Croft Communications are delighted to announce the acquisition of EE dealer and recognised BT supplier, Distinct Connections Limited. Together, the newly-merged team will use our unrivalled experience and expertise to continue to offer great-value unified communications solutions to businesses and organisations across the UK.  

An award-winning business mobile provider that’s been highly regarded in the industry, Distinct Connectionis known for the quality of its service, with many long-standing clients of 12 years or more. Thanks to the merger, these loyal and valued customers will now benefit from an even wider range of communication products and servicesincluding super-fast broadbandhosted telephony such as VoIP, business phone systems, fast and responsive IT support, thermal imaging cameras and moreWith a shared passion for personalised service and solutions that are expertly tailored to customer needs, clients of both Croft and Distinct can rest assured they’ll continue to receive bespoke customer service that’s second-to-none.  

“The merger with Croft Communications is a real opportunity to broaden the portfolio of services we can offer to our customers,” said Distinct Connections director Kerry Tomlinson. “With multiple accolades as industry leaders in business mobile telephony, we’re now looking forward to this next exciting stage in the life of our business – expanding our offering to help our clients work more efficiently with fast and reliable connections.”  

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A county show with a twist

We’re delighted to announce that Croft will be headline sponsoring the 2020 Hertfordshire County Show.

With the global pandemic impacting on a number of events across the county, this year’s show comes with a twist – and on the 23rd May 2020, the county show is going online for the very first time.

Our CEO, Mark Bramley, is proud that Croft is supporting this exciting initiative:

“We are really delighted to be chosen as the 2020 Herts Virtual Show headline sponsor. Whilst it is really unfortunate that all of us will not be able to attend the County Show in person this year, the plans for it to be held virtually are so very exciting. As Herts Chamber Patrons, Croft Communications are passionate about representing and promoting the county and all the great businesses and innovation it has within it.”  

From chickens and cattle and cheeses to a virtual PIMM’S stand, people from town and country alike will be able to join in with the action from the comfort of their own homes.

With a brand-new dedicated website and an interactive map taking you through to a day filled with activities and events, the event promises to be one to remember.

As experts in connectivity solutions, the team at Croft are proud to be at the front and centre of it all.

Map of Virtual Herts County Show 2020

An opportunity to look to the future

With the show now just a few days away, Sarah Moreland MBE, Executive Director looks ahead to an exciting future…

We are excited by the possibilities of what an online show presents. The Show will offer ‘attendees’ the perfect opportunity to look back with nostalgia, look at the present and learn, and look to the future with excitement and optimism. We are living in challenging times – but every challenge presents opportunities. Here, we have a fantastic opportunity to come together and make this Show the Greatest Show Online!”

Croft in the community

As headline sponsors, the team at Croft are thrilled to be involved and look forward to being in amongst the action over the coming days.

Keep your ears peeled to Heart radio for more on Croft and the County Show, and we can’t wait for you to see our homepage takeover, coming soon to the Heart website!

Find out more

Croft are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with one of the finest agricultural shows in the country.

Entry for exhibitors is free, but all involved are welcoming donations to the Hertfordshire Agricultural Society (a registered charity set up with the aim of promoting farming and agriculture, alongside the associated skills, crafts, trades and professions).

To find out more about the Herts County virtual show, visit https://virtualhertsshow.com. You can also join the conversation online by following @HertsCountyShow on Twitter and @HertfordshireCountyShow on Facebook. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #VirtualShow and tag @Croftcomms for a retweet and a share!

Alternatively, if you would like to learn more about Croft and how we are helping businesses and individuals remain connected during these challenging times, contact us today and a member of the team will be happy to help.

We are delighted to announce that Westcom, an EE Business Approved Partner in Bristol, have joined forces with Croft to provide their customer base with a wider range of communication products and services.

Over the last 25 years, Westcom have forged a reputation of professionalism both within the industry and with its ever-growing customer base. Together with Croft, Westcom will be able to offer its customers the full range of communications solutions – from business phones, VoIP and internet connectivity, right through to productivity tools like Microsoft Teams. As all business adapts to the new normal, we’ll also be helping customers with any business continuity and mobility challenges that they are currently facing.

