ArcGIS Beta Now Live

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… ESRI’s Bern Szukalski Tweeted today that ArcGIS and ArcGIS Explorer are now live. ArcGIS is a community-friendly online system for geographic information from ESRI, the GIS software company. The system was debuted at the 2010 ESRI Developer Summit in March. Matt Ball of Spatial Sustain describes the interoperability and the focus on templates. Tags:#Location#web Related Posts “The site allows you to see a map gallery, to share with groups of like-minded map makers, and to make and publish maps online over the Web and to handheld devices. The site has a great deal of functionality that will be enhanced over time…The site is aimed at community development and lowers the barrier to GIS functionality online…The concept of the template approach to map making is one of the primary enhancements of this release, aiming to create stylized themes and map galleries to reduce the frustrations of entry-level users while also expanding the resources of experts.”This announcement follows hard on the heels of another ESRI’s announcement, cloud availability. (C)ustomers have the option to purchase a cloud-based subscription to ArcGIS Server, ESRI’s server-based geographic information system (GIS) software. With this option, users can purchase an annual subscription, which bundles a preconfigured ArcGIS Server instance on Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) infrastructure with 12 months of ESRI technical support and maintenance. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting curt hopkins 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Nomadesk Users Can Now Edit Files in the Cloud with Zoho Integration

first_imgUsers of desktop-to-cloud synchronization service Nomadesk can now edit files in the cloud with Zoho. Nomadesk users can right-click on a document, spreadsheet or presentation on the web-based Nomadesk dashboard and click “edit” to open the file in Zoho. Changes are then synchronized to the user’s desktop.The new feature is included in Nomadesk’s $15 per month unlimited data service. Nomadesk is working with Zoho through the Zoho Alliance Partner Program (ZAPP), and the new functionality was built using the Zoho API integration tool.Currently, there isn’t a way to save files from Zoho directly into Nomadesk, or create new Zoho files from the Nomadesk dashboard. Unlike Nomadesk competitor Memeo‘s new Gdrive, which backs up users’ Google Docs to the desktop, Nomadesk isn’t synchronizing users’ existing Zoho documents.Nomadesk offers an impressive feature set including encryption, folder sharing and mobile access. The ability to edit documents with Zoho is a useful feature that may keep Nomadesk customers from choosing or moving to competitors like Memeo and Box.net, but we’d like to see a full synchronization between Nomadesk and Zoho in the future. Zdrive anyone?Nomadesk, Ghent, Belgium, has been doing well for itself, having sealed a deal with Bell Canada to offer its backup and synchronization services to the telco’s customers. Related Posts klint finley IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…center_img Tags:#enterprise#news#Products 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

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Weekly Poll: New APIs Doubled in 2010 So What Does That Mean for the Year Ahead?

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting alex williams 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Tags:#cloud#Trends A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Will this year see another doubling in the total number of APIs? What do you think?Image by Shereen M Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Programmable Web is a guide for the state of APIs. It provides one of the clearest pictures about APIs, the uses and how they are being adopted.This week, Programmable Web did its review of the past year. Here are some of their findings.A total of 1,019 APIs were added to the Programmable Web API directory, that’s double the number added in 2009. Social APIs were most popular and mobile is showing its growing influence.The total number of APIS has increased from 105 in 2005 to more than 2,600 in the past year.last_img read more

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10 Business Intelligence Tools for the iPad

