There is no doubt that technology has changed a lot in the way we do most of our day to day tasks. Learning has not been spared and in an effort to elevate our learning experience to even greater heights we may have encountered many new gadgets and software platforms which boast of cutting edge technologies and advanced tools to deliver excellent results. The outcome is that we now have many eLearning platforms which many people do find to be very interesting. Streamlining of learning goals and objectives have now been made easier as it is now very simple to obtain course learning blocks which we could only imagine about a decade ago. Taking into consideration that technology innovation never seems to be having any kind of break, the year 2016 has presented us with many eLearning technologies and we find the following 5 picks to be really unique.
Cloud Platforms for Easy Access and Storage of ELearning Materials
Cloud platforms do provide a perfect environment for any eLearning experience. Nowadays many people do prefer to move most of their digital data into cloud and it is usually for a good reason. Cloud-based eLearning tools are highly favoured in that they enable for remote access of the given data which might be of interest. Besides this, it is also possible to form highly effective collaborations with other members who may be sharing a similar eLearning cloud-based platform and this helps to add more to the general learning experience. The other advantage is that many organizations now prefer to have most of their digital content stored in the cloud-based tools and the benefit that arises from this kind of move is that we can see massive cost-savings and productivity boost when it comes to online training and learning.
Wearable Tech Gadgets
Wearable technologies have found most of their use in aspects such as monitoring health fitness and gaming technologies. The eLearning is one platform which can also greatly benefit from the unique advantages those wearable technologies offers. For instance, wearable tech gadgets like smart watches allows for quick online access of eLearning resources like training modules, interactive modules, or access to an online scenario as dictated by the eLearning platform being used. Besides this, wearable technologies make it possible for the eLearning resources to be moved to wherever a person may be. This way it is possible for an individual to gain the relevant skills and training without being confined to a particular location. It is also possible to narrow down any eLearning experience to a specific geographical location and this ensures that those who have enrolled to a particular eLearning resource have the chance of receiving materials which are culturally and socially appropriate within a given location.
Virtual Reality Headsets and Glasses
Virtual Reality has been a hot topic for discussion especially in the gaming industry. We have had many companies giving out test trails for virtual reality gadgets and the immersion concept that these gadgets are operating on has been likened to something out of many sci-fi movies. This concept has however transformed and many people see the opportunity of it being used for applications like creating complex engineering designs or simulating real-life experiences which would otherwise prove to be dangerous if tested directly. The VR concept can make eLearning to be even more interesting as teaching presentations made using this concept usually make learners to be even more appreciative of what is being delivered.
Automated Development Platforms
ELearning does require significant investment both in terms of times and money especially of the learning objective is to have some element of interaction. In 2016, we have seen many automated development platforms being developed and most of these are offering pre-simulated templates, graphics and interactions which correspond to the learning topics of interest. This aspect helps in cutting down the development time and creates an environment where any interaction process required for eLearning gets to be automated.
For best results any learning experience has to be reinforced with elements like discussion. This is one area where training telepresence has been of great help and this technology works by providing more of a social gathering for members who sharing a similar eLearning platform. Leraners from any part of the world can engage in online discussions and collaboratively engage with one another without having any kind of geographical limitation being imposed. Training telepresence makes use of high definition cameras, audio materials and simulated space which makes learners feel like they are actually sharing a common physical space. Some researchers have suggested that eLearning can get even better if training telepresence is combined with some elements of virtual reality. This will help create a highly immersive environment which can make any online discussions to be worthy and thus add more the overall objective of any eLearning.
Learning Management System (LMS)
An LMS offers a unique advantage in that it is able to meet the eLearning needs of many government and enterprise organisations. A learning management system like LearnFlex is an excellent platform when it comes to flexibility, adaptability, scalability and overall effectiveness.
Not many years ago, information technology programs across Australia showed booming registration numbers. Those numbers have been declining in recent years according to the findings in a report sponsored by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. At the same time, the number of people who are enrolling in health care related courses is steadily on the rise. Why are fewer people choosing to study information technology in Australia?
