An Analogy of Types of Mobile Apps and Which is Best Suited for Your Business

types of mobile apps

Apps or applications have become a part of our daily lives over the past decade. Applications are programs or software that run (usually) on smart devices and have a specific purpose.

The term “app” has become so popular that Microsoft decided to stop using the word “programâ€� from Windows 10.

mobile app development for business

A good example of an app or app name would be a shopping app — such as Amazon. You could access it through your laptop browser and also through the dedicated app. It is the same for the New York Times, Accuweather, and at least a million more names. However, not all smart device apps have a browser-based counterpart.

If you own a business and have decided to go digital, you would want to launch an app sooner or later.

At the stage of conceptualizing, you would run across three types of mobile apps – Native, Hybrid, and Web.

This blog aims at demystifying the terms and making you acquainted with the pros and cons of each type of mobile apps.

Native, Hybrid, and Web – Three Classes of Apps

Native Mobile Apps

Native apps are designed to work with a particular operating system. The world of mobile computing is largely divided into two OS platforms Android and iOS.

A Native app designed for one of these would not work on another. Not only would it not work, but it also cannot even be installed.

If the Native app is designed for Android, it will use Java, and for iOS would use Swift and Objective C. Windows phones used C#, but that is an outdated OS.

Most of the apps that you use are Native apps. They have been built using the platform SDK (software development kit).

Native SDK is, without a doubt, the best platform for app development until now. The SDK provides necessary direction to a coder with tools, libraries, sample code, parameters, and self-use guides.

For example, Google gives the Android Studio a very capable IDE with a code editor, compiler, and debugging tools packaged into a single-window system.

Advantages of Native Apps

  • Since they are designed using platform IDE, they work faster and seamlessly. This causes fewer app crashes.
  • A Native app can use the hardware, compass, GPS circuitry, GPU in a more productive manner.
  • A large part of the app framework is preloaded. Only the current data is fetched from the net. This also allows the app to work offline if it does not need fresh data. You can continue to listen to the currently loaded page of a meditation app such as Headspace even if you are in a subway tunnel.
  • Native apps have a more natural navigation flow. This is because developers are using the same libraries in different apps. Most apps have the same layout. Developers tend not to spring a surprise in this department because if a user is uncomfortable, they will uninstall the app.
  • They are able to provide better visual output and maintain aspect ratio. There are no misplaced icons or sudden changes in font size.

Disadvantages of Native Apps

  • Effectively the same app has to be designed twice, once for each OS. Each following version also needs two sets of coders for simultaneous release. This is more expensive, especially for a small business.
  • Native apps require visiting the official app store, finding an app through search or ratings, and downloading it. Thereafter one has to sign up and log in. This makes installation a lengthy process of 10-30 minutes, depending on network speed.
  • The app development process is, to a large extent, controlled by the OS since the SDK and IDE are proprietary.

type of mobile app development

Source

Web-based Apps

Mobile Web apps are not full-fledged applications. They are not completely installed on the OS. Rather they use a mobile browser (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and others) for several functionalities.

On the whole, a mobile app looks very similar to a Native app. It mimics a simplified menu compared to the full-fledged website that runs on a laptop and uses very few system resources.

They have grown in popularity as HTML5 has made Flash redundant. Flash was not made for mobile OS except very ancient versions such as Symbian used by Nokia back at the turn of the century.

To make it look and feel like a Native app, browser navigation is not visible, and both vertical and horizontal scrolling is enabled.

Web app development has now evolved into PWA or Progressive Web Applications. Twitter and Pinterest are the most well-known examples of Progressive Web App development.

Advantages of Web-based Apps

  • They cost far less. This is the principal advantage. This is because they are being designed for browser-based usage and do not need the huge amount of coding that Native apps require. There is no need to develop a separate version for each OS.
  • PWAs do not need a frequent update. This is because the update features can be added to the backend, and the browser would fetch the new version.
  • PWA is SEO sensitive. Any clicks made in the app count towards user engagement. Since SEO is what makes or breaks a digital business, it is an important contribution indeed.
  • PWAs are increasingly app store independent. They can be found via a simple search or even social media. Being free of the app store ecosystem gives a business owner greater independence in running subscription-based services.
  • They are light on resources. PWA apps use less RAM and are popular in regions where budget smartphones are used. They also save battery. Most PWA apps can run on very little data.
  • Due to the use of HTML, an app owner has greater access to manpower. There are plenty of HTML coders, but few are experienced in Swift.

Disadvantages of Web-based Apps

  • They do not have an appealing look. A PWA cannot access the contact list or camera. The overall UI lacks sophistication. Unless the brand has huge name recognition, a PWA cannot be successful.
  • PWA is unable to use critical features such as hardware acceleration. This makes the app quite basic, and at most, it can fetch information and display the same. But often, an app is required to do much more, render complex graphics, and even perform extensive calculations (such as video games). PWAs remain rudimentary till now.

mobile app design

Hybrid Apps

These have tried to tap into the advantages of both Native and Web-based apps. They rely on a browser, but the app comes with browser access baked into its code.

Hybrid apps such as Uber are usually single-page app and look remarkably like their website counterparts.

Advantages of Hybrid Apps

  • The reason Hybrid app development has become popular is the reduced cost of development. There is only one set of code to be written.
  • At the same time, unlike a PWA, a hybrid app allows greater access to system functions such as a camera and microphone.
  • Hybrid apps do not use the native SDK but allow reasonably high-level emulation.

mobile app code

Disadvantages of Hybrid Apps

  • Hybrid apps use an embedded browser known as webview. The webview variant of the browser is not as efficient as the original browser. This affects app performance. The UI is most often bland and unexciting.
  • In theory, the same Hybrid app works on both Android and iOS, but in reality, the differences between the OS and the way they allow browsers to run shows through. To make the app smooth on both these platforms require an investment that is comparable to Native apps.

How to Select?

This would depend on a number of parameters – cost, purpose, time to market, manpower availability, and necessary scalability.

If you are running a small business, it makes sense to go for a PWA app. Your upfront costs are less, and you could get an initial response of the market to your idea and find what needs to be fixed. Thus a PWA can be used as a prototype for full-fledged Native app development.

App development is complex, and you would need to perform a SWOT analysis to find which app type offers you the best bang for your buck.

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Mindful Technology Use: The Next Digital Revolution

mindful technology digital revolution

For the past couple of decades, we’ve seen an impressively powerful technology revolution. In just 20 years, we’ve gone from having less than half the U.S. population with internet access to having the vast majority of Americans rely on the internet for work, socialization, and leisure for most of their day. The movement has been to develop more technology, use more technology, and integrate technology into more areas of life.

Mindful Technology

For the most part, these changes have been positive. Workers are more productive than they’ve ever been before. People are able to talk to friends and family inexpensively, no matter where they are in the world. And, of course, we get a chance to search for movies, TV shows, and even memes we’d otherwise never dream of seeing.

But the next digital revolution may be a more nuanced one. Instead of pushing for “more� technology, it may be time to scale back—at least in some ways. It may be time to spark a revolution of “mindful� technology use. But what is this concept, exactly, and why is it so important for our health, productivity, and daily interactions?