first_imgTags:#enterprise#mobile Like PushBI, Roambi offers tools to help enterprises mobilize existing BI reports, and has some of the slickest looking data visualizations available. Roambi partnered with SAP to provide smooth integration between Roambi and SAP and Carbon Disclosure. It can visualize data from several other sources as well, including Crystal Reports, Excel and Salesforce.com. TIBCO SpotfireTIBCO is a leader in real-time intelligence for financial services. TIBCO released an iPad app for its BI application Spotfire last November.YellowfinYellowfin is a business intelligence vendor that was founded in 2003. One of its distinguishing features is its GIS integration for location intelligence. It released its iPad app in November.Non-Native Support for the iPadSeveral cloud-based BI vendors offer support for the iPad versinon of Safari, including:JackBeJaspersoftSAP Business by DesignTableauRoll Your OwnBitzer Mobile, LeapFactor and Webalo all offer tools for mobilizing existing enterprise applications. For more information, see our articles 5 New Tools for Building Mobile Enterprise Apps and 3 More Ways to Mobilize Enterprise Applications. Gartner predicts that by 2013, 33% of business intelligence functionality will be consumed on mobile devices. And it seems that these sort of forecasts are usually over-aggressive, our commenters seem to agree that Gartner’s forecast is a bit too modest. BI going mobile quickly, and tablets are leading that movement.Here are 10 BI apps that support the iPad right now. Some are existing BI products with iPad native apps, some are Web-based BI applications with iPad support and some are clients that can connect to your existing BI solutions.MicroStrategy Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… MicroStrategy, a well established BI vendor, launched its iPad app in July. Last month the company announced it would be rolling out additional ways to visualize data on iPads and other mobile devices, including a new product called MicroStrategy Transaction Services which will connect mobile devices with transactional systems.PushBIPushBI focuses on creating clients that push BI data to users. It augments existing BI tools. PushBI offers clients for desktop and mobile environments, including Windows, iOS and Android.QlikView Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now klint finley QlikTech is another well established BI vendor that was quick to market with an iPad app for its flagship BI product QlikView. Roambi IT + Project Management: A Love Affairlast_img read more

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Rumor: Google Chrome OS to Hit the Prime Time with Acer “Surf Station”

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Google#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Last December, Google unveiled its vision for the future of computers and operating systems with Chrome OS, an entirely Web-based operating system that takes place almost completely in the browser. While we’ve gotten a pretty good look at Chrome OS over the past several months, it’s only been implemented on prototype review units. There has been no commercially available hardware running the new OS. According to a report from German blog Heise Online, Acer has announced a “surf station” that will run on Chrome OS and is little more than a touchscreen monitor with an integrated processor. According to Heise, the Acer DX241H is a 24-inch display with integrated sound and a system on a chip ARM integrated processor. In essence, the device would be an upgrade to Acer’s previous Internet “surf station”, the D241H, which Engadget described as “somewhere between a standard 24-inch monitor and an all-in-one PC.”The Register points out that this so-called Acer announcement (for which there is no press release or word from Acer) comes from a “somewhat sketchy report out of Germany citing Acer itself,” but it’s an interesting thought. Does Chrome OS make sense for a touch screen device like this? While Chrome OS certainly is not designed to run on a touchscreen interface, there is a video of it doing just that. Acer was already slated to work with Google to produce a hardware device using Chrome OS and this actually seems like a good implementation. It may not have out-of-the-box touchscreen functionality, but Chrome OS is a lot more lightweight (as evidenced by the specs of the prototype CR-48 devices). If Acer already had a Web-enabled monitor in the works, why not move to a more fully-functioned device by using Chrome OS?The Register asked both Acer and Google for comment and received nothing back from Acer and the standard “we don’t comment on rumors or speculation” response from Google. According to Heise, the device will retail for around $400, but mentions no release date. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see if Acer actually announces anything the rest of us can find. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img mike melanson Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Chute: Get All Your Photos Off Your Phone, to Someplace Safe, Fast

first_imgmike melanson The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#mobile#Product Reviews#web What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts If you’ve ever taken a bunch of pictures on your phone and not immediately uploaded them then you’re well aware of the problem – now they’re essentially stuck on your phone. If you want to upload them to Facebook, you’ll have to send them one at a time. Or you’ll have to take the time to get all those photos off of your phone and onto your home computer. Chute handles this by letting you quickly choose a number of photos and either share them with your friends or archive them online, making sure you never lose your photos again.“It turns out,” said Chute co-founder Gregarious Narain, “that getting tons of photos off your phone is really hard to do.”Chute, he explained, helps you to wirelessly share photos with different groups of your friends and family. Once you have a bunch of photos stuck on your phone, sharing them can be painful. Chute lets you choose groups of photos, select a group of your friends, and share the photos with them. If you use sites like Facebook, Twitter or Flickr to do this normally, that isn’t a problem, explained Narain. Any of these sites can be directly integrated with Chute so that, as you upload your photos to Chute, you can also share them on one of these sites.Here’s how it works: When you upload photos to share with these friends, if they have the Chute app, they’ll get a push notification. If they don’t, however, they get an email with the photos embedded and attached to the email. And if they have the desktop app, they can download the photos and organize them offline.The difference with Chute is that everything can happen wirelessly and the basic idea, said Narain, is that you can get all of your photos off of your phone and either shared or stored in the cloud, that way you never have to worry about losing your photos by losing your phone, having the hard drive go bad or anything like that.“It’s the simplest way,” explained Narain, “to get to ‘photo zero.’”Chute will be available for iPhone and Android some time in March 2011.last_img read more

