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Author - Danielle Scott

Technology and its Impact on Banking

banking technology

When was the last time you actually physically walked into your local retail bank? Days, weeks or in some cases months ago? So why is it that one of the biggest business sectors in the world is slowly becoming obsolete? One word: technology.  Yes, we all know that since its inception technology has made a huge impact on every area of our lives. In fact, it is the evolutionary trend that is continuously changing the way businesses operate. We are now equipped with alarms that can detect poisonous substances in our air, medical equipment that can identify life-threatening conditions, and the ability to monitor our homes via smartphones. As with other sectors, the financial world is currently undergoing technological advancements in a big way. Historically, the scope of banking was merely comprised of money storage and lending funds. As with everything, technology is revolutionizing the industry. Its evolution is something that we all benefit from today and it is only projected to rise. Financial Technology (FinTech) is becoming commonplace in the sector that incorporates technology in efforts of improving financial services activities.

banking technology

Below are some of the major ways that technology improves banking services:

Customer Service

The days of “Hello Sir/Ma’am welcome to….” are far behind us.  It has since been replaced with asking your smartphone to tell you your daily balance or waiting for your daily balance notification. In the past, a good customer service team was vital for any company involved in finance. Anything that involved the handling of money or financial matters required humanization and a trained staff to be able to help sort out problems and provide assistance. That notion has since been replaced with telebanking and chatbots.

Most ATM’s have been upgraded with an enhanced tele-assit feature. With the push of a button, customers can receive assistance from a banker via video conferencing. Now, I am not saying that these changes are automatically replacing personal meetings with virtual ones. There are still some functionalities that can only be done through human interaction inside of the branch like notarization, opening an account, changing personal information and loan applications.  For things as simple as cashing a check, making a deposit or transferring money, utilizing Artificial Intelligence is a great time saver.

Online Banking

Through gadgets and apps, access to funds and reports is easier than ever before. Online banking has allowed individuals the ability to perform basic functions that at one time were only available in a branch. People would go into their local branches to withdraw money, transfer funds, receive statements and sort out other financial questions. Oftentimes this would require someone using their lunch break to go to the bank, or even take time off from work.

The sophistication of online banking is evolving daily. One feature that is taking the world by storm is the ability to access the ATM through the banking app on your smartphone. Let me clarify, instead of digging for your card at the ATM, customers can now log in to their mobile apps and receive a temporary code to use at the ATM instead. The code serves as the means of identification. This process increases safety by reducing debit card theft at the ATM.

Financial exchanges like Zelle allows users to switch between banks and transfer money between individuals with the click of a button. We live in an age where we can access our bank accounts on phones, computers, and tablets. More recently, we have been able to open a digital bank account with online-only institutions.  This is the kind of thing that is disrupting the banking sector and is one of the bigger impacts on the industry and consumers.

Mobile Payment Application

Mobile payment applications such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet allows users to store their credit or debit card information for later use. This affords them the opportunity use their mobile device to pay for items rather than having to fumble through their purses or wallets to find their cards. At the point of sale, the individual chooses the card to pay with from the app menu and then touches the mobile device to the in-store reader.

Fraud Detection

Fraud identification and prevention is a matter that should be handled by both human and technology equally. The technological system provides advanced detection of suspicious activity and helps track potentially fraudulent transactions. Trained staff then looks through the information and confirms the activity. All in all, it takes a team effort to keep account and cardholders safe.

Of course, we’ve only scratched the surface of how technology is redefining banking. For consumers, these changes provide both speedy and more direct access to information and funds. Although technology provides efficiency, it remains the consumer’s (and the banking institution’s) responsibility to manage and protect account activity.

 

The Truth Behind Virtual, Augmented & Mixed Reality

Virtual, Augmented & Mixed Reality

The distinctions between the real world and virtual reality continue to blur. We have come a long way from the days of View-Masters, thin cardboard discs that contained stereoscopic 3D photographs. Advancement in virtual technology provides users with a breathtaking experience without leaving the room. This is something that was once only a figment of the imagination. Just a short time ago, it was unclear whether augmented or mixed reality would take off. Its fate is becoming more clear. Innovative tech giants like Facebook, Google, Samsung and Apple are investing billions in virtual and augmented reality hardware with an expected high yield of return. This speaks volumes about its future. Let’s take a look at the nuances between VR, AR, and MR that plague our news feeds more often than not.  

