Categories
revenue streams Startups websites

How to Create Multiple Revenue Streams in a Tech Startup

multiple revenue streams

Revenue is the lifeblood of your tech startup. Without a stream of income, you won’t be able to cover your most basic expenses, including your team members’ salaries and your office lease. But too many startup tech entrepreneurs focus on a single revenue stream—a primary source of income that will exclusively sustain the business.

This model won’t necessarily doom your startup to failure. Many successful businesses have grown thanks to the money and power derived from a single product line. However, if you want a better chance of success, it’s important to develop multiple streams of revenue.

Why Are Multiple Revenue Streams So Valuable?

First, let’s explore the importance of multiple revenue streams. Setting up multiple streams of income for your business can help in a variety of ways:

  • Higher gross income. Revenue streams tend to stack additively, so long as they don’t compete with each other. If you’re making $100,000 from your main product line, and $25,000 from each of four different secondary revenue streams, you can essentially double your income. Obviously, you’ll have to consider the costs of these strategies as well; additional revenue streams often require more time and money to keep going. However, overall, your business will be making a higher profit.
  • Diversification and protection. You’ve likely heard the advice to “diversify your portfolioâ€� of investments. This is often recommended to investors because it has a protective benefit. If you invest all your money in a single asset and that asset fails, you’ll stand to lose everything. But if you invest your money in a variety of different assets and a single asset fails, you’ll lose very little. When setting up multiple revenue streams for your business, you’ll be achieving something similar; if you ever see a marked decline of customer interest or if one of your revenue streams is no longer relevant, you’ll have the others to fall back on. This can help you get through a rough patch, or keep the business alive long enough to pivot it to a completely new model.
  • Improved consistency. Generally, businesses with multiple revenue streams tend to operate more consistently than their single-stream counterparts. Most monetization strategies suffer from some level of inconsistency; they rise and fall in line with consumer demand, competition, or other market conditions. But if you have many different streams responsible for generating revenue for your business, there will be less volatility to contend with; you can count on more predictable results.
  • Exposure to new markets. Developing new revenue streams forces you to expose the business to new opportunities and new market segments. Depending on your actions, you may learn that there’s a more valuable demographic for your business to target, or more lucrative opportunities available for your brand. The more you learn, the better you’ll be able to refine your strategies—whether they’re “mainâ€� or “secondaryâ€� lines of revenue.
  • Opportunities to take risks. Finally, creating multiple revenue streams affords your business more opportunities to take risks. When you have many different revenue streams supporting the company, you can take bigger risks in your main line of products; if something goes wrong, you can always fall back on your secondary revenue sources. Each new revenue source is also an opportunity to take risks; you can gamble everything on a small offering from your company, and not sweat a total loss in this area.

Step 1: Identify Areas for Monetization

The first and most important step is to identify new areas for monetization. To create multiple streams of revenue, you need multiple ways of making money.

In the tech world, there are countless opportunities for monetization. For example:

  • Core products and services. For starters, there are your core products and services. You might sell specific products to individuals, or ongoing subscription services to companies all over the world. This is your “bread and butter,â€� and the reason for your company’s existence. Most of the time, it’s your biggest source of revenue and the most important stream to keep alive.
  • Side products and services. Over time, you might develop new products and services that don’t fit with your mainline but may still be valuable to your company. For example, you might develop a new app that doesn’t fit your main brand but could be valuable to thousands of potential customers.
  • Advertising. If you have lots of people visiting your website or downloading your app, you may be able to monetize that traffic with the help of advertising. You can earn money for each person who clicks on the ads on the side of your app or webpage and make little to no ongoing effort to sustain it. Just be aware that some consumers find ads to be a turnoff, and this could hurt their image of your brand. Search volatility from Google could also have an impact on predictable revenue.
  • Affiliate links. Similar to advertising, you could host affiliate links. The idea here is to send some of your visitors/customers to an external site to make a purchase. If they complete a purchase successfully, you’ll earn a portion of the proceeds as a kickback.
  • Premium content. Your business could also get in the side business of creating premium content. Chances are, your team carries expertise in some field. Why not channel that expertise into a series of eBooks, audiobooks, podcasts, and other forms of content? People will pay good money for good content.
  • Classes and education. Similarly, you might develop an online course, a series of tutorials, or some other educative pathway.
  • Branded merchandise. If you have a lot of fans, you might be able to generate revenue with the development of branded merchandise. It can also double as a form of advertisement, exposing you to new customers.

These are just some of the ways you can build extra revenue streams for your business. Take the time to brainstorm and come up with even more unique ideas.

Step 2: Establish Priorities

Once you have a few ideas for possible alternative revenue streams, you should take the time to establish your priorities as a business. How important are the following?

  • The idea of the brand. Will your brand be tainted in any way by adding new revenue streams or changing the business?
  • Total revenue generation. How important is it to make lots of money?
  • Scalability. Do you need to make sure your business is agile and focused enough to scale over time?
  • Stability. How important is it that your business remains stable and predictable throughout its operations?

These priorities should help you determine how many revenue streams to add, how quickly to add them, and how they should fit with your core products and services.

Step 3: Experiment

From there, you’ll be ready to experiment. Not all your additional revenue streams will pan out exactly the way you imagine, so you should be prepared for some surprise hits and surprise failures. Play with a handful of different options, and tinker with the variables. Take consistent measurements, so you understand the ROI for each strategy, and optimize your approach accordingly. If you run multiple websites, experimentation may include trying multiple content management systems or experimenting on the types of content or ads you run to optimize conversions.

Step 4: Consolidate

Over time, you’ll learn which of your revenue streams are the most profitable and least profitable. You’ll discover new ideas that put your initial ideas to shame, and you’ll find that some of your streams begin to eclipse the others. Take in all this information and consolidate your revenue streams. Create a business model that falls in line with your priorities and be prepared for adjustments in the future.

Creating a business with multiple revenue streams can be challenging, especially if you’re having difficulty getting a single revenue stream consistently running. However, it’s often the best long-term move for your business. Take some time early on to consider the possibilities, and explore different strategies that could add value to your brand.

The post How to Create Multiple Revenue Streams in a Tech Startup appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
bad credit card habits credit card debt credit card usage financial get rid of bad debt ReadWrite

How to Break Your Credit/Debit Card Bad Habits

bad credit card habits

We can all slide into questionable habits. Eating a second helping of pumpkin pie. Overdoing it at the gym on the weekend. Not flossing every night. Most of these habits aren’t too serious and won’t have long term ramifications. However, falling into undesirable money patterns is another story. Here is how to break your credit card bad habits.

Americans get an awful rap for their lack of financial literacy. Yet that doesn’t mean all is lost if money seems to slip through your fingers like water.

Whether you prefer debit cards or credit cards, the following strategies will help you get back on track.

If you’ve lost a sense of perspective over your personal money management, regain control by taking a few steps.

Keep an account of your spending for a month.

It’s hard to stay on top of your finances if you’re unsure exactly where you’re making missteps. For the next month, write down everything you buy. Your list will include everything from your rent payment to the energy bar you purchased after getting gas for your car.

When the month is up, you will have a solid snapshot of where most of your money is going. Don’t be surprised to find out that you make a lot of impulse buys. Retailers are set up to tempt shoppers with at-the-counter items. Don’t be too hard on yourself as you look over your spending information. Instead, use it to guide you as you move to the next phases of improving your financial management.

