Businesses are becoming increasingly dependent on digital technology, and with that has come a rise in cybersecurity data breaches. The impact of an online data breach can be substantial for a company and its customers.
In fact, a survey in Australia found that 85% of people would stop dealing with a business if their data was breached. Not only does a business face losing customers, but it can also cause damage to its reputation, and can end up costing the company thousands to fix.
While there is no such thing as 100% cyber security, with hacks becoming increasingly sophisticated, most of the tactics people fall for are already well known. This means that there are simple steps you can take to help protect your business from a potential breach and reduce the chances of sensitive information being stolen.
1. Know where your data is stored
The first step to protecting your business is to understand your data. You may not need in-depth knowledge of how cyber attacks work, but you should have a basic understanding of what data is business-critical or sensitive.
You also need to know where this data is stored. A surprising 25% of security professionals don’t know where their organization’s sensitive or private data is located. However, understanding your data is essential in helping you to recognize the effect that a breach could have on your business and how to stop that from happening.
Not only should you ensure that your data is stored in a secure location, but you should also review the access that your staff has to various types of data. There’s no point in having employees have too much access to sensitive data when they don’t require it for their job.
2. Be prepared
Cyber resilience isn’t just about preventing attacks from occurring, but also about being prepared and having a plan in place in the event of a breach. As soon as a breach is recognized, you will need to act fast, so it helps if you are ready with a procedure for how your IT leaders should respond.
Be sure to keep your security strategy updated, as things can change very quickly in the world of online crime. While fixing the issue will be your main concern, it’s also crucial to investigate what data was compromised and how. It may take time and resources, but it will help to avoid another attack in the future.
3. Keep software up to date
While keeping anti-malware and anti-virus applications up to date may not be high on your priority list, it’s one of the easiest and most important things you can do to protect your business.
Updates may be disruptive and inconvenient, but they can make a big difference to the security of your business. Regularly check for any updates and patches that have become available and schedule those updates during your business’ off-peak times as soon as possible.
4. Train your employees
Most of us are well aware of phishing hacks by now. After all, they’ve been around for several years and are still extremely common. The trouble is, they are becoming increasingly difficult to spot.
To reduce the likelihood of breaches, ensure that employees receive adequate training and that this training is updated and repeated regularly. Make it a routine topic in team meetings and encourage staff to share examples of any phishing emails they come across.
Employees are often the weakest link, with human error causing nearly two-thirds of breaches, so it’s crucial that cybersecurity training is up to date to avoid costly mistakes from occurring. Of course, this shouldn’t just cover phishing hacks, but also any other cyber attacks your business could face.
5. Start today
Don’t wait to take responsibility for the sensitive data stored by your business. If you’re not doing enough to protect your company against a security breach, then you need to act today.
It’s not something you can do in one day and then forget about. Things change very quickly, so you need to ensure your security policy and software remains up to date, that your employees receive regular training, and that you don’t fall behind on the latest threats posed by cybercriminals.
Security threats are unavoidable; the more you can do to protect your business, the better.
If you haven’t yet had the chance to discern among these three types of artificial reality, it’s about time you did so. The future is now, and unless you wish to remain comfortably lulled in the past and rest on your laurels, you’ll at least want to recognize these three types of technologies, since they are increasingly finding ways into our lives and business schedules. As they become more relevant, they are undoubtedly here to stay.
Virtual, augmented, and mixed reality are already used on an everyday basis, though some of them have yet to become completely ubiquitous. Soon enough we’re going to be making decisions about our preferred learning styles or purchases based on whether the service is available in a desired type of reality. Therefore, let us guide you and identify the differences once and for all.
Virtual reality (VR)
In real life, you’ll come across situations when virtual reality is used as an umbrella term for all “artificial realities”. This is to be avoided at all costs if you want to present yourself as a technologically-focused business. By definition, virtual reality is an artificial digital environment which is in no way connected to the outside world. It can be accessed through using a VR headset, such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
However, some of you may be left feeling confused and wonder how it is said that we are not connected with the real world when we are certainly using the head gear and joysticks. Therefore, having a tactile sensation with something outside the artificial environment. But when you put on the head gear, you observe only the objects and surroundings which aren’t real. Most people have already become familiar with the term “VR” since it’s widely popular in several areas.
By turning on their PC connected headsets, or standalone headsets, virtual reality users have changed the concepts of education. Students can learn about subjects such as science through interacting with 3D images and be transported to other countries for geography lessons. The tools can be applied across many other industries such as real estate, business,, healthcare, and travel. For instance, you can look around the apartment which is on sale or study the positions of organs in the human body.
Augmented Reality (AR)
This type of digital world can be considered less artificial than the previous one. While in VR a user is only presented with the non-physical objects, augmented reality is a combination of the digital and real world. The most cited example is the Pokémon Go craze. Through their cell phone screens, people were looking at digital objects depicted in the real world, and behaved as if they were completely physical.
When you put on an AR headset or smart glasses, you will still be able to see the world around you, as opposed to VR, in which you only see the unreal. Augmented reality mixes the real and unreal, so it’s confusing in the sense that it’s not called mixed reality. Be wary not to confuse these two. The form of the digital addition can be represented as an image, a video, or interactive data. You are in full control of what you observe, and you can easily imagine what the object would look like in your real surrounding because it’s right in front of you.
The most basic example would be in retail business. Imagine you wish to buy a new sofa, but you aren’t completely sure whether it would fit, or how it would complement other pieces of furniture in your home. When using AR, you can easily place the sofa wherever you would like to position it. With AR, you do not need a headset or glasses, you can simply use your smartphone or device.
Mixed reality is also referred to as hybrid reality and can be considered an advanced form of AR. It is without a doubt the closest one can get to stepping into the digital world. At least until we are able to do so only by using our brain waves. In the meantime, there are holographic and immersive devices designed for this purpose. Once you put it on, you are completely immersed in the digital world, which is conveniently connected to your real surroundings.
There are fundamental differences between the VR and MR. With VR for example, you can’t move freely without the fear of tripping over. MR recognizes the obstacles around you and identifies them as parts of the digital world. By avoiding the objects and surfaces in MR, you have the ability to move freely in your flat or office, without the fear of bumping into an object or a person. MR gives a whole new meaning behind lessons in history or geography. With MR, you are able to step inside and move around the Colosseum!
A general understanding of virtual, augmented and mixed reality allows you to opt for the one most suitable for your needs. Soon the conversations are going to revolve more about which device to use, choosing at least one.
They will soon become taken for granted just like cell phones and the internet. People will no longer be amazed by these inventions. In a similar way, artificial reality is on the way to becoming completely and utterly mundane. The good news is, now you will be ready for it.