Predictions
Virtual Reality (VR)  has been the talk of the tech space for years — A headset that can take you from your living room to an all-encompassing world of sound and sight in seconds. Remember the roller coaster ride in the arcade that gave the look and feels of being on a roller coaster without you ever leaving the ground? Fast forward to the present day, VR’s advancements now generate more stimulating, realistic sounds, images, and sensations that will make you forget that you’re fully immersed in an artificial space.

Unlike its predecessor, Augmented Reality (AR) simply adds artificial digital items to your real-world environment. These virtual items enhance the things we see, hear and feel. In short, these items are nothing more than overlaid blocks of information and texts. These blocks can sometimes appear as cartoon-like images and games.  Some examples of AR include social media filters and virtual surgical procedures; think Pokemon Go. When compared to other reality technologies, augmented reality sits at the center of the real and virtual worlds.

 

The most complex of them all is Mixed Reality (MR), also called Hybrid Reality. In MR, both the virtual and real world are merged to produce a new environment equipped with visualizations of both physical and digital objects that interact in real-time. This technological phenomenon is made possible through advancements in computer vision, graphical processing power, display technology, and input systems. In an MR users are fully immersed in the virtual environment while the real world is blocked out. Although it sounds a lot like VR, the digital objects don’t overlap real ones, whereas in VR everything is virtual.  Mixed reality is the next evolution in human, computer, and environment interaction and unlocks possibilities that before now were restricted to our imaginations.

 

So, how does it all work? Remember Mattel’s popular View-Master, the headset that was introduced to the market in the 1960’s and provided a colorful experience with the press of a lever? VR works the same way, but in a more modern fashion.  It requires a set of lenses inside a viewport on a headset along with a mounted device where the experience is stored or computed. Through pure observation and full immersion into an artificial environment, viewers can do anything or visit anywhere without leaving the room.

 

AR can be experienced with only a camera-equipped smartphone and an AR App.  Two key elements that make it work are the camera’s capacity to capture the environment and the software’s ability to calculate and project computer-generated visuals or content. Users can easily shop for things like furniture while getting a glimpse on how the product would look in any room or space. Designers and architects alike would greatly benefit from the use of AR technology. Instead of just shopping online through pictures, customers have the ability to bring life-like objects into real-life contexts.

 

In an MR world, instead of depending solely on headsets or phone screens, users interact with immersive content utilizing their natural body and finger gestures. Although Apple and Google are trailblazers in AR technology, Microsoft has taken the lead when it comes to bringing MR to life. Microsoft’s “Hololens” is a game that uses holographic computing, enabling users to engage with digital content with holograms hybridized in the real world.

 

MR’s difficult distinction among its counterparts make its future undefined. However, AR has shown an increase in its adoption especially with the recent hit game, Pokemon GO. VR has been around the longest and isn’t showing any indications of slowing down. In efforts to democratize these technologies, companies are continuously sharing their design and development frameworks with the world. Today, all it takes to get into the experience is a smartphone with an up-to-date operating system, decent camera, and an app— or glasses.

 

How Technology Has Changed Healthcare

Technology Has Changed Healthcare

Technology is the ever-changing fixture in our everyday lives. It has changed the way that we communicate, exchange information, listen to music, play games, and even secure our homes. So it’s no surprise that it has reached the healthcare industry. Technological developments and improvements over the past few years have paved the way for incredible changes in this area. Cited as “Healthcare Technology”, it is lengthening life expectancies, reducing wait times and improving overall satisfaction.

health-Care

Data consumption: In healthcare, patient information is everything. No longer are the days of file folders outlining the office check-in desk.  Thanks to technology, electronic databases are now consolidating huge amounts of information. This, in turn, greatly improves efficiency. Physicians and nurses can easily pull up a patient’s medical history, lab test results, records of vital signs and prescription orders. In addition, they can store new information in the database for use on a later date.