Mindful Technology Use

You may associate the term “mindful� with “mindfulness meditation,� and you’re not too far off. In case you aren’t familiar, mindfulness meditation is the practice of mindfulness, or paying attention to the present moment. In the course of daily life, our minds tend to wander; we drift between an annoying song stuck in our heads, a grocery list, an imaginary argument with someone who upset us earlier, and random stimuli in our environment, all during an important work meeting. Mindfulness encourages us to be presently conscious, if only in brief, fleeting moments between these competing distractions.

Mindful technology use follows a similar principle. The idea is that we’re constantly afflicted with technological distractions, and we’re tempted to use technology far more often than is warranted—and far more often than is healthy.

Some people have advocated abandoning technology altogether, such as quitting social media or abandoning email in favor of traditional phone calls. But the productivity-increasing potential of technology is far too powerful for this to be a smart move.

Instead, our goal should be to become more aware of how and when we’re using technology—and only use technology when it benefits us to do so.

Non-Mindful Technology Use

It’s perhaps easiest to understand what constitutes “mindful� technology use when we illustrate “non-mindful� technology use.

A perfect example of non-mindful technology use: losing time in an infinite scrolling social media feed. Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and dozens of other social platforms now utilize a mechanism known as “infinite scrolling.â€� The users can endlessly keep discovering new content by scrolling — possibly forever. Nearly all of us have fallen victim to mindless scrolling at some point, forgetting that we’re spending time doing this and losing ourselves in consumption.

How much time would you estimate you have lost in your scrolling adventures?

Here’s another example of the non-mindful use of tech. Have you ever found yourself bored for a moment, whether it’s waiting in line or dealing with an unnecessary meeting, and found yourself opening an app on your phone without thinking about it? Suddenly, you’re in the middle of using an app — you didn’t choose this. You didn’t think about it. You just did it. Unconsciously. You maybe even started playing one of your games.

In these contexts, technology functions as a kind of 301 redirect for our minds. We automatically follow this pattern of behaviors, even if it’s not good for us. And the fact that most digital apps are specifically designed to be addictive just makes us more vulnerable.

All of the data about the consequences of  mindless scrolling are complex:

  • Wasted time. For starters, we waste time. We spend too many hours on apps that are meant to provide us with temporary entertainment. We end up dwelling on apps meant to increase our productivity in a way that renders us unable to do any “realâ€� work.
  • Lost attention and focus. We also lose our attention and focus. If we’re compelled to open an app and start scrolling every time we’re bored, we’re practically unable to pay attention in conversation or focus on our more important work.
  • Bad habits. Mindlessly using technology leads to bad technology habits, which can follow us for years if not addressed. For example, we’ve all conditioned ourselves to drop what we’re doing and respond to notifications whenever we receive them—at least at some point.
  • Mental health issues. Some forms of non-mindful technology use are associated with mental health afflictions. For example, chronic social media users tend to be more inclined to feel lonely, depressed, and anxious.

Principles of Mindful Technology Use

Mindful technology use sounds great. But it’s also a bit vague. So what does mindful technology use look like? How can we achieve it?

The principles of mindful technology use include:

  • Simply learning more about the effects of technology can make you a more mindful technology user. If you know that an app has the potential to be addictive, you’ll be inclined to use it less frequently or in less repeatable patterns. If the claims a productivity app makes are dubious, you’ll consider using an alternative.
  • Mindful technology use is also about minimalism. That doesn’t mean restricting your use of technology or using as little as possible; instead, it means avoiding wasted technology use. It means not using more apps than you can reasonably handle and focusing on the tech tools that are most beneficial for you.
  • You need to be transparent and aware of your own habits if you’re ever going to improve. That’s why mindful technology use is heavily focused on awareness. Consider tracking how much time you spend on each of your most popular apps and documenting instances where you feel like you’re not in control of your own use of technology.
  • Mindfully using technology also requires intention. You shouldn’t be using technology because you feel like you have to or because they’re a part of your habits or routine; you should be actively choosing to use technology if and when it suits you.
  • Analysis is the gateway to improvement across all these tenets. You have to understand your own behaviors, feelings, and attitudes if you’re going to change them.

Changing Bad Habits

It can be difficult to change a bad habit—especially if it’s been deeply ingrained and reinforced for many years. However, there’s always time to change your patterns of behavior.

With technology use, most of our patterns rely on triggers and/or repetition. For example, when we receive a notification, we look down at our device; this is a trigger that encourages a natural response, and it’s all too common now that most of us are working remotely. If the trigger continues, your response will likely continue.

Breaking a bad habit reliant on a trigger requires breaking the trigger in some way. Ideally, you’d get rid of notifications entirely and only check your communication channels when you truly intend to do so. However, reducing or changing your notifications may also help.

Repetition is another issue. If you can engage in the same sequence of actions repeatedly, you’ll easily build a habit, whether you mean to or not. For example, you may mindlessly tap an app on your phone, knowing its location so familiarly that you don’t even have to look at it.

Again, you’ll want to break the pattern. In this case, that could mean moving the app to a different location on your smartphone, so you’re forced to think about whether you truly want to open the app or whether you’re doing this mindlessly.

Toward a More Mindful Future

Almost anyone can benefit from practicing more mindful technology use. It’s challenging to break bad habits and resist the natural tendency to engage in behaviors encouraged by modern tech. However, it’s extremely rewarding to regain control of your own mind, health, and productivity.

Image Credit: armin rimoldi; pexels

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Will Startup Culture Get Stronger or Weaker From Here?

For the past couple of decades, the United States and countries around the world have felt something akin to startup fever. Millions of young and inexperienced entrepreneurs are excited at the prospect of starting an innovative new business of their own. Millions of savvy and new investors are eager to cash in on the next Google or Apple. And culturally, we’re all fascinated to hear stories about underdogs that become tech unicorns and innovative geniuses who come up with world-changing ideas.

This startup culture has led to ingenious developments, widespread economic growth, and accessible new technologies for millions of other businesses. But what are the future prospects of this trend? Will startup culture grow even stronger from here? Or are we in a bubble that’s about to burst? 

Factors for Startup Culture

Let’s start by looking at the factors responsible for the development of this hot startup culture. 

