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Attention Overload: What Makes Some Software Tools So Sticky [+Some Examples]

There are a glut of software tools, mobile applications, websites and learning portals.

The quality spectrum of these tools is as broad as the tools themselves and the industries they serve. It could be safe to say that the Pareto Principle applies to software applications as much as it does to business in general.

In fact, studies show that the average smartphone user only really uses about 30 apps per month. From my personal experience, even that statistic sounds high.

The overabundance can be overwhelming and cause more than attention overload, it can create counterproductivity that flies in the face of most apps’ intended creation (Facebook, Instagram & Tiktok excluded, of course).

The best and most sticky software products have a few things in common.

Features of the Most Prevalent (& Sticky) Software Tools

I chose this title carefully. There is a reason the most prevalent (& sticky) tools also include the best features (or is it the other way around?). Having great features (and perhaps the right marketing for ample market penetration) typically produces greater market acceptance, which helps provide the revenue to add more features–and the cycle repeats. Here are

  • First (or early) mover advantage. I’ve been told many times before that “first mover advantage” is a misnomer. It is often NOT the first mover that has the advantage, but the first mover combined with several other gritty features can be very helpful. If not the first mover, it certainly helps to be early. Do you think Microsoft Excel was the first spreadsheet. Hardly, but they were still early in computing (and they owned the platform for distribution). Were they the best at first? No, but they were good enough and they came included, which means it was hard for others to compete. Could you imagine trying to create your own “me too” spreadsheet company today with the likes of Google and Microsoft as your competitors. Early movers enjoy the advantage of market penetration and entrenchment, which is difficult to surmount even for a subsequently superior product.
  • Industry agnosticism. The best tools can be used across industries. Spreadsheets (can you tell I like them?) are used by churches and financiers alike. Every company has projects and therefore could possibly use project management software. Most larger organizations include a sales team and customer accounts that need to be tracked, charted and reported and hence need a CRM. The most prevalent software products are used across industries.
  • Pain points prevented! The best and most prevalent products prevent pain points (alliteration unintended). Does it save an organization ample money (not just in the cost of the product directly by in the product’s indirect association to productivity increases)? Today’s up-and-coming software products provide money saving related to disintermediating human intervention through automation. Massive productivity gains equate to large increases in revenue or decreases in overall cost structure. In most cases, such productivity gains help free up time for the higher-functioning tasks that make organizations flourish.
  • Developers unite! Yes, all the great platforms include a community where new ideas and opportunities are created to bring fresh ideas and better ways of doing things. Kanban operations are built on the idea that quality comes from continuous improvement. Nowhere is this more true than in the software market. Things are always in a state of flux and change. The best platforms are truly platforms where outside developers can create an actual community of contributors where existing models and methods are questioned and where new practices help to push a growing ship of ideas and code forward. Platforms are just one of the reasons why the future of software development is not customization in the true sense.

My Most Frequented Tools & Apps

What follows is likely atypical from most mobile and internet users. I deleted the Facebook, Instagram and a handful of other apps on my phone several years ago, so my most frequented apps may sound more like those of a boring, bean-counting accountant than most. However, I try to stick to applications, websites and tools that include features that add value and time-saving to my life. With kids, family and other healthier distractions than work, I can’t afford to waste time on the trivial.

ExcelTraining

I’m a big fan and regular user of all things Microsoft Excel. As such, I need a regular quick reference for things like hotkeys, functions and other quick-fixes for all things Microsoft Excel. While I have several websites I frequent for reference, my one bookmarked site that garners the most attention is ExcelTraining.com. The site includes things like an easy to navigate list of keyboard shortcuts, an exhaustive list of Excel functions and a complete list of Excel formulas. As my proficiency has increased I find myself referencing it less frequently, but my desire to stay current in Excel keeps me coming back for the simple list that is easily referenced.

The site also has paid options which I have never used. I’ve found that the more ubiquitous the product, the more easily free information is available to you on YouTube or elsewhere. Excel is something even the basest of individuals working in business should have a keen awareness of. Hence, a good reference for the basics is always a great help and a must.

Asana

When it comes to remaining productive, Asana is my hands-down favorite app for project management amount teams. It works for nearly any project. I have personally used it in managing content marketing projects, preparation for raising growth capital, software development, website development and even personal project management where a larger project can be broken down into discrete chunks. It’s been especially great at managing projects run by remote teams (both before and after COVID-19).

I also don’t call out Asana lightly. I have used other project tools like Basecamp, Jira and even hybrid-communications tools like Slack. I just find Asana to be my personal favorite.

SalesForce

If there’s one software tool that have a good proficient and overabundant understanding of it’s customer relationship management (CRM) tools. I’ve worked with numerous other paid and open source CRMs. Some of the open source ones like SugarCRM and X2CRM include very customizable fields and sections, marketing automation tools and email/calendar integration. However, the downside is the lack of commercial support, backups and overall integration with other applications. In one of my businesses, we also use Outreach.io, an email and contact automation tool that ties directly into SalesForce. It is a productivity game changer for our sales and marketing team whose equal is not yet available on any of the open source platforms.

Salesforce also includes added applications (some free, some paid) and the ability to develop, enhance and customize to a company’s individual needs.

Quickbooks

I’m a finance guy at heart. I like the numbers and thrive off the analyzation of how to improve them. Quickbooks collates all our companies’ financial data including accounts payable, accounts receivable, credit cards, Paypal, bank accounts, etc. Not only does it bring together all of our financial data. Netsuite needs an honorable mention here as well as it can combine more ERP management into the financial side of a business–something entirely lost on the SMB audience with Quickbooks. As such, the financial tools used for financial accounting and reporting are heavily dependent on the size of the organization and the ultimate goals of the data you need to make critical business decisions.

Conclusion

The features that may be important to one may be entirely lost on another. Some may be more interested in marketing tools, while others are drawn toward finance, the arts and even mobile games. I have always gauged the stickiness of a software product with the following queries:

  1. Does the product have a real commercial need?
  2. Does it add value to the user?
  3. Does it delight (or better yet, entertain) while doing 1 & 2?

If you get the first two, you have a winner. If you are able to nail all three then you have yourself a market leader and a sticky product that is not going away anytime soon.

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Lessons I Learned from Becoming a Full-Time Blogger

becoming a blogger

I can still remember how excited I was to start a blog. The rush of adrenaline was unmatched. I was looking forward to sharing all my knowledge with the public. Although I have been in the marketing scene for a while, I didn’t start blogging until a few years ago. Blogging was born out of my passion for SEO, which is my niche, and to share all that I know and learn along the way with consumers through writing.

I started a blog called SEO sandwitch (dotcom) SEOsandwitch in 2012 and it’s still up and running in 2020, eight years going strong, now that’s a very long time on the internet. My blog has been named one of the top SEO blogs by several blogging authorities, and I have also been personally named one of the top digital marketing authors.

Since blogs are created daily, there are more than 600 million blogs, and many people want to blog full time. The number of bloggers in the USA is expected to grow to 31.7 million in 2020. I decided to share my personal insights from my experience as a full-time blogger.

Here are 8 lessons I learned from becoming a full-time blogger.

  1. Be passionate About Your Niche.

I didn’t start this blog because it will fetch me boatloads of money to travel around the world. Of course, that will be nice, but if I wouldn’t have come this far, that was my sole reason.

I started the SEOsandwitch blog because I am passionate about sharing my knowledge on SEO and helping people who are clueless about SEO. I love my niche, and I can continuously create quality content beneficial for people and establish my authority.

If my blogging motivation were for all the wrong reasons, it would reflect my blog content and strategy. I would have quit; that’s why you see so many bloggers quit after three years, one year, and even ridiculously at six months. It’s hard.

When you actually care for your audience, you build trust, and you become an established blogger.

  1. Create Relevant Content

It’s not enough to create content I care about; the real question is: is this piece of content relevant/valuable to my audience? If the answer is no, then I might as well not bother creating any content at all.