Social Networking: We all know that doctors are busy individuals with limited free time. New developments in Healthcare Technology are bridging the gap to improve the link between patients and doctors.  The fairly new social networking platform, Doximity, allows clinicians to communicate with a patient’s whole care team safely and quickly. Currently, 70 percent of U.S. physicians are using the site. Another technology, Omnifluent Health, is a translation software that instantly converts a doctor’s spoken words into another language.

Mobile Technology: Through mobile applications, web applications, and other devices, patients have better access to their own health information. Smartphones and tablets allow doctors to access online medical databases as well as thousands of pages of medical text while on the go. Test results, lab work, and prescriptions are delivered in a flash. You can even schedule follow-up appointments without having to call the office. Physicians can also consult colleagues from all over the globe via text, emails, conference facilities and videos, which is especially useful in underdeveloped and rural areas.

Remote Monitoring: What better way to spend your day than to sit in the doctor’s office (kidding) Well consider that a thing of the past.  One of the most useful and practical innovations Healthcare Technology is remote monitoring. Home monitoring systems can be used by patients in the comfort of their home to reduce the time and costs associated with recurring visits to the doctor. Using a small device designed to measure a particular health issue, remote centers can analyze a patient’s data and alert them if something is wrong. Remote monitoring devices are particularly useful for patients who have a pacemaker. 

Fewer Medical Errors:

Sadly, thousands of individuals die each year due to prescription medication errors. Fortunately, through Healthcare Technology, individuals, especially seniors who may require more medications than the average person, are able to wear special medical bracelets. These bracelets are equipped with an individual barcode to help hospitals track doses of medications. This will ultimately reduce prescription errors. The internet is also a helpful tool because today there are numerous websites available that provide drug information without the use of the prescribed medicine bottle.

The constant technological advancement in healthcare is rapidly changing the way providers do business. There is great value in anything that can simplify a process or solve a problem. The healthcare sector is an industry that will always be around and like every other sector, it has its ups and downs. The implementation of technology is turning most of those negatives into positives and with ease, therefore aiding in the brightening of a better tomorrow.

 

Predictions Of The Future Rarely Go As Planned

Predictions

Twentieth-century historians predicted that in the year 2000 flying cars, spaceships and robots would be the new normal.  Although they did not hit the nail on the head quite right, we are experiencing an advancement in technology like never before. Early ideologies about the internet were sharpened as the decade descended.  We saw nuclear technology and plastics change and advance our lives, but differently than expected. Instead, we live in a world dominated by streaming, smart devices, and social networks.

 

While forecasters were off, timing-wise they did get one thing right, technology has become a part of our everyday norm.  Smart technology is simplifying the way that we communicate, run businesses, classrooms, and our homes. These innovations have and will continue to make our lives easier, faster, and overall more enjoyable.  Yet, today, researchers have determined that we are at the brink of another boom. This time, it’s self-driving vehicles and robot assistants (queue “The Jetsons” theme song), both of which are currently under development.

Predictions

Now, let’s analyze some exciting technologies that can potentially change the world:

Voice Assistance

The easiest way to search for something on your iPhone is to simply say “Hey Siri”. For Android or Windows users, there is “Okay Google” or Cortana. Whatever you call her (or him depending on your settings), you are contacting a voice assistant. Like a human assistant, voice assistants are here to help. Whether it’s finding directions, playing a song or opening an app, voice assistants are here to make life simpler.  Outside of smartphones, household devices like the Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod (both of which are equipped with artificial intelligence) are expected to dominate households in no time.

Robotic Assistance  

Boston Dynamics and other similar companies are elevating the way factories do business. They have developed a wide range of robot assistants for factory use. Knightscope is another company working on a line of robot assistants for the security sector. Its K5 robot has four cameras, equipped with the ability to recognize 300 licenses plates per minute, per camera. In addition, it can also detect suspicious online networks that may be operated by hackers.

