By Jerry Mooney
Isn’t it strange that whenever anyone mentions the phrase ‘artificial intelligence’, it immediately makes you think of the future? You might picture robots, androids, and all kinds of Blade Runner-esque scenarios, that still seem like a wild fantasy. But the reality of AI is that it is actually here, now, and with us already. And whether you are a business owner or getting high up on the corporate ladder, it’s one of the most important and relevant subjects you need to understand.
Well over two-thirds of people in the media, technology and telecommunications industries expect AI to flourish and start having an impact on business, products and services in the next five years, and the buds are already starting to appear. Here are some of the exciting ways that AI is beginning to change business – read on to find out more.
One of the most visible examples of machine learning is facial recognition. It’s far from a perfect technology at the moment – a quick look at Facebook’s efforts to introduce it are a testament to that – and there are, of course, a few privacy concerns. But facial recognition is actually being used in a lot more places than you might think. Apple and Android phones are both starting to look into facial recognition to unlock your devices, while MasterCard is working on ‘Selfie Pay’ payments. It’s not just ultra-modern companies that are embracing the tech, either – even Chinese temples are getting involved by installing it into bathrooms to eliminate the theft of toilet paper!
Early adopting companies are already using AI to reduce the time-consuming process of recruitment. You can go to Valintry.com for a full rundown of how this works, but in essence, many companies are beginning to automate their talent screening processes. With a blend of machine learning, social, mobile and cloud technology, it’s possible for recruiters to be faster and more engaging with their operations.
AI is showing signs that it doesn’t just learn – it can also help humans learn. Services like Udacity are using AI to identify patterns and phrases that are used to make and close product sales, which then results in a bot actually giving information to human advisors. The human then uses the ‘successful’ words or phrases, and are more likely to sell the course to the prospective student.
Is it time to say goodbye to your inventory software and embrace AI instead? Perhaps – and it’s already rolling out in a number of forward-thinking companies. Take Amazon, for example. In 2012 the online shopping giant bought out Kiva Systems, a company that designed warehouse robots that could do everything from identifying stock levels, replenish produces, and even fulfil orders automatically.
It’s virtually impossible for a human to sift through the big data that every company operating online, let alone form any valuable opinions. Enter what is known as ‘opinion mining.’ It’s artificial intelligence that can read vast swathes of data, pick up patterns in sentiment, and use the information to identify trends. If you want to make use of big data, it’s definitely worth looking at.
By Jerry Mooney
Being a traveling business person is sometimes a choice, and sometimes a matter of necessity. You might need to travel to keep your business going, meeting with investors, making sales, and networking with collaborators. However, some people also choose to run a business while they travel. With the ability to access everything you need online, you can manage your business from anywhere. If you travel a lot, you’ll need the right tools to help you stay in touch with staff, clients, and more, and to get your work done. Take a look at these essentials if you’re planning on taking your business traveling.
Pic from Pexels
The first thing any traveling business person needs is the right tools to stay in touch with their company. You can’t be out of the loop for long periods if you want to keep everyone happy and make sure it’s all ticking along. You’ll need to be able to access a variety of things, from important documents to payroll. Fortunately, cloud services and software make this so much easier. Using software like Office 365 means that you can access what you need, wherever you are. You just need to be able to get online. It makes it so much easier to work collaboratively, communicate, and always have the most up-to-date information.
If you need to get online to run your business, you need to have an internet connection available as much as possible. While choosing a hotel with free WiFi and checking for local internet cafes might be helpful, it’s not always ideal. Taking a travel router or hotspot with you can help you out if you’re struggling to get a stable connection. You might be able to plug it into your hotel’s wired connection or use it as an independent hotspot if you can’t find an existing connection to use. Having a mobile hotspot could save you when you’re in a tight spot, and you really need to contact someone or access an important file.
Mobile Devices and Apps
To access everything you need online, you’re going to need the right device. And that device will need to be loaded up with all your essential apps. Your smartphone, tablet or laptop won’t just help you get connected, either. It’s also invaluable for helping you stay organized and in touch with people. Most people will have a smartphone they can use to keep a calendar, make phone calls, take notes, and more. However, you’ll often find you need a tablet with a keyboard or a laptop to do everything you need to do.
