Not so surprisingly, people today are more active on messaging platforms than on conventional mediums like on Email or call. According to the Gartner report 2021 Planning Guide for Customer Engagement, Enterprises and SMBs need to focus on the adaptation of cloud-based AI-driven technology to drive the effectiveness of self-service.
Today, more than 2.1 billion people use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger every day. WhatsApp recently announced that it had in excess of 2 Billion users — the majority of user reside in India.
Messaging platforms are popularly used to interact with acquaintances, particularly friends, family, or co-workers for informal and formal interactions.
If youâ€™re in Indonesia, youâ€™ll notice meeting updates and other annoying details of it are shared on WhatsApp. It is also customary for your cab driver to connect with you on WhatsApp. Business and ease, all mixed up on a messaging platform.
While a large number of media companies and marketers are still investing in legacy platforms like e-mail and ticketing systems to engage with employees and customers, here are some noteworthy points that will potentially change the game:
Monthly Active Users (MAU) on messaging apps like Whatsapp, WeChat, etc are massive and this number is growing rapidly due to the ease of availability of data and devices.
66% of consumers want to interact with brands on messaging apps (The app of choice depends on geography). People believe this is a faster medium to get immediate resolutions – Twilio
Initially, the messaging apps were focused on increasing their user base. More recently, weâ€™ve noticed that new features such as payments and even a built-in NLP capability have been added so the apps can standalone.
Regardless of the device used, Android or Apple, people prefer to keep limited applications on their smartphones since it is cumbersome to keep switching from one channel to another. Take, for example, the Facebook Canva which is a landing page facility used by marketers inside the Facebook app. It disallows drop-offs that may be caused during the transition from Facebook to an external website for the sake of lead capture, thus reducing a step in the user acquisition journey.
Messaging apps are becoming vital for businesses to better connect with prospects, offer seamless support, and provide quick service.
Companies also use enterprise messaging apps like slack, hangouts, etc to better manage their employees. Employees can schedule meetings, apply for a holiday, request reimbursements, and more with the help of a virtual assistant.
Organizations have to modernize not just their customer engagement technology but also the way the team interacts, to not only keep up with the customer expectations but also to adapt to the â€œnew normalâ€� of distributed customer service teams. Modernizing both customer and agent capabilities is key for those organizations to reinvent themselves or rescale to new heights.
The benefits of automation reflect almost immediately and dramatically. It is estimated that by 2025, 10-15% of jobs in three sectors (manufacturing, transportation and storage, and wholesales and retail trade) will have a high potential for automation. There is a good deal of automation firms today working on groundbreaking technologies to build chatbots beneficial for the growth of enterprises. Particularly, weâ€™ll take the following 4 popular players in the field and put down some key features they possess and lack.
Named after IBMâ€™s first CEO and founder, Thomas J Watson to answer queries on the quiz show Jeopardy, Watson was created as a question answering (QA) computing system. It uses advanced natural language processing and machine learning technologies for fetching information, knowledge representation, and automated reasoning, to the field of open domain question answering. Watson has been one of the earliest to automate various business functions however it is missing some of the most crucial integrations today, for example, Microsoft teams, slack, and even WhatsApp. The support for multilingual languages and the capability of sentiment analysis to route to an agent when necessary arenâ€™t provided either.
Humanizing the bots today is one of the important features that people say conversational AI lacks. With missing capabilities, enterprises that need to jump off the books will have to consider their options.
Yellow Messenger is a cognitive engagement cloud, offering various cognitive business functions like customer engagement, customer support, enterprise automation, and HR management. They have a range of channel integrations from Whatsapp for business, Google Assistant, Alexa, to Slack, PowerBI, and more.
Founded in 2011 in San Francisco, CA, Intercom has come a long way in building customized bots for various companies focused on targeted answers. They helped House Call Pro grow from the time of its launch to 10,000+ customers today. Expensify, another client of theirs, found improved support and sales. Similarly, Baremetrics increased their billing by 30% with intercoms innovative products.
Conversational AI is transforming the way brands interact with consumers. Which process according to you, can be automated in your organization to save your expenses and maximize growth? Comment below.
Dialogflow by Google, initially called Api.ai and Speaktoit, was best known for its virtual assistant created for smartphones. While their voice assistants are supported across a bunch of devices ranging from wearables to phones, their language support is limited. It lacks self-learning capabilities. It cannot search the database for answers to queries for resolution. With their new chatbot release, Meena, we hope to see a wider spectrum of competence since it is open-sourced. Meena boasts to be the very first humanized AI.
2020 was a crucial year for AI. Automation will truly take off and conquer cubicle jobs in 2021. It will save a tremendous amount of revenue and time for organizations. How will you use automation to solve pressing business problems? innovatively?
Today, most businesses use modern technology, especially due to the wide range of social media platforms. In a relatively short time, modern businesses have successfully reached massive success. One example of huge technological success is the jump in the use of cloud servers.
Cloud servers have many advantages. Deloitteâ€™s case studies showed that a food retailer saved $50 million by investing in cloud technology. However, this was even though most companies arenâ€™t aware of obtaining maximum benefits from cloud technology.
The idea of cloud servers got the attention of many modern businesses across the globe. Below, you will find an overview of the data server industry and its use of cloud technology. Letâ€™s discuss the idea of cloud servers.
What is a Cloud Server?
Cloud servers are defined as vast space for storage and processing in an environment that does not depend on your devices. An allocation of rented storage and processing space through a cluster of machines is largely undisclosed locations.
With cloud server technology, modern businesses can protect their online data. Many IT experts from various companies work on a website and get a good review from their clients by providing them with professional and secure technical service.
Types and Features of Cloud Servers:
There are three primary types of cloud servers:
Public Cloud Servers: This is the most common type of cloud server. It is operated by a third party and delivered through the internet. With a Public Cloud Server, all software, hardware, and other infrastructure are controlled by the provider. Examples of public cloud servers include Azure. With a public cloud server, you can easily share the same data, storage, hardware. You can have control over your account by using a web browser.
Let us read about some advantages of public clouds.
No Maintenance:Â Cloud server providers give us all the maintenance we need.
Lower Cost:Â You do not need to pay for software and hardware; you will only pay for the cloud server services you use.
Unlimited Scalability: You will get a resource as per your need to fulfill your business
1. Private Cloud Servers:
Private cloud servers are used by one organization or business. It may be available on your company’s site, or it may be hosted by a third party. All the infrastructure and services are maintained on a private network in a private cloud server. Using this cloud service makes it more convenient for organizations to manage resources to fulfill their IT requirements. A private cloud server is mostly used by Government or financial institutions that seek control all over the environment.
Some benefits of a private cloud are as follows:
Flexible:Â A private cloud server is more flexible as it is customized according to your business need.
Controlled:Â With a private cloud server, you do not share resources with anyone, so you have a high level of privacy and control in your hands.
More Scalability: It offers more scalability than other cloud servers.
2. Hybrid Cloud Server:
If we talk about the third type of cloud server, the Hybrid Cloud Server, it provides many advantages to your organization, such as more security, flexibility, and more value.
There are several advantages of a Hybrid Cloud Server.
Controlled:Â Your company has control over private infrastructure so that it can protect sensitive information.
Flexibility: Your company can take additional resources’ benefits if it needs them.
Cost-Effectiveness: You can only pay for a service that you need.
Benefits of Cloud Server:
1. Secure, Powerful, and Fast
It is secure, fast, and strong. Cloud servers keep away the hardware issues.
2. Provide Quick Services:
Businesses can get quick services and greater resources by using a cloud server.
3. Provide Well Balanced Services:
It provides a business using secure and well-balanced services. Whether we are working as an IT specialist or not, we are all aware that our data’s security is the topmost priority.
4. Centralized Data
Our data is centralized with a cloud server, so it is easy for us to share our work and collaborate with different companies on projects. It makes communication convenient between you and your business partner.
5. Use Anytime from Everywhere:
With the cloud server used with your technology platforms, people can use their accounts from everywhere, at any time. You can work on different devices at any location by using an internet connection. Because you are not bound to a particular location, users have more freedom to do their work. Working with the upgraded system is also essential. Cloud servers provide an automatic upgraded system, so users do not face any downtime deployment.
Cloud servers also benefit scalability, which means you can increase or decrease it according to your workload. The need for cloud server usage can be increased or reduced, corresponding to the company’s changes or growth to meet the company’s requirements. Your company will only have to pay for the cloud server services you use.
7. Save Money and Time:
We used to purchase expensive hardware in the past, but today the cloud server is the best option to save your money and time. It does not require a lot of time to install software, and you will also no longer pay for your IT maintenance.