Technology has impacted every area of our lives, including the workspace. When you step into an office today, you’re surrounded by technology that is transforming at a rapid pace.
So far, it’s helped businesses become more efficient, workers more productive, enabled remote working and revolutionised the way we communicate. Time can only tell how technology is set to further transform our workspaces.
However, recent developments can give us an insight into changes set to take place in the near future.
Office workers are commonly known for spending too much time sitting at their desks andthe risks associated with this including obesity, type-2 diabetes and a higher chance of heart disease, are also well known.
While this has led to the invention of standing desks, this may not be the best solution, as arecent study conducted in Australia found that more than 50% of people get tired after standing up for less than an hour. It appears that standing comes with its own set of problems.
Smart chairs could be the solution to both of these issues.Axia’s ergonomic smart chairs are integrated with smart technology that includes sensors in the seat and back. These record the user’s sitting behaviour, allowing workers to gain visual feedback that will help ensure they maintain a proper posture.
It will also vibrate if you’ve been sitting for too long, encouraging you to take regular breaks, so you alternate between sitting and standing. Managers that are focused on improving the health and well-being of their workers, which in turn helps to increase productivity, would benefit significantly from introducing these into their workspace.
While much has been said about artificial intelligence (AI) taking over our jobs, with prototype robotsdemonstrating the capacity to outperform lawyers, surgeons and stock traders, office workersdon’t appear to be too concerned. That’s because AI also has the ability to make our lives easier by doing some of the work for us, allowing us to focus on other tasks and making us overall more productive.
An intelligent personal assistant could help with simple administrative tasks, such as reminding us about appointments and meetings, making to-do lists, locating electronic documents and automating routine tasks that don’t require human input. Some of these things can already be done with tools like Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa and Siri.
AI, however, could do much more than help out with simple tasks. It could also help with creative tasks by providing inspiration for writers or designers. There are several ways AI could help make our lives easier, freeing up our time to be more innovative and productive.
Iris and Fingerprint Scanners
Password-only authentication has long been the way workers sign onto their computers and access their emails. However, given the multitude of security threats faced by business this day and age, it is no longer enough.
Thankfully, things are set to change with the introduction ofbiometrics. These days, deploying biometrics is relatively easy and inexpensive, in part due to the fierce competition among smartphone makers determined to implement fingerprint readers.
It’s not just smartphones that are making use of biometric technology. We can also see it in action inWindows Hello, Microsoft’s biometrics security system. It allows Windows 10 users to log onto their devices using facial recognition, fingerprints and even with an iris scan.
With the threat of data breaches increasing, fingerprints, iris, voice and facial recognition will go a long way in minimising security losses. While they may not be used as a sole method of authentication, they will help to increase security.
These are just some of the technologies set to change the way we work but new technologies are being developed every day that are helping businesses make the most of their operating methods and their workers. It is up to business leaders to keep up with these changes in the most efficient way possible, to ensure maximum profitability, efficiency and security at their workplace.
Modern small businesses simply can't compete in the global marketplace without leveraging the latest technology. The problem is, high-end technology can be expensive, and therefore out of reach for many in the SMB space. As any SMB IT specialist will tell you though, that doesn't mean that business managers demand any less.
The resulting situation requires that IT professionals do more with less, and they are frequently forced to cut corners to get by. Needless to say, that is a very dangerous game. Statistics indicate that every hour of downtime costs the average SMB $8,580. At that rate, it wouldn't take very long to cripple most small businesses; assuming that they recover at all.
When redundancy and high-availability solutions aren't an option, the name of the game for SMB IT specialists is backup and disaster recovery (BDR). There are plenty of inexpensive ways to integrate BDR solutions into SMB infrastructure, and at this point, there's no excuse not to. From data recovery software to cloud-based virtual machine imaging, here's a rundown of the best SMB BDR solutions for every level of a network.
For an average SMB, there's no need to have complete backups of every network workstation. Network file sharing and enforcing group policy does a decent job of centralizing all mission-critical business data for protection at the server level. In theory, it sounds great. In practice, every IT professional knows that end users always find creative ways to evade procedures meant to protect data and end up saving some irreplaceable files on local drives.
To guard against losses due to hardware failure and accidental deletion, the most inexpensive solution is to keep a copy of recovery software on hand (recent experiences show that R-STUDIO Disk Recovery software handles well). It's more than capable of dealing with file recovery on a variety of filesystems and can even image disks that suffer from bad clusters and physical defects. For the few times it should be necessary as part of a complete BDR plan, there's no better way to account for the unexpected.
Local Backup Solutions
To protect files generated throughout the day, the next level of data protection that may be employed by an SMB is data replication. For networks that already make use of centralized storage solutions, this is now an easy thing to accomplish. One of the best current solutions is available from network storage vendor QNAP. Their NAS devices now offer real-time remote replication, which makes it easy and inexpensive to have instant file backups to separate physical hardware. The secondary target device can even be placed at a remote site with replication over an encrypted WAN connection for added security.
Cloud BDR Solutions
The most popular (and most expensive) type of data protection available to SMBs today resides entirely in the cloud. There are dozens of companies offering cloud-based data backup solutions, with more joining the market each day. At the time of this writing, Zetta Data Protection is the clear standout for SMBs looking for cloud backup services. The Zetta solution is software-only, which makes it a snap to deploy in almost any network environment. It's also scalable and offers customizable protection for servers and file storage devices, and can even handle imaging of virtual machines. Best of all, the feature set keeps growing with each new version, so SMBs aren't likely to outgrow the platform anytime soon.
Protection at Every Level
The variety of BDR options that are now available to the SMB market mean that even the most cost-conscious business can afford to protect themselves from a disastrous data loss. With the costs of failure being as steep as they are, they can hardly afford not to. Deploying one or more of these data protection solutions will guarantee continuity through a variety of disaster scenarios and will be sure to help SMB IT professionals sleep a little better, knowing that they're no longer working without a net.
It appears that solar power is in a constant state of innovation. New advances in technology are regularly announced that change the way we capture sunlight, harness the sun’s heat, and store energy. It’s these advancements that have allowed households to efficiently store and harvest solar power in a way that makes the technology affordable to the masses.
Indeed, 1.7 million homes in Australia now have solar power on their rooftops, a global record per capita. We take a look at one of such breakthroughs helping to shape the future of solar power technology.