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Gmail Access (& Emails) To Be Restored “Soon” to All Those Impacted By Yesterday’s Outage

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Google#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting As we reported yesterday, many Gmail users woke up Sunday to find that their email inboxes were empty – and not in a good way. Users reported their entire Gmail history – inboxes, outboxes, and archives – were wiped clean.Google reports now that it has identified the problem, which it says was a bug resulting from a software storage update. Users affected will have access to their Gmail accounts again, and their email messages will be restored “though it may take longer than we originally expected.”Google confirmed the problem with some Gmail accounts yesterday afternoon, and its engineers have been working on the problem since. Although Google initially said the problems affected .29% of Gmail users, the company has revised those estimates downward to .08% and then to .02% of users.It was a small number of accounts, to be sure, but the problem has lasted about 30 hours. And for those impacted, the thought of losing all their email records was fairly frightening, as many who took to the Google forums to help troubleshoot their problems remarked with panic and frustration that they had years of email history stored there. Fully restored emails or not, the incident is a good reminder to back up your data by either storing it locally or by storing a copy with another service. audrey watterslast_img read more

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Easier Google Searches on Your Phone as Instant Preview Comes to Mobile

first_imgTags:#Google#search#web audrey watters Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Google added Instant Previews to its search functionality last fall, giving you the chance to preview an image of a website without actually clicking on the link in the search results to take you there. It has just announced that that feature is now available on mobile devices as well.Searching via your mobile browser can be pretty frustrating, what with a smaller search box and back buttons, for example. But part of the annoyance also occurs because many websites simply aren’t optimized for mobile devices. Google’s new Instant Preview may partially address that, as it gives you a preview of a full website and its content, as well as a glimpse of any mobile version that’s available.Instant Previews is available on Android (version 2.2 or higher) and iOS (4.0+). When you perform a Google search via your mobile, you’ll now see a little magnifying glass next to the results. Clicking on that will open a preview pane, where you can flip through the visual search results. Tapping on a preview takes you directly to the website.The new feature only offers this preview for those links that are on the first page of search results, so if what you’re looking for doesn’t show up there, it’s back to the old search-click-through-back-button routine in order to locate the right content.last_img read more

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Need A Quick Opinion From Your Friends? Try Swayable

first_imgOne look at that screenshot reveals which demographic has already adopted Swayable. Yes, it’s the tween and teen market. Armed with their phones and their love of Justin Bieber, you’ll find that there is a rich trove of “which haircut do you like better?” sorts of questions on the site. (Don’t let that dissuade you from trying Swayable. You can filter your searches, so you needn’t see these sorts of celebrity dilemmas.)That wasn’t the usage that Harper anticipated when she sought a better way to make car rack purchasing decisions, but it’s certainly where Swayable has seen a huge amount of traction.The app isn’t simply notable for its teenage girl fanbase. We’ve written about Harper before for her use of Mechanical Turk in building the product. A sole female founder without a technical background but with a lot of experience in project management, Harper has outsourced the entire development of the iPhone and Web app, its design and UX. She still uses Mechanical Turk for moderating and flagging inappropriate comments and images.Harper says that an Android app is in the works, but her focus right now is on perfecting the iPhone and Web apps and making changes based on user feedback. Could a Justin Bieber-only Swayable app be in the works? Let’s make a Swayable and vote! Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#mobile#web What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts If you’ve been out shopping and needed help making a decision, you’ve probably done this: taken pictures with your cellphone and emailed or texted them to a friend for their input. Should I buy the black boots or the brown ones? Should we buy the futon or the hide-a-bed?That’s the experience that led Lindsey Harper to found Swayable. She was shopping for a car rack and wanted her husband’s input: Thule or Yakima? The process of snapping two separate photos and sending two separate emails was “clunky.” So she set out to make the process easier.How she did so is an interesting story in itself. But first, a little about the app.You can create a Swayable via the Web or via your iPhone (iTunes link). To do so, you simply snap or upload 2 photos of the things you need to choose between. You can opt to make this public or private (if you choose the latter, only people with the URL will be able to see the Swayable and vote). Then you can share the Swayable to your social networks, by email, and via SMS or you can embed it into a website. Then the voting and the commenting begins, all in real-time. The iPhone app has push notifications, so you needn’t keep the app open while your friends weigh in.You can also vote on the Swayables that others have submitted as well. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement audrey watterslast_img read more

