All start-ups and small businesses have heard that the cloud is everywhere and can transform your business. But what is it and what can it do? Cloud-IT specialists Principal have the answers.
Confusingly, the cloud is used by providers, software sellers and businesses who want your money as a catch-all term for a variety of things. It can become quite complicated, but it doesn’t need to be.
The cloud is basically an on-demand storage or software resource that you can access immediately through the internet.
Tech giant IBM offers a handy definition of the various different types of cloud applications which is a good place to start. It’s likely that after reading that you’ll have more questions than you started with. To help, here are 5 simple steps to getting started in the cloud.
1. Pick your cloud
The first thing to clarify is, like the sky above, there isn’t one cloud – there are infinite numbers of potential clouds. As a business, you need to configure one that works for you.
As a small business you will want to focus on how the cloud can benefit you. For most, that’s likely to be moving certain data and applications to the cloud.
The first step is to analyse your data centre usage. This audit can identify your current software and storage requirements, enabling you to identify areas that could be better served in the cloud.
It’s important to recognise that to work any proposed move needs to improve efficiency and be cost-effective.
The bottom line is, if it won’t save you time or money, then think again.
2. Solid security
The cloud is as secure – if not more secure – than your own proprietary network, but you still need to be cautious.
Once you’ve identified the information and software you’d like to be hosted by the cloud then take the time to assess what this means for security.
The Data Protection Act and European Data Protection Regulation all have implications for how you manage and store data, and how you select your partners too – more on that below.
3. Simple strategy
Once you’ve done the groundwork, you can begin straight away. Microsoft, Adobe, SAP are just a couple of the huge names who have moved to providing software via the cloud. Dropbox is a leading name in cloud storage, but isn’t the only one. All you need to do to get started in the cloud is get your credit card out and sign up.
If you do though, you could be making a mistake. According to tech bible ZDNet, what most cloud projects miss is a strategy – and we agree.
A solid cloud computing solution needs structure. This will help create a system that works for the organisation and your customer. It is also built with the future in mind, growing and developing as your business does.
4. Cloud culture
Your implementation strategy is important. Equally important is how your organisation embraces the cloud. It’s all about culture.
The cloud offers freedom to access information, work collaboratively, remotely and at all times of the day. But it comes with some new risks. These are particularly important to recognise as employees increasingly use their own devices for work.
Businesses need to develop working practices and approaches that are fit for the new world of the cloud. You’ll need to introduce new staff guidelines for document sharing and storage to help you and your employees work in a new way.
5. Provider or partner
If you’re tech minded it’s relatively easy to set-up a personal cloud, but you need to explore whether it’s the right approach for you.
Focusing solely on individual providers can leave you with a fragmented cloud system, with complex and inefficient interdependencies between different pieces of software from different providers.
In the end, you could end up paying for a system that far more complicated than the one it replaced.
One way of avoiding this is working with a partner who can help you configure a cloud solution that works for you. They can also take care of some of the security and access issues, helping you devise a strategy for success.
A successful transition to the cloud needs some thought and some planning, but genuinely does have the power to transform the way you work – increasing productivity, efficiency and profit.
A successful business is about convincing consumers that your product or service has value and that it needs to be purchased to obtain that value. That success in turn provides the means to keep operating, pay expenses and make a profit.
Attention and awareness are gold for a business trying to grow and penetrate a new market. However, many chalk up awareness as something that happens after one does enough marketing or advertising.
And that’s where the importance of building popularity gets lost. Instead, awareness has to be cultivated. And there are seven clear ways a business can do this in merchandise management and focused marketing:
1. Awareness should be automatic
When people hear a loud noise, an unexpected yell, a bright light or similar they react and turn towards it. What’s going on? Where did that come from? What is it? People don’t think under this condition; they automatically react. Ideally, a business wants consumers to react automatically or close to it. The awareness and following reaction should just be mechanical versus a long, thought-out process.
2. The product or service is part of the consumer’s paradigm
The trick to entering a paradigm is to get the consumer to become familiar and then accepting the regular presence of a product or service. For example, everyone is familiar with Intel and computers. Why? Because the brand has become part of the desktop paradigm.
3. Disrupt the normal conditions with a positive change
People pay attention to changes that don’t fit the norm. Where the change is negative, they steer away. However, where the change is positive, it creates an opportunity for people to become very interested. For example, a new product or service that makes a regular chore or function considerably easier is a disruption. People notice it and want to tell others.
4. Create a reward for being interested
Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that gets released when we receive a reward. And our brain wants more of it all the time. So we quickly align rewards with those things that trigger and repeatedly create more dopamine. This biological driver should not be ignored; it’s often a primal driver that gets people to want or buy something even if logically they should do something else.
5. Reputation matters
Popularity can be generated quickly by a new, immediate change or huge sensation, but it doesn’t sustain when the “newness” dies down. Instead, it’s a business reputation that sustains popularity and keeps it going. Referrals, good opinions, recommendation all build and continue to spread awareness of a reputation. That continued cycle solidifies a market and customer retention over time.
6. Curiosity killed the cat
People frequently stop to look at something interesting and new. Curiosity is one of the key aspects of humanity that makes us different animals which typically run away from the unknown, not towards it. Ignoring people’s natural habit of being curious about the new is literally leaving money on the table.
7. Keeping up with the Joneses
We seek validation from our peers. And that feeling comes in the form of acknowledgment from others when we appear to achieve a level of success or accomplishment. Products and services are one way that quick acknowledgment is achieved from peers. A business using this theme frequently sees its popularity steadily go up.
Businesses can use other methods for successful merchandise management, but the seven areas above have proven to be the ones that have consistent returns. Understanding the science behind these areas gives a business far more ammunition in sales, and it’s a lot better than just building mousetraps.
Are you planning to switch from android phone to iPhone or from iPhone to an android phone? Or you have already changed the smartphone and now planning to move contacts?
You get the best feeling when you finally purchase the phone you have been dreaming of whether it be an iPhone or S6. You cannot resist transferring everything to the new phone and this seems to be an issue, especially if you are not techy.
So how to transfer contacts from iPhone to android or from android to iPhone? Don’t panic, it can be easily done. The detailed guide below will help you make the transition as smooth as possible.
Before you can proceed with the transfer, you need to have a few things with you. These include:
1. Both the phones, the old and the new, with their USB cables.
2. A computer or a laptop.
3. A phone transfer software.
Connect both the phones to the laptop or computer with their USB cables. Make sure that you are using a reliable phone transfer software. It should have the phone to phone transfer feature which lets you move contacts, videos, messages, apps, etc. between phones easily.
Once you have the phones connected and the software is ready, follow the steps below.
As soon as you will run your phone transfer software, it will detect both the phones. You have to select the phone to phone transfer. You will see both the phones in the interface with their details such as contacts, messages, music, videos, and others.
The phone on the left side will be used as the source. So if you wish to transfer contacts from iPhone to S6 (assume), you have to ensure that the iPhone is on the left side. You can easily switch the positions of the phones.
Use Flip to change the positions of the phones.
