Monthly Archives

March 2017

Technology

Innovation of Smartphones

March 30, 2017

Since their inception, smartphones have had a significant impact on the everyday lives of everyone globally. They’ve given power to people in several different ways, from giving news stations being able to relay information instantaneously to giving some the power to upload a picture in real-time to their instagram account. However, despite its overwhelming influence, companies insist on making the smartphone even more innovative than it was before. In addition to the smartphone itself, app developers and other tech savvy groups continue to stay in tune with smartphones wanting to make an amalgamation of products to make life as easy as a couple swipes and touches away. Listed are some of the new ideas that are going to be incorporated into smartphones in the near future.

AI Assistance

The first AI assistant on the smartphone was Siri, and since the inception of Siri, digital AI assistance has made leaps and bounds in progress. Following the creation of Siri came Google Now on the Android and Cortana on Windows phones.  Siri has since extended itself to other Apple devices; Google rebranded Google Now to the Google Assistant, making it exclusively for their Pixel smartphones; and Cortana reached out and has made itself available on Android devices as well.

There are several things to look out for in regards to future additions to these AI assistants. For the iPhone, there have been rumors that Siri and Apple creators have been flirting with the idea of technology trends like VR and AR, which may mean that these features will be incorporated into the digital assistant. As of right now, improvements towards the Google Assistant have been kept under wraps, however there has been some talk of repurposing the AI to select phones again. With the Windows phone, many thought that they phone was dead in the water compared to the Android and iPhone, however they refuse to simply lay down. The Google Pixel has been breathing life back into the smartphone and expect new phones to come out with the AI Cortana installed already.

Yet, despite the moves these phones have made there has been an AI that has taken the forefront in regards to usability and overall functionality. Amazon’s Alexa has been the hottest AI item and expect for it to be equipped in several different branded smartphones. Pairing itself with the Amazon Echo, makes Alexa the favorite when it comes to innovative AI assistants.

Sensitive Apps

Regarding the first apps designed on smartphones, they have gone a long way in regards to innovation and overall usability. Games have improved graphic and functionality and apps have since been developed to aid medical professions with their tasks throughout the day. SInce their inception, app developers have moved away from just fixing glitches in apps and have moved more towards making improvements to apps so that people can stay interested with the most up to date information.

Apps like Waze are on the rise in giving people the most recent traffic information. Although it may seem like a small project, the app crowdsources the information on such things as accidents, traffic, roadblocks, and other hindrances one would experience on the road. The app wants to create an interactive community to help everyone’s commute a little easier in tandem with creating a healthier environment by stopping idle, running cars.

Another app pairs itself with a product to make for an interesting new way to check fertility. The YO app is the first at home sperm test kit that has the capability to take live video of your sperm. Equipped with two test kits, use your smartphone’s camera to help you and your partner find out whether you are ready to conceive.

Wearable Technology

Everyone first saw the first wearable devices placed in the ear, and everyone has made, or almost made, the mistake in saying hi to them when they they hello to someone else on the other line. Since Bluetooth devices have passed that point of confusion and is expected now, several different companies have made strides to make innovative, wearable software. Produced now have been items such as the FitBit, enabling you to track your health, as well as the Apple Watch, which works as an extension of the iPhone with other perks.

Take the WELT for example. The WELT is a wellness belt that pairs with your smartphone and determines your health. The product can identify the wearers waistline and counts their steps while they perform their daily functions. Also equipped is a feature that helps track over eating, which is activated through tension experienced in the belt. Although considered a prototype right now, the WELT is on the forefront of creating another health tracking device.

Business

Types of Criminal Background Checks Available for Pre-Employment

March 22, 2017

Understanding the various types of criminal background checks currently available will help your organization in the pre-employment screening process. A thorough background check helps prevent your organization from hiring someone who poses a risk to workplace safety. Recognizing the current background checks available to you also prevents limiting the amount of criminal history information you need to accurately screen applicants. Here are some of the sources available to you for pre-employment screening. 

County-Level Background Checks

When you request a county-level background check on an applicant, the check will examine local jurisdictions where an applicant resides. The investigation includes any county criminal history records over the past seven years. However, you can request searches that date back 10 to 15 years or more. Compliant county-level checks include any misdemeanor or felony arrests and should filter out the records not reportable under federal and state law. Criminal record searches at the county level should inspect records at the county’s courthouse or through repositories with a direct relationship with the state. 

Statewide Background Checks

A statewide background check searches repositories for records on any misdemeanor or felony arrests on your applicants. However, some states do not allow the distribution of both misdemeanor and felony records. In this instance, you may want to request all of your background checks at the county level. Although state background checks are critical to some of your pre-employment screening, it may not provide enough information to accurately screen a potential employee. 