Just because you care about it doesn’t mean everyone should. Research what your audience is searching for? What are their current needs? Which current information do they need to be updated on?

You can use tools like Buzzsumo and Google trends to generate content ideas.

  1. Build Relationships in your Niche

You can’t go at it alone; you just can’t. To succeed in the blogging space, building relationships with fellow bloggers in your niche is significant.

Networking with fellow bloggers has helped me come a long way in this industry. It has made me evolve, improve my blog, and expanded my reach. It’s no secret that backlinks are potent for organic reach; these relationships will make it easy for sites to link to your website.

  1. Guest Posting is Powerful

I am an active contributor to many authoritative sites in my niche. This has undoubtedly put me in front of my target audience. According to OptinMonster, 60% of blogs write 1-5 guest posts per month. When you guest post, it establishes your authority and drives traffic to your blog.

When guest posting is done right, you are well on your way to making blogging your thing.

  1. Consistency is key

Urghh! Not again with the consistency thingy. But it’s the hard truth; if you are not consistent, nobody will take you seriously. You need to show up every day, put out quality content regularly, else your target audience will forget about you.

The thing is, you are not the only one blogging in your niche; you have to convince your target audience that this is your territory. Except if your blogging is a hobby for you, you need to make consistent efforts to build momentum over time.

  1. Prioritize SEO

Will this article be complete if I don’t remind you about the importance of search engine optimization? Here’s a bitter truth: A lot of content is generated daily; you have to convince the search engines that your content deserves to be seen.

Because what use is content if no one ever finds it? Nothing. And, you didn’t just create content to sit pretty, right? You created it for people; SEO will help you get it in front of people. So invest in SEO education and tools; it’s not optional; it’s mandatory for blogging success.

  1. You Have to be Organized

Blogging is more than just writing; there’s a whole lot that goes behind the scenes. From coming up with content ideas to analytics, marketing, writing emails, responding to comments, SEO, and the list goes on. The importance of organization. Invest in tools that will help you keep everything inflow and schedule content ahead of time.

Bloggers are consistent and in control when they are organized. Finally, no one has become a full-time blogger without an organization.

  1. Patience! Patience! Patience!

You see, many people expect their blogs to become the next Neil Patel after a couple of months. That’s absolutely unrealistic! Every seasonal blogger has put in a lot of years to get to where they are.

I have been running this blog for over eight years; it took me a while to experience some form of success. There’s no such thing as an overnight success; you have to consistently put in work and be patient for your blog to grow.

A lot of bloggers quit due to a lack of patience. To do this in the long run, you need to be patient.

  1. Email Marketing is Gold

You have probably heard the saying; the money is on the list. Even with social media marketing blowing up, email marketing hasn’t lost its relevance. It remains a powerful marketing strategy for entrepreneurs.

Because Instagram can decide to shut down tomorrow, but your email list is forever yours. An email list is the most reliable way to stay connected to your audience.

So start creating your email list from the get-go if you desire to become a full-time blogger.

Conclusion

Blogging can be very lucrative and rewarding; however, not without some challenges that will make you want to call it quits. It takes grit, patience, and a strong internal motivation to keep you going because when you have a great way, you will persevere.

Don’t jump into blogging because everyone is; the reality is blogging is not for everyone. It might take a while before your blogging career looks up or generate revenue, and that’s totally fine.

Just be consistent, creative, willing to learn, and patient. And before you know it, you are well on your way to becoming a full-time blogger.

Image Credit: ketut subiyanto; pexels

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Cloud cloud computing edge computing Fog computing fog vs. edge IoT

Fog Computing and Its Role in the Internet of Things

Fog computing refers to a decentralized computing structure. The resources, including the data and applications, get placed in logical locations between the data source and the cloud. One of the advantages of fog computing is to keep many users connected to the internet at the same time. In essence, it offers the same network and services that cloud-based solutions provide, but with the added security of a decentralized network.

Difference Between Cloud Computing and Fog Computing

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing refers to the provision of computing and storage resources geographically distributed. Computing can occur over a variety of platforms, including public cloud and private cloud.

The cloud-computing platforms offer the opportunity to share and mix the workloads among the users over a scalable system. Cloud computing is essentially the ability to store and regain data from an off-site location.

Cloud computing is one of the main reasons conventional phones got “smart.” Phones don’t have sufficient, built-in space to store the data necessary to access apps and services. All the data is transmitted from and to the cloud to provide the services we need. Still, cloud computing technology has a challenge – the bandwidth constraint.

Fog Computing

Fog computing will be dominating the industry in the near future. The domination of Fog will be driven by a need to gather data closer to the source of the data (the user device). Devices are not able to perform the necessary processing in the cloud and the devices are physically constrained (low power and small size).

The ability to process the data locally is more important than in the past because fog computing increases the data’s security. With the evolution of the Internet of Things, more and more devices are being added to the network. Each device is wirelessly connected for data transmission and reception.

Fog computing is about how efficiently data is stored and accessed. Fog computing refers to the networking of the edge computing nodes dispersed in a network so that they can be geographically distributed but still provide an organized communication between those nodes.

The use of fog computing involves a complex process of interconnected edge devices. The edge devices include sensors, storage systems, and networking infrastructure that work together to capture and distribute data.

However, the flexibility of fog computing and its ability to gather and process data from both the centralized cloud and the edge devices of a network make it one of the most useful ways of dealing with the information overload we face today.

fog computing                                                                                                                                                                   Image Credit: nikhomk panumas; pexels

 

Are Fog Computing and Edge Computing the Same Thing?

Fog computing is also referred to as “edge computing.”  Edge computing is designed to solve issues by storing data closer to the “ground.” In other words, edge stores data in storage devices and local computers, rather than running all the data through a centralized DC in the cloud.

In essence, fog computing is responsible for allowing fast response time, reducing network latency and traffic, and supporting backbone bandwidth savings in order to achieve better service quality (QoS). It is also intended to transmit relevant data to the cloud.

IDC estimates that about 45 percent of the world’s data will be moved closer to the network edge by the end of 2025. Fog computing is claimed to be the only technology that will be able to withstand artificial intelligence, 5G, and IoT in the coming years.

Another IDC study predicts that edge devices will generate 10 percent of the world’s data even in 2020. Edge devices will fuel the need for more effective solutions for fog computing, resulting in reduced latency.

Edge Computing

Edge computing is, basically, a subset of fog computing. It refers to the data being processed close to where it emerged. Fog computing allows for more effective data processing, thereby reducing the possibility of data latency.

Consider fog computing as the way to process the data from where it is generated to where it is stored. Edge computing refers only to the processing of the data close to where it is generated. Fog computing encapsulates the edge processing and the network connections required to transfer the data from the edge to its end.

With edge computing, IoT devices are connected to devices such as programmable automation controllers. The automation controllers perform data processing, communication, and other tasks. With fog computing, the data is transferred from endpoints to a gateway. Then the data is transferred to sources for processing and return transmission. The geographically distributed infrastructure is aligned with cloud services to enable data analytics with minimal latency.

Both fog and edge computing help to turn data into actionable insights more quickly so that users can make quicker and more informed decisions. Then, fog and edge allow companies to use bandwidth more effectively while enhancing security and addressing privacy concerns. Since fog nodes can be installed anywhere there’s a network connection; fog computing is growing in popularity in industrial IoT applications.

The Role of Fog Computing in IoT

When a device or application generates or collects huge amounts of information, data storage becomes increasingly complex and expensive. When handling this data, network bandwidth also becomes expensive, requiring large data centers to store and share the information.

Fog computing has emerged as an alternative to the traditional method of handling data. Fog computing gathers and distributes resources and services of computing, storage, and network connectivity. It significantly reduces energy consumption, minimizes space and time complexity, and maximizes this data’s utility and performance.

