Monthly Archives: August 2016

How to Protecting Your Privacy On Your Mobile Phone

Tech companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google know a lot about us. They have data on where we are in the world, what we search, share and buy and how and when we make those purchases.

Ranking Digital Rights, a nonprofit research group that works out of nonpartisan think tank New America’s Open Technology Institute, released its annual study yesterday looking at how the biggest tech companies around the world fare when it comes protecting freedom of expression and how transparent they are about privacy policies and what they do with user information.

The answer, having ranked 12 mobile and internet companies and 10 telecommunication firms that are used by more than half of 3.7 billion global internet users, is that they could do better.

 

“Company disclosure is inadequate across the board. … Even the better performing companies had significant gaps in disclosure on key issues that affect what a user can and cannot say or do, or who knows what about their activities,” noted the Ranking Digital Rights researchers.

Google was awarded the top spot with a score of 65 percent and Microsoft came in second at 62 percent, but they were the only companies in the index that had scores higher than 60 percent. Rounding out the top five was Yahoo, which has had its share of security breaches lately, at 58 percent, Facebook at 53 percent and South Korean social giant Kakao at 50 percent.

 

Twitter and Apple were ranked sixth and seventh out of 12, but while Twitter is close behind Kakao at 48 percent, Apple’s score dropped to 35 percent.

The reasoning behind Apple’s less than stellar score, according to the researchers, was because “poor disclosure about the company’s commitments and policies affecting users’ freedom of expression. Next to its peers, Apple also disclosed little information about how it has institutionalized its commitments to users’ rights through corporate governance, oversight, and accountability mechanisms.”

As for the realm of telecommunications, AT&T and U.K.-based Vodafone tied for first place with scores of 48 percent, followed by Spain’s Telefónica at 33 percent. Vodafone was better when it came to sharing with its users its policies around freedom of expression while AT&T was more upfront about user privacy. Meanwhile, Telefónica was actually the most successful of all of the companies ranked when it came to disclosing to users how it handled security breaches.

Small Business Owners Have About Big Data

Data is not a new conversation, yet small businesses still have many misconceptions about how data may be valuable to their business. In the past, only large brands could afford to implement data into their business efforts. Today, however, data is accessible to businesses of all sizes — including yours. Overlooking this new reality occurs far too often and for all the wrong reasons. With this in mind, it is imperative for small businesses to finally overcome the various misconceptions about data and their businesses.

 

Misconception No. 1: Human touch outweighs anything automated.

Entrepreneurs are a unique breed that deliver passion, excitement and cognitive abilities unlike many of their corporate peers when it comes to nurturing a business. The human touch that they offer is undoubtedly a significant aspect of what makes many entrepreneurs successful — yet this same human touch can potentially inhibit success if it is employed at the expense of data collection.

Related: The Hidden Advantages Data-Drive Sales Teams Have

“One of the most common misconceptions is that people believe they will always outperform computers in their decision-making process. That may have been the case in the past, but with the complexity of today’s markets and the advancement of technology, this assumption no longer holds true,” says Victor Rosenman, CEO of Feedvisor.

Expanding on this, Rosenman shares what many of us already know but too often need to be reminded.

“All business owners are constantly required to make critical decisions, and the most effective decisions are not based on gut feelings, but on facts and data.”

With a reported 28 million small businesses in America, there is too much competition to dismiss the value that data can bring to your business. Combined with human touch, data is a powerful asset that small businesses should leverage instead of dismiss.

 

Misconception No. 2: Revenue will not be enhanced due to data.

Small businesses come in all forms, but the common denominator is that they need to make money. Using data — including artificial intelligence — small business owners can save time and money when applying data solutions to their businesses.

 

“Artificial intelligence gives small business owners and entrepreneurs the ability to run a lean operation. There are solutions in AI that range from automated call software to market intelligence to retail inventory management and even to sales, such as Salesforce’s Einstein software recently launched using IBM’s Watson technology. The key here is automation, as AI can speed up or eliminate manual processes altogether. Ultimately, these tools offer insights into operations and keep costs low while enabling businesses to function at a much higher level, and see higher revenue as a result,” explains Igor Gorin, CEO of Astound Commerce.

Using data, companies can analyze what has taken place within their businesses, leveraging the findings to make future decisions. With this in mind, relying solely on human instincts is a risky proposition.

