Archive for the ‘Emerging Tech’ Category

How Struggle Sharpens Your Ability to Innovate

Friday, January 24th, 2020

It has always been a source of immense amazement to me how every successful person on this planet has had a story filled with struggle, perseverance, and failure. Not one tall tale of success, have I ever encountered that was all about things being served in a platter to the guy and then someone holding his hands and walking him to success. Even the richest of businessmen are making their heirs attend the toughest of schools, have a life based on work and not to be easy going. This has got to mean something. As cumbersome and inconvenient as it may sound to you, I have to tell you that it is in fact one of the fundamental truths of life that struggle sharpens your ability to innovate, grow and then ultimately become a success.

I don’t think philosophies are much cared for, by the millennium generation in general, but here’s the deal- when it comes to inspiration, I think the ancient thought if decoded from its erudite abode has a lot to offer, the experience drenched philosophies that the societies are etched with and that we so conveniently ignore all sing about how struggle helps us discover new things and innovate. Ancient thought has always tended to appreciate the struggle. We ourselves try to ignore it, or when undergoing this strenuous state of mind try to hide it, are ashamed of it or worse feel sorry about it. The reality should be the exact opposite. A number of philosophies dictate how the struggle is an opportunity to grow, how failure is an opportunity to learn and as the following discussion progresses I we will all start having a deeper understanding and appreciation of struggle and finally agree with the ancient thought and start embracing the struggle and not avoiding it.

Human history is filled with innovation and one of the major inspirations behind these innovations has always been- struggle. The struggle of a man trying to reach from one place to another led to the formation of the wheel, the struggle of men facing innumerable diseases led to the discovery of an entirely new branch of science- medicine. Similarly, the struggle of managing data, of getting work done quicker all these led to in the past and still lead to the innovations in computer technologies and software. The idea is to recognize that struggle and draw inspiration from it. Struggle provides us with empathy which in turn provides us incentive to work harder, think harder, reach our maximum potential in whatever we are doing. Millions of inventions have only sprung out of the minds like that of Edison and Tesla because they recognized theirs as well as the struggle of those around them.

Another gift this thorny package provides you is humility. The more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be overconfident and then ultimately commit blunders. But if you are struggling to let’s say create a particular piece of software, you will first, of course, try and execute your idea in one go, it didn’t go as planned. You try again and again, first checking if the process, the system is properly aligned, it still does not work. Then you will start taking a closer look at your idea, at the various sets of codes you had written to execute it, you keep looking and looking and almost every single time you come across a point where you realize- you could have done better or that merely there was an easier way to get the same things done. You solve these snags and behold- you have your software, ready to use and better than ever. Now, let’s take a step back. Just think of the said software would have been a success in the first go, would you have any incentive to look closely at all its components yet again? I didn’t think so. It was the mere fact that you struggled to run the software that you gave value and thought to its each and every component and in turn, created a much better thing out of them. This inside innovation would never have been possible if you hadn’t struggled in the first place. Thus, struggle gives you a whole new experience, a new window to look at the same thing and I think that is all that an intelligent mind needs for inspiration to innovate.

Lastly, I think struggle also gives you much more knowledge and experience than anything ever could. Reading books or knowing about how things are done is one thing, but when you actually sit down and start working on those “things” yourself, you start appreciating its every aspect, you start realizing its flaws and shortcomings, something which you need to experience first-hand to fully understand and once you do that you finally have both the opportunity and the knowledge to solve these problems, to develop new solutions to finally innovate.

Thus, it is important for all of us, especially those who have set out on a journey to discover and create something new to understand that there is no avoiding struggle. Instead of taking shortcuts or being let down by the struggle we have to start looking at it as it is- a golden opportunity, a teacher that is there to teach you of millions of things that nobody else has ever even mentioned to you. So it is time now for us to start embracing this incredible opportunity sugar-coated inside with the word- struggle!

Internet of Things

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Internet of Things is a vast variety of things encompassing machines, humans, animals, objects etc. all transferring data on an inter-related network without requiring any human-human or human-computer interaction.

It can easily be derived that IoT has increased our efficiency and taken it off the chats in terms of saving of time, accuracy and precision. Started with simple machine to machine (M2M) communication it was the great potential in this that it has so rapidly expanded to now being an irreplaceable part of the industry, it has creeped into the manufacturing, consumer, enterprise and separate IoTs are present for each and more.

Another basic example to highlight its present would be the concept of “Smart homes” be it Amazon or other companies all are offering a continuous array of devices to add to your house that would automatically take care of your various needs like adjusting the thermostat. Playing music, recording a T.V show, setting an alarm etc. These devices are some of the “things” in the IoT and constantly record and analyse data to identify customer needs, patterns and then act accordingly.

Companies are actively using IoTs to monitor their business processes, improve and adopt new business models and enhance customer experience by making it more immersive and with the least possibility of human error. This leads to the conclusion that not only are our lives irreplaceably dependent of the Internet of Things but it is also one of the greatest source of income for companies involved in providing these services, and this is the case when the IoT ecosystem is new and underdeveloped but with more and more investment flowing in, its exponential expansion is now a reality. In fact, companies have gone on to predict both the near and distant future of IoT and both seem to be shining extra-ordinarily.

Companies like IHS Markit believes the number of connected IoT devices will increase 12% annually to reach 125 billion in 2030. While McKinsey & Company estimates IoT will have an $11.1 trillion impact by 2025 and Brain & Company believes that the revenue generated from IoT hardware and software shall not fall short of $450 billion by 2020.

Microservices

Friday, January 24th, 2020

The world we live in is dynamic, in fact, the only sure-fire constant that you may find in it is the fact that change here, is a rather constant set of affairs. When we narrow down our view of the world to software and technology this seems to take a whole other meaning, not only is change constantly occurring, it is occurring so rapidly that even the best of our brains have difficulty keeping up with it. This brings us to a very interesting question- how can the various applications and other software on your electronic devices accommodate such a variety of change and that too this fast? This question lies in the mind of all developers, before they even launch a new application, for example, they build it already capable of inculcating new updated, etc. Now comes the question of rapidity. Earlier the applications used to have monolithic architecture. Under this, the entire application was built as one independent unit. This resulted in any induction of change to be an extremely time-taking and tedious process as any change affected the entire system- even the most minuscule modification to even a tiny segment of the code could require the building or deployment new version of the software.

But the world as we know it needed to be much faster than that, this where Microservices came and replaced Monolith applications.Microservice architecture or as it is popularly known- Microservices is today one of the foundation components of creating a good application aimed and precise and immersive delivery of service. It is a style of Architecture that designs the application as an amalgamation of services that can easily be maintained over a long period of time and deployed if need be both with one another or independently. It tackles the problems posed by earlier models by being modular in every single aspect. It is a rather distinctive method of creating systems of software that emphasizes the creation of single-function modules with strictly defined operations and interfaces.

Since there are no official templates available to either design or develop or even base microservice architecture upon, providers of these services often find themselves in a more creative space than usual, however over time there has come some uniformity in types and characteristics of services offered or how this architecture is developed. Topping the charts, of course, is its uncanny ability to be divided into numerous components with each being able to be tweaked and redeployed independently so if one or more service is to be changed, the developers do not have to undertake the gargantuan task of changing the entire application. Another defining characteristic carried by it is the simple fact that this is built for business. In previous architectures the traditional approach with separate teams for User Interface, Technology layers, Databases, and other services and components were present. Microservice comes with the revolutionary idea of cross-platform teams, with each team being given the task of developing one or more very specific products based on any number of services (as available within the architecture) with the help of a message bus for the purpose of communication. It functions on the motto- “You build it, you run it.” Hence these teams are allowed to assume ownership of their developed product for its lifetime.

Another well-founded achievement of Microservices is its quality of resistance to failure. The probability of failure is extremely plausible since a number of services which on their own are quite diverse as well are continuously communicating and working together. The chance of a service failing is rather high. In such cases, the client should withdraw peacefully allowing other services around its function. Moreover, Microservices come with the ability to monitor over these services which exponentially reduces these chances of failure and if and when one service or the other does fail it is thus well equipped to cope up with it.

As you may realize reading thus far, that Microservice architecture in all its application and potential seems to be a design capable of bringing a revolution in the industry, hints of which have already been seen as it has efficiently and rather completely replaced the traditional monolith models. It is an evolutionary design and it is an ideal choice for a designer who is unable to anticipate the types of changes that product may have to undergo in the future. In fact, it is built to accommodate unforeseen changes and that is why as development becomes more and more rapid a larger share of industry is switching from Monolithic to Microservices.

