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.

Xbox Cortana

What to Expect

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.

When and Where

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.

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The Rise of Soft Skills in the Digital Age

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.

Moving forward

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. 

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