The cloud server market is rapidly growing. The study showed that it would reach $761 billion in 2027. We do not even imagine what kind of role cloud servers will play in modern business in the future.
If we compare the cloud server of today with the past, we can see that this service is more critical today. Companies with a remote-friendly environment want to have a strong cloud server to fulfill their workers’ requirements.
How Can Cloud Server Usage Cross $761 Billion in 2027?
Flexibility is one of the most interesting parts of the cloud server. Those businesses that do not prefer the cloud server face many difficulties. Instead of utilizing cloud storage, they spend extra amounts for other servers that may get stuck or run out of storage.
The cloud server provides a solution to handle these issues. Businesses that require more storage can expand their account size, depending on their required time. They can also save their organization’s money by using a smaller part of the service.
For enterprise data, a cloud server is a new and unique thing that is on-demand. Businesses need to be flexible to adapt to new technology and make a way in the real world. It may be hard for several companies to use a cloud server, and it is even more difficult to implement this.
How is Cloud Server Impacting on Our Daily Lives?
If we talk about the uses of the cloud server, we can observe that it is not only used by modern businesses, but it is also a part of everything we do daily. Below you can find out how cloud servers impact our everyday lives.
There several social media platforms that we use, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tinder. These social media platforms help us connect with friends and family, know about current affairs and issues worldwide, shop and run our business, and even find good people who stay with us last longer.
These social media platforms are cloud-based services and store our information in the cloud to provide us with the best services.
When we use YouTube or Netflix, we use the cloud.
Cloud servers also play an essential role in our health. How?
For instance, by using an online database, doctors can access the patient’s information and check their medical records quickly.
They can easily deliver their medical services without a regular visit to patients.
With the Covid19 pandemic, a data server helped the Government with patient information. It helped them detect those affected and how much risk there was for other people to get affected.
By getting a proper data server, the Government, Doctors, and concerned people can obtain relevant information and make decisions based on that cloud server info.
At the workplace, when we share work with our colleagues and use Google Drive to open our documents, we use cloud services. By using cloud services, we never lose our digital data to avoid the benefits of cloud services.
Cloud servers also help us learn more about security than ever before. We also consume different models for movies, music, and almost everything. In the past, we had to purchase CDs or DVDs, and in exchange, we became the owner of those CDs.
In today’s era, we have moved toward other subscription models. We pay monthly to get access to data, but we have ownership of nothing. You get access to thousands of movies, hundreds of TV channels, and infinite music tracks.
The cloud server is a part of everyone’s lives now, and it became a lifestyle for active social media users. This makes the cloud server mandatory in our modern lives.
Cloud Server and IoT:
Now we will take a look at IoT.
IoT is extensive internet connectivity for physical objects or devices that we use every day. Before IoT, our devices worked with their primary functions alone. But now, with the help of IoT tech, these devices have become “smart” and can transfer, calculate, and detect data through the internet.
Today, everything can be connected with the internet somehow, such as our home appliances (fans, refrigerator, televisions, door locks, CCTV cameras, light bulbs, etc.).
Athletes wear such clothes that monitor their heart rate performance to get aware of any medical risk; this is just because of IoT sensors. IoT can enhance the safety and luxuries of our lives.
There is no disadvantage with using IoT; it is completely beneficial for all of us. To be successful, IoT devices need to connect with a cloud server. Cloud servers establish a connection between these devices, and the user can interact through the internet.
In the past, we have listened to some real horror stories about IoT. For instance, Chinese hackers taking control of Tesla. It was an online connection that interfered with car locks. So, if a driver is operating a car, it could be dangerous.
Modern technology in various industries are aware of the risks with IoT and are working on solutions to secure and protect its users. As time passes, security layers and services will improve, and you can expect to see changes implemented for better alignment in cloud service usage.
FinTech firms present a credible threat to incumbent banks. Leveraging a combination of technology, consumer-centric service, and flexible business practices, fintech firms reduce the cost of doing business, extending their customer base, and taking market share from established traditional banks.
Despite this threat has been present for some years now, many banks believe they are still unprepared to compete properly. However, to respond to the challenge, banks should adopt Conversational AI technology that can help them to compete with the fintech firms that threaten them.
According to a survey, 53% of banks and 69% of credit unions view technology giants like Apple and Google as their top competitors in 2020 and believe they will become the hallmark of well-managed credit unions.
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, banks saw a rise in online banking activity and a decline in trips to brick-and-mortar branches. Europe is the prime epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, with nearly 75 percent of new cases reported globally on March 18th. The impact of the crisis was huge on the banking system and on the bank-customer relationship in the European region. In fact, the pandemic has made the banks believe that the Conversational AI transformation is not only beneficial but itâ€™s also crucial for their survival in the competitive market.
How will traditional banks stay ahead of fintech?
Conversational AI is the only means by which banks can stay competitive in the market, retain their customers, and find and pursue new leads. For example, Gen Y, Gen Z, and many who find the traditional way of banking monotonous and tedious need only one real solution — AI. Nowadays, people don’t want to be visiting branches to make deposits and transfers — and very few people are mailing paper checks anymore.
What is needed from modern-day banking?
Quickly get up to speed with conversational banking, including adding a payee, bill payments and Peer-to-Peer (p2p) transfers. Many options can be added across multiple channels and in the language of customers.
Now letâ€™s break down why banks need to embrace a technology like Conversational AI to sustain, including everything from creating new revenue sources to adapting to changes in consumer demand.
One of the top drivers of Conversational AI adoption in banking is customer preferences. The increased health concerns and a need to avoid physical contact because of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused customers to drift toward digital payment options.
A recent Mastercard poll found that contactless payments grew twice as fast as traditional payment types in-between February and March of 2020.
The same poll revealed that 79% of respondents typically use contactless payment methods. In response, tech companies like Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay have started offering contactless payment apps.
Leveraging AI assistants that are available 24/7, through multiple channels like Telegram, Facebook Messenger, or email and more will be a win-win situation for both customers and the bank. From a millennialâ€™s perspective, simple requests such as password reset or adding a payee, or making an international transfer can be done instantaneously. Thereâ€™s no need to visit the bank or spend an hour in the IVR puzzle menu to speak to a human agent. Banks adopting AI are, in fact seeing increased customer satisfaction rates and sales.
2. Legacy Systems Costs Banks Huge Chunks of Money
Banks’ legacy systems deserve special attention as they are costing banks a lot of money and have led to expensive failures in getting new leads and customer retention. Theyâ€™re simply not capable of supporting the marketâ€™s changing expectations and may soon expose banks to additional risk and liability.
Also, the operation and maintenance of these legacy systems are becoming more difficult. Imagine the bank’s data records are all in papers, but with Conversational AI, every record will be saved in Cloud. Cloud technology has the potential to transform a bank’s operational efficiency because it obviates investment in infrastructure â€“ whatâ€™s needed is ready and available in the cloud.
3. Offering OmnichannelBanking Services
The Omnichannel approach came to the forefront in retail in the early 2010s. Since then, itâ€™s been making its way into industries like telecommunications and media, and banking. Traditional banks allow digital banking but not omnichannel banking. For example, Sara wants to perform her transactions via mobile and web channels.
She wants to send money, apply for personal loans, add payees, pay her bills, and more, all through channels like Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, or Telegram. And this cornerstone feature can only a bank with Conversational AI adoption avail her.
4. Conversational AI is a Key to Increase Revenue
Another reason banks should embrace Conversational AI is that it offers new outlets for following leads and increasing revenue. As customers increase to interact with the AI-powered assistants, it becomes easier for banks to track their behavior patterns.
They can see what resources customers look up frequently, and they can send pop-up survey alerts to find out more details about usersâ€™ financial needs and reasons for using the assistant. Banks can then make personalized product recommendations based on that gathered data.
By 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more per year on bots and chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development â€“ Gartner
5. Conversational AI Adoption is a Survival Imperative for the Banks
Leveraging Conversational AI-powered assistants like the ones powered by the Kore.ai platform that is fully functional, omnichannel, and domain trained assistants can handle more than 80% of the queries asked by your customers through Mobile/ Web channels. The AI assistants can also be customized to add more use cases based on what your customers frequently ask for, unlike the live agents who need to be hired and trained for each scenario.
6. Banks can Avail Enterprise-Grade Security
Leveraging enterprise-grade Conversational AI-platform builds security into your banking operations to boost banking confidence and growth.
For example, when you chat with a bot or a live agent, they get to know your bank details and can track all your personal details. Just imagine they can father all your confidential information. But hereâ€™s the catch. Virtual Assistants built on Enterprise-grade Conversational AI platforms like Kore.ai focus a great deal on ensuring the most critical aspect of any business security.