A Decent Headset
A lot of your communication while you’re traveling can be done via email. However, sometimes you need to make a phone call or sit in on a conference call. Sometimes, you might have to do this in random locations, although it’s always best if you can hire a private space. Make sure you have decent headphones and a good microphone, especially for making online and long-distance calls. You might want noise-canceling headphones to block out any activity around you.
Before taking your business on the road, make sure you’re prepared. You should be able to stay involved with everything that’s happening.
By Jerry Mooney
Anyone with a modicum of engineering or technological savvy knows that the world is changing rapidly. Jobs come and go quicker than ever before. And the digital age is threatening everything we know about manufacturing. But that doesn’t mean someone with a great idea won’t stand a chance in business. On the contrary, it seems more and more tech startups are finding ways to thrive.
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There is a much greater need for experienced and creative engineers to develop high tech equipment than ever before. Consumers want the future in their homes now. Sure, it might all be hooked up to the internet, but it works within the domestic setting. They’re after short-cuts, conveniences, and entertainment. A way out of the boring tasks and chores that steal time from the family would be very appealing to any parent. So what have you got in mind?
Building 3D Printers
3D printing has rapidly become more popular and more accessible. The technology has moved rapidly to facilitate this, but there is still much to be done to place one in every home. You could build it! The future of this technology is not set in stone. But the uses for it are quite extensive. Replicating popular items in plastic may seem like a waste of time until you realize that these items can be used. They can work mechanically or be fitted with other components. There is no end to the options here.
To build 3D printers, you need just a handful of standard components. Usually, you can find most of the requirements like hybrid stepper motors and drivers under one roof. Pick a supplier you can work with long-term to find the solutions you need. You’ll need a workspace to assemble your equipment. Of course, as a startup, you might prefer to use a manufacturer with a factory line setup to take care of this.
Wherever your strengths lie, you will need to take care of the marketing strategy. As more and more 3D printers come on the market, you will need to find a unique selling point that attracts a good market share. Your entire venture might be run by you from the comfort of your home laptop. That doesn’t mean you should shirk deeper involvement. Find out what you can and develop the concept further. Startups are nimble, agile, and creative with the freedom to manipulate their product ideas quickly and easily.
Smarter, Quieter, More Economical
There is a trend toward the green product at the moment. In fact, this has become a global phenomenon. Developing high-tech products that demand less power and emit less pollution is a key objective for most businesses. It should certainly be on your mind if you’re venturing into high-tech manufacturing. How can you create products that meet this ethos? Consider the obvious – transport. Electric cars are going to flood the market shortly, and they will be priced to match other vehicle types. Where can a startup get a foot in?
Other electric vehicles are also enjoying a revival. Electric bicycles, in particular, are now available throughout the country. Prices are still excessive for many fairweather cyclists, but that doesn’t stop you developing tech to bring that cost down.
As electric cars become the norm, other features are going to be developed. Think about car safety. There have been a few stories in the press about exploding phone batteries. Chances are customers will worry about their car battery. Then, of course, is the ongoing need to charge them. Just like the bicycle, there will be only a limited distance available per charge. Can you develop a vehicle, battery, or charger that overcomes this problem?
Why The Startup Has The Advantage
As discussed earlier, startups are nimble and agile. But what really gives you the advantage as a small enterprise is the fact the big businesses are so big. That means there is a long chain of command and a long period of time to get everyone to sign off. They’ll plod along at a snail’s pace while you can get things moving at your pace. Nobody is in your way so you can make greater progress. And nobody is going to say no to you!
Startups can also apply for funding from any source they choose. Big businesses are either not eligible for funds, or have to go through their extensive budget approval processes. It’s no wonder the most exciting innovations and ideas come from the little companies. There is nothing to stifle your creativity!