Self-Driving Vehicles

While fully autonomous cars have yet to hit the market, several automakers like Tesla, General Motors and Volvo are rolling out semi-autonomous vehicles. Although these vehicles cannot fully act independently, it does rapidly heighten the anticipation of experiencing a self-driving system.  General Motors announced by 2019 consumers can expect the launch of a car that has no steering wheel or pedals. In addition, Uber has teamed up with NASA to develop an air traffic control system for the push of their pilotless flying vehicles. No longer just a thought, Uber is working with aircraft manufacturers to develop prototypes with the intention of launching a beta program in 2020.

Regenerative Medicine

Although it may sound like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, doctors are already producing made-to-order replacement body parts using scaffolds and the patient’s cells. These cells are then incubated in a petri dish. Once the cells are strong enough, replacement body parts are built and implanted inside the patient. A company by the name of Organovo has developed a printer capable of 3D printing body parts.  With rapid advancement, in time, this new technology will become increasingly in demand for it provides patients with lifesaving organ replacements.

Over the years, technology has revolutionized the way that we live.  Technology is increasingly offering amazing tools and resources that save time, energy, and lives. And this list only scratches the surface

 

How to use Hootsuite effectively to scale your business

hootsuite for business

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management system that allows users to work more efficiently by managing all of their social media channels through one interface. Users can assign tasks to other team members and set reminders for posts. Team members can also take advantage of cutting-edge social media expert training through Hootsuite Academy. These features and more make this platform one of the most comprehensive social media management tools available.

Aside from the obvious, the Hootsuite platform enables users to monitor what people are saying about their brand online.  The homepage consists of streaming channels of individual networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress Blogs and Google+. Users have the ability to post updates or reply directly. Let’s face it, the world of social media is expanding. Individuals are more likely to have multiple profiles, so services like Hootsuite are a huge time saver for marketing professionals and other individuals who dread logging into multiple platforms.

Launched in 2008 by Invoke Media, Hootsuite was designed for individuals like you and me who enjoy being social while sharing media. Over 20% of the world’s top brands utilize Hootsuite to manage their social media platforms. It is also reported that as of today more people are following and engaging with businesses online than celebrities. Instagram alone reported that 80% of its users follow at least one business.

hootsuite for business

Other reasons why Hootsuite is at the top of its class include:

Convenience

Who else loves a one-stop shop? Only those who have better things to do than wander across multiple social media platforms. With Hootsuite, you can still spy on the competition and engage with your audience while managing your profiles. You can house up to 35 profiles under one user. This functionality is wonderful for those who like to post to multiple channels at the same time.

Cross-Platform Capabilities

Just like multiple profiles, we all have multiple devices. Hootsuite can be used as a web app, easily accessible through macOS, Windows, and Linux. In addition, it hosts over 150 free, paid and premium apps that are sure to amplify user experience.

Reports

What is the use of a campaign if you cannot track your ROI (return on investment). Each week, Hootsuite sends out an analytical report of your marketing campaigns via email.  The PDF attachment gives users insight on the number of times someone clicks on your link, geographical information of visitors, likers, and followers and a snapshot of your most popular post links.

Unfortunately, the report will only work if you consistently utilize Hootsuite to manage your networks. This is because it only tracks via its very own ow.ly URL shortener. So if you utilize other apps such as the platform’s direct website or other social media management platforms the data will not register.

In conclusion, time is money and Hootsuite is helping brands and individuals alike save on a daily basis. Hootsuite is one of the only social media management platforms that supports an abundance of networks and applications. This allows marketing teams to reach the masses in a flash. A quick update to multiple platforms has the ability to drive any new promotion, campaign or update.  The scheduling features are a sure asset to any organization. No more digging for content, instead, information is readily accessible and easily distributed in seconds.

 

 

Why every business needs a strong social media presence?

social media for business

The Importance of Social Media

Social Media is one of the most powerful technological tools available today. Over 70 percent of Americans utilize social media on a daily basis. Maintaining an active presence on the right social networks is a necessity for any brand that wants to become an industry leader.