Once the phones have been adjusted, you can proceed with the transfer. Select contacts from the content. You can transfer pretty much anything between the phones. You have to choose what type of content you wish to transfer (contacts in this case). Once you have selected the contacts, click the Start Copy.
The transfer will begin. The contacts will be copied, not moved from the old to the new phone. This means you will still have the contacts in your old phone.
You can move other content between the phones similarly.
If you are using a powerful phone transfer software, it will make your life easy and will allow you to transfer contacts from android to iPhone and vice versa painlessly. Access to the right software at the right time is what you need.
Not just that it will transfer contacts but you can transfer everything ranging from messages to videos to music to files to folders and much more. You just name it.
You can now change phones without the fear of losing contacts and your data. Change phones as many times as you wish. You will not lose anything.
The core purpose of an antivirus software is to protect your device and the data from malicious programs such as viruses and malware. Using a computer or a smartphone without an antivirus program is considered a crime. Users feel protected and safe.
The beginning of the post-antivirus age
Recently, a team of internet security experts has warned that the antivirus programs are not doing a great job in protecting the data of the users. In fact, in most of the cases, an antivirus program can make your device and data more vulnerable.
The Project Zero team at Google found some major issues in the Symantec and the Norton antivirus programs. The CERT has already issued a warning to the users, and the antivirus companies have been informed of these vulnerabilities but the damage has been done.
Is it safe to use antivirus software?
The question that the users are asking if it is safe to use malware programs?
Apparently, having an antivirus program installed on your machine feels good and protected. This is a general perception but some of the experts don’t use any antivirus software.
Mannan, a professor in Concordia University doesn’t use any antivirus. He hasn’t used any for ages because he doesn’t see any value in them.
The CEO of KnowBe4 is of the view that antiviruses are useless and don’t help in protecting the data anymore.
The best thing you can do is stop using antivirus software. This is what the security experts are doing and this is what they call ‘the post-antivirus age’. Having an antivirus installed on your machine that doesn’t do anything is of no use. Not just that antivirus programs don’t have the capacity to detect and remove viruses but they create loopholes and make your machine insecure.
How to protect your data and device
In today’s post-antivirus age, the best way to protect your machines and data from security breaches is to take precautionary measures. Here is what you should do.
1. Refrain from downloading files and attachments from unknown persons. This is the most common and the primary source of infecting your machine with a virus.
2. Update the operating system regularly. Keep it updated. You should be the first to install the updates from the operating system as these updates keep the machine current and protected.
3. Do not use external storage devices from unknown people. The best practice is to refrain from attaching any storage device with your primary work machine. Ask people to share files via cloud or email as this is a safer route.
4. Do not connect with public Wi-Fi and networks. It is an awesome feeling when your device catches an open network but let this feeling not dominate your senses.
5. Backup your data regularly. This includes everything ranging from photos to videos to important files. Either use cloud storage or an external storage device for the backup.
The best you can do to protect your computer, smartphone and other devices from viruses is to refrain from using antivirus software. This is what the experts do and recommend.
One of the most exciting things about being in business is keeping up with the changing technology. The internet and computers are revolutionizing the way that things are done, and for the better. The “virtual office” is one of the greatest inventions of our times, and it will help the entrepreneurs of the future to keep costs down while efficiency stays high.
Virtual offices are dedicated internet spaces accessible from anywhere. They are designed to be utilized by the people in an office. It is meant to replace the brick-and-mortar buildings which have been home to enterprise for so long, whether in whole or in part, and to increase efficiency while reducing costs.
With a virtual office, there is no need to travel in order to get there. Simply put the computer on-line and you have arrived. There will be no more commute, there is no need to run to a certain address in order to pick up a document or do just a couple of minutes’ worth of work, and the saving of that time will translate directly into effectiveness at work. Instead of worrying about where you can hold your next meeting, a UK virtual office provider or US provider could give you a meeting room to use whenever you need it.
One of the biggest benefits of the virtual office is the multiplicity of ways in which it can be used. It is accessible from any place and at any time. Every communication is recorded and can be made available to the proper person when appropriate. People can work together or individually, depending on what they find the most comfortable. Freedom from a physical location means that the business organization can take a much less traditional form without any harm to the enterprise.
If a virtual office can save a business the expense of maintaining a physical establishment, then that funding can be used for business operations or expansion. The number of little costs, prices and taxes that must be paid for a traditional business to maintain a physical location can add up to a substantial sum of money. By investing in a virtual office, nearly all those small expenses can be avoided.
It is simply better for the environment to use a virtual office to take as much real-world travel and paperwork out as possible. The petrol and energy that it takes to get to a real office is not inconsiderable, and the office supplies required to run a place of business represent an enormous use of irreplaceable resources. All these problems can be solved by opting for a virtual office.
The final, and possibly the greatest, advantage of the virtual office is the inspiration that it brings with it. Employees will no longer be tied to a single building or a single set of work hours. They can address their tasks whenever they feel so inclined, and they can work from anywhere.
Motivated employees will be able to use the virtual office to participate in work activities while traveling or at home, and their time commitment will similarly be freed up. Happy employees are productive employees, and people who can work during the hours that they themselves know to be the most productive are apt to be the happiest and most productive of all.
Physical offices are no longer a necessity in business, so look into purchasing a virtual office and see if it suits the needs of your business, and you.
I’m not going to waste your time talking about how ingrained technology is in all our lives. You may be reading this on your smartphone while killing time at work, where you stare at a separate screen for hours, only to drive home and turn on another screen to relax.
Or maybe you’re rewarding yourself with a little down time after seeing your Fitbit has recorded an extra 1,000 steps today. Or your kid is using the computer, so you’re tethered to the wall by the tablet charging cable, looking for a well-written blog post. Or maybe you’re not, but the point is that you could see yourself, or anyone, in that situation.
This obsession with technology has led to an explosion of never-conceived businesses and jobs. Social media, IT departments, software development, data security, the list goes on, and we’re only going to become more dependent as time goes on.
Organizations estimate that one-third of their human resources budgets are delegated for hiring IT talent; computer science majors experience a 76% increase in their salary in just the first three years. Clearly, the stats all say that hard tech skills are what job seekers should be focusing on. Except that’s not the whole story.
With connectivity comes complexity
As technology becomes more and more ingrained in our lives, so does its complexity. No one outside of a calculus classroom carries a phone and a calculator. Some of us rarely turn on a PC anymore, since our smartphones are sufficient for quick browsing. Our cars come enabled with Bluetooth.
Soon, every household appliance will be connected to a singular device, which we will also use to send messages, pay for groceries, tell our car where to take us, open our front door, monitor our daily steps, and automatically remind us of appointments- and it already does most of that.
But as the interconnectivity and complexity of technology rises, our ability to understand it decreases. We can’t keep up with the constant stream of our own inventions. While specialists might be able to fully utilize every software update, most of us can’t be bothered to learn all the nuances every time.
That’s why IT is such an emerging field, but even they won’t be able to keep up with the coming technological evolutions. As Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner, says, “Our best hope may be that computers eventually will become smart enough to maintain themselves.”
