Was your electric bill higher than ever this month? Try this.

5 smart home devices that can save you money on energy

No matter the season, energy bills are hard to keep under control. Luckily, automated homes can help us switch on, switch off, and schedule the energy-sucking appliances that help us live more comfortably. Our team of tech experts pulled together this list of smart home products that can help you outsmart your energy bills.

Smart thermostat for better control over your home’s temperature 

Smart thermostats are a great way to save money on energy. Smart thermostats such as Nest can “learn” your preferred temperature settings and automatically raise or lower temperatures at certain times of day. A smart thermostat can be controlled remotely from your smartphone, which means you can cut down the heat or air conditioning when you’re traveling, or turn it on when you’re on your way home.

According to Nest, their thermostat saved 10-12% on heating and 15% on cooling. Based on typical energy costs, we’ve estimated that a smart thermostat could save you $131 to $145 a year.

Smart light bulbs to automate your home’s lighting 

You can automate your home lights using apps such as Hue, which connect the light bulbs to your Amazon Echo or Google Home. These bulbs can also connect these lights to a smart motion sensor system so lights will turn on and off whenever they sense motion.

Smart light bulbs can be expensive, but they last for 40,000 hours. Most smart light bulbs only need to be replaced every five years!

Bonus: most smart light bulbs are ENERGY STAR rated, which can save you around $75 per year.

Smart plugs to control your appliances and lights from anywhere

Smart plugs can help turn your regular appliances into smart devices. Once plugged into a smart plug, an appliance can be controlled from anywhere. This works for pretty much anything, including lights, coffee makers, and fans. Turn appliances on and off with your smartphone and schedule when they should be turned on or off.

Smart motion sensor system to automatically control thermostats, speakers, lights, and more

A smart motion sensor such as Phillip motion sensor system will automatically turn on and off lights when motion is detected (or not). This saves energy by detecting when rooms are empty and can connect to a smart thermostat or smart speakers.

Smart speakers to control your smart energy-saving devices

Voice-activated personal assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Echo make it easier to control your energy-saving smart home gadgets, without leaving the couch.

Want more guidance on smart home devices? Soluto is the easiest way to get more from your tech. More than tech support, Soluto is easy, instant access to a tech expert, to solve any technology issue you could ever have with almost any device you’ll ever own.

Asurion named Technology Company of the Year

Nashville’s tech community is experiencing tremendous growth. Not only is the city attracting 100 people a day, but the region’s total number of tech businesses grew 16% in 2017. In fact, Forbes has listed Nashville among the top 10 cities creating the most tech jobs right now.

At the heart of this momentum is Asurion, which was just named “Tech Company of the Year” by the Nashville Technology Council. The award recognizes Asurion – a 300 million customer company – for creating products that support the region’s economic health and for using those products in innovative ways.

What’s next for Asurion? “When we look to the future, we look to invest in more technology that allows us to make our service easier to use, faster to use, and cheaper to use by our consumers,” said John Leonard, SVP Product at Asurion.

Read more about how Asurion’s culture of innovation drives its success:

Asurion is building the products, platforms, and systems that help support our partners and deliver an exceptional customer experience. Click here for more information on technology and product jobs at our Nashville, TN; San Mateo, CA; and Sterling, VA sites.

The company is a proud recipient of the coveted Great Place to Work® certification. This recognition – our first on the national scale – was awarded based on an extensive employee survey and a rigorous culture audit. 88% of employees said that Asurion was a great place to work.

Cracked screen? Texting on a date? You’re being judged.

Is your cracked screen cramping your style?

Beware of the Cracked Screen Critic! Some say a person’s harshest critic is themselves, but when it comes to our phones, the judgiest ones could be sitting just across the table from us on a romantic first date.

A new Asurion survey dipped into the dating scene and uncovered an ever-observant minority. Apparently, 22% of respondents think that a person with a cracked screen is clumsy. 24% think someone with a cracked screen is not financially responsible. Ouch. 10% wouldn’t consider a second date after discovering a cracked screen. Yowza!

Millennials can be old fashioned, too.

Despite their heavy use of dating apps and social media, the majority of Millennials prefer an old school approach to a traditional date: No phones at the table. According to a recent Asurion survey, over half of Millennial respondents said they think it’s rude when their date whips out a phone for some mindless scrolling and texting. When the generation that lives and breathes for its phones says it’s not cool to use your phone on a date, it’s not cool to use your phone on a date.