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America’s Greenest Office Building

first_imgNeedless to say, achieving LBC certification is very hard. Since the launch of the program seven years ago only a handful of buildings have achieved full certification (4 and counting), and another half-dozen have been recognized for achieving LBC requirements in individual petals. When it comes to larger, multistory office buildings, the requirements for LBC have seemed almost out of the realm of possibility — at least until now. Yes, it cost more: $355 per square footAs might be expected, the Bullitt Center wasn’t an inexpensive building. At $18.5 million dollars, or $355 per square foot, this is about $50 per square foot above the average for high-quality, Class-A office buildings in the region, according to the Bullitt Foundation. But it is a demonstration of pushing the envelope and proving that the environmental impacts of buildings can indeed be dramatically reduced.Office space in the building is being leased at $28 to $30 per square foot per year, slightly higher than average for Seattle, but tenants get free electricity and water at that price — as long as they keep within their allotted limits.The Bullit Center is indeed a milestone building — I believe one of the most important commercial buildings of the past 50 years. Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. In 2012 he founded the Resilient Design Institute. To keep up with Alex’s latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed. A very green new office building in SeattleThe Bullitt Center is a remarkable building that is well on its way to becoming the first sizable commercial office building to achieve LBC certification. The six-story, 52,000 square-foot commercial building, which is owned by (and houses) the Bullitt Foundation, had its grand opening on Earth Day this year (particularly appropriate, since the long-time president of the Bullitt Foundation, Denis Hayes, was the director of the first Earth Day in 1970).The building was designed by the Miller Hull Partnership in Seattle, with other members of the integrated design team including Point32, PAE Consulting Engineers, Foushee, Luma Lighting Design, 2020 Engineering and Berger Partnership.Among the building’s features:Highly energy-efficient building envelope. The mostly glass building has a modeled energy-use intensity (EUI) of 16 kBtu per square foot per year. This makes it 83% more efficient than typical office buildings in Seattle. This is achieved with such features as triple-glazed, low-e, argon-filled windows, automated exterior shades, and high insulating values for non-glazed portions of the building.Solar-electric system. A rooftop 242-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) system is projected to deliver 100% of the building’s electricity needs on an annual basis. Denis Hayes told me, however, that since Seattle isn’t known as one of the sunnier places, this net-zero-energy performance will depend on the weather each year. On a good year, the PV array should have no problem meeting that goal, but some years there is a lot less insolation than average. To get a large enough PV array on the roof to supply electricity for six floors, the PV array cantilevers out over the walls. (Incidentally, Hayes knows what he’s talking about relative to solar, as he served in the late-1970s as director of the Solar Energy Research Institute — now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory — in Golden, Colorado.)Ground-source heat pump heating and cooling. Twenty six 400-foot-deep wells drilled beneath the building provide a heat source and heat sink for the building. Both heating and cooling are delivered through radiant systems. This all-electric system is projected to use only 5% of the electricity produced by the building’s PV system.Lighting and plug loads. Daylighting provides 90% of the building’s lighting needs. Power consumption for electric lighting and plug loads (computers and other devices that plug into outlets) is kept low in part through a unique, internal “cap-and-trade” system in which tenants have a specific energy budget. If they use less electricity than their budget, they can trade with other tenants in the building who may need more. Tenants sign a thick contract that includes penalties if their energy budgets are exceeded. (The International Living Future Institute, which manages the Living Building Challenge, has just moved into the building so will be walking the talk.)Operable windows. Many of the large triple-glazed windows that comprise much of the wall area of the building are operable. Rather than hinging open, the German Schüco mechanisms keep the windows parallel to the wall as they open, which improves the ventilation. The mechanisms are automated but have manual override. To achieve the LBC requirement for local materials, Schüco partnered with a local glazing fabrication