Importance of soft skills
Where does that leave business now? While you certainly can’t forego employees with the technical skills that you need, you need soft skills now more than ever. According to an Adecco Staffing survey, there are twice as many business executives concerned with the soft skill gap than those worried about hard skills.
Traits like communication and critical thinking are becoming more highly valued than straight computer skills. Some businesses that require their employees to have technical know-how, like engineering firms, have tried to ignore soft skills in favor of some desperately sought-after experience, but this is no longer possible.
In fact, it’s commercial acumen, communication skills, and adaptability that employers should be prioritizing. Adaptability is especially useful in a world where technology is constantly evolving, and, realistically, malfunctioning. Sometimes things do not go to plan, and employees need to take that in stride.
Similarly, it won’t matter how well you understand CSS or can fix a pipe if no one can relate to you. Google provides consumers with ten options on just the first page, and they will reject your business if they can’t communicate with your employees. Additionally, your business will also suffer if your employees can effectively communicate with each other.
It’s important to provide employees with both soft and hard skill training. This can be expensive and time-consuming, so you will have to strike a balance particular to you. If you work in an industry that the hard skills can be learned on the job or fairly quickly, make sure you’re searching for candidates with appropriate soft skills.
However, if your employees must have hard skills before they walk through the door, that doesn’t give you an excuse to ignore soft skills entirely. Offer soft skill training and assessments, because while soft skills are more difficult to measure, they are just as important.
That holds true even in this technological age. We may cling to our iEverythings, but only because they allow us to tap into humanity. Your business needs to utilize this underlying need.
People may pay for your product or service if you can deliver, but using the human element gives you that much more leverage. In a world where your competitors are accessible at the click of a mouse, you’ll need all the soft skills you can get.
Author: Dayton socializes for a living and writes for fun. She will forever be a prisoner of her family’s business, doomed to inherit responsibility despite frequent existential protests.
Adobe’s free tool for designers that will give them a whole lot of new features. Adobe XD is a design and prototyping tool which is currently free to download. The first version was released in March 2016 and there is still much more to come.
Adobe Experience Design (XD) is a tool for designers that lets them create interactive prototypes of apps and websites. It is a drag-and-drop software which is literally a piece of cake to use.
Adobe XD 0.5 is the first public preview version and is available on Adobe’s official website as a free download. The very first version consists of following features:
• A design tool
• A prototyping tool
• Cross-platform integration
• Sharing feature that allows smooth sharing of prototypes and designs
• Drag-and-drop builder
• Fast performance with no lags
The next update is scheduled to be released anytime at the end of this year which will add more power to the existing features. Some of the features that are expected to be released with the first update include:
• A better color picker tool
• Scrollable content
• A powerful design tool with rich text, gradients, effects and more
• Support for Windows 10
• Powerful prototype tool with mobile testing feature, integration at micro level, and an improved prototype sharing feature
• Addition of layers
• Inclusion of API layer
These updates are not expected to be released all at once rather these will be released in chunks. By the end of this year, all these features will become the part of Adobe XD.
Adobe XD has two tabs; design and prototype. These tabs can be selected as per need.
The design tab is where you design the app or the website. It lets you design the layout in an easy-to-use interface. The designers just have to drag and drop the objects, images, shapes etc. on the frame. Objects can be edited easily, for example, you can use repeat grid to create a duplicate wireframe in no time. Those who have used Adobe Illustrator need no more than an hour to get used to the interface.
The prototype is the tab which allows you to create interactive workflow by linking objects and screens. It lets you develop a linked workflow of your app or website that you are creating. Again, establishing these links is super-easy. Just drag the arrow to the screen of your choice to create a link.
Creating a design for your app or for your first website with Adobe XD 0.5 is not a big deal. It is just a matter of a few hours. If you are into this field, Adobe XD is one of the tools that you cannot miss. Though it has only the basic features for now but imagine its strength with the release of the updates. It is sure to become better over time.
When Adobe XD was released, it was downloaded by more than 75K users in just two days. Since then, downloads have multiplied exponentially. Adobe can now take the risk of investing money in its new tool as they have seen the huge demand.
Things will get better in the coming days. Keep following Adobe XD.
Apple macOS users can download the free preview build and try Adobe XD here -> http://www.adobe.com/products/experience-design.html
Majority of the iPhone population has the fear of losing their precious data due to unfortunate instances. Relax! Accidental losing of files or damage could happen with anyone. Sometimes you may forget to backup important data. You just need to be smart to make the right decision in choosing the best recovery software for your iPhone. Instead of sulking over your lost files just go for iSkysoft iPhone Data Recovery software which is best in the market.
iSkysoft iPhone Data Recovery software is regarded as one of the best tools when it comes to recovery of lost files in any situation. It works well with both Windows and Mac OS. Moreover, it is one of the powerful tools which could handle any kind of adverse situations like Jailbreak/Virus Attack, reboot issues, recovery of lost files from accidental deletion or broken iPhone. In addition, iSkysoft is specially designed to recover any type of file from iPhone/iPad/iPod device, iTunes Backup, iCloud backup or Fix iPhone to Normal mode.
You could easily recover any lost data with just 3 easy steps. iSkysoft is known for its easy-to-use application and fast recovery of any iOS data. Here are its 3 simple steps:
With its powerful features you could easily recover lost/deleted files such as Photos, Contacts, Videos, Messages, Audio Files, Call History, calendar, notes, Facebook & WhatsApp messages and so on. The files could be recovered directly from your iPhone, extraction or restoring of files from iCloud or iTunes in a jiffy. Just plug your device and choose your preferred mode of recovery. The process from scanning to preview and recovery of files works like a charm.
Directly Recover Data from iPhone/iPad/iPod Device
Just connect your iPhone to the Computer after installing the software and start the recovery process. Before starting the scanning process, you could perform selective recovery of files by selecting the file types.
Click ‘Start Scan’ to begin the scanning process. Don’t disconnect the device during the scanning process otherwise you have to start from the beginning.
When the Scanning process is over, the found data will be displayed based on the file types. You can preview and select any data which needs to be recovered. Mark the files and click ‘Recover’ to save them in your computer.
Recovery from iTunes Backup Files
Surprisingly, you won’t find the ‘recovery of file’ feature in iTunes. Rest assured, iSkysoft will work its charm by recovering your precious files. Moreover, you could perform selective recovery of any files from the backup. This feature is helpful to extract certain files instead of the whole backup which may seem time consuming. Here are some more interesting features for recovery from iTunes backup.
• Restore your lost files from last synced period from iTunes
• Extract and Retrieve files from iTunes backup with selective recovery option
• Best Solution to recover files from iPhone in any situation such as lost data, jailbreak, accidental damage, factory reset failure or system crash.
Recovery from iCloud Backup Files
iCloud automatically backs up important data like photos, messages, call history, contacts and other files in most of the devices. You just need your iCloud Apple ID and password through iSkysoft iPhone Data Recovery application to extract and recover any files you want. No matter how you lost your files, they will be recovered in a jiffy by the software.