Several factors may be behind the decline in IT enrollments. Foremost among them is the perception that technology simply evolves too quickly for university programs to be able to keep up. The information found in textbooks becomes outdated as soon as those books go to print. Moreover, there may be a prevailing impression that instructors who are not actively working in the IT field cannot possibly have a grasp on the latest developments. Many prospective students may believe that they can do better by obtaining on-the-job experience rather than delaying employment in favor of more education.
Declining student enrollment numbers in information technology courses may also be attributed to the impression that there are not enough jobs available in this sector. That's largely because students think that the majority of IT-related jobs are being farmed out elsewhere. Studies show that many IT jobs have been sent to China, India or elsewhere. Labor is far cheaper in these nations, making this an attractive option for many organisations. They may also experience a reduction in operating costs and an increase in productivity.
While it's true that a growing number of computer science jobs have gone overseas, demand for information technology professionals remains steady. That's because there are down sides to outsourcing information technology jobs. The most frequently cited problems are related to security and a loss of control over information and operations. Many companies have also discovered that the quality of work produced is frequently inferior when compared to work by local employees. This means that Australian companies are likely to continue to look for local graduates to fill open positions.
Experts also suggest that while young people are enthusiastic about technology, they are not generally interested in pursuing it as a career. In short, they love what technology enables them to do, but that doesn't inspire them to make information technology their career path.
One of the reasons why students may be staying away from computer science and other related courses is the impression that it is an exceptionally difficult field of study. Many students who take an introductory programming course are put off by the rigid syntax and the unfamiliarity of the structure. They labor intensively to bring about even the simplest of results. The path is easier for students who have already been exposed to programming languages in primary or secondary education. Unfortunately, there are not a great many options available for this subject matter at these levels. When students encounter such difficulty with learning their first programming language, there is a tendency for them to drop out of technology majors in favor of something entirely different.
The U.S. is experiencing a similar decline in information technology program enrollment. Students there seem to cite many of the same reasons for shunning IT degree programs that are given in Australia. However, there are those who argue that the decline and resurgence of enrollment in computer science courses is naturally cyclical in nature. There was a peak in computer science students in 1985, but those numbers declined through the 1990s, increased in the early 2000s and then fell away again. This suggests that perhaps more companies will decide against outsourcing their IT jobs, bringing them back to the U.S., Australia and elsewhere from foreign lands.
If this trend remains true to form, then IT program enrollments may be on an upswing. Perhaps it will be health care education programs that begin to decline in the coming years while information technology begins to see a resurgence. To be ready for it, it seems like an excellent plan to get more computer science education into the primary and secondary education levels. With earlier introduction of basic concepts, new tertiary students will be better equipped to deal with the challenges of computer programming and other technology-related subjects.
Ten years ago, most of us would not have even been able to imagine the existence of 3D printing, much less all of the practical applications of this amazing technology. Some of the exciting new ways in which 3D printing is revolutionizing the world we live in include new applications in medicine, industry, and even the way we use water.
This video demonstrates the potential of 3D printing for improving the lives of thousands by developing high-quality prosthetics for a fraction of the cost. One California company, Not Impossible Labs has taken this technology to war-torn Sudan to help alleviate the suffering of amputees. Training the locals in how to operate the machinery, they created and fit customized prostheses, helping those without resources to regain mobility. In addition to prostheses, researchers are also using 3D printing to develop potentially life-saving implants such as heart valves.
Surgeons have used 3D printing to create substances that replace human bone, and have even successfully reconstructed a severely damaged skull. The possibilities aren't limited to our physical bodies, though. Chemist Lee Cronin believes that one day it will be possible for people to purchase chemical blueprints and ink and print their own medications at home!
According to one article, two thirds of all top manufacturers use 3D printing in some of their processes. The majority of them are using its capabilities to create prototypes of new products because it is faster and less costly. However, 10% of manufacturers have found ways to successfully incorporate it into the actual production process. 3% reported that their products couldn't be made without 3D printing technology. Based on the current growth rate, the $2.5 billion in 2013 is expected to reach $15.2 billion by 2018.
Another article points out that 3D printers can use up to ten different materials simultaneously. The printer can scan the geometries of all the necessary components of a complex item and use that information to print other objects around them. Rather than shopping for the right size case to fit your expensive tablet, it's now possible to have a case printed directly onto it.