Solar Forecasting Technology
IBM Research developed a new solar forecasting technology as part of a research program that was financed by the SunShot Initiative of the US Department of Energy (DOE).The technology was developed by IBM scientists to help electric utilities and grid operators integrate solar energy into the grid. This helps to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, which contribute to climate change. The scientists developed what is known as the Self-learning weather Model and renewable forecasting Technology (SMT). When compared to conventional approaches, it is said to achieve 30% greater accuracy in solar and wind forecasts.The technology relies on Big Data, machine learning, and analytics to analyse, learn from, and develop solar forecasts derived from a great number of weather models.
Taking Analytics on the Road
The technology was used to help the University of Michigan’s car team during the World Solar Challenge race, to measure and predict the sun’s position, its radiation, and other weather elements, allowing them to find the optimal stopping points to charge their car battery at the start of the day and before the sun went down, as well as dodge the clouds along the way.
Two kinds of forecasts were used; short-term and long-term solar forecasts. One technique would allow the team to obtain incredibly accurate forecasts on the race route, two or three days ahead. This would enable them to optimise their racing strategy and potentially gain up to 50 minutes over the course of the race.This technology constantly monitors weather conditions and analyses the data to forecast precisely how much solar energy would be available for the team at specific locations and at different times. A large number of weather and solar prediction models are incorporated into the technology, which it blends to produce a supermodel. The system not only learns from a great deal of historical data at its availability but also continues to learn as the race goes on.This information would be used by the team to locate the ideal spot to charge their car battery; somewhere unobstructed, with enough sun, but not too much heat (as too much heat reduces the panel’s efficiency). The short-term solar forecast applies to near real-time conditions. Rather than having to peer outside the car’s windows during a race to spot clouds and guess whether to slow down or speed up to avoid extended cloud cover (in what is known as cloud dodging), as was done in the past, the team can now rely on short-term forecasts. Scout cars with 15 minutes of lead time and sky cams mounted onto their hoods use the forecasting system to plot the speed, size, and directions of the cloud and communicate with the drivers, so they know what speed to travel at to gain maximum solar energy.
In this case, these forecasts are important as simulations showed the techniques gained the team up to 15 minutes per day. However, this improved accuracy in forecasting can also help utilities to operate more efficiently, and thus more profitably. Not only would this approach be beneficial in solar power, but it could be used in renewable energy forecasting in general, including hydro and wind. It is these types of continual advancements which is taking place that are allowing renewable energy sources to become a more accepted and established energy generation option, not just for utilities, but also for homeowners.
IBM’s technology, along with other recent breakthroughs in areas such as solar panel efficiency, solar tracking mounts, wearable solar, solar-powered roads, solar batteries, and solar skin design, is nothing but good news for homeowners considering solar rooftop panels for their home. Lower costs and more effective power output make it much easier for people to invest in this technology and reap the long-term savings.
Unarguably, 2017 was a huge year for Blockchain - we have witnessed incredible growth with obscene ICO investments, alongside public regulations and security hacks. We are sure that many are trying to follow Blockchain news, since Bitcoins reached record-breaking exploits this year. But following such phenomena may seem complicated, especially if you are new to the topic, since it is developing with a lightning speed. That’s why we decided to list some of the latest Blockchain trends, for your better understanding of this profiting madness.
Bitcoins have broke every possible record
Let us start with an elephant in the room. For anyone living under a rock lately, we answer - yes, Bitcoins are a thing, and year 2017 will be remembered as a year, when it became a rising star. Its price has grown for more than 1700% during past year. Remember 2011, when Bitcoins were traded for $1 each? Well, in December 2017 the price has already passed $20K mark. And with financial giants like CME already starting Bitcoin futures trading, it is definitely not the end.
ICO makes money
Record number of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) with more than $5 billion funding since the start of the year. Companies like Bancor, Filecoin and Tenzos has become one of the best projects for the last year, raising hundreds of million dollars. Of course not every ICO can raise its minimal goal, but judging by the latest successful campaigns, we see no problem for future projects to sell all the available tokens quickly.
Decentralized Exchanges are the future
With the rise of the cryptocurrencies it was only a matter of time when people will start to think about exchanging coins without entrusting them to a third party service. This is basically the core of Decentralized Exchanges. You are always directly in control of your coins and can conduct transactions directly with someone you’re trading. This system is completely anonymous with excluded server downtime risks. Some examples of modern Decentralized Exchanges are Bitsquare and NXT.
Era of Hacks, Frauds and Regulations
We also cannot forget to raise all the risks and problems that became highlighted, as a result of Blockchain success, during the last year:
Since ICO works similarly to crowdfunding but without its regulations it opened a window for some fraud companies that pushed ICO’s for the projects they never had interest in developing. As the result, companies like Confido and Moolah simply robbed their clients and disappeared with their money.
Earlier this year, ICO did not hold any regulations whatsoever, but the situation is changing rapidly. Countries like China, for example, already banned all cryptocurrency exchanges. We will see what regulations will be shaped in the majority of the Western countries.
While blockchain technology already enjoys undeniably advanced features by the end of 2017, Blockchain can go even further and be used to track supply chain movements. It is going to be a really big step towards a secure global network freedom. Already some banks, like IBM, starting to implement blockchain based payment technology to make their own transactions safer.
Blockchain can be implemented directly into any city infostructure, creating a “Smart City” of some sort. Commerce, energy, security - all can be tied together, operated and enabled by Blockchain. And don’t forget about real currencies - digital tokens for Dollars, Euros and Yuans are coming.
Also, we will probably see some massive improvements in terms of scaling transactions. Currently, Bitcoin can only work with a certain transaction number in a given time. This can change with an increase of Bitcoin trade, since transaction fees will drop, giving new solutions an opportunity to make future transactions better.
Currently there are not many Blockchain experts on the market, but with a further increase of the technology we can safely predict that more and more specialists will be trained and hired by companies in a variety of industries.
Essentially, blockchain is a revolutionary technology that has potential not only of disrupting financial services, but also of solving issues of trust and reducing costs in various industries that highly depend on intermediaries. In fact, it can bring a paradigm shift in the way all digital transactions perform. As the blockchain fever has heated up in 2017, we can definitely expect a steady increase in the application of blockchain-related processes in companies that continue to harness the concept, by linking their businesses to cryptocurrencies and blockchain. New potential applications of a technology are being explored every day, and all of us, the governments, consumers and businesses will feel the impact. Perhaps, we are at the brink of the next digital revolution, after the birth of the Internet.
The vast majority of Android smartphones these days are overcrowded with unnecessary apps. Half of those probably came pre-installed with your phone, with the other half being installed by yourself, driven by curiosity and maybe even some boredom. Hey, no need to worry, we all do that from time to time. But, maybe it would be a good idea to free up some space on your phone and install few useful apps that will highly enhance your outdoor activities. With spring being almost here, this is a perfect time to prepare yourself and your smartphone for the future outdoor adventures.