 

Misconception No. 3: Data should immediately solve problems.

Instant gratification is nice, but instant gratification isn’t always the solution.

“The view of cognitive systems as brains that automatically solve any problem is a popular misconception. These tools are ideally suited to do things like scale human expertise and augment human intelligence,” IBM’s Brandon Buckner recently explained.

Keeping what Buckner says in mind, consider how technology can support your business rather than take the lead. Technologies such as Watson Explorer — which is a platform that gives businesses access to various data touchpoints to help drive business performance and growth — is an example of how businesses can benefit in their decision-making and ROI thanks to using technology. Using data, small business owners can then make stronger decisions on future business strategies.

The Lives of Our Most Vulnerable Patients

Among all that we are grateful for one of the most important being our health. Health innovations that are helping people care for our most vulnerable communities are something to celebrate.

Advancements in healthcare technologies have revolutionized the well-being of children, the mentally handicapped, neonatal patients and our elderly. So, here’s to your health, and cheers to four healthcare innovations that are reshaping human longevity and quality of life for future generations.

 

1. Light therapy

Using light to treat depression (or painfully pale skin) is a long-standing form of treatment. But for Dr. JoQueta Handy, light therapy has brightened the worlds of many living with Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder. The World Health Organization has officially identified ASD as a “global health priority.” In response to those concerns, specialists like Dr. Handy have dedicated their lives to unlocking learning barriers by developing revolutionary approaches to teaching children with these and other learning disabilities.

With methods such as Quantum Reflex Integration and Interactive Metronome usage, Dr. Handy has perfected a holistic education discipline called the “Children’s Opportunity for Brilliance” model. She uses this platform to inform fellow educators about the best ways to teach special needs children.

“It’s not the only solution for learning strategies,” Handy said, “But it’s a solution for bringing doctors, parents, and teachers together so that hopefully we can create the hub for the wheel of the child.”

 

2. Collaborative tracking tools

For Tammy Bowers, the development of Lionheart Innovations was a labor of love based on necessity. Tammy needed a resource that could condense the contents of her massive binder into one application that could track her son’s medical information. She believed technology was the solution to control the complexities of medical caregiving for her son, and that platform has been a literal lifesaver for thousands of people who need a way to better manage chronic health problems.

“The Lionheart app doesn’t simply track and store medical information, it empowers patients and their providers through data,” Bowers said. This application offers medication management, scheduling, and many other features that can better inform providers of necessary data.

 

3. Wearable technology

For Owlet Baby Care CEO Kurt Workman, designing a hospital-caliber baby monitor for home use was a challenge that has paid off for thousands of new parents. The Smart Sock uses pulse oximetry, which is used in most hospitals. The sock is worn by infants and monitors the baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels. Should these levels drop, the device will trigger the base station that collects these vitals via Bluetooth. Parents can know immediately if there is a problem. “Owlet collects more data in one night than a doctor collects in one year,” Workman said.

This new technology has caught the attention of many organizations including Entrepreneur Magazine, which honored them as one of the top 100 Brilliant Companies of 2016, and Forbes Magazine, who included them on their Next Billion-Dollar Startup List 2016.

Revolutionizing an age old business

The events industry is growing all around the world. According to Meeting Professionals International, events contribute $115 billion to the United States gross domestic product (GDP), with subsequent billions funneled to both state and federal tax revenue.

The event industry isn’t just growing in the U.S., though — it’s also getting bigger in nations like the U.K., India and Japan.

With that growth comes a need for technology that meets the consumers’ expectations and makes event production easier, and an influx of startups, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are working together to develop solutions for the events industry.

 

1. Tickets go mobile

Mobile is taking every industry by storm, and the events industry is no exception. The first wave of mobile innovation has come with ticket buying systems.

“Ticketing is increasingly about establishing a higher touch point with your fans — it is about being made available to everyone, everywhere.” explains Neetu Bhatia, founder and CEO of Kyazoonga, a global online ticketing agency. Mobile ticketing also allows vendors to do a lot more. Bhatia explains, “Clients can access and manage the ticketing back-end in a much simpler fashion than the older terminal based systems – now anyone with a mobile smartphone can become a ticketing point-of-sale.”