All modern water systems utilize valves, and researchers are working on using 3D technology to create new types of valves. Traditionally, precision valves that regulate the flow of not just water, but oil and other liquid substances, have been made through a careful process of first creating a pattern, or "cast" of wood or plastic. 3D printing allows unique valve designs to be created and cast more quickly and inexpensively. Surprisingly, it has also paved the way for the development of temperature sensitive smart valves.
A scientific paper outlines the details of a new ink that can print thermally actuating hydrogels to create a smart valve using a network of alginate and poly N-isopropyl acrylamide. Thermally actuating means that the ink interacts with the environment and responds differently to different temperatures. Experiments have shown that the gels increased in length by over 40% when exposed to heat and then cooled. Using this information, they developed a smart valve that reduces the flow of water by 99% through exposure to heat and increases it with exposure to cold.
Experts predict that 3D printing will make it possible to create fully functioning human organs within the next five years. This is wonderful news for the thousands of people on waiting lists for transplants and their loved ones. They also predict that 3D printers will one day become as popular as home computers, which could result in the same degree of rapid innovation as people transform their ideas into physical realities.
Since powerful new technology creates the potential for abuse of that power, experts also point out the necessity for regulation of the industry. For example, 3D printed firearms may one day be used to commit crimes. Other legal considerations include the effects of 3D printing on current copyright and intellectual property laws. The real challenge lies in achieving a balance between public safety and the rapid innovation that has produced inventions that, ten years ago, would have been considered miraculous. One thing is certain—3D printing will make the future more interesting.
So you have a new system and you are now faced with the choice between Dynamic Disk Storage or Basic Disk storage. Upon installing Windows you have two disks to choose from, as you are well aware, they are dynamic and basic. Each disk had it's advantages and disadvantages, as does anything else. The dedication can be a daunting one, especially if you're already not tech savvy, not having any prior knowledge to computers. Even if you do have prior knowledge to computers and the systems, this is very confusing. Never fear, you will find most things you need to know in order to make you decision. Let's go over the advantages and disadvantages of both systems here to get you a feel of what each displays to offer.
The first is the basic disk. The basic disk is pretty self explanatory, it's pretty basic. The disk is used in the earlier version of Windows. On a basic disk storage is divided into partitions. On the basic disk the storage types that you can create into tables, you have are MBR and GBT. On the MBR storage file the partitions called primary partitions, extended partitions, and logical partitions.
On the GBT they are called GBT partitions, these function just like primary partitions. Note here that Windows XP does not support the mutidisk storage, however win2k does. On the basic disk you can also convert to dynamic disk as well. Which here is a plausible choice when choosing what to do.
However you may be pretty limited with this disk if you choose to go with this one but if you're not going to be doing much, this may just be the choice for you.
Now let's move on here to the dynamic disk. The dynamic disk has its features in its name. Its more dynamic, more versatile. The first difference here would be that everything is divided into volumes. The dynamic disk was created because technology is every changing, therefore we needed more updated storage types.
As stated before everything is divided into volumes. The dynamic disk lets you manage you disk and volumes without having to shut down Windows.
Now you can create five different volumes within the dynamic disk simple volume, mirrored volume, striped volume, spanned volume, and RAID volume.
Each of the se has its special which are beneficial to the performance of your computer. Simple volume functions just like primary partition on the basic disk, of course it has to. Then we have the mirrored volume which creates so coping so of data within the volume. You also have the striped volume which improves the input and output of the device. Also we have the spanned volume. This combines spaces on two disks to enhance storage. Lastly we have the RAID volume, which suites the volume because it literally raids three or more disks for more storage. All of these enhance the performance of your computer.
Hopefully you have gained more insight on each of these disks and you are better able to make a decision on which is the best choice for you. Take your time, you don't want I make a mistake and end up have to change everything once you have decided on the matter.
Although the technology behind the development of anti-virus software continues to improve in leaps and bounds, the threats against computers and the data they contain still remain. With that said, keeping your antivirus software regularly updated is a critical aspect of your online security. Always keep in mind that hackers don't stick to the same threat tactics. They are also constantly looking for ways to bypass and counter the protective programs that people install in their computers. Whatever operating system you use, always see to it that you have at least two anti-virus software programs installed. The logic is simple - if the first line of defense didn't catch and contain the threat then the second program should do the trick. In fact, a lot of people make use of more than two security programs to protect their computers and data from malicious attacks.