“Myself, Justin Rouse and our great team are very excited by the expansion in our capabilities that this merger offers. We will continue to operate from our same store address in Clifton, ensuring that our clients remain connected, no matter their line of work” – Andrew West, Sales Director at Westcom.

For the very latest Croft news and updates, check out and follow our social channels via Twitter @Croftcomms and LinkedIn CroftCommunications.

There’s never been a more important time for connectivity. To feel like we’re still able to socialise, be part of a community and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. With physical meet-ups restricted, digital and telephone communications have become an absolute necessity for fulfilling our inherently social natures.

Indeed, countless psychologists have explained the importance of keeping connected with others throughout this period. Socialising creates feelings of togetherness, camaraderie and support – all aspects of life we as human beings crave and need to feel fulfilled.

As a communications company, we know we are at the epicentre of this and as such, are keen to do all we can to help both individuals and businesses make their communication channels as open as possible. This got us thinking. If we were to recommend one piece of equipment that everyone should have right now, what would it be?

Our answer: an unlimited data 4G broadband dongle

Croft 4G broadband dongle

Slightly bigger than a USB storage stick, the dongles connect wirelessly to your PC / Tablet, mobile / gaming platform etc to provide access to the Internet when you most need it. Because the devices themselves are portable and easy to use, they are an ideal solution if you have a slow Internet connection or if you need to access the Internet quickly when you’re away from a router or it is overloaded from everyone else trying to contend with your data allowance. With so many of us working from home at the moment, and entire families using the broadband connections all at once, this handy unlimited data plugin makes logging into Zoom, Skype, Instagram, and all other forms of online communication channels, simple.

TOWIE star Sam Faiers stays connected with Croft

And we’re not the only ones loving the dongle. Sam Faiers and family recently broadcast their appreciation for how amazing these devices are and how simple they are to set up. After moving out of her Hertfordshire home and down to Surrey, The Only Way is Essex star apologised to her fans for being off the ‘gram, due to lack of Internet and mobile signal within the house.

After seeing her post, and knowing we couldn’t let the TOWIE fans down, we swooped right in, offering Sam her very own dongle to ensure she would no longer be disconnected from the world.  Delivered and installed within 3 hours. It’s safe to say, she loved it!

Sam Faiers talks about Crofts broadband dongle Sam Faiers Instagram story discussing Crofts broadband solutions

But all joking aside, the team here at Croft really do feel a sense of duty to keep people connected at this time. If you’re looking for some advice around what services and tools might be best for you, your family or business, please do get in touch with the team. It would be our pleasure to help!

We’re delighted to have been shortlisted for the Business of the Year East Herts Award in the Inspiring Herts Awards 2020, held by the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

The whole team has worked extremely hard this year to ensure businesses, schools, universities, care homes and hospitals across the country remain connected at all times. This nomination is an absolute testament to all of our efforts.

Whilst we currently find ourselves living in a strange world, we understand the utmost importance of regular and accessible communication. It is of our absolute highest priority to ensure everyone feels connected at this time and we continue to work tirelessly to provide solutions to all businesses and individuals in need.

Thanks again to the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and a big congratulations to fellow category finalists – Beyond Governance, CHEXS and The Property Presenters – and all the other amazing businesses that will be joining us at the St Albans Cathedral to celebrate on the 1st October. We look forward to what is set to be a great night!

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur… situations changing rapidly, government announcements coming in thick and fast and people wondering what the future holds. It’s almost impossible to know what’s going to happen one day to the next. From both a business and a personal standpoint.

Yet, amongst the angst and confusion, one thing has been especially clear throughout. People want to help and are willing to do absolutely everything they can to support and be there for others during this time of need. It’s amazing to see.

One particular venture that really touched the team at Croft, is the set up of ‘Shop + Drop’ by local Hertfordshire residents, Deri & Jo Hughes.