Check your bank account amounts daily.

If you haven’t already started to check your credit or debit card accounts daily, add it into your routine. Seeing how money is being spent every 24 hours can give you a better picture of your transactional ebb and flow.

A side benefit of diligently checking your accounts is the opportunity to catch mistakes. For instance, if you see a suspicious charge on your card, you can call your financial institution immediately. The sooner you address those types of concerns, the less effect they’ll have on your stress level.

Put daily spending limits on your debit card.

Did you know that banks can allow you to set up specific daily spending limits on your account? In fact, most banks do this anyway, with limits ranging from $500 to more than $3,000. However, you don’t have to wait for your bank to set your spending budget. You can do it yourself.

A spending budget doesn’t mean that you can’t pay off an emergency bill, such as for payment for a new furnace installation in the wintertime. You just have to call your financial institution first and authorize the larger charge. Having a ceiling on what you know, you can spend each day will help you be more thoughtful about what you purchase.

Set aside a percentage of your income automatically.

Chances are strong that you have your paycheck delivered right into your bank account. With the right type of account, you can set up automatic disbursements of some of these funds to other accounts.

Here’s an example of this working: Let’s say you receive $500 from your employer. You can arrange to have 10%, or $50 moved into a savings account like clockwork. You won’t have to do anything. You’ll just see the money go from place to place when you’re checking your accounts every day. Just make sure you don’t touch your savings account. Rather, let it accrue, so you have a nest egg.

Avoid maxing out your credit cards.

You just heard from your credit card company. Your spending limit has been raised to $3,000. The first thought in your mind? Now you can upgrade to the new smartphone you’ve wanted. But is maxing out your card the right move?

Accounting pros say “no,� because having very little wiggle room in your credit cards increases your credit utilization rate. And that affects your credit score. Ideally, you want to make sure that your credit utilization ratio remains at a healthy, low level. Save maxing out your credit cards for true instances where you have no choice but to use the card.

Think twice before adding authorized users to any credit card.

It’s hard to say no when a loved one or best friend asks to be added as an authorized user on one of your credit cards. This can make sense if, say, you’re married to the person. On the other hand, you must be certain that the other user will not end up causing a negative impact on you credit-wise.

Before ever agreeing to allow someone else to use your credit card, know their credit score. Understand their relationship with money. Are they responsible? Do they pay their bills on time? If you’re not 100% sure, you probably shouldn’t give them the keys to your credit.

Pay down your credit cards quickly.

When you receive your credit card statement each month, you’ll see a minimum payment obligation listed. Instead of paying that amount, try always to pay substantially more. What’s the issue with paying at the minimum level? You’ll accrue lots of interest and end up losing money month after month.

Ideally, you shouldn’t carry any balances on your credit cards unless you’ve negotiated a zero-interest, limited-time offer. The faster you can pay down your credit, the more money you’ll keep for yourself.

Call your credit card company to ask for a lower interest rate.

After diligently paying down your credit and getting on top of your finances for six months to a year, call your credit card issuer. Ask if you qualify for a lower interest rate. Then, wait to see what the representative says.

You might be surprised at how often credit card companies are willing to reward you for paying on time. They’re in a competitive industry, after all, and don’t want to lose your business. The worst thing they can say is no, which only means you should try again in the future.

Conclusion

Breaking bad financial habits doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient and persistent. Before you know it, you’ll be the master of your money.

Image Credit: anna shvets; pexels

The post How to Break Your Credit/Debit Card Bad Habits appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
remote work startup startup remote work Startups success remote work

How to Optimize a Startup for Remote Work

startup remote work

Increasingly, startups are adopting a fully remote work model. With no headquarters, no central office, and no physical location for operations, startups rely entirely on digital forms of production and communication. Here is how to optimize a startup for remote work.

It’s a viable model and potentially a very profitable, efficient, and fulfilling one for everyone involved. But if you want to be successful, it’s not enough to simply adopt a remote work strategy—you have to optimize your startup for remote work.

Why Remote Work?

Remote work is in fashion these days, so many people already know the benefits — or at least some of the benefits. But if you want to make the most of your remote work optimization strategy, you should be familiar with the setup’s greatest strengths.

  • Lower costs. Naturally, working remotely allows a startup to save money. You won’t have to pay thousands of dollars per month to lease an office. You won’t have to pay for office supplies or utilities. And your employees can save money too—they won’t need to pay as much for transportation, parking, or attire (in most cases).
  • Bigger talent pool. Operating remotely also gives you access to a wider talent pool. Without a central location, you can feasibly hire employees from all over the world. That means you’ll have a much higher likelihood of finding the right person for each role on your team.
  • Higher productivity. Studies show that people who work from home tend to be more productive than their counterparts in traditional workplaces. There are many proposed explanations for this effect, including greater employee comfort, fewer distractions, or even a sense of pressure to perform—so employees can retain the perceived benefit.
  • Finally, remote work affords employees and employers with significant flexibility. Without a central office, consistent hours become less of a concern, and people feel more capable of utilizing a wide range of communication tools—rather than heading to the meeting room every time someone has a question or comment.

Of course, there are some downsides to remote work as well. For example, communication can be more challenging, you won’t benefit from the physical presence and brand exposure of an office building, and over time, your employees may suffer from burnout and/or loneliness. However, you can compensate for these with the right remote work optimization strategy.

The Nature of Remote Work Optimization

Remote work optimization is all about restructuring your business in a way that makes remote work even more efficient. It’s a way to play to the strengths of remote work while minimizing the weaknesses.

Note that remote work optimization isn’t just about making your business functional in a remote work environment. Many businesses transition to a remote work model in an overly straightforward and seemingly efficient way — but it’s the wrong way. In this approach, businesses simply take operations as they know them in a traditional work environment and shoehorn them into a remote work mold. It’s like fitting a square-shaped peg into a circle-shaped hole.

In this inefficient model, you might translate all previous in-person meetings into video conferences. You might make all employees work 9 to 5 like usual. You might even have lunch breaks at the exact same time and in the exact same way.

But if you want to achieve your true potential as an organization, you need to take a different approach. You need to structure your organization with remote work in mind, rethinking or restructuring work aspects from a fundamental level.

Key Principles for Success

How can you do this?

  • Build a remote organization from the ground up. As a short-term, duct-tape style fix, it’s okay to create a remote work environment based on your traditional approach to work. But as a long-term fix, this is much harder to pull off successfully. Instead, tear down everything and try to rebuild from the ground up. With no traditions or expectations to fulfill, does it really make sense to have this daily meeting? Is there a better system of communication and collaboration that you can create?
  • Prioritize digital visibility. Without a physical office, you’re not going to have much of a ground presence. That means you’ll be almost exclusively reliant on digital strategies for increasing visibility (like search engine optimization—SEO). Fortunately, there’s no shortage of digital marketing strategies to choose from, and many of them are highly cost-efficient. Try using a combination of content marketing, SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, and other digital outlets to make up the difference.
  • Invest in the right tools. Without the office to bring people together, your team will rely on digital tools to accomplish their tasks, including communicating with other workers. Your choice of tools will dictate your team’s success; intuitive, efficient, functional tools will increase productivity, while inefficient, clunky ones can make remote work practically impossible. Don’t be afraid to invest a little more to get the right tools for your team.
  • Embrace minimalism. That said, it’s possible to go overboard. If your team is overloaded with apps to use and tools to leverage, it’s going to be more of a burden than a help. It’s important to invest in good tools, but those tools should also be minimal and streamlined. There’s no reason to add a new tool to a system that works perfectly well as is.
  • Rethink basic assumptions. Take the time to question and rethink even your most basic assumptions about work. For example, is the 9 to 5 workday really the optimal way for your team to spend their time? Are emails truly the most viable mode of consistent communication?

