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The top tech trends every business must know

You may have a grasp on what the top tech trends are, but do you know what to do with them in your business? Let’s dig deeper together.

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Tech trends that affect every business

You’re already on email, probably on Twitter or Facebook, you probably have smartphone, and the “cloud” is no longer an elusive concept. There are five major trends right now that every business must know, no matter the industry: mobile, social, big data, apps, and the cloud. In the following presentation, ten stats are revealed for each trend:

What in the world should you do with this information?

So now you know the stats, the trends, and the direction we’re heading, but you may still be scratching your head (or maybe you’re just overwhelmed).

So what if everyone’s on a mobile device? So am I

The stats reveal the purchasing power of mobile device users, so as a business, you should be sure that your site is mobile-friendly, but guess what? That doesn’t mean that you have a site that opens on a phone, because if people have to manually zoom in and out and try to click on the one pixel wide button, they’re moving on and you’ve lost out on business. While some brands have entire apps developed, your web developer can less expensively design a responsive version of your site which means it changes sizes based on the device being used and buttons become bigger on smartphones, etc.

So what if people use a mobile device in a store?

Do you offer a product? If it’s in stores, most people are showrooming (whipping out their phones to price compare with competitors, while in the store looking at your product), so they may be inspired to leave to find a competitor’s product elsewhere on the cheap. Conversely, if your site is mobile and easily found in search engines, people that are showrooming in stores may end up finding you and coming to you. That’s a huge win and why you should love mobile technologies.

So what if everyone’s gaga over social media?

Yes, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube may all be overwhelmingly noisy and crowded to you, but the reach is far more powerful than print or television media, and lead generation opportunities abound. As we’ve said for over half of a decade now, your brand should study the social networks, choose one where your clients congregate, and get really good at providing a value to that social network before adding another. YouTube is the second most popular search engine next to Google, and video is on fire, but poor quality video is sliding in popularity – putting effort into video, making sure the description is complete and the transcript is accurate and uploaded properly, you’ve landed yourself in a second form of a search engine. But if typed word is more your speed, remember that most people are using social media as a recommendation engine, asking their networks who/what they should use – so if you’re not present, how will people remember to refer to you?

So what if the cloud keeps documents safe and saves me money?

If those two reasons aren’t enough, think about the new paperless office – the ability to hold out your tablet, have a document reviewed and signed by a client, then a copy emailed to all parties – no more filing, no more lost papers, no more faxing crap back and forth and re-faxing when someone missed a signature. When you’re in the cloud, your entire office is at your fingertips – no more having to go back to the office for that presentation on your desktop, no more going back and forth to get a book of your products/services that you forgot to put in your car. You get the point – it’s a time saver in addition to the stated benefits of being a cost saver and safety net.

So what if big data is a big deal? I don’t get it.

We hear that a lot. Big data is just a fancy way of saying “you have massive amounts of digital data,” and the chances of you having done anything with it is slim – just like the majority of companies collecting data across the globe. The truth about big data is that there are now programs that make sense of all of this massive data you have, making it actually useful. Do you have spreadsheets of clients and data going back to 1983? You’ve got big data. Have you tracked sales in a software program since 1996? You have big data. So add on a layer of programs that can tell you trends about that data, and you’ve got legitimate business intelligence – something that used to cost brands millions to decipher. No more.

Here are two fascinating examples two companies making sense of big data:

  1. Polygraph analyzes brands on Facebook
  2. gazeMetrix captures visual mentions of brands online

So what if everyone has an app?

If your brand is one person and you’re doing something millions of others do (insurance sales, real estate, graphic design), you probably don’t need an app, especially in light of the high abandonment rate, even for paid apps. But if you offer something unique that an interactive experience would enhance sales, an app might be the answer. One of the huge benefits of an app is that you can send push notifications to users, so let’s say you operate a food truck company and you have three trucks running around Seattle during lunch – if someone has your food truck app, perhaps they can get an alert on their phone every time one of your trucks is parked within a mile of where they currently are, based on location awareness.

Maybe you sell vegan energy bars, and while popular, they’re not in every store, so why not have a simple app built that alerts users when they’ve entered a store where their favorite product (yours) is sold? Perhaps you’re a real estate broker and you want your clients to be able to hold up their phone in a neighborhood and see all homes listed on the MLS through their camera, with a price tag hovering over homes for sale in real time – augmented reality apps already exist, but with some twists, yours can be unique and useful (like listing below the price the distance to the nearest store, bus stop, public park, or its walkability score or heck, the last sale date of the property if available). Stand out, add value, and you have a reason to have an app, otherwise, stick to your website.

Tech News

Australia wants Facebook and Google to pay media royalties

Australia seeks to require Facebook and Google to pay royalties to media companies for use of news content on their platforms.

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Australia is in the process of requiring tech giants, Facebook and Alphabet, to pay royalties to Australian media companies for using their content. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the move the day after the US Congressional antitrust hearing that put the CEOs of Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple back in the regulatory spotlight.