7. Conversational AI Helps Banks Adapt Quickly
It is crucial for the banking industry to remain not only agile but also be able to adapt to changing economic circumstances quickly. Having a robust technological setup means a bank can rapidly respond to crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Banks need to unexpectedly shut down their branches, operate with fewer staff members, or limit in-person services.
Conversational AI adoption in banking also enables the banks to respond rapidly to changes in demand. Conversational AI-powered assistants come with cognitive intelligence that helps businesses roll out new offers and respond to customer requests or market changes.
Not only does Conversational AI better help banks respond to economic crises, but it also helps them react to industry changes and stay competitive.
Competition in the banking sector will likely intensify the post-pandemic, requiring the banks to transform themselves into an innovation unit to not only survive but thrive in the future banking landscape.
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 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 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.
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Are Fog Computing and Edge Computing the Same Thing?
Fog computing is also referred to as “edge computing.”Â 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 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”
Letâ€™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.
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.Â 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.
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.
Tax season is a peculiar time of the year for tax professionals. Depending on how well they manage their work, it can be the most lucrative time for them or the most stressful. However, issues like tax scams, changing tax regulations, and unreasonable client expectations do not make it easy for them. Here is how to rock your tax season with cloud technology.
With such a pressure cooker situation, the last thing the tax preparers need is a subpar IT infrastructure. Hence, the tax firms are always looking for a better IT solution than their local premises to thrive in the tax season.
One of the best platforms to accomplish tax filing is the â€œcloud.â€� Its rapid adoption is a testament to the numerous perks it offers to businesses all around the globe.
For you, as a tax preparer, cloud technology offers a flexible, scalable, and secure environment for tax applications and data.
Here are some ways in which you can rock your tax season by adopting cloud technology.
1. File Taxes Anywhere
The tax season is the busiest time of the year for a tax preparer. There are numerous clients waiting for tax professionals to file their returns. In such a time, you need a solution that can help tax professionals keep track of their tax apps and data al all times.
However, this is not possible in the case of legacy IT systems as your apps are installed in one system only. Hence, as soon as you are out of the office, there is no way you can cater to the clients.
Cloud technology offers tax professionals the ability to access their tax data and applications from any location at any time. The apps and data can be achieved through a web browser and a moderate internet connection. The tax professionals just need to put in the right login credentials, and they are good to go.
2. Get Complete Protection from Cyber Threats
Security is of prime concern when it comes to handling the tax data, especially during the tax season. Tax scams, phishing attacks, and data breaches are part and parcel of every tax season. Following the tradition, the IRS announced its â€œDirty Dozenâ€� list of tax scams for 2020 as well.
However, for a tax firm, it is quite tiresome to deploy preventive measures; even more when they have so much on their plate. Â Moreover, it costs an additional budget to create a high-end security environment for the office premises.
In the case of cloud, once you opt for the cloud services of a third-party provider, the provider is responsible for ensuring complete data security. However, it also matters on your choice of cloud services. The good ones deploy a security infrastructure with safeguards at multiple levels, be it physical, network, admin, or endpoint security.
Some of the security safeguards include-
Data encryption from the cloud server to the endpoint device
Access Control Policy
24/7 Network Monitoring
Intrusion Detection and Prevention System
3. Collaborate Efficiently
With such a time crunch during the tax season, collaboration can be a challenging task. The traditional method of requesting information from a client is via email. However, during the tax season, it will help if you have a more efficient and swift communication channel.
Cloud technology streamlines dataflow between your team and the clients. It offers one platform for all the stakeholders to store and share the information. You can access the cloud portal to the clients, and they can add or edit the relevant information from their location.
You can access the information simultaneously from your location. A good example of this would be Google Spreadsheets. Moreover, you can also give different levels of permission – access only or edit to the team members based on their role.
Moreover, some cloud-based apps also offer video conferencing features. This saves your trip to the clientâ€™s office as all the vital information can be enquired through video calls. Some applications include Zoom, Skype, MS Teams, Google Meet, etc.
4. Continue Working During Disasters
Letâ€™s assume that you have deployed a state-of-the-art IT infrastructure in your office with all the necessary security safeguards. But what if the entire location falls victim to an event such as an earthquake or flood, and that too during the tax season? Where are you going to shift the local IT infrastructure?
In such unfortunate situations, it is near impossible to have a contingency plan.
This is one of the major reasons why most businesses are opting for cloud services. Competent cloud providers include disaster recovery procedures in their services. Under disaster recovery, your entire tax process (all apps and data) is replicated on servers situated in geographically distant data centers.
Hence, if one data center cannot function due to a disaster, you get access to another one. You will not even realize the occurrence of such an event and continue working as if nothing happened.
5. Scale Your Operations Instantly
As far as the hardware infrastructure is concerned, scaling refers to increasing or decreasing the system resources like RAM, storage, etc. However, due to the inflexible nature of physical computer systems, this can only be achieved through manual hardware replacements. During the tax season, this could mean the wastage of valuable billable hours.
One of the major perks of moving your tax process to the cloud is its flexible infrastructure. On the cloud, the resources are virtual and can be scaled almost instantly. Hence, during the tax season, if you suddenly need additional RAM or storage for your apps, you can add it as per requirement. Once the tax season ends, you can scale down the resources and save costs.
6. Access Tax process on Multiple Devices
There is no one oblivious to the hassles of working on a computer system. Either the hard disk crashes, or there is some problem with the operating system. Worst still, the data gets corrupted and cannot be accessed anymore. If any of these issues occur, there is not much you can do because the entire applications and data are on a single device.
However, when your tax process is hosted on the cloud, you can access your applications and data from multiple devices, be it your smartphones, laptops, or tablets.
As the actual tax data and apps are hosted on remote cloud servers, and the devices are just a means to access it, it does not matter if your endpoint device runs into a problem. You can pick up another device and continue working from where you left off.
7. Optimum Performance for your Apps
During such a loaded couple of months, most tax professionals often complain about the performance of their tax applications. This is because the systems have limited resources that can only take a certain amount of load; overloading the systems can cause it to hang.
If you opt for cloud services, the renowned service providers deploy a High-Performance Computing (HPC) environment for the applications. HPC deploys parallel processing, which enables you to run multiple applications simultaneously. Moreover, you can also give access to any number of users who can work in real-time, without worrying about the performance of the applications.
8. Get Quick Resolution to All your issues
Tax season is all about time management. Tax professionals work round the clock to accommodate more and more clients. Any technical issue during this time can cause a loss of business and reputation. Hence, you need to make sure that your local IT support system is efficient. For this, you might also need to add more workforce during this time.
A good solution to this is choosing a cloud service provider with competent customer support. Most renowned providers have a team of experts that offer 24/7/365 IT support through multiple platforms â€“ call, chat, and email. Most of them also guarantee a minimum response time, so you get a swift resolution to your issues.
9. Get All-time Availability
All that the tax professionals want is the constant availability of their tax process. However, every hardware has a lifecycle and is bound to experience some issues every now and then. Until that issue gets fixed, you have no choice but to wait. It might be acceptable in normal times, but during the tax season, it can cost you heavily.
With cloud technology, you get all-time availability of your applications and data. The service providers achieve this by deploying multi-redundant cloud infrastructure so that if one hardware fails, the redundant one is deployed immediately.
10. No Need to Worry About Data Backup
When tax season is concerned, data is an essential entity. But with the increasing volumes of data, so does the hassles of managing data backup. Moreover, it takes time and effort to take the backup manually, which you do not have during the busy season.
With cloud, most providers offer data backup as a part of their services. However, it is recommended to choose the provider that offers automatic backup solutions. The backup should be taken on a daily basis with no limitation on the storage capacity. This ensures that any lost data due to corruption or accidental deletion is recovered quickly without many efforts.
11. Get the Help of AI and Big Data
Technologies like AI and big data are slowly but surely transforming the tax industry. The use of AI-based tools helps in automating menial tasks like classifying expenses, analyzing costs, and the tax compliance process. However, it is not feasible to manage the huge volumes of data on the local storage or the performance required for processing.
In your office premises, you must have noticed your IT team toiling hard to undergo constant hardware maintenance. Moreover, the faulty hardware equipment needs to be replaced every now and then. Although these maintenance activities are necessary, they can take a lot of time during the tax season.
With cloud services, you can forget about the hardware and keep working. As the providers own the hardware, they are in charge of hardware maintenance and replacement. As they deploy hardware redundancy, the scheduled maintenance can be accomplished without affecting your availability to the applications.