Explore the Wilderness, But Don’t Get Lost
We all love Google Maps. After all, it is an app that has saved us so many times. But if you are venturing into the wilderness, going on a hiking trip or anything similar, Google Maps won’t be able to provide too much help. First of all, you’ll need an app to plan your trip and provide you with all necessary info on the trail you plan to conquer, and so much more. Although not all of this can be found in a single universal app, we can combine few of them to get us nicely covered.
Prepare Yourself In Advance First of all, let’s start with AllTrails
This free app is not only useful for hiking, but for cycling, running/jogging, and exploring in general. The app is basically online trails database, currently covering more than 50,000 trails across the United States. The partnership with National Geographic is giving this app additional layers of security and reliability. Within the app, all trails are rated by the users, you can investigate how the trail looks like in advance, how the trail is difficult, what’s the elevation level, overall length and so much more.
Aside from apps, it is important to say that you should always be well prepared when venturing into the unknown, so good physical equipment is the key. Having some of the best outdoor watch compliant with Android could help you with navigation a lot. Interesting article and review on the best outdoor watches (specifically for this purposes) can be found here - Best Outdoor Watches: 8 of Them To Make The Most of Your Activities.
Always Chart Your Progress
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, I’ll simply assume that you love to chart your progress. Nothing wrong with that, it is after all great way of tracking the overall progress of your workout sessions. But when going on a hike, free app like Map My Hike can really come in handy. What this app does is providing you with current, average and weekly stats on travelled distance, spent time, burnt calories, number of workout sessions among the other things. Using the GPS sensor, Map My Hike will log all your data, with pacing, route, distance and elevation being all included. All this data can be visually presented in the form of nicely designed graphs. And if you are the competitive type, you can submit your scores to leaderboards and see how does your result compare to the others.
Watching The Sky
If the idea of having your personal planetarium sounds interesting, than Sky Map is the perfect app for you. Outdoor enthusiasts are known as the type that doesn’t care much about the time, so more often than not we are surprised by the early sunset and the sky full of stars. In times like these, app like Sky Map can come in handy. It can help you to identify the stars and planets above, all that by using build-in GPS or compass. This app has been in development for quite some time now, first by Google itself, and now by independent developers since it is open source. No need to mention that Sky Map is free, just like all the other apps we have mentioned in this post. Having The Internet connection is not necessary for this app to run, but if it’s available, your whole experience will be easier and more convenient.
These apps will help you greatly in your upcoming outdoor adventures. Smartphones have become such a great addition to the standard equipment. Not just in hiking, but in pretty much all types of outdoor activities. Naturally, proper equipment is still the key component for your safety, so be sure to have a compass, survival watch (great review of the best survival watches on the market can be found here) or any similar tool at your disposal at any given moment.
When many of us think about artificial intelligence (A.I.), we might think of the Watson computer from IBM taking on "Jeopardy!" champions and outplaying them at their own game. We might also think of the variety of smart appliances that we have in our homes and daily lives. While those are good examples of AI, they are not the only way that these technologies are going to impact our lives in the very near future. Today, we take a look at how artificial intelligence may be used in the legal field, something that is already being discussed in some corners.
A lot of the impact on the legal field when it comes to artificial intelligence is how much time to takes to process all of the paperwork. Almost no other procession has as much paperwork as the legal field. There are all kinds of documents to sort through and process. Typically, this work is done by those in the paralegal field at the moment, but that could change if artificial intelligence can be built up to such a level that it is able to scan through all of that information. They say that it might make the time for processing a claim as little as just a few seconds.
The ability to scan through millions of documents in a matter of seconds makes the AI computers far more efficient than even the most capable of human workers. It also means that it is entirely possible for computers to take over responsibilities in looking for red flags in documents and maybe even sniffing out fraud within an organization. Essentially, the computer could take over the task of finding the situations in which a lawyer is necessary in the first place according to CNBC.com.
Baker and Hostetler
One law firm in New York has already rolled the dice with artificial intelligence in their procession. They took on the IBM computer named ROSS as an "attorney" to work on their bankruptcy cases. The ROSS computer answers questions that the attorneys may have, searches through mountains of information about their various cases, and even generates its own theories about the case.
The computer understands English. You can speak to it as you would another person, and it will find the answer to the question that you ask it. Of course, the answer that it provides will far surpass what any human could provide for you in a timely manner. This is because ROSS searches through all available information that it has at the ready to find you exactly the information you desire. That saves the Baker and Hostetler firm a lot of time and money that they would have spent on human paralegals and legal researchers.
Another interesting innovation regarding this computer is that it just gets smarter as time goes on. The more that it is used, the more it learns, and the more it learns, the more it can help lawyers going forward. It is this virtuous cycle that keeps the ROSS computer on the cutting edge of the legal world.
How Quickly Will This All Happen?
This is the million dollar question for those in the legal profession and for those who use attorneys on a regular basis. Right now, we are still in the first inning of a long game. Though many are excited by the possibilities of using artificial intelligence in all kinds of applications, it is not necessarily going to happen overnight. In fact, it is difficult to imagine someone like an injury lawyer in a rural area getting this kind of technology for some time to come now.
The theory from Queen's University at Kingston in the United Kingdom is that the use of AI in the legal profession may take longer than in some other professions. The primary reason for this belief is simply that the legal field thrives on tradition and standard practices. It is not easy for it to break away from the paths that it has trod in the past. Therefore, it may take a while before many lawyers get very comfortable with this.
The example of the firm in New York that uses AI in its bankruptcy cases is encouraging for those who are looking forward to this happening, but it is still certainly in the experimental stages as it were when it comes to using AI for the legal field. We may not yet have computers representing us in court, but how much longer it could be until that is a reality is anyone's guess.
News outlets and financial markets around the world have been abuzz with news and opinions about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for several years now. While the investment related results of these digital financial instruments have been mixed at best, there is one aspect of the technology that has received near-universal acclaim. It's called the blockchain, and it's becoming a core technology for several industries.
If you're involved in the financial or technology sectors, you've no doubt already heard of the blockchain. The encrypted decentralized ledger system was first designed as the transaction security implementation for the original Bitcoin system. Blockchain development has since taken off, and it has proven to be a game-changer for recordkeeping systems of all kinds.
The inherent security and efficiencies of the system are already lowering costs in accounting, identity management, and supply chain systems around the world. Not all of the uses are obvious ones, though. In fact, it's turning up in some surprising places.