The “Smart City”

Let’s take a smart city as an example. Data centers are not built to handle the demands of smart city applications. The ever-increasing amount of data transmitted, stored, and accessed from all IoT devices in a city will require a new kind of infrastructure to handle this volume. It is these applications that need fog computing to deliver the full value that IoT will bring to them.

Utilities

Water utilities, hospitals, law enforcement, transportation, and emergency management applications in smart cities need the latest data and technology to deliver information and services to support their operations.

Information about water leakages, carbon emissions, potholes, or damage can be used to update billing information, improve operations, save lives, and increase efficiencies. The benefits of capturing and analyzing this data can be directly applied to smart city applications.

Fog computing doesn’t move you from one place to another. Instead, fog is a method for deploying Internet of Things networks where they provide the best return on investment.

Benefits of Using Fog Computing

Fog computing can be used in applications that deal with large volumes of data, network transactions, and fast processing. The benefits of using fog computing include real-time, hybrid, and autonomous data centers that improve operational efficiency and security. Additionally, fog computing can help ensure your systems stay available and optimized without the need to invest in power, data center security, and reliability.

Fog computing reduces overhead costs by concentrating on computing resources across many nodes. The location of the fog nodes is chosen based on their availability, efficiency, and use. It also reduces the load on the data centers of organizations. The reduction in data traffic is another major advantage of fog computing.

Many companies are using fog computing to deploy software applications distributed in many places. Companies deploy many systems over a network to achieve better efficiency and reachability.

Fundamentally, fog computing gives organizations more flexibility to process data wherever it is most necessary to do so.  For some applications, data processing should be as quick as possible, for instance, in manufacturing, where connected machines should respond to an accident as soon as possible.

Fog computing can also provide companies with an easy way to know what their customers or employees are up to in real-time. With the implementation of fog computing, companies can expect to take on new opportunities and increase their profit with IoT technology. But more than that, this technology has the potential to save a lot of money for governments, companies, and even individual users.

Bottom Line

As cloud technologies continue to penetrate into the enterprise environment, fog computing usage will also continue to increase. Cloud computing distributes computing workloads through an elastic computing infrastructure, enabling the real-time processing of data in the cloud.

Edge computing is a major focus area of the IoT fog computing segment. Edge computing is the technology of computing resources deployed at the edge of the network, outside of the cloud. It allows computing resources at the edge of the network to be accessed, analyzed, and then sent back to the network’s edge. This allows for real-time processing of data.

Fog computing solutions will enable companies to implement real-time computing in the Internet of Things. As a result, the IoT fog computing market will be a major contributor to the cloud computing market.

Image Credit: riccardo bertolo; pexels

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How Calls Get Encrypted? The Importance of Encryption in Healthcare

encrytion of calls healthcare

Encryption is when information gets converted into secret codes that eventually hide the actual meaning of the data or file. The art of encryption and decryption is popularly known as cryptography. Encryption is the most secure and preferred communication method, which is commonly used by chatting and various applications where communication takes place. But how do calls get encrypted? And what is the importance of encryption in healthcare today?

Your most sensitive information is protected and secured through encryption.

In the past, the method of encryption was mostly used by military personnel and governments. Nowadays, encryption is used to preserve data stored on computers and storage devices along with data over other networks.

Machine learning

Machine learning has been undergoing rapid changes from the time of its evolution. Routine and daily tasks that the machines perform make the work of an individual easier but machine learning often gets avoided as there are major issues attached to it, such as data theft.

The models in machine learning can be substantial and strenuous, which can get shared across different users.

This sharing of models with different users cannot always be done as high computation is needed at every end.

To answer and solve this problem, cloud computing made it possible to hold the machine learning models with the help of cloud API’s and to get the desirable outcomes. Though cloud computing weakens computational power efficiency, it reveals your data to the various cloud providers.

Homomorphic Encryption

Homomorphic encryption allows users to operate on ciphertexts to provide the desired outcomes or expected results to the users without harming the users’ sensitive data.

Like working on plain texts, operating on cipher-texts works through homomorphic encryption, which results in providing desired results and does not diverge from the expected results.

The encryption which gets offered in Homomorphic are basically categorized into the following:

  1. Encrypted = Encrypt (pub_key,plaintext)
  2. Decrypted = decrypt (priv_key, encrypted)
  3. Encrypted = eval (eval_key,f,encrypted)
  4. Pub_key, eval_key, priv_key = keygen ()

These might appear similar to asymmetric cryptography though the operations and function included in the third point function “f� in encryption and rebounds the encrypted value, which results in secure computation.

End-to-End Encryption

To maintain your conversations’ privacy, an app or a company must focus on using end-to-end encryption for calls, messages, video, or any other content.

This will make sure that :

  • Only individuals who receive this message will know what’s been said or sent.
  • Nobody other than the sender and receiver knows what’s the conversation all about.

End-to-end encryption is the most preferred method of security that secures the data of communication. It gets mandated automatically in the apps so that users don’t have to worry about switching it on and off.

How does it work?

As we discussed above, encryption simply covers up data with that of code, and then to decode it, a key is required.

End-to-End encryption for any app means that the data of a call, whether its audio or video, gets encrypted from your device and the device of the one with whom you are having a conversation.

The encrypted audio and video can only get decoded with the secret key shared in the same conversation.

The key functions as:

  • A number that gets generated on the device that you called. It prevails on the same devices where the conversation takes place.
  • The key does not gets shared on Google, other devices, and anyone else.
  • The key automatically disappears when the phone ends.

Even if somebody gets access to your conversation or data, it can’t get decoded as the user does not have the key to decode it.

 

How does the Healthcare industry get affected?

Every organization and industry needs a secure way of communication to maintain the firm’s legitimacy and secrets.

Majorly Health-tech organizations cope with receiving raw data of patients to build robust and other healthcare products based on machine learning.

Despite the successful furnishing of machine learning on encrypted data.

Tech firms can develop and offer a range of products that can accelerate the development of medicines, enhance medical facilities, and facilitates them to harmonize various Electronic health records (EHR).

This EHR method allows the health tech companies to sleek their workflow and provide the safety and security of patient’s data.

This positive brunt in the healthcare sector and the privacy which gets provided will grant organizations that are building facial recognition technologies to provide more secure methods.

The governments and firms worldwide generally face criticism for implementing technologies without work plans of confidentiality and privacy.

Encrypted data, along with machine learning, will allow the healthcare industry to preserve the data of various customers and users for providing tech-based solutions.

 

Security Requirements in Healthcare

According to research conducted by Stanford University. 48% growth in medical data is expected this year.

This incorporates private and sensitive information of patients, health status, and insurance that revolves around hospitals’ doctor’s offices and desks.

Such sensitive and crucial information requires high levels of security for the patient’s data.

For such protection and prevention of data, whether it is on call, MRI, or digital recordings, the patients need to be encrypted.

The HIPAA security rule and guidelines were specially enacted to safeguard patients’ personal health information in an electronic manner that was created, received, used, and maintained by the companies.

The company covers all the healthcare providers, healthcare plans, healthcare clearinghouses, medicare prescription drugs, and their sponsors.

The protection provided under the security rule includes various categories such as:

  • Administrative: Allocating data security responsibility and implementation of security training to all the employees of the organization.
  • Physical: It protects electronic systems and data that they have procured by regulating the access to EPHI and off-balance backups
  • Technical: The automation process, such as authentication controls and securing data with encryption during its transfers.

Though Encryption’s implementation is not compulsory under the guidelines issued by HIPAA, it still recommends to the medical and healthcare industry to implement it whenever they feel suitable.

Summing up

Data solitude is the construction brick in every organization.

Failure to secure users’ personal data can generate harmful consequences to the company’s reputation and goodwill.

Introducing the Machine Learning model in encryption takes a little longer to expand its branches for other use cases.

Machine learning has widened up the horizons for controlling privacy, along with providing innovative solutions.