In trying to find the best protection for your computer, there are several factors that you need to consider. For instance, what kind of data do you store in your computer? And what's the scope of this data? You need to understand that anti-virus programs can only do so much in confronting threats. And that viruses usually make use of different types of attacks when sabotaging different types of data. That said, the software you choose should have the capability to protect whatever type of data you store in your computer. Fortunately, there's no shortage of software companies that focus on developing security programs. These antivirus programs are also constantly updated to ensure that they can hinder new threats.
Here are some practical tips on how you can efficiently prevent malicious code from wreaking havoc to your computer data.
1) Choose reliable anti-virus programs. One of the best security software in the market today is the ESET NOD32 Anti-virus package. This particular software is known for its comprehensive features and ease of use. Countless tests have proven that it's very efficient in hindering threats from malware such as worms, viruses, trojans, spyware, and even rootkits. Navigating the program and its array of features is also a breeze. Beginners have nothing to worry about because installing it and keeping it updated is just a matter of clicking on a few buttons. What makes this software efficient is the fact that it scans files and data as they are either opened or executed.
2) Enforce strict policies when it comes to downloading and uploading files. This is very important especially if you oversee a computer network wherein any employee can download and upload files. Keep the policies clear and make sure that every employee only download, upload, or execute files that have been verified to be clean, valid, and threat-free. The general rule is that everyone should assume that every piece of file that the organization receives is not virus-free.
3) Disable auto-run programs and drives in your computer. One of the easiest ways that viruses enter a computer is by attaching themselves to a drive then installing themselves automatically. If this auto-run feature is disabled, it will be more difficult for viruses to wreak havoc to your computer.
4) Block suspicious files sent to your organization via email. Hackers usually make use of email gateways as virus entry points because people often unconsciously click on links contained in messages they receive. A lot of antivirus programs have features that help in stopping these types of malicious messages. However, some of these messages can still reach anybody's inbox with a warning attached by the security program. That said, you should educate your employees or staff in effectively identifying messages that may contain viruses and worms.
5) Always backup your computer data. Anti-virus programs can't guarantee that all threats are stopped and blocked. It's therefore very important that you keep backups of your data that are stored in external drives. Don't connect these external drives with your main computer network as there's a chance that the virus can spread without you knowing it.
Installing an antivirus program to your computer won't take a lot of your time. So there's no reason why you shouldn't do it.
Photo Credit: Flickr
Between keeping track of the employees work schedules, monitoring expenses, and handling the complaints of the clients, running a business entails hard work. Good software can help a business to increase its organisation and productivity. In today's digitally-powered world, business owners are increasingly using them as very useful tools to enable their businesses function and grow steadily. Here are the Top 5 business tools to help you become more organised.
1. Google Drive
Google Drive has made business owners lives easy. Software enables them to access the computer folders and files of their businesses from virtually anywhere. A business owner can also share some of the files or folders with other business owners (their contacts) with just a click of a button. Google Drive, allows the business owners to access all their business Google documents from a mobile phone. Besides, another important feature of Google Drive is that it has a free memory space of up to 15 GB. Google Drive is important for individuals who travel and also the businesses that have many offices that are located in different areas. This is because software makes sharing of files so easy and simple.
An amazing real estate software for all in one management system. LockedOn will help you manage your tasks, appointments, set up goals and help you accomplish them. You can also use it to handle your SMS,MMS and emails. With LockedOn you can handle multiple clients communication with just a few clicks and send bulk SMSs to all of them. You can also use this software to see which properties that are listed on your site received the maximum number of clicks. This way you can see what your clients want and it will help you grow as a business.
It is a big headache for businesses to keep track of their managers or even workers while they are on business trips. However, Expensify makes the whole process less painful for the businesses. Businesses can just link their debit or credit card to their Expensify so that all charges are placed on an expense report directly. In case the businesses can’t do this, they can just take pictures of the receipts using business phones and Expensify will extract the relevant information from the receipts automatically. This makes making of expense reports easier and fast. There is also a phone app and the cost is between five US dollars ($5) to ten US dollars ($10) per active account for a team & corporate users. Expensify works on any phone including Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.