Combating Human Trafficking
The United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology announced an effort this month to deploy a database based upon blockchain technology to prevent human trafficking. This massive global problem has been difficult to tackle because a multinational standard for identity management has been elusive. Sadly, children have always been most vulnerable.
Noting that at least half of children under five years old had no identification or birth certificate, the U.N. believes that a global blockchain registry could be the solution they've been looking for. "Child trafficking is one of the greatest human rights abuses. Leveraging blockchain technology offers potentially powerful solutions to address this serious challenge and save the lives of millions of children.", says Yannick Glemarec, the U.N. Assistant Secretary General. If the pilot program sees success, it will establish blockchain as a truly transformative technology.
Stopping Sales of "Conflict Diamonds"
In May of 2000, diamond-producing states from southern Africa met to address the persistent problem of so-called "conflict diamonds". This refers to the illicit mining and sales of diamonds to support violence and oppression in the region. The result of their meeting was an agreement to implement the Kimberley Process. It regulates the diamond trade of signatory states to eliminate fraud and abuse.
Since then, a company called Everledger has leveraged IBM's Bluemix blockchain technology to create a diamond registry to help to implement the Kimberley Process. It is a secure list of certified diamonds that meet the criteria of the agreement and are therefore safe for trade. Everledger reports already having more than one million diamonds registered in their system, which is already reducing fraud and eliminating the sale of fake diamonds in the global market.
Automobile Lifecycle Management
Recent startup CarFix has begun developing and implementing a vehicle lifecycle blockchain system to streamline and revolutionize the automobile maintenance industry. It's built using the Etherium platform and provides a backbone to a whole new ecosystem of auto repair shops, parts dealers, and dealerships. To bring transparency to the process, they've set exact prices for repairs that all member organizations adhere to, and the transactions are verified to be in compliance using the blockchain.
CarFix co-founder Oskar Hartmann describes the significance of the idea by saying "Imagine a world where a regular maintenance job is purged of oppressive bureaucracy and dishonesty amongst repair shop owners, a common disconnect caused by limited knowledge of the average consumer about his car…where any repair job is priced via a transparent algorithm instantaneously and can be booked much the same way you book hotel rooms."
If the system works as advertised, it will bring fairness and order to what has historically been a difficult and often frustrating process for consumers.
The Future of Blockchain Technology
The above examples are only a few of the interesting and consequential uses of the blockchain to date. If they prove anything, it's that there seems to be no limit to the ways that the technology can be adapted and applied. Only time will tell if the blockchain lives up to the hype that it has received to date. If the innovative uses we've already seen are any indication, the answer will likely be a resounding yes.
Just a few years from now, a drone could deliver a six pack straight from the brewery while you watch the game from a drone’s eye view of the field. Drones could be scanning the skies for hail, the forests for fires, and the mountains for avalanches. While one scours the park for a missing pet, another monitors congestion on the highway, and yet another flies a banner over the slowed traffic. There’s no end to the potential for drones in our world – no end, that is, if they’re allowed to fly at all.
It was not long ago when we talked about having the best ABC watches for our outdoor activities, but a drone storm of controversy has exploded over the new industry, and the concerns are not unfounded. While some harmless drones are herding sheep or taking pictures of whales as well as military drones whose purpose we all know, others are flying so close to airports that they pose a serious risk to the planes and passengers, and others still are dropping bombs and launching missiles on the battlefields they’ve completely redefined.
The Federal Aviation Administration was blindsided by the rapid propagation of drones in the field, and, in a knee-jerk reaction to the problems they posed, banned the commercial use of drones in the United States. As one might imagine, that didn’t sit well with companies whose industries could be completely redefined by drones.
Slowly but surely, carefully considered regulations are being proposed, and certain exemptions are being made for such specific uses as real estate and wedding photography, professional cinematography for film and television production, mapping services and land surveys. That’s a far cry from the expanded roles that commercial drones could play in the future, but it’s a start.
The FAA has recently drawn up a long-awaited proposal expanding the potential uses for commercial drones. While this proposal has taken the logical step of requiring operators to become certified in the piloting of drones, it remains severely restrictive. Drones may only be flown during daylight hours and the aircraft must be within sight of its operator at all times.
Those may sound like reasonable rules, but they effectively prohibit drones from being used for the types of large-scale operations that would put them in position to radically change commerce and industry. Companies like Amazon and Google expect delivery drones to change the way we purchase goods in the future, but despite the resources these companies have expended to explore that possibility, it’s simply not realistic under the current set of rules.
That’s not to say the FAA doesn’t have good reason for concern. One can only imagine the implications of allowing thousands upon thousands of drones to fill the skies before tested and trusted systems are in place to ensure that each and every flight is as predictable and safe as it can possibly be.
Traffic control is only one of the myriad problems that must be solved before it can truly be said that it’s safe for drones to play an expanded role in the world. If industry’s ultimate goal is to use semi-autonomous unmanned aircraft to do handle everything from the manufacture of products to the delivery of goods – and it is – then dependable safety mechanisms and protocols must be developed to ensure the safety of the public on the ground.
Even such simple issues as battery life must be taken into account. What would happen if the delivery drone carrying your beer lost power en route? What if it happens to be flying above a busy highway as its blades slow to a stop? What if it falls through the windshield of a family’s sedan travelling at highway speed?
Incidents have already occurred that call into question the safety of even those drones that are being flown within sight of their capable operators. You may have seen the report on the news in April of last year when an Australian triathlete was injured when a videographer lost control the drone he was using to film the event.
It’s not just falling objects involved, either. Drones may not all look the same, but every one of them has a set of blades spinning very, very fast. In another incident last year, a drone nicked the tip of a woman’s nose as the operator was trying to land it on her hand. She wasn’t significantly altered or injured, but as she pointed out afterward, she could have been blinded. It could have been even worse than that.
Events like these are isolated at present, but as the number of drones increases, so too will the number of malfunctions, operator errors, and other mishaps. As the number of accidents increases, so, too, does the likelihood that one will result in more than just minor injuries.
Despite the challenges that lie ahead, drones, like all major technological advances and industrial revolutions, are inevitably here to stay. Their use will be limited until rules and regulations are drafted to define the expanding roles they they’ll play in our lives, but it’s only a matter of time before technology and bureaucracy reach a set of agreements that will change the way the world does business.
How many minutes does it take until you open your first app every day? Some people open multiple apps before they even get out of bed. It's safe to say we're all addicted and it's not going to change any time soon. To be honest, it's not really surprising.
Once you know what certain apps are capable of it takes your breath away. It would be hard to live our lives without them. It's likely you'll know what all the popular ones do, but there are some that might still surprise you. We'll touch on a few big ones right now.