  • Explosive potential. One of the obvious points of interest here is the potential for explosive growth that each startup offers. Today’s tech giants, which have become household names worth billions, or even a trillion dollars, started in a garage with just a handful of people. Investors are thrilled at the idea of buying shares of a tech startup for $5,000 and turning that into $500,000 in less than a decade. This doesn’t happen often, but it happens enough that people are hungry to find promising young startups and watch them grow. 
  • Underdog stories. We all love underdog stories, and many startups embody this idea. An entrepreneur with a cool idea and a few thousand dollars changes the world with their creative new app and ends up becoming a multi-millionaire. It’s a great story, and one we’ve seen unfold many times over. It makes us more likely to support people trying to achieve this dream and makes us think about trying to achieve it for ourselves. 
  • Accessibility. It’s hard to argue that it’s “easyâ€� to launch a tech startup, but it’s certainly a more accessible opportunity for entrepreneurs than they’ve had in the past. This is especially true now that remote work is becoming more popular, and tech companies don’t have to invest much money into real estate or infrastructure. Anyone with a promising idea has the potential to create a startup all of their own – and even if they don’t, they can fantasize about the possibilities. This draws us further into the admiration of startups and entrepreneurs. 
  • Novel technologies. Our culture loves novel technologies and it’s easy to see why. When a fancy new app allows you to save an hour a day on manual tasks, or when you can share memes with your friends in some completely innovative way, it improves your quality of life. On a less sexy level, new technologies also improve workplace efficiency, helping countless entrepreneurs in other industries create more jobs and increase productivity. We love to see new businesses bring these technologies to light. 
  • Freedom and flexibility. Startups are representative of freedom in some ways. These companies spring forth from the imaginations of people who want to change the world – and often want to create their own work cultures and environments. Most people highly value flexibility and autonomy, and startups embody this. 
  • Challenging the status quo. We can also see startups as challenging the status quo. New startups often introduce agility into stagnant industries, forcing long-established juggernauts to change or become obsolete. This novelty breathes new life into the market and helps us see things in a new light. 

Is There Any Pushback? 

So are there any factors working against the propagation of startup culture? 

The answer is a resounding “yes.� 

  • Anti-monopolistic and anti-capitalistic sentiments. We’re beginning to distrust tech companies and be more skeptical of entrepreneurs. In recent years, there’s been some degree of backlash against powerful companies, wealthy individuals, and industries dominated by a handful of superstars – even if those superstars created the entire industry from scratch. Anti-monopolistic and anti-capitalistic sentiments put a damper on the thrill of tech startups for many. 
  • CEO distrust. We’re also seeing a wave of distrust surrounding major tech corporations – and by extension, nimble tech startups. Platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, have been susceptible to misinformation from fake news and nefarious sources. Many social media users are increasingly concerned with privacy. And millions of consumers look at new “freeâ€� platforms with skepticism, knowing that nothing is truly free. This hasn’t deterred any new startups from emerging yet, but if this trend accelerates, it could create a more hostile environment. 
  • Economic valuation issues. Investors are excited about new tech startups, but they might be a little too excited. Over the past decade, we’ve seen crazy new heights in the stock prices of promising tech companies. Price to earning (PE) ratios have skyrocketed, and many investors fear the forthcoming consequences of a practical economic bubble. 
  • Funding accessibility. Venture capitalists and angel investors are more than willing to stake their money on new startups – but not just any startup. Over time, investor funds have been concentrated more heavily into only the most encouraging ideas. This is a logical and understandable move, but it’s made it harder to enter into the space. 
  • Employment issues. Solid leadership can make any work environment tolerable, but many employees are reluctant to work for a young tech startup. Startups typically offer low pay (due to limited funding), while maintaining a very demanding work culture, and being relatively unstable. This makes it hard for new startups to create new jobs and attract new employees. 
  • Failure rates. We tend to glamorize the most successful startups that have arisen in the tech industry, but the failures are much less visible. The truth is, the majority of startups fail within just a few years of being started. Many of those entrepreneurs go on to start other businesses, eventually finding success, but the high rate of failure may eventually become more visible – and develop into a turnoff that weakens the influence of startup culture. 
  • Other types of businesses. Startup entrepreneurship is economically powerful, but it’s not the only way to pursue business management or entrepreneurship. There are plenty of other available routes, including buying an existing business, flipping businesses, starting a franchise and other options. We work with dozens of marketing business owners who simply white label our link building services, reselling them to their own business owner clients. It’s a hands-off approach with a great ROI for those with existing connections. 

The Case for Stronger Startup Culture

So is it possible that startup culture could continue growing stronger in the coming years? 

Most of the factors leading to the development and growth of startup culture are still here – and are in no danger of weakening anytime soon. New technologies are still exciting to the masses, investors are still thrilled at the idea of making money, and there’s no shortage of great ideas still to come. Ballooning stock prices tell us there’s no startup fatigue setting in, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made startup entrepreneurship more attractive (due to remote work opportunities and limited potential for other types of businesses). 

The Case for Weaker Startup Culture

That said, we could be in store for a reversal of momentum. Anti-monopolistic, anti-capitalistic, and privacy-conscious voices are seemingly growing stronger, pushing for stricter regulations and the dismantling of economic structures that currently support tech startups. If the entrepreneurial landscape becomes more hostile to up-and-coming young business owners, we may see lower rates of new business creation. Still, it would likely take many years, if not decades, for our collective fascination with startups to fade away. 

No matter how you look at it, the strong startup culture in the United States seems poised to stay. There are threats that stand in the way of its utter domination, and there’s always the possibility of a mini-economic crash fueled by overinflated stock prices, but the fundamental factors that support our love of startups remain strong. It’s going to remain a good time to start a tech business at least for the foreseeable future. 

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The Rise of Remote Work and How to Assess Growth and Development

kpi assess growth

COVID-19 has accelerated the rate of remote work adoption globally, but what have we found out? We have discovered that remote work is not bad, after all.

In the past, many companies have been wary about transitioning to telecommuting, even when most of their office operations do not require the physical presence of employees. The main fears expressed by leaders include a possible decline in employee productivity and a lack of clarity about the measurement of employee performance.

The performance of individual employees determines the trajectory of the company. Without reliable methods to assess its employees’ work, it is difficult for any organization to achieve growth and development.

This article addresses the concerns of managers who are hesitant about remote work and those who have already implemented remote work but have trouble with tracking performance for workplace productivity and office growth.

Set Clear Objectives and KPIs to Assess Growth

How do you know if your employees are getting stuff done? The inevitable first step is to define what it means to get stuff down. In business lingua, that means to establish work objectives and set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Effective KPIs are aligned with the company’s overall goals and must contribute to the company’s growth and development.

Communicating to employees the metrics by which their performance will be assessed helps them to understand their priorities. Clear expectations, keep employees focused.

Acknowledge Unquantifiable Performance Indicators

In setting KPIs, though, you need to acknowledge that numbers don’t tell the full story. Not to suggest that you should discount the importance of numbers, but you should also be cognizant of the Key Intangible Performance Indicators. Admittedly, working remotely can compound the vagueness of such indicators — leading employees to feel their efforts are not recognized enough.

Some aspects are just not quantifiable, such as leadership, creativity, innovation, organization, and engagement. There are quantifiable indicators that may make us understand employee engagement and organization, but the subjects themselves are indefinite.

Until new ways and means of measuring these intangibles are discovered — company leadership should acknowledge that Key Intangible Performance Indicators exist, and look for ways to recognize employees who go above and beyond.

Support Employee Development

Assessments should be more supportive than they are judgmental. Employees appreciate frequent check-ins when the aim is to keep them on their toes and support them through difficulties. However, the manager that goes around constantly pointing out his team members’ flaws (without thoughtfully helping them overcome their challenges) is only seen as grumpy.

The rules also apply in remote work, where managers (out of fear of losing control) begin acting intrusively by implementing extreme corporate surveillance. Tracking and assessment are not the ends themselves; the goal of tracking employee performance should be to improve team productivity. In essence, remote work management and performance should usher us into a new era of trust, more autonomy, accountability, and team collaboration.