Federal Background Checks

A federal background check investigates whether or not an applicant faced criminal prosecution or convictions at the federal level. Federal crimes include fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion or mail and wire fraud. If your organization deals with finance or any field related to money, a federal background check is a smart choice. Most agencies conduct their federal checks at the district level where the U.S. government prosecutes cases. 

Sex Offender Registry Search

Several websites offer sex offender registry searches to help you determine if an applicant is a registered sex offender. In 1996, the federal government passed a law requiring the attorney general to institute a national database designed to track the movements and whereabouts of sexual offenders. The FBI currently manages the National Sex Offender’s Registry, known as the NSOR. The NSOR maintains any information regarding a registered sex offender’s crimes, current address, date of conviction and date when an offender registered as a sex offender. 

Civil Courts

You can request a review of an applicant’s involvement in any civil cases, which include breach of contract, product liability, any frivolous lawsuits filed by the applicant and other civil records. By determining if an applicant has a history of filing frivolous lawsuits, you can protect your organization from many legal actions by removing applicants with a history of civil actions in their background information. 

Other types of pre-employment background checks include obtaining an applicant’s driving record, federal bankruptcy records, international background screenings or a prohibited and restricted parties search. The selection of background checks will help you hire the best talent and avoid unknowingly exposing your organization to risk. 

Technology

Top 5 Tech Events Trends

March 14, 2017

When it comes to staging an event, technology is proving a major boon for organizers, exhibitors and attendees alike. Not only does it allow for an improved immersive experience for those attending, it also allows organisers to monitor their traffic, streamline the staging and promote activities in real time.

Here are the five top trends for events in 2017…

RFID

Just as RFID technology is revolutionising retail and manufacturing it’s also reaping major rewards for events, and usage is only set to increase in 2017. Used for ticketing, tracking and to connect people attending the event, these information-packed chips can be built into tags or wristbands.

The added bonus of RFID ticketing and attendance check-in is it’s as simple as sourcing the tags and setting up a tablet and secure kiosk at the entry to your event.

Meanwhile RFID also has the potential to provide a wealth of data, such as identifying most used admission points and real time attendance to hone future events. RFID can be further linked to social media accounts like Facebook or twitter allowing attendees to interact with RFID points at the venue and each other, and post updates to their friends.  

Kiosks

From the check-in to individual exhibits tablet and iPad kiosks are a staple at any event, with On Spot Social noting the prevalence of these mobile devices lends itself to marketing capability.

“Tablets and iPads can provide a wide variety of entertaining, fun and meaningful, in-booth activities,” they state.

These can range from interactive games, immersive apps and guided augmented reality tours to simple visuals, registering contact details and product ordering.

The benefits include affordability and ease of set-up, with only software, the device and secure stands required to interact with clientele.

IBeacons

Meanwhile coupling kiosks and mobile devices with iBeacons has almost limitless potential to engage your audience throughout a trade show.

OnSpot Social notes: “By implementing iBeacon technology, you can do this by setting up a number of iPad kiosks where attendees can input their information. You can send push notifications to attendees’ mobile phones as they approach your booth. These notifications will post options to forward a response by email, scan a code or print on site. This will allow a direct connection to get in touch with you”.

In 2014 CeBIT Hannover began utilising beacon technology at their flagship event, using it to register attendee’s details in the careers section. When participants then approached relevant booths, they were provided with notifications of job vacancies, apprenticeships and traineeships directly on their smartphone.

Now, after the initial launch of the iBeacon at WWDC in 2013, beacons are a widely used tool at events, offering easy registration, smart networking, heat mapping of attendee movements, lead marketing and more, according to event2mobile.

Virtual reality

While beacons, tablets and RFID are being readily rolled out across events, virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR) have only just begun their infiltration of the exhibition world, according to Forbes. They note AR/VR offers exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their wares or services in an immersive way, but without the cost and inconvenience of transporting equipment.

Ted Spies of Gateway Exhibit Services told Forbes: “AR/VR will saturate the event marketing and trade show space. Rather than paying large sums of money to transport and stage a piece of equipment or a structure, forward thinking companies are already investing that budget into developing AR/VR applications and experiences that are immersive, effective, reusable and cost effective. This trend will only accelerate in the coming years.”

Live streaming

Whether your event is sold out, you’re looking to generate further interest or you’re an exhibitor hoping to showcase your expertise and authority to an audience that’s not in attendance, live streaming is another tool on the rise for events, and it’s only set to increase with last year’s launch of Facebook Live.

