Enthusiasm behind paperless office concept
Many people hear the word “cloud” and expect to snap their fingers and become paperless overnight, completely organized and compliant, but it isn’t exactly as easy as the commercials make it sound. Yes, digital document management can be tremendous business tool, but some of the basic free solutions are risky and don’t help to keep your company organized or even in compliance.
One of the more robust options on the market is 12-year old eFileCabinet, which began as a cutting-edge tool to digitally store records in accounting firms, growing in popularity to a full-fledged electronic document management solution designed to help organizations capture, manage and protect their data in any industry.
Matt Peterson, CEO of eFileCabinet, notes that businesses adopt the concept of the paperless office with great enthusiasm, but grapple with the practical implications of getting such an implementation off the ground. “The transition from a paper-intensive operation to a completely paperless environment has seen several organizations abandon the initiative because of the stress such a transition places on their operating environment. The sustainability of a paperless office relies on the careful, well-administered execution of several cross-departmental initiatives that are pivotal to a smooth transition.”
Peterson adds that when executed incorrectly, the transition can hurt productivity and financial benefits that come with the paperless office. Based on his area of expertise, Peterson offers seven ways that most businesses are actually screwing up their digital document management. In his words:
1. Rapid, Disorganized Transition:
Expecting your organization to complete the move to a paperless environment in a few days or even a couple of weeks can throw several administrative and operational processes out of gear. Business constraints and imperatives often drive the pursuit of paperless operations at a pace that is far more than an organization can manage. More often than not, any productivity gains are nullified by the time spent learning how to use document management software, scheduling time on scanners. When implementing a paperless office solution such as eFileCabinet, it is important to do so in a planned, structured transition with pragmatic timelines.
2. File Hoarding:
The lack of proper indexing procedures or the absence of a streamlined process or policy that governs the creation, duplication, digitization, preservation and disposal of company documentation can result in an e-landfill—a large, unmanageable digital cabinet filled with orphaned files and documents that take up server space. Without proper training and clear file retention deadlines an organization runs the risk of wasting time by overloading the digital filing system with files that will never be accessed or have already passed their legal and useful life span. Consequently, the process of search and retrieval of documents takes far longer than necessary. While this may seem to be an elementary oversight, in reality, it is a costly mistake that wastes time, impacts productivity and is a frustrating experience, come audit season.
3. Placing Intellectual Assets at Risk:
Most organizations make the mistake of digitizing documents without a definite backup or archival plan. More often than not, scanned copies of files are saved into a random folder structure. The effect of a force majeure situation or a natural disaster on such an office could result in a partial or complete shutdown of operations. Some organizations establish a degree of contingency by relying on backup tapes or ISO-compliant folder storage to safeguard data. In the absence of such an effort, sensitive company data and intellectual assets may end up in a large group of un-indexed files and open to theft or accidental deletion.
4. Non-Compliant Storage and Sharing:
Saving and organizing files through Microsoft Windows folders can be a tedious, time-intensive effort and can often be in violation of the paperless standards set by many compliance governing bodies. Governance standards, international law and global financial regulatory requirements under several acts such as Sarbanes-Oxley and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as the SEC require an organization to provide verifiable and timely access to digital records. The proper establishment of role-based security as a means to controlling access to digital is sometimes tedious but always necessary step for security purposes. When implementing a paperless office, it is important to use compliance-friendly features such as the eFileCabinet SecureDrawer to transfer confidential data and documents across operational environments.
5. Non-existent or Incomplete Data Backup:
An organization’s data backup process is a vital and indispensable component of its overall disaster recovery plan. Cloud based document management software offers a two-edged solution that features a scheduled backup of an organization’s data while ensuring data is backed up into a cloud mitigates the risks of local storage. Several organizations mistake data management software as a substitute for their IT backup services. While document management services do digitize and help an office manage paperwork more efficiently, these electronic documents need to be backed up as part of a business continuity plan. Particularly, if the organization has chosen a traditional on-premise software platform as opposed to the ever-increasing in popularity cloud based solution. A non-existent or incomplete data backup plan could have an adverse fiscal and reputational impact on a company.