“Nowadays, it is not enough to equip teams with new digital tools for remote collaboration, which many rapidly did when the pandemic began. It’s only the first step,� says Maxime Bouroumeau-Fuseau, co-founder and CTO of Paris-based Digicoop, a worker cooperative behind the work management platform Kantree. “The changing workplace calls for an environment where employees are empowered to take control of their work.

In our experience as a co-op, when employees are given more autonomy and when micromanagement is replaced by collaboration, teams deliver better results while individual employees feel more invested in their work.�

Allow Autonomy

Many people choose to work remotely because they want to feel a greater sense of ownership of their time and schedules. Therefore, even though time tracking is important for many remote teams, it goes without saying that hourly input is not always a good measure of performance.

The true measure of performance is the work outcome. Remote work allows employees to choose their own work hours; what does it matter if an employee works less per hour but still meets targets consistently? Researchers have shown that autonomy increases productivity.

Use the Right Tools and Analytics for KPIs

With physical offices out of the picture, it is the tools that a remote team uses that define the structure of work and operations. There are tools that keep employees accountable and provide actionable insights into how work gets done in the organization.

The rise of remote work has promoted the importance of analytics of everyday work data to ensure that employees are more productive.

The insights gained help team leaders and the management to understand if the organization is meeting set targets of performance and productivity and determine the rate of growth and development. Tools such as Trello, Kantree, Jira, Asana, Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc., are useful for assessing work progression.

Establish a Culture of Accountability

Note, though, that tools are only as effective as the culture in which they are situated. Your team might be using the best tools, but poor communication can derail employees from the main goals of the company.

When there are issues with employee performance, you must be able to recognize if there is a problem with the tools being used or with the management. Accountability should not only be down-up; it should be top-down too. Managers should be accountable to their subordinates and transparent about office dealings.

Conclusion

Going by statistics, remote work actually improves employee productivity and performance. This, in turn, leads to the overall growth of the company. However, this growth must be intentional. Organizations should implement proper (and flexible) assessment models to know when their work is really progressing and when there are problems that must be solved.

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How Entrepreneurship Became Democratized (and Where It Goes From Here)

Over the past 20 or 30 years, entrepreneurship has become democratized—and that’s a great thing, for the most part. But if we’re to better understand the tenets of entrepreneurial democratization and keep pushing for positive changes, we need to delve deeper into this topic. 

What exactly is entrepreneurial democratization? How did it develop? And where can it go from here? 

What Is Entrepreneurial Democratization? 

Let’s start with the term entrepreneurial democratization. Democracy is a system of government we’re all familiar with—one in which every individual has a say. But democratization in this context refers to accessibility; in other words, how easy is it for a person to engage in this activity? 

Democratized entrepreneurship means it’s easy for people to start businesses of their own, regardless of their background, their current income level, their previous knowledge and experience, and other factors. Over the years, this has increased sharply; today, almost anyone can start a business with minimal hurdles, depending on the model they choose. 

Why Is Entrepreneurial Democratization Important? 

Why is this an important topic? Democratized entrepreneurship offers a lot of advantages. For individuals, it means more freedom and flexibility when it comes to starting businesses. If you’re down on your luck, unemployed with no savings, you still have a chance to make something of yourself by creating a business from scratch. If you’ve spent 30 years building a career in one specific niche, you can still pivot and try to start something new. 

It’s also important from a societal, economic, and cultural perspective. More accessible entrepreneurship means more people are going to be interested in starting businesses. New businesses lead to further technological innovation, more job creation, and profound economic growth in surrounding areas. 

So what is it that spurred this great age of democratized entrepreneurship? 

Website Builders and the Information Age

First, we need to acknowledge the role of the internet and all the marvelous tools that have come along with it. These days, it’s easy to build a website thanks to the prevalence of website builders. Using one of these innovative tools, you can design your website for free using basic templates—even if you have no previous coding or design knowledge and no money to pay a professional for help. 

It’s also enormously beneficial to be able to consult the entirety of the internet when researching your business plan and making plans for the future. With a simple Google search, you can instantly see who your competition is, learn more about your target demographics, and even find a business plan template that you can use as a starting point for your work. 

Marketing Tactics and Outreach

The internet has also changed the landscape of marketing and advertising. These days, digital marketing reigns supreme. With even a small budget, an entrepreneur can easily invest in a strategy that has the power to propel their business to competitive dominance. You can focus on writing and popularizing online content and optimize your site for search engines, practicing search engine optimization (SEO) to rank higher and earn more organic traffic. You can leverage the power of social media platforms, where it’s free to create an account and make new posts. You can also tap into pay per click (PPC) ads to drive guaranteed traffic to your site for a fixed fee per visitor. 

The diversity of marketing options, the low costs, and the low barriers to entry here make it easier than ever to support a growing business.  

Entrepreneurial Interest 

We’re also seeing a new wave of entrepreneurial interest. People have always been interested in starting their own businesses, whether they want to make a lot of money or just have more flexibility in their daily schedule. But we’re seeing a massive resurgence of entrepreneurial interest that has created an environment that’s even more favorable to launching a new business. 

For example, there are dozens of entrepreneurial podcasts to listen to. There are probably countless meetup groups and organizations in your city. There are hundreds of channels where you can find mentorship, peer support, and guidance. No matter where you look, you’ll be able to find encouragement when starting a new business. 

Education 

These days, it’s possible to start a business with minimal education. You don’t need a formal background in business. You don’t need a master’s degree. All you need is a great idea, a solid understanding of business financials, and the confidence to make a compelling presentation to the people who might fund or support your business. 

Loans and Financial Accessibility

This is also an era of unprecedented financial accessibility for entrepreneurs. For starters, we should acknowledge that it’s cheaper to start a business than it’s ever been before. You don’t need a physical retail space; you can sell online. You don’t need a factory to produce goods; you can sell digital services. You don’t even need an office space; you can operate remotely. And you can call upon countless online tools and educational resources to get almost everything you need for free. 

If you do need more money to start a business, it’s relatively easy to get it. Business loans have lax requirements and low interest rates, and active angel investors and VCs are always looking for the next hot startup. 

The Spark of Innovation 

Modern innovation looks different than innovation of the past. To truly innovate 30 years ago, you might have needed to invest millions of dollars into a factory, utilizing some relatively unknown chemical process to make new materials. These days, you can innovate just by writing a new piece of software. 

It’s possible for a single individual to innovate and make technological progress, even with limited experience. A single app can change the world. 

Incubators and Accelerators

Have you noticed any new incubators or accelerators in your city? I’m guessing you have. These organizations are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed, giving them mentorship, direction, advice, and sometimes even funding to make their business plan a reality. And they’re becoming much more popular. Knowing that such an organization exists might be enough to push someone over the edge, encouraging them to pursue entrepreneurship. Getting involved with an accelerator or incubator can also greatly increase your chances of success and give you a chance to help other entrepreneurs like you along the way. 