Some of the big players adding to its prestige are Netflix and Amazon. Both requiring one of the most widespread architectures possible in the industry. They get a number of calls from a variety of devices which would simply have been impossible to be handled by the traditional models they used before that.

One major drawback faced globally among Microservices enthusiasts is the fact that the logic, schema and other information that would otherwise have been the company’s intellectual property implicit their own minds now have to be shared across the various cross-platform services. But there is no way around it, in the world around us where most software is being developed over cloud environments this is more or less a philosophical question that whether we should even keep a secret. But along with this aby accepting regression tests and planning around backward compatibility a lot of such tricky scenarios could easily be avoided. Anyway, compared to the ocean of benefits that one receives from Microservice architecture it can remain a rhetorical question whether companies have any other options available. The pros outweigh the cons by far and in the coming times, this is going to be even more sought after model than it is now.

Google Analytics, Amplitude or Mixpanel

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Know the right tool for your Business

With the increasing emphasis on data-driven business optimization choosing an appropriate analytics tool has never been more important.

There are a bunch of analytics tools available in the market. These tools can all look the same, and some of the similar terminologies might be confusing.

Analysis of data is something every size of business requires these days. We will look at 3 of the most talked-about tools available in the market. Looking at just three might help you decide which one will work for your business or organization.

Say hello to Mixpanel

Mixpanel came into the market in 2009 and gradually it became popular. Mixpanel is a tool that majorly focuses on the post sign up of the website and the events performed by the various users, it tracks every event performed by the users. It allows focusing on each user specifically. Some of the major feature provided by Mixpanel is user analytics, create funnels, analyze retention cohorts and flesh out user journeys and many other recurring feature names you have heard of associated with analytical tools.

The analysis provided by Mixpanel has events that take place on the webpages of your site, like adding to cart or completing a form or downloads — anything that can be done, it can be measured.

Mixpanel divides the data in segments triggered by the events into the users who took this action. It certainly makes the bulk of data that can be collected into much more digestible chunks. This segmentation-first approach to the analytics of data is the main focus of the UI/UX.

The A/B testing is a feature that you have heard of more often when it is about analytical tools, this feature allows you to measure the success of two variations of your site content, then implementing the most successful one. It’s a better solution than creating a page, giving it a week to measure success, and then amend it, and so repeating that until you’re satisfied with the results.

You can specify an event you want to measure, and Mixpanel will analyze data from user journeys that previously completed that event to predict the chances of future users completing the event at the end of the same user journey. It will provide you with scores for it.

Mixpanel can be sued by any beginner easily. Everything is crystal clear, and everything is pretty much where it is expected to be. It’s got the usual to see left-hand navigation pane, and all the menu titles there are largely self-explanatory.

When you first start off, you can have a tutorial video explaining each feature of the navigation pane, explaining what it does, and how it will help you when you’re trying to understand your data. It depends on the user whether these are useful or not — some people really just want to read about it with some screenshots.

Say hello to Amplitude

Amplitude is similar to Mixpanel, but their product has a more modern feel. Like Mixpanel, they focus on what happens after a user signs up and what users are doing inside your product.

They are a great option for e-commerce companies and companies who have cross-platform products. Amplitude also takes an event-focused approach to their data collection, and the analytical outcomes of this are many.

What Amplitude seems to take the most pride in though, is the visualization of the data it collects, in presenting you with bite-sizes of digestible and actionable information.

You can customize a lot of these chunks of information to suit yourself, but it does come with a bunch of default ones. I’m talking about things like customer retention, the ability to view real-time actions, and managing your analytics using a marketing funnel.

Amplitude’s usability and the interface can be best described as ‘positive.’

From the bright colors used in the design of the user interface, through to the tone of voice used in the instructions when you take the initial demo tour, it is easy to get to.

You know in a movie when they have Parallel universe or dream in dream sequence, where everything is all positive, to the extent that the subject gets suspicious? It’s like that, except I couldn’t find anything negative, and wasn’t pulled out of it with a shock.

It’s got the standard left-hand navigation pane, and the demo tour will take you through each one of those, explaining what they do. The various graphs and charts make great use of color to help with their clarity.

Say hello to Google Analytics

If you’ve already Googled anything about website data analysis tools, I bet my thousand Rupees says Google Analytics was top of your search results.

Google Analytics is a general audience overview, telling you top-level information, such as how many visitors your website overall has had, where they have been located and what language they’ve been using.

Besides the user-centric stuff, you can look at all kinds of things. You can check which pages on your website have been the most popular. You can get a breakdown of the sources from which people got to your website, so whether it was from an organic search, paid search, or social media.

From social media, you can drill down to the specific networks, so whether it was Facebook or Twitter or whatever.

You can get as detailed as you want with the data. For example, you could see how many people came to your website from Facebook, what time they did so at, their age and gender, and generally what they looked at.

One of the key features is the link to AdWords so that you can see directly how much money your Google PPC ad spend is generating in conversions. In a time when ROI is a repeated question from management, it’s good to be able to see it straight away

People new to analytics might be surprised by the depth of the data that can be gathered.

Google Analytics wouldn’t have such a high market share if its usability was like solving Rubik’s cube (of course at first), haha :).

The layout and navigation make sense. Google does offer certification in Analytics, which is useful for getting the most out of it.

By creating custom URLs and a campaign with Google Analytics, you can get more detailed information about who has been clicking through to your website from your email: where they were, what time they clicked through at, and what they did from there.

Doctor Strange stuff huh!

The main thing about Google Analytics is that it gives you all the information you need, but how it’s used will depend on the confidence of the person using it, and how much time the organization wants to allocate to data analysis.

Here is the feature and Integrations comparison between Google Analytics, Amplitude, and Mixpanel in the tabular representation so that you can give you an add-on to compare and decide which one is best suited for your data.

Conclusion

There are so many businesses can learn about their customers today. The amount of data that can be collected is enormous and the company which is willing to take advantage of it are making moves to be on top.

So, which tool you should use? Well, the answer is hidden in your business. Depending on the company — its size, audience, life stage, and goals — the data analytics suite that’s the best fit may be different from what the rival company or company across the street is using.

A facelift to the business world — Digital Transformation

Friday, January 24th, 2020

How is digital transformation reshaping businesses?

There is a fixed pattern or way in which businesses operate. When that changes its course from its traditional fons et origo due to modernization and technology, it is referred to as digital transformation.

“Change is inevitable. Change is constant.” — Benjamin Disraeli

Hence, digital transformation has made its mark in a wide range of arenas like hospitality, automation, information technology, finance, and even medicine. It has carved a niche for itself in all kinds of businesses — be it small, medium or large. However, it’s being ubiquitous comes at a price. It needs to prove itself worthy to the customers and the employees and this can be achieved only by employing voguish business applications. Organizations should be able to churn these out at lightning bolt speed because it is the only way they can survive in the extant cut-throat competition.

The essence

The pith of digital transformation is a reduction in operational costs and enhanced customer experience. It does not just circumscribe around new innovative technologies but also revolves around a change in mindset and work culture. Thus, enterprises ought to cater to fluctuations in the business environment and business demands by inventing appropriate strategies.

“…the key to digital transformation in re-envisioning and driving change in how the company operates. That’s a management and people challenge, not just a technology one.” — Capgemini Consulting

The factors

It is hence, pivotal for the management to join hands with IT teams and cater to business needs, motor innovation and head towards continuous development. These form the core of digital transformation — progress in business activities, reduction in costs, improvement in marketing time and so on. Influenced by major factors like technological innovations, customer expectations and demands, market scenario and environmental changes, digital transformation is a force to be reckoned with.

Advancements in technology lead to disruptions. Those operating on obsolete and outdated computer systems are shunned for latest and more modern versions of the same technology. Cloud computing, big data, internet of things, machine learning and others have taken the limelight and if harnessed, are done throughout the organization for better results, higher efficiency, and lower costs.

In the case of customer behavior, it refers to the desires and expectations that they have from the business and from the technology being employed. Consumers want sophisticated and latest technologies but also want them to be handy and easy-to-use. They must be satisfied with the service and should be willing to speak highly of your organization to others. Hence, it is extremely important that these expectations of the customer and technology changes catering to business demand must be in sync with one another. Digital transformation, therefore, helps in the evolution of organizations towards being more customer-centric.