Social media has fundamentally changed the way businesses interact with customers, offer products and services, communicate with employees, and overall do business. Not only is it affordable, but a great way to connect with a large range of targeted people instantly.

Anyone can utilize their email and create a social media profile. There is a difference between utilizing social media and actually having a strong presence. For business owners, the latter makes all the difference. Unlike its early years, today’s social media is a lot more than just sending messages and posting pictures. Features like transitory content specialized by SnapChat and the live feature by Facebook and Instagram are helping brands to connect with their customers more effectively.

 It is reported that marketing budgets spent by brands on social media are slated to more than double (from 11% to 24%) in the next five years. Statistica reports 95% of teens and young adults to follow their favorite brands via social media. The actual count of social media users at the end of the year is predicted to hit 2.5 billion. So what does this mean for you? Increased brand recognition, prestige, and revenue growth.

social media for business

 Other reasons why every business needs a strong social media presence include:

 Search Engine Optimization

 What business wouldn’t benefit from increased traffic to their websites? Having your business on the first page of Google is imperative. After all, your number one goal is for clients to find you.  Social media helps to achieve this goal organically.

 Competitive Advantage

 One way brands gain leverage over competitors or even keep an eye on them is through social media. Failing to invest in social media marketing can deprive you of its benefits. Ultimately, this will give your competitor the advantage of investing their time and money into building a positive online social presence to gain business.

 Sales Leads

 Social media is a top source for generating leads. Platforms such as Pinterest and YouTube allow viewers to directly purchase from the application. This functionality elevates purchasing power and drives sales.  Instagram recently launched a new Call To Action function that enables consumers to shop directly from the page source.

 Business Marketing

 Yes, driving sales is a huge component of social media. Each platform has built-in programming that helps heighten business-to-consumer relationships. Sponsored Posts on Facebook and Twitter Marketing Campaigns are two of the most popular ways businesses elevate their presence, although most platforms have some form of unique marketing channel. You don’t necessarily have to have an established social media presence to reap the benefits of these channels. In fact, brands link their existing marketing campaigns with their social profiles to increase Likes and followers.

 In conclusion, the possibilities associated with social media are endless. It can open doors of success when utilized correctly. Yes, organic social media growth takes time, effort and strategy, but once is it done (correctly) the benefits are unmatched. Though there are many, every platform is not beneficial for every business. So choose the right channel and strategy for your specific brand and industry. It takes the right combination of informative, promotional and humanizing posts to generate the desired results.

 

 

What is the difference between human intelligence and artificial intelligence?

AI vs. Humans in Business

AI vs. Humans in Business

Some of the most popular movies in recent history (iRobot, Ex Machina, and Chappie, to name just a few) dealt with both the positive and negative aspects of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  If you’re not familiar, Artificial Intelligence or Machine Intelligence is a robotic system that can take on the same traits, abilities, and tendencies as humans such as visual perception, speech recognition, and decision-making. When it comes to business, organizational leaders alike are always racing to achieve the next competitive advantage. What better way to achieve dominance than to utilize robotic intelligence? While technology is imperative, capitalizing off of it at the expense of actual human talent can become a pitfall for any organization. If you want to build a great business, you need craftsmanship and leadership, not just the latest, most expensive technology.

Behind every successful AI implementation lies a skilled team of people actually running the business. Humans and machines are fundamentally good at different things. People are intentional — we form plans, make decisions and respond to emotions. However, we’re not great at making sense of enormous amounts of data. That’s where AI comes in. AI excels at efficient data processing, but it struggles with making basic judgments that would be simple for any human.

With that in mind, here are a few reasons why you can’t replace human talent with AI:

AI vs. Humans in Business

Human Connection Will Always Beat Technology

Having the latest and greatest technology may seem proactive, but it is useless without a human working behind it. A machine can perform any task that it is programed to do (perhaps more efficiently than a human), but the one thing that we have that they don’t have is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand, relate and respond to the concerns of another individual.  It takes more than just technology to move your business, it takes a talented team to make the best use of the technology implemented. An AI system can only function at the trigger of logic. This trigger can only be done by human intelligence. Without it, an AI system is just a sitting piece of machinery.