As you can see, there are various product ideas out there. Perhaps your business will develop something entirely different. Maybe all you have right now is an idea? Getting started from nothing might seem like you’re starting from a disadvantage. However, it means you can tailor your business to suit your product rather than manipulating a setup to fit. Here’s how to get going:
If it’s high-tech, you’re going to need high-quality components. Gone are the days when consumers would be happy to tinker with settings or open up a device to brush off the dust! Now, if it doesn’t work, it gets sent back to you, complete with a barrage of bad reviews across social media. Start as you mean to go on. Source the items you need, and hire experienced workers to assemble your products.
Test! Always thoroughly test your products and check they fulfill every requirement a consumer might have. You should also develop packaging that is attractive and functional. Finally, develop a manual that is clear and easy to use.
The premises you use will need to be secure and safe. When it comes to manufacturing, you can’t cut corners. Provide appropriate safety wear, offer the training necessary, and supervise the floor. Be wary of moving into a space that leaves you no room to grow. Equally, don’t push your budget beyond the orders you know are secured.
As a small startup, you might not be able to pick and choose the most talented employees. That doesn’t mean they won’t be attracted to your project. Use people you know well and people that have the experience your company needs to get off the ground. You can engage consultants and specialist companies to tackle the parts of the business you don’t have time for.
Promoting your new product is much easier than you think. For a start, there are more technology blogs and news sites than ever before. Get to know some of the writers and journalists. Be prepared to give away your products for reviews. Influencers are very important for any new product launch.
Make sure your PR skills are top notch. Launch your product with a bang! Make sure your website is full of useful and interesting articles that discuss the uses for your product, the build quality, and a full how-to guide. Photos and videos help customers gain trust in your brand and product. They help the customer to understand how to use the product and how it could change their life for the better.
No product stays in the limelight for long. Nor does it stay current or novel. Your product will have to undergo a few changes over the years to offer more and more to the customer. Don’t forget, those big companies will catch up eventually and ride the hype wave off the back of their big brand. Keep a step ahead with new features, and product variations that solve different problems. Are you ready to venture?
By Jerry Mooney
There is no doubt that the world of automobiles is one of the fastest-advancing when it comes to technology. With so many manufacturers out there competing to attract the ever-increasing number of drivers on the road, updates are constantly being made all the time. And safety is obviously one of the main areas in which these advances are concentrated. After all, people want to feel as safe as possible when they are behind the wheel.
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If you are about to invest in a new car, it is worth knowing about the latest features so you can make more of an informed decision about exactly what you are getting for your money. Take a look at some of the top features out there which have been making waves in 2017
Standard Electronic Stability Control
While this one has been around for a number of years, it is still worth giving a mention to standard electronic stability control (ESC). Essentially, this does exactly what it says in the name. It detects any sort of loss of grip when you are driving and helps to regain your sense of control as quickly as possible. This is all about preventing an accident from happening in the first place rather than responding if it does. In this case, you may need to contact a law firm for personal injury claims resulting from a car accident. Unless you are buying a used car and your vehicle was made before 2012, it should have ESC as standard.
Automatic Crash Response
We all know that if you get into a serious collision, time really is of the essence. This is where automatic crash response comes in. Vauxhall is one of the pioneers of this system with their OnStar innovation. If an accident does occur, this system is designed to send out some essential details to emergency services including the car’s location, vehicle colour and the seriousness of the crash. Manufacturers will also be required to include SOS buttons which can be pressed to connect with the emergency services instantly.
Autonomous Emergency Braking
Driverless cars seem to be inching ever-closer, and the autonomous braking systems that are now being installed in vehicles are another step in this direction. In the first instance, there will be a visual or audible warning to the driver to warn them of a possible collision. If they don’t react in time, the car will automatically apply the brakes. Volvo first launched this system way back in 2006, but it is much more likely that these will be fitted as standard in the coming months and years.
Active Lane-Keeping Assist
An upgrade on lane departure warning systems which have the issue that they are easy to ignore, active lane-keeping assist features actually respond by taking control and keeping you within the lines. Paired together with adaptive cruise control (which we will discuss in more detail shortly), this system can take a lot of the hassle out of motorway driving. As we already talked about, this is yet another example of us moving towards a world of autonomous driving.