The aftermath

Now, let’s move to different aspects of a business model that digital transformation influences or is capable of influencing. It can affect the normal functioning of the business across different departments ranging from human resources to administration. It can also streamline business models, increase the efficiency of underlying processes and balance business ecosystems. Dealing with customers and information, the two main intangible assets of any business, also become much easier.

Back to the essence

Profitability, customer care and faster market time are key components of digital transformation. Large amounts of data can also be analyzed easily using the latest tech to make decision-making more efficient and improve overall performance. Due to its camaraderie with the business world, digital transformation is often also referred to as business transformation.

“Digital transformation is a journey for the entire company. It’s no longer just about marketing transformation. We’re entering a new phase where all internal stakeholders are involved.” — digitaltransformationbook.com

It is indeed reshaping the business world to transform not just operations management but also organization at all hierarchies. Taking the world by the storm, it is no surprise that a significant number of Global 2000 companies deem it a priority in their corporate strategy. So, watch out for this one!

Also, feel free to reach out to us in case of any query regarding the digital transformation of if you just feel like having a construction discussion regarding the same. We will be more than happy to help out. Thanks for reading!

How To Uplift Your Brand Using Chatbots

Friday, January 24th, 2020

A chatbot is a program, powered by rules and AI, which simulates a real interaction with users via a chat interface. In other words, a chatbot is a service that can have a conversation with you just like a real person. Chatbots are based on Machine Learning to gather conversational cadences that allow them to copy human conversations and react to written or spoken requests to deliver a service. They comprehend language, not just commands, since they use AI. Therefore, the more conversation chatbots have with users, the more intelligent they become. The purpose of chat bots is to support and scale business teams in their relations with customers. It could live in any major chat applications like Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc. They are changing the way companies and customers interact, helping to create powerful, engaging human-to-AI agent experiences.

The number of businesses using Chatbots has grown exponentially. Chatbots docked to Facebook’s Messenger have increased from 30,000 in 2016 to over 100,000 today. Every major company has announced its own Chatbot and 60% of the youth population uses them daily. These statistics prove that Chatbots are the new-gen tech. No more waiting for the right time to incorporate them into your business. By the year 2020, nearly 80% of businesses will have their own Chatbot. And shipments of virtual digital assistant systems are beginning to touch every industry, from the banking and financial services space to travel, retail, education, and more. It’s estimated to grow into a $7.7 billion market by 2025

Below are some of the benefits of Chatbots.

1. Chatbots will excite your customers, keep them satisfied

“When the customer comes first, the customer will last.” — Robert Half

People are very excited about technology and love exploring it. According to an online survey, about 44% of U.S. consumers prefer Chatbots over humans for customer communication. Therefore, businesses excite their customers when adopting a new Chatbot.

Still, it’s the businesses’ responsibility to ensure a smooth experience. To be successful, they must ensure their Chatbots are:

  • Professional and bug-free.
  • Aligned with the brand rather than just random affairs.
  • Providing good linguistics.
  • Providing well-defined tasks.
  • Answering queries with proper answers.
  • Working seamlessly on a variety of devices.

2. Always-Available Customer Support

According to research by Gartner, customer service is the most important factor in success. So, whether you are an international or a local business, having a good customer service 24/7 has a positive impact on your customer satisfaction.

Customer support process can be improved with the help of chatbots. Bots can be programmed to give automated answers to repetitive questions immediately and forward the request to a real person when a more complicated action is needed. This enables human customer service representatives to save time and assist more important cases rather than time-consuming simple tasks.

Additionally, with the help of chatbots, organizations can handle more tasks at the same time so that no customer has to wait. This will allow companies to scale up their operations to new markets globally without multiplying incoming requests to be handled.

3. Extensive Customer Assistance

A survey shows that 83% of online shoppers need support during shopping. So, your customers may require help trying to understand which products fit their needs/budgets any time of the day. Moreover, shoppers may not find what they are looking for due to navigation issues when they are on your site, they may have a registration, payment, checkout, and delivery questions or there may be a lack of information about a product.

In all these situations, chatbots can provide assistance real-time like a salesperson in a real store. Moreover, chatbots can offer interactive communication where they also ask questions to understand the real problem. Furthermore, along with text and voice, they can present customers rich content with product pages, images, blog entries, tutorial videos based on their responses that can help them through their journey.

4. Chatbots won’t replace the humans

The biggest Chatbot misconception is that they’ll take over services and automate everything so businesses wouldn’t need humans to function.

This won’t happen; at least not completely. While Chatbots may appear to replace apps and will minimize human efforts for more productive outcomes, they cannot completely replace people and services.

Chatbots merely interact with people to clarify their queries within the preset scope as much as possible. For issues outside the scope, Chatbots are still able to determine a customer’s initial query. A chatbot is more helpful when customer ask repetitive questions because all information required for further resolution has already been gathered, saving time and energy, resulting in more expediency and accuracy.

5. Chatbots help reduce costs

Every year, around 265 billion customer support requests are made and it costs businesses whopping $1.3 trillion to service them. These costs can significantly be reduced with the help of AI Chatbots. Implementing virtual agents or Chatbots can help businesses to save up to 30%.

Chatbots ensure lucrative productivity from the investment in agent or employees. Hiring agents for 24*7*365 and adding resources to give support to the customers round the clock can be too costly for the company. Virtual agents or Chatbots will be the first point of contact and for more complex queries it can be escalated to human agents, hence Chatbot helps in improving customer service and reduces cost.

6. Lead generation and pattern recognition

Users interact with chatbots in very personal ways, much like they do with friends and family, chatbots are able to ask much more personal questions as well — questions that would normally be intrusive and annoying coming from a company or brand. These can range from ‘What music do you like? to ‘Where do you like to go on holiday?’. The answers to these questions provide valuable data that can be referred back to in follow up conversations and offer ways to further personalize the experience the customer has with the brand. Chatbots can, for instance, offer special discounts on a customer’s birthday, or suggest songs as per the previous requests and genres.

A bot can ask the necessary and related questions, persuade the user and generate a lead for you. Chatbots ensure the flow is in the right direction to get higher conversion rates. Of course, this also raises privacy concerns, and companies will need to find a balance between privacy and their quest for increasingly extreme personalization.

7. Increased Customer Engagement

Needless to say, it’s important to keep your customers engaged with your brand. According to research, companies that engage with their customers on social media were able to increase the customer spend by 20% to 40%. While social media is doing its job, chatbots can contribute by making the engagement more interactive — usually with a great sense of humor!

A conventional customer service interface usually provides more information than it receives from the users. However, Chatbots, in contrast, give only a slice of information at a time and can lead the interaction based on the input the user provides at each specific time. Therefore Chatbots don’t bore customers with irrelevant and unnecessary information and keep your customers on your platform longer and keep the content flowing by maintaining the conversation.

8. Easier Approach to Global Markets

Whether you are already an international brand with customers all over the world or a local brand who is ready for global business, chatbots can solve your customer care problems in multiple languages and 24/7, 365 days a year. This allows your business to scale up its operations to new markets without having to worry about multiplying incoming requests to be handled.

6 Future Technologies you should know about

Friday, January 24th, 2020

There has been a huge increase in the technology involved in the daily life of humans in the past 50 years. From engineers feeding in 0s and 1s into a room-sized computer to a wrist watch reminding us to complete our daily goal of 20,000 steps, technology has come a long way. The common man hadn’t even heard of a smartphone 12 years ago and today it’s hard to spend even a few hours without it. The technological advancement seen in the last decade was unseen in human history and it’s natural that we will one-up ourselves in the coming years. With a lot of new tech being conceptualized developed and tested, the future looks more exciting than ever before. There are many exciting new technologies that will continue to transform the world and improve human welfare. Here are six of them.

1. Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving cars exist today that are safer than human-driven cars in most driving conditions. Google, Uber have been testing them for over 2 years now. Over the next 3–5 years they’ll get even safer, and will begin to go mainstream. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.25 million people die from car-related injuries per year. Half of the deaths are pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists hit by cars. Cars are the leading cause of death for people ages 15–29 years old.

Just as cars reshaped the world in the 20th century, so will self-driving cars in the 21st century. In most cities, between 20–30% of usable space is taken up by parking spaces, and most cars are parked about 95% of the time. Self-driving cars will be in almost continuous use (most likely hailed from a smartphone app), thereby dramatically reducing the need for parking. Cars will communicate with one another to avoid accidents and traffic jams, and riders will be able to spend commuting time on other activities like work, education, and socializing.