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How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Future of Work

vr transforming work

In 2019, more than 4.3 million people in the U.S. worked remotely. During 2020 that number increased significantly due to COVID-19. Most companies, because of the quarantine, had to implement working from home policies. But taking the pandemic aside, remote work was already growing at full speed. Recent studies show that many benefits come along when people have the flexibility to work from their homes or in the place they enjoy most. Here is how virtual reality is transforming the future of work.

Although there are many proud defenders of the remote work movement and all the wonders it has, there is still one main issue most virtual teams face. Remote companies, and overall distributed teams, often feel that the levels of connection are not the same as in an on-site office. 

We are not in the 1900s where there was no internet, and traveling through an airplane was still a fantasy. Remote teams have the necessary tools to strengthen their company’s culture and collaboration levels. And as time passes by, these tools are upgrading to a whole new level. And we haven’t even mentioned the effects of COVID this year or what may happen this next year.

Technology is taking one step further to power and transform the future of work with Virtual Reality (VR). The way distributed teams connect and collaborate is changing forever. 

An Overview of the Virtual Reality Industry 

Many companies are making considerable investments in virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). They say it’s the future of everything. Even though VR developments started in the early 90s, its market has received significant growth in the past years. The market size of consumer virtual reality hardware and software increased from 6.2 billion dollars during 2019, and it’s expected to be valued at more than 16 billion dollars by 2020. 

The gaming and the entertainment industry are the ones who, at the moment, are taking more advantage of this technology. Companies like Samsung, Google, and PlayStation sell goggles, gloves, and other tools for consumers to purchase and take video gaming to a whole new level. 

However, VR is increasing in the educational industry also. For instance, medical schools are starting to implement this type of technology to train surgeons. Artificial Intelligence is also used to help scientists understand complex problems and investigate deeper aspects.

Virtual Reality and Remote Work

Is the future of work part of the VR panorama?

Most of us who run remote companies and sometimes have a blast during meetings wish deeply to soon reunite in person with the whole company to share drinks! I love working remotely, but it’s a fact that the human connection is not the same in a digital environment. Yes, there are many communication tools, but the fundamentals of communication are different from in-person interaction. This is when the magic of virtual reality helps to deal with these kinds of challenges.

Think about it this way; most of the downsides and disadvantages of working remotely are related to how teams interact and connect. For example, several studies prove that many remote employees have felt isolated and even left out of the company. Other teams have had bad experiences working remotely because they felt their collaboration levels were not the same.  

Virtual Reality offers such an immersive experience when managing a remote workforce. You and your team will feel you are in the same office space! But instead of commuting, drinking horrible coffee, and having to wake up earlier, you’ll be working from the comfort of your house. You’ll feel you are physically there with your team in the same meeting room while brainstorming ideas or solving a problem. Most of the “cons” you see in many anti-remote work articles will disappear once teams start applying VR as their primary remote work tool. 

Here are some of the many applications VR will offer to companies:

1.  Better interviews with remote candidates

 Most of us have experienced how remote interviews are. In the first place, for those who are not accustomed to cameras, it might be even an uncomfortable experience. And for employers, virtual interviews are harder than regular ones because you miss out on important aspects such as body language. With VR interviews, you’ll feel you are doing a regular interview because there will be no camera barrier, just you and the candidate. 

2.  Better talent

Throughout these years managing a remote company and recruiting top tech talent to other companies, we’ve realized how much people want to have the opportunity to work from their homes. It’s one of the best strategies to recruit the best talent worldwide.

People are not longer seeking fancy offices with creative spaces. People want the flexibility of having a job that allows them to enjoy the things they love the most. Imagine adding remote work, plus virtual reality, to your showcase. You’ll attract even more talented employees who want to connect with their co-workers while working remotely. 

3.  Strengthen your company’s culture

This is probably one of the most significant benefits of implementing VR in your company. Culture means connection. When your employees enjoy working with each other, distance barriers are broken. However, it’s not the same (and it will never be) laughing on a video call than feeling you are physically there hanging out with them. With VR, you’ll be able to organize birthday parties, happy hours, gaming nights, and other fun activities to make stronger bonds. 

4.  Better onboarding

Onboarding is a crucial step in your company. If you don’t share your passion with new employees or explain to them carefully how the company works, with your vision, mission, and more about your company’s culture, they won’t feel attached. With no explanation, a team member won’t understand why their work will be valuable in the company.

Unattached employees are likely to leave the job faster because they don’t feel connected or passionate about what they are doing or the company they are working for.

With VR, the onboarding process is much easier. You can even walk them through a virtual office experience while explaining to them how everything works. You can introduce them to the team, and they will feel as if they were in the actual office building, meeting everyone.  

5.  Change the way you test technical abilities

Some job positions require specific technical skills that candidates must have. Testing tech talent, specifically technical skills, and doing it remotely is a challenge.

Although there are online platforms or even video calls where testing candidates is a possibility, VR takes video calls to a whole new level. For example, if you need a dev on your team — with VR, you’ll be able to see how your candidate solves a specific technical problem. Using only regular video calls — you cannot see well — and could miss some vital information.

Are you ready for the VR Reality Scenario? 

We still have a long way to go until VR is as common as having a phone. Many companies are selling their VR products to a more narrow audience. Prestigious academic institutions are starting to see VR as a tool to help them achieve better research. Even the army has started using this to simulate battlefield situations.

Taking an audience and expanding its focus and view to the whole world’s workforce isn’t easy. It requires a lot of investment, and not all companies are in the position of spending millions of dollars to make the magic happen.

Still, with remote work taking over 2020 and technology improving as time passes, this could be the last year where people drive 2 hours to get to an office. When VR becomes common at companies, there will be no need to spend money renting fancy buildings and other significant expenses because everyone will work from their homes. Or a great amount of work will take place anywhere in the world that has reliable wifi. 

Remote work is ready to embrace virtual reality. What about you? 

The post How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Future of Work appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Customer Success is Becoming an Era to Oppose Down-Sales

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Several recent trends indicate that we’re at the beginning of a new era— customer success —in which your company can start focusing on growth, also, churn. Customer success is becoming an era to oppose down sales.

Business owners traditionally have been slow to take customer success as an advantage to vehicle their growth. But things rapidly change; some businesses start indicating a peculiar, discovering potentially how distinct customer success persists. 72 percent of business owners, “improving customer success� is their prime concern, and in a way that can be understood.

Where is Ninety Percent of Your Business Revenue?

Customer success—where 90 percent of business revenue is— is a selling and buying technique that sets the seal on customers to secure desired outcomes while picking any product or service. Its logic demonstrates what deep value and benefits a business offer, which imparts straightforward proposals of “whatâ€� and “howâ€�  business owners deliver value throughout the customer’s lifecycle.

When your marketing team efficaciously utilizes marketing automation software to bring to being potential customers, to retain these customers, emphasis on customer success enhances growth subscription models that move the “business” from “land and refreshâ€� mindset life-cycle selling.

Dedicate Yourself to Your Customer Success

Although a worth-the-effort sales number is one of the most viable factors that keep a business thriving, however, when a business owner is dedicated to customer-success, “an established-wing,� these prompt a strong relationship among customers who tend to be the user (buyers who prompt sales), and puts business owners on greater revenue and higher rates of customer satisfaction. It focuses, and always, on customer expectation, a pleasure that spurs up lifetime value for any business.

The work-out of your business plus market, the add-on should amount financially rewarding sales. Which of most, as a business owner, it is essential to recognize the exchange made between “sales� and “customer success,� handled properly, and that sales are always and well notified.

The Hand-Off Between Sales and Customer Success

Sales are never customer success. Sales as to do with figuring up your “made” dollars; however, customer success, sustain the campaign against “revenue disrupt (that prompt down-sales),” turning fellow who want-to or canceled or stop checking out your product also called customer churn to become positive.

Customer churn is not a new problem; this repeatedly arises due to odious engagement among business executives. This involves the loss of customers as well as losing sales (down-sales).