Square is a payment app. The app uses a small, portable debit card and credit card reader that helps businesses to make transactions conveniently and fast. Square is a good app for businesses like food trucks that have limited space. For every swipe, the business is charged 2.75%. The charges will be docked automatically from the purchases and reflected in the bank account the next day. Therefore, if the business sells a burrito for ten US dollars ($10), a net gain of $9.25 will be seen in the bank account. Bigger businesses that have annual revenue that is more than $250,000 can contact Square for custom pricing. Square can work on all operating systems and devices.
Evernote is a software that can remember everything well. Evernote puts all tasks, to-do lists and notes in one place which is convenient. However, what is remarkable is that the app is not strictly meant for computers, there is also a phone app. Software enables businesses to organise and store their recordings, notes, and even pictures. Evernote is suitable for office businesses and creative teams who have many tasks and ideas that they need to keep them organised for efficient use.
The world is digitally-powered today. This is the right time for all businesses to move to the next level. The above are some of the softwares that can help any business to grow and run smoothly. Some of these make work easier by handling business expense reports, emails, rides, and parking among others.
The cloud is transforming the world of business, and if your business isn’t yet on board, you’re running late for the revolution. The cloud harnesses the potential of always-on connectivity and lightning-quick responsiveness, and it has created a space in which a new industry of cloud services are thriving.
Companies the world over are leveraging the advantages that these new services have to offer, and they’re seeing returns in virtually every aspect of their operations. If you haven’t yet made a move to the cloud, here’s a look at what you’re missing.
Cloud services take advantage of the principles involved in economies of scale. Economies of scale are, put simply, the reduced costs that come along with spreading the costs of an enterprise over a large area – as a cloud service increases its client base, the cost per client decreases.
Thus, instead of investing in a network infrastructure capable of handling your company’s computing and storage needs, cloud services allow you to subscribe to a demand-based system that allow you to pay only for what you use. Whether it be additional features or added storage capacity, the monthly price scales up or down based on demand.
Cloud services also take on the responsibilities – and the associated costs – of system and software updates and upgrades. Not only does this shift the duties away from your in-house IT department, but it also dramatically speeds up the rate at which they’re deployed.
The same principles that reduce the costs of cloud services also enhance the quality of the services that they can provide. Cloud services are typically capable of offering a level of security far superior to that which any one of its clients could achieve within the confines of its own staff and budget.
Major cloud-based service providers utilize hardened data centres to ensure the protection of its clients’ data. These facilities employ state-of-the-art firewalls, leading-edge encryption techniques, and even armed guards.
This protection extends to the integrity of the data as well. For example, Praktika provides you with automated backups that eliminate the need to backup and store your data locally, further reducing the hardware costs and payroll hours associated with these vital, yet time-consuming tasks.
Cloud services are based on a software delivery model called Software as a Service – also known as SaaS. In this model, the software is maintained in a single location and accessed remotely using a standard web browser. As they utilize interfaces similar to any typical web application, employees typically require very little training to become proficient in their use.
This ease of use has significant advantages when it comes to their adoption and deployment – processes that once took months to complete and were often followed by intense periods of training and troubleshooting – but that’s only the beginning. Productivity is noticeably improved by systems such as these.
It’s not hard to see why – employees are able to access the service from any location with Internet access. Whether they’re at home or on the road, team members can communicate and collaborate in real time in the same virtual space. The boardroom has gone digital, and the conference table is now nothing more than a tablet.
The Cloud is Rising
The era of cloud computing has only just begun, but businesses are already clamouring to gain the competitive advantages that it offers. Indeed, there are burgeoning businesses that are basing entire business models upon the availability of cloud services.
This, of course, should be a clear warning to any company that hasn’t yet begun to consider the advantages of the cloud. Its benefits can be leveraged for you, but they can also be used against you.
Indeed, the biggest of companies are taking even bigger steps into the world of cloud computing. Entire infrastructures are being designed and deployed to serve as private clouds, complete with business-centric software solutions and in-house development teams..
The days of inflated licensing fees, bug-ridden software and long-delayed patches are over. Efficiency and agility are the name of the game in the world of cloud computing, and the cost reductions are simply too significant to overlook.