6. Incorrect Formats:
One of the most common mistakes of going paperless is the digitization of documents into unreadable or unsearchable formats. A typical scanner converts documents into PDF files that do not allow form or text data to be read or copied. A robust document management solution needs to come with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) capabilities to truly leverage the power of paperless operations. The lack of OCR-enabled documents, tables, spreadsheets and presentations causes all scanned documents to become static — i.e., their contents cannot be recognized as text and therefore, cannot be copied. Scanning without OCR is one of the most significant hindrances to a paperless office because it prevents users from searching or copying text from within scanned documents.
7. Trapped by the Desktop Computer:
In a world that relies on the increased mobility and portability of data, the paperless office often extends beyond the boundaries of the office building. When organizations go paper-free, they often make the mistake of using a document management solution that does not offer secure, cloud-based access or the ability to access documents through a mobile app.
Peterson notes that “Understanding the potential roadblocks to a successful paperless office can help your organization avoid them and ease into the use of digital document management software without losing productivity and efficiency.”
What is “Among Us”? The meme sensation two years in the making
(TECH NEWS) When a game has invaded even the most focused of social media feeds, we have to figure out what it’s all about. Enter Among Us.
If you’ve been seeing bean-shaped characters pop up in memes, on Twitch, or even on Facebook saying words like “Impostor” or “Red is sus”, you’re not alone.
Among Us, an online multiplayer social deduction game has taken the online world by storm as of late. Originally released back in 2018, the game gained a massive surge in popularity during the COVID-19 lockdown. According to Sensor Tower’s data, the game passed 100 million downloads on the IOS App Store and Google Play in Q3 of 2020 alone. While the game is free to play on mobile, users can also play on PC for a small fee of $4.99. As it stands, Among Us is currently the third-most played game on Steam, with a solid chance it breaks into the top spot in the next few months.
Haven’t played the game? Well, let’s cover the basics so you understand the endless number of memes coming your way.
The game is played with 4 to 10 people, all of whom are placed together on a single map. Depending on the game settings, 1 to 3 of these people will be randomly assigned as Impostors, whose goal is to kill a certain number of non-Impostors without getting voted off of the map. The rest of the users will be designated as Crewmates, who can win the game by either completing a set number of assigned tasks in the form of minigames or by voting the Impostors off of the map. Impostors gain the advantage of being able to use portions of the map (like vents) that Crewmates cannot, as well as being assigned fake tasks so it can appear that they are a Crewmate. Impostors can also sabotage areas of the map that will require Crewmates to complete an additional task within an allotted time, with failure to do so resulting in an Impostor team win.
Impostors will be able to move across the map and kill other players they are next too, turning those players into Ghosts who will still need to complete their tasks for the Crewmates to win. When a player finds a dead body, they can report it, which essentially allows for a time-based discussion and the option to vote for someone to be kicked off of the map. Each player can also use one “emergency meeting”, which can call for a discussion and vote at any time. Since players are allotted a cone of vision that allows them to only see other players within a certain distance, the game relies a lot on convincing other users you are not an Imposter.
Among Us was inspired by the party game Mafia, proving that a few adjustments to a classic concept can pay dividends. Due to the mostly chat-based dialogue, memes have popped up of Crewmates accusing people of being suspicious by saying they are “sus” based on their actions. There has also been a rise in memes highlighting a group of people saying someone must be an Impostor and voting them off, only to view the “X was not the Impostor” dialogue from the game.
Hopefully, this helps you understand some of the bean shape images you’ve been seeing recently. With the game rising rapidly on streaming platforms over the summer, it’s unlikely the wave of memes and references to the game will end anytime soon. If you still don’t understand it, then I recommend you take the plunge and play the game—after all, it’s free on mobile.
Snapchat is among the first to leverage Apple’s new powerful AR tools
(TECH NEWS) Apple has announced the iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR scanner that will take AR to a whole new level, and Snapchat is already leveraging the technology in its Lens Studio 3.2.
Augmented Reality (AR) uses computer-generated information to create an enhanced and interactive experience of the world. It intertwines the physical world with the digital one to make it more entertaining and fun. And, this week Apple unveiled its latest phone models, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Max, and along with it, its custom-designed LiDAR scanner.
LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and it measures how long it takes light to reach an object and reflect it back. With the sensor, the new iPhone’s machine learning capabilities, and the iOS 14 framework, the iPhone can “understand the world around you.” “LiDAR makes iPhone 12 Pro a powerful device for delivering instant AR and unlocking endless opportunities in apps,” said iPhone Product Line Manager, Francesca Sweet.