Churn is costing businesses $136 billion a year in the United States. For the worse, the time and option for these business victims to make a change are being deprived of. 66 percent of consumers had terminated their relationship with these companies due to poor engagement service. 58 percent of these customers wouldn’t bother coming back doing business. However, still, there’ll be a solution-What solution?

6 Ways CRMs Stop Customer Churn - TechnologyAdvice

Customer churn can be puzzled-out by 67 percent if companies succeed in solving customer issues during the first interaction, whereby customers achieve their desired outcome. 

Whatever service or product you’re offering, the whole idea of succeeding is to make customers glad to give their money in exchange for what you’re selling.  However, it is essential to develop an authoritative customer relationship to hold on towards continued success. Value is efficient, generates profit after cost, and fundamental concepts to provide understanding among users.

The special elements involved in building relationships have led several companies to rethink how they manage customers as they shift from one-time transactions to a lifetime process.

Existing customer-facing functions focus too little on driving product adoption and on generating value over a customer’s lifetime. In response to this, customer-success function to drive the adoption.

A unified go-to-market model

A unified go-to-market model serves as a “Growth-oriented” charter for customer success. Which range fecund events? These events are action-planned that specifies how your company will reach target customers. Prompting the integration of customer success into sales activities, roles, incentives, and organizational approach.

The purpose of a GTM model is to provide representation for delivering products or services to your end customer, taking into account such factors as pricing and distribution.  However, customer success deeply engaged with these accounts, combining product knowledge and domain expertise resulting in an intimate understanding of each customer and their objectives. This understands and creates a plan to engage prospects to convince them to make a purchase.

Premium offers support for a sustainable funding model.

Funding-model makes available sensitivity analysis to determine the financial impact of fund-leveling intrinsic value of customer success affair. To achieve early effectively executed results and to avoid the risks associated with losing business (users), it poses for business owners to build on an able-to-be-upheld funding foundation, which is in “premium offers.”

Premium offers cleverly combined, more intensive customer success action, product support, and professional services. These offerings significantly improved customer satisfaction and existing product sales while delivering a new revenue stream.

A Customer Succes Talent “Engine”

The results of talent analysis are often surprising. The evolution of the term “talent” was traced from the 17th century when talent was used for a huge sum of money to the present times when it is considered a cognitive ability. These are a  backbone of a strong customer-success effort.  These talents identify, attract, build, and retain.

Target-predicting Behavourial and customer segmentation

Every consumer has a different thought process and attitude towards buying a particular product. If a company fails to understand a consumer’s reaction towards a product, there are high chances of product failure. However, analytics to identify and predict customer risks and opportunities, combined with activities proved to deliver customer success.

According to McKinsey’s research, organizations that leverage customer behavior data to generate behavioral insights outperform peers by 85 percent in sales growth and more than 25 percent in gross margin. Best-in-class teams have applied advanced analytics to their rich stores of data to predict customer behavior.

Customer success as an embedded philosophy

Consumer behavior analysis has emerged as an important tool to understand your customers. By looking into consumer psychology and customer buying behavior forces, companies can craft new products, marketing campaigns, and increase profitability.

The post Customer Success is Becoming an Era to Oppose Down-Sales appeared first on ReadWrite.

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12 High ROI Options for Promoting an Event Online

promote event online

Putting on an event is expensive. Whether it’s a traditional in-person conference, a virtual summit, a product launch event, or a fundraiser, it costs a lot to get an event up and running. And without butts in seats, an event can quickly become a massive financial loss. Here are 12 ROI options for promoting an event online.

The only way to ensure your event is successful is to generate buzz and get people to register.

But with so many different options, products, systems, and funnels, where do you start? And what do you do?

You will only be successful with your online event when you develop a strategic online promotional strategy.

We have a few proven ideas and concepts that you can leverage to promote your next event online and generate a high return rate. Let’s take a look together:

  • Create a Centralized Promotional Folder

Before we dig into some of the specific promotional tactics, let’s make sure we’re laying a strong foundation for what comes next. Whether it’s landing pages, social media, email, or something else, you need consistency in your branding, phraseology, and event details. And the easiest way to do this is to create a centralized promotional folder in the cloud.

A centralized promotional folder will contain several subfolders for things like:

  • Graphics and visuals (including .png event logos, partner logos, and any other graphic design elements you’re likely to need).
  • A spreadsheet with all of the event details – including dates, times, locations, links, etc. (Anytime someone on the team has a question about logistics, direct them to this sheet.)
  • An event one-pager with all of the details and highlights – including things like speakers and schedules.
  • A list of promotional dos and don’ts. (For example, if there are words you don’t want to use when promoting the event, create a resource for this.)

The more information you’re able to compile in one centralized folder, the less time you’ll waste tracking down information and details when you need it. This keeps your workflow as efficient as it can possibly be.

  • Develop an Event Landing Page

The next step is to develop an event landing page. If the centralized cloud folder is your resource for all information, the landing page is for your attendees (and anyone interested in attending).

Designing a landing page is an exercise in human psychology and data analytics. Put your best foot forward with the initial version, but don’t stress about getting it perfect. You’ll end up iterating over time as you gather data on what does and doesn’t work.

Key event landing page design principles to get you started.

  • Simplicity. Visual simplicity that is. You’re not writing a dissertation or pulling out a centerspread ad in The New York Times. The goal is to deliver the necessary information and not a pixel more. Use plenty of negative space and emphasize the elements that you want visitors to focus on.
  • Clarity. Don’t forsake clarity in the pursuit of simplicity. Clarity is equally as important. People should immediately know what your event is about and why they should attend. If this isn’t evident within three to five seconds of landing on your page, something is off. (And you’ll see massive bounce rate numbers.)
  • Inverted pyramid style. We’re not encouraging you to use journalistic copywriting, per se, but the method old school newspaper writers use when crafting news stories is a good one for landing pages. They use what’s called an inverted pyramid style of writing. This means you lead with the most important information about the event (Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?). Then you cover some of the supporting information and background details. Finally, all of the extra information and interesting (but non-essential) bits and crumbs are thrown in.
  • Social proof. When asking someone to sign up for an event online, encourage them by leveraging social proof. Things like trust badges, “as featured inâ€� logos, headshots of speakers, video testimonials, and quotes from past attendees, are all effective.
  • Exit-intent popup. Never let someone leave your landing page without putting up a (gentle) fight. Exit-intent popups might be annoying, but they work. As soon as someone hovers their mouse outside of the main area of the landing page, a tile overlay emerges and asks the visitor if they’re sure they want to leave before registering (or something to that effect). Even if you only pick up 5 to 10 percent of people who try to leave, it’s worth the investment.

How do you know if your landing page is effective? Besides studying the basic metrics like conversion rate, bounce rate, and average time on page, you can also install heat maps and trackers, analyzing how far people scroll down the page before dropping off.

Based on the data, you can reorganize, truncate, or expand your landing page to respond to how visitors engage with the page in real-time.

  • Craft Branded Content

Your event cannot and should not exist in a vacuum.

What does this mean?

Put simply: Your larger brand content marketing strategy should overlap with your event promotion strategy. Whether you have a weekly blog post, daily social media blasts, an email newsletter, or a podcast, all of your content efforts should be plugging your event.

Start with soft promos in the weeks leading up to the event, but you can be much more overt in the 72 hours leading up. This is the sweet spot when it comes to online events when you’ll see a huge uptick in registrations. (Start earlier for in-person events, as people need time to plan logistics.)

  • Leverage Guest Blogging

I’ve discussed some of the benefits and opportunities for guest blogging previously. And while we typically encourage it to build backlinks, guest blogging can also be highly effective when implemented as part of an event promotion blitz.

Here’s what you do:

  • Make a list of 15 to 20 websites that accept guest blog post contributions and have an audience that overlaps with your target attendees.
  • Develop a list of content ideas that make your event relevant and interesting (from a third party publisher’s perspective).
  • Reach out to the people in charge of each of these guest contributor programs and pitch them the content idea that best aligns with their niche.
  • Include a backlink to your event landing page and (if permissible) an in-text call-to-action encouraging readers to sign up for the event.

