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Top Ten Technology Predictions for 2017

It’s the final month of 2016. The New Year looms enticingly on the horizon. There are many reasons to look forward to 2017 – none the least of which is the gamut of incredibly exciting innovations in the technology industry. Here is a brief look at our top 10 technology predictions for next year.

Invest in AI Customer Service

Artificial Intelligence will begin to replace humans in the customer service sphere of businesses. Automating customer call centers or investing in a hybrid AI-human customer service department will improve productivity, cut wasted employee time, and make it easier for customers to get answers. AI will also take over the realm of analytics, enabling businesses to understand trends as they evolve in real time.

Vamp Up Your Videos

The booming success of live video, video marketing, and virtual reality applications in the past year points to another banner year for this medium, as mobile continues to replace desktop viewing. Consumers will come to expect video from your company, and a lack thereof will be a definite mark against your brand.

Enjoy Advanced Predictive Analytics

Big data was the phrase of the year, with new technologies like interactive digital signage giving organizations new ways to gather incredibly accurate consumer information. Predictive analytics will shine in 2017, bringing forecasting capabilities to an all-time high. Businesses will be able to understand customers, foresee trends, and use big data in ways we haven’t yet imagined.

Jump Onboard Machine Learning

Machine learning startups will be the top acquisition targets of software firms, chip manufacturers, and related businesses as they jump to add smarter computing programs to their products. Machine learning techniques will finally reach the point where they’re ready to join the market in applications such as image file […]

By |December 21st, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

Data as a Service: The Revolution We Need

Data as a service (DaaS) developed during the last year with the onslaught of the “As a Service” movement. Put simply, DaaS removes the silos around traditional data stores and allows companies to access real-time data streams from anywhere in the world. It removes the constraints of internal data sources. Enterprises – including SAP and Amazon – are already tapping into this developing area, which is showing real promise.

Use DaaS to Change Decision-Making

DaaS is a revolutionary idea that is changing the way companies manage and handle their data. In addition to providing new ways to control the overwhelming flow of new streams of information, DaaS offers several other tangible benefits to modern businesses. First and foremost, DaaS eliminates much of the administrative work surrounding data. Business leaders can still get the same insights and details from their data streams—but without having to parse them to make data-driven decisions.

Additionally, companies that subscribe to DaaS platforms will have access to more data stores than ever. Keeping onsite data collection hardware is costly, and back-end support is needed for onsite data collection. Most businesses that aren’t already in the data industry struggle to maintain a viable internal data source. Simply put, DaaS platforms offer the advantages of access to big data without the typical investments. There is no more need for massive hardware upgrades or creating a dedicated data department.

Find Your Data Faster and With More Accuracy

With DaaS platforms, it’s also easier to find exactly the data you need in real time. Before Daas, organizations would have to determine which data they needed to collect, how and where they would collect it, and then decide whether it was usable. In most cases, companies would need to mine data […]

By |December 15th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Unleashing Employee Creativity on Technology

Sparking employee creativity is a cornerstone of leadership in companies that want to grow and thrive. Encouraging employees to think outside of the box can help companies develop new solutions for existing problems. But creativity can go farther than just problem-solving. Leaders should encourage their employees to get creative with the technology they use.

Encouraging Mobile Usage

Mobile technology is more prevalent and powerful than ever. For the first time in history, people are using smartphones more than desktop computers to access the internet, and the gap just keeps growing. This is largely due to the widespread ownership of cell phones: 68 percent of Americans own a powerful smartphone, and 45 percent own a tablet.

As the trend continues, it’s becoming more and more important for businesses to adapt to the mobile world. It’s important to be accessible to customers, but companies can benefit from using technology for their employees too. In fact, mobile-first businesses are forging the way to more creative and loyal workers than ever before.

When employees can use mobile devices in their job, they are more productive, satisfied, and creative. Companies who are “mobile pioneers” (meaning they utilize mobile devices during work) saw a 16 percent productivity increase. They also saw 18 percent more creativity, 23 percent more satisfaction, and 21 percent more loyalty.

Beyond the quantitative gains, companies who utilize mobile devices also see an image boost. It’s much harder to measure these effects, but they should never be discounted. Employee happiness and retention are both heavily affected by image and relationships with employees.

Implementing Technology Effectively

There are multiple ways to unleash technology effectively, beyond utilizing mobile devices. One of the best strategies for businesses is to improve and utilize existing technology instead of buying new […]

By |December 12th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Accurately Predicting the Future of IoT

Year after year, each December and January we’re inundated with articles predicting what the trends will be in the New Year. Headlines, such as “What to Expect in 2017 From Your Technology” dominate. The most popular topic making waves in the business world these days is the internet of things (IoT.) How are business leaders going to predict the future of the IoT accurately? How will the rest of us prepare for what’s to come?