Hours and Compensation

One of the most important areas to consider is how your employees spend their hours. In many roles, the sheer number of hours a person spends doesn’t really matter. They have a set of responsibilities and a set of tasks to accomplish; as long as they accomplish these, they shouldn’t need to spend a certain number of hours or be present at certain hours of the day.

Many workplaces can afford to grant workers some flexibility in this regard. You may allow employees to set their own hours, or at least be accommodating with occasional deviations from the standard schedule. You may even change how you compensate employees, accordingly, paying them based on what they accomplish, rather than with a set salary or on an hourly basis.

Communication

Communication can make or break your remote team’s productivity, so it needs to be one of your biggest areas for development. Utilize many different communication channels, including things like email, project management platforms, video chats, phone calls, and instant message platforms. Each channel has strengths and weaknesses, so using many platforms simultaneously can balance.

However, you should know that while technology can solve many communication problems, it can also introduce some problems of its own. Scrutinize your communication channels carefully, and be careful not to overwhelm employees with too many apps or too many notifications.

Security

Working remotely introduces new security risks, so you’ll need to adjust your standards and procedures. Document new security policies for all employees to follow, and educate them on best practices like network connectivity and password management. Additionally, you’ll need to invest in tools like VPNs and firewalls to ensure your remote organization remains secure.

Feedback and Ongoing Changes

If you want to maximize productivity, efficiency, and morale in your remote organization, you’ll need to commit to making ongoing changes. Your initial systems and procedures won’t be perfect, and the only way to accommodate and improve those imperfections is to evolve.

Collect feedback from your employees to get a feel for how your remote work changes are playing out in practice. They may have suggestions for further changes to make or complaints about specific tools or setups. Listen to these notes and be prepared to address them, one way or another.

Optimizing a tech startup for remote work is much more than just saying goodbye to the office. If you want to succeed in this increasingly popular and competitive space, it’s important to take your strategic planning seriously.

Image Credit: anna shvets; pexels

The post How to Optimize a Startup for Remote Work appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
AI-banking Banking OCR ReadWrite

AI-Based OCR Technology Revolutionizing the Banking Sector

ai banking

The advent of technology has brought convenience to life. Believe it or not, survival without technology is one of the darkest thoughts that can cross your mind in the digital era. The world has become a global village thanks to rapid digitization, but it has also opened doors for many fraudsters to step in and terrify people.

Organizations in every sector are unsafe due to increasing ransomware and data breaches. Considering the increasing number of frauds, companies opt for robust verification systems with OCR technology to only onboard legitimate customers. These systems allow enterprises to filter fraudsters before becoming a problem for the customers and the company.

The banking sector works like a goldmine for fraudsters and faces huge losses due to money laundering, identity theft, and several other frauds. The governments of different states have also enforced stringent know your customer and anti-money laundering regulations.

Complying with these regulations is a challenge without a sound verification system. For the same reason, organizations are adding OCR technology for efficient data extraction. Complying with the ever-growing regulatory burden and seamless customer onboarding is becoming simpler for the banks now.

The question is, what is OCR, and how does it work? How are banks benefitting from it? Keep reading to find out the answers to your questions.

What is Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is an advanced technology that helps businesses and individuals extract document information more accurately and in a matter of seconds. An OCR software helps individuals extract data from documents and convert it into a machine-readable format that can be further used.

OCR has been in action for a while now, but organizations have started to recognize its need for the past few years. It has become an essential part of organizational operations now for the sake of convenience. According to some reports, the global OCR market will reach $70 million by the end of 2030.

Undoubtedly, this is the result of technological advancements. Enterprises are significantly benefitting from OCR technology and providing a remarkable experience to their customers. Furthermore, companies are using this technology for verification purposes and fraud prevention.

How Does AI-Based OCR Technology Work?

Previously, extracting data and converting it into machine-friendly language was a challenging job. It used to take hours to verify one document and gave the workers a hard time. Guaranteeing the accuracy of the job was impossible due to human errors.

With optical character recognition, the scenarios have changed with the time-efficient process and accurate results. An artificial intelligence-based OCR technology works for fetching data and converting it into a machine-friendly language.

Pre Processing

Preprocessing aims to ease the character distinguishing process for the OCR. OCR comprehends images in a multidimensional array; therefore, the document image is optimized with techniques like deskewing, normalization, binarization, etc., in preprocessing.

Once techniques are applied for differentiating the text from the background, the OCR extracts texts from the fed image. It fills the form using AI algorithms that identify the document template.

Data Extraction

Afterimage optimization, data from the document is extracted in two parts – segmentation and feature extraction. For segmentation, the deep learning neural networks are used for detecting templates and defined segments from the document. After identification, the software extracts features from the document.

For example, in an online bank registration form, segments for the name, date of birth, etc., are identified and filled with respective data.

Post Processing

Once data extraction is complete, organizations have to comprehend whether the extracted data is correct or not. The extraction of wrong data can be lethal for companies dealing with sensitive information. For instance, incorrect extraction of account number can result in a loss for the bank. Hence, the post-processing stage deals with data verification through NLP techniques.

Advantages of OCR for the Banking Sector

The banking sector is prone to financial crimes, like money laundering and account takeover fraud. OCR technology can significantly help the banking sector identify fraudsters because the software checks for any unauthorized documents. Here are the most compelling ones with numerous benefits of optical character recognition software in the banking sector.

Brings Convenience to the Verification Process

The world of technology is bringing convenience to every industry, and AI-based OCR simplifies the verification process, especially in banks. Employees do not have to invest the effort to extract data from every document and verify it for legitimacy. Everything relies on the software, and employees oversee any discrepancies in the technology. While manual processes consume days for one customer’s verification, OCR takes a few minutes to do the job.

Optical Character Recognition Optimizes Time

In the manual data extraction and processing method, verification requires at least a week. An employee has to cater to the queries of the customer first. Then, it checks the documents carefully and extracts relevant data. Once extracted, it is converted into machine-readable language.

However, an AI-based optical character recognition fetches data, converts it into machine-friendly form, and completes the process in seconds. Hence, employees can optimize time for verification.

Reduces Cost of Verification

Previously, firms used to hire a team for verifying every customer for onboarding. Furthermore, the equipment required for verification purposes was uncountable. With the introduction of artificially intelligent OCR, banks have saved many costs for hiring and acquiring equipment. Hence, OCR not only saves time, but it is also cost-efficient, especially for the banking sector.

Legitimate Customer Onboarding

Getting in touch with fraudsters is easier since they are also using sophisticated methods for their evil desires. Forged documents are common these days, and manual verification cannot identify tampered documents. Hence, banks need something more stringent than simple document analysis. This where optical character recognition steps in and saves the day for the banking industry.