1. You'll Never Get Lost On The Road
It was easy to get lost when you were driving around in the middle of nowhere. You would have to stop every second person you passed to ask for directions. Even if you did have a physical map in the car you wouldn't know how to use it.
You don't have to worry about any of that now thanks to navigation apps. They will take you directly to wherever you need to go, plus they contain lots of extra features. Drivers actually trust them more than built-in car navigation systems.
2. It's Easy To Stay In Good Shape
Most people are finally beginning to understand how to lose weight properly. It doesn't really have anything to do with the food you eat. Specific foods will have a different impact on your health, but they won't be able to burn your belly fat.
It's all about calories in versus calories out. Food apps will count how many calories you're eating per day and they'll tell you when to stop. They know how many calories are in everything. If you listen to them it's impossible not to lose weight.
3. Dealing With Lots Of Mental Problems
A huge percentage of the population deal with mental problems daily. Maybe it's always been an issue, or perhaps the world is moving too fast. It doesn't really matter what caused it. The most important thing is being able to deal with it.
Do you know anyone who has turned towards guided meditation apps? It helps slow your mind down for a few minutes every day. These apps are helping people deal with mental problems before they become even worse and take over their entire lives.
4. You Don't Need To Have A Great Memory
It was common to carry notebooks around if you wanted to remember anything important. We don't have great memories and it's easy to forget things within minutes. This can become a big problem if you come up with genius ideas on a regular basis.
Note taking apps are hotter than ever right now. Some apps are worth as much as a billion dollars. Not only will you be able to write things down when something pops into your head, but apps can save photos and let you make voice recordings too.
5. Saving All Your Data In The Cloud
It was risky saving all your data on smartphones and other devices. If you accidentally lost it your information would disappear forever. Even if you broke your device there was no guarantee it could be recovered. You don't need to worry about losing anything now.
You can save it all in the cloud automatically as long as you're connected to the internet. Most storage apps are free if you don't need much space, which is even better. They're superb for your personal and business storage needs.
6. Staying Productive All The Time
If you asked most people they'd say we've all become experts in wasting time. It's hard to go through the day without opening apps. It's fine if you're happy procrastinating, but it's a big problem if you want to do anything productive.
You can solve the problem by using productivity apps. The Pomodoro technique has become especially big in recent times. If it wasn't for certain apps a lot of people would hardly get anything done. If you find it hard to concentrate you'll love them too.
There Must Be Something You're Waiting For
There are apps for nearly everything you can think of today, but gaps in the market will always exist. Do you have any ideas for apps you're desperately waiting for right now? At the rate they're being churned out you shouldn't have to wait much longer.
If you're ready to make your brand as successful as possible in 2017, now is the time to start focusing in on digital marketing trends that will gain primacy. Doing so will help ensure that you know which online advertising strategies to implement for the purpose of keeping your organization on the path to perpetual progress. Below you will find just five of many digital advertising strategies that will likely gain primacy in 2017:
1. Content Marketing.
Content marketing has been one of the most important online advertising strategies for quite some time, and nothing has changed. Valuable content is something that others will want to share with their network (source). Consistently creating and publishing innovative, information-rich, and/or entertaining content is still key to connecting with audiences and increasing the likelihood that they will buy your products and share your brand with others. As such, it's important to focus on ensuring that your content is absolutely amazing.
There are several strategies you can implement to ensure that your content is always excellent. First of all, it's important to remember that most people don't read content in entirety. Rather, they quickly scan it to locate the information they want. Thus as noted in "How Users Read on the Web,"web pages typically incorporate the use of scannable text. Text is scannable when it includes elements like bullet points and numbered lists which make it easy for people to locate the information they want. Some other textual elements one might include in text to make it scannable include headers, subheaders, and infographics.
2. Twitter Polls.
If you're relatively savvy with respect to the realm of social media marketing, you may note that Twitter polls have become incredibly popular. These polls typically involve you asking your audience specific questions regarding your brand. An example would be "Which of our fruit baskets are you most likely to give a friend over the holidays?" As noted in Social Media Examiner, these polls are a wonderful means through which you can do the research necessary to optimize customer service and client satisfaction.
As numerous research studies have indicated, most people are more likely to watch a video than read a piece of content. In recognizing this reality, more and more business owners are tapping into the power of communicating the value of their brand to the prospective client via video. As noted in "8 Trends That Will Shape Content Marketing in 2017," video is so integral to the online experience that whole platforms have developed from this format. Now that more people are utilizing professional video production services, it will become immensely important for the driven business owner's content to be as innovative and identity-building as possible. There are several techniques you can deploy to make this happen, including the use of live streaming strategies that enable your audience to see what is transpiring as it happens.
4. Native Advertising.
Native advertising is a form of paid media. With this form, the ad will match the design of the website or blog's surrounding elements. The ad will ultimately resemble content. This type of advertising has gained primacy for numerous reasons. One reason is that 25% more consumers will view these ads than the conventional banner. Also know that 97% of mobile media buyers state that the ads are either somewhat or very effective in enabling them to realize their branding goals.
5. User-Generated Content.
As many online marketing mavens know, user-generated content has become an increasingly dynamic force in the world of digital advertising. This is the case because inspiring consumers and reviewers to produce positive messages which affirm the value of your brand is a wonderful way to keep your base of loyal clients growing and growing. There are numerous types of user-generated content. Some of them include:
• discussion forums
• digital images
• audio files
One particularly powerful form of user-generated content is the online review. Because many consumers now read online reviews before deciding whether to buy a product, ensuring that your customers consistently create positive reviews about your brand is a great way to keep your company growing.
One strategy you can deploy to increase the likelihood that positive user-generated content will be produced on your behalf is customer relationship management (CRM) software. This software will help you enhance interaction with your clients so that you can optimize their satisfaction with your level of customer service as well as the products and services that they purchase. Once this happens, they'll be more likely to create positive reviews about your organization.
Don't Delay: Start Optimizing Your Digital Marketing Plan Today!
If you're ready to make 2017 your company's most successful year ever, it's important to focus in on optimizing your online advertising plan. Use this quick reference guide regarding digital marketing trends for 2017 to ensure that you can continue building your business in a dynamic way.
Beyond any shadow of a doubt, computers are the key element of the 21st century because they are the main tool that dictates the development and evolution of technology. But as this development has gotten further and further, computers have gotten smaller and smaller. In fact, the size of computer parts today is actually smaller than the size of certain human cells. However, as technology is expected to advance exponentially, researchers have identified a physical barrier that will impend on this advancement in the near future.