A huge proportion of accidents are minor collisions and many of these are caused by the difficulties involved in parking. The vast majority of new cars are built with some sort of parking sensors included, but a reverse camera takes this one stage further. A screen will display everything that is going on behind you so you are able to make more of an informed decision about reversing in a safe way.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Of course, standard cruise control has been around for decades but that system has become a lot more advanced in the past few years. If you have a vehicle that has adaptive cruise control, you can set a distance that you want to stay away from the car in front of you. A radar or laser will keep you clear of it, regardless of the traffic conditions ahead. This means that it is useful for city driving as well as the long drives that standard cruise control is associated with.
Blind Spot Detection
That pesky blind spot has always been a problem for drivers, but a blind spot detection system can help you out in a big way. A light will flash when a vehicle drives into this spot so you don’t change lanes when a car is located here.
These are just a few of the systems that are worth investigating if you are going to buy a new car as they could potentially be life-saving.
By Jerry Mooney
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It’s part of the business common sense to know that automation can save you and your team a lot of precious time. No more manual filing, and more time for the actual work, these are the most obvious benefits you can get from automating some of your business systems. However, whether it’s the smart car that drives itself into a ditch or the automated printer that accidentally prints out an entire report on only one line, sometimes even the machine makes an error. That’s exactly why, as a business owner, you need to be aware that errors are inevitable, whether you work with people or with automated systems. There is always the possibility of something going wrong. And while you can’t prepare for all eventualities, you need to be able to have a plan of action. First of all, you need to identify the areas of your business where an automated error could impact and who is most likely to notice an error. Then you need to ask yourself who can control the automated system to fix the error. These essential questions need to be at the top of your priority list when you consider implementing an automated solution in your business.
Can automated technology replace people?
Why do you need to control automated systems?
As a business owner or an entrepreneur, you are ultimately the one responsible for the performance of your company. Therefore it’s essential to think ahead and make sure that you always take the best-informed decision at the time. A recent article on the blog, http://jerrymooneybooks.com/business-make-sure-youre-one-control/, discusses these elements and provides advice on how to manage your responsibility in an everyday business life. From avoiding business partners and investors to choosing your team well, there are plenty of approaches to ensure that you’re still the one in control. However, you need to maintain the same mindset when you work with automated solutions. When a customer has been the victim of an automated error, you need to be able to take responsibility for the error and to compensate your customer. Blaming it all on the machine is never a smart move and can damage your brand reputation.
Is automation saver?
There’s a common school of thought that claims that automation can minimize human errors and maximize business performance. Automated systems can work faster and at any time of the day or night, and more importantly, they don’t need a day off. Nevertheless, automated systems can go wrong too, and it’s important to understand why and how this could happen. First of all, automated systems are not always designed with human factors in mind, even though they will need to be operated and implemented by people. As a result, the disconnection between automated and human resources can often be a cause of troubles for misuse or abuse of the system. Additionally, an automated system cannot adjust to a sudden change in circumstances – such as the automated marketing reports not being able to cope with Google’s being down and alerting the team about poor SEO results.
Who controls automated engineering?
Industrial sites work primarily through automated production systems. These systems can manage an entire production cycle, but they need to be submitted to a thorough control solution, https://www.goughecon.com/product-solutions/controls-integration/. Industrial automation needs to be scanned for errors and performance issues so that the relevant machine can be individually and manually taken off the system for repairs or added in case of an increase production load. In other words, you need an engineer who controls the industrial site.
Who controls automated marketing?
Automated marketing is the preferred solutions for small and large businesses that struggle with limited marketing and IT resources at any given time. As it’s a solution that connects multiple marketing channels, it offers an integrated strategy for your business goals. However, while it offers personalized options and user-friendly approaches, marketing automation can lose you clients if it doesn’t integrate human interactions in the data pool. Let’s say that one of your customers walks into your shop and complains about receiving too many newsletters. If the shop assistant doesn’t take note of their contact details to pass it on to the marketing team, this person will continue to receive newsletters even though they’ve informed your company about their problem.