Web Analytics World explains live streaming has numerous benefits for event organisers and exhibitors alike.

These include:

  • Creating a wider audience
  • Giving your event urgency
  • Promoting online interaction
  • Opening up possible new streams of revenue
  • Having your event stand out from the crowd.

Meanwhile livestream.com states: “67% of live video viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to a concert or event after watching a live video of that event or a similar one”.

The final word

No longer are tradeshows and events just about opening your doors, offering information and allowing the attendees access to individual booths. Increasingly clientele seek an immersive, interlinked experience where technology furnishes them with the tools to pick and choose what they want to see, find it readily and even source it externally online.

That makes cutting edge technology a must for any organiser, in the knowledge it could make or break your event and even take it beyond the confines of your location and to the wider world.

Business

The Most Important Stages of Planning a Conference You should Know about

March 3, 2017

Whilst planning a meeting (especially an informal one) is generally easy and straightforward, planning a conference is an altogether different matter. You probably have to contend with a greater number of participants, for one. Secondly, you may have to plan the conference in a big venue, which entails additional time and effort (especially if you have to make an ocular inspection). If you want your conference to be successful, you’d have to plan it at least a few months in advance. Here’s what you should know about the most important stages of planning a conference.

Selecting the team

First of all, identify and set up the team who will be planning the conference with you. After all, you can’t do it alone. This group will be responsible for fulfilling the different roles and responsibilities associated with the conference, and the number of team members will often depend on how big your conference will be. Once you have determined the conference team, schedule a meeting so you can lay out your goals and objectives and prepare the specifications of the project. At this meeting, you should also lay out your budget. The budget should include the venue, equipment, catering, transportation, accommodation for guests, entertainment, etc. You should also agree on a specific timeline and deadlines for tasks and responsibilities.

The second stage

The second stage of planning a conference would be looking for the right venue. Prepare a checklist for the type of venue you are looking for, including specifics on what you require from the venue. If you need a venue which can provide your guests with accommodations (such as a conference venue Midlands like Heythrop Park, which has both the Crowne Plaza hotel and Heythrop Park Resort), then note this down. Check different venues and ask for proposals from each. Remember to check the venue’s availability and the availability of your key speakers. This is also the time to prepare your visual aids and other materials, such as handouts and presentations.

The third stage

Once you have gone through different prospective venues and found the one you like, confirm and book it. At this stage, you should also confirm your guests’ attendance and confirm arrangements for transportation, catering, accommodation, social activities, and entertainment. Make it a point to check the computer and audio visual equipment you need as well.

The fourth stage

The fourth stage is where you arrive at the venue (make sure you arrive at least a day earlier than the participants). Do a last-minute check of all the elements – the meeting rooms, the equipment, the catering and entertainment, and so on. You should also make sure that someone is assigned to man the entrance of the venue so participants will be properly greeted and settled in.

Technology

Keeping Your Data Secure

March 1, 2017

Scamming is something that has been around for a very long time because there have always been people trying to take advantage of others they believe to be gullible. Before the internet age, most scammers used telephones and other available means to relieve people of their hard earned cash. However, the internet has made their jobs much easier for them.

According to digitalconnectmag one of the reasons scammers have been using the internet to cheat people out of their money is the fact that it is more difficult for authorities to track them. Someone living in a third world country can use a proxy or VPN to mask their location, which makes it difficult to determine exactly where they are.

Some of these scammers also use sophisticated methods to cheat unsuspecting targets, which means even veteran internet users can fall for their scams.

If you’re unfamiliar with the way scammers operate, here are a few tips to help you keep your data secure.

* Never click a link or download attachments in an email if you are unsure of the source. The link or attachment could contain a virus or malware designed to collect private information from your computer.

* Never give out your personal information if you receive an email from a bank or financial institution. The reason you shouldn’t provide your personal information is that your financial institution already has it and will never ask for it in an email. If you have any business with the bank that requires you to provide personal information, do it in person at your closest branch.

* If you receive an email telling you that you just won a large sum of money or you’ve been approved for a loan you never applied for, don’t bother opening up or responding to the email. This is a classic example of a phishing email, where the scammers will direct you to a legitimate looking website where you will be asked to provide personal information to claim the “prize” you won.

* You can easily spot a scam email by paying attention to the little details. Most email scams are written by people who don’t speak very good English, meaning there will be a lot of typos and grammatical errors, letting you know they are fake.

* Keep your anti-virus software updated and run a virus scan on your computer at least once a day. This helps eliminates any viruses or malware you might have accidentally picked up when you opened an email from a scammer.

* Report the spam email to prevent receiving more from the sender.

For more information on how to keep your data secure, visit Data Label.