Not only will guest blogging give you exposure and referral traffic, but it could also provide some SEO juice to your landing page. (If it’s a long-term landing page – meaning it will be active for several months – this could help you eventually attract organic search traffic.)

  • Update Your Email Signature

Think about how many emails you send per day. Is it 25, 100, or even 200-plus? Now think about all of the people who are on the receiving end of your emails. It could be thousands per month. So put this real estate to good use.

As part of your email signature, include a simple square tile graphic or hyperlinked CTA to encourage people to visit the event landing page. You won’t get a ton of clicks, but the ones that do click are going to be way more qualified than the average landing page visitor who stumbles on your page via another method. And if it nabs you even one more registration, it’s worth the five minutes it takes to change your signature.

This is sort of a low hanging fruit tactic, but it’s useful nonetheless. (Why waste any opportunity to give your event exposure?) It’s simple and subtle yet highly effective.

  • Use Your Email List (The Right Way)

Speaking of email, you must use your brand’s email list appropriately. This does not mean spamming your subscribers with daily demands to register. However, it does mean implementing a strategic campaign that slowly drips on people in the weeks and days leading up to the event.

When you start your drip campaign depends on your larger goals. If it’s an in-person event – especially one that people have to travel to and get accommodations for – you’ll want to start at least a couple of months out. The drip is slow at first – going as long as a week between communications – and gets faster as the event gets closer. (For online events, such as virtual summits, you only need to start a couple of weeks out.)

The key to a good campaign is to keep it simple, personalized, and valuable. In other words, cut out the small talk and fluff and get very focused. Here are some tips:

  • Keep paragraphs to just one or two sentences.
  • Call people by their name (either in the subject line and/or the body copy).
  • Use bullet points to share quick hits and important information.
  • Always direct people back to the landing page (using tracking codes so that you can study the effectiveness of your campaign).

Not sure what to say? There are plenty of drip email campaign templates available online. Use them as inspiration – tailoring the details to your event and audience.

  • Use Partner Email Lists

Are you running the event with other partners, organizations, or groups? As part of your partnership agreement, you should require each organization or individual to email their list a certain number of times. This amplifies your reach beyond your own email list. (And depending on the size of the organization, this could give you access to thousands of people you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to engage.)

  • Run Paid Ad Traffic

If you’ve never used Facebook ads, you might be intimidated. However, once you learn a few basics, you’ll realize that there’s nothing to be scared of. In fact, you’ll discover that Facebook ads are one of your most powerful weapons in the pursuit of generating traffic and registrations.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when using paid ads for an event:

  • Always use the landing page URL – not a home page or general website page. This reduces friction and removes any additional steps that could allow someone to bounce before registering.
  • Be very specific with your targeting. Narrow in on your audience and include anything you know about them, such as geographic location, interests, hobbies, marital status, job title, etc.
  • The image and headline are the two most important elements of a Facebook ad. Yours need to be clear, succinct, and visually pleasing.
  • Choose the appropriate call to action button.

As with your landing page, you don’t have to get this perfect right from the start. Facebook has an advanced analytics engine built-in, and you’ll be able to optimize based on the results. As the data comes in, you can make changes to bolster your conversion rate.

  • Write Press Releases

Press releases aren’t what they used to be, but they still have value. If you’re holding an event, you need to create at least one press release and distribute it via all major outlets and publications.

While it’s probably not going drive a ton of direct traffic or registrations, here’s what a press release does for you:

  • A good press release makes media members aware of your event. They can run searches for different keywords and topics. If you have a relevant press release, they might see it and decide to do more research – ultimately writing a story or making a mention of your event in a larger story.
  • Press releases have some SEO value, assuming you use the correct keywords. If you’re planning to leave your event page up for a while, or you’ll eventually use it to sell recordings and other products, this can give you some increased organic reach.

Don’t spend a ton of time developing press releases, but certainly do what you need to do. Like email signatures, this is low hanging fruit. You might as well grab it.

  • Partner With Influencers

Love them or hate them, influencers have, well…influence. And if you can secure a partnership with the right influencer – someone who has an audience that intersects and overlaps your own – you could see a huge spike in registrations and attendees.

According to Social Media Today, influencer marketing generates 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of marketing. Plus, 94 percent of marketers who have used influencer marketing in the past found it to be a “very effective tactic.�

If you go this route, make sure you draft a detailed agreement that includes specific information regarding expectations and requirements. The worst thing you can do is hire an influencer, pay them a bunch of money, and then have them miss the mark.

  • Use LinkedIn Events

LinkedIn has a feature that actually allows you to publish your event on the platform. This acts as an additional traffic source. The process is pretty simple:

  • Create an event.
  • Choose a header image. (Or create a new one using an app like Canva.)
  • Choose an event image (could be your headshot, company logo, or event logo).
  • Enter the event name (keeping keywords near the front to sidestep truncation).
  • Choose your company
  • Include a link to your landing page.
  • Select the date and time.
  • Develop a keyword-rich description.
  • Tick the box to make it a “public event.â€�

Once you create an event, you can publish it to your newsfeed and invite all of your connections. Your event will also show up on LinkedIn when people search for keywords related to your event.

  • Create a Referral Program

One final suggestion is to create a referral program where you give registered attendees the opportunity to invite other people using customized referral codes.

Incentives are the key to making this work. Consider creating some sort of reward structure where you give discounts, prizes, or recognition to the people who refer the most attendees.

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6 Ways to Improve your Business with Artificial Intelligence

ai

Artificial Intelligence is the technology that bestowed us with a fairytale-like functionality in our homes and offices. Have you seen the “ Beauty and the Beast� movie? In that movie, the beauty was in the beast’s castle, and there was no other living creature there. She was all alone, except she had a talking and moving clock, a candelabra, a teapot, and a teacup. Here are six ways to improve your business with artificial intelligence.

Science didn’t make the magic happen at the Beast’s Castle — but science has developed something close to it for us.

The wonderful technology that can make our lives easier is known as Artificial Intelligence — and you can talk to it, too.

The simplest example of artificial intelligence is Alexa and Siri. Imagine calling someone when Siri was not there. You have to find their name in the contacts, and then you have to dial them up. Now, you can simply say, “ Hey Siri, call XYZ,� and Siri will call them.

Business AI

Artificial Intelligence for Business

As technology is increasing, the demands of users are also increasing. It is becoming hard for businesses to keep up with those demands. If a business wants to grow, they have to come online. Having a business app or website is that you cannot just launch a website/app and not have online support. You have to track who visits your website/app, and you have to do something to convert that potential client into a real client.

But the thing here is that you or your support guy cannot be online 24*7. If a user comes midnight to shop or have an inquiry and message you, you have to reply within a minute or at most in 5 minutes, or else they will leave your site/app. This is a task that is not possible, but deep down, you know that this is a matter that does need to be solved.

In this case, conversational AI can be used that can trigger a reply once they come across a keyword. If they encounter something unknown, they can simply answer that please provide your email address or phone number, and the team will contact you as soon as possible. At least some reply is better than nothing.

Moreover, if you add enough keywords, the conversational AI can talk like a support person. Dish Network has tested this thing, and in their observation, customers rate interactions with virtual agents the same, and sometimes even better, in comparison to the human support staff.

When a machine does work, it is error-free. Moreover, if you let the machine do the job, you will get more time to do tasks that require human interaction. This way, you will enable yourself to do more important tasks and work productively. As a startup or a small business, this can be the competitive gain that you were looking for.

Let’s have a look at how you can improve your business with Artificial Intelligence.

6 Ways to Improve your Business with Artificial Intelligence

1. Effectively target your market

We have so many marketing ideas, but the main reason why many of them don’t work is that we cannot target the right audience. As a content writer, I was writing a blog about cloud computing, and from that day, Google started showing me ads for cloud computing. I am not a buyer here, but as I searched for the same, Google thinks I am interested in buying the same.