Even if you are not able to access your iCloud backup, you could rely on iSkysoft iPhone Data recovery to recover the iCloud backup file. It has the potential to recover upto 18 file types. This type of amazing feature is not available in many applications. Here are some more feature to recover data from iCloud backup:
• Preview of files before extraction and recovery of files
• 2 step process to recover files from iCloud backup
• Supports recovery of 18 file types: Messages, Contacts, WhatsApp & Facebook messages, Bookmarks, Documents, Voicemail, Reminder, Notes and many more
Fix your iPhone to normal mode is one of the interesting features of iSkysoft iPhone data recovery software. Alongwith recovery of lost data, it can repair the operating system of your iPhone like a charm. If your iPhone is facing any kind of problems such as recovery mode loop, start-up delay or iPhone restart issues you can rely on this feature ‘Fix iOS to Normal’ mode. It is very helpful in repairing your iOS device. It works like magic in bringing your iPhone to normal mode.
• Recover from iOS Device Method: Even if you forgot to backup your files on iTunes or iCloud, the ‘Recover from iOS Device’ recovery method would recover lost data with ease. But Apple’s backup mode is specially designed to backup data whenever you connect to Mac OS. Whenever things go wrong iSkysoft acts like a boon to get us out of these situations with its simple and powerful recovery tools.
• Recover from iTunes/iCloud Backup: When your iPhone is stolen or broken, it will help recover data from your iTunes or iCloud backup without detecting your iOS device.
• Works with iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch: iSkysoft not only works its magic with iPhone SE/6s(Plus)/6(Plus)/5s/5c/5/4s/4/3GS, but you could recover lost data from other Apple devices like iPod Touch and iPad Pro/Air/mini.
• Selective Recovery: It is the most trusted software when it comes to recovery of any type of files alongwith selective recovery of deleted files.
• Preview of files before recovery option
• Recovery of Only Deleted Files. By selecting “Only Display deleted items” you can make the process much faster to recover only deleted files. Amazing! Isn’t it?
• Fix iOS to Normal. When your iPhone stuck in white Apple logo or recovery mode, iSkysoft iPhone Data Recovery can help fix iOS to the normal mode.
• Unlimited Lifetime Update: The unique feature of this software is that, if you buy the full version you will be able to receive unlimited free lifetime updates! Everyone wants a doorstep solution in a hassle-free way.
iSkysoft iPhone Data Recovery is available for all Windows versions such as Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista. When it comes to Mac OS it supports Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion), 10.8 (Mountain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.10(Yosemite) and 10.11 (El Capitan).
All the amazing features are available in both Windows and Mac OS. If you are looking for easy and fast recovery option then iSkysoft iPhone Data Recovery is the best decision. You will be surely amazed by using this amazing software by the end of the day.
Lucky summers for Xbox One users as they will be getting one of the much-awaited updates from Microsoft, the Cortana is about to be rolled out.
For those who have no idea what Cortana is, well, it is a Microsoft’s virtual assistant which lets you communicate with your device like "Siri" on Apple iOS and "Google Now Assistant" for Android. You can talk to your device by saying “Hey Cortana” and you can then give all the instructions through voice.
The purpose of launching Cortana is to integrate Windows 10 and the Xbox console. Though initially the update will not be available for Windows 10 but at a later stage, you will be able to use it with Xbox app on Windows 10.
So how Cortana will change your gaming experience? How can it be of any help? Is it really a much needed feature?
Cortana is referred to as the ‘personal gaming assistant’. It will assist you in gaming, of course, but this is just the beginning. Right now, you will be able to use Cortana for gaming features only but in near future, it will work with other devices and will include a whole lot of other exciting features.
Cortana lets you communicate with your console over voice. It can let you find new games, turn on the Xbox, you can start a party, and you can perform several other tasks. You can also use it to search stuff on Bing, simply give a voice instruction to search something and voila, you are done.
The good news is that there are multiple updates that will be rolled out so you will see some nice changes this summer, for example, a new game collection will be rolled out, improvements in screenshot sharing feature, some of the famous PC games will be added to your Xbox live, and much more.
This is just the beginning. Microsoft is very enthusiastic about the update and it has already announced that Cortana is not limited to gaming only, so you should expect some good new features being added in recent times.
Microsoft will be rolling the updates in phases – not all at once, thus you have to exhibit some patience. The first update will be rolled out this summer. You will get two updates this summer and more updates will follow soon.
At this moment, the Cortana will be available to Preview testers only. No, not to all the Preview testers but only those located in the US, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. If you are in one of these countries, consider yourself lucky as you will be among the first ones who will have the privilege to try the new update.
Keep your fingers crossed for the update and let’s hope that the update proves to be good for the gamers. The basic purpose behind the launch of the Cortana and these updates is to integrate Xbox One fully with Windows app (the PC). Once it is done, you will experience gaming of another level.
But that’s not going to happen right away.
For now, just sit back, relax and let Microsoft do all the hard work. Wait for the update to reach you.
Whether you are curious about stock or any other form of financial trading or simply enjoy seeing a success of the startups – IPOs are a great to watch. Not only you get to learn how undervalued or overpriced a certain company was, but you also get to see a rapid development a company can achieve with the funds it raised.
We are entering the middle of 2016 and so far there has not been too many interesting IPOs. When looking at the financial industry, it is possible to highlight the listing of the largest Dutch bank – ABN Amro. Next to this, a few ECN currency brokers flipped an IPO this year.
X-Trade Brokers, just got listed roughly a month ago, which signified the largest initial public offering in Poland during the last 365 days. Also, a leading UK brokerage, CMC Markets, started listing its stocks in February this year. Nevertheless, this IPOs weren’t too exciting. There is much more to expect in the coming month from the tech sector.
The most promising
Airbnb, a company that lets everyone lend their house, flat or a room is expected to start issuing stocks this year and this is certainly the most interesting IPO to keep your eyes on. The reason for this is very simple – apart from nearly $25Bn valuation, Airbnb actually generates some significant revenues.
What also tells us that this IPO will be a successful one is the lack of legal issues behind the business processes. Even though some laws in Germany were prohibiting the usage of such peer-to-peer services, the whole legal framework behind Airbnb is rather favourable. In addition to this, there is quite a strong support for the shared economy nowadays and, hence, this company might be seen as the safe-haven investment.
The most interesting
Do you remember last time you used a landline for calling? Well, thanks to this company, quite soon you might not remember last time you ordered a taxi. Yes, you got it right, we are talking about Uber. Even though there is no certainty whether Uber will flip an IPO this year, it is quite probable.
What makes this IPO the most interesting one? The whole legal situation behind Uber. Clients love it for its pricing and simplicity. Taxi companies hate it. Without a doubt Uber is a successful company, yet its operations strongly depend on the legal decisions of the local authorities.
While strikes against Uber happen frequently, those are the local regulators that will have a final word in determining Uber’s success in terms of market coverage and, hence, revenues.
The most amusing
Without a doubt previous two companies are here to stay. Both of them offer quite an advanced technology that simplifies people’s lives and provide cost benefits. However, there is another company that looks for an IPO this year, and many investors are laughing about it.