In addition to the pressure from the United States investigation into market control by these companies, global leaders are calling for similar regulations. Though none have been successful, media companies in Germany, France, and Spain have pushed for legislation to force Google to pay licensing fees to use their news content. Some companies have been pushing for this for years and yet, the tech giants keep dragging out their changes, even admitting their actions are wrong.

In 2019, the Australian government instructed Facebook and Google to negotiate voluntary deals with Australian media to use their content. The Australian government says the companies failed to follow through on the directive, and therefore will be forced to intervene. They have 45 days to reach an agreement in arbitration, after which the Australian Communications and Media Authority will create legally binding terms for the companies on behalf of the Australian government.

Google claims the web traffic that it drives to media websites should be compensation enough for the content. A Google representative in Australia asserts that the government regulations would constitute interference into market competition – which would be the point, Google!

According to a 2019 study, an estimated 3,000 journalism jobs have been lost in the last decade. The previous generation of media companies has paid substantial advertising fees to Google and Facebook while receiving nothing in return for the use of its news content. Frydenberg asserts the regulatory measures are necessary to protect consumers and ensure a “sustainable media landscape” in the country.

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Tech News

Onboarding for customers and employees made easy

(TECH NEWS) Cohere enables live, virtual onboarding at bargain prices to help you better support and guide your users.

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Web development and site design may be straightforward, but that doesn’t mean your customers won’t get turned around when reviewing your products. Onboarding visitors is the simplest solution, but is it the easiest?

According to Cohere–a live, remote onboarding tool–the answer is a resounding yes.

Cohere claims to be able to integrate with your website using “just 2 lines of code”; after completing this integration, you can communicate with, guide, and show your product to any site visitor upon request. You’ll also be able to see what customers are doing in real time rather than relying on metrics, making it easy to catch and convert customers who are on the fence, due to uncertainty or confusion.

There isn’t a screen-share option in Cohere’s package, but what they do include is a “multiplayer” option in which your cursor will appear on a customer’s screen, thus enabling you to guide them to the correct options; you can also scroll and type for your customer, all the while talking them through the process as needed. It’s the kind of onboarding that, in a normal world, would have to take place face-to-face–completely tailored for virtual so you don’t have to.

You can even use Cohere to stage an actual demo for customers, which accomplishes two things: the ability to pare down your own demo page in favor of live options, and minimizing confusion (and, by extension, faster sales) on the behalf of the customer. It’s a win-win situation that streamlines your website efficiency while potentially increasing your sales.

Naturally, the applications for Cohere are endless. Using this tool for eCommerce or tech support is an obvious choice, but as virtual job interviews and onboarding become more and more prevalent, one could anticipate Cohere becoming the industry example for remote inservice and walkthroughs.

Hands-on help beats written instructions any day, so if companies are able to allocate the HR resources to moderate common Cohere usage, it could be a huge win for those businesses.

For those two lines of code (and a bit more), you’ll pay anywhere from $39 to $129 for the listed packages. Custom pricing is available for larger businesses, so you may have some wiggle room if you’re willing to take a shot at implementing Cohere business-wide.

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Tech News

Smart clothing could be used to track COVID-19

(TECH NEWS) In order to track and limit the spread of COVID-19 smart clothing may be the solution we need to flatten the curve–but at what cost?

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COVID tracking clothing

When most people hear the phrase “smart clothing”, they probably envision wearables like AR glasses or fitness trackers, but certainly not specially designed fabrics to indicate different variables about the people wearing them–including, potentially, whether or not someone has contracted COVID-19.

According to Politico, that’s exactly what clinical researchers are attempting to create.

The process started with Apple and Fitbit using their respective wearables to attempt to detect COVID-19 symptoms in wearers. This wouldn’t be the first time a tech company got involved with public health in this context; earlier this year, for example, Apple announced a new Watch feature that would call 911 if it detected an abnormal fall. The NBA also attempted to detect outbreaks in players by providing them with Oura Rings–another smart wearable.

While these attempts have yet to achieve widespread success, optimism toward smart clothing–especially things like undershirts–and its ability to report adequately someone’s symptoms, remains high.

The smart clothing industry has existed in the context of monitoring health for quite some time. The aforementioned tech giants have made no secret of integrating health- and wellness-centric features into their devices, and companies like Nanowear have even gone so far as to create undergarments that track things like the wearer’s heart rate.

It’s only fitting that these companies would transition to COVID assessment, containment, and prevention in the shadow of the pandemic, though they aren’t the only ones doing so. Indeed, innovators from all corners of the United States are set to participate in a “rapid testing solutions” competition–the end goal being a cheap, fast, easy-to-use wearable option to help flatten the curve. The “cheap” aspect is perhaps the most difficult; as Politico says, the majority of people have a general understanding of how to use wearable technology.

Perhaps more importantly, the potential for HIPPA violations via data access is high–and, during a period of time in which people are more suspicious of technology companies than ever, vis-a-vis data sharing, privacy could be a significant barrier to the creation, distribution, and use of otherwise crucial smart clothing.

There is no denying that the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated, among other things, technological advancement in ways unseen by many of us alive today. Only time will tell if smart clothing–life-saving potential and all–becomes part of that trend.

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