The technology can detect forged documents in seconds, making it simpler for banks to filter fraudsters before they cause any trouble. Moreover, onboarding legitimate customers is not a problem anymore, and the customer experience is not compromised.

OCR Technology Makes Fraud Prevention Easier

Money laundering, account takeover fraud, open banking, virtual currencies, and tax evasion are some of the frauds that the banking sector faces every year. According to Statista, the UK has closed two-thirds of bank branches in the last 30 years, the US has closed nearly 9000 branches, and Europe has shutdown 6000 branches due to banking frauds, especially in digital banking.

Preventing fraud is becoming a challenge for all banks globally. Combating these crimes is now possible with OCR. Banks can now onboard legitimate customers, and verifying everyone means there are no fraudsters to increase hassles for the banks.

Complying with KYC/AML Compliance

States worldwide are enforcing stringent KYC/AML regulations, and complying with these regulations is nearly impossible without a robust verification system. An optical character recognition technology is enabling banks to comply with these laws in a better way.

Wrapping It Up

Frauds in the digital world are rapidly increasing, and fraudsters’ primary target is the financial institutions. Protecting banks from account takeover frauds, identity theft, and data breaches is becoming complicated since criminals enhance their strategies.

Moreover, regulatory authorities across the globe have enforced strict laws for KYC and AML, and complying with these regulations is another big hassle. The traditional verification method is time-consuming and costly too. The introduction of optical character recognition technology has made it convenient for banks to prevent fraud, comply with the regulations, save time and cost, and onboard legitimate clients only.

The post AI-Based OCR Technology Revolutionizing the Banking Sector appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
AI AI Technology Algorithm artificial intelligence ReadWrite Tech

Sports Betting and AI: The Ultimate Gamble

ai sports betting

Sports bettors and bookmakers are always looking for an edge. Sports betting is a massive industry that has grown exponentially over the last couple of years with legal expansion in US markets. In the United States, growth has already exceeded expectations. Here are sports betting and AI — the ultimate gamble.

Sports Betting

According to ESPN Chalk, since the Supreme Court passed the decision to let states individually handle sports betting, over 20 billion dollars has moved through US sportsbooks.

With that much money on the line, the sportsbooks want the most accurate information they can get so they can set the closest lines possible. Sports betters wish to be able to have enough information to be able to spot advantageous lines. An advantageous line is a spot where the sportsbooks may have missed something, or the public or sharp money pushed the line into a now favorable position.

With machine learning and artificial intelligence, the next step in information aggregation is obvious: AI. In short, it’s all about stats.

Betting on sports isn’t all just you against the bookies. Football Index, which uses StatsPerform A.I., describes itself as a football stock market. They compile market-leading data to help people around the world buy and sell shares of footballers. Their idea of using AI-powered, stats-driven data gives people a much better look at players and whether they want to buy into them or not.

Before, all the average person had to go on was media mentions and what they saw in the games they could watch. But most of us don’t have the time to track every stat and do a comparative situational analysis of each, along with historical data and how it compares not only to different situations but different players.

Football Index also uses StatsPerform’s AI to power their matchday rankings and in-play dividends. So, Football Index has created an interesting new market-take on predictive sports analytics.

Machine Learning

STATS VQ is a newer machine learning system that sportsbooks use to create player props lines based on historical data of individual performance.

“STATS collects the richest sports data globally and transforms it through revolutionary AI to unlock the past, present, and future of everything sport. The pioneer of live sports data, STATS, continues to speed innovation in the industry with AutoSTATS, the first-ever AI-powered technology to collect comprehensive sports data from any television broadcast.� AP News.

It isn’t just Vegas books and offshore outlets that utilize artificial intelligence for sports betting purposes.

Savvy handicappers have been aggregating data to create models for years and years. Now, with the ease of access to powerful computer programs, similar data can be run in simulations thousands of times in a short period to figure out the most likely outcomes.

Sites like SportsLine and Oddshark tout their computer prediction models. The picks to win on the money lines are usually pretty accurate, but it gets a little tougher when it comes to point spreads.

For example, in Oddsshark’s last 100 NFL computer predictions, they have won 62 and lost 38, but with “favorite” prices, this doesn’t mean there has been a profit. ATS, Oddshark’s AI is only 49-48-3. So, if you consider a -110 average price, their computer models are not profitable.

In my opinion, computer picks are quite useful as a barometer.

So, computer picks are quite useful as a barometer — but without the human touch, they are almost worthless. Things like momentum and personal issues are hard to quantify.

Statistical analysis is nothing new. It’s what we handicappers and sportsbook operators have always used to build prediction models. But AI takes data aggregation to a new level. NBA Teams started using AI a while back to learn more about their players’ habits.

Speaking of players, here’s where it gets interesting and perhaps a little scary. Top sportsbooks use AI not only for running simulations based on historical data to set betting lines but to profile their players as well.

With proprietary algorithms, sportsbooks can track and monitor their players’ actions and go back through the historical data to create models on how their players (us) will react to the lines they set. They’ll pay particular attention to the time a wager is made, how line movements affect wagers, who is making the wagers (what type of player: bankroll, betting history, etc.) to build profiles.

With this information, they can adjust from traditional betting lines that are designed to land right in the middle to more profitable betting lines that are set based on a desired and expected reaction from bettors. So, it’s important to keep this in mind as you are looking over the betting lines. Has a line been inflated or deflated to get you to react a certain way?

Having your own power ratings even more important.

You should already know what the point spread should be on a given game before even checking the opening lines. This way, the sportsbooks can’t manipulate your actions as easily. Because you can choose to opt-out of any betting lines that don’t hold a clear advantage.

A.I. is changing the sports betting industry in many ways. But it’s all just data when it comes down to it, and sports analytics are nothing new. There are so many intangibles that a computer cannot pick up on that a human touch will always be needed, at least for the foreseeable future of sports predictions. So, fear not.

AI in the sports world.

It should also be noted that what is commonly referred to as AI in the sports world isn’t really artificial intelligence, at least not in most cases. It’s more of a marketing ploy. For it to be actual AI, the program would have to be able to learn and adapt without interference from the programmers. Essentially it would have to be able to write its own programming as it evolves. Simply put, aggregation of data and simulations does not equal the definition of artificial intelligence.

If you really want to beat the bookmakers, people should focus on algorithmic models that focus on finding the consistent patterns of when and where the bookmakers tend to set the betting lines inconsistently. Instead of focusing on a specific sport or data related to certain teams, focus on specific linemakers and exactly when they make errors.

Remember it is not the public, sport, game, or other teams you’re betting against; it’s the bookmaker and the line they set. So, if we can effectively profile them, the way they try to profile us, we can once again gain an advantage as bettors.

The post Sports Betting and AI: The Ultimate Gamble appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
deskless mobile-workforce ReadWrite remote workforce

Deskless Workers Deserve Better Tech

remote mobile worker

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned traditional office life on its head as desk-based employees prepare for a possible new normal of remote work. As more workers clock in from home, the demand for productivity and collaboration tools has skyrocketed. But as this technical revolution continues to run its course, not all workforces are experiencing the change.

Deskless workers such as field service technicians, home healthcare providers, delivery workers and construction workers make up 2.7 billion people of the global working population. And yet, this workforce is frequently ignored by software companies. These workers often have trouble properly doing their jobs with one-size-fits-all software solutions that need a consistent internet connection and are devoid of mobile-friendly capabilities.