2. Virtual and Augmented Reality

Computer processors only recently became fast enough to power comfortable and convincing virtual and augmented reality experiences. Companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are investing billions of dollars to make VR and AR more immersive, comfortable, and affordable.

People sometimes think VR and AR will be used only for gaming, but over time they will be used for all sorts of activities. For example, we’ll use them to manipulate 3-D objects.

To meet with friends and colleagues from around the world. And even for medical applications, like treating phobias or helping rehabilitate paralysis victims.VR and AR have been dreamed about by science fiction fans for decades. In the next few years, they’ll finally become a mainstream reality.

3. The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things has long been talked about amongst tech insiders as the next big innovation in-home technology. In recent years, IoT has begun to carve a niche for itself in everyday life with the growing adoption of systems like Google’s Home and Amazon’s Alexa. These devices will continue to integrate more aspects of the home into one harmonious system by utilizing the internet, allowing a user to control anything from the air conditioning to their security via voice command and a small personal assistant.

Apple has announced its plans to roll out the HomePod this year and Samsung is reportedly working on their Bixby technology in order to compete with the success of the Google and Amazon systems. You can expect that one of these devices will be simplifying life in your home and the homes around you by 2020.

4. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has made rapid advances in the last decade, due to new algorithms and massive increases in data collection and computing power. AI can be applied to almost any field. For example, in photography, an AI technique called artistic style transfer transforms photographs into the style of a given painter.

Google built an AI system that controls its datacenter power systems, saving hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs. The broad promise of AI is to liberate people from repetitive mental tasks the same way the industrial revolution liberated people from repetitive physical tasks.

Some people worry that AI will destroy jobs. History has shown that while new technology does indeed eliminate jobs, it also creates new and better jobs to replace them. For example, with the advent of the personal computer, the number of typographer jobs dropped, but the increase in graphic designer jobs more than made up for it. It is much easier to imagine jobs that will go away than new jobs that will be created. Today millions of people work as app developers, ride-sharing drivers, drone operators, and social media marketers- jobs that didn’t exist and would have been difficult to even imagine ten years ago.

5. Internet for everyone

We can’t seem to live without the internet (how else would you read sciencefocus.com?), but still only around half the world’s population is connected. There are many reasons for this, including economic and social reasons, but for some, the internet just isn’t accessible because they have no connection.

Google is slowly trying to solve the problem using helium balloons to beam the internet to inaccessible areas, while Facebook has abandoned plans to do the same using drones, which means companies like Hiber are stealing a march. They have taken a different approach by launching their own network of shoebox-sized microsatellites into low Earth orbit, which wakes up a modem plugged into your computer or device when it flies over and delivers your data.

Their satellites orbit the Earth 16 times a day and are already being used by organisations like The British Antarctic Survey to provide internet access to very extreme of our planet.

6. Cryptocurrency & Blockchain

After Bitcoin’s meteoric price jump in 2017, major tech players have begun to take cryptocurrencies seriously. Along with major Initial Coin Offerings that have hit major news outlets like Etherium, smaller companies are developing Stablecoins that provide an attempt to provide all the pros of cryptocurrency transactions without the price fluctuations that have plagued the system. As these coins begin to work themselves out and exchanges even out the fluctuations in prices, expect these assets to be mainstream methods of payment by 2020.

Blockchain, the decentralized ledger that holds together cryptocurrencies, has applications reaching far beyond financial transactions. Companies have applied the technology to everything, from simplifying tracking and access to information in academia to interesting and amusing games that use complex algorithms to create unique experiences.

You can read more of our blogs here.

Facebook To End Android Dependency: Here’s How

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

The social media scene has been developing over the years. The beginning was with Google’s hangout, and then came along Orkut, and along that line, came the creation of Mark Zuckerberg. Yes, you are right! We are talking about Facebook.

This online social directory becomes available first to the students of Harvard and later, to anyone who claimed to be of at least age 13. This rule was in place since 2006 and still ongoing. Any person with an account on Facebook can share digital content; it can be text, photo, and other multimedia files in their profile. They can have conversations with other persons who are their “friend”, comment on other persons’ posts and even have one-on-one chats. There are several in-built apps that can also be used to complete different tasks or serve specific purposes.

Climbing into stardom

The rise of Facebook to become “the” social media was not slow but not instant either. After changing the name from “the Facebook” to just “Facebook” in 2005, this social media channel was opened to the general public in 2006. Within the year 2009, the company had 350 million users joining in its list and in the summer of 2012, the number finally rose to the magic number of 100 million. By the end of 2018, the number had grown to 2.32 billion, which is more than half of the world’s population and they are all present in the program written in the Harvard dorm room. In 2019, the numbers are becoming less, but with an average of 52%, Facebook is still the top contender in social media sites. However, the introduction of sites like Instagram, Twitter has decreased its popularity. Another favorite social media messaging service called WhatsApp has been recently acquired by Facebook. Still, newer services like SnapChat are slowly making their presence felt. However, the company is taking the necessary step to address this particular issue.

The range of devices

Unlike the programs of its predecessor companies, Facebook did not need the user to download or install any installer file in their device. Although, in the time when the only digital device was computers, only an internet connection was sufficient to connect and use the social media program. Nowadays, with the advent of smartphones, tabs and other handheld digital devices, it has become necessary to download the app onto the device. Thereafter, the user has to input their information and can access their profile. In case of security measures, the program or “app” in the new OS vernacular, has made some major changes to ensure the security of the user data. Still, in recent cases, the company has faced some serious problems in the matters of fake accounts, fake posts, and information with a debatable source. Facebook has employed third-party companies to perform the fact-check and other necessary data.

The operating systems

The main limitation the company was facing from the start was the dependence on other operating systems. From the start, it was either accessed from mainly Windows or the Macintosh operating system. And when the era of the smartphone or handheld devices came into being, it was either Android or the specific operating system of the Apple Inc, the iOS. Being dependent on these operating systems posed two specific problems;

  1. The coding and the necessary programming tasks becomes different when it comes to two different operating systems. Moreover, if only the example of the Android is taken, the OS essentially dictates Facebook about the hardware requirement it will need. Having to depend on a third-party OS makes it impossible to add features because it may or may not suit the specification requirement allowed by the OS.
  2. Facebook has been developing devices like Oculus, and voice-calling services like Portal, which are essentially the development of Facebook. Having to depend on the operating system like Android practically determines that the company cannot add necessary hardware, as it may clash with the inherent limitations of Android. Furthermore, the development of new versions, or upgrades of this operating system, will force the social media company to change the specification of its devices every time, adding to the production and implementation costs.

To cope up with these problems, and ensuring the independence of its programs and devices from the operating systems of other parties, Facebook has announced that it is now going to build its own operating system from scratch. According to the general pulse, this step was eventually coming, but the effect on the market and among its users is still to be seen.

The changeover to its own

The bid to stand on its own two legs in terms of an operating system was abuzz in the grapevine of the computer technology world, and the news was confirmed by the company itself later. Facebook told its users and the general public worldwide that it is appointing one of the creators and developers on Microsoft’s Windows NT OS, Mark Lucovsky. The step taken was supported by the Vice President of Hardware, Facebook, and confirmed in the statement that the company is seriously considering the fact that the future generation should have space for them. In the light of dependency on third-party systems, especially operating systems, it may not be possible for Facebook to achieve the target in terms of penetration and digital presence. For that reason, they are thinking of doing it on their own.

Expert’s opinion

According to the experts also, this step was in the pipeline for some time. Development of VR devices, Other machines like Oculus, a voice-calling feature like Portal, and even the AI-enabled program the company is developing, depending upon OS by Google, or any other company would have been limiting. For one, the developments had to be done according to the changes happening to the OS, and secondly, the hindrance of faster development in the case of Hardware would surface; as the Other OS may not be compatible with the hardware specification of the new development by Facebook.

Signing off

The development of a new OS is certainly exciting to Facebook users, but there are other factors to consider too. In the future, although not sure, Facebook can become the next Apple, where you have to buy their devices to enjoy their programs. With the world’s majority using android by Google and the number still increasing, the outcome of the project and the decision of the company regarding it will determine the fate of this development.

What Is Business Process Automation?

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

And What are Its Major Benefits?