Joanna and Deri Hughes with two of their four children

After hearing the government announcement that those at high-risk from COVID-19 would have to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks, they knew they couldn’t allow so many to be, and feel, so alone at this time. No one deserves to feel trapped in their own home – scared, lonely, and anxious about how, or where, they’d be able to safely get essential supplies to continue living. Deri and Jo just couldn’t let it happen.

As a result, the amazing new service, Shop + Drop, was born, providing those confined to their home with a one-stop-shop for all house-bound essentials. As soon as we heard about the venture, we knew this was something Croft needed to be involved with.

Since starting up just last week, there have already been an amazing array of contributions from local businesses and individuals, helping to build Shop + Drop’s service and make it as accessible as possible. A website designed, locations for preparing food orders offered, wholesale supply accounts set up, charitable partnerships formed and social media channels created, to name a few. Personally, Croft have donated a phone system, allowing Shop + Drop’s volunteers to ‘man the phones’ from the comfort of their own homes and connect effortlessly with those in need. It’s safe to say, the local community has come together to deliver something special with this.

As the UK locks down harder and faster, and potentially for longer, this kind of initiative is going to be a real lifeline for the most vulnerable in our community. It’s absolutely essential that Shop + Drop can continue to flourish, bringing a little smile to those unable to leave their homes each day.

If like us, you want to be a part of this incredible venture, we highly recommend you speak to Deri and Jo to discuss how you might be able to help. We’re all feeling quite out of control in this crazy situation right now, so knowing you’re doing your bit to help, goes a long way. By offering a phone system to Shop + Drop, we feel safe in the knowledge that no one needs to be without, and can continue to be fully connected, at a time when support and company is so important.

For more information check out Shop + Drop’s website and follow them on Instagram (@shopdropherts) or Facebook.

There are a load of platforms offering (seemingly) amazing deals for the iPhone 8. Some advertising unbelievable amounts of data, others offering hundreds of thousands of texts and minutes.

The thing is, you probably don’t need 5GB of data – let alone 20GB so it’s important to be smart when choosing a plan that suits you.

Businesses in particular need to do their research before choosing a network to work with. Poor coverage could seriously impact your team’s communication. Likewise, hidden charges and low-levels of support could cost your business thousands. But, what if there was a network that provided super features like free roaming in over 48 European destinations? What if there was a network that covered 99% of the UK population?

EE does all this and more. In addition to providing free roaming across the EU, they also have the widest reaching coverage out of every UK network and provide features such as extra-warranty on handsets and data-usage notifications.

If you’re not yet convinced, keep reading and we’ll show you how your business could benefit from getting the iPhone 8 with EE.

Network

We’ll start with the facts. For over 4 years, EE has been rated the best overall network in comparison to O2, Vodafone and Three. This year, the network performed the best in the categories of network speed, data performance and text performance in the United Kingdom. They have also been recognised as the ‘Best Network Coverage’ and ‘Fastest Mobile Network’ by uSwitch.

Why do these awards matter? 

You want to know that you will have good coverage at every location that you travel to. For workers who are constantly on the go (sales teams and engineers for example), poor coverage means poor communication with colleagues and customers which can severely slow down productivity.

Because EE covers 99% of the UK population, customers experience coverage even in the most remote areas, so staying connected is easy.

Check the strength of your local coverage.

Wi-Fi calling

Most are still unsure about Wi-Fi calling. If you’re one of them, you can use this guide for the full run-down. Otherwise, to summarise, the new feature allows you to make calls and texts over the available Wi-Fi as an alternative when experiencing poor network signal.

Take our word for it – Wi-Fi calling is amazing. It’s especially useful for those who live or work in more remote areas as they don’t need to rely on limited available coverage. Instead, users can connect to the available Wi-Fi to make high-quality calls and to send messages. Luckily, most networks now provide Wi-Fi calling. However, EE customers are the only ones who are able to use Wi-Fi Calling during their daily commute. Yes, you heard us right. You can now make calls and texts when travelling through the London Underground.

