams. Zia Voice will do everything from analyzing email sentiment to answering questions on new leads, deal revenue, and monthly forecasts. The additions to Zoho’s AI-powered sales assistant provides a voice interface so sales people get the info they need without having to look at a screen.

Zoho’s additions make increased productivity possible.

Introducing Zoho Zia

“Information is always at users’ fingertips, thanks to Zia Voice and several newly added AI features in the system,”  said Raju Vegesna, chief evangelist, Zoho.  “Users can summon Zia to pull whatever information they want from the CRM system on the go, right from the mobile app. Just ask Zia, like they would ask Siri or other voice assistant systems.”

Other features designed to help sales teams streamline their processes include real time updates on the best times to reach prospects. Zia also looks at interaction patterns and where a lead is in the sales pipeline suggesting the likelihood of a closure on any given deal.

“Zia analyzes various pieces of information automatically and suggests which prospects/deals to focus on. This way, businesses can prioritize on the right deals/prospects,” Vegesna says.

Statistics see this innovation coming at the right time.

“We see these advancements in AI and voice recognition leading the way into the next transformation of business applications,” says Sheryl Kingstone of 451 Research in a company release.  “Our recent research shows that 45% of the surveyed digital leaders are looking forward to use voice interface in the next 24 months.”

Zoho has also introduced Catalyst, a platform for Zoho CRM allowing small business to build custom mobile apps using serverless components so they can save on web server costs. Catalyst allows businesses to create internal apps for worldwide teams. It gets rid of the need for physical hardware and even allows for integration with third party servers.

The widgets that are available allow small businesses to build custom user interface components so they can work with Zoho CRM’s data in real time.

The Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Zoho CRM have most of these new features now with some to be rolled out later.  Zoho CRM has three editions at prices ranging $12 – $45 /user/month The Ultimate Edition starts at $100 /user/month.

Zoho is a business operating system providing  a variety of productivity and collaboration tools. Zoho One is their integrated suite of business applications introduced in 2017.  They have headquarters in Pleasanton, California, and Chennai, India.

For more information on Zoho CRM, click here.

Image: Zoho

This article, “New Zoho Chatbot Zia Geared for Small Business Teams” was first published on Small Business Trends


UK utilities advised to look offshore in face of Labour threat

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Macquarie analysts urge weighing overseas registration to fend off nationalisation

Winter Situation Remains Complicated across the Country after Heavy Snowfall

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

For most of the country, code yellow for hazardous weather is in effect on 28th of February. Snowfalls will gradually stop. Snowing will last end in the Northeastern regions of Bulgaria.

Trakia Motorway

Motorists are advised to drive with caution when passing through Trayanovi Vrata tunnel on Trakia motorway, Road Infrastructure Agency warned. Due to a power failure, tunnel lighting is switched off. The section is flagged with road signs and speed is limited.

Dobrich (North-East Bulgaria)

The situation in Dobrich is again complicated. Almost all the first and second class roads in the area are closed for traffic. Passable in winter conditions are the road Varna-Dobrich to Kardam and the road near Balchik, but only for cars wighjing up to 3.5 tonnes. There are no people stranded on the roads and noareas without electricity. Basic food products were delivered.

Sliven (South-East Bulgaria)

In Sliven the situation is getting complicated. The snow cover in the plain areas reaches 40 cm and in the Balkan mountain is about one metre. There are no stranded people, but traffic is disrupted, both inside and outside the city. Additional technical equipment is provided to help with the situation. There are no roads closed to traffic. Curently, the wind in Sliven is strong and it continues to snow. /Source: The Bulgarian National Television 


Head of State Will Call Consultative Council on National Security on the General Subject of Energy

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

”I would call a Consultative Council on National Security on the general subject of energy, Belene NPP and CEZ are particular cases”, President Rumen Radev told reporters regarding the deal for the sale of CEZ’s business in Bulgaria, FOCUS News Agency reports.