Who controls automated financial tasks?
Invoice automation is one of these things that makes everybody lives easier. No more manual invoicing and more importantly, the automated system can send invoices at any time of the day or night without wasting your workforce’s time. It makes no doubt that for all businesses, automating your invoices helps you to keep track of your credit and debit books and to know in real time when you will get paid. However, here again, things can go wrong. The invoicing system can experience update issues, and might in the process lose essential data or invoice all customers twice. Additionally, when a customer complains about an invoice, is there any guarantee that the automated system can put their invoice on hold until resolution of the issue?
Who controls automated workforce management?
45% of business managers need a more agile and flexible workforce and consequently, they need better access to workforce data. Workforce management solutions enable businesses to automate time and attendance and also to control payroll and HR processes. In a work environment, an automated workforce management system allows a business to rapidly and efficiently share tasks and timetables. However, the workforce data needs to be screened to be authorized onto the system, which can be difficult to implement within digital settings: From a name too long for the field name or a typo in the DOB, automated workforce management systems can leave out qualified applicants.
Who controls automated security systems?
Most businesses rely on an automated security system that keeps their offices safe. As explained in this article, https://broadswordsecurity.com/high-tech-security-devices/, automated security systems can monitor who comes and leaves the site, can recognize the vehicles, and record everything on CCTV. But what happens during a power cut? Or if a member of your staff buys a new car? A security engineer needs to ensure that your system is always up to date with the latest info and emergency solutions.
Business automation can’t work without the human interaction to adjust, correct and manage it. Don’t believe that an automated system means that you don’t need a team! The expert team ensures that your automation works for the people and not the other way round.
By Jerry Mooney
Your business’s approach to marketing can be determined by many different things. But what you shouldn’t forget is that all that really matters is the outcomes. If your marketing approach is simply not producing results for your business, then you need to rethink that approach.
Work With People Who Have a Proven Track Record
It’s often a good idea to work with other people when it comes to marketing your business online. There are a lot of different things that need to be covered, and you might not have the expertise to do that. Head to ignitedigital.com if you want to get help from digital marketing and SEO experts. It’s important to work with people who already have a proven track record. These are the people who will know what to do, and you will have complete confidence in their abilities.
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Track Unique Visitors
You should definitely be tracking the unique visits that your website is receiving if you want to know how your marketing tactics are playing out. If people are simply not heading to your website, it’s a sure sign that your marketing techniques are not doing what you wanted them to. It’s easy enough to track how many unique visits your website is getting. It’s better to track this metric than raw traffic data because that doesn’t offer you a picture of how many individuals are visiting your websites. Make sure you’re doing this if you’re not already. Head to dummies.com/business/marketing/measure-unique-visitors-to-your-website/ if you want to learn how to do it.
Aim to Keep Improving That Conversion Rate
As well as unique visitors, you need to focus on the conversion rate of your website. If your aim is to sell goods and services online, you need to make sure that you are converting those visitors into buyers. If people are heading to your website but not actually handing over their money and making a purchase, it suggests something isn’t quite working. It’s a good way of monitoring your success and seeing if your overall approach to marketing is working out or not. If it’s not, you’ll have to make changes sooner rather than later for the sake of your company.
Don’t Get Lost in Your Own Hype
You need to remember that your own thoughts and ideas don’t mean much if they don’t produce results. It’s very easy to be sold by your own sales patter and get lost in your own hype. That’s not going to help your business when it comes to succeeding with good marketing, though. You need to be level-headed, and don’t become too invested in a marketing idea until you’ve seen whether or not it works. It’s a much better approach to take to marketing. There is nothing to be gained by getting lost in your own hype and bluster.
Marketing is never easy to get right. You’ll experience successes, and you’ll experience failures. That’s just the way it is. But remember to never take your eye off the end results; they’re all that matters.