With expenditures on cloud computing expected to clock in at over $106 Billion in 2016, competition between cloud services will only continue to improve their costs and capabilities. There’s no better time than now to take a step into the cloud.
While many people have started ditching landlines to switch to cellular phones, many houses and most businesses still use regular landline phones. There are several good reasons to have them around -- they tend to be more reliable, often offer better voice quality, and for emergency services a landline provides your location immediately and reliably.
For most people this means having a standalone phone around, which is usually cordless. Why not? It's more convenient than a corded phone that ties you down.
However, cordless phones use radio waves to transmit the signal, usually in the same 2.4Ghz band as Wi-Fi. This connection to the base station "over the air" means that, as with Wi-Fi, someone who's sitting outside your home or office could listen in on what you're saying.
Wi-Fi allows you to encrypt your signal so even if someone intercepts your signal they won't be able to understand it. Can you do the same with your cordless phone?
Yes and no. Cordless phones can be encrypted so most people will find it very hard to snoop on your conversation. However, you can't add it to your phone if it doesn't have this feature already -- you'll have to buy a new phone.
The reason is that older cordless phones transmit information between handset and base station using an analog signal. This means that any snooper with a radio receiver tuned to the right frequency who can get close enough to your property to receive the signal can listen in.
This is why cordless phones shifted to digital signals and a "Digital Spread Spectrum" technology to shift frequencies rapidly and make it hard to intercept. (Digital Spread Spectrum, or DSS, was co-invented by the actress Hedy Lamarr in the middle of World War II. You can read more about this here)
The newest and most secure phones are called DECT phones because they use an advanced form of this DSS, called the Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications standard, adding encryption and transmitting on 1.9 Ghz instead of 2.4Ghz so the phone won't interfere with Wi-Fi or other cordless phones. They're often labeled as "Wi-Fi Friendly" for this reason.
If you're wondering what kind of phone yours is, check your manual. If there's no DECT or DSS mentioned anywhere, yours is an analog phone.
Having a DSS or DECT phone will make it much harder for someone to snoop on you... but of course "harder" is far from "impossible." hackers have been able to crack DECT encryption for some time, but it requires advanced technical knowledge, high-end radio equipment, and specialized software -- most people aren't going to go to that kind of trouble.
Normally if someone is willing to spend that much effort to eavesdrop on you, it's because you're a highly important target -- a key person in a big company or a high-ranking government official. IN that case, you'll probably be using other security measures.
If you have a DECT phone, in other words, you can be fairly confident none of your neighbors are eavesdropping. If you're still worried, you can just use a corded phone -- but keep in mind it's always possible to add a phone tap directly on your phone line.
As a young developer on a prowl or just a casual enthusiast, you've more than likely stumbled upon the term ASP.NET. Now a fabled framework, used to produce dynamic web pages, ASP.NET first arose in the early 2002. Since then, and over a decade so far, it's been the go-to framework for anyone interested in developing. Everything has since been said about it, from good to bad, making it a technological version of a hot girl at the far end of a bar. As someone who dated that girl for a while, I can tell you the pitfalls and highlights, and myths and truths about it.
.NET is like PHP
First things first: you cannot compare these two, and not just in a way "This one’s way better, there’s no comparison". They’re just two different things. PHP is a programming language, while .NET is an application framework, meaning it's an environment for building applications. It's a platform that runs on CLR and you need expertise in Python, Visual Basic, etc... To compare the two, PHP and ASP.NET, would be like comparing a gun to a bullet. What you can compare, however, is PHP to a language that runs under .NET, such as C# or ASP+.
Future of the internet and the best technology for creating a website
This is what the fanbase will always tell you. But what a good asp.net developer will tell you is that the truth is very subjective. While it's the future platform for all (yes ALL, you read it right) Microsoft technologies, its prime use is not solely internet. The truth is: it's far more likely to make its greatest appearances on corporate intranets. On the subject of it being the best technology for building a website, well... it all depends on how good you are. It's amazing for creating dynamic web pages in general, but it's all about how you're used to doing things and how much money you’re willing to spend. The most common question asp.net developers ask themselves is "How much will it cost to host this page?".