Consumers want have fully integrated mobile experiences during events, as well — research shows that usage rates for mobile apps at some events can be as high as 94 percent. As a result, venues, promoters and planners need to partner with providers who can take their experiences mobile. The good news is that customer adoption is usually quick: Research from Guidebook found that 88 percent of event professionals agreed the use of event apps improved attendee engagement.

 

2. Cost reduction, revenue generation

A study from Enterprise Event Marketing found that the use of event technology can create a 20 percent increase in event attendance while reducing related costs by up to 30 percent. Even so, numerous studies also indicate that one of the biggest reasons events professionals don’t integrate new technologies is due to costs.

Companies and vendors will need to work harder to compete in an increasingly cost-sensitive industry.

“We consider ourselves net revenue generators on a client’s profit and loss.” Bhatia shares, “We do that by using predictive analytics to enable and drive purchase decisions and algorithms to enhance the in-seat experience with real-time notifications to motivate future purchases.”

In the past, providers have tried to be low-cost solutions, but the future of the industry may require them to be no-cost or provide additional value.

 

3. Attendee data

Big data is king in most industries, but its potential remains unrealized in the events industry.

Event tech expert Mike Piddock shares, “Event tech that gathers data, both during live events and presentations, and dipping into social media profiles to understand event communities, will be a must have rather than a nice to have.” Technologies like scannable QR codes, much like the ones used for online ticketing, can help event professionals collect data from attendees that are actively scanning different objects at a live event.

Near Field Communication (NFC) and other location-based tracking used by companies like Google also serve to deepen consumer insights from live events. Google already tracks and publishes data about high-traffic times at entertainment locations, and can easily zero in on more specific data about what kind of searches originate from a live event. Similarly, NFC-enabled phones could help event organizers track where users most frequently purchased concessions or merchandise, giving rise to the potential of split testing live marketing tactics.

 

4. Still-emerging trends

Though not yet mainstream, it’s important to note the trends that may have an impact on the industry in later years. The most likely development in the near term is cashless events. Mobile payments like Apple Pay and social payment platforms like Venmo are making the use of cash at events a thing of the past. This could significantly reduce costs for venues that have to deal with everything that comes along with cash management.

The right type of advertising

The internet is growing at an insanely fast rate, and every future-thinking entrepreneur should rightly invest in making sure their brands are maximizing the internet to its fullest. Nearly all aspects of business are being aggressively pushed online. Filing systems have gone online. Offline advertising, or traditional advertising as we know it, has been overshadowed by online advertising. As far as traditional business processes go, you name it, and chances are, it’s now online.

This all points to the positive way the internet has changed how we do business. If the internet is changing things, how would you tune your business to rightly position yourself for more growth and better widespread promotion? Here are a few strategies to help you on your way.

1. Plan for specific growth.

Growth isn’t guess work. Every growth goal must be deliberately planned and pinned down before it becomes achieveable. As an entrepreneur, you need to decide which aspect of your business you need growth in.

Narrow down your focus to just an armful of areas. Ask yourself which areas of your business need a thorough makeover in order to bring in more leads? Which areas of your business need to be advertised more? What areas are bringing in the more leads? You cannot answer all these if you don’t monitor your numbers. Every serious-minded entrepreneur knows their numbers. And every entrepreneur should be able to use that data to see loopholes. Growth loopholes, however, are sometimes not easily visible.

The best way to know your business growth and numbers throughly is to study your business. Go through each of your online business verticals and jot down how much growth they added in the previous quarters. If you do it well, you’ll have in-depth information about your businesses, ranging from which areas are bringing in the most leads to the areas that should be discontinued. From your final findings, I believe you can plot out a well-defined strategy for promoting your business online.

 

2. Experiment and utilize the right advertisement method.

Online promotion won’t work effectively if you don’t understand advertising. Almost all content online is created exclusively for marketing purposes. You would have to do some exploring to know which advertising methods best fit your business. Not every business model will flow with every advertising method. The advertising strategy I used for my freelancing startup wasn’t the same for my cosmetic startup. Niches affect strategies.

This is where experimentation is highly needed. When I first started on my journey to make money online, I was skeptical about trying out new stuff. But I soon realized that the only way to reach more customers was to keep on experimenting until I found the winners.