Can You Afford it?

Yes, AI technology is great, but it is not widely available. If you were to get your hands on an AI system, effective implementation would be prohibitively expensive. It is predicted that the U.S. alone could face a 50–60% gap between supply and demand for deep analytic talent. This is a key necessity for anyone looking to implement an AI system in their business. Businesses are discovering that just implementing new hardware alone isn’t sufficient. Major technology players like Samsung are setting up AI hubs in locations like Cambridge. Google’s AI hub is in London’s Golden Triangle. Both of which are in hopes that they get their hands on top AI talent before their respected competitors.

Finding the Right AI

The most important decision is making sure you find the right AI talent for your business. For some, finding the right AI is equivalent to mission impossible.  Let’s face it, every company isn’t into building internal analytics teams or doesn’t offer the career paths needed to attract the caliber of talent needed behind the system. But don’t be dismayed, business owners can always look to partner with people who have expertise in data science. This will counteract the risk of being left behind. Instead, make sure that your partner has a clear understanding of your business and technological needs.

Undoubtedly, AI is the new wave of the future. Its advancements can significantly impact the way businesses operate– solely based on their ability to perform human functions.  However, the distinct replication of the human brain – thinking, perceiving, analyzing, understanding, and responding spontaneously, is very far-fetched, especially in business. People still, and will, always enjoy human to human contact, conversation, and emotions. That is something that an AI cannot provide. Yet.

 

Bitcoin vs Blockchain : Difference between blockchain and bitcoin

Bitcoin vs Blockchain

Bitcoin vs Blockchain

We’ve all heard the hype around the financial industry’s newest phenomenon, Bitcoin. But how does it work? How does it differ from Blockchain? Let’s start with the basics; cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange that uses encryption techniques to verify the transfer of funds and control units. While there are now more than 200 cryptocurrencies available, Bitcoin is the most popular.  Other available cryptocurrencies include Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, and Zcash.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are digital tokens that allow users to send money and purchase anything online worldwide. Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin in 2008 as a  response to the global financial crisis and the collapse of many banking institutions. It was designed to simplify online money movement by bypassing government currency controls and eliminating third-party processing intermediaries. Blockchain is the technology that enables cryptocurrency’s existence.

 Bitcoin vs Blockchain

Bitcoin is a digital currency, and you can use the digital currency to send money and purchase goods online.  There’s a large network of computers working 24/7 verifying the legitimacy of each transaction. This action eliminates the need for banks or government officials to play middleman. These computers also keep track of Bitcoin balances which is published online as a shared public ledger. The ledger allows anyone to check transaction completion, both incoming and outgoing. Every 10 minutes the ledger is updated with a ‘block’ of recent transactions from all Bitcoin users. Once added and verified by all computers, it cannot be changed or deleted. This ledger is also known as the blockchain.  Since Bitcoin only exists digitally, if a user wants to turn their Bitcoins into hard cash they would have to go through a cryptocurrency exchange. There they can also trade Bitcoins for other forms of cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain is the underlying technology behind Bitcoin. It is an append-only transaction ledger comprised of Bitcoin transaction records. Each ledger can only receive new information. The previous information is stored in blocks and cannot be edited or adjusted.   Due to the fact that the database is distributed across a peer-to-peer network without a central authority, anyone adding to the blockchain must compete to solve a mathematical proof called mining. The results are shared with each computer on the network. Everyone connected must agree to the validity of the transaction before data is added to the ledger. This agreement is called consensus.

Why do we need Bitcoin if we have a blockchain?  

The blockchain is only secured by the computer in the network that updates the records. So, if someone controls more than half of the computers on the network they can stop all user transactions from processing, making the blockchain useless.  Since the network is enormous and decentralized, the health and security of the ledger remains intact. The usefulness of blockchain technology far supersedes the financial world. It can be used to build systems for fraud prevention, e-voting, trade settling, international payments, fulfilling contractual obligations, and much more.