13. Maintain Work-life Balance
Tax season means an extensive workload for tax preparers, leading to added mental stress and abnormal routine. All you need is a little bit of extra time to relax and spend time with your family. However, it is just not possible while putting long hours in the office.
By adopting the cloud, you can maintain a healthy work-life balance, even during the tax season. Since you work from the comfort of your home, it helps you save time spent on commuting. Hence, you can have a conversation with your family and also eat with them. This not only takes the stress out of the hectic tax season but also increase your productivity.
14. Get All Tools in One Place
During the tax season, you might need the help of various software tools to manage your work. Apart from the main tax software, these tools can be used to accomplish a variety of tasks, such as organization, file management, CRM, and more. However, installing and maintaining these tools in each system can be quite tiresome.
With cloud, all your apps can be installed in one centralized location. Since there are no limitations on the number of users and the apps, you can give access to the entire team. This gives you an integrated solution for your tax process.
Tax season brings with it abundant opportunities for you to grow your business and create a good reputation in the industry. However, a successful tax season is possible only if you adopt the latest technologies in your process. Cloud is one such technology that brings in much-needed mobility into your process. It also helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle, even among the busy schedule.
Try out cloud services for your tax process to stay ahead of the competition in the tax season.
A wise man once said not to let a good crisis go to waste. The Covid-19 has shaken the world upside down, many businesses experienced heavy losses while the others started to rise. The pandemic not only changed the way businesses operate but also the way they managed to survive.
Globally, the education system became online, doctors examined their patients over the Internet, and the corporate professionals worked from their home delivering their productivity; the world, in a way, started connecting virtually more than ever before.
But this global crisis came out to be the cloud having a silver lining for the cloud computing market. The cloud has not only been a boon for the businesses but also for the consumers to cope with the struggles of effective work management, entertainment, collaborations, and much more.
This article will throw a light on the cloud computing adoption by businesses and its future scope in the Covid-19 era.
But, what makes enterprises adopt Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing offers huge benefits to the businesses for expanding their business capabilities such as:
Scalability and flexibility
Minimize capital investment
Higher service quality
Safety, security, and compliance with regulations
These factors help the businesses build the resiliency to navigate during the crises.
How Pandemic drives Cloud Computing adoption?
In the phase of unprecedented disruption, as consumers, we all witnessed how we gave a tough fight against social distancing practices with the accelerated use of Netflix, Zoom, Twitter, and Slack – the Amazon Web services (AWS) public cloud-hosted services.
From the market perspective, many businesses are actively adopting cloud computing services to seamlessly manage their operations remotely by creating virtual workspace, managing workforce, storing crucial healthcare data, handling accounting and taxation, and supporting digitizing the manual processes.
A Flexera study indicated the increased use of cloud computing resources during pandemic among enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses. Out of the 57% of the respondents, 31% shows a slightly higher usage than they planned, and 26% shows a significantly higher usage than planned.
Opportunities in the impact of Covid-19 on the Cloud Computing
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadela, recently said that the impact of Covid-19 was such that just in two months of its 3rd quarter, Microsoft has seen the two years’ worth of digital transformation. With a â€œbig bang approachâ€�, he referred to the quick adoption by deploying the cloud services fast.
According to a study, The expected cloud market size in 2019 is to rise from USD 233 billion to USD 295 billion by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.5% during the predicted time frame.â€�
The surge of sales in the eCommerce sector
Taking into consideration the eCommerce space, with the rising number of Covid-19 cases after unlocking in many countries, merchants have observed a huge shift in consumer habits. Shopping from brick-and-mortar stores while maintaining social distancing is causing unprecedented levels of disruption for buyers which has encouraged them to shift their gears to shop online.
As of May 31, 27 percent of the US respondents said that they purchased hygiene products online instead of offline.
The increase in the number of online shoppers during the Covid-19 times has caused a ton of light bulb moments for the retailers globally to migrate their businesses to online platforms. Besides, the existing eCommerce store owners have been nudged to escalate their eCommerce game by adopting advanced technologies to increase their sales in 2020, for better customer satisfaction and timely product deliveries.
Adopting cloud computing helps merchants easily upscale or downscale their business. It not only helps merchants to reduce the costs of goods and services but also enables new companies to grow. At the consumer end, the cloud provides ease of shopping experience, anytime and anywhere delivery, cashless digital payments, and much more.
The pace with which eCommerce sales is booming during the Covid-19 times, it is sure that they will outperform post-Covid and, thus, lead to an increase in cloud market growth.
Cloud adoption among enterprises
Many enterprises (organizations with a number of employees more than 1000) are choosing the lane of cloud computing technology due to its multiple advantages.
In a survey of 750 respondents who were asked to share their insights into what drove them to move their organization to the cloud-based platforms, 73% of the respondents said cost-effectiveness is the main reason for their adoption. And, 61% of the respondents said migrating more workloads to the cloud was the main reason for their cloud adoption.
Public cloud is the most popular cloud option used by enterprises with a usage share greater than 61%. Talking about the public cloud providers for the enterprises, the order of dominance is Amazon, Microsoft, and Google over the rivals Alibaba Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Oracle Cloud. Amazon Web Services hold the first place with an adoption rate of 76% followed by Microsoft Azure with an adoption rate of 69%, and Google Cloud is the third place holder with 34%.
The statistics below depicts the order of public cloud service providers adopted by enterprises till now in 2020.
The cloud adoption rate by enterprises in 2020 is expected to grow more as compared to the last year. Based on the existing trends, 59 percent of enterprises expect cloud technology usage to exceed prior plans due to Covid-19.
The rise in the video-streaming services
An estimate shows that this year in the U.S., the average time consumed with subscription OTT video content will exceed 62 minutes per day which is 23.0% up from 2019. With Netflix gaining the first position, the average time spent will exceed 30 minutes per day in the US in 2020, which is up more than 16% from 2019.
With most of the people staying at home, the exponential escalation in the video-streaming services has resulted in expanding the cloud market.
Transition to Work from home culture
Many IT and ITES companies are planning to opt the long-term work from home options. For instance, Twitter has announced a permanent work from home opportunity for its employees.
Based on the current scenario, the need for seamless collaborations over the Internet calls for strong cloud infrastructure has risen. The increase in the usage of SaaS solutions to support the remote workforce contributes to market growth as well.
Not only the IT companies, but the finance industry has also accelerated taking the route of SaaS-based cloud accounting solutions.
Inclination of Small business towards cloud
Many small businesses have shown interest in cloud adoption. Their major workload runs in public clouds (43%) as compared to the private cloud (35%) with AWS as the preferred public cloud.
In Covid-19 times, the cost-effectiveness and the data security that cloud provides without hiring the trained staff, it is becoming the need of the hour for many small business entrepreneurs.
Preferred choice of the Government sector
According to Gartner, 50% of US organizations are actively using the cloud. Both the private and the public cloud are being adopted by the government bodies with the public cloud services growing in double-digits.
And, through 2021, the spending forecast will grow on an average of 17.1%. The government bodies find effective cost savings and delivery services are the key drivers of cloud adoption in government.
Rise of cloud adoption in the Fintech industry
Like many businesses experiencing economic slowdown, the fintech industry has experienced the fiscal shocks and stock market slumps during the global crises.
Where everything came to a halt for some time, the finance industry changed the game at global level. They accelerated cloud adoption by providing the customers with branch-less banking, increased digital payment apps, and contactless payments via mobile phones to reduce social contact.
A changing trend in Bookkeeping
Bookkeeping has evolved with the changing technology trends. The traditional software is being taken over by cloud technology. With the pandemic, where work from home is the new fashion of working, many bookkeepers are now using cloud-based accounting software.
While many businesses were upended, shifting to cloud-based software has been quite a relief for the bookkeepers to save their employment and their employerâ€™s business. Many bookkeeping apps are available which helps businesses eave an impact on their clients. The need to continue business operations has pushed entrepreneurs to opt for cloud technology.
Regardless of which time zone they are in, the cloud culture has enabled the accountants, managers, and bookkeepers to monitor their businessâ€™s financial health, providing ease of work collaboration and anytime or anywhere data access with enhanced security.
Cloud Adoption in Tax industry
Many companies are opting for cloud-based tax compliance solutions amidst Covid-19 situations. Both small businesses and big enterprises are considering choosing the digital approach for they provide the benefits of risk mitigation and flexibility.
Since, the Covid-19 occurred in the season of tax filing and returns in many countries, the tax professionals around the globe are pushed to pick cloud-based solutions for providing effective tax solutions to their clients. This approach not only enables the tax filing process faster but also allows the tax professionals to meet clientâ€™s needs in a cost-effective and the most reliable way.