This particularly shows that the wrong person was targeted. It is possible they had an awesome offer, but cloud computing is something which I think I never have to buy. The company paid for that to be shown to the right audience, and that didn’t happen.

AI can release you from the stress of targeting the right audience. It’ll target the right audience for you, and there are minimum possibilities of AI to go wrong. This is the feature that most of us need, as finding the right audience is a great challenge.

2. AI helps shopping

Take the phones of two different persons and go to the Amazon or Flipkart app, and you will see the difference.

Different products would be shown on their main page, and this is how people want to experience online shopping. They offer lakhs of products, and no one wants to see what they are not interested in. This is where AI stores what they like and thus show them the related products.

Now, AI is completely changing how people shop online. One of the reasons that people prefer traditional shopping was that they were able to try the clothes at the shop and they were able to see if it suits them or not. Thanks to Augmented Reality, people can now take the trail online.

People can now take a trail of the clothes that they want to buy, and thus this is making their experience more pleasant.

3. Personalized experience

AI is centralized towards creating an awesome customer experience. This helps companies to earn more as customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. A simple example is that we pay more when we go to a salon for a haircut, and we pay less to a local barber, and then we even ask for discounts. The willingness to pay is dependent on the experience.

Therefore you should try to create a pleasant customer experience as you can. According to a report by American Express: “ Customers who have a positive customer experience spend 74% more�.

4. Content generation and curation

This feature is one that threatens my job. AI can even write content that is plagiarism-free and filled with the right keywords, and thus they can rank on the google pages.

AI can create eye-catching content. But it is hard to create content that does not contain any plagiarism as facts and studies will remain the same, and if someone uses these facts in their content, this will lead to plagiarism. This gave birth to automated journalism. In this, robots will write the content.

The best example is Heliograf of Washington Post, which has written various articles on the Olympics and politics and has also won awards in Artificial Intelligence.

5. Image recognition

Product tagging and visual search have started taking digital marketing with an impact. Google first founded this, and it was a wow feature. You just have to start your camera and point it to something, and then you can know what it is.

This means that if someone is looking at your product and don’t know what it is, they can just start their camera, and they can know the name and the price of the product. Thus, if someone likes your product and wants to buy it, they are just a camera search away.

This makes it easy for people to find your product and your business.

6. Voice SEO

Technology has become so advanced that phones can identify human voices and address their command. This is not unknown to people due to Siri and Alexa, but still, people cannot use it to their advantage.

Whenever I scroll through Instagram, I do come across some post with an amazing song or beat, but I don’t know the name of, but I liked the song, and I want to listen to it, but how can I do that?

The simple answer is to use Shazam or ask Siri to identify the song. It is no longer limited to mobiles. You can also use your speaker to do so.

You should understand that voice search is very different from traditional search. SEO for voice search requires a different approach. Here, long-tail keywords can help your SEO.

With the help of AI and good advertisement knowledge, ads can be personalized according to the targeted customer.

Conclusion

Artificial Intelligence can help in business by doing your work in an error-free way. It can help you in cutting down your expenses, and it can perform the work faster. You can use Artificial intelligence as the ultimate weapon that you need for competitive gain.

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Developer’s Guide to Comply with CCPA and GDPR

comply CCPA GDPR

The digital landscape is continuously evolving, and privacy regulations such as CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) and the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) are in effect to give consumers their fundamental right to data privacy. These regulations force organizations to revamp their operations to comply. This means all departments within an organization, from marketing to software development and everything in between, have to keep privacy regulations in mind and tweak their workflows accordingly.

In this article, we will discuss the steps developers can take to stay compliant with these regulations.

Understanding the Rights under these Privacy Regulations

With more people concerned about their data rights, giving them complete control over their data is essential in today’s world. Under both GDPR and CCPA, the following list contains all the consumer’s rights concerning their data.

  • the right to be informed
  • the right of access
  • the right to rectification
  • the right to erasure
  • the right to restrict processing
  • the right to data portability
  • the right to object to processing
  • the rights concerning automated decision making and profiling

A consumer can practice these rights at any given time, and enterprises must fulfill these requests as soon as possible.

GDPR and CCPA realize that more and more consumer data is available online, which increases the cyber threat and invites other malicious activities. The genuine threat is why these regulations must protect the consumers’ data while dissuading any data breach instances or sprawl.

The risks for non-compliant businesses.

The European Union (EU) has a history of making an example out of companies that are non-compliant with its regulations. One of the EU’s most recent actions was against Google.

It all started in France when Google was accused of infringement regarding the essential principles of the GDPR: transparency, information, and consent. Myriah Jaworski, an attorney at Beckage PLLC, stated, “enforcement action was geared toward the way Google obtained consent.”

Google did not present how and why an individual’s data was collected and stored, nor did Google make it easily accessible. Due to this infringement of GDPR, Google was fined an amount of $57 million by the EU. But where is all the data? Did they destroy it? Did you get your data back?

Seeing what happened to an industry giant like Google, it is clear that no industry can get away with GDPR or CDPR non-compliance. They will be fined — but they have the money. What about YOU? What about your company???

In order to stay safe, developers in an organization must be well-versed in all the regulations and build their websites, apps, and software with compliance in mind.

CCPA vs. GDPR: What’s the Difference?

While both laws serve to protect the individual’s rights, there are some differences between the two regulations. The following are the significant differences between the two laws.

  • Who Needs to Comply

The GDPR has a broad scope concerning who has to stay compliant with the law. The GDPR covers all EU citizens and regulates all organizations that collect and store personal information of EU citizens irrespective of their location and size.

In contrast, the CCPA places constraints on the size of organizations that need to comply. It applies to organizations with $25 million or more in annual revenue; or possess the personal data of more than 50,000 “consumers, households, or devices,” or earn more than half of its yearly income selling consumers’ data. 

  • Financial Penalties

The GDPR mandates penalties based on non-compliance and data breaches. These penalties can reach up to 4% of the company’s annual global revenues, or 20 million euros (whichever amount is higher), with the commitment that administrative levies will be applied proportionately. CCPA fines are not cumulative but instead are applied per violation, reaching up to $2,500 per unintentional violation and $7,500 per intentional violation, with no upper cap. 

  • Consumer Rights

Both regulations give the consumer specific rights that they can exercise. Some of these rights include the right to have information deleted or accessed. The GDPR specifically focuses on all the data related to European Union consumers, whereas the CCPA considers both consumers and households as identifiable entities. Businesses need to test their processes and ensure they can accommodate these rights.

  • Use of Encryption

The clauses on encryption in both laws constitute an area that, although similar, still have some differences. Both laws call for access to data encryption, making this an essential part of businesses’ privacy protection components.

Steps Towards Compliance: How Developers can Comply with CCPA and GDPR.

Developers are the frontline infantry in this struggle towards compliance because websites and mobile apps are the first interactions a consumer will have with an organization. It is essential to cover all your bases from the get-go to make the compliance workflow as smooth and efficient as possible. Let’s take a look at the steps developers can take to comply with each regulation.

How Developers can Comply with CCPA? 5 easy steps

  1. Data Mapping

To stay compliant, developers need to integrate proper data mapping techniques into their systems. The law dictates that organizations should be fully aware of all the data they collect; this refers to what is collected, stored, and how it flows through the organization. Some operational suggestions would include designating a single source of truth, maintaining lineage, and tracking all organization data.

2. Inform Your Consumers

To comply with the CCPA, organizations will need the capability to fulfill data subject access requests (DSAR). Your website must show the consumer what data it will collect and how it will be collected. Developers can work with privacy officers to create a standard privacy notice for the website or an abbreviated pop-up policy at the point the data is collected.

3. Verify Queries

Organizations will be met with a flurry of requests from consumers exercising their rights under these regulations. Developers need to create a system by which the consumer can be authenticated, and the correct information can be given to them. To streamline this process, developers can create a dedicated email account for requests and design workflows for verification purposes.