Software Tools

In addition, the software tools (and the comparison sites that promote them) for small business are extensive, making it easy to find something that fits a need. Today’s entrepreneurs have a multiplicity of tools that are table stakes for managing a small business (e.g. CRM, marketing, finance, etc.). But sometimes overwhelming to make a decision due to analysis paralysis. Luckily, other entrepreneurs can help provide the reviews and feedback to help for quick decision making, which is one of the biggest boon for small business owners. Most entrepreneurs make decisions based on recommendations.

What’s Next? 

Where does it go from here? If we’re lucky, entrepreneurship should become even more democratized. This trend has built a lot of momentum over the years, and it’s likely to accelerate even further. These are just some of the developments that could help it flourish: 

  • Democratized ownership. One key avenue of development could be democratized ownership. Right now, if you want a piece of a company, you’ll have to put in assets of your own as a venture capitalist, angel investor, or similar interested party. Otherwise, you might have access to stock options as an employee if the company eventually goes public. But in the near future, we could see a model that incorporates the blockchain and tokenization to grant employees and partners even more access. 
  • Diversified VC portfolios. Modern venture capitalists are hungry for tech unicorns, and they tend to be fixated on certain types of business models. In the future, we could substantially benefit form an environment with more diversified and distributed portfolios. 
  • New funding models. We could also see the development of new funding models entirely. Equity crowdfunding is already possible (even though you’ll have to jump through some hoops to make it happen), so we could easily see development along these lines in the future. 

Hopefully, we’ll continue to see entrepreneurship become further democratized. With more people starting businesses, more people investing in businesses, and more people interested in entrepreneurship in general, we could see marked economic benefits for decades to come. 

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How Content Will Become More Interactive

How Content Will Become More Interactive

Consumers are craving more interactive content, and brands are attempting to give it to them. Over the next several years, we’ll likely see the emergence of multiple new forms of interactive content, and the transformation of classical or traditional online content to a more interactive format. But how exactly will this transformation manifest? And why is it happening in the first place?

What Is Interactive Content?

Interactive content is a broad term that includes any type of content that allows users to actively engage with the material. Their actions can influence the presentation of the content, or they may be able to use the content in new ways. Ordinarily, readers are merely passive consumers of content; they read or listen to the content, and don’t have to take any further action. Interactive content puts them in the driver’s seat, so to speak.

It’s best to understand interactive content with the help of examples. A simple iteration of interactive content is an online calculator; for example, you can easily find websites that offer calculators to help you estimate your monthly mortgage payments, given some initial parameters. To get the full experience from this content, you must enter some information about yourself—namely, the amount of money you want to borrow, your interest rate, and other numerical variables.

However, interactive content can be even more complex. For example, it’s increasingly common for brands to make use of motion graphics, which use simple animations to add life to advertisements, websites, and other visuals. With a simple change, these motion graphics can come to life only after a consumer’s response; for example, you can make the graphic come to life when a consumer hovers over it with a mouse or clicks it directly.

Interactive content is also demonstrated by dynamic presentations of data. Modern platforms (and some kinds of infographics) often present data in charts and graphs, which a user can manipulate directly to see the impact of various variables.

The Benefits of Interactive Content

So why is interactive content about to become more popular?

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of interactive content:

  • Greater consumer engagement. For starters, interactive content tends to do a better job of holding the attention of consumers and increasing engagement rates across the board. Consumers are much more interested in interactive content than they are in static content. Additionally, they must take some kind of action to get the full value from the content. This draw encourages them to interact with the brand even further.
  • Access to more consumer data. Interactive data can also give companies more access to consumer data, which is especially important if you’re using artificial intelligence (AI)v to boost the power of your content marketing campaign. Take the mortgage calculator as an example; if 10,000 people enter their basic information to figure out mortgage rates, you can use that information to estimate the average amount of money your target demographic wants to borrow. As long as you’re tracking how your consumers are interacting with your content, you can learn something valuable.
  • Higher retention rates. One of the biggest problems modern brands face is consumer retention. It’s hard to get a reader to stay on your site long enough to consume a full piece of content, let alone get them to continue to subscribe to your services for years. But interactive content can boost your brand retention rates and help prevent people from turning to a competitor.
  • Competitive differentiation and memorability. Speaking of competitors, the internet is full of them. If you’re an online brand trying to achieve greater visibility, you know the pain of dealing with hundreds of brands similar to yours—all fighting to achieve higher search engine rankings and bigger streams of traffic. Interactive content isn’t especially common these days, so it can be a great way to stand out from the competition. You can use interactive content as a way to better position your brand, increase its memorability, and help it stand out from the crowd.

The Future of Interactive Content

Any brand can start developing interactive content right now—at least with some rudimentary versions. It doesn’t take much effort to develop a simple calculator or a basic quiz for your consumers. But the future of interactive content is much more advanced.

Where does interactive content go from here?

  • New ways to interact. For starters, consumers will have more ways to interact. Some forms of interactive content will be able to do more with less consumer information, requiring fewer and fewer inputs from individuals to customize the experience. Others will be interactive in new ways; for example, instead of tracking the movement of a mouse cursor, with the right device, a website could track a user’s eye movements. Gesture-based interactions could also be a potential course for development.
  • Cross-device experiences. Our lives are becoming cluttered with a diversity of different devices. Chances are, your household has at least a dozen internet-connected devices, if not more, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearables, and even your TV. Interactive content could take advantage of this, drawing data from interactive moments across a wide range of device engagements; it could also present content in a cross-device format; for example, you could begin analyzing data on a wearable device, and continue analyzing it on another screen when you change rooms.
  • Personalization. More brands are hoping to integrate personalization into their content marketing strategies. Rather than giving the same experience to every user who visits your site, brands want to tailor the content to appeal to the individual accessing it, based on things like demographic data, browsing history, and previous experiences on the site. Interactive content could make this easier, giving consumers a chance to personalize their own experiences.
  • “Upgradedâ€� traditional content experiences. We’ll also see traditional forms of online content (like simple blog posts) become “upgradedâ€� with new opportunities for interaction. For example, a blog post can instantly become more engaging if it gives readers and option to learn more about the topic through an interactive visual element.

Why Is This Transformation Taking Place?

In many ways, interactive content represents the future of content marketing. But why is this transformation taking place?

  • Objective value. As we’ve seen, interactive content has tremendous objective value for the brands experimental enough to use it. With the right interactive content strategy, you could increase consumer interest, make your brand more memorable, increase customer retention, and ultimately bring more revenue in for your brand.
  • Consumer demand. Increasingly, consumers want more from their content consumption experiences. The internet is overwhelmed with basic, static written content, and users are beginning to grow fatigued. People want more personalization and they want more direct control over what they consume; brands that are able to give them that experience will be at a decided advantage.
  • Competitive pressure. As more brands begin to experiment with interactive content, there’s going to be more competitive pressure to deal with. If you want to “keep upâ€� with one of your top competitors, you may need to rival their overall interactive content experience. If you’re the only company in the industry that isn’t offering consumer interactions through your content, you’ll quickly fall by the wayside. Accordingly, many brands are attempting to be proactive—and be on the forefront of this trend.