The professionals are getting inclined to making a switch towards cloud-based tax software that post Covid-19 this trend will keep growing.
Paradigm shift of the Education Industry
As per a study, it is expected that the growth in cloud computing in the education market will be observed from USD 8.13 billion in 2016 to USD 25.36 billion in 2021. And, the compound annual growth rate expected is 25.6%.
But with the pandemic, the speed of adoption seems to increase from the expected rate. With unexpected lockdowns, the educational organizations experienced a complete shutdown, including schools, colleges, and universities, in many world sections.
The education however didnâ€™t come to a halt, kudos to the man-made cloud technology. Though major universities are already running on cloud models for offering innovative eLearning experience, the pandemic forced many school-going students to go for their academics via online platforms which led to the expansion of the cloud market. Many higher education providing organizations are investing in cloud computing services to fulfill their need of a centralized system for academic process management.
Cloud computing has proved to be a boon for the educational institutions to bring everyone onto a virtually connected campus, transforming the learning process. Supporting the concept of â€˜learning beyond classrooms,â€™ cloud computing vendors are sure to continue growing post-Covid-19.
Effective tool in Healthcare industry
The Healthcare industry has faced maximum challenges in 2020. With the number of Coronavirus patients increasing day by day, the generated data has increased more than before. Likewise, gathering the patient data, managing it, and storing it securely comes up as a big challenge for healthcare professionals. But, cloud computing has proved as the savior for the healthcare industry.
Cloud computing has provided immense benefits that have helped health care professionals continue providing their services remotely in a safe manner, even in pandemic times. The seamless collaboration of the cloud helps health professionals easily share the patient data with other healthcare providers, enabling them to provide them better services.
Besides, the adoption of technology by the healthcare industry, the increase of digitization, and the rising GDP helps in the modernization of healthcare services have added to the cause of the market growth.
Currently, North America tops the list of healthcare cloud market due to the presence of a huge patient population and major medical and technical companies. With more organizations opting for cloud culture globally during the Covid-19 crises, the healthcare cloud market is sure to boom at a great pace. And, Cloud computing, along with AI and machine learning is bringing the smart hospitals into existence.
In a nutshell, Covid-19 has been a catalyst to increase the space of cloud adoption opportunities in each industry bringing in the Digital Transformation by storm.
Main Challenges in Cloud Adoption
Like any technology adoption, the cloud computing implementation comes up with a prominent set of risks and challenges which include:
Cloud Cost Management â€“ Adopting cloud computing culture for business is undoubtedly the best move but meeting the businessâ€™s tailored needs can be expensive.
Lack of expertise â€“Another hindrance to employee skill gaps comes while adapting to the cloud.
Cloud Migration â€“ Migrating the applications on the cloud can be difficult. According to a survey conducted by Velostrata over 95% of companies are making migration to the cloud, and more than half of them find it more difficult than the expectation.
Cloud Security â€“ Storing sensitive business information can be the biggest challenge. That is why it is necessary to check compliance and security laws while hiring.
It is quintessential to have a trusted cloud hosting provider who can help you provide quick, reliable, and cost-effective solutions for successful cloud operations.
Final Thoughts on Cloud Computing Adoption
Now, if you ask, should you go for a cloud computing approach? The answer is â€˜Yesâ€™ as it has been successful in providing benefits of flexibility (37%), Disaster recovery (38%), and relieving IT staffâ€™s job (36%).
With a huge number of businesses, including small businesses, enterprises, fintech industry, entertainment industry, education industry, etc. transitioning to the cloud computing models to provide enhanced and unified user experience, the global adoption rate is undoubtedly increasing compared to previous years.
In 2019, the US gained the top position by spending $124.6 billion preceded by China investing $10.5 billion, the UK spending $10 billion, Germany spending $9.5 billion and Japan spending $7.4 billion.
In 2020, the global crisis has further added fuel to the cloud adoption fire, making the investors spend more in the market. For example, China-based Alibaba Cloud, Hangzhou, which is the top cloud provider in Asia, has declared $28 billion of investment in its cloud infrastructure over the next 3 years.
Converting the crisis into opportunities, adopting cloud computing strategies to cope up with the challenges, this Covid-19 has definitely created a surge in cloud adoption globally.
If you havenâ€™t implemented an artificial intelligence (AI) solution into your business yet, you may feel like youâ€™re missing the boat. And in many ways, Iâ€™d agree with you. But is your business ready for artificial intelligence?
Some studies show that nearly 99% of companies are investing in AI in some way, shape or form. AI isnâ€™t a “will we, wonâ€™t we” type of technology. AI will be the de-facto standard, much like an operating system or software, it will be embedded into every business technology in the not so distant future.
But that doesnâ€™t mean you should just jump on the bandwagon for fear of falling behind. There are a lot of considerations to take into account before even dipping your toes in the AI water — or to carry through on my first analogy, to ensure you arenâ€™t putting the cart (or wagon) before the horse.
Proper Planning of AI Implementation.
AI projects fail because of backlash due to a lack of proper planning and scoping. To ensure a successful artificial intelligence initiative, businesses need thoughtful preparation.
Take into consideration things like ensuring that AI doesnâ€™t exist in isolation but is integrated into broader business processes are key to success.
What Questions Should You be Asking?
Plus, before rolling out any AI initiative, you need to ask a number of important questions.
What data do you need to solve the problem and what will you need to acquire it?
And maybe most important, are there any ethical implications for implementing an AI solution?
To help you get clear on these questions and more, here are a few things you must consider before seeking out an AI solution or hiring a team of machine learning engineers to build something in-house.
Understand what artificial intelligence is good at, and what it isnâ€™t.
The question may seem trivial, but a lot of organizations we talk to donâ€™t understand what problems are good and not good machine learning problems. Artificial intelligence is not a solve-all so make sure the problem youâ€™re trying to find a solution for is appropriate.
Some common tasks AI is great for includes forecasting, anomaly detection, object detection, pattern detection, auto-generation, enhancement and reconstruction.
Have a well-defined problem
You need to consider what is the problem and why you are trying to solve it. If the scope is too broad, your initiative will quickly fail. For example, pathology of a whole-body offers too many variables but focusing within one body part is much better and will warrant better results.
Keep your scope narrow and build from there.
Identify the performance criteria for AI
Like any well-defined business initiative, before you begin, you need to identify what success looks like. Are you hoping to achieve greater accuracy than a human could achieve? Are you hoping to simply automate a task to save time?
Good performance criteria for an AI initiative will define performance on a narrow criterion with a given percent accuracy rate.
Determine the team and technology capability
Does your organization have the technical ability to work with AI? Currently, there are 300,000 machine learning engineers available and several million open positions.
Machine learning experts can earn as much as football players. Working with AI often requires understanding arcane mathematical and computer science concepts that most software engineers simply donâ€™t have.
Finally, do you have the right tools to create and support artificial intelligence and machine learning processes?
Understand the long-term impacts
As I mentioned, the challenge with bottom up projects is that they often fail because of a lack of political will in organizations.
AI is simply not understood by most people in the organization and even framing a business argument for deploying AI is not always clear.
Obviously, a clear understanding of ROI will help but even this isnâ€™t enough because in the end, like any other technology deployment, the ROI has to be compared to other non-AI alternatives.
Lastly, it is likely that AI will displace individuals. In one of the companies I worked for, we developed an AI solution that resulted in a 60% reduction in engineering issues for a very expensive manufacturing process.
Obviously, this would have had a significant impact on the business but in the end, after two years, the solution still did not gain as much traction as we would have desired because it would have entailed the elimination of an entire team.
Training data for machine learning
Do you have the data you need to effectively train a model? Plus, is that data accessible?
Artificial intelligence governance
Developing AI is only part of the process. Can you deploy and support the AI in production, deprecate it, or determine if the AI is performing to specs? Do you have a mechanism to enable broad deployment and management or the people to perform the work needed?
Few organizations have a complete strategy for how the AI is to be used or managed by their business. For example, a simple question of whether to deploy the AI into the cloud, on-premise, or deploy to the edge is not always clear.
Finally, is your AI solution â€œfuture-proofed.â€� If changes in technology or capability occur â€“ how easily can the organization adapt?
Once youâ€™ve gone through these set of questions and considerations, youâ€™ll be ready to take on an AI solution (AI Dynamics, Inc, Bellevue, WA) or kick off an AI initiative within your organization. And thatâ€™s when the fun really begins.