The president confirmed that he might talk to the Czech president, but stressed that the responsibility in this case lies with Bulgaria. “The names of banks and offshore companies have already emerged, and that is why I say that the mechanism of planning this financing is very important,” Radev commented.

Representatives of the presidential administration will attend the hearing of people involved in the deal before parliamentary committees. Radev added that the lack of a national energy strategy until 2030 and 2050 is major problem. “If we do not have such a strategy, everything will be decided fragmentarily and we will have scandals one after another,” he said.


UK utilities advised on offshore move over nationalisation threat

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Macquarie analysts urge companies to consider registering overseas in event of Labour action

Spotlight: Planting Seeds Tutoring Creates a Business from Helping Students

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Spotlight: Tutoring Services Company Planting Seeds Tutoring Offers Personalized Help for Students

Not all students learn in the same way. So having some personalized help can be a major benefit. Planting Seeds Tutoring specializes in offering that type of personalized tutoring service — meeting students in their homes, in libraries, or even working with them online.

The company looks to build relationships and help students get excited about learning. You can find out more about the company in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Provides a variety of tutoring services for students.

Owner Chris Jones told Small Business Trends, “Planting Seeds Tutoring provides tutoring and test prep services to students through in-home, public locations (libraries, community centers, coffee shops, etc.) and online tutoring.”

Business Niche

Building relationships with students.

Jones says, “Planting Seeds Tutoring makes students feel empowered and passionate about learning and furthering their education. In addition, we also look to build solid relationships with all our students and improve their character in and outside the classroom. Our job is to provide solid academic enrichment and quality mentorship to all students.”


How the Business Got Started

After tutoring in college.

Jones began mentoring other students when he was in college. Then he began working as a special education tutor and teacher assistant at a local elementary school, where he realized his passion for helping others learn.

Biggest Win

Seeing hard work pay off.

Jones explains, “The biggest win was getting our 1st reviews from customers after students or parents saw an increase in their overall grade and better understanding of their concepts. I was filled with an excitement after seeing our vision and potential come to light. It feels good to know you are empowering people in a positive way.”

Biggest Risk

Expanding to San Antonio and launching online tutoring.

Jones says, “We weren’t sure if we had the resources and capability to be able to make a name in the community or get noticed worldwide. Luckily, though it has been a slow process, we have been able to establish ourselves in the community and continue to keep growing. If it didn’t work out we would have taken a big hit with our resources, finances and ultimately it would have shifted our efforts and vision to a totally different market.”

Spotlight: Tutoring Services Company Planting Seeds Tutoring Offers Personalized Help for Students

Lesson Learned

Be intentional when building a hiring strategy.

Jones says, “In the early stages, we rushed to quickly to fill an open position without making sure it would be a great mesh in the long run and it hurt us tremendously. Now, we look for tutors who are knowledgeable and have the understanding of our vision. This allows more trust to be given and we are able to exceed higher expectations and goals. In addition, our clientele is more happy and willing to let others know about services freely.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Donating to a non-profit organization and expanding operations.

Jones says, “Furthermore, we would use another portion of the money for marketing purposes, updating our software and hiring more employees to help us expand throughout the U.S. We would also look at having a physical location for a tutoring center so that we can offer additional programs and activities for students to be apart of and have fun!”

Favorite Quote

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Planting Seeds Tutoring, Chris Jones

This article, “Spotlight: Planting Seeds Tutoring Creates a Business from Helping Students” was first published on Small Business Trends


Huawei 5G Mobile Tablets and Touchscreen Notebook Serve Businesses with Remote Workers

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Huawei Announcements at Mobile World Congress 2018 Include New Mobile Tablets and Touchscreen Notebook

The new Huawei notebook and tablet announced at the 2018 Mobile World Congress, Feb. 2018 through Match 1,  have been designed with connectivity and portability in mind. And the Huawei 5G CPE (customer-premises equipment) gets you ready for true 5G with the globally recognized 3GPP telecommunications standard.