As the pandemic continues, the deskless workforce will only continue to grow — CIOs predict the number of mobile workers will increase by 62% in the next 12 to 24 months.

To support these remote jobs — especially those considered essential during the pandemic. Essential workers are the decision-makers; employers must equip their frontline employees with tools that are built for each individual mobile work role.

Companies that fail to adapt technology to the needs of their deskless and other remote workforce, risk not only poor execution of mobile work services but also the loss of valuable employees.

Inadequate software results in lost productivity

Although there are software development efforts aimed at the mobile workforce, organizations still haven’t invested in these tools at the same rate as they’ve invested in tools for desk-based workers. A recent study found that most organizations continue to rely on legacy tools for mobile work, with only 39% reporting their remote workers use software built for their specific needs. Furthermore, only 13% of these companies say their deskless workers’ needs are met by the platforms designed for them.

While the adoption of software for remote workers has been slow, IT leaders recognize how this inaction has added friction to the mobile workforce. Legacy software tools are complex, and remote workers often need to use more than one tool in their daily workflows.

For example, if a software application isn’t adaptable to mobile, the mobile workforce will require a separate technology to complete a single job — an all too common occurrence for many in the workforce. In fact, 100% of CIOs admitted that their mobile workforce is required to use two or more software solutions in their daily operations, with 18% requiring at least five or more tools.

Eighty-six percent of IT leaders agree that this dearth of supporting technology disrupts mobile workforce productivity.

Another common bottleneck lies in accessibility — IT leaders said 63% of their mobile-remote workers can only use their productivity software if they have access to a computer.

Your mobile workforce is throwing away time, money, and productivity in their struggle to use software tools that aren’t the right fit for their jobs. And the majority of CIOs agree — 67% recognize that they need to support their mobile-phone, remote workers — with additional software.

Instead of stacking software tools on top of each other, businesses must shift their technology to operate under a single process platform.

With a single platform, you can centralize all necessary information and employee resources into one easily accessible, digital thread to empower workers in these worker-roles. By equipping mobile workers with what they need to execute their jobs properly, you can boost output and demonstrate empathy for the challenges they face in the field.

Purpose-built solutions support productivity

Workers in office-based, white-collar jobs can typically count on reliable internet connections as well as colleagues who will fill them in on the details from any meetings they miss. Mobile workers, on the other hand, don’t have the same luxuries — and the resulting disruptions can heavily impede their operational processes. To streamline workflows for your mobile-phone workforce, focus on a handful of crucial workflow capabilities:

  • Data recording: Mobile employees such as service technicians and in-home medical workers are often tasked with extensive administrative work in their day-to-day duties. Consider tools that enable workers to reduce the time they spend on administrative tasks by completing them onsite.With offline access to software tools, deskless workers can take notes while they’re out in the field and focus their time on more important tasks at hand. The time saved also allows workers to complete jobs more efficiently and ultimately drive down costs over time.
  • Schedule flexibility: COVID-19 has made it challenging to consistently schedule staff visits for specialized in-home services, especially if a worker needs a last-minute replacement due to a conflict. While completing service is vital for business, your employees shouldn’t feel guilty for not fulfilling an appointment their schedule doesn’t allow.Workers also shouldn’t be stretched to meet obligations that derail their work-life balance. Solutions with flexible scheduling capabilities help mitigate conflicts by mapping workforce and customer needs in real-time. Real-time tracking also reduces canceled appointments by making it easier to identify replacements for last-minute changes.
  • Consistent connectivity: Deskless workers often lack reliable internet connectivity. For example, wireless internet signals in rural areas — many of which rely on mobile workforce services — typically aren’t as strong as those in more urban areas.Gaps in connectivity can lead to costly setbacks in daily processes for workers in the field and raise safety concerns for in-home appointment services. To keep your mobile workers connected, consider leveraging tools that allow them to access resources online or offline at their convenience. The ability to search for directions, enter data, and correspond with fellow colleagues ensures a consistent workflow with minimal bottlenecks.
  • Employee safety and support: Being constantly on the move with a rigorous schedule can cause many deskless workers to feel burned out on the job. Because of this risk, managers require technology that helps them stay in close contact with mobile employees to ensure they’re heard, have the right protective equipment (especially during the pandemic) and are aligned on proper safety measures. You can also equip your managers with the technology to better navigate their relationships with direct reports. Tools like check-in reminders and mass messages help bolster relationships by connecting deskless workers with management no matter where they may be in the field.
  • Process analytics: As the pandemic has demonstrated, workflow processes can change almost instantly. Analytical tools help your organization pivot and remain agile in today’s fluid operating environment. With access to traditionally disparate field information like the average travel time your deskless workers take from job to job and appointment cancellation rates, you can identify areas for performance improvement.

    Analytics tools can also compartmentalize and export data for third-party reporting projects. Consistently tracking and refining your processes to be more nimble can make your processes more efficient. The process ultimately benefits your deskless workers in the end by improving their work environment and adjusting processes to match their experiences in the field better.

 

Deskless workers are vital to the success of companies across many industries. While mobile work roles free employees from being tied to a desk, they also come with distinct physical, emotional and digital challenges that desk-based workers don’t face. And when these challenges go unchecked by management, they can create unnecessary stress on deskless employees, resulting in an exhausted workforce and high turnover rates.

As the deskless workforce continues to grow, it’s critical to play closer attention to the software gap. Change begins with applying technology to the specific needs of mobile workers to empower their success now and over the long term. However, a single tool can’t address mobile workforce challenges without proper support.

The right technology must also be accompanied by improved training, access to information, and dedicated employee check-ins to enact true structural change for the better. With these changes in place, you’ll lead your organization on the path towards supporting its deskless, all mobile workers, and the remote workforce, day in and day out.

Image Credit: Ketut Subiyanto; Pexels

The post Deskless Workers Deserve Better Tech appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
COVID vaccine logistics COVID-19 vaccine ReadWrite

COVID-19 Vaccine Logistics Will Require Unprecedented Global Cooperation

vaccine for COVID

We are all looking forward to the day when we have a vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus. It cannot come soon enough for any of us — we want this nightmare to be over. But the COVID-19 logistics will require unprecedented global cooperation and must be supported by a massive IT infrastructure and public trust.

COVID-19 Vaccine Logistics Will Require Unprecedented Global Cooperation Supported by a Massive IT Infrastructure and Public Trust

By Donald Jones, John Gentry, and Stan Kachnowski (bios are included at the bottom of this piece).

The race for COVID-19 vaccines is proceeding at a blistering pace. As of mid-September, 40 vaccines were in clinical trials on humans and at least 92 were in the preclinical phase. The goal is to produce one or more by next year. However, safe and effective vaccines are just the beginning. Medical researchers estimate that about 70 percent of the world’s population — or 5.6 billion people — will need to be inoculated to establish herd immunity, which is required to end the pandemic.

The logistical challenges involved in a vaccination manufacturing, distribution, and administration effort of this magnitude mean that even when we have vaccines, it could take several years before we can resume normal daily life. It’s not just the quantities of vaccines that will be required; the various characteristics of vaccines will make an effort even more challenging:

Vaccines are perishable. When not stored or transported properly, vaccines stop working. Therefore, they must be stored at the correct temperature range at all times, from their production right up until the time they are used.