If you ask a computer hardware specialist, “What is the future of computer hardware?” the answer for the half century past has been Mooreâ€™s Law. But what does the next generation of smartphones look like?
Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel predicted that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits would double every two years.
Devices that have occupied all our daily life. With no doubts, talking about the next generation of smartphones requires considering both hardware and software.
In simpler words, every two years you can pack two times more processing power in a square inch of a processor. This is all good news for smartphones because smartphones are smaller and lighter.
Meaning that you can have faster and more powerful smartphones (two times faster in fact) every 2 years. Comparing to a supercomputer the size of a room 30 years ago, your smartphone is really smarter.
But, as they say, nothing lasts forever. Actually, Moore’s law has been a prediction, not a law of the universe. He was a genius who well thought out about this and it happened over the last 50 years.
Recently, the rate of our processing power being doubled slowed down to once every 2.5 years. Insights do not show an exception for going back to the 2 years rate again.
It’s all about the possibility limit. The current way of creating processors has come to a limit and it’s time for something new such as quantum computers.
Old phones and current smartphonesÂ
Going back to the days when phones were only being used for contacting other people doesn’t need you to be an aged person. I can still remember those days when we had those kinds of phones.
Nokia first generations had a keyboard full of buttons both numbers and arrows. Having a phone was considered a sign of being a wealthy person those days. You had the ability to contact almost everybody who had a phone wherever you are.
As time passed more and more companies started producing mobile phones and the prices started falling down. On the other hand, the rate in which the technology of those mobile phones advanced, started to get a pace.
More and more engineers started working on mobile devices so we could have more and more functionalities aka features.
Below you see a list the things that have changed during the evolution of phones in the last 20 years:
Â Screen size
Â Screen resolution
Â No of buttons
Â Touch technologies
Â Sensors being used in the phone
Â Internet generation (3G, 4G, 5G)
Â Connectivity to other devices (Bluetooth, Infrared)
Â Battery capacity
Â Charging speed
Â Cameras (revolutionary)
Â Sound volume and quality
Â Operating System
What about the latest changes?
If you follow the mobile industry and watch what the flagship phones have inside, you’ll notice a different strategy compared to the past. There is no more revolutionary thing inside new phones.
Â You see the new camera is 5x better than the previous one.
Â You see the new screen has more pixels per inch.
Â You see the new battery power improved by 20%.
Â You see the new internet generation (5G) support being integrated.
Â You see the new OS being more powerful than before.
Okay, I know, you are not expecting a brand-new thing to appear in the phones anymore compared to 5 years ago. You guess that this is all we can have or in fact we currently need to have in a smartphone. But you are always expecting the OS or software inside to be improved over time.Â
Letâ€™s just compare the new iPhone 11 Pro with its preview generation iPhone X.
If you read the specifications, you’ll see that the differences are as below:
Â A little bit bigger than iPhone X
Â Newer CPU
Â More RAM
Â Enhanced brand-new camera
Â Better front camera
Â 12% more battery capacity
Â More water resistance
This is all the things you’ll get if you buy an iPhone 11 Pro. You see the changes are not noticeable and if you work with them, you’ll literally feel nothing except the camera. What I believe is that the revolution for smartphones has just stopped and here we are with only tiny improvements from time to time.
But what is going to happen? Are we going to be happy with just tiny improvements? Did it stop going further? I believe there is going to be a revolutionary thing in the near future and I guess it’s what I’m going to tell you now.
The next generation of smartphones
The next generation of mobile phones is at first about the hardware then only about the software in the long run. What do I mean by this then?
Let’s consider the current buying behavior of people closely.
Samsung/ Apple introduces its new device.
There is a long queue waiting to be the first people to own that device.
People sell their old devices and buy the new device.
They keep each phone for a few years then buy a new one.
This is what the mobile producers want you to do. They need to sell more and more devices so they introduce new phones each year even if there is nothing extraordinary about it.
Even if it fails or explodes after a few months. It’s all about making more money. I’m not against making more money. I’m a fan of it in fact. What I believe is that there is not going to be a breakthrough technology in smartphones so that we need to change our phones every year.
The current revolutions are more on software than hardware.
Possibility limit of hardware
The hardware industry still has a lot to go but it’ll end soon. I mean we’ll get to the finest particle size used in a CPU or capacity in a battery. Hardware will block us one day.
It’s the matter of possibility. It might not be possible to go deeper from a point; it might not be possible to create smaller cells from a point and that point is not far from current situations. Let me give you an example: If we want to have more storage in our phones, we should go create smaller storage blocks so that we can put more blocks in the same space and have more capacity.
But there is a possibility limit, we can’t go smaller than a cell, can we? Now expand this example to other aspects of a phone. There is finally a possibility limit on our way.
Businesses life cycle has 4 phases (introduction, growth, maturity, decline) as they grow. Some of the technologies inside smartphones might have come to their growth phase.
For example, CPUs. They have passed the era of experience of doubling the processing power in the same space and it’s their maturity phase now. Usually businesses that reach their maturity level will fall into the decline phase if do not make new decisions specially innovations.
Innovations are one rescue for businesses in the decline phase. Maybe the innovation for the next generation of CPUs are quantum processors.
I don’t know how early it could happen but it is going to be the basis of new generation of smartphones that revolutionizes the current devices. This is how this we can overtake this possibility limit theory.Â
The need for a new smartphone
Another topic to consider is the real need of people for having a phone with more capacity. Having a phone with more calculation power. Having a phone with more battery power.
Even though it’s great to have more of everything as a human (we are never satisfied with having more of a thing), do we really need it? Just look at your way of using your new iPhone 11 Pro. Do you use all its performance power?
Do you feel a difference in the camera? Researchers say that our eyes are equal to a 10-megapixel camera. This means that we cannot understand the difference between a 10 and a 20-megapixel camera by our eyes. Do you really need wide cameras?
Repeating, itâ€™s great to have a better camera but the previous one is also great for me. This is more of a business thing because those brands create the demand even if there is no need for it.
We are just part of a game. The game of seeing a new thing, thinking we need it and buying it eventually.
What are the next generation of smartphones?
The next generation of smartphones will likely look like this:
” You go to a store, buy a white labeled phone with satisfying hardware without any OS on it. You then go home and buy your desired OS and install it on the device.”
Possibly you’ll no longer pay for a brand-new device — but you’ll just order your desired OS and enjoy the software functionalities created for you by the OS.Â
There might be several questions in your head about cameras, storage, RAM, processors, etc. Let’s see what happens to each of them in this new world.
Cameras in next generations of smartphones
We know that having a good photo quality is not just about the hardware. Software matters too. Processors do a lot on the photo taken by a camera to make it better.
In the new generation software owns more accountability for the quality than the hardware. With the help of Artificial Intelligence, we’ll be able to improve image quality in a matter of a second.
That’s why we don’t always need to upgrade our camera hardware. Software can do it all for us. Meaning that you have a normal camera but the photo quality is way more than the ability of that hardware because AI is working on it.
The same goes for video. We talked about how mobile phones can help you do betterphotography with a phone which might be interesting for you.
Â AI and cameras in next generation of smartphones
AI is the new buzzword not only in photography but also in every sector of the tech industry that has a software related part. Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere. You might not know but without doubts one of your applications on your smartphone is using AI in such a way.
Maybe the AI is the camera, maybe your voiceassistant, maybe your anti-virus, etc. For example, when you are taking a photo and it detects the faces in your photo, this is what AI is understanding. Or when you are talking to Siri on your iPhone, itâ€™s an intensive use of AI that can handle your requests.
Also, when you are typing and the keyboard is suggesting words to complete your sentences, itâ€™s AI that understands, interprets and predicts the rest of your sentence. Believe it or not AI is everywhere in your smartphone now. Cameras are also no exception and they are already using it a lot.
Another example of using AI in photos is the photo editing tools that help you edit extensively. You can easily repair skin colors/ shadows, replace colors, remove backgrounds and so many other things by just using an application.
A good reason for using AI in the next generation of smartphones is the hardware gap.
Not all the cameras on smartphones have several lenses, not all of them have zoom lenses. Thatâ€™s where you need a software to handle the zooming. â€œSoftware is becoming more and more important for smartphones because they have a physical lack of optics, so weâ€™ve seen the rise of computational photography that tries to replicate an optical zoom,â€� says imaging analyst Arun Gill, Senior Market Analyst at Future Source Consulting.
â€œOne of the examples is Google Pixel 3 which uses a single camera lens with huge computational photography in order to replicate an optical zoom and also adds various effects. To let you know more, AI has a lot to offer not just in photography but also inÂ improving user experience.