Another thing that would make their grandmothers beam with pride? Millennials are 30% more likely than Generation X-ers to rule out someone who asks them out via text, as opposed to a phone call. Looking to secure a second date? Pick up that portable alarm clock/texting/newsfeed machine and make a phone call!

Asurion is committed to helping customers enhance their lives through technology. Our Soluto tech experts are here to help. 

Asurion earns Great Place to Work certification

Asurion was awarded a coveted national certification as a great workplace by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®. The nationwide workplace credential is based on ratings provided by employees in anonymous surveys, in which 88 percent noted Asurion as a great place to work.

What employees said

91 percent said: There are great challenges at Asurion.

95 percent said: Asurion has a great atmosphere.

92 percent said: Asurion offers great rewards.

96 percent said: We feel great pride.

94 percent said: Asurion offers great communication.

93 percent said: Asurion has great bosses.

What makes Asurion a Great Place to Work

Extending support into our communities: We want to help foster the volunteer spirit among our employees. Many of our teams volunteer together as one team, from building Habitat for Humanity houses to adopting parks for cleanup. One of our more popular community events is Volunteer Week, where employees volunteer with one of several organizations. In 2016, 200 employees participated, donating 226 hours to six local non-profits. In addition, our corporate headquarters organizes weekly tutoring sessions and school events in partnership with Teach for America and KIPP Academy.

Bundles of joy, not stress: Asurion families rest easy during pregnancy with the help of our Maternity Concierge, an HR adviser who guides expecting parents through pregnancy by creating custom resources tailored to the family’s exact healthcare benefits. Asurion’s Healthy Pregnancy program gives expecting moms around-the-clock access to nurses and education resources as they prepare for their new arrival. After delivery, new moms can enjoy up to 12 weeks of paid time off, and dads get two weeks of paid paternity leave. Employees who grow their family through adoption can get up to $10,000 in adoption assistance and four weeks of paid leave.

A commUnity for all: commUnity, Asurion’s diversity and inclusion initiative, is committed to ensuring that all employees feel valued and have a genuine opportunity to thrive and excel within the company. At the heart of commUnity is our four Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which unify Asurion employees with common interests for networking, mentorship, problem-solving, and volunteerism. Our ERGs are a reflection of the diverse Asurion commUnity, help us stay attuned to the pulse of the company’s culture, and assist us in connecting with the broader external communities we serve. Asurion recognizes that attracting, developing, and retaining diverse talent is crucial to the success of the company and its employees.

Ace Points: Recognition is a meaningful part of our culture. Did a colleague go above and beyond for you? Did a team roll out an amazing new initiative before deadline? Give them ACE points! Our ACE social newsfeed is designed to celebrate achievements and recognize hard work. Points can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, travel, and more. It’s always nice to say thank you, but saying thanks with points that can be used for airfare is even better.

Good ideas from everyone: At Asurion, we believe good ideas come from everywhere, not just the corner office. That’s why we host multiple company-wide Hackathons a year, where employees of all levels collaborate to come up with innovative ideas to improve our customer and employee experience. Ideas are pitched to a panel of judges and the winning concepts are set into motion and turned into reality. Over 47 teams have participated in the past two years, with several winning ideas in implementation. Winners are able to select their choice of tech gadgets, such as Go-Pros, tablets, connected thermostats, and more.

Helping our people grow: Our people are our greatest assets and we believe in putting them in the driver’s seat to advance their career and professional development. That’s why we provide the tools – including a library of over 6,000 on-demand learning options, job shadowing programs, and career coaching – for employees to define their own development goals and career plans with support from their leader. If an employee wants to further their academic education, we support them through an attractive tuition assistance program.

Take time for you: Workplace flexibility: The positive side of “Adulting.” We empower team members to manage their work-life balance with a flexible approach to time in the office. As an adult, they can choose when to work offsite (from home, other office locations, or even the corner coffee shop) to get work done or when they should be in the office for collaboration. Bottom line: We value good work, not how many hours you spend strapped to your desk. In addition, Asurion has a “no policy” time off policy, meaning that exempt employees are not limited in paid time off and simply work with their leader for time off.

Living your best life: We want to help our team members live their best lives. Our wellbeing program goes a step beyond most and provides team members with free access to personal health AND financial coaches. Our Wellness programs do everything from providing team members with step-by-step, private financial guidance around major life events (like buying a home or preparing for retirement) to serving up a dose of healthy choices competitions.