Through the ever-evolving world of technology, users have become accustomed to microwave solutions and newfound ways to protect their privacy. Even though blockchains are public, each party involved in a Bitcoin transaction remains private through encryption. This leaves a bright future ahead for both Bitcoin and blockchain technology. Many well-known companies have even started to take notice including Overstock, Microsoft, and Expedia. They are allowing customers to make purchases using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. With this much interest and one bitcoin being valued at over $7k, it’s no wonder why Bitcoin is the talk of this generation.

How internet of things will affect your business ?

internet of things ( iot )

what is IoT technology?

Internet of Things, or IoT, indicates physical devices around the world that connect to the internet.  These billions of devices both collect and share data. Since its inception in the late 1980’s data processes have become a part of our daily norm. The price of these processors, along with wireless networks, are fairly low. That’s why it is now possible to turn just about anything into an IoT device. With the rapid level of growth digital intelligence is experiencing it’s no surprise the influx created devices that are able to communicate without human involvement.

 Just about any physical object can be converted into an IoT device, as long as it can be connected to the internet. A light bulb, television, alarm system, and motion sensor baby monitor, can all be monitored and controlled using a smartphone app—This is called an IoT device. The list doesn’t stop there, who would have thought in a million years about operating a children’s toy from a smartphone, robotic companionship or a self-operating vehicle? The biggest scale of them all, smart cities. These are regions filled with sensors. The sensors will help city officials understand and control the environment.

 Not to be confused, the term IoT simply means a device communicating without human action — the device in question generally wouldn’t have an internet connection. For this reason, PC’s, MAC’s and other computing devices wouldn’t be considered an IoT device, neither would a smartphone. However, a smartwatch or fitness band may fit the bill. The million-dollar question at hand, how big is the world of IoT —huge. Statistics show that the world has more connected devices than humans. It’s calculated that around 8.4 billion IoT devices were in use in 2017 (that’s a 31% increase from the previous year) and will most likely reach upward of 20.4 billion by 2020. Total economic spending on IoT endpoints and services reached an astounding $2 trillion in 2017 and that number is on the slate to rise. Out of 8.4 billion devices, more than half were products like Smart TVs and Smart Speakers. The most-used enterprise devices were smart electric meters and commercial security cameras.

internet of things ( iot )

 

What does IoT mean for businesses?

 

IoT has the ability to revolutionize the way we do business. Organizations now have access to more information about their products, services, and internal systems, in addition to increased ability to make changes if needed. Through the use of remote scanners and similar devices retail, warehousing and manufacturers now have the ability to efficiently track and manage inventory. Working efficiently permits time for other essential business tasks.

 

Other ways IoT impacts the business world:  

 

Revenue Increase

An advancement of business models and services can greatly open doors to new business opportunities. New business opportunities equate to increased revenues. IoT devices create new ways for customers to interact.  Tracking and recording consumer behaviors will allow companies to make recommendations and create other innovative ways to drive traffic. Utilizing data-based insights will enhance the effectiveness of advertising, isolate a target audience and stay on track with every phase of the buying cycle.  

 

Asset Utilization

The buying cycle has sped up a bit through the use of IoT devices. Customers now have new forms of research and purchasing options, as well as the ability to utilize words or phrases to find what they are looking for and demand a speedier delivery process.  Fortunately for business owners, using sensors and connectivity devices can ultimately enhance the tracking of assets (equipment, machinery, tools, computers). Real-time insights will help organizations locate issues and take preventive measures that will improve asset utilization.

 

Improved Efficiency & Productivity

Staying connected will maximize the organization’s ability to work smarter. It’s not rocket science, productivity plays a key role in the profitability of any business. Using real-time insight will reduce operational cost. The data collected from each IoT device will reduce maintenance downtime and business marketing. IoT offers much eLearning options for employees.  Logging training attendance sessions is as simple as utilizing an internet-enabled room, app or wearable device. These tools will improve labor efficiency while increasing organizational productivity.