How is this possible? Well, EE and Virgin have come together to provide Wi-Fi in the ticket halls, walkways and platforms of more than 100 Underground Stations. This means that commuters are now able to make calls, texts, download documents and check emails all whilst travelling around the city!

Apple music

We know it’s not compulsory and you do not NEED Apple Music, but it’s a nice touch. If you get your iPhone 8 with EE, you will benefit from six months of free Apple Music for your own personal enjoyment.

EU Roaming

Free roaming across the EU has recently been implemented, enabling us to use regular data in multiple countries across Europe. For Free!

‘Changes in the law mean that you can use your UK allowances while you’re roaming in the EU for no extra charge. So as long as you’re travelling somewhere in Europe, it doesn’t matter which network you’re on, right?’

Wrong. Whilst the law has changed for everyone, the countries that are included within each network’s roaming rules differ and some networks cover more countries than others.

With EE ‘all new, upgrading and existing customers, plus those switching plans mid-contract’ are able to use their data allowance across the EU. On top of this, even though the law only requires the network to cover 28 destinations, EE has extended it’s services to 48 European destinations. That’s 48 foreign countries where you are able to use your data allowance for free so, whether it’s for work or for your own personal enjoyment, free roaming across the EU will come in handy and will certainly save you money.

Differently, networks such as Sky only provide roaming in 36 countries – so it’s best to do your research if you’re often travelling from city to city.

Click here for more information regarding the EU roaming laws.

Warranty

Need another reason to get the iPhone 8 with EE? How does extra handset warranty sound?

You can say goodbye to the hours and money wasted trying to arrange repairs for your team members’ phones. Business customers can benefit from not just one year (which is the warranty length for most suppliers) but a two-year warranty on Apple products bought from EE. The extended warranty covers all electrical and mechanical breakdowns and means that if your iPhone’s speaker, mic or even battery stops working – you can have it repaired for free. Plus, if it isn’t repairable – you will receive a free replacement.

What can we do to help?

Mobile Account Solutions provide a link between businesses and main networks such as EE. Providing all the benefits of the network (including Wi-Fi Calling, nation-wide coverage and extended device warranty) we help businesses to effectively manage their teams’ communications, improving  mobility, flexibility and profitability. Find out more or arrange a free consultation today.

If you didn’t already know, Apple recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the iPhone by launching not one, but three new smartphones: The iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. And we’ve got to admit – we’re stuck.

Sure, we expected to have to chose between the iPhone 8 and the 8 Plus. However, the introduction to the iPhone X has really thrown a spanner. Is the X really that different from the iPhone 8? Is it worth the extra money? What one should I go for? 

It may not be obvious at first but each device is extremely unique in terms of design, display and specification. So to help you to make the right decision, we’ve provided a quick summary of the key differences.

Design and Display

Size

Appearance-wise, there is an obvious difference between the new releases. The iPhone 8 is 4.7 inches, whilst the Plus is 5.5 inches. However, Apple has taken a massive leap with the iPhone X. At 5.8 inches, the X is the largest iPhone ever with it’s only competition being Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.

Missing home button

Similarly, there is a stark contrast between each models’ display.

Whereas the display of the 8 runs parallel with previous iPhones, the iPhone X is noticeably missing the home button. Instead, Apple has given users a different way of navigating around the iPhone X. For example, swiping down will bring you to the control panel and double-tapping the side button will take you directly to Apple Pay. It might seem confusing at first, and it will certainly take some getting used to – but the absence of a home button will provide an edge-to-edge display that gives iPhone users more screen space than ever before.

Glass front – and back

There are of course some similarities between the X and 8 models. All three of the newly released phones feature the new design which includes a glass front AND back. Having gone through a six layer ink process, the new design allows for precise hues, opacity and rich depth of colour, providing a premium effect.

(The glass is engineered to resist water and dust. It also has an oleophobic coating which allows you to easily wipe off smudges and fingerprints – so you can keep your iPhone good-as-new).