A smoothly running business requires a lot of effort to be run efficiently. Several complex processes need to get assimilated in their functions and integration of those processes leads to the development of hitch-free operations. There are two types of processes in business operations; one, the repetitive, mundane jobs that only need practice and the latest information, and secondly, the jobs that need actual human intervention to get completed.

Categorically, the latter category is still to be pursued for digital transformation, but for the former category of jobs, there are now digital functionalities that can complete these processes by ease. This discipline is called Business Process Automation (BPA) and can simply be demarcated as the digital automation of complex business processes.

Definition of Business Process Automation

You must be aware that a business needs several rule-driven, workflow-based functions to run smoothly. BPA can be used to implement the automation of these repetitive jobs that are governed by pre-set guidelines.

This functions to improve the workflow and develop the existing workforce to provide an output that is better in both functional and performance aspects. However, in many cases, it has been seen the complexity of systems in place is becoming a hindrance in implementing an effective automation solution.

Development from mechanical to processes

Now automation of processes is not uncommon in business, especially in the manufacturing sector. There have been robotic machines that were used to perform dangerous or repetitive tasks that ultimately produced a product with better specifications and the minimum amount of human error.

The reason for RPA and BPA is simple — organizations are losing a whopping $140 billion every year in wasted time, lost opportunities, and duplication of efforts. Plus, 90% of employees are burdened with repetitive or mundane tasks which can be automated to great effect

This means that BPA has the potential to not only cut unnecessary expenditure but also reduce the cost of getting the work done. This double upshot provides a massive impetus for organizations to go in for process automation.

At that time, the official processes were done solely by humans; with the application of computers, the process just became faster. Human efforts and labor were still there, only the calculation and analysis were done digitally. There was almost no digital involvement to manage the workflow of information.

New developments

With the advent of digital software and other programming assistance, the job became much easier. In recent times, the newly developed “software robots” are becoming useful in performing a double-pronged approach. Firstly, they are becoming instrumental in proficiently managing the data workflow, and secondly, they do not disturb the chain of work, but work in the background to complete tasks for the future, subject it to specified conditions and escalate it to ensure a greater sophistication and expansion of possibilities which were not possible through mechanical automation alone.

The benefits of BPA

The process of BPA is now becoming easier due to the application of “software robots”. The help they provide encompass the full process and the automation becomes stress-free. The advantages that this new approach of BPA offers to the business processes are;

  • Productivity

The foremost benefit that these software bots provide is the increase in productivity. This becomes possible because of two reasons,

  1. Efficiency gets a massive surge as these software programs work without getting tired, and does not commit any sort of mistakes.
  2. The software does not miss any deadlines provided the information required is correctly fed in the system.
  3. The completion of the assigned workflow becomes accelerated as the response time quickens to instantaneous.

Moreover, as the number of workers is reduced after the implementation of BPA; the company can save money on the overhead. Able-minded workers could be assigned to solving more complex yet unnecessary problems rather than wasting time behind a mundane repetitive process.

  • Precision and reliability of data

There is a popular adage, “machines do not make mistakes”. Quite true, as the machine blindly follows the person who gives it an order; either by vocal, switches or in the modern age, computer programming. This is also true for this new software bots. They never differ from their chosen actions, unless ordered to do so. This ensures better compliance with the existing laws and an audit trail. The inadvertent human error has less chance of occurring and the output of the process is guaranteed consistent.

  • Cost reduction and increased profit

Using this novel software tools ensure that the cost of completing a project goes down. When you can spare the cost of maintaining labors, the cost of overhead will go down. Additionally, the workers who were attached to these repetitive works could now be engaged in other high value and complex projects. Such a division of duties can be beneficial in the financial and work sectors. The workers feel their increased value and are subjected to a deeper sense of fulfillment.

  • Accessible and elastic

Being software, there is no chance of the human problem of achieving proficiency in a single subject. The software can be programmed to complete any type of job and it can perform the interlinking of two different jobs also. If the business requires so, the software robots can be commanded to work across departments, with a digital conversation across many projects, so that a single system can complete a lot of interrelated jobs.

Which functions can use BPA?

The jobs of every department are specific and are required to keep the company running. There are some functions which can be performed with these “workbots”. To know on which jobs you can apply this software, look for the following pointers in them;

  1. Tasks following a set of rules
  2. A job with anticipated inputs and outputs.
  3. Monotonous and/ or labor-intensive tasks.
  4. Tasks with high-volume of work.

Case in point, suppose you need to prepare a quotation for a client on-the-go. What are your steps to follow? These are more or less generating the quotation, letting your superiors know, getting approval, attaching the document, queuing it and sending it to the customers. To do each of these jobs will require considerable man-hours. With help from software used in BPA, the jobs could be done automatically and the person can concentrate on other complex targets.

To conclude

Although, the implementation of BPA in the existing system has to be done with care. First and foremost, it must be understood that the existing resources must be adapted to the working of BPA so that the cost of implementing a system from scratch is lessened. To add on to it, you must also ensure the assured chance of productivity improvement, error-free delivery, and scalable system of programmed job accomplishment.

Future-Proof: Leverage Technology To Drive Innovation And Success In The 2020s

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Technology has completely taken over every aspect of our life. The business landscape is no different, and constant changes in the tech world have revolutionized business processes as well. Seagate said that 2/3rd of CEOs will start focusing on digital strategies to boost customer experience by the end of 2019. Also, IDG says that 44% of the companies have already begun their march towards a digital-first approach for customer experience.

It is clear that technology is coming up in a big way to drive customer experience. If you are not taking initiatives for digital transformation then you are bound to be outpaced by forwarding looking enterprises with a focus on stellar customer experiences.

Moreover, technology is not a static concept. It is always evolving, dynamic and volatile. This is bringing about a paradigm shift in the way we think, act, buy, and make a decision. BE it genomics and advanced DNA for spousal choices or autonomous vehicles, the world is fast embracing digital. If you too want in on this high impact sphere of technology then the first step would be to know the different trends that will propel the digital transformation pace in 2002 and beyond. Read on to know what these trends are –

  1. The Rise of AI

AI or artificial intelligence is no longer the stuff of science fiction novels and those bizarre shows. This is the age when machines are getting at par with the human brain. Developers and data scientists are coming up with new and interesting frameworks for AI. It started with the RP-ing games and has now ventured into the simple everyday aspects of our daily life. The AI system can control everything from our smartphones to GPS navigation. Companies like Amazon and Google have come up with their personalized AI models. You can have human-like realistic interactions with a machine.

The upcoming year would see further improvements in AI. The rise of supercomputers and robotics have further contributed to this trend. Smart homes, smart TVs, smart cars are no longer a dream. We have automated, digitized systems at our disposal.

2. All About AR/VR Reality

Augmented reality and Virtual reality were usually associated with video games in the yester changes. All that changed when AR was introduced in mainstream media. Machine learning scientists and coders are constantly working at making our lives easier, convenient and more time-efficient. AR or augmented reality is a concept that allows people to stream live content and get digital updates on any device connected to the network. Almost every platform has now become optimized for the mobile phone. Mobile e-commerce, app development, and database management have become very lucrative fields with a lot of scope for research.

Virtual reality, on the other hand, is a space where a person gets to experience a different world altogether. It is a complete audio-video holistic experience. This immersive exercise helps you shut out the real physical world for a while and enter a different sphere. In 2020, we can expect a mixture of these concepts. The rise of MR or mixed reality would be a framework that would allow for more transparent interactions with digital assets and machines. Microsoft’s HoloLens is a good example of how MR can change our lives.

3. Intuitiveness and Code-free Platforms

Every device or platform that we use these days is programmed to make things simpler and more value-adding for the user. A simple web store or a full-fledged application- intuitiveness is the bind that connects it all. Also, website development is no longer the domain of developers and software engineers. These days, anyone with an idea and an internet connection can build their website in a matter of minutes.

The rise of WYSIWYG website builders gives you a preview of how the content would appear on the user-end browser. You even get the provision of making real-time changes to the content with the on-site editor. And the best part? You can do all this and more without having to write a line of code.

4. One System to Rule Them All

Technology these days is all about fragmentation and yet having a distinct hierarchy. There are super systems, huge databases and frameworks to control all the aspects of your business. This gives you better control and flexibility over the operations. It also boosts your reach, performance, and productivity. The rise of social media has changed the face of marketing. There are different updates on social media networks that allow developers to advertise their brands and get more views.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have entered the eCommerce game with great gusto. Everyone wants to build a substantial social media presence to become more reliable and relevant. Trending on social media is a sure shot way to success. And in the forthcoming year, we have predicted more of content marketing and social media boost. The rise of influencers, bloggers, vloggers, and other internet celebrities bears testament to this fact.