Culture champions: Asurion employs over a dozen People Service Coordinators (PSCs a.k.a “Culture Champions”) – full-time employees who are solely dedicated to motivating and celebrating their colleagues. By organizing frequent morale-boosting events and being present in the every day, PSCs keep a pulse on Asurion employees’ happiness. No birthday, work anniversary, or accomplishment goes unnoticed with PSCs at the helm. They are a testament to the value Asurion places on every employee’s satisfaction.

The fund for employees, by employees: The Compassion Forward Employee Fund enables employees to help each other when life gets complicated. Every penny donated by employees goes directly to helping fellow employees get back on their feet financially when unforeseen events strike. The Fund is designed to meet critical needs fast.

Want to make Asurion your next Great Place to Work? Asurion has over 16,000 employees in 53 locations around the world, with our global headquarters in Nashville, TN. Click here for career opportunities.

Empowering Women at Asurion

The Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) at Asurion is one of several Employee Resource Groups (ERG) dedicated to improving the lives of the women who work at Asurion through several channels, including:

  • Education
  • Inspiration
  • Issue awareness

commUnity, Asurion’s diversity and inclusion initiative, is committed to ensuring that all employees feel valued and have a genuine opportunity to thrive and excel within the company. At the heart of commUnity is our four ERGs, which unify Asurion employees with common interests for networking, mentorship, problem solving, and volunteerism.

Our ERGs are a reflection of the diverse Asurion commUnity, help us stay attuned to the pulse of the company’s culture, and assist us in connecting with the broader external communities we serve. Asurion recognizes that attracting, developing, and retaining diverse talent is crucial to the success of the company and its employees

View the video below to hear what being a woman in the Asurion workforce means to a few of our outstanding leaders:

How a 20-year old company adopted a start-up product development method

Disrupt. Create. Sprint. Hustle. These aren’t words typically used to describe the product development process at a 20-year-old corporation. However, they are commonly heard at Asurion, where development strategy has shifted dramatically from the traditional slog to a more nimble, consumer-focused journey approach.

As current consumer expectations rise and stakeholder demands change, companies must explore new production and employee landscapes. In order to keep pace, Asurion turned to a startup model.

The old way

Many large businesses are bogged down with the heft of long-term technology product development: project managers buried deep in the minutiae, contributors siloed by department, and massive requirement documents that inhibit capacity and slow everyone down. Even after months of work, these projects almost always achieve a result that somehow veered away from its initial vision. Opportunity costs are often lost as the focus remains on process, not outcome.

Journey Teams at Asurion

At Asurion, product development is driven by collaboration, not compartmentalization. We shook up its conventional business model by deploying the Journeys Team model. Instead of using separate “product” and “IT” silos, we’ve combined product, design, and technology teams and have empowered them to ask the question “How do we focus on what’s best for the consumer experience?”

Key players of a Journey Team may include:

  • Product Manager: Leads the project by facilitating cooperation between functions
  • User Experience Designer: Assesses the impact on users and designs possible solutions
  • Developer: Designs and programs any software needed for each project
  • Quality Assurance Analyst: Tests the code used for software implementation
  • Content Strategist: Writes user-facing, value-driven content
  • Data Scientist: Applies statistics and machine learning to the ideation phase of each project

We don’t tell our journey teams what to do or how to do it – instead, they innovate and test ideas and are entrusted to make decisions on their own, all with the singular goal of improving consumer experience. The journey teams put together a vision based on a desired outcome, a vision that nails down what is going to work (and what isn’t) to drive improvements in speed, reliability, and efficiency of a product’s delivery.

Better results

Take the claim process as an example. Under previous models, a customer’s claim would pass through various workflows, often with redundant or unnecessary steps that may not have been a great experience for the customer. Under our journey team model, we dedicated product, technology and design leads to focus on an outcome that equates to a positive customer experience. This mentality leads to faster time to market and less waste in resource capacity, and allows our team members the ability to innovate in a rapid fashion. More importantly, the customer has a really positive experience.

The shift has opened up new channels of communication and new ways of interacting across teams, even to the point of how we collocate in our workspace. We have seen a radical change in the quality of our intercommunications because people are developing prototypes, conducting tests and not working off huge requirement documents.