 

Available colours

Strangely, the iPhone X is available in Silver and Space Grey whilst the iPhone 8’s have been released in the same Gold that has become so popular amongst older models.

It’s difficult to understand why Apple may have decided not to release a Gold version of the X, however Apple did launch the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in red around six months after the phones launched, so we suspect that more variants of the X will be eventually be available.

Features

Face ID

The biggest difference between the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X is definitely the introduction of Face ID.

‘What could be more natural than a touch? A look. That was the insight behind Face ID, a powerful and secure authentication system that’s even more convenient than Touch ID. It makes unlocking and paying fast, easy and intuitive.’ This is how Apple have introduced this years most advanced security feature, which will feature on the iPhone X.

Face ID stores the intricate details of your face to allow you to unlock your phone simply by looking at it. It even features a ‘Flood Illuminator’ to help you to use the system in the dark. Not only that, but it’s so smart that it can ‘keep the screen lit when you’re reading, or lower the volume of an alarm or ringer.’

It’s our favourite feature to have been released by Apple for years, and we suspect that most will hold out for the iPhone X as a result.

Camera

There is a direct contrast between the camera quality of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus. Both the iPhone 8 Plus and the X feature a brand new dual-camera. On both phones, the first 12 megapixel camera is fitted with an extra telephoto lens that supports 10x optical zoom which is able to zoom ‘in closer to the action without any loss of image quality.’ The iPhone 8 Plus also has the same Portrait Lighting mode, as seen in the iPhone X. Made for selfie lovers, Portrait Mode enables the camera to work out who the subject of the camera is to dynamically lighten and darken the image in various ways, dramatically improving it’s overall effect.

Animoji

Another new feature that has come to the iPhone X, is the introduction of Animoji.

Animoji brings Apple’s Emoji’s alive using your facial expressions and voice. The facial-mapping sensors in the iPhone X’s Face ID make this possible by capturing and analysing more than 50 different muscle movements, then mirroring your expressions.

Conclusion

We have to admit, Face ID is the most exciting feature to have come to the iPhone in years. Being able to unlock your phone with a simple look is a bonus, yes. However, it is the iPhone X’s ability to sense when to silence notifications and when to keep the screen lit that has really won us round. I mean, is there anything more annoying then when your screen dims halfway through a Netflix episode? No!

Differently, for those who are not fussed by the high-technicality of the iPhone X – the iPhone 8 Plus is going to be the phone for you. ‘It’s got the processor. It’s got the wireless charging. It’s got dual cameras on the back and can do the same new Portrait Lighting effects as the iPhone X.’  Basically, the iPhone 8 Plus is the X just without the Face ID. It’s cheaper, available sooner and has the upgraded camera that everyone is talking about right now.

Businesses can pre-order the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus with us, here. 

Since Samsung was forced to axe the Galaxy Note 7 in October last year, the brand has been working hard to ensure that the mistakes of 2016 are forgotten. Beginning first with the S8 and now, with the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung has undergone a complete redesign, delivering highly intelligent smartphones that feature a sleeker display with upgraded systems and fresh, new features.

An upgraded system

It would have been easy for Samsung to simply replace the battery, rename the handset and to place it back on our shelves. Luckily, this isn’t the case. Instead, significant system upgrades have been made – including with it’s Android platform, Nougat 7.1.1. The upgraded platform now allows users to run apps side-by side on a single screen, providing a seamless transition between activities.

So, what does this mean? It means that you can finally text whilst watching videos – without having to flip back and forth between the two!

Infinity display

“Like all recent Samsung phones, the Note 8 is a gorgeous slab of curved metal and glass. It looks a lot like the S8, but it’s more straight-edged – more businesslike – and the curved screen is steeper to aid S-Pen note-taking.”