5. Growth of the IoT Framework

IoT or the internet of things is a framework that gives developers space where they can connect multiple devices and platforms in a single network. This simplifies the data sharing and customization process. You can now access, share, and compute information quickly and conveniently. It also gives you better online visibility. SEO optimization, CRM systems, and content management are some of the biggest trends that show immense potential in the next year. Brands will try to make their services more user-friendly and relevant to the average web user. Gone are the days when a few big shot companies ruled the market. Today, the competition is ruled by demand patterns and market metrics.

The developers need to have an in-depth idea of the market, the competition and the techniques they’re using. IoT gives you a better grasp on things. It makes information more accessible. You have better control over the data you’ve collected. It also reduces the risk of cybercrime as you can set firewalls, antivirus programs, and encryptions to protect the information. IoT is being used by several companies these days, including industry leaders like Google and Amazon.

The Business advantage

Leading an enterprise and a team of talents isn’t an easy task. Technology can play the role of an indispensable asset. Whether it’s creating a unique enterprise infrastructure, designing a UI, integrating Salesforce into the existing system, or adopting web application security, technical upgrades are necessary for every enterprise.

As we say welcome to 2020, the latest tech trends are surely going to make a pronounced impact. Enterprise owners need to adopt these changes and make their venture future-ready!

IoT: The Internet of Things

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Introduction and background

IoT, which stands for the Internet of Things, is a term that is used for connecting a bunch of devices we use in the real world to the internet. Today, many electrical devices such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, TVs, etc. are connected to the internet, thus allowing us to make use of the many benefits the world wide web offers. With IoT, the idea is to connect as many objects as possible to the internet, so that we can achieve a worldwide system of interconnected objects.

When objects have internet connectivity, it means that they are capable of transferring information. In other words, data can be sent and received from one device or system to another. This communication of information makes our life much easier and more efficient, and as the world progresses, we only going to rely more on the internet and objects with internet connectivity, also known as smart devices.

The aim of IoT is to connect multiple objects we use every day in the real world to the internet so as to make our lives easier.

Challenge

The main challenge in understanding what the Internet of Things is that it is so loosely defined. The scope is so broad that it is difficult for people to understand that such a concept is a possibility in the real world. When there are so many possibilities and examples of IoT, it can be tough to really understand what the concept is about.

Moreover, most definitions of the Internet of Things that you can find online are extremely technical, which only adds to the confusion. For a concept whose basics are pretty simple, the complex definitions and broad scope make IoT more confusing than it actually is.

Solution

The Internet of Things allows objects across the globe to be connected to each other using the internet. The great thing is that these objects do not have to have huge storage or a supercomputer embedded in them. They simply need to be connected to a supercomputer or super storage, and IoT does exactly this.

So, IoT aims to extend the power of the internet beyond just computers and smartphones to a whole range of other objects and processes. In doing so, it helps businesses and people gain better insight into the 99 percent of objects and environments which are still not connected to the internet. This, in turn, encourages higher-level work that is more meaningful.

Key Insights into the Future of Software Testing — 2020 Vision

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Meta-description: Software testing is an industry that is growing rapidly, and the trends predicted for 2020 show a promising, revolutionary future.

With the growth of digital technology and the widespread use it has in our daily lives, the need for reliable and efficient software testing has also increased. Developers need to ensure product quality after an app design agency works on it and before it is rolled out into the market. As such, it is not an exaggeration to say that software testing determines the fate of a product.

Considering the huge role that software testing plays in the success of an app, it is important to know where the industry is headed to in the coming years. Such insights help us understand how better to improve the products that are put out most efficiently.

Before learning about future insights read another article about software testing from the link :- https://medium.com/@successivetech/getting-started-with-testing-react-component-e9e811856f3c

Below, we take a closer look at four main insights that are predicted to dominate the software testing industry in 2020:

  • Testing both the API layer and UI layer are equally important

Most professionals who are involved in software testing, such as developers, project managers, manual testers, and so on, test both the front and back-end of applications. This indicates that today, testing the API layer is equally important as testing the UI layer. Since testers are tasked with testing multiple layers of software, they must be equipped with the necessary tools so that they can test with ease. In the coming years, more testers will likely focus on both API and UPI layers.

  • Machine learning-enabled automated testing is the future

By 2020, the number of testers automating more than half of their API tests is expected to grow significantly. This means that automated testing will soon be the norm in the near future. Machine learning has already heavily impacted the way software is developed, and its impact on software testing is also expected to grow. For instance, machine learning can be used to optimize the test suite to search for excessive, or it can be used to predict the main test configurations based on previous checks.

  • Teams are working on shortening release cycles

Even though teams are not as agile as they wish to be, this trend is likely to change as they are continuously working on deploying more regularly. A huge number of software testers are expected to release either daily or weekly in the coming years, thus shortening their release cycles.

  • More focus on user experience

High-quality UX has grown to become one of the most important determinants of success for products in the world of software today. Regardless of whether the product is aimed at a simple user or for an experienced software developer, being user-friendly is a crucial key. This is exactly why testing user experience has become such a critical part of software testing, and the need for the best UI/UX design services is growing. This trend is expected to grow in the coming years.

Understanding Conversational AI Technology

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Put simply, conversational AI refers to technology that can automate communication by using speech-based assistants, messaging apps and chatbots. This helps businesses in creating a highly personalized experience at scale.

Today, conversational AIs are more popular than ever, and their rapid advancement points to a future where we are likely to become more reliant on this technology for our daily tasks. The best UI UX design services are requested time and again by businesses to integrate conversational AIs into their operations.

For example, you or someone you know may have Google Home or Amazon Alexa at home. These are two of the most popular speech-based assistants available in the market today. You can have conversations with these AIs, ask them to carry out certain tasks for you such as setting up an appointment, ask them to play music, etc., simply by talking to them as you would to another human being.

What makes conversational AIs so appealing to the masses is that they are driven by a language we are already comfortable with. Whether they are chatbots or speech-based assistants, you don’t have to learn complex processes to operate a conversational AI. They can either be engaged with using full sentences or using word options from a menu, and can support two-way interactions with the user, thus connecting humans and machines like never before.

How conversational AIs can affect your business

It’s not difficult to see how businesses can benefit from the power of conversational AIs. One of the key appeals of this technology is that it can carry out personalized interactions with many individual customers simultaneously. On top of this, it enhances engagement and streamlines communication, thus providing an overall better customer experience.

By enabling businesses to hold seamless and synchronized communications with their customers on whatever channel the customers may be using, conversational AIs allow improved efficiency and better customer satisfaction. For example, a customer on a website using chatbots for a query can have any issue resolved in a matter of a few minutes, without having to wait to speak to a representative.

Customers today are already pretty familiar with conversational AI in its different avatars. The younger generation prefers to communicate over conversational AI-enabled platforms than other forms of communication such as phone calls.

Thanks to its ease of use and its efficient nature, conversational AI is gaining momentum, with many top UX design firms investing in it. This means that businesses can use this modern technology to automate customer-focused touchpoints on various channels including their website, social media and even smart assistants like Alexa and Google Home.

Airbnb Now Bookable with Bitcoin and Lightning Network via Fold App

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

One of the most popular Bitcoin payments app Fold has recently announced that users can now book Airbnb using the app. The short-term rental giant is now a part of Fold’s rewards program known as Fold Kickbacks, which supports Lightning Network (LN), Bitcoin’s second layer. It allows users to buy gift cards for Bitcoin with a reward of 3 percent cash back.

This means that with every stay and/or experience booked on Airbnb using Fold, users can get 3 percent cash back in Bitcoin (BTC). The announcement is surely an exciting feature on the Fold Kickbacks rewards program, which already has some well-known brands such as Uber, Amazon, and Starbucks.

Currently, the Fold app only works in few selected countries such as the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Soon, Europe is expected to be able to use the app as well.

Fold facing new competition

The Fold may be among the oldest and the biggest Bitcoin shopping rewards apps in the market today, but it definitely isn’t alone app. There are several similar apps that have come up in recent years, offering users with an increasing number of options to “stack sats”.