We are talking about Snapchat, the company that allows millennials communicating with each other, sticking funny noses on their selfies, the company that struggles to produce hardly any revenues.
While some investors laugh about this IPO, others see it as a great opportunity. Snapchat may not look like a goldmine, but it certainly has some potential. The main question is whether investors will be patient enough to see Snapchat implementing powerful advertising solutions while sustaining the growth of its user base.
Windows Holographic enables a world of mixed reality – where devices work together – regardless of whether they are developed for virtual reality, augmented reality, or anything in-between. Windows Holographic will help expand the Windows ecosystem far beyond the PC.
Many businesses simply aren’t using search engine optimization… well, optimally! This seems to stem from a lack of understanding from how important search engines are when it comes to driving traffic to your website. Even some of the ones that do understand the importance don’t quite understand how exactly that traffic is going to be generated.
How a search engine doesn’t work
Many people think that search engines are a ubiquitous, ultra-dynamic technology. The likes of Google know exactly when a new website is created and adds it to some database. If a user enters the right term, that website will be among the search results, probably not too far from the front page.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite a simple as that. It’s true that companies like DuckDuckGo can return results from pretty much anywhere on the World Wide Web. But these companies don’t return comprehensive or neutral results.
The selectivity of search engines
Thousands of websites are being created every day. As a result, search engines have to show a degree of selectivity when it comes to the results of a searcher’s inquiry.
When you search for something, you’re not getting unfiltered results from a neutral source. Filters are in place that prevent business owners who are using unethical SEO tactics from appearing in search results.
There have been many times in which disputes between a website and a search engine have culminated in throttled search results. Remember the dispute between Genius and Google? This was the result of unhealthy SEO.
Understanding searcher psychology
When someone wants to find something, they’re going to use the search term they feel is most appropriate. Many companies assume that there can only be a limited number of obvious search terms that would lead to their company. But a user doesn’t always use the inquiries or search terms you might expect. Not everyone visits Google knowing exactly what they’re looking for!
You also need to understand that your average searcher is not going to look beyond the first two or three pages of search results. They’re likely to use one of the first few results or change their search term.
Getting to grips with the numbers
As you can see, the world of search engines is a complex one. It makes the workload of really good SEO absolutely tremendous. Understanding how the various algorithms of sites and psyches of users is no small task. It’s why many companies choose to use SEO consulting. It’s also why many companies simply don’t bother with SEO at all.
But when you see the numbers, your mind should be changed. The average number of Google searches per month hovers around the figure of six billion. And make no mistake: it’s search engines that are the most common gateway to any given business. It’s not television advertising or social media marketing. (Not that you should be ignoring the latter!) It’s organic search results.
You cannot afford to underestimate the power of search engines when it comes to your digital marketing. Don’t put your company at risk by ignoring it!
Have you ever browsed the website of a big company like Dell or Samsung? Were you impressed with how easily you found what you were looking for, despite the all the complexity of their product lines? I guess you probably were. These websites are built to the highest of professional standards. And as a result, the user experience is seamless.
But all too often, startups fail to emulate the seamlessness generated by the big companies. What seems like it should be straightforward and easy turns out to be a lot more complicated than they imagined. Here are some of the reasons why your website sucks and what you can do about it.
1. Boring headlines
In a world that’s full of low brow content and click-bait, it can be hard for your business to compete. People will click on titles that they find the most titillating, rather than the most informative. Titles which aren’t attractive aren’t going to attract much attention on the internet. They might interest specialists, but not the general public.
Making the titles on your website sexier is an easy first step to making your site more attractive. The next step is to include interesting images and perhaps infographics to reel in even more people. Often it’s just about keeping up with what others in your industry are doing, just to enable you to compete.
2. No blog
If you’ve spent any time browsing the sites of smaller companies, you’ll have noticed a trend over the last few years. They all have blogs. No longer is blogging reserved for foodies and disgruntled youth. It’s a tool that practically everybody is using to drive traffic to their websites. But why?
It all comes down to content. First off, search engines love new content. In fact, they take it into consideration every time they calculate your site’s ranking.
But also, the people looking for your product will probably want to read more about it. That’s why you’ll often find blogs on the sites of companies that sell complex products.
Legal firms, for example, make a point of running blogs that explain how their processes work in layman’s terms. It’s all designed to be helpful, accessible content for potential customers.
3. No website marketing plan
Your website is like the display window at the front of a department store. It’s the public facing part of your business. And it’s got to look good. But all too often, startup websites aren’t fronts for their brands. They’re generic templates that look as if they’ve been thrown together in five minutes.
Building brand identity through your website is an essential part of building a successful business. Because it’s your website that the public and other businesses see, this is what defines you. That’s why it’s so important that it’s good.
Take a couple of hours thinking about exactly what information you want to communicate through your website. What should it be saying about your business? And are there any graphics or logos that you should include to make it consistent?
4. Being too modest
The internet is full of people unashamedly screaming out for attention. Sometimes what they have to offer is good. But most of the time, the content itself is far from ideal.
The problem for the startup, however, is being heard above the noise. This is challenging enough in itself. But often startups will be further hamstrung because they are too modest to seek publicity.
The key to generating interest in your website is to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, of course. It just has to be the story about why your company is unique.
Customers are most interested in your story than you realise. Stories are what draws them into your firm’s brand. It’s what gives customers an affinity with you do. And it’s what gives them something to believe in.
If your startup is an ethical company, you can build this ethical aspect into your brand by telling a story. Perhaps you wanted to set up a chain of healthy, fast-food restaurants because you objected to what the big corporates were doing. This is the type of story that people can really get on board with. And it’s the sort of thing that will align them with your brand.
5. Failing to list on established sites
Even if you do everything right, your website may still get lost in among the billions of pages on the internet. That’s why it’s worth using more established sites to get a leg up.
The first thing that you can do is make comments on other sites. The goal here isn’t necessarily to build links. It’s to create engaging, helpful and meaningful content that will build reputation. As your name floats around the internet, this will divert more traffic to your website and help improve its visibility.
The second thing that you can do is write articles and try to get them published on other websites. This will mean that more people will come into contact with your message. And more potential customers are likely to want to know more about you by going to your website. Guest blogging is an excellent way to get your site known to another site’s audience.
The third thing that you can do is connecting your site through popular social media channels. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all being used right now by businesses to promote their websites and their content.
6. Failing to use pay-per-click advertising
In the early days, very few people will visit your site, if any. The majority of your business will be done through word of mouth and recommendations. But there are limits to that kind of growth in a digital economy. And that’s why pay-per-click advertising is so important.
Essentially, PPC funnels interested customers to your website, dramatically increasing traffic. PPC is moderately expensive for a startup. But it’s something that can be tapered down once you build your reputation and traffic increases naturally. Often PPC advertising pays for itself. Most small businesses will use something like Google Adwords.
If there’s one topic that gets people fired up it’s web design. To succeed online, a smartly designed website is crucial. Something that brings in visitors and keeps them on your page, absorbing content.