Some vaccines require two doses to achieve complete immunity. This means that to be fully protected, recipients will need to receive the two doses on two separate occasions.

For some vaccines, immunity isn’t permanent. When immunity begins to wear off, a booster dose is needed to bring immunity levels back up.

For some viruses, such as influenza, a new vaccine must be developed each year as the virus mutates. It’s possible that the same will be true of the coronavirus.

Vaccines must be administered by a trained professional. Every vaccine has a recommended administration protocol, and if recommendations are not followed, the vaccine might not provide complete immunity or might even have adverse effects.

The lack of trust in the efficacy and safety of the vaccine by the general public. A widespread misinformation campaign about the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety could hinder the acceptance, globally, of the world population in getting the vaccine.

The logistical implications of matching billions of people in vastly different environments — from Jakarta to Manhattan to sub-Saharan Africa — with multiple types of vaccines are profound. For example, while a double-dose vaccine might be suitable for administration in a physician’s office in a U.S., European, or Asian capital, a single-dose vaccine likely would be better in rural or remote areas or special situations such as refugee camps.

There is also the question of equity. If the distribution is left to market forces, wealthy countries will get vaccines first by funding vaccine development efforts and pre-purchasing and paying a premium for vaccines. This has already happened. The United States, Europe, and the United Kingdom have spent billions of dollars on advance orders of vaccines being developed and tested.

In an attempt to ensure that poorer countries have access to vaccines, the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccine alliance Gavi, and The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) have set up an accelerator. The accelerator for the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility is for the development, purchase, and distribution of vaccines more equitably.

COVAX will control access across high-income countries, low-income countries, and for humanitarian situations and outbreaks that are out of control.

COVAX has engaged more than 170 countries in non-binding discussions, including about 80 potentially self-financing countries. Binding funding commitments were due by September 18th. In early September, the Trump Administration opted out and the EU opted in. Previously, the Gates Foundation pledged $1.6 billion to Gavi and an additional $50 million to COVAX.

While there are a lot of things, we don’t know about the COVID-19 vaccination effort. According to Donald Jones, a globally recognized expert in digital medicine, one thing is clear: if we are to efficiently execute the monumental task of distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccines to billions of people, we’ll need an IT infrastructure.

The infrastructure must support collaboration and cooperation between governments, pharmaceutical companies and their suppliers and partners. The infrastructure must support the technology companies, research labs, local public health agencies, NGOs, hospitals, medical clinics, and physicians.

“In addition, an IT infrastructure capable of supporting a global vaccine distribution effort will need to scale up very quickly once vaccines become available,� said Jones.

According to John Gentry, an advisor to large companies migrating applications to the cloud, another vital IT support need is for logistics. These logistics include inventory and supply chain management software and systems for collecting, sharing, and analyzing the data required to plan, execute, and monitor vaccine distribution.

The nature of this effort — a health-related challenge requiring global public and private sector cooperation — will require that all of this is accomplished while protecting patient privacy. All privacy must be up to national and international standards such as HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA, as well as safeguarding private sector intellectual property.

“The global vaccine distribution IT challenge is all about data, security, speed, and flexibility,� said Gentry. “Key players will need to leverage their existing private data centers and clouds and tap into public clouds to safely share data and collaborate. They will also need the ability to scale up and down as demand for IT resources fluctuates. The ability to monitor, manage, and optimize hybrid IT architectures will be essential.�

Gentry adds, “The pandemic has already proven to be the ultimate stress for health care IT infrastructures in both the private and public sectors. The vaccine distribution effort will raise the stakes even more.�

Stan Kachnowski observes, “In essence, COVID-19 couldn’t have come at a more perfect time in human history because of our collective ability for the global medical technology system to rapidly respond using digital tools that are more complex. Our evolved technologies have enabled scientists to compress the effective vaccine cycle from 5 years to a few months.

However, now we have an entirely new layer of distrust that’s coming from an extraordinary phenomenon that no one could have foreseen 10 to 20 years ago. A big threat to the effectiveness of combating the disease is the massive amount of disinformation, misinformation around the efficacy and the safety of vaccinations.

The lack of trust in the scientific community could negatively impact the vaccines even after approval and distribution.

Bios

Donald Jones is a globally recognized leader in digital medicine, digital therapies, technology-enabled health services, and virtual clinic business models. Jones works across a spectrum of health care, pharmaceutical, medical device, wearable, smart apparel, material science, and health care AI companies.

John Gentry is a 20-year tech veteran and CTO of Virtana, the leader in optimizing cloud computing for Global 2000 companies. Gentry advises pharmaceutical and health care organizations in the private and public sectors on how to migrate applications to the cloud and optimize and manage hybrid IT architectures.

Stan Kachnowski PhD, MPA

Director Digital Health Program Columbia Business School, Chair HITLAB 30 years of experience in digital health, biomedical informatics, teaching, research and practice. His expertise is in the digital transformation and the digitization of information tools and technology needed to eradicate disease from human populations.

Image Credit: CDC; Pexels

The post COVID-19 Vaccine Logistics Will Require Unprecedented Global Cooperation appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
ReadWrite

Withings Study Shows it’s Turkeys that get Stuffed on Thanksgiving not Humans

withings thanksgiving

When it comes to Thanksgiving, the assumption is that the turkey, sweet potato pie and apple pie turn into unwanted points that never come off. For many, this makes Thanksgiving a scarier holiday than Halloween.

Withings study shows it’s turkeys that get stuffed on Thanksgiving and not humans.

However, according to a new study by Withings, America’s biggest manufacturer of smart scales, the majority of users do not gain pounds over Thanksgiving and most either maintain or lose weight. Withings also found that such is the fear of weight gain, a large proportion of people avoid the scales on Black Friday.

The study compared weight and weigh-ins from previous years and also compared patterns in various states of the nation. The results were surprising.

How did Withings Figure this Out?

To see how America dealt with weight during Thanksgiving and the lead up to the festive holiday season, Withings looked at anonymous data from 600,000 users of its smart scales and 200,000 users of its smartwatches that track a range of health statistics including steps/activity levels, heart rate and sleep patterns. Withings looked at data from the weeks prior and post-Thanksgiving for the past three years for those living in the United States.

It’s Okay to Make the After Dinner Walk a Bit Shorter

For the fitness or health enthusiast, who believes they can outwalk or outrun any Turkey weight, they are mistaken. The study found there is little correlation between weight gain, loss r maintenance and a person’s activity levels.

Looking at data from the first of September to the last day of November from 2017 to 2019, it was shown that there was virtually no difference in weight change for those recording 1,000 steps a day and 15,000 steps a day or any number of daily steps in between. With this information, know it’s okay to enjoy the holiday and favorite foods without having to fit in extra steps.

Americans Shouldn’t Fret About an Extra Slice of Pie.

Though any weight put on during the Thanksgiving weeks is not going to go away by getting a lot of steps in from a walk or a run — the good news is that the majority of people (56%) either lose or maintain their weight during the Thanksgiving timeframe.

However, note that the minority of people who do put on weight during the Thanksgiving weeks are likely to gain a pound and are at a 70% chance of keeping that pound throughout the holiday season and past New Year’s. Though the minority of people might gain a small bit of weight, it’s clear that one big meal isn’t enough to cause a noticeable difference.