One of the biggest competitors of Fold may be Lolli, which has partnered with Petco, a popular American pet retailer. In addition to this, the Bitcoin rewards shopping app also partnered with Safeway, a huge grocery chain in the US in order to provide users with an attractive offer of 3.5 percent cashback in BTC on all of the purchases they make at Safeway.

In an attempt to stay ahead of the competition and provide users with more payment options, Fold added a new feature that allows the app to accept fiat currency as payment at in-store and online retailers apart from Bitcoin. Users can do so by adding either their Bitcoin Lightning wallet or credit card. This new feature was added after the firm managed to raise $2.5 million in late September 2019.

Even Asia is not far behind and is rolling out Bitcoin rewards shopping options. Earlier this year, Amaten, which is the largest gift card platform in Japan announced that it partnered with Aelf, a blockchain network provider in order to issue tokenized gift cards to users.

With the growing popularity of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, we can expect to see more of similar services in the coming years with investors, tech companies and top UX design firms working together to bring improved services.

Tackling Environmental Challenges with Technology

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Meta-description: Technology offers us multiple ways of tackling major environmental challenges by enabling us to live in a smart, digital, and connected world.

Technology has permeated almost every aspect of our lives — from the way we shop to the way we communicate and even the way we work. It has made the world a much smaller place by empowering people with easier access to products, services, and each other.

Now, many experts believe that technology has the power to do more than simplify our lives — it can help us build a better future. Technology can help us tackle the growing environmental threats that we face today, and it already has to a certain point. Below, we discuss how.

· Development of renewable energy

The clean energy sector is quickly growing as more and more companies realize how it can undo the environmental harm. As a result, a growing number of companies are investing in renewable energy sources such as solar, hydroelectric, and wind power, making them more easily available and more affordable year after year.

· Going paperless

Companies, as well as individuals, are reducing their use and reliance on paper, as deforestation has become a huge environmental challenge. Every day, a huge number of trees are cut down to make the paper that we use for reports, bills, receipts, and so on. However, technology has allowed us to reduce our reliance on paper by digitizing our everyday lives. For instance, many businesses have moved their operations to the cloud, which drastically reduces paper usage. Top graphic designing companies help businesses create valuable digital content too.

· Adoption of a smarter lifestyle

An important key to tackling environmental challenges is changing our lifestyle. For years, we have been accustomed to living as if our lifestyle won’t fail us, but in recent years, we have come to learn that the way we live is harmful to the very earth we live in. This means that we need to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, and technology enables us to do exactly that.

For instance, technology has given us electric cars that do not have harmful emissions and smart homes with advanced sensors that help us to save energy. On top of this, the rise of the sharing economy through apps developed by the top UX design firms is also a huge lifestyle change.

· Monitoring the environment

Environmental monitoring is another way technology is helping us tackle environmental challenges. Government agencies rely on tech-driven tools to ensure that companies follow environmental regulations, while drones are used to prevent animal poaching. Besides these, air pollution, water pollution, and so on are also monitored and measured using tech-driven tools and equipment.

Self-Driving Cars: The Road to a Driverless Future

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

The idea of driverless cars that can run on roads without requiring humans to control them seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie just a few years ago. It sounded like a far-fetched dream.

However, as we have witnessed, the world of technology and machine learning are making long strides rapidly, which means that many of the things we thought unimaginable are now very close to becoming a reality.

According to the SAE International, there are five different levels of automation for vehicles, which are outlined below.

Level 1 automation (Driver Assistance)

While navigation is controlled by the driver, small steering and/or acceleration tasks are handled by the vehicle, such as lane centering and adaptive cruise control.

Level 2 automation (Partial Automation)

This is where the driver controls the core vehicle but can make use of driver-assistance features simultaneously.

Level 3 automation (Conditional Automation)

A driver is still required at the seat, but certain safety-critical functions can be used under certain traffic and other environmental conditions. Otherwise, the driver must always be ready to take control.

Level 4 automation (High Automation)

Here, the vehicle can drive itself and can perform all navigational functions without needing a driver. However, the quality of navigation may suffer in certain road conditions, or severe weather, or an unmapped area.

Level 5 automation (Full Automation)

Here, the vehicle is fully automated, regardless of external conditions.

Top automotive companies make their predictions

Today, the major automakers in the world are investing heavily in self-driving cars because they know the potential the technology has. Ford expects to have true self-driving cars by 2021, which means a Level 4 automation. According to Ford, the vehicle will not need a steering wheel or a gas pedal, and drivers will not be required as long as you are in a predefined area.

Another car company in the self-driving race is General Motors (GM). Back in 2016, GM acquired Cruise Automation for a whopping $581 million and has since been working on integrating the self-driving technology into their vehicles. As of 2019, the company is testing its driverless cars in select cities such as California, Michigan, and Arizona.

Honda, too, is making news with its ambitious goal of having self-driving cars on the highway by 2020.

An important part of self-driving cars is the user interface, which means that the best UI UX design services are employed heavily by automakers.

Inside Google’s Recently Launched Products

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

When it comes to innovation, Google is a pioneer. It is a brand that is associated with advanced technology and smart engineering so much so that we have come to rely on Google products and solutions for many of our daily tasks.

The company releases a wide range of ground-breaking products regularly, and with each product, it seems like they take tech innovation to a new level. Let’s take a look at its most recent releases below:

Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 4 is a smartphone unrivaled in its performance. Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and with a 6 GB memory, the phone is known not just for its fast and powerful performance but also for its high-quality camera.

The Google Pixel 4 XL is larger than the Pixel 4, dons a larger 90 Hz screen, and a better battery as well. Exciting features such as fast and secure facial ID and motion sensor control increase its appeal.

Google Home mini

This smart speaker from Google is a market hit ever since it was released, and it’s no surprise. It is highly functional and versatile, as well as extremely affordable. It works as a voice-controlled speaker, as well as a smart personal assistant that can help you create calendar appointments, a shopping list, and more.

Chromecast ultra

The Chromecast Ultra is a video streaming device that you can use. It allows you to stream various video content from your mobile device to your 4K TV, including Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video.

Google nest hub

The Google nest hub, previously known as Google home hub, is a smart-screen that allows you to control all your compatible smart devices on just one single display, or using voice control. It acts as both a smart speaker and a smart display and has the Google Assistant built-in.

Pixel Buds

These are wireless, Bluetooth earbuds from Google that has a built-in Google Assistant. This means that apart from providing clear and immersive sound, the earbuds support web search and even real-time language translation.

Pixelbook 4

Google Pixelbook 4 can be a laptop or a tablet, or you can choose the tent and entertainment modes. This versatile device runs on a 7th Gen Intel ® Core ™ processor and has 512 GB of storage, making it ideal for both work and entertainment.

Stadia

Stadia is a soon-to-be-released cloud gaming service from Google. Set to be released on November 19, 2019, in select countries, it is integrated with YouTube. This enables a state share feature, which allows viewers of a stream to launch a game on the service on the same save state as that of the streamer.

Nest WiFi

This WiFi system from Google is like an upgraded version of your typical router, allowing every device in your house to enjoy a fast signal. In other words, range and coverage are extended and signal strength is made consistent.

Technology in Everyday Life

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

The Land of Techno-mo sapiens

  1. There is a lot of salagonitiation these days.
  2. Jake got a job in Tajikistan that pays him 5600 Somoni every month.
  3. Doesn’t this song on the radio sound like the one we sang at Thanksgiving last year?

Go ahead. Type ‘meaning salagonitiation’ in your Google search box. Convert 5600 Somoni to your currency. Check who the music director is for both songs.

It is often said that technology doesn’t change people’s basic needs or their natures. But if you monitor your everyday routine and notice carefully, you’ll realize that it has become indispensable. It does not change what you want but it does change how fast you can get it and with how much ease.

We have talked about Docker, Cloudinary and the stories of famous tech entrepreneurs but let’s scale it down this time. Let’s delve into our quotidian routines — from waking up in the morning to finally catching some Z’s in the night. How do we use technology in our day-to-day life? How deeply entrenched is it in our system? Are we controlling or being controlled by it?

Business and Communication

Gone are the days when your boss had to be in the same room as the rest of her team to discuss monthly sales targets or when you had to put your fax number below your phone number on your website. You needn’t coax customers into filling feedback forms and you needn’t sigh over the fact that you haven’t spoken to that professor from college for years. You don’t even have to tell your employee to keep mailing you the revised version of his work after every few days for you can keep a check at it in real-time — thanks to the Google Drive service! Money transactions have also become much easier via apps like Paytm and so has scanning of documents using GeniusScan or CamScanner.