Taking it for a test ride
At the very end, it's all about using what you've learned and hopefully mastered in theory, and doing something practical with it. Start simple, such as writing a code that makes some use of the database or create something that helps you design tables. You should also create a UI with an interface for any visitor to see. It can be an article, or anything that your prospective visitors would be interested in. Make sure to have a dashboard to which you have the admin rights, as security plays a major role here, and web development in general. This should all be an elemental part of your learning and growth.
Hopefully sharing all this knowledge has given you useful information about this magical tech beast. Now go and tame it, and eventually work effortlessly with it.
With an October 2015 deadline for US retailers and hospitality operators to migrate over to accepting EMV chip cards, current estimates are that at least $8.65 billion is being spent to prepare for the shift. But is that really the main reason customers are purchasing or upgrading a POS system? Some analysts say no -- with most of the world already operating with chip-and-pin cards, security and mobile payments are an even bigger factor. Especially for restaurants, being able to accept the latest payment options appears to be the most important benefit of a POS upgrade.
New Functionality is Hospitality Providers' Main Desire
While usability and reliability still appear to be the main factors hospitality operators use in making POS purchasing decisions, the same isn't true for POS upgrades. According to Hospitality Technology magazine, most hospitality operators looking to upgrade their systems are focused on being able to accept new payment options like mobile payments: 56% of restaurants cited "enabling new payment options" as the main consideration in their upgrade, 9% more than the next-most popular drivers (adding mobile POS functionality and preparing for the US EMV rollout). Both suppliers and restaurant operators agree that the ability to accept the latest mobile wallet payments is having a major impact on the market. At the same time, maximising security and preparing for EMV are almost as important (with 47% of restaurants citing EMV as a reason to upgrade and PCI security compliance being an issue for 45% of restaurants surveyed). Only about a quarter of restaurants were particularly concerned with integrating their POS with other systems.
Upgrades More Important than New Hardware
67% of the restaurants surveyed by Hospitality Technology said their goal at the moment is to upgrade their existing POS solution, rather than purchase a new one. Only 19% were planning to put in a POS solution from a new vendor, suggesting supplier relationships are fairly stable. Still, with 38% looking at new POS solutions which they might install after 2015, the POS industry could be seeing a change on the horizon.
Mobile Payments, Loyalty Tools, Tablet-based Software as the Most Popular Features
Among the features most restaurants are looking out for, mobile wallet functionality tops the list -- 59% of restaurants are looking to add the feature in 2015. Close on its heels are loyalty tools and tablet-based software which employees can use as they walk around. Social media integration, on the other hand, comes in at just 33%, along with many other features such as centralised POS and inventory management. Overall, the picture suggests that restaurants are looking for flexible systems that will "work the way they do" in taking orders and processing payments. Still, security is also playing a perhaps as yet unrecognized role.
Security as an Increasingly Large Driver
According to SAIC CIO Bob Fecteau, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal, payment security may be one of the largest "hidden trends" in the POS market. In his view, 2015 may see "a whole new level of security" start to take shape. Why? Unless banks and businesses don't tackle the challenges in current POS technology that are being so frequently exploited by criminals, the resulting financial impact is likely to be "significant." The crucial issue with the new mobile payment services such as Apple Pay will be how to keep them secure and avoid losses.
The rising popularity of new payment technologies comes at a time when criminals are ramping up their assaults on POS systems and mobile devices, according to Verisign iDefense Security Intelligence Services. Their 2015 "Cyber Trend and Threat Analysis" number-one top prediction is increasing attacks on mobile and POS technology. Their researchers have observed attackers developing new software to attack mobile platforms and POS devices. Despite law enforcement agencies' best efforts, the US alone is estimated to lose around $8.6 billion in credit card fraud each year. At the same time, the EMV shift means that merchants who use POS systems which are not EMV compliant but who take EMV cards accept liability for any fraudulent transactions.
For many merchants this is not much of an issue, of course: industry estimates are that 70% of the POS terminals outside the US are EMV compliant, while 40% of the cards in worldwide circulation support EMV. The highest adoption rate is in Europe (with 96% of card-present transactions using EMV), followed by Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The Asia-Pacific region (including Australia) has 71% of terminals supporting EMV, but just 17% of cards.