How to Stay on the Forefront

How can you benefit from this rising trend in the content marketing world? Try to stay ahead of the curve. Look for opportunities to transform your existing content into something interactive; how can consumers get more value and more engagement from this? Additionally, consider working with a professional content or design agency; they’ll be able to provide you with strategic recommendations as well as the core material you’ll use to build your campaign.

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How to Attract and Retain Reliable and Trustworthy Tenants

How to Attract and Retain Reliable and Trustworthy Tenants

Every landlord dreams of having long-term, reliable, trustworthy tenants who pay rent on time and in full. An even bigger dream is having tenants who clean up properly before moving out and leave all necessary repairs to the professionals.

Ideally, the dream is to secure honest tenants who don’t hide details that would change their lease terms. For instance, tenants who run a home-based business are more likely to cause damage in the process of making their goods. For this reason, many leases prohibit tenants from running a home-based business. Some tenants will hide their business, while others will be upfront and honest.

While securing great tenants with integrity is just a dream for many landlords, it can be your reality by employing the following strategies.

1. Set the tone for your relationship on day one

From the very first interaction you have, you are training your tenants how to be with you. If you want your tenants to honor their lease terms, you need to set the bar extremely high from day one.

For example, the first time you interact with a tenant will probably be a phone call asking if a unit is available or perhaps they’ll just submit an application online. Make these small interactions count. Be professional rather than casual and be firm with anything you tell prospective clients about rent prices, deposit amounts, rules, and cleaning fees.

If establishing a strict relationship with your tenants is difficult, hire a property management company. You won’t have to worry about anything. They’ll screen, select, and onboard tenants for you and they’ll handle all of their needs like maintenance and repairs.

2. Hold clients responsible for being on time

Not acknowledging when a tenant is late for a meeting will set a tenant up to feel comfortable with paying rent late. The truth is, most people are conditioned to be perpetually late. They don’t like to make or follow through with commitments. They want to maintain control to relax their way through life and do things on their terms.

Don’t set your tenants up to be lax about anything. Make sure they know you mean business. For instance, say you schedule a walkthrough from 2-2:30pm. Tell your prospective tenant ahead of time that being late will cut into the time available for the walkthrough and follow through. If they don’t show up until 2:15, don’t give them any extra time.

If you start making exceptions in the beginning of your relationship, even before someone becomes a tenant, you’ll train that person to know they’ve got wiggle room with your deadlines. This can result in all kinds of problems including using the laundry room after hours, blasting loud music late at night, paying rent late, and expecting to have late fees waived.

3. Reward tenants for amazing behavior

There are always fees and punishments for bad behavior, but what about good behavior? Find ways to appreciate good tenants. For example, if a tenant pays rent on time every month for 6 months, give them a $50-$100 discount on their 7th month.

A discount will be an incentive for them to continue paying on time. After a year of on-time payments, you could renew their lease at a discount for the entire year to come.

You could also reward tenants with a month of free parking, or a $20 gift card to Starbucks. The rewards you provide for your tenants are up to you. However, most landlords don’t reward their tenants, so even small efforts will be greatly appreciated.

When your tenants feel appreciated, they’ll be more likely to stick around even if they find a cheaper place to live.

4. Set your credit and income qualifications high

Some tenants with lower income can easily afford rent because they don’t have many bills. However, that’s not always the case. Since you can’t verify exactly how a tenant spends all of their money, it’s best to set high credit and income qualifications.

The standard minimum for credit scores is 650. Most landlords will not accept tenants with a score under 650. However, you can set the bar a little higher if you want.

When it comes to income, you want tenants who earn at least three times the monthly rent. You need to make sure your tenants have enough income to pay for their car, car insurance, cell phone, utilities, cable, internet, credit card bills, student loans, and whatever additional debts most people have today.

You will find tenants who are exceptions to these rules. There are people who don’t play the credit game and don’t have any debt, but consider those people on a case-by-case basis and only advertise your high standards. If someone really wants to live in your unit despite not having credit or 3x the rent as income, they’ll contact you to discuss their situation.

5. Cover utilities if possible

Including utilities in the rent is a controversial move that many landlords advise against. Tenants who know their landlords cover utilities are more likely to let space heaters, central heaters, and A/C units run all day and night. There’s no incentive to monitor or conserve their usage.

However, covering utilities can give tenants the certainty they need to feel financially stable. Some tenants function better when they know exactly how much their bills will be each month.

Although it’s controversial, there’s a way to make it work. The first thing you need to do is include a clause in the lease that allows you to start billing tenants for abusing utilities. This is easiest when you’re renting single-family homes because you can hold tenants accountable for the electricity they use.

Apartment buildings, condos, and some townhomes don’t have separate meters for each unit so it’s hard to set parameters for what constitutes abuse. For example, if you own an apartment complex with 20 units, you’ll never know if one family is running up your monthly electricity bill by $500 while everyone else is using around $200.

While it’s a great strategy for creating happy tenants, use your discretion when covering utilities in the rent.

6. Don’t spy on your tenants or use smart devices against them

While smart home devices can be convenient, use them with caution. Tenants want convenience, but not at the cost of sacrificing their privacy. An ADT survey found that 93% of consumers are concerned about how their data is being used.

Recently, several landlords have been in the news for attempting to force tenants to use smart security systems to enter the building and access their mailbox. Tenants felt like facial recognition software was a violation of privacy. Other tenants opposed the idea of smart locks because the electronic key fob was also a tracking device.

Although there is no federal law prohibiting landlords from using smart surveillance and keyless entry systems, the courts have been ruling in favor of concerned tenants.

If you’re going to install smart home devices and security systems, make sure you know where your tenants’ data is going. If the device manufacturer collects that data and sells it to marketers, you should skip that device to protect your tenants’ desire for privacy. Your tenants will appreciate you using only the smart devices and services that don’t sell their data.

7. Let your tenants know you won’t use smart devices against them

There have been landlords who have used smart locks to lock tenants out of their house for not paying rent. Some landlords have even used apps to prevent tenants from using their thermostat to turn on the heat or air conditioning.

Make sure you tell your tenant that you’re providing smart devices for their convenience and that you’re not going to use it against them. Technically, it would be illegal for you to prevent a tenant from accessing their home or thermostat, but since some landlords ignore the law, many tenants are afraid to rent homes that employ these smart devices.

You can earn a whole lot of trust from a tenant by eliminating their fears surrounding smart home devices.

Create good communication with your tenants

The ultimate way to attract and retain reliable and trustworthy tenants is to maintain good communication. When a tenant contacts you with a request, reply as soon as possible, even if only to let them know you’ll get back with them when you have a solution. Good, clear communication is one of the most effective ways to retain your best tenants.

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How an Intranet Will Consolidate Multiple Disparate Software Applications

How an Intranet Will Consolidate Multiple Disparate Software Applications

The average employee uses between 10 and 20 individual software applications throughout the course of their day. This makes sense considering modern businesses run on software. However, using too many individual applications stifles productivity by wasting time, which subsequently wastes payroll dollars. For instance, employees use separate applications for the following tasks:

  • Time tracking
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Email marketing
  • Shopping carts
  • Email
  • Direct messaging with team members
  • Video conferencing
  • Invoicing
  • Document storage
  • Client communication
  • Knowledge base
  • People directory
  • Document collaboration
  • Announcements
  • Accounting
  • Scheduled appointments
  • And more

When teams are required to use all of these applications separately, productivity suffers. Using applications that combine multiple features will strengthen productivity, especially for remote teams.