Unfortunately, what constitutes a great site isn’t always agreed upon, and there’s constant debate of best practices, what’s hot, what’s not, and what is the cancer that is killing the industry. The argument still rages on, and recently it’s moved on to these commonly used web design elements:
“We’re not at the park, so why are we going around and around? Because people keep designing their sites with these blasted carousels” is just one of the commonly heard gripes about this supposedly interesting design choice.
Unfortunately, we have to keep clicking left or right to get another little morsel of information that the designers have deemed us worthy to handle. Are they afraid we can’t read full paragraphs? This one isn’t just a matter being annoyed personal preference, however, Carousel designs actually harm your websites performance.
You’ve seen this technique on graphics heavy sites in which the foreground and background scroll at different speeds. It creates a feeling of depth, helps tell a story through visuals, and looks pretty cool when properly implemented.
Unfortunately, it comes with some (resolvable) issues that may make it a waste of time. Like the Carousel, use of Parallax Scrolling is damaging to SEO. Since there’s usually just one page and a bunch of images, there’s no text content for search engines to crawl through and rank.
The abundance of images reduces performance (and completely kills performance on mobile devices). Most damaging of all though, is that the technique can just make it confusing to absorb any useful information, which will cut your number of repeat visitors down tremendously.
Think about it, would you stick around on a website where your only navigation option was to scroll downwards through hard-to read image/text combos? Of course, there are examples of Parallax Scrolling done right, so the argument is there that it’s all about how you choose to use it.
The Hamburger Menu
That three lined symbol in the corner on most websites that you click to access navigation options is commonly known as the hamburger menu.
While it does look cool, and you can see why one might be tempted to clean up their navigation by having it sleekly displayed in a drop-down menu, many say it kills a websites discoverability.
When your navigation options are out of sight, they are also out of mind, the thinking goes. There’s also the argument that it’s less efficient, since you’re forced to go to a separate menu just to see your options, but that’s more a matter of personal taste, it would seem.
We may never get definitive answers on whether these trends are good or bad, but it seems pretty clear that if you are going to try to incorporate any of these ideas into your design, you have to do it with care.
We’ve given you an overview of the tons of free web design options out there for building a pretty good site. When you have to move up to the big leagues though, it’d be prudent to hire some big league talent.
Professional web developers like Big Drop (out of New York), or Brown Box Branding (Dallas TX) offer great designs coupled with high level marketing strategies proven to keep the visitors coming back to your site for more.
It was the year 1995. The talented developer, Brendan Eich, creates this profound scripting language while three corporations predict its appearance: NetScape, ECMA International, and Mozilla.
The usage of terms “framework” and “library” might confuse you. Moreover, the developers use both of the terms interchangeably. You should know the difference between the two terms to make the best out of it.
Unlike in libraries or standard user applications, the overall program’s flow of control is not determined by the caller, but by the framework itself. Pre-defined rules help the developer improve a cross-platform performance of the application.
In its turn, the library typically is a collaboration of methods and tools that can be used by the programmers without any dictated rules or guidelines.
When Google released it in 2009, the expectations were quite unpretentious. However, Angular.js has become truly popular due to its possibility to rapidly build single-page web applications. So-called directives also enhance it.
They add reusable codes to the application and provide the application with necessary dynamic functionalities. Manipulating DOM is easy – that is why you can without troubles ass behavior and CSS to the HTML DOM elements.
You might have figured out the hint – this minimalistic framework provides the necessary backbone to web applications. It is available under the MIT license and claim to be open source.
Backbone’s significant feature is its ability to act as the base of a multilayer web project. You may find useful tools inside, for instance, model building using key-value binding, tons of enumerable objects with usable API etc.
You can use other frameworks on top of the web application set. Backbone.js can be used with other toolkits it massive projects. The appropriate mix of functionality and performance is accomplished by framework’s small size and lucidity.
This framework is considerably one of the most useful front-end frameworks – for a reason. It works as the V in MVS, which means that it can be used to create the UI constituent of your project.
With the help of the node.js, it can be rendered on the server side; its performance is also enhanced by involving a virtual DOM. If you need to recreate your front-end component into an interactive element, React.js will help you with it flawlessly.
This is proved by usage experience of such companies as Instagram and Facebook. React.js achieved the name of one of the best UI frameworks for creating high-performance and responsive web applications – and all this with only 2 years on the market!
If you need to create full-process end-to-end web applications, developers will recommend you to try Meteor.js – and this commendation will be quite veracious.
Since its appearance in 2012, this framework has proved that a platform can be truly multifunctional and cover all the tasks without additional libraries or frameworks.
Moreover, Meteor.js is being permanently improved – its community contributes to the core of the application regularly.
This framework allows developers to tackle through various sections of the framework – thanks to its modular design. It also covers virtually all the phases of development (frontend, backend etc.), which enables to swiftly create real-time applications.
The first is similar to the two-way binding that Angular.js uses; it helps synchronize all the processes – for instance, the change in model initiates an immediate adjustment of the model. The second mechanic is the fastboot.js module.
You are right if you compare this mechanic with react.js’s ability to render DOM on the server side. With these two features, even scalability is not quite an obstacle to getting the best of this framework. Likewise, tons and tons of learning material about Ember is available online.
Originating in 2013, this Google-powered framework has already gained popularity. This platform has much to offer including the ability to create and extend HTML or other web components. Even though Polymer.js has just released an alpha version, it already has numerous followers.
This ambitious project has been on the market less than a year. It is backed up by a team of skilled professionals, so we look forward to something special.
Using the hints from Angular 1 and 2, this framework helps create powerful and responsive applications. The architectural design is also customizable and offers limitless control over the framework.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay. The AI revolution is changing lives but scaring millions. AIs are already everywhere, supporting the human mind in the pursuit to make the world better and our way of life even easier.
They’re in your phones and favorite apps, helping you stay connected and do what you do best in the shortest possible time. And they’re doing a better job than anything else could.
The opportunities are endless and uncertain. Human development cannot be stopped. The future can only be better but with lots of questions.
I am no expert in artificial intelligence. But the rise of super intelligent machine and software is upon us and I am just as curious as you are about what AI can (and will ultimately) do. The future of AI is bright but frightening.
Technology giants are cashing in on the next big thing. Mark Zuckerberg made a $2 billion bet on Oculus Rift (a virtual-reality headset) in 2014. And Facebook has over 50-person AI lab. Google wants a breakthrough in AI that could change history, hence the acquisition of the DeepMind team last year. Google’s DeepMind defeated legendary Go (an ancient Chinese board game that has long been considered one of the great challenges faced by AI) player Lee Se-dol in historic victory earlier this month. IBM has bet billions on the success of Watson, its Jeopardy question-answering supercomputer.
Meanwhile, a russian millionaire is exploring ways to upload the human brain to a computer. “The ultimate goal of my plan is to transfer someone’s personality into a completely new body,” he says.
“Within the next 30 years,” promises Dmitry Itskov, “I am going to make sure that we can all live forever.”