That leaves a predicament, who wants to know if they are in the majority who don’t gain weight, and who wants to find out if they are part of the minority who does gain weight? Withings looked into that as well.

Americans Fear the Scale After Thanksgiving

Despite the fact that the majority of people either lose or maintain their weight during the weeks of Thanksgiving. Withings found that Americans find ignorance is bliss. After analyzing over a million weigh-ins, Withings found that people are not inclined to weigh themselves the day after Thanksgiving.

In fact, people who weigh themselves regularly are 29% less likely to hit the scale again the day after Thanksgiving. In comparison, those who do not weigh themselves regularly are only 19% less likely to take a weight measurement the day after the holiday.

However, scale enthusiasts are still two and a half more times likely to step on a scale the day after Thanksgiving than those who don’t. The study appeared to find that most Americans go by the motto: See no weight, hear no weight, speak no weight.

If weight control is a goal, it might be helpful to look at another study by Withings that was done in 2017. That study found that those who step on the scale more often lost four times more weight than those who avoided the scale. A bit more food for thought when deciding whether or not to weigh in after Thanksgiving.

Which States Tip the Scales?

It appears that southern cooking is as good as advertised as southern states led the nation in the average of those who gained a pound or more during the Thanksgiving timeframe. The national average of people who gained more than a pound was below half (41.65%).

One state that might want to lay off the sweet potato pie is South Carolina. The Palmetto state led the way with an average of 44.77% of residents gaining a pound or more. Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina fall just behind South Carolina at the top of the pack for gaining weight.

The only non-southern state to be in the top five recording highest average weight gain was Nebraska (must be the corn!). Joining Nebraska in the gained weight category are Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Maryland. They were the east coast representatives that were above the national average for states who put on a point or more during the Thanksgiving weeks.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, states on the west coast seem to do better than the southern states with average weight gains on the low end of the scale (excuse the pun). Washington led the way, with only 39.68% of its residents gaining a pound or more, with California, Oregon and Utah not far behind. Connecticut makes its fellow eastern states jealous as the only non-west coast state to be in the top five.

Final Thoughts Before Taking the First Bite

While Thanksgiving may be different this year because of COVID-19, it’s good to know that for the majority of Americans, weight gain doesn’t have to be one of the things to fear this year. Instead, focus on spending time with loved ones and don’t feel guilty for filling up on a second course.

The full Withings study can be found on the Withings blog here.

Image Credit: karolina grabowska; pexels

The post Withings Study Shows it’s Turkeys that get Stuffed on Thanksgiving not Humans appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
AI AI Technology anxiety Health Healthcare natural anxiety treatments robots social anxiety stress management workplace anxiety

Treating Your Stress with AI Technology

Robots are our stress relief

Anxiety, stress, overthinking, and trauma are commonly used words to describe people suffering from mental health disorders that appear from work overload, depression, negative feedback, and much more. It’s very likely to see people suffering from anxiety faster than coming in contact with positive and uplifting people. Here is how to treat your stress with AI technology.

Will AI technology become a panacea for mental disorders?

The fact is, the world isn’t becoming a safer or stable place. It’s rather becoming stressful and discouraging with the COVID 19 pandemic taking over the world and putting us on lockdown.

Nevertheless, technology hasn’t given up on humankind yet. Researchers and scientists are doing their best to provide aid and stabilize the situation for the greater good.

 

“We are changing the world with technology.� Bill Gates

Changing the world with AI Technology
It’s one small step for man, one giant step for technology.

Artificial intelligent technology is now blasting through the roof with its extraordinary inventions. You have robots that can clean, play with you, and make you a drink with just a simple voice command. It’s remarkable how today’s modern age high-tech gadgets can complete simple human tasks, and even complex ones, to make everyday life easier. Sometimes robots can even do these tasks better than humans.

We have used technology to facilitate our lives and make the world a better place with motor-related tasks. The real question is, how far can Artificial Intelligence go from there? Can it subserve humans in the mental aspect? Can AI technology treat anxiety and depression?

What is Artificial Intelligence Technology?

Artificial Intelligence is the process of having robots or technology adapt and react to human tasks by learning from experiences. It’s using the technology of machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing to have robots doing motor-related tasks, competing in chess, and driving cars without passengers. Which are the type of inventions we see now.

This definition of artificial intelligence can vary from one person to another. Though what’s known for sure is that it’s robots thinking and acting like humans. It all depends on programming technology for problem-solving.

You notice today’s modern development in AI technology and the inventions created using this deep machine learning process, with phone features like the voice activation commands you can give to your phone to make it schedule an appointment, make a call, or set a reminder for you.

You might also be aware of the word translation feature on your phone. A simple scan of a written page (handwritten or typed) will have it fully translated for you by using the camera on your phone.

AI technology is found all around us nowadays.

You can see your phone using AI — it’s all over the internet, other technological objects like cars, and much more. It makes you wonder how all of this works and how it’s possible to make robots interpret human thinking.

How AI works is not the essence of this article. I can tell you that it all relies on the processing of data through advanced algorithms and learning from the patterns or features from the data given. It includes machine learning, deep learning, cognitive computing, and other factors that make the process possible.

After that brief explanation of AI, a question comes to mind. If robots can almost think and do what humans can, is it possible for them to develop emotions as well?

Can AI Technology Feel?

As we have mentioned, AI technology processes data and algorithms to distinguish certain patterns and features. This process allows them to solve problems as well as think and do what humans can do. So, is it possible for AI robots to develop emotions just like humans?

AI Technology Robots are our stress relief
Let robots help you with your stress.

While it’s never scientifically proven that AI technology can acquire or develop human emotions from using deep and machine learning, a group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a neural-network model that can detect signs of depression from a person’s voice or written text. It detects depression in a person’s speech depending on the answers to the series of questions given to him/her.

Although this might seem a massive leap for AI and can help numerous people suffering from depression. It still isn’t accurate enough, for the process relies on the person’s specific answers to specific questions. Therefore, it limits how and on whom this model can be used.

On the other hand, researchers have discussed a neural-network model that might be introduced in the future to mobile apps and more. This model is able to indicate depression from speech patterns and text typing. They are hoping that this modified model can help distinguish depression even in natural conversations.

If this model succeeds, it will facilitate many people suffering from depression that can’t get a clinical diagnosis because of the distance, high cost, or other factors.

AI Technology Treating Depression and Anxiety

It’s clear to us now that there’s no proof or successful implementation of AI technology developing human emotions. Even so, are emotions needed to treat human’s mental health? Is it required to have emotions to treat others’ anxiety?

There are numerous techniques and methods that help people reduce anxiety and depression.

Whether it’s picking up a new hobby, playing some sports, or even traveling to a country to clear the mind can aid your stress and reduce depression levels. The one method that I want to shed some light on is owning a pet. Yes! Taking care of your dog, cat, or any other pet is proven to reduce anxiety and help people suffering from depression.

Studies have shown that snuggling up to your furry friend and showing unconditional love to it will make a pet owner less likely to suffer from depression than other people who don’t own a pet. Also, it’s proof that playing with a cat or dog can stimulate high levels of dopamine, which will ease a person’s mind, relax them, and calm them down.