At 6.3inches, the Note 8 is significantly larger than the Galaxy Note 7, the S8 and even the S8 Plus. The devices features a 1440 x 2160 dimension, providing a wide screen, tablet-like experience for application use. On top of this, a super QHD+ AMOLED screen has been introduced to enhance the visual experience by providing greater contrast in images and videos. So, viewing images and watching videos just got 10x easier and 10x better!

Dust, dirt, sand and waterproof!

Being IP68 certified, the Note 8 is deemed fit enough to withstand dust, dirt and sand. The device can even operate after being submerged in 1.5 metres of liquid for up to 30 minutes. So whilst the handset is expensive at £869.00, you won’t need to worry about it breaking easily!

Dual camera

If you’re a little bit of a camera snob – you’re going to love this. Samsung has implemented a new, dual camera to improve the quality of the images and videos shot. Simulating a human binocular, a secondary camera uses a zoom feature to enhance clarity in every image and video. On top of this, both cameras ‘feature optical image stabilisation (OIS)‘, so even if you use the 2x optical zoom, your snaps will be blur-free. As a result, you can expect a more vivid and detailed picture than ever before.

And we mean perfect. Here’s why

Our society is getting faster. As consumers we expect deliveries and responses to be at iMessage and Amazon Prime speed. For this reason, organisations are forced to work harder than ever to keep customers satisfied.

So it will come as no surprise that the biggest global distributors are competing to provide a smartphone that enables us to work and communicate faster and more efficiently than ever.

Samsung is the latest to up the ante in the race to provide the ultimate business user-friendly device. And we’ve got to admit it. With it’s infinity display, water and dust resistant exterior and super advanced security – the Galaxy S8 is worth the investment.

1. Infinity display

With an 18.5:9 ratio display, the S8’s edge-to-edge display gives users more room for files and images, making it easier to review work on the go.

Most of all, this enables users to work efficiently without the reliance upon a heavy laptop or even a desk computer.

2. High security

“If security is a concern then you can rest easy, as the Galaxy S8 goes that extra mile to ensure your files, photos, emails and any sensitive information stays totally safe and secure”

Samsung’s newest technology allows users to protect personal and customer data with a built-in Iris Scanner. Latest in hyper-secure smartphone access, the eye pattern-recognition technology is up to 200 times more secure than a fingerprint.

On top of this, the device features the newest Knox 2.8 defence-grade security. This is the most advanced Android security platform, allowing businesses to customise and manage their team’s mobile software to prevent confidential information from being shared or lost.

3. Samsung DEX

“Samsung DeX gives you what you want from a desktop experience: a big screen, a full-size keyboard and a mouse. Just plug your phone into the DeX Station to use apps, review documents and set or check notifications on a desktop interfaceReview, edit and print documents when you’re away from the office.” 

With DeX, users can dock the handset with an external monitor and keyboard for a desktop experience. Plus, with the ability to use Microsoft applications such as Excel and PowerPoint – reviewing and editing documents on your commute just got 10x easier.

4. Durable working

Visually stunning, incredibly tough Corning® Gorilla® Glass enables today’s sleekest smartphone and tablet designs, while providing exceptional damage resistance to the scratches and bumps of everyday use.”

IP68 water resistance protects your device in up to five feet of water for up to 30 minutes and against dust, dirt and sand. This makes the S8 particularly good for those in the construction industry.

5. Super processor

“Whether we’re trying to get somewhere with Google Maps or sharing our YouTube-video-of-the-moment on social, a powerful processor makes all the difference. And don’t Samsung just know it! The S8’s whopping Octa Core 64-bit processor – combined with EE’s superfast 4G network – provides an ultra-quick digital experience without the lag.”

The S8 features the world’s first 10nm Octa-core processor and built-in fast wireless charging. As a result, users are able to switch seamlessly between Excel, Emails and other applications.

If you’re looking to purchase the Samsung Galaxy S8 for corporate use, contact us today.

Croft Communications provide businesses with customised mobile phone contracts, low-cost handsets & next-day delivery. If you’re a medium or corporate sized organisation, our services could benefit you. Click here for a free quotation.