4. Data Minimization and Purpose Limiting

When collecting data, organizations need to make sure that the data is only used where necessary. To ensure that, developers can create forms that only require minimum information (data minimization). Organizations can make sure that internally used data is in line with privacy policies (purpose limitation).

5. Data Security

Under the CCPA, organizations are required to protect the data an organization keeps about a specific individual. Although not explicitly mentioned, it is beneficial for organizations to encrypt data to prevent further compromise after any data breaches.

Developers can ensure security by implementing robust applications that offer end-to-end encryption and protect your consumers’ data.

How Can Developers Comply with GDPR? Five Easy Steps

  1. Efficiently store data

The way an organization stores data can be the difference between compliance and non-compliance under the GDPR. Developers need to ensure that minimal data is being derived from consumers to reduce liability. Secondly, only store the data that is necessary for your processes. Lastly, implement DSAR tools in your storage to efficiently respond to subject data access requests.

2. Subject Access Requests

Developers need to integrate a system that can map all the data in the data stores and make them easily accessible when consumers request access to the company’s data, even complete deletion.

3. Contacting Users

Under the GDPR, an organization can not assume consent, and it must be asked for. If you’re working on a feature that will trigger an email or another message to be sent to users, you will need to integrate it with your organization’s consent tooling and check if you already have a consent channel for your use case. This will likely take the form of some source-of-truth database and an API that you can query before sending messages.

4. Profiling

Profiling is the use of data to personalize a customer’s experience. To be compliant with GDPR, organizations should have a clear way for users to opt-out of profiling. The only important thing for developers to understand what counts as profiling and respecting a users’ choice before implementing any form of personalization.

5. Rewrite your Privacy Policy

The GDPR has brought several amendments to the current structure of any organization. The IT group is essential for organizations to revamp their privacy policies according to the GDPR. In this case, developers can integrate the privacy policy into company websites or as a pop-up to comply with the GDPR right to notice.

Key Takeaway

The CCPA and GDPR are revolutionizing the data privacy sector, and organizations must comply with these regulations. Developers and marketers alike will have to find new ways to comply with these regulations without efficiently hindering their current performance. Developers need to integrate automation to create a streamlined approach to compliance throughout the organization.

Image Credit: andrea piacquadio; pexels

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Most Common Difficulties Confronted by Android App Developers

difficulties android apps

While creating portable apps, organizations target Android because of its gigantic overall versatile working framework piece of the pie. Alphabet in order has made Android accessible as an open-source versatile stage for everyone, including Android App Developers. Additionally, it refreshes the versatile working framework at normal stretches with new highlights and upgrades. Yet, the infiltration pace of individual adaptations of the portable working framework contrasts. Here are the most common difficulties confronted by Android App developers.

Alphabet set doesn’t manage the Android phones, tablets, and phablets fabricated by different organizations.

Henceforth, the gadgets fabricated by various organizations accompany changing equipment highlights regardless of being controlled by a similar adaptation of Android. That is why it gets fundamental for developers to manufacture versatile apps by focusing on a wide scope of gadgets controlled by various Android adaptations.

While arranging, creating, and testing the portable app, they have to zero in widely on its availability, usefulness, execution, convenience, and security of the versatile app to keep the clients connected, paying little mind to their decision of Android gadget. Additionally, they have to investigate approaches to make the app convey customized client experience across shifting gadgets and working framework rendition. They further need to address various normal difficulties in building up a hearty Android app.

Understanding the seven common difficulties confronted by Android App developers.

1) Software Fragmentation

As referenced before, the market share of individual renditions of Android varies. As per the latest details shared by Google, the recent edition of its portable working framework – Android 10 – has a piece of the overall industry lower than its ancestors – Pie, Oreo, Nougat, Marshmallow, Lollipop, and KitKat. Each new form of Android accompanies a few new highlights and improvements.

The Android App developers need to remember explicit highlights for the app to cause it to convey the ideal client experience by exploiting these new highlights. Simultaneously, they likewise need to guarantee that the app conveys a rich and customized client experience on gadgets fuelled by more established Android renditions. The developers need to focus on different forms of Android to make the application famous and productive in the short run.

2) Varying Hardware Features

Dissimilar to other versatile working frameworks, Android is open-source. Alphabet set permits gadget producers to redo its working framework, as indicated by their particular needs. Likewise, it doesn’t manage the Android gadgets dispatched by different makers. Henceforth, the gadgets accompany shifting equipment highlights regardless of being controlled by a similar form of Android.

For example, two gadgets controlled by Android Nougat may contrast from one another in the classification of show screen size, goal, camera, and other equipment highlights. While building up an Android app, the developers need to guarantee that it conveys customized understanding to every client by getting to all equipment highlights of his gadget.

3) No Uniform User Interface Designing Processor Rules

Google has not delivered any regular (UI) planning cycle or rules for the portable app developers. Henceforth, most developers fabricate Android apps without observing any standard UI advancement cycle or rules. When the developers make custom UI interfaces in their own specific manner, the apps don’t look or capacity reliably across various gadgets. The contrariness and a decent variety of the UI influence the Android app’s client experience legitimately.

The savvy developers pick responsive design to keep the UI reliable across numerous gadgets. Additionally, the developers need to test the UI of their portable app completely by consolidating both genuine gadgets and emulators. However, frequently developers think it’s overwhelming to structure a UI that makes the app look steady across different Android gadgets.

4) API Incompatibility

Most developers utilize outsider APIs to improve the portable app’s usefulness and interoperability. Be that as it may, the nature of outsider APIs accessible for Android app developers’ contrasts. Some APIs are intended for a specific rendition of Android. Subsequently, these APIs don’t deal with gadgets controlled by various renditions of the versatile working framework.

The Android App developers need to investigate approaches to make a solitary API take a shot at various Android forms. Yet, they frequently think that it’s difficult to make the app work easily on various Android gadgets with a similar APIs arrangement.

5) Security Flaws

Its open-source nature makes it simpler for gadget makers to modify Android as indicated by their particular needs. In any case, the transparency and its enormous piece of the overall industry made Android powerless against continuous security assaults. There are numerous cases when the security of a great many Android gadgets has been affected by security imperfections or bugs like Stagefright, ‘Certifi-entryway’ mRST, FakeID, Installer Hijacking, and TowelRoot.

The developers need to incorporate strong security highlights in the application and utilize the most recent encryption instrument to keep the client data secure despite focused security assaults and Android security defects.

6) Android Search Engine Visibility

The most recent information posted on different site delineate that Google Play Store has a higher number of versatile apps than Apple App Store. Likewise, a huge level of Android gadget clients favors free apps over paid apps. Subsequently, the developers need to advance their versatile apps forcefully to achieve higher download numbers and actualize app adaptation alternatives.

They likewise need to execute a thorough computerized showcasing system to advance the app by focusing on the most applicable clients. Numerous developers need to profit from the administrations of computerized advertising experts to advance their apps forcefully.

7) Patent Issues

The clients have the choice to look over a few Android apps offering indistinguishable highlights and functionalities. In any case, Android App Developers frequently think that it’s overwhelming to fabricate apps with novel highlights and usefulness. They regularly remember the app’s highlights and functionalities that make it like various apps accessible in a similar class in the Play store.

In contrast to Apple, Google doesn’t actualize tough rules to assess new apps’ nature submitted to its app store. The absence of normalized quality evaluation rules frequently makes developers address issues identified with the patents. A few developers need to structure and adjust their apps in the future to evade patent issues.

Most Android app developers these days work in dexterous advancement condition to assemble Android apps quickly. They need to facilitate reliably with QA experts and effectively take an interest in the versatile app testing measure. Henceforth, the developers likewise need to address various regular issues in Android app testing.

Read more about what’s wrong with Smart Home Apps and the top 10 iPhone Novelty Apps to know more about it.

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