Storage in next generation of smartphones
Everybody has heard about Google drive or iCloud. These guys have been around for a while and more and more people are using them nowadays compared to a few years ago when everybody needed to have all his files, photos and videos on their device.
Going beyond the personal files, comes the applications. We are using a lot of applications in theÂ cloud every day and we are getting used to it. Meaning that we no longer need to have all the applications installed in our smartphones.
We just open the URL and boom, it’s there. This decreases the need for a big storage on our devices. So, the new devices come with small storage because you are going to have everything on a cloud somewhere in the world.
This is all because of cloud technology which is becoming cheaper and cheaper every day. More and more companies and products are fully migrating to clouds or connected to clouds.
Â A major advantage of cloud storage is the ability to access your files on any device and not needing to transfer them manually every time you switch to a new phone.
You just upload once and every time you get a new phone or go on a new device regardless of being a smartphone or personal computer, youâ€™ll have all the files there in a second.
There are some smartphones that offer cloud storage as you buy them. Google Pixel is one of the few smartphones that benefit from cloud storage by default.
It offers just 32GB internal storage and it doesnâ€™t have a micro card slot. Google Pixel offers unlimited storage on Google Drive for high-resolution photos and videos for free.
It has already started being the next generation of smartphones where you are migrating to cloud faster than other phones.
RAM in next generation of smartphones
Application of a RAM is to keep enough data you need handy when opening an application on your phone. This means that if you want to have more applications working at the same time and you don’t want to experience lag in your device, you need more RAM.
Now let’s think about having all your applications on clouds. You no longer need to have a big RAM. You just need enough RAM to launch your OS. That’s why the next generation of phones do not need a huge RAM. Thanks to cloud technology again and again.
Right now, there are a number of smartphones that have 8GB of RAM inside. In fact, 8GB of RAM is not vital for a smartphone. This much RAM is more than enough for almost all computing tasks on a standard work machine.
There arenâ€™t enough tasks you can put into your smartphone to make the most use of all 8GB.
Maybe you are thinking about future proofing your device with this 8GB of RAM, but unfortunately smartphone hardware degrades pretty quickly. So never try to buy a smartphone with 8GB of RAM solely for that purpose.
Â There are smartphones with 12GB of RAM such as Samsung Galaxy S20. Buttests have shown that phones with more RAM do not necessarily perform better than those with lower RAM.
For example, Appleâ€™s iPhones have 4GB of RAM and perform very well compared to their competitors.
Therefore, it is not a big deal to have more RAM on your device. In the next generations of smartphones, youâ€™ll have the required amount of RAM in your hardware and leave the rest to software to handle it perfectly.
Processors in next generation of smartphones
Processors are not an exception. When you don’t have any applications on your phone, processing is not a big deal because you are leaving all the processes to the cloud.You no longer own a processing unit. All the processes are done in the cloud because all your data is there and all your applications are launched there.
One thing I know based on my research is that we are not using all the power inside the CPU of our smartphone and there is still a lot to do with them. This doesnâ€™t mean the improvement and advancement in CPU technologies would stop while it means software has a lot to consume yet.
With more powerful CPUs, applications are able to perform better and do more complex tasks. Improvement of CPUs creates the space for artificial intelligence works to be done by applications on smartphones.
Also, there is a direct connection between type of CPU and 5G internet. Not all CPUs are able to support 5G at the moment and they should gradually adapt to the new conditions.
The idea of having all our data and applications on the cloud requires a big support of internet bandwidth and computational power which are achievable through a cutting-edge CPU.
A CPU that supports them both. Considering the next generation smartphones have one of those CPUs with minimum functionality of supporting both 5G and enough computational power for the times there are calculations and computations needed to be run on the device locally.
Ports in next generation of smartphones
One thing we always had in mind when buying a new device was connectivity functionality. What I mean by that is how many other devices can be connected to this computer or laptop? This also used to be an important matter when buying a new phone until smartphones came by.
The good point about them is that you can connect almost anything via Bluetooth and Wifi. Apple has its own Airdrop which enables you to connect to all Apple devices and share files with them. You can connect Bluetooth handsfree, Bluetooth speakers, external hard drives, selfie sticks, etc. to your smartphone.
Some phones are now supporting wireless charging and you no longer need to connect a cable for charging your phone. This means that we no longer need the charger hole beneath our smartphones because we can just do it wirelessly.
Recently Apple announced that there would be no charger and ear pods in the iPhone package for the next iPhones anymore. I believe itâ€™s the beginning of removing the current charger port as well. The same as they did with the 3.5mm jack for handsfree.
But what about the next generation of smartphones? I can guess that there wouldnâ€™t be any ports anymore because everything could be done wirelessly through different technologies. Therefore, do not expect a hole in your next generation of smartphone.
Trends of purchasing new smartphones
Apple and other smartphone makers have attributed falling revenues to customers not upgrading their handsets. Thatâ€™s a growing problem for the industry, but itâ€™s felt more acutely in some regions than others.
In the U.S. and Europe, especially, the life cycle of a smartphone has been steadily increasing, according to data from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel.
This means that people are keeping their old phones more than before. In 2016, American smartphone owners used their phones for 22.7 months on average before upgrading. By 2018, that number had increased to 24.7.
Users in five European countries tracked by Kantar Worldpanel â€” France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain â€” are keeping their phones for even longer. From 2016 to 2018, the life cycle of a smartphone was extended by nearly three months, from 23.4 to 26.2.
Users in Great Britain logged the longest average of 27.7 months in 2018. This change in behavior is not only due to price-related matters (majority of smartphones prices has increased over the last years) but also due to the fact that people are satisfied with their smartphones and new phones do not have something special to offer.
In the next generation of smartphones, you won’t go and buy a branded phone. You’ll only buy a white label hardware then choose your desired OS software to install on that hardware.
” You go to a store, buy a white labeled phone with satisfying hardware without any OS on it. You then go home and buy your desired OS and install it on the device.”
The key here is advancement of technologies in the internet (5G), cloud computing, cloud storage and artificial intelligence which are all revolutionizing the tech industry.
We are at a point in history when infrastructure is no big deal anymore and everything is going to rely on software because there is not going to be any limitations in terms of hardware. Phones became smartphones and the next generation would be intelligent phones.
The phones that form based on your requirements, based on your way of using it, based on your situation, based on your budget and based on your profession all with the help of artificial intelligence and clouds. Those smartphones would be fullyÂ personalized for you because they are intelligent.
The lines have been drawn and the debate is hotter than before. Remote! That is the future of work. We get to work on our time, be more productive, and spend quality time with our loved ones. Sure it’s hard to get a hold of co-workers, we miss out on those serendipitous lunch interactions, and team morale is low.
Wait, I changed my mind. Offices, yes offices — offices are the future of work!
Maybe the real answer is a mixture of both.
The last four months have been a whirlwind of digital transformation, remote work playbook building and chaos. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven “two years‘ worth of digital transformation in two months” according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
With the recent news of pushing social opening until Summer 2021, and most office work closed down through the end of 2020 — what will it all look like when we get â€œback to normal?â€� You be the judge – all remote, all office, hybrid of both?
The Future of Work is All Remote
Vindication, that is the easiest word to describe people who have been beating the drum about remote work over the last decade or more.
Lack of Commute.
No Chatty Co-workers.
Remote work is time efficient.
If you have ever lived in a big metropolitan area you know the pains of getting on a train, bus, boat, or car and traveling far distances to get to your office. Many people I worked with in the Bay Area would commute 2 hours every day. They would listen to books, podcasts, music to pass the time that could have been spent with their families, roommates, pets, even Netflix.
A recent report we put out of CloudApp usage March — April 2020 showed that people were using that morning commute time that was once unproductive, to work 2-3x more than normal. Office workers discovered new found freedom in their ability to get rid of wasteful time on the road in favor of starting work early.
Working remote can also allow space to have that 30 min haircut appointment over your lunch break, run to the dentist , pick up your kids from school, take your dog for a walk, and all kinds of other things that arenâ€™t possible when you are in an office environment.
Remote work is cheaper.
This applies to businesses and to employees. With remote work you are able to work and live where you want. Gone are the expensive rents of a big city or the need to provide a large HQ to lure talent.
Remote work as the future provides a chance for a company to hire wherever it wants. That broadens the talent pool and removes the competitive factor of a few geographical areas.
Chris Herd, Founder and CEO of Firstbase had this to say on my podcast The DNA of An Experience. â€œWith an office, you can hire the best person that you can afford within a 30 mile radius. The benefit of a remote setting is that you’re not in that position where you’re hiring in a 30 mile radius.”