It’s from experimentating that I found out that hidden advertisementis hyper-effective for niche product launchings; that Mulpix gives me better insight to Instagram advertising and better use of hash tags than others I have seen; and that having the right personas in business will help you narrow down and get targeted customers.

Join the trend and experiment on advertising. Don’t just stop there. Go the extra mile, understand how advertising works, and find out what type of advertising will work best for your type of business. The more you experiment with online advertising, the better understanding you will have about which type of advertising will work for your business and which ones won’t. And the better you grasp this topic, the more promoted your brand will become online.

 

3. Leverage growth automation.

The best growth techniques I know — and sadly I had to learn the hard way — is to automate your online business growth. As a freelancer, I keep coming across companies who are seeking to outsource more work in order to focus on the essentials. To them, it’s better to spend money giving other people time-wasting tasks to manage than to equally focus on the important and time-wasting tasks, and lose out on potential income.

According to statistics, businesses are rapidly outsourcing more jobs. Do the same. Automate aspects of your online business that you know next to nothing about. Find ways to make sure you’re only engaged with tasks you can confidently handle and are your areas of strength.

Business thrive when there is less noise. Fuzzle out the non-essentials. Look for virtual assistants to help with tasks you can’t handle.

There are so many verticals to automate. The more you automate your online business promotion, the more time you have to focus on the company’s growth and getting more clients on board.

Generational Divide at Work

What do an iOS developer, a social media intern, a UX designer and a big data architect have in common? Just 10 years ago, their job titles were rare or didn’t exist at all.

Today, these titles are a dime a dozen for young professionals. In 2008, there were zero big data architects on LinkedIn. In 2013, there were 3,440. Given the sudden rise in titles like this, it may not come as a surprise that nearly 70 percent of parents admit they don’t have a clear understanding of their children’s jobs.

The rapid evolution of technology has led to a surge in the use of digital tools in the workplace and, in some cases, has created entirely new industries. But it’s also created a gap between generations.

 

Here, we explore three ways the evolution of tech has changed the relationship between employees of different generations, and how companies can embrace both the unique opportunities and the unique challenges of a multigenerational workforce

 

1. Technology changes the way generations communicate.

More than 74 percent of millennials feel that new technology makes their lives easier, compared to just 31 percent of Generation X and 18 percent of boomers.

Younger generations simply have a different outlook when it comes to technology, and that translates directly into their attitudes at work. For example, younger workers may come to meetings armed with their smartphones to take notes or find information using the internet and social media. Older workers, on the other hand, tend to stick to a notepad and pencil. These choices can be perceived as rude or antiquated, depending who you ask.

As more companies move away from email as a primary mode of communication and toward digital tools like Google Hangouts and group messaging applications, this divide can quickly grow. For Simon Rakosi, co-founder of management training software company Butterfly, the true tipping point in workplaces embracing technology has been the normalization of tools such as Slack, an instant messaging platform used by companies to enable their employees to communicate in real time.

“Slack is truly the embodiment of the millennial generation’s view on work culture. It’s fast, it’s instant and it has personality,” Rakosi said. “For people who have been in the workforce for decades, Slack might be a jarring transition away from emails and memos.”

However, while the moms and dads of older generation workers may have a different approach to communication, it doesn’t mean this gap can’t be closed. There are many ways HR leaders can ease the transition into new technologies, such as mentoring programs to encourage cross-generational knowledge sharing.

 

 

2. Technology creates a new set of workplace skills.

The rise of technology has also created a demand for tech skills. A study from Manpower Group found that 39 percent of U.S. employers have stated that they have difficulty hiring new employees because of a lack of available talent. When they do find talent, it’s typically in the younger employee. The median age of workers at successful tech companies is well below 35. Elizabeth Gibson, editor and messaging strategist at EZ Landlord Forms, said she confronts this skills gap every day with her clients. The landlords she deals with are either tech-savvy or only have hard-copy expertise.

“Generation is the single biggest predictor for difficulty,” Gibson said. She said her company is bridging this skills gap by simplifying forms to make them as intuitive as possible.

But while older generations may find themselves puzzled by the buzzwords and language their children use to describe their jobs, that doesn’t mean their kids are performing job duties beyond their reach or understanding. Remember — every generation has experienced change and can learn new skills.