It is all just a click (or multiple clicks) away. With technologies that allow us to connect to people via multiple social network platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, video conferencing, electronic mail, WhatsApp and much more, communication have become unrestrained and unbounded.

“Sharing is good, and with digital technology, sharing is easy.” — Richard Stallman

Education

Remember when your Aunt bought you the entire volume set of Britannica encyclopedias for your 10th birthday or when you used to carry a pocket dictionary in your bag? That doesn’t happen anymore. Students do not have to make flashcards anymore to learn vocabulary and universities have apps to keep a track of students’ attendance. Dropbox allows file sharing while the TED app provides motivational lectures. Examinations are shifting towards online mode from offline mode and YouTube has replaced a lot of teachers. With mobile apps and websites that allow you to access full libraries and venture into the vast realm of education, the world had transformed into a place where the only thirst for knowledge, not opportunities, determine ‘how much you know.’

Transportation

More and more ride-hailing companies like Uber and Ola are sprouting up with every passing day. Within minutes, app users can get a ride to a place that is 4kms away or 40kms away. Even metro users of different cities can know the fastest route and the respective fares by using apps like Next Stop Paris or Delhi-NCR Metro. However, a major facelift to the domain of transportation has been provided by web mapping services that process data from a geographic information system database. How long will it take me to get there? Should I take the bus or drive? Is there any traffic in the next street? Answers to all these questions and much more are provided by apps such as Apple Maps and Google Maps.

Entertainment

For a common man, advancements in technology have been the most detectable in this sphere. From buying movie tickets on Fandango or BookMyShow to buying apparel, books and much more on Amazon, everything is near at hand. Zomato, another game changer for gastronomes and epicures, gives information ranging from average cost for two to the menu for that particular restaurant. Operating in over 20 countries including India, United States, Singapore and Italy, it has become extremely popular over the years, especially among youngsters. Let’s say that you go watch a movie and then have lunch at a boutique café that plays jazz music. There is one particular song that you find extremely melodious and want to know what it’s called. Just Shazam it! Music, movies, food and more — technology has revamped all of it.

Woven into the fabric of daily life, it has definitely carved a niche for itself. One of the hottest topics of discussion, technology is no more a facility or luxury; it’s an arrant lifestyle.

My team and I are avid seekers of technology. We would be delighted to know what you’ve been doing to contribute to this evolving madness. Feel free to strike a conversation with us.

Voice Technology — The Next Big Thing

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Voice technology is a fast-growing concept that has become a daily part of our lives. At home, we have our smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo, both of which make use of their respective company-developed voice technology.

We are all aware of Alexa and Siri — the two most common virtual assistants powered by voice technology. Even on our Android smartphones, we have Google Assistant. All this shows just how heavily incorporated voice technology has become in our daily lives in such a short period of time.

In fact, according to Econsultancy, as much as 40 percent of all internet searches will be activated using voice search by 2020. As more and more people use this technology, the demand rises, which means that technology providers will have to increase their investments in voice technology.

Voice technology for business

It’s not just consumers who can make use of the power of voice technology; even businesses can harness their benefits. Although voice technology is definitely more popular among consumers than businesses as of now, it is likely that this trend will change.

While just 31 percent of businesses use voice technology at work compared to 46 percent of adults in the US, it is predicted that the first number will see an increase in the next few years. This is because major tech providers are already rolling out voice technology aimed at businesses, including:

· Alexa for Business

Amazon is working on developing Alexa for Business, where the technology will store all-important business information related to user accounts, devices, skills, and so on, thereby enabling the virtual assistant to increase efficiency in the workplace. There is no doubt that this tool will be of great use in meetings.

· Watson Assistant

With this white label tool from IBM, businesses can build conversational interfaces into any device, application, or channel. The best part is that you don’t have to be a professional technician to be able to use this. AI-powered assistants that use voice technology can be built by non-technical users too.

Voice technology is a melting pot for three different technologies, which are IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and UX, which allows users to make hands-free use of technology. Top UX design firms play an important role in the development of the best voice technologies today.

As more people understand its advantages, it is being quickly adopted by many sectors, including marketing, automotive, fin-tech, healthcare, and more.

Beginner’s Guide to Blockchain Development

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

It is a human tendency to want to be where others are. We set trends. We follow them. We revere them. There exists a sense of hope under a veneer of reality that makes us what to pursue an opportunity. Will it be the big break I need in life or will it devolve into a sharp vicissitude of fortune? Should I delve into this right now or give it more time and see how things pan out?

But for those of you who are willing to take the leap, now would be a great time to explore the sought-after blockchain technology for it has immense untapped potential and a vast array of applications that put the word ‘multifaceted’ to shame.

The Dot-Com Bubble, the US Housing Bubble, The Dutch Tulip Bubble — we all know how they surfaced and made their way into the economy, lifestyle and everything else. But unlike these transient fetishes, it seems like blockchain programming is here to stay. So, how exactly do you become a blockchain engineer? Can it really morph into a successful career?

You could look up an expert on LinkedIn and bombard him or her with a deluge of questions like these. You could buy the first edition of ‘Blockchain For Dummies’ by Tiana Laurence. You could also try your hand at different discussion forums OR you could just read ahead.

1. Understand the basic principles

  • Have a checklist of all the different concepts related to blockchain such as mining, decentralized applications, public ledger, cryptocurrency, consensus blocks, etc. — This will help you translate geekspeak to English and truly understand what this technology is all about.
  • Know the difference between the three types of blockchain networks — public, private, and consortium blockchains.
  • Learn from authentic sources and accounts of those already in the field rather than relatively imprecise sources — For example, Ledger, the first peer-reviewed peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes articles on the subjects of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, would be a great source.

2. Learn how the process works

  • Play around with cryptocurrency to be able to understand the intrinsic technicalities of the system.
  • Explore different platforms like Bittrex, Coinbase, LocalBitcoins, Kraken, etc. to weigh their pros and cons.
  • See how exchanges, wallets work and basically how the entire framework is structured.
  • Check out relevant MOOCs on Coursera, Stanford platform, Udemy, EdX, etc.

3. The technical know-how

  • Programming in C++, Python and Java to acclimatize to the ecosystem of Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.
  • Web development to deal will the front-end aspect of blockchain development
  • Proficiency in data structures like stacks, queues, linked lists, etc.
  • Basic knowledge of cryptography
  • Understanding of the concept of distributed ledger technology

4. Draw a distinction between important blockchain platforms like Ethereum, Blockstack, Hyperledger, MultiChain, etc.

  • What are their different features?
  • Which ones are open source and which ones are not?
  • How stable is the community base?
  • What advantages do they have over each other?
  • How rapid is the deployment?
  • What do they primarily cater to? — Smart contracts? B2B cooperation? Initial coin offerings?

5. Lay emphasis on Smart Contracts

  • Read about how smart contracts act as a medium between the buyer and the seller.
  • Know why it is said that these contracts can take the place of lawyers in real life.
  • Understand why Ethereum is used as the platform to encode smart contracts.
  • Know the different features of a smart contract — deterministic, terminable, isolated.
  • Learn about Solidity, a contract-oriented programming language for writing smart contracts and how it compares to JavaScript.
  • Differentiate between different development platforms Solidity is available on like Remix, Microsoft Visual Studio, Consys Enterprise, etc.

6. Hustle, Hustle!

  • Start working on blockchain development and get feedback from other developers to improve your skills.
  • Work on different blockchain-related open source projects.
  • Figure out how this technology can be applied to a wide array of fields such as banking, healthcare, etc.

7. Know how to make money as blockchain developer

  • Which sector or what kind of firm (private sector, government, big tech, etc.) should you work in? What would suit your area of expertise and working methodology?
  • Be well-versed with the nitty-gritties of currency speculation as it can be quite lucrative.
  • Build your own startup or work on remunerative open source projects.
  • You can also build a career as a decentralized blockchain application developer.

8. Know what’s going on!

  • Network with as many professionals, firms and blockchain experts.
  • Keep tabs on what developments are happening in this field.
  • Go through online discussion forums and pages that center around blockchain technology.

All you have to do now is follow these 8 simple steps to tread on the path to becoming a successful blockchain developer! Hope this helped you. For any further queries, reach out to us.

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