Imagine the cash infusion for a little startup that doesnâ€™t need to spend $10-20k a month on rent for its 50 person office.
The money saved with remote work for both sides of the coin are large enough to consider it a piece of the future of work.
Remote work is all digital.
In 2019, we at CloudApp did a survey of 1000 office workers and found that 50% of office workers list chatty co-workers or social media as their biggest time wasters. In a digital world, there are no co-workers stopping at your desk or office noise distracting you.
Meetings are also less frequent to help people avoid â€œZoom fatigueâ€�. In a digital remote world, you have more control over who you interact with and when.
Tools like Zoom for real time video, CloudApp for asynchronous video communication, Asana for task management, and Slack for informal collaboration can be a great foundation for your digital tool kit
The Future of Work is All Office Based
The familiar future we have all grown up with. Wake up, commute to the office, connect with co-workers, commute home, repeat. There is something to be said about a routine that our brains are already conditioned to accept.
Office based work is comfortable
The tech world is based on companies having a really great HQ. As I talked about in a previous post, Apple, Google, Facebook, Adobe, and others count on their offices being a shining star to lure talent. These offices provide a semblance of home with food, gyms, and even dry cleaners to help make your life outside of the bubble HQ a little easier.
The modern office is meant to be comfortable and provide chances for people to congregate and have unplanned interactions. Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe always called these â€œserendipitous interactionsâ€� where someone from product is meeting with someone from marketing on the basketball court or cafe unplanned.
The truth is we feel the office is comfortable because it hasnâ€™t been new to us like remote work has this year.
Office based work is collaborative.
Iâ€™ve heard a common thread in my conversations with other leaders during this time. â€œI miss the brainstorming, the energyâ€� There is something different when humans get together. Its hard to manufacturer that vibe over video conferencing
Many people would say that a lot of time is wasted in the office with conversations about Game of Thrones, sports highlights from the night before, or family vacations. However, maybe those conversations are what we all need to feel connected and to build trust in people that help us provide for ourselves and families.
The Future of Work is a Hybrid
The future of work is going to be a hybrid. 2020 will be a catalyst for both office workers and businesses to realize that partial remote work isnâ€™t evil. It can be nice to have an unstructured day at home once or twice a week. Over the past few weeks I have been testing out this model (albeit in an empty office). Here is what I have learned
It is nice to separate work from home.
Iâ€™ve always worked from home. Last minute edits on a board deck late at night, early morning email responses. However, the last 4 months have been non stop work at home with a desk in my bedroom. Iâ€™m sure many other people are in similar situations. Maybe a small apartment, a space with roommates, or like me a house full of kids.
Since March I have definitely found my mind is more frequently cluttered with work thoughts that I used to be able to shake away when I was at home. My computer randomly turns on in the middle of the night and illuminates me awake, or I’ll forget to silence notifications and will hear that Slack noise pop through when I am playing with my kids.
Whatever it is, having my office 100 percent home based has been a challenge for me mentally.
My wife suggested a few weeks ago to go into our office a couple of times a week. I followed her advice and found it to be super quiet without anyone here, but also energizing and productive.
It was nice to have some separation.
Human connection is good.
We arenâ€™t meant to connect one hundred percent over video. Initially there was an abundance of company led lunches, games, and other things over video. I would expect that has moved more toward the norm of video all being focused around business means.
That human connection drives us to work for something greater, to feel that the sum is greater than its parts.
The future of work will bring a lot of remote workers. People who found that the big city wasnâ€™t working anymore and they needed a change. In this hybrid model, businesses will need to find budget and resources to support getting everyone together once a quarter, even once a month if teams are close enough.
The human connection will drive mental and job satisfaction. It is a key piece of the future of work.
The Future of Work is confusing — but what isnâ€™t?
Its hard to really grasp what the future holds at the moment. We are all in the middle of developing and bracing ourselves for all scenarios. If there is anything good to come out of this year, its that we have all learned different ways to work that we didnâ€™t know were previously possible.
Its obvious, we all use technology more.
We all know the effort it takes to connect digitally.
We all know what we took for granted in an office setting.
The future of work is definitely confusing, but at least after this year the possibilities are more endless than ever before.
Cybersecurity is one of the biggest hurdles to progress and digital transformation for companies. Naturally, with new technologies comes new vulnerabilities, which companies can find difficult to navigate especially in new cloud environments.
Legally, cybersecurity designers have to follow strict regulations such asÂ HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and other laws to protect sensitive information that businesses may possess of their clients.
However, companies that can navigate this system and use their information effectively can more than double their profitability.
Security is a focal point for the future, but it doesn’t have to be the end-all-be-all for companies’ progress and transformation. Companies can not only evolve with technology but stay ahead of the curve and use it effectively. Here are three ways to prevent your company’s security needs from halting the digital transformation of your organization.
Security is Where the Cloud is
The future of security lies in the “cloud,” an ambiguous term that much implies your data is stored invisibly in the sky somewhere. The cloud refers to software and services that run on the internet rather than on your computer’s hard drive.
Data is stored and accessed over the internet (on someone’s server) rather than locally, which can make some companies nervous. The worry or nervousness can prevent businesses from jumping into the next generation of security.
Putting trust in the cloud means trusting that the data will be accessible at all times.
Unlimited accessibility is possible, but it can cost a pretty penny, especially as the companies providing the service can charge for things such as bandwidth.
Trusting the cloud also means trusting the companies providing cloud storage services, which many companies have trouble doing. Big corporations such as Amazon, provide cloud storage services to thousands of smaller companies. The companies can run theÂ risk of outages that can last for hours.
Intellectual property issues can also be an issue with cloud storage. Your business and companies that provide cloud storage solutions may have riffs over who owns the data since they’re the ones storing it. This can depend on where the data was created (locally or in the cloud), and what verbiage is used in the terms of service agreement.
Reasons why companies may not want to implement cloud solutions.
However, cloud computing and cloud-based storage solutions are the future. Local storage is limited, but the storage capacity of the cloud is almost unlimited. Almost constant improvement in cloud services means an improvement in the security of data and infrastructures involved in cloud computing. Cloud security can offer reduced costs since the need to invest in dedicated hardware is eliminated. Reputable cloud service providers eliminate manual security configurations.
Familiarizing with the Cloud can help your organization operate at scale, reduce the costs of technology, use flexible systems that can give the company a competitive edge, and keep moving toward the future.
Tokenization is a Secure Digital Transformation
Tokens are a subject that not a lot of companies have heard of, but can definitely benefit from. A digital token is a digital representation of an asset or right. The asset can be a stock, bond, or real-estate.
The digital token can also represent the rights you have to access a form of data. With security tokens, you can have ownership of the asset, and investors in this asset are protected. Security tokens are useful for private securities.
The security token can often be confused with a utility token, which is when the Howey Test is used to differentiate the two.
The Howey Test is a test made by the Supreme Court that may determine if a transaction qualifies as an investment contract. This test asks if the asset is an investment of money, if it’s in a common enterprise, if there’s an expectation of profits, and if the asset comes from the expectations of others. If the asset passes this test, it can legally be considered a security token.
Security tokens are useful for companies to pay dividends and share and generate profits for token holders.
Paper-backed assets have a liquidity problem, but the cryptographic representation of assets takes care of that issue. By utilizing security tokens, businesses can represent their assets with a simple, government-regulated token. They are rather underutilized at the moment, but as more individuals and companies become interested in owning tokenized versions of assets, security tokens show a lot of promise.
Cyber threats and data breaches are now considered the norm rather than the exception. Threats such as these have made big businesses to increase spending on defense and cybersecurity, but several firms still underspend on their cyber defenses.
Most firms have the most basic forms of cybersecurity, such as firewalls and antivirus. This may have been enough in the old days, butÂ cybersecurity threats today are much more sophisticated and require more evolved forms of protection.
Authentication, encryption, and digital signatures can all help organizations protect their data from cyber threats, and it’s incredibly important that businesses invest in these to prevent costly breaches.
Investing in protection from breaches can be costly, but the chaos that ensues from data breaches when cybersecurity is not taken seriously can be more costly than their preventive measures.
Spending money on these needs now can prevent companies from having to pause operations to fix mistakes from malware, phishing, ransomware, and other forms of data breaches. In this way, the digital transformation of an organization can continue without needing to worry too much about cyber threats.
In the End
The digital transformation of an organization can be slowed down or even halted in the event of a cybersecurity threat.
Knowing how to evolve with the changing cybersecurity industry through cloud computing, tokenizations, and allocating funding for cybersecurity are just three of the dozens of ways to prevent a company from being left behind in its digital transformation.