Test and Trace

So lockdown is relaxing and we can all go out to the pubs and restaurants again, free to do exactly what we want to do.

Well not exactly….yes restrictions have been relaxed but only a bit, with new freedom comes additional burden on those within the hospitality sectors to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.

One of these restrictions is the introduction of the Government’s test and trace system which involves the requirement that any gathering should record the name and contact details of attendees in order to identify and warn those who have potentially come into contact with someone carrying Covid-19.

The system relies on the premises owner obtaining information on everyone within their establishment at any one point in time. Name, telephone number and date/time should be recorded and then held (under full GDPR rules) for a total of 21 days in order to allow tracers to contact them if another attendee is identified as being infected.

This highlights many problems for the establishment, least of all, how best to carry this out without increasing the risk of infection and/or massively increasing your costs & procedures.

Potential issues


How do you collect this data from your customers? Many will take the traditional method of standing a member of staff at the door collecting the information before customers can enter. Immediately, there is a cost implication here, even at minimum wage that’s a £60+ cost per 10 hour day. A member of staff that could be far more effectively utilised doing their actual job. Once the data has been collected however then there’s the additional staffing cost of managing it, dealing with requests from T&T staff and ensuring it is destroyed timeously.

Quality of data

Having someone collect data manually is fraught with problems, anyone can make mistakes however in this case, the incorrectly recorded data can have a very serious and wide ranging consequence. On top of human error, some customers could simply decide they can’t be bothered with the hassle of confirming their number etc and just give false information.


Some customers may not be happy with handing over their personal details to the person who normally serves them their coffee etc. For some types of establishment that could result in loss of custom.

It is also against GDPR rules to operate a sign in book, have a list they add their details to or ask them to read out their details in front of other customers.

Our solution

We’ve developed a solution that takes the stress, additional workload and responsibility away from the establishment and provides an easy, hassle free and cheap solution to ensure that you remain fully compliant.

The answer?……text messages.

With our system you would display a poster in your window or on your entrance door that provides a number for the customer to text before entering. They text their name to that number which securely stores it, their telephone number and the exact time they came in. They in turn receive a confirmation text which can also contain information on your business, special offers or important health rules etc. This confirmation can then be used as evidence they have registered should you need it. For example your order staff could ask to see the confirmation before taking an order. When the customer leaves they simply reply to that text with a blank one and the system will be updated with the time they left.

All data is then stored securely by us with full GDPR compliance for exactly 21 days, not 20 or 22 but the full 21 in line with the Government guidelines. Should there be a need to trace customers then you would simply direct the T&T staff member to our helpline and we will query the data to provide the exact information they require.

Its simple, efficient and extremely cost effective.


Cost savings

Our solution is extremely cost effective, not least in employee and management time. No collection of data, no management of paperwork or transferring to electronic storage & a far simpler process of dealing with T&T requests.

The service is provided and paid for on a daily basis and there is no long contract (we start with an initial week and after that it can be cancelled with 2 days notice.

Advertising potential

Every customer receives a confirmation text that can be tailored to your requirements, that could mean providing useful information, details of special offers or even a virtual voucher for their next visit. What it contains is upto you so you can make the most of it. We can also offer an additional facility which would allow the customer to text a confirmation reply to agree that their number can be held by you for promotional purposes giving you a database of known customers you can target for special offers, promotional materials etc at a later date.

Don’t forget these texts are there on the customers phone until they remove them, every time they scroll through their received texts they’ll see your company name and information.

Reduced workload

With our service there is very little interaction from yourselves or your staff, we take all of the red tape, workload and stress away from these guidelines and allow you to get on with what is important to you and your customers.

alexa home smart speakers

Alexa and co

We’re rather excited to have started looking at developing Alexa skills. An Alexa skill is a program that sits on Amazons servers and can be added (by a user) to their Amazon Alexa device. If you have a device and haven’t already checked them out then go to your Alexa app and take a look through the marketplace of additional skills.

Many (or most) of these current skills are basically fun such as the ability to make Alexa fart on command, tell you a random dad joke or as I found yesterday the amazing ability to translate Geordie sayings. Others are semi-useful commands such as “Alexa, what’s the time in Beijing?” or “Alexa, give me a recipe involving chicken”.

We however believe there can be some amazing uses for these clever devices. How about a website owner being able say “Alexa, turn on the latest special offer” and having their website change to start promoting a particular product. Maybe “Alexa drop all prices on the shop by 10%” or “Alexa change the closing hours for tomorrow to 6pm”.

The possibilities are virtually endless and it’s use for Disabilities and web accessibility are very exciting. How about the ability to tell Alexa to fill a form in for you? or a Q&A specific to your company that customers can add to their devices. “Alexa what’s the latest offer in Dave’s shop?”….”Dave says he has beans at 3 for a pound this week”.

We’re very excited by this, are you? can you think of any uses? Drop us a comment below and we can discuss before saying “Alexa do a loud wet fart”

api google issues maps Uncategorized websites

Google Maps

Over the last week or so I’ve noticed a few sites suffering from the Google map issue. This is where the map is displayed however it has an overlay to darken the map and the words “For development purposes only” showing across the map as a watermark. It also places a pop up message saying “This page can’t load Google Maps correctly.”.

At first glance this looks like quite a problem however the solution is fairly straight forward. You see, it’s all down to how Google license their Map API and about a year ago or so they changed the rules to say that all users had to be registered with a billing account (even though 99% of users will never need to pay).

That was all well and good however overnight millions of small websites, personal projects etc were all suddenly non-compliant and many have either failed to realise or don’t have a clue how to fix it. Google themselves provide the solution in the “Do you own this website?” link on the error message but it appears many, many owners haven’t clicked it or still don’t understand it.

The solution (in a nutshell) is to create yourself a google developers account, add in the Google Maps API and set up the billing. Then change the code within your site to include the API key. It’s a fairly straight forward process however we need to understand that many small business website owners do not have the basic understanding of their site to muck around under the hood. Many sites were sold to them years ago, put online and that’s how they’ve stayed until now.

If you’re one of those owners and aren’t confident in changing this then give us a shout, we’ll do it for you and literally charge you pennies for it. In some cases you can even just use our API key as the number of hits you’re going to get is never going to trouble the billing account.

Don’t sit there with a map that’s looking wrong and makes your site look like you don’t take care over it. Get it fixed once and for all.

We’re here to help

business services

Consolidating services

I spent the holiday week having a good hard look at the services we offer and have decided to reduce the number of different technologies we currently support. With that in mind we will no longer be promoting the likes of Twitter and Facebook automation .but will be focussing our attentions on those that we feel are our strongest.

The site will be updated over the next week to really show the work we do with low cost business websites, our website management service and Voice/SMS along with the new emerging work in Smart Speaker technologies.

This industry moves ridiculously fast and it is hard at times to keep up with the latest trends and focus on the important and most useful things for small business owners, that however, is what we shall be doing. We’re taking a punt on what we believe will be the technologies small businesses can make best use of and focussing our work on those.

What’s that saying again “Jack of all trades, master of none”? Well in this business it really does make sense.