This physical barrier is related to the size of computer parts as we know them, which can only get so small before the environmental properties affect the way they work. Quantum computers are the future of the internet and of technological advancement precisely because they promise a valid means of shrinking computer parts even further to keep up with the cascade of cyber development. In this article, we are going to lay out the basics of quantum computing, as well as the way it can be applied to revolutionize the internet and the future of research.
The Limitations of Classic Computers and the Need for Quantum Development
To understand why quantum computing is a mandatory element of the future of technology, it is important that you understand the limitations of classic computers. The smallest element of a classic computer is a transistor. This is, essentially, an electrical switch that either permits information to go through it or prevents it from doing so. This information is stocked in the form of bits, which can have one of two possible values: 0 and 1. The binary system is the fuel of the cyber world as we know it.
The smallest transistor today has a size of 14 nm. To put things into perspective, this is as much as 500 times smaller than the diameter of the human red blood cell. When this electrical switch is activated, it either prohibits or permits the passage of electrons through a preset gateway. When transistors are combined, they form logic gates, which can relay more complex information. Then, more logic gates are combined to form modules, and, finally, a combination of modules form a computer chip.
Technological advancement requires smaller and smaller parts, ergo smaller and smaller transistors. But as these get below nanometer level, the physical conditions prevent them from acting as they are expected to. To be precise, as transistors get to atom-level, electrons can pass to the other side of a blocked gate via quantum tunneling. Essentially, this invalidates the use of the transistor altogether because it will not be able to block information anymore.
This is precisely why researchers have focused on finding a solution to this gargantuan size issue that could impact cyber development sooner rather than later. And they have found a very promising solution in the form of quantum computing, which is going to use quantum physics, the exact element that is preventing classic transistors to function at a scale lower than the atom, to build a far more potent transistor model that will shape the future of the technology.
The Essential Elements of Quantum Computing
To cross this physical barrier that will impose on cyber advancement, quantum computers will apply quantum physics to classic computer anatomy. We are going to start at the lowest scale, the bit. Classic computers use bits, that can have a single value of either 0 or 1. Quantum computers will use qubits, which will also have one of two possible values. Qubits can be any two-level quantum system, such as a photon, which can be polarized either horizontally or vertically, ergo, it has two possible values.
While bits can have only one of the two values at a time, qubits have a special property called superposition that enables them to present a proportion of both values at the same time. However, when exposed to a certain test, such as exposing the photons to a filer, the qubits will go from superposition to only one of the two states, as a response. The superposition property of qubits has the potential to make the cyber world explode, and here's why.
In the classic computer model, five bits, which come in either 0 or 1, can be used in only one of 32 possible combinations (00001, 00011, 00111, etc.). However, five qubits in superposition can be in all of the 32 combinations all at once. Then, when a certain combination is required, it can be called out via testing, when each qubit will go to one of the two possible states. This means that as little as 20 qubits can store up to 1 million different values in parallel.
And if this weren't enough for a cyber breakthrough, qubits have yet another immensely important property, which is entanglement. This is a close connection between qubits which enables them to react to a change in the other's state, such as that made via testing. This reaction translates into value change, which occurs almost instantaneously regardless of the distance between the partner qubits. This is extremely valuable because it entails that testing one qubit can relay information about its partner qubit without having to subject the second one to a test.
Quantum Manipulation and the Central Uses of Quantum Computing
Quantum data manipulation will bring about some enormous changes for technological and scientific development because it takes data processing to an entirely new level. A classic computer used logic gates, which receive a simple set of inputs and produce a single output in the form of 0 or 1. A quantum gate uses an input of superpositions, then rotates and measures probabilities, and finally produces a superposition as an output.
And finally, let's link all of these elements together to relay the potential of quantum computing. A quantum computer will use qubits as its base element, and apply quantum gates to entangle them and to manipulate probabilities. The output provided by the quantum gates will be in the form of a superposition, which can be collapsed into 0 or 1 values via filtering. Essentially, while a classic computer can do only one calculation at a time, a quantum computer can do all the possible calculations at the same time, and you can then call out the one you need by applying a filer.
Quantum manipulation will make database usage explode because it can speed up all processes within a database. And this is going to be the future of the internet because it can take responsive websites and optimize them to load and perform processes immensely faster.
Lastly, quantum computing will also have a very valuable application in the future of medical research. Since a qubit can be any two-level quantum system, this means that organic elements can be used as qubits. This will make scientific simulation exponentially more accurate because it will be performed on the specific organic elements that are targeted instead of artificial replacements. This can be applied for protein-level research targets, which could give way to important breakthroughs in cancer research.
As you can see, quantum computing will clearly shape the future of the internet, of technology, and of science. It is an upgrade to the classic computer model which has the potential to bring about a development boom with numerous applications in various fields, which will shape the form of tomorrow. Quantum computing is a small step for cyber research, but definitely a giant leap for mankind.
Facebook’s Director of Product, Fidji Simo, communicated the company’s approach to product development in a recent interview. “We build products based on what the audience tell us they want. People want to feel like they’re part of the action,”Simo said in explaining FB’sadoption of 360-degree video playback, which is also available on YouTube.
Spherical content is recorded in every direction with a multi-directional camera or a series of cameras. Viewers are fully engaged as they use their directional controls to look in any direction from the point of view established by the creator.
The buzzword surrounding 360 videos is “immersive,” and it’s fitting because the viewer truly feels part of the scene. The technology is engaging but not without drawbacks. With that in mind, the question business owners and marketing strategist should be asking is, “Should we be adding 360-degree video to our site?”
Here are the pros and cons of immersive video to consider.
Reasons to Market with 360-degree Video
Immersive video allows viewers to engage your brand in exciting and/or meaningful ways. For example, ride along in this Mercedes-Benz E-Class on a thrilling tour of the countryside outside Lisbon. In a very different vein,travel virtually to South Sudan for an immersive look at impending famine.
Whether the creator’s goal is to get your heart pulsing with excitement about a new Mercedes or pumping with compassion about the horrors of hunger, it’s literally easy to see how 360-degree video makes the experience more real and more personal.
How is 360-degree video being used? These few examples will get you thinking about the many ways to employ immersive video:
Realtors are making 360-degree virtual tours of homes and commercial properties
Restaurant, club owners and retailers are showing off their establishments and stores, perhaps as part of a grand opening or a completed remodeling project
Travel brands like Carnival are inviting viewers to take a trip or cruise with an upbeat look at what awaits
Charitable organizations are capturing raw video of a need, showing how help can be given and calling viewers to respond
Manufacturers of all types of vehicles are creating virtual driving experiences
Drone makers are highlighting the fun and usefulness of real time 360 video
What’s Wrong with 360-degree Video?