Remember, we can discern quite a bit about the future by looking to the past. It’s important for business owners to stay forward thinking and to be driven by future possibilities. At the same time, it’s critical that we remember the past and don’t make the same mistakes again and again. Being mindful of the trends that have come and gone (as well as the predictions that never came to pass) will help you prepare for the year to come. 

Don’t Repeat History

A little more than two decades ago, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, companies like Whisper, CellNet, and Hexagram unveiled machine-to-machine networking. However, their inability to think about the future of technology resulted in their downfall, and those companies are not in business today. Their technologies were strictly proprietary and unable to support many applications. Additionally, their limited capacity also meant they offered insufficient security. They would not have held up in today’s market, where digital security is a top concern for just about every industry.

A reliable network needs lots of bandwidth, and cybersecurity can never be just an afterthought. Although many IoT networks have resorted to staying small, hoping that an insignificant appearance would make for less attractive targets for hacking—any system can become a target. When developing […]

By |December 1st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

2017: The Year IT Embraces Shadow IT

The new year is right around the corner, and now is the time of year where we make share predictions about what’s to come in 2017. This, however, is less of a prediction and more of a plea: 2017 needs to be the year that IT embraces shadow IT. The term shadow IT describes employees using their own devices and software in the workplace without obtaining approvals from their firm’s IT department. According to TechTarget, “With the consumerization of IT and cloud computing, the meaning has expanded to include personal technology that employees use at work, or niche technology that meets the unique needs of a particular business division and is supported by a third-party service provider or in-house group, instead of by corporate IT.” Many IT departments grapple with the security issues this use of unapproved hardware and software creates. But the reality of the BYOD (bring your own device) workplace means that the issue isn’t going away. And there are positive aspects to consider. Here’s what shadow IT can do for your business:

Make IT Much Less Intimidating

Employees tend to be most familiar with their own devices, and—especially when a company rolls out new technology through digital disruption—they can be intimidated by new and unfamiliar devices and systems. When companies find ways to incorporate shadow IT and let employees take IT processes to their own devices, employees become more comfortable engaging with IT, and it’s can be a win-win situation for everyone.

Encourage Employee Innovation

By embracing BYOD and shadow IT, businesses encourage workers to innovate with new technology. Employees no longer feel tied to one type of device, platform, or operating system; instead, they may feel empowered to branch out and try different technologies to […]

By |November 30th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

Digital Devices Good for Educational Development

Technology changes everything. There are very few aspects of our lives that haven’t been transformed, or at least touched, by our digital advancements. Digital devices are good for educational development and have helped us become a more efficient and intelligent society—and the technology is always progressing. Not everyone is eager to proclaim the benefits.

The Anti-Device Movement: What Is It?

Many parents are choosing to distance their children from technology. In most cases, research that likens digital devices to dangerous drugs is persuading parents to cut back on their children’s exposure to tech. While it is true that interactive technology creates pleasurable sensations within the brain, many other activities do as well. Eating sugar, for example, leads to a substantial release of hormones like dopamine – just like illicit drugs. Still, billions of people lead relatively normal lives regardless of their sugar intake.

With publications dramatizing the effects of technology on our children, it’s easier for some parents to justify foregoing digital interactions for their children altogether. Some parents place strict limits on time with technology and others just don’t allow these devices in their house at all. In some cases, parents go so far as complaining to school administrators when teachers use devices inside the classroom. Despite the popularity of this movement, jumping on the “restricting tech” bandwagon is probably not the smartest choice for your child.

Why Ignoring Technology Could Hold Your Child Back

It’s no surprise that parents make extreme decisions in pursuit of a better life for their children. A bit of simple reasoning, however, can help them make the best choices. It’s no different when it comes to technology. Several logical points tell us why digital devices deserve a place in our lives:

You can’t ignore […]

By |November 17th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Roadblocks Smart Cities Must Overcome

Smart cities are becoming more commonplace as governments around the world invest millions of dollars in technology and infrastructure to make urban life more convenient, more efficient, and more reliable. Smart cities face particular roadblocks, not unlike those that organizations must address when they start technology projects. For this reason, implementing smart technologies will pose problems for municipal leadership. Let’s explore those.

Bridge the Digital Divide

In the same way that businesses must prepare employees for digital transformation, cities must address the social and economic inequalities that exist in urban areas. Those with access to the most current technologies will always have more, and it often stems from unequal access to education and decision-making power.

Technology is a powerful catalyst for change, but it is even more powerful when cities go beyond simply providing access to technology and work to create opportunities for their citizens to learn to use technology—both in and out of the home. Truly smart cities are providing equal access to education that teaches their citizens how to use technology to advance their home and work lives. 

Protect Rights and Privacy

Critics express concerns that smart technology does not protect the rights of digital citizens effectively. Most private sector companies that collect data aren’t legally bound to protect the users’ privacy. Many companies today harvest online data for resale. City leaders will do well to review and adopt the United Nations’ Privacy and Data Protection Principles, as they implement planning for smart city functionality.