Elsewhere, Elon Musk wants to start selling self-driving cars next year. His company, Tesla and other car manufacturers like Honda, Nissan, Ford and more are testing semi-autonomous cars. Even Uber is seeking to buy self-driving cars.
Musk’s Tesla Motors assembly plant is powered by lots of intelligent machines. Tesla is reinventing the American auto industry. And don’t forget Musk has been sending rockets to space for sometime now. His SpaceX company has partnered with NASA to explore reusable rockets.
Richard Branson has not given up on getting millionaires to other planets as tourists after that fatal accident. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is also exploring spaceflight technology. Billionaires are now counting on super machines to do things humans could only think of as of the seventeenth century.
It’s Musk, again. He wants to build Hyperloops that will make it possible to work at the far east of the US and still be able to live at the far west. He is already considering designs.
MIT student engineers won a competition to transform Musk’s idea into a design for a Hyperloop to move pods of people at high speed.
The Hyperloop is a high-speed ground transport concept proposed by Musk to transport “pods” of 20 to 30 people through a 12-foot diameter tube at speeds of roughly 700mph (1,127km/h). How cool is that?
In other news, Google has fallen out of love with robots. Alphabet, the parent company is trying to sell Boston Dynamics, the high-profile robotics startup it bought in late 2013.
With all the hype, AI is still in infancy. There is still a lot to explore and experiment. But the rate of technological impact in recent times means that humans are closer to getting machines to do our current jobs.
Employees in big companies don’t like that. Actually, nobody is secured about their jobs. Robots are eating jobs. But most businesses value profits more than anything. And they will do everything in their power to reduce their reliance on humans to do routine jobs.
Robots are now becoming supremely capable in medical diagnosis, manufacturing, assembly, packing and packaging, surgery, weaponry, research and more. Are we headed into a jobless future?
What AI apps are already doing
You are probably using a lot of AI apps. Facebook uses AI to make sure your newsfeed is exactly what you want. Apple’s Siri uses AI to learn your voice and to translate your vocal requests into search, search them, and provide you an answer.
Google’s search function enables you to find what you’re looking for. Microsoft’s Cortana helps you get things done by letting your PC and smartphone work together.
Apps like GetYana, Tempo, Microsoft Fetch, Blippar, Bernie, Virtual Talk, Snips, Alice and a lot more are using artificial intelligence in one way or the other to help people get the right information and service they want.
What will AI apps do in the future?
Smartphones are still not very helpful at getting us information or data based on what we are already doing. We still have to touch a lot of apps and buttons to access exactly what we want. With all the power in our hands, we should be doing better.
AI apps of the near future will practically blow your mind. Based on what innovators are experimenting and exploring, your smartphone promises to be the best mobile super computer you can ever own.
You will be able to download advanced AI apps like other apps int the future. And they will possibly spread out into other devices and computers you permit them to. Even your walls, clothes, office, car, luggage. Internet of Things (IoT) will be a lot more beneficial and interesting tomorrow or the next decade.
AI apps will be able to not only read your email and write responses but they could go through them, find you what matters and what doesn’t, monitor which ones were read and report back to you.They will log on to all your apps, using your passwords, check updates, respond to them.
They will even change your passwords if they are compromised without your knowledge. And if you are worried about big brother watching you, you AI apps will handle your encryptions and keep your data private.
Reading news and summarising them for you will be basic. You won’t even have to flip through all those news apps you have installed.
Investing will solely be done by intelligent apps that will be made public. You won’t have to study the stock market and trends. You will be able to assign research tasks to machines whiles your AI apps take care of where to invest your money.
AI investment apps will know when to exactly pull out of a deal and when to cash in. They will give you reasons why those stock options are best for you based on your age and interests. Technology-driven brokerage will operate with significantly less overhead.
AI apps will soon file your tax returns like humans. Your accountants will be very worried, but you will choose machines over them.
The combination of super intelligent computers, intelligent software, and APIs will open up new opportunities for even smarter apps that will be able to do a lot more than we will be able to imagine.
As impressive as the AI powered suggestions for replies to your emails are, they’re just not very useful yet. The likes of Siri, Google Voice, Cortana and Robin have a lot to learn.
What will you do with all the free time on your hands when machines are busy at work?
But there are downsides to a utopian world where machines and intelligent software rule and make lives better, faster and more efficient.
The big question is: why, then are humans interested in building machines whose intelligence will overwhelm us and even scare the hell out of us?
Humans evolve. That’s how we have come this far. The people of the fourteenth century will be amazed at what we have been able to accomplish today. It’s human nature to learn as much as we can and to build the best machines and tools we can.
And we will stop at nothing to do what we think it’s possible. Technologists, engineers and innovators are in business to build the most potent machines they can, not to worry about consequences, at the moment.
The basics of life like awesome cars, fast trains and aeroplanes, super computers, smartphones etc are all innovations that have changed how we work. But we want more than that. We are not impressed. Every generation expects more. We thrive on improved technology.
Are we there wet?
AI today is nowhere near understanding the human mind, yet. There is still a lot to do and comprehend. But the good and scary news is that corporate giants are investing billions of dollars into super computers, robotics, Internet of Things etc.
It’s a race of the giants. The more we learn, the more carefully, critically and intelligently we can observe what AI can do and the limits we need to overcome.
Geoffrey Hinton, an artificial intelligence (AI) expert and Google AI ‘godfather’ believes machines could match human abilities in five years.
On whether people should fear AI, he said in an interview with Macleans off the back of Google DeepMind’s victory against AlphaGo:
“Any new technology, if it’s used by evil people, bad things can happen,” said Hinton. “But that’s more a question of the politics of the technology.”
He continued: “The main thing shouldn’t be, how do we cripple this technology so it can’t be harmful, it should be, how do we improve our political system so people can’t use it for bad purposes?”
The risks of AI are real. Can we handle it?
Dr. Joscha Bach of the MIT Media Lab and Harvard Program for Evolutionary Dynamics says:
“The risks brought about by near-term AI may turn out to be the same risks that are already inherent in our society. Automation through AI will increase productivity, but won’t improve our living conditions if we don’t move away from a labor/wage based economy.
It may also speed up pollution and resource exhaustion, if we don’t manage to install meaningful regulations. Even in the long run, making AI safe for humanity may turn out to be the same as making our society safe for humanity.”
Technologists, innovators and engineers will continue to do everything they can to get machines as intelligent as possible. But no artificial mind will ever come close to the human mind. No computer will ever feel anything like we do. Software can only simulate feeling.
The human mind is no static, rational machine. Feeling and consciousness can only happen (so far as we know now) to organic beings and animals. It can’t be produced, no matter what, by mere software on a computer.
Our machines are here to serve us but will they take over our lives? Will our robots outthink us and even harm us?
Running a business in 2016 is a fascinating and complex endeavour. The truth is, the world of business is unlike it has ever been before. Not only is it more competitive than ever, but the rules seem to be getting looser and looser.
If you want to succeed in business today, you need to know how to adapt continually to a changing environment. As long as you remain fair, and consistent in your vision, you can do more or less whatever you please. And that is very good news indeed for anyone looking after a company.