Apple says their new technology will help enable object and room scanning, photo and video effects, and precise placements of AR objects. With LiDAR’s ability to “see in the dark”, the sensor can autofocus in low-light six times faster. In doing so, it improves focus accuracy and reduces capture time “so your subject is clearly in focus without missing the moment.”
And, Snapchat is making sure it isn’t missing the moment either. The company is among the first to leverage iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR scanner for AR on its iOS app. On Wednesday, Snapchat announced it is launching Lens Studio 3.2, which will allow creators and developers to build their LiDAR-powered lenses for the iPhone 12 Pro.
“The addition of the LiDAR Scanner to iPhone 12 Pro models enables a new level of creativity for augmented reality,” said Eitan Pilipski, Snap’s SVP of Camera Platform. “We’re excited to collaborate with Apple to bring this sophisticated technology to our Lens Creator community.”
According to a Lens Studio article, the new iPhone 12 Pro AR experience will have a better understanding of geometry and the meaning of surfaces and objects. It will let Snapchat’s camera “see a metric scale of the scene”, which will allow “Lenses to interact realistically with the surrounding world.”
Even though the iPhone 12 Pro isn’t here yet, this isn’t stopping Snapchat from letting creators and developers start bringing their “LiDAR-powered Lenses to life.” Its new and interactive preview mode in Lens Studio 3.2 will already allow them to do that. So, if you’d like to get started, you can download the template on their site.
According to Apple, the new iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR scanner “puts advanced depth-mapping technology in your pocket.” Overall, Apple’s new technology has fancy sensors that will allow you to take top-quality photos and videos in low-light. It will also allow you to create an AR experience that should be better than what exists now. During Apple’s announcement, they said all these new “incredible pro technologies” won’t come with a higher price tag. I guess it’s up to you whether you really need the fancy new iPhone 12 Pro to play with the new lenses in Snapchat.
Google plans to make YouTube an integrated e-commerce destination
(TECH NEWS) Google takes looking for product video reviews and recommendations to the next level by planning to turn YouTube into an e-commerce site.
Google is planning on turning YouTube into an e-commerce platform. Google wants consumers to purchase products straight through YouTube’s website. So, this means products seen in tutorials, reviews, and unboxing videos could all potentially be available to purchase directly from their site.
Bloomberg reports that steps are already underway to start turning the large video website into a one-stop shopping site. Recently, YouTube started asking creators to use YouTube software to tag and track products featured in their videos. By gathering this data, Google hopes to create a “vast catalogue of items that viewers can peruse, click on, and buy directly,” said a person familiar with the situation to Bloomberg. A YouTube spokesperson also confirmed to them that the company is only testing this feature on a limited number of video channels.
Already, YouTube is a shopping destination. In a Google article, the company reports that more than half of consumers rely on videos to help them make a purchasing decision. By surveying over 24,000 people, Google found that more than 55 percent of shoppers say they use online video while shopping in-store. One person interviewed said, “I’ll look back at a video to remind myself which product a vlogger spoke about. I need to find the exact moment they said, ‘This is my recommendation.’”
So, YouTube’s video platform does have great purchasing power potential because it gets a consumer to view the video again and make a purchase based on that video. So far, YouTube allows creators to place links to the products they are featuring on their page. This allows consumers to easily access links to the products.
But, that’s where the purchasing influence ends for YouTube. In the end, consumer needs to leave their website to purchase the item.
This isn’t the first time Google has tried taking a stab at integrating e-commerce into YouTube’s website. Last year, the company partnered with Merchbar to allow artists to sell their official merchandise to fans via a bar underneath a video. But, consumers still needed to visit a third-party website to make a purchase. The company is also in beta testing with Shopify. This integration will allow retailers to list and sell items on the video-sharing platform.
Turning YouTube into a shopping website is an “experiment”, according to the YouTube spokesperson Bloomberg spoke to. And, frankly, Google needs this experiment to work because it’s falling behind in the pandemic e-commerce boom. Travel and physical retail sectors have been hit hard by the pandemic. And, both of these bring in large ad revenue for Google. With companies tightening up their marketing budgets, Google ad sales fell 8 percent in Q2.
But, experiment or not, this could eventually happen. Google has already begun tagging content to view data analytics. They know consumers rely on videos to help them decide what they want to buy. They just need to give them the option to purchase through the website. However, the real question is whether this will be beneficial for both YouTube and content creators.
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