Different studies prove caring for a pet will reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness, and other health disorders. Besides, pets also help us develop healthy lifestyles like increasing exercise, meeting new people, and more, but that’s a whole different story. So, what do animals have to do with AI treating human anxiety and depression?

Since animals don’t have human emotions, and can sometimes sense depression. But at the same time can help their owners with their anxiety by just playing and snuggling. Can’t a robot do the same?

Vector the Robot

Take Vector the robot, for example. This magnificent AI technology gadget is a small robot. It’s about the size of the palm of your hand. It can take pictures, tell you the time and temperature, and do other tasks by using your voice.

This innovative invention amazes me because it has a curious and attentive personality that makes it almost think and act like a pet. It gets sad when you ignore it, gets angry when it loses a game against you, and it gets excited when it sees you. Now call me crazy, but I think you can call this robot a somewhat animal pet (that is a pet-robot). And think — no allergies!

Even though it’s not proven that Vector, the robot will reduce your depression and anxiety levels. It seems to me that it almost acts like a pet but with a more intellectual background. Meaning, what has been proven that pets can treat human health disorders, can also be treated by AI technology robots like Vector. As well as other AI operating robots in the market.

Conclusion:

To make things clear, this was only my opinion on the topic at hand, for no scientific breakthrough has proven my theory and thoughts on AI treating human anxiety. But I believe that there are many ills — both in society and in mental and physical healthcare that AI will be able to help with, if not cure.

To conclude, Artificial Intelligence technology is truly remarkable and has yet to exceed the limits in the near future. Although my opinion is just a theory, it still seems like at some point in time; AI technology will improve and develop to things we have not yet imagined — aside from the motor-related tasks it provides and iterates on today.

Image Credit: lenin estrada; pexels

The post Treating Your Stress with AI Technology appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
customer loyality net promotor score NPS ReadWrite

6 Best Net Promoter Score (NPS) Software for your Business in 2021

net promoter score

Loyal customers are considered to be the most valuable asset of the business. If your customers are happy and satisfied with your products, services, customer, and brand, then only you can achieve their loyalty. Thus, measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty is essential for your business.

When it comes to choosing customer experience metrics to gauge customer satisfaction and loyalty, nothing beats Net Promoter Score (NPS) in terms of ease-of-use and its effectiveness.

Tomasz Tunguz, a software investor at Redpoint Ventures, indicated NPS is a leading indicator of future growth. It also helps you to cut customer acquisition costs and boost the profit of your business. A 5% rise in customer retention rate increases by 25% to 95% profits. Thus, retaining your lost customers can augment your profit rate drastically.

NPS is a leading customer satisfaction metric that measures customer satisfaction and the likelihood of your customers recommending your business or product to a friend or relative. NPS Survey finds out the exact number of customers who will recommend you and won’t recommend you at all.

The Net Promoter Score comes from the simple question, “How likely would you be to recommend our products and services to a friend?�. To calculate the Net Promoter Score, we use a simple NPS formula where we subtract the total percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters to determine your overall Net Promoter Score.

Based on the responses, customers will be segregated into three categories.

  1. Promoters: 9-10 Score – They are likely to recommend your brand to their friends and family.
  2. Detractors: 0-6 Score – They are unlikely to recommend your brand to their friends and family.
  3. Passives: 7-8 Score – They may or may not recommend your brand to their friends and family.

NPS Software

NPS software will help you create, run, analyze, and calculate the NPS of your business. It captures instant real-time scores ranging from -100 to 100. It is a proven customer experience metric that is correlated with business growth.

Not sure what NPS software to use? Check out our list of the best NPS software. 

1. Zonka Feedback

Net promoter score software

Zonka Feedback is the leading NPS Software to effectively run the NPS Surveys at every touchpoint like Tablets (iOS and Android), Kiosks, Online, Email, SMS, QR Code, Web Popovers, Web Widgets, and Web Embed. Zonka Feedback personalizes your survey experience by customizing and white-label your NPS Surveys with logo, branding, and background.

It comprises 30+ Question Types and 40+ in-built templates for all industries, metrics like NPS & CES 2.0 that help you to create both Relationship and Transactional NPS Surveys. You can also display different questions based on the selected score by adding logic to your surveys.

Zonka Feedback NPS dashboard shows real-time responses with the score as detractors, passives, and promoters. To keep your team updated about the customers’ score, you can set real-time alerts based on the score. They can see responses with the score in real-time, auto-tagged as Detractors, Passives, and Promoters. This helps you to view and analyze each feedback and collaborate with team members to take action and resolve issues.

This user-friendly NPS Software enables you to get real-time access to various forms of NPS Reports like NPS Meter Report, Trends Report, Location-based reports, Text Analytics and more. These features help you to quickly create, distribute, manage your NPS Surveys on steroids!

2. Promoter.io
NPS Surveys

Promoter.io helps all size businesses measure loyalty & customer sentiment using the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It not only measures customer satisfaction but also predicts future customer behavior and trends. The NPS dashboard comprises a real-time instant tracker that enables you to track customer feedback and scores.

Promoter.io is seamlessly integrated with Salesforce, Slack, Promoter API, Zapier, and Segment to automate the survey schedule according to the different customer touchpoints. Various exciting features like real-time feedback, response alerts, instant analytics, close feedback loop management have made this software a good choice for you.

3. Wootric

NPS tools

If you are looking for a platform to get Net Promoter Score feedback at any digital touchpoint, then Wootric is your ultimate partner. This enterprise-ready NPS software enables you to optimize your NPS survey that impacts the customer.

It offers various exciting features like real-time reporting, NPS survey templates, advanced report and analysis, etc that make Wootric an ideal NPS tool. Wootric is seamlessly integrated with Salesforce, Zendesk, Slack, Intercom, Hubspot integrations to trigger surveys or act on data.

4. NiceReply

NPS Feedback

NiceReply offers a lightweight approach to capture the Net Promoter Score and manage the customer experience to improve customer loyalty. It automates the entire process of NPS data collection along with the analysis process. NiceReply has an intuitive UI dashboard offering 360 NPS feedback features to streamline the NPS survey collection, analysis, and management efforts.

5. Medallia

Net Promoter Score

Medallia, a SaaS-based NPS Software, captures B2B NPS feedback quickly. Backed by the AI technology that enables the company to analyze structured and unstructured data and operationalize and streamline your efforts and drive improvement.

6. SurveyMonkey

net prmoter score surveys

SurveyMonkey helps businesses to gather real-time instant NPS feedback. This tool has a set of advanced features that transform customer feedback into data that drives growth for your business.

You can easily personalize your survey experience by customizing the survey with logic, branching, close-ended and follow-up questions, branding, and logos. Additionally, you can use out-of-the-box integrations to automate processes and do more with SurveyMonkey.

Conclusion

NPS Surveys

Are you sending NPS Surveys from your regular mailbox? Stop this practice now. If you need quick and quality feedback data from your customers, then choosing the Net Promoter Score Software is the right option for you.

These are some of the best NPS software available in the market with explicit advantages. Thus, before choosing any NPS Software, always look at its features. I’ll suggest to you that if any NPS software service provider offers you a long, free trial, then use it to know the pros and cons before choosing it as a permanent part of your business.

Image Credit: sora shimaza; pexels

The post 6 Best Net Promoter Score (NPS) Software for your Business in 2021 appeared first on ReadWrite.