Part of the process of keeping up-to-date with the world of business is taking on the latest technologies. This doesn’t mean that you have to religiously follow every new trend. Indeed, if you did, people would likely think less of you and your business as a result. But it does mean that you should be taking advantage of what technology is available.
At the end of the day, you should be using whatever is available to make your business a viable competitive force in the world today. But nor is it just about being competitive. It also makes little sense to ignore certain technological advances. If they are cost-effective, and they provide a means for you to do what you do quicker and easier – then that’s just good business.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the top technological must-haves for your business this year.
One of the most important aspects of running a business is ensuring that your time, and your staff’s time, is used effectively. After all, you are paying them their wage – you need to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth.
That’s why it’s important to keep their productivity high. This is just good business. Fortunately, there is technology available which enables you to make the most of the time spent in the office.
Programs such as OneNote allow you to keep a much more organised digital workspace. This is great news. Too much of our time at work is wasted on trying to find the right documents for any given task.
With OneNote, you have a user-friendly, easy way of keeping everything together which needs to be together. That way, you can spend more time working.
Even if you just make this change for your own computer, your business will see a dramatic improvement in its productivity levels. Not only that, but you can use that same software to keep tabs on the productivity of your employees. How’s that for a versatile piece of software?
Long gone are the days when you would have to copy over files from one computer to another. Thank goodness – we all remember the hassle of having to email files, or put them on a flash drive. And if the files were too big, then it could prove to be a real nightmare.
Flash drives have their place, of course. But for a sprawling business which is only set on growing bigger, they do not serve all that much purpose. Any growing business needs a method of transferring files which is fast and easy to use. It is also a huge benefit if location doesn’t matter at all.
Part of the reason for this is that growing businesses often need to have more than one location in which to do their business. If you have started kitting out a second office, then you might be worrying about data transference.
Don’t – with the cloud, it’s no problem at all. The cloud allows you to have all your files available on any connected device, immediately. There are not even any transfer times, because it is just waiting at your disposal for you to connect to.
This is the kind of technology that business has been waiting for for many years. A few years ago, this would have seemed like a dream. Now it’s a dream come true.
The main beauty of the cloud is that it is easy to use. But even if you – or any members of staff – are struggling with it, then don’t worry. There is always a helping hand available. Consider icloud sign in for all your cloud needs. Chances are, you will have your answer in moments.
Any business owner worth their weight in salt knows the overbearing importance of marketing. The way you put your business forward into the public view says a lot about your enterprise. It also dictates, to a large extent, how successful you are likely to be as a company.
Marketing should be considered as one of the primary arms of your business. Of course, the methods involved in marketing are varied. And with the advent of certain technological advances, marketing is now more effective than ever. Nowhere is this plainer than in the world of social media.
Social media is a real godsend for business owners in today’s world. With social media, you have a tool which enables you to get your message directly into people’s homes (and pockets). Not only that, but you don’t even have to pay a penny. Unless you want to, of course, in which case, it is even more effective.
Social media allow you to project your brand image however you like, day and night, to millions upon millions of people all around the globe. Never before has there been a marketing tool so immediately effective. Truly, any business would be insane not to consider social media a central part of their marketing strategy.
If you run a business, and you want it to be a competitive force in today’s world, then getting engaged in social media is an absolute must. Ensure that your business has accounts on all the main sites.
But more than that – use them! The key to successful social marketing is a lively, healthy interactivity with the general public. Take the opportunity to present your company in a bold and exciting manner. The people will find it hard to forget your brand in a hurry – and that is the name of the game.
Wearable technology keeps evolving. And it is transforming the way we experience the world. Watches, eyeglasses, rings, bracelets and even smart home devices like the thermostat are changing how we consumer information, monitor our health and use home products. Smart technology has a significant role to play in how people will live in the future.
NEOFECT wants to change how to aid rehabilitation and the provision of clinicial real-time patient data. In an interview with Scott Kim, Neofect’s co-founder and CEO of the US office, he spoke to us about how he started NEOFECT, the company’s success factors and challenges they have faced in their bid to change physical therapy using online gaming.
Brief summary about your startup
Established in 2010, NEOFECT is a mobile health startup with a vision to deliver an affordable and effective at-home system to aid neuro patients with central nervous system disorders such as a stroke.
Its first product, RAPAEL Smart Glove, combines a wearable device, virtual reality and gamification for rehab exercise, while its software analyzes the data from built-in sensors and provides training tasks based on the patient’s activity level.
The device has been successfully employed by a number of major hospitals in South Korea since December of 2014, and approved for use in the US and Europe. NEOFECT has offices in S. Korea, San Francisco, and Poland.
Why and how it was started
The President of NEOFECT, Ho-Young Ban, experienced first-hand the difficulties faced by stroke patients and their families when his father and two uncles fell victims of stroke.
Although his uncles were fortunate to survive, they had to turn down the rehab therapy because of the costs involved. So, when his friend Young Choi came up with an idea of Rapael, Ban could not resist.
Soon after, their classmate from the University of Virginia’s Darden MBA program Scott Kim joined the team to launch the US operations.
Kim was born with spinal bifida and went through a surgery and a long rehabilitation process, so he immediately recognized the opportunity and became a co-founder and the CEO of the Neofect’s US office.
What has been the biggest success factors
Personal motivation of the founders combined with the latest, most advanced smart technologies have become the major engines behind the company’s success.
– Gamification, which motivates a patient throughout the rehab process. It helps to induce neuroplasticity for hand function of a patient with a brain damage.
Various rehab games are updated monthly and each game targets specific movements such as squeezing the orange for finger flexion/extension and pouring wine for forearm pronation/supination, for example.
– Artificial Intelligence: the software analyzes data from the glove’s sensors and provides training tasks based on the patient’s activity level. The algorithm is designed to enhance learning multiple functions by offering an optimal task at a proper level of difficulty.
– Wearable Device: RAPAEL Smart Glove is a wearable bio-feedback training gadget. Lightweight and designed to fit different hand sizes, it uses the Bluetooth technology to collect the patient’s data.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced launching and running the company?
The biggest challenge was the product’s concept itself. Many people believed that Rapael could be a threat to the therapists. Fortunately, after we launched the program in several hospitals, we’ve been able to prove that our device is designed with the doctors’ and patient’s needs in mind and helps them make the rehabilitation process more efficient.
Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?
This sounds like a cliché, but the right team is easily the answer to me. With the right people, you can make necessary adjustments based on new information to make sure there is a product-market fit.
My previous job was to lead a team to make mobile apps – without any exception, all great apps loved by users were made by great teams.
Final words for those chasing the startup dream
Never underestimate the importance of execution. Many people waste their time just to validate what they think or others think, or even just to finish the conceptualization.
However, you should “fail fast” in order concentrate your efforts on building a product which has a market demand, and of course, to save time and money as well.
Plus, you should fail while you are small rather than big, if you’re meant to face it. The earlier you do the reality check, the faster you can reach your goal, although it might cost you a couple of failures at the beginning.
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