Asurion is building the products, platforms, and systems that help support our partners and deliver an exceptional customer experience. www.Asurion.com

Asurion receives customer excellence honors

For the fourth consecutive year, Asurion was named a winner of the Confirmit ACE (Achievement in Customer Excellence) Awards, an honor that recognizes outstanding achievement in customer experience. This year, we received the coveted Judges’ Choice and Overall Business Impact awards for the outstanding work done for the Retail Solution Hub in 2016.

The Hub is one-stop-shop for retail customers. Users can access the web portal to register products, file claims and check their statuses, and, after each interaction, customers can fill out a survey and share their experiences.

“Capturing and incorporating customer input has been invaluable, and has driven many of the enhancements which have positively impacted our Hub experience,” said Abbie Taylor, Asurion vice president of Customer Experience.

These enhancements are just another part of our commitment to continuous innovation that improves the customer experience. We will continue to surprise and delight, thanks to our customers’ feedback.

Asurion is committed to helping customers enhance their lives through technology. Learn more about Asurion at www.Asurion.com.

Culture of ideas at Asurion

At Asurion, we believe that good ideas come from everywhere, not just the corner office. Often described as a “20-year-old startup,” Asurion is no stranger to rapid growth. In the last four years alone, Asurion has increased revenue and boasts 16,000 employees working in 53 offices across the globe. Luckily, this growth exists because of – not at the price of – a company culture focused on ideas.

Hackathons

Asurion hosts multiple company-wide Hackathons a year, where employees of all levels collaborate on innovative ideas to improve our customer and employee experience. Ideas are pitched to a panel of judges and the winning concepts are set into motion. Over 47 teams have participated in the past two years, with several winning ideas in implementation.

Who can participate? Anyone! This September, we had over 80 participants from across all functions. While hackathons are often considered technical events, there are plenty of seats at the table for non-development team members from HR, communications, marketing, and customer solutions. The top three teams this year were made up of “new” employees who had started working at Asurion within the past year.

Asurion Hackathons are hosted in every region of the company with the primary goal of finding ways to accelerate digital transformation, improving our current products or services, and finding new and better ways to work together. Most importantly, Asurion Hackathons foster engagement and excitement as employees are given time away from their regular jobs to work together to develop inventions and innovations.

Ideabox

Asurion believes the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas. So we created a portal where employees can quickly and easily submit any idea they have to improve our customer or employee experience. Once posted, coworkers can see the idea and vote on the concept with a simple thumbs up or thumbs down. Ideas with the most positive votes are evaluated by a dedicated team who works to implement the best concepts. In the first few months of Ideabox’s existence, we’ve already seen impressive engagement from employees. As a result, we’ve made improvements to customer apps that will drive more engagement, spun up portals that house resources in a central location for easy collaboration and transparency, and even delivered workplace enhancements such as making break room computers handicap accessible and bringing food trucks to locations with limited lunch options.

 

Asurion is building the products, platforms, and systems that help support our partners and deliver an exceptional customer experience. www.Asurion.com

How to keep social apps from draining your battery

It’s a dilemma we can all relate to: After a bout of swiping, liking, scrolling, and LOL-ing, your phone’s battery is dangerously close to the Red Zone. Since deleting a beloved social app isn’t always an option, our Soluto tech expert Erica offers tips on how best to stop (or stifle) the battery drain.

Which apps are draining my phone’s battery?

Luckily, the culprits are easy to find. You can identify the social apps that use the most battery by going to to Settings > Battery. The offending apps will appear under “battery usage.” (Hint: It’s usually Facebook.)

But I don’t even spend that much time on social media!

Social media apps drain your phone’s battery even when not used. You may not think you use an app very often, but due to ever-expanding features, the app may demand more resources than it did, say, a week ago. Consider Instagram and Facebook Messenger – formerly flat, basic platforms that are now integrated with captivating (and battery-sucking) media and capabilities.

Tips to extend your smartphone’s battery life:

  1. Turn off Background Data in your phone’s settings
  2. Keep screen brightness low
  3. Limit app use
  4. Turn off location services
  5. Limit app usage to one app at a time
  6. Disconnect your social media. (Nope, this doesn’t mean disconnect from social media). For example, having Tinder connected to Facebook is mandatory to sign up, but you don’t need it connected to Instagram or Spotify. Having these apps constantly interacting can cause background data use – and poses a security risk.

Asurion is committed to helping customers enhance their lives through technology. Our Soluto tech experts are here to help. Click here to learn more about Soluto.