Break Down Silos

Because most city governments are not unified entities and municipal agencies typically operate within silos, sharing data can be problematic. To work effectively, smart technology relies not only on the data it obtains from connected devices but the collaboration and insights that […]

By |November 15th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Apps and Tools For A BYOD Classroom

Bring your own device (BYOD) classrooms are quickly becoming popular in school systems. These programs allow students to use their own devices – iPads, Chromebooks, smartphones, and more – to access materials provided by their teachers and interact with it in various ways that are difficult or impossible to do with traditional methods.

Expand Learning with BYOD Classrooms

To make the most out of BYOD classrooms, teachers should have a variety of tools and applications available, which allows them to present different subjects in memorable but effective ways. Finding applications for teachers isn’t too difficult, but discerning which ones are worth using is a challenge. Here are some of the best apps and tools for BYOD classrooms.

Use BYOD Creation Applications for Successful Integration

These applications allow students to express themselves creatively in a variety of ways. It also makes the learning process much more personal, which means students get the individualized instruction they need. Consider these options.

This application allows students to upload digital work, take photos and videos of their creations, and share them. It allows parents and teachers to look at what an individual student is learning and how, and it gives the student an audience for the work.
Adobe Spark. This is a suite of tools that contains Spark Video, Spark Page, and Spark Post. Spark Video lets students narrate slides and create videos. With Spark Page, students can create simple web pages, and then use Spark Post for image creation.
Drawp for Schools. This program allows teachers to create worksheets and send them to their students’ devices. The students can then interact with the assignment in a variety of ways and return the finished product to the teacher. Teachers can easily distribute homework – […]

By |October 31st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Creating a Culture That Supports Transformation

Think you’re the kind of company that supports transformation? Research suggests you’re probably wrong.

Nearly 75 percent of all business transformations fail. What’s the biggest roadblock to success? Your company culture. A company unwilling to embrace change is one that fails to pivot and, ultimately, transform. Transformation is an essential part of business success – especially in times of volatility.

The good news is that any enterprise can support transformation with the right mindset. Here’s how.

Start with Your Employees

There’s a saying in business: “hire people, not skills.” Skills can be taught, but personality traits are ingrained. Hire and retain employees who are flexible, enjoy challenges, and don’t shrink from adversity.

Do your part as well by fostering employees who are innovative and adaptable. Employees are more likely to help if they feel valued and engaged with their work. Most importantly, it imbues them with a shared sense of importance. A strong shared vision helps alleviate any obstacles to innovation, including one major hurdle: internal politics. Company infighting is an incredible hindrance to transformation, while shared purpose moves employees in the right direction.

Never Fear Failure

Employees should also have the freedom to experiment. When people are awarded this freedom, they become more adept at prioritizing and begin taking the initiative. It’s easy to fall into a “this is the way we’ve always done it” mindset, but this only hinders progress. Businesses shouldn’t fear failure, as it is an essential step in the innovation process. Consider, for example, the failures of Bill Gates before he championed Microsoft. Companies that support innovation are also ones that support calculated failure. Remember: failure at the early stages of the innovation process is far easier to overcome than failure at rollout.

Value Streamlined Collaboration

Gone are the […]

By |October 28th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Keeping Up with Changes to Collaboration

In the world of technology, change is the only constant on which we can rely. And this constantly changing technology has a tremendous impact on the workplace and on how we work together. Today we’re able to do so much more than we once did, without ever leaving our offices. Advances in technology have made enormous changes to collaboration, making it possible to communicate seamlessly with a remote workforce.

Think of how we collaborated twenty, ten, and even five years ago. We’re no longer constrained by geographical boundaries. We can now communicate with team members and subject experts in multiple locations using video and other technologies. Even long email conversations are disappearing. Thanks to apps like Slack, we message instantly and over mobile. This evolution in communications technology is having a direct and positive impact on the bottom line.

Say Goodbye to Traditional Conferencing

Conferencing is one place where we’ve experienced a revolution in the workplace. Ten years ago, we would fly to physical meeting spaces, but new video collaboration tools now save us both money and time. Today, we’re on the precipice of another collaboration revolution: virtual reality. The recent adoption of VR in the entertainment and sports industry has made enterprises consider its potential.

Virtual reality gives the benefit of a face-to-face meeting without ever having to leave the building. VR headsets are becoming increasingly affordable, and soon we’ll see them in mid-sized and small businesses.

We also use video conference technology more frequently thanks to mobile. The “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement has helped create a seamless workflow in which we can collaborate from anywhere. The BYOD movement has also contributed to making our workforce more widespread. Indeed, telecommuting and flexible scheduling have never been more […]

By |October 20th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment
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