Increase productivity by using fewer applications

Using fewer applications will increase productivity, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop using the features you need. The ideal solution is to find software applications that provide multiple functions. For example, many popular CRM software applications provide email marketing, sales process management, a shopping cart system, and more.

Similarly, there are company intranet solutions that combine communications needs. One of those solutions is Happeo. Happeo is an internal collaboration platform that allows teams to work productively in a secure environment. The platform combines many functions like document storage, a knowledge base, a people directory, announcements, and document collaboration.

Many useful features not native to Happeo can be plugged into the network using integrations. For example, Happeo integrates with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), which gives teams access to Google Workspace features from within the intranet, eliminating the time required to switch between applications to perform tasks.

If you haven’t implemented a company intranet like Happeo, you’re missing out on a massive increase in team productivity.

How does an intranet increase team productivity?

An intranet increases team productivity by improving communication and engagement, maintaining mobility for your remote workers, and supporting better collaboration. In other words, an intranet mitigates the challenges that halt productivity, especially for remote workers.

The most significant impact comes from the reduction of applications used throughout the day. For instance, when a team member has to switch from one application to another, it could take anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, depending on where the application is located and what steps are required to log in. If multi-factor authentication is required, it could take up to five minutes.

A few minutes here and there doesn’t seem like a big deal, but those minutes add up quickly. If a team member uses ten separate applications that take one minute to switch between, and they use each application twice per day, that’s twenty minutes wasted just switching between applications. That adds up to 3.33 hours per pay period per employee. For a team of 15 employees, that’s 50 hours per pay period wasted.

What are the benefits of increased productivity?

Aside from the obvious increase in ROI, productive teams offer many benefits to their company, company clients, end users, and other team members.

Productive teams make their companies look good

Productive teams get results that get companies noticed. Companies that build a positive, in-demand reputation based on their high-quality work are seen as leaders in their industry.

In the corporate world, many companies are on strict client deadlines that aren’t always realistic, but productive teams get pretty close to the goal. On the other hand, unproductive teams won’t be anywhere near the goal when the deadline hits, and they usually have to do plenty of apologizing to their clients. This drastically reduces the client’s potential to recommend that company to their colleagues and friends.

Productive teams create and manage expectations realistically. They can estimate the time it will take to complete a project, including accounting for inevitable breakdowns. This means they’ll have an easier time meeting client expectations because a productive team will set those expectations correctly from the start.

Productive teams make end users happy

Productive teams tend to produce better quality work, which makes end users happy. For example, end users don’t want to start using a new software application only to find a bunch of bugs that should have been taken care of prior to release.

Part of what makes a team productive is a lack of unnecessary back-and-forth to solve problems. Productivity stems from efficiency, and efficient teams handle issues as they arise to full completion.

When a team completes a project designed to be used by end users beyond the client, there’s no room for sloppy mistakes. The client will be held accountable by their end users for anything that goes wrong even though it’s not the client’s fault.

Only a productive team can produce a project that will make end users happy.

Productive teams create happy clients

Productive teams get their work completed on time and in full to deliver stellar projects to clients. When clients are impressed with high level work that gets delivered on time, they’re happy.

Happy clients matter because they are likely to order more work and refer your products and services to others.

An intranet will reduce your operating costs

How many different software applications are you paying a monthly fee to use? Considering most popular software applications are subscription-based, you’re likely using at least five—and that’s a conservative estimate. If access to each software application costs $20 to $100 per month, that’s $100 to $500 per month (or more if you use more apps) that you may not need to spend.

Using an intranet can help you combine many of the software fees you’re paying unnecessarily to separate entities. Your teams will need time to adapt to new software, but once they get going, they’ll find it easier to use an intranet for everything.

Don’t let the subscription model drain your software budget

Every company wants the best software for their teams, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive software on the market. You may not even need some of the features offered by some software applications.

The subscription software market is big. Digitalist Magazine projected that by 2022, 53% of all software sales will come from subscriptions. For most companies, there’s no way around buying subscription software. While an intranet will combine many disparate software applications for you, it won’t replace every subscription software you need. That’s why it’s important to take stock of your current applications to see if you have overlap with your intranet and if not, start looking for a cheaper option.

Don’t drain your budget by thinking you need to buy a subscription to every popular application on the market. There are other options, even some that don’t require a monthly fee. It’s hard to find, but there are software developers who sell their applications for a one-time fee.

However, when it comes to getting a cloud-based company intranet, you’ll probably need to pay a monthly subscription fee. Although, you’ll be saving money by condensing the number of applications you use, so it’s worth every penny.

Company intranets are the future of productivity

Corporations have been using intranets for decades to provide teams with information, files, training materials, and ways to communicate. Until recent years, intranets were largely hosted on-premises on the same server that ran the company network.

Although many companies still utilize on-premises servers to manage private, secure networks, cloud-based intranets are the future. The enterprise collaboration market is expected to grow from $31 billion (2019) to $48.1 billion by 2024.

If you haven’t implemented an intranet for your teams, it’s time. Businesses are rapidly moving to a remote team structure, and an intranet is the best way to keep remote teams connected and productive.

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Why the Edge is Key to Unlocking IoT’s Full Potential

edge unlocking IoT

To IoT’s great benefit, edge computing is about to take the spotlight. Consider that each day billions of devices connected to the Internet of Things come online. As they do, they generate mountains of information. One estimate predicts the amount of data will soar to 79.4 zettabyes within five years. Imagine storing 80 zettabytes on DVDs. All those DVDs would circle the Earth more than 100 times.

In other words, a whole lot of data.

Indeed, thanks to the IoT, a dramatic shift is underway. More enterprise-generated data is being created and processed outside of traditional, centralized data centers and clouds. And unless we make a course correction, the forecasts could come unglued. We must make better use of edge computing to deal more effectively with this ocean of data,

Network Latency

If we do this right, our infrastructure should be able to handle this data flow in a way that maximizes efficiency and security. The system would let organizations benefit from instantaneous response times. It would allow them to use the new data at their disposal to make smarter decisions and — most importantly — make them in real-time.

That’s not what we have nowadays.

In fact, when IoT devices ship their data back to the cloud for processing, transmissions are both slow and expensive. Too few devices are taking advantage of the edge.

Traffic Jam: The Cloud

Instead, many route data to the cloud. In that case, you’re going to encounter network latency measuring around 25 milliseconds. And that’s in best-case scenarios. Often, the lag time is a lot worse.  If you have to feed data through a server network and the cloud to get anything done, that’s going to take a long time and a ton of bandwidth.

An IP network can’t guarantee delivery in any particular time frame. Minutes might pass before you realize that something has gone wrong. At that point, you’re at the mercy of the system.

Data Hoarding 

Until now, technologists have approached Big Data from the perspective that the collection and storage of tons of it is a good thing. No surprise, given how the cloud computing model is very oriented toward large data sets.