Huawei Announcements at Mobile World Congress 2018

With 5G getting ready to undergo real-world testing, Huawei is one of the first manufactures producing devices ready to accept 5G specifications. The Huawei MateBook X Pro, MediaPad M5 Series and the HUAWEI 5G CPE will provide the connectivity, power and functionality people need to work from anywhere.

With remote and freelance workers increasingly making up the workforce of small businesses, the computing devices employees and business owners use have to connect and interact seamlessly with other business systems.

In a press release, Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei CBG, said the company is making this possible by, “…delivering on the promise to provide breakthrough devices that redefine every part of the mobile computing experience.”

Huawei MateBook X Pro

This is an ultra-slim notebook powered by Intel’s 8th Generation Core i5 or i7 processor, discrete NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU with 2GB GDDR5 and 57.4Wh battery. The 13.9-inch device has a new 3K touch-enabled Huawei Full View Display and Dolby Atmos sound.

The device is very pricey starting at:

  •  $1,850 for the i5/8GB/256GB MW150 version
  • $2,100 for the i5/8GB/512GB MX150 version, and
  •  $2,350 for the i7/16GB/512GB MX150 version.

Huawei MediaPad M5 Series

Huawei Announcements at Mobile World Congress 2018 Include New Mobile Tablets and Touchscreen Notebook

The 8.4-inch and 10.8-inch tablets have some great features, but the larger or pro version has better functionality. Both units have 2560 x 1600 displays, charge over USB-C, use Huawei’s own Kirin 960 processor and run on Android Oreo. The connectivity is either WiFi or LTE.

The MediaPad M5 Pro has a three-pin connector for a keyboard accessory and an M Pen with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. The company says a 100-minute charge gives the pen 50 days of battery life.

The 8.4-inch version starts at $429 and goes to $615, and the 10-inch model starts at $490 and goes up to $739.

3GPP Standard 5G CPE

Huawei says the device is the first CPE to support the globally recognized 3GPP telecommunications standard for 5G. When the 5G networks are up and running, the company says it will provide download speeds of up to 2Gbps and can operate on both 4G and 5G networks.

Huawei hasn’t announced the price for the CPE.

Image: Huawei

This article, “Huawei 5G Mobile Tablets and Touchscreen Notebook Serve Businesses with Remote Workers” was first published on Small Business Trends


Rumen Radev Confirmed Bulgaria’s Interest in Closer Cooperation with Iran

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

”Deepening of the partnership with Iran in the economic and energy spheres is of interest to Bulgaria, Southeast Europe and the European Union, and as President of the EU Council, Bulgaria will work to promote political dialogue to achieve concrete results of mutual interest.” This was stated by President Rumen Radev at his meeting at Dondukov 2 with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Dr Muhammad Jagard Zarif, who is on a visit to Bulgaria, the press service of the head of state announced.

It was common to note that the Joint Iranian Nuclear Comprehensive Action Plan arrangements and Iran’s implementation of commitments made new opportunities for developing the EU’s relations with Tehran as well as traditionally good ties between Bulgaria and Iran.

“We are ready for dialogue to improve transport connectivity, energy diversification and increased mutual investment, tourism and scientific exchange,” said President Radev.

”The development of information technology in Iran and pharmacy with the use of nanotechnology also broadens the scope of potential cooperation with Bulgaria”, Mohammad Jawad Zarif pointed out.

The organization of joint business and tourism forums to foster business contacts between the two countries and the facilitation of visa issuance were highlighted as an opportunity to boost economic and cultural exchanges.

Continuation of international efforts to counteract the terrorist activity of the Islamic State and the post-conflict reconstruction of the Middle East region were also discussed at the meeting. The Iranian Foreign Minister noted the possibility that construction companies from our country could participate in this process.


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