 

Safety & Security

Security is key to any business. Having IoT integrated sensors and cameras will provide ultimate control. Not only will business owners have the ability to monitor almost anything, they can also view the findings at any time, from anywhere, so long as they have internet access, amplifying the ability to address issues promptly.

 

Save Money

Saving money is at the top of every business owners’ list. Making improvements in asset utilization, productivity and other efficiencies will do just that.

 

IoT is slated to change the way that we communicate, purchase and keep track of things as we know it. Even though IoT offers great value, the opposing factors should not be overlooked. Organizations may face challenges such as information management issues, lack of advanced technologies, security, and overall privacy concerns. For these reasons and more business owners should utilize a professional IoT service provider or technology company such as Confianz Global, located just 15 minutes from Charlotte, NC, and 3 hours from Raleigh, NC to overcome these challenges and increase their bottom line.   

 

what is blockchain technology ? How is it changing the world around us ?

what is blockchain technology

Blockchain technology

By now we are all familiar with the term cryptocurrency or Bitcoin–digital or virtual currency designed to work as a medium of exchange.  The blockchain is merely an append-only transaction ledger. Only new information can be written onto the leger. Previous information is stored in blocks and cannot be edited or adjusted.  Cryptography links the contents of the newly formed blocks with each block before it. Any changes to the contents of the previous blocks would invalidate the data in every block thereafter. In short, blockchain is the underlying technology that allows cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to exist. Don’t be confused, blockchain is not Bitcoin, it is just a way of keep track of things, and not just money.

Consensus-driven, blockchains reduce the ability for cybercriminals to digitally partake in crimes. For example, multiple computers are connected to a network. Everyone adding to the blockchain must compete to solve a mathematical proof. The results are shared with each computer on the network. Everyone connected must agree on the solution (hence the term consensus).

what is blockchain technology

 

Over the course of one year, Google reported an increase of 250% in search requests for the keyword “blockchain”. Even the United States Senate is making mention of the blockchain phenomenon, dubbing cryptocurrency as its most prominent application. How does this affect businesses outside of the financial sector? For starters, its groundbreaking work in data management and exchange is taking different business sectors by storm, including healthcare.

 

Let’s take a look at how blockchain can solve many issues that currently plague the industry. For starters, heightened security and privacy: doctors and providers would have the ability to create a common health information database accessible no matter what electronic medical systems they use. In turn, time reduction for administrative tasks such as clinical trials, patient medical records, complex billing and medical research. They would have the ability to spend more time on patient care and increased sharing ability for drug and other disease treatment therapies.

Due to its flexibility, security, and distributed nature, other industries have taken notice and joined the digital wave.

Here are some ways that businesses can utilize blockchain:

Supply chain

There are two points along the supply chain route—where the item starts and where ends up. The middle is always unknown. Blockchain makes the whole transaction crystal clear. What, where, and when an item was shipped, how much it cost, who had it next, and who received it, all stored in the chain. Organizations can now leverage everything about their orders from A to Z, even environmental conditions during shipping. Food safety is another area that can benefit from blockchain. Walmart announced they are currently testing blockchain technology to track food from farm to store. This will help track down any problems that may arise as well as increase visibility on shipping conditions.

 

Smart contracts

While not a new concept, self-executing contracts are considered more secure and accessible to businesses across the world through the use of blockchain.  For example, when a homeowner rents out their house for the weekend, there is no need to hire a middleman to complete the transaction. A smart contract is executed, renter places payment into the blockchain, owner issues an electronic keycode to unlock the door of the property. On the agreed date and time both the payment and keycode are released. The same security reigns true for other contracts such as insurance or rental contracts.

 

International payments

Exchanging currency across international waters can be costly, lengthy and challenging. The structured and distributed nature of blockchain simplified payments more than ever before. Companies like Bitwage and Etch are making it possible to send payments internationally. Recently, American Express announced the launch of a real-time B2B international payment system, backed by blockchain technology.

 

Lastly, Information is key. We now have the ability to track our purchases from start to finish. Companies are forced to become more transparent and accountable in terms of releasing information and data privacy is heightened. Blockchain technology is definitely something this world was missing.