There are two hurdles to greater adoption of immersive video for marketing.
The first is that it’s visceral for sure, to the point of being nauseating for those prone to motion sickness. This can be especially problematic when viewing contentwith a VR headset versus a phone. That’s an issue creators are working to overcome, though some users might never get beyond it. The solution might be to offer two ads, one shot in 360 and the other shot standard, as Google did in the example below.
A second problem, one that affects every business, is that the cost of creating 360-degree content might be higher due to equipment costs. However, while costs are higher, there is research from Google to suggest that 360 ads might be a more cost-effective choice than standard ads.
Google used its TrueView technology to create two similar 60-second ads for Columbia Sportwear. One campaign was shot and presented in 360 degrees; the second used the standard format. Both featured call-to-action (CTA) options for longer versions of the ads.
Fewer viewers watched the entire 360 video (view-through rate) in both desktop and mobile than watched the standard ad
More viewers of the 360 version clicked through to the full-length, which means they liked what they saw in the short add and wanted to see the whole thing
The interaction rate, the rate at which viewers made use of 360 functionality, was higher than the view-through rate
The 360 ad outperformed the standard ad by 41 percent in the key metrics of views, shares, subscribes and copying the ad’s URL to share directly with others
The 360 Takeaway
You know how it goes in marketing. You create and implement a strategy, and then analyze the results and weigh them against the cost. The same approach should be taken with 360 video in your marketing. Google’s experiment demonstrated, even if the sample size is one, that 360 ads can be effective and cost-effective.
For now, if you’ve got the money to spend and strong, creative ideas worth spending it on, 360 content might be a risk worth taking. Just keep proven best practices in mind. Use 360 video’s strengths as a tool, not as a gimmick. When doing so, you must optimise the content for mobile because watching content on mobile rather than desktop is a trend that marches on unabated.
Keep your core message at the forefront, and deliver it to your target audience. When you follow these simple guidelines, you’ll be far more likely to develop an engaging campaign that delivers cost-effective results.
Our catchy title might have grabbed your attention, but it lacks something. What’s missing is nothing short of the sine qua non: analysts who have the right tools and know how to use them in order to join the revolution.
Here’s what we mean and where we are going. The IoT sends an enormous amount of data (Big Data) to the cloud where it can be accessed by marketers. That’s step one, but one that by itself won’t yield a single marketing benefit. The essential second step is analyzing the data properly, so it can be employed in effective marketing, sales and CRM.
If marketing is your profession, then your goal is to translate data collected by the IoT into productive marketing. Your level of training in analytics software products will make or break your ability to do this.
Note: Our focus here is on the marketing done by companies using data garnered from the IoT. There are other ways that the IoT is being used in marketing. For example, a gift such as a bottle of wine might have a smart tag as part of its packaging. The purchaser could use a smartphone to record a message of congratulations or happy holidays to go with the gift and transfer it to the smart tag. The recipient of the gift could then view the message on a smartphone. As we’re seeing daily, the potential of combining marketing and the IoT is just starting to be realised.
The IoT and Big Data
There was a time not so long ago when accessing the Internet meant making a conscious decision and taking a definitive action such as logging in. That method is fading, quickly being overtaken by an ecosystem in which smartphones and their apps, computers, automobiles, refrigerators, smart home hubs, thermostats, medical implants, security systems, surveillance cameras, fobs, wearables, clothes washers, watches and a growing number of other objects are always connected.
The IoT was envisioned by innovators like Andy Hobsbawm, the CMO of smart device IoT platform Evrything. He wondered, “Why couldn’t the physical world be online and referenceable, searchable, mashable just like other forms of digital information? We [he and Evrything co-founder Niall Murphy] both felt strongly that the Web will inevitably include billions of objects sharing dynamic information about themselves in real-time.”
The IoT raced past the billion point and is expected to reach 50 billion “things” by 2020, a figure predicted by Ericsson in 2010 and echoed repeatedly and even increased by some.
Marketing in the IoT Age
The Big Data gathered by IoT includes the demographics, psychographics, news-gathering habits, shopping interests and habits, search interests, preferences and similar behavior of the person using the connected object.
Big Data is not one big mine, but a series of smaller mines representing the store of data each individual company drills into for information on individual users. The data is then used to customise a marketing strategy that will most appeal specifically to each customer.
The information you and your things generate can end up in several mines, however. For example, if you use your iPhone to search for shoes on Amazon using Google, all three companies have the information and might use it in tailoring the marketing goods and services to you.
Making Sense of Big Data: The Power of Analytics
The number of ways data can be used in marketing is mind-boggling. Consider several examples, and you’ll be able to configure as many more as you like:
Your car’s sensor indicates that your engine oil is dirty, and you get a text with the notification and a coupon code for a nearby oil-change centre
You enter a QR code into a restaurant’s scanner by passing your phone in front of it, and a custom menu is presented to you that reflects your preferences and requirements (vegetarian entrees, Italian cuisine, French wines, free-trade coffees or gluten-free desserts, for example).
The mass of data is simply too big to mine without putting analytics software to the task. The software tracks, accumulates, categorises, applies algorithms, employs data science and performs a multitude of additional tasks to help the marketer decide that:
Customer A might very much like Goods B and Services C offered to her on Devices D and E
Customer X fits the psychographic profile of a person likely to purchase product Y for herself and product Z as a gift, and markets them accordingly
Improving your Analytics Game
Here are three types of software any marketer should have in the toolbox. What these tools can do is amazing. However, as is true with most complex software products, those most skilled in using them reap the greatest reward. That’s why companies are investing in analysts that have the tools and know how to use them. Those analysts are an asset from the first day on the job.
Marketing automation software: Automating tasks such as sending marketing through text or email, managing a blog, tracking keywords or measuring the success of marketing campaigns is a time-saver for sure, but its greater value is in keeping you in touch with real and potential customers in highly effective ways.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software: CRM software builds strong relationships between companies and their customers to produce loyalty, responsive customer service and a higher volume of per-customer sales.
Social media software: These products help companies maximize their presence on social media platforms in many ways including managing their posts, dispersing good reviews and highlighting and/or rewarding people with positive things to say on social media about the company.
Joining the Revolution
As we’re seeing daily, the potential of combining marketing and the IoT is just starting to be realised. Uber was one of the first brands to take advantage of it. Uber’s success happened so fast and so big that only a few companies like Lyft have arisen as serious competitors, and those that have are way behind. Success like Uber’s is happening in large and small ways in every industry, but companies succeeding in the IoT-enabled marketing are those that have made the investment in analysts that well equipped with the tools and well prepared with the training required to use them effectively.