The default behavior is to want to keep all that data. But think about how you collect and store all that information. There is simply too much data to push it all around the cloud. So why not work at the edge instead?

Cameras Drive Tons of Data – Not All of Which We Need

Consider, for example, what happens to the imagery collected by the millions of cameras in public and private. What happens once that data winds up in transit? In many – and perhaps most – instances, we don’t need to store those images in the cloud.

Let’s say that you measure ambient temperature settings that produce a reading once a second. The temperature reading in a house or office doesn’t usually change on a second-by-second basis. So why keep it?  And why spend all the money to move it somewhere else?

Obviously, there are cases where it will be practical and valuable to store massive amounts of data. A manufacturer might want to retain all the data it collects to tune plant processes. But in the majority of instances where organizations collect tons of data, they actually need very little of it. And that’s where the edge comes in handy.

Use the Edge to Avoid Costly Cloud Bills

The edge also can save you tons of money. We used to work with a company that collected consumption data for power management sites and office buildings. They kept all that data in the cloud. That worked well until they got a bill for hundreds of thousands of dollars from Amazon.

Edge computing and the broader concept of distributed architecture offers a far better solution.

Edge Helps IoT Flourish in the era of Big Data

Some people treat the edge as if it were a foreign, mystical environment. It’s not.

Think of the edge as a commodity compute resource. Better yet, it is located relatively close to the IoT and its devices. Its usefulness is precisely due to its being a “commodity� resource rather than some specialized compute resource. That most likely takes the form of a resource that supports containerized applications. These hide the specific details of the edge environment.

The Edge Environment and Its Benefits

In that sort of edge environment, we can easily imagine a distributed systems architecture where some parts of the system are deployed to the edge. At the edge, they can provide real-time, local data analysis.

Systems architects can dynamically decide which components of the system should run at the edge. Other components would remain deployed in regional or centralized processing locations. By configuring the system dynamically, the system is optimized for execution in edge environments with different topologies.

With this kind of edge environment, we can expect lower latencies. We also achieve better security and privacy with local processing.

Some of this is already getting done now on a one-off basis. But it hasn’t yet been systematized. That means organizations must figure this out on their own by assuming the role of a systems integrator. Instead, they must embrace the edge and help make IoT hum.

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What Factors Will Make Your Website More Credible?

websiste more credible

Do you know that one element you need to convert more website visitors into paying customers is credibility? Yes, that is right. Potential customers that do not trust you will not buy from you.

Your website is the central online hub, your business’s digital portrayal, and often the first stop for potential customers. The first question that visitors have when they land on your website is whether they can trust you.

Your website provides insights to both humans and search engines into:

  • How you run your business
  • Its trustworthiness
  • Your primary value proposition

Search engines use algorithms that assess and rate your level of credibility. Higher levels of credibility result in better SEO rankings.

For example, Google judges your site’s credibility by evaluating online feedback from public sources, such as clients, prospects, and users.

It gets this information from three primary online resources:

  • Google properties such as YouTube and Google My Business
  • Your web pages and other sites you control, such as review sites and social media accounts.
  • Other trustworthy, independent, and authoritative websites

Even if your company is credible, it does not necessarily mean that your website conveys it. Consider the factors below to make your site more credible to your visitors.

Your Domain Name

Think of domain names as shifting billboard advertising to a keyboard. Acquiring a new or the best domain name for your brand should be a focal point of your marketing strategy.

Your domain name helps visitors determine your credibility by:

  • How it looks
  • Its length
  • Whether it represents what your business does

A great domain name is crucial for a successful online presence. Think of your website as your virtual brick and mortar storefront and your domain as the virtual real estate it sits on.

For this reason, many brands are purchasing a premium domain (as opposed to speculating on unknown factors with a brand-new domain) to quickly build trust and credibility for their customers.

Using the same real estate analogy, premium domains are akin to water-front property. Such property is exclusive, has limited availability, and is in high demand.

They usually contain keywords with a high search volume, and often someone else owns them. Premium domains also:

  • Offer the potential of becoming a popular website address.
  • Provide strong branding opportunities
  • Are generally short, memorable, easy-to-spell, and are often paired with the most popular .com domain extension
  • Usually contain words that have a high search volume.

Although premium domains generally cost more than regular domains, they are investment dollars spent wisely. They are valuable in building credibility, driving traffic to your website, and speeding up your online success.

Social Proof

Social proof is defined as the process by which consumers look at others’ opinions, such as influencers, friends, and family, before making important decisions.

Because people tend to believe the opinions of those they trust, social proof has become a powerful marketing tool.

To provide social proof and credibility to your website, be sure to include links to your social media profiles, client testimonials, and product reviews.

Be sure to utilize social proof as a critical component of your website marketing strategy to give more credence to your brand messaging and advertising.

Social proof reinforces the reliability of claims made in advertising and can make a businesses marketing message more believable.

Add the Human Touch with Clear Contact Information

Your website should always include an “About Us” section to let your visitors know who you are, what your experience is, and anything else you deem relevant to share.

Including staff photos with bios adds a human touch that builds credibility and puts real faces behind your brand. Place your contact information where customers can easily find it without having to search for it or scroll around too much.

Ideally, let customers know how to reach you by phone, email, live chat, or Skype in your website’s header. You can also include the same information in the footer or on a contact page.

Credibility

Keep it Updated

Have you ever landed on a website that you can tell has not been updated in years? Some tell-tale signs of outdated sites include a copyright date that is not current, no recent blog posts, and an outdated design.

Not only will your website visitors not feel comfortable in your lack of credibility, but they might also even think you have gone out of business.

Refresh your content annually, update your blog often, and be sure your copyright date in your website’s footer is current to build credibility.

A User-Friendly Website Design

Although we have been taught not to judge a book by its cover, online users do not follow that golden rule.

Visitors to your website make their first impression within a few seconds of landing on it. And, since a study found that  94% of negative feedback about websites has to do with their design, it makes sense to focus on yours.

The look and feel of your site are the primary drivers of first impressions—visual appeal matters. Make your website design appealing to visitors so they will stay and see what you have to offer.

If your website visitors must jump through hoops to find what they are looking for, your navigation is too complicated.

They will get frustrated and leave, and your business will suffer the loss of a potential customer. Alternatively, when potential customers can quickly find exactly what they want, your site went up a notch in the trust and credibility department.

Include Valuable Resources

Including well-written and relevant eBooks and white papers on your website helps establish your brand as an authority in your niche and adds credibility.

These types of resources show your potential customers that are an expert in your field. They also provide the information your target market can use to make their lives easier.

Many companies choose to use their white papers and eBooks as lead magnets for lead generation. Interested site visitors give you their contact information in exchange for your valuable resources.

They are then put into your sales funnel, where you follow up with a sequence of emails to increase your credibility even more.

Keep it updated

Are You Ready to Boost Your Website’s Credibility?

Making sure your website:

  • Sits on a great domain name
  • Has updated content
  • Shows the human side of your brand
  • Includes easy-to-find contact information and social proof
  • Offers valuable information to your visitors

Remember that your goal is to make it clear to potential customers and search engines that they can trust your business.

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