company to produce the units, and that company is now going to be a regional producer of high-performance curtainwall systems.Rainwater harvesting. The building has a 56,000-gallon cistern for storage of rainwater that is harvested on the roof. This water, after filtration and multistage treatment and polishing, can supply 100% of the building’s water needs, including drinking water, the three ounces of water used per flush in the foam-flush toilets, showers for bicycle commuters (there are showers on each floor), and landscape irrigation. (Permitting issues are still being worked out to allow the building to use only site-harvested water, but hopefully that will be resolved.) Interestingly, while Seattle is cloudy a lot of the time (225 cloudy days per year) and it rains a lot (150 days per year), Hayes noted that the total rainfall is modest: only 37 inches per year on average, compared with 43 for Boston and 49 for New York City. The exception to the self-contained water system is the building’s sprinkler system, which the city required be on municipal water pressure.Composting toilets. To get the building’s water consumption low enough to satisfy it entirely with site-harvested water required composting toilets. The four foam-flush toilets on each floor (24 total) deliver waste to ten Phoenix composting units located in the basement. As far as I know, this is the only building over four stories to rely exclusively on composting toilets.Durability. The building’s timber structure is designed for a 250-year life, and the building envelope or skin has a projected life of 50 years before it will need replacement — which can happen without affecting the structure.Local materials. Reflecting the Pacific Northwest’s timber resource as well as a desire to minimize embodied energy of materials, all of the structural wood for the building is local Douglas fir from forests that were certified to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards. Glulam beams are produced from two-by dimension lumber. Incidentally, the Bullet Center is the largest heavy-timber building constructed in Seattle since the 1920s.Safe materials. Tremendous effort was expended to avoid the use of several hundred red-list chemicals. Manufacturers whose products were used have to go through the International Living Future Institute’s Declare program or produce a Health Product Declaration to certify that red-list chemicals are not used. This feature of the Living Building Challenge is have a huge influence on product manufacturing today, leading to greener products. A number of manufacturers altered their manufacturing to comply with LBC requirements.Occupant comfort and daylighting. All tenants in the building will have access to daylight, either from adjacency to outside walls or through glass interior partition walls. Even the stairwell is fully daylit, a particular requirement of Hayes, who calls it the “irresistible stair” that will encourage occupants to walk rather than taking the elevator. Views of downtown Seattle from the stairwell make the walk worthwhile.center_img I’m just back from a week in Seattle, where I attended the Living Future Conference, which this year had a theme of resilience and regeneration — a major focus of mine with the Resilient Design Institute. While there I visited what is almost certainly the greenest office building in America, if not the world.The Living Future Conference was created initially to provide a networking and learning venue for designers and builders involved in creating buildings that achieve the Living Building Challenge. Unlike its better known cousin, the LEED Rating System (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) of the U.S. Green Building Council, the Living Building Challenge (LBC) is not a points-based system, but rather a collection of very specific, very challenging requirements.To achieve LBC certification, buildings must:operate on a net-zero-energy basis — using no more energy, on an annual basis, than is collected by the building (LBC certification can not be earned until a full year of data is collected proving that it is actually operating to be zero-net-energy);operate on a net-zero water basis—using no more water on an annual basis than is collected on the site;contain no “red list” chemicals — the LBC maintains a long list of chemicals that cannot be used, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), brominated flame retardants, and heavy metals like the mercury found in fluorescent lights; andaddress various other requirements related to the building site, health, equity, and beauty (yes, beauty). Each of these categories (energy, water, materials, site, health, equity, and beauty) are referred to as petals in the program. RELATED ARTICLES It’s Alive! Studying the Living Building ChallengeEarly Lessons from the Living Building ChallengeA Certification Program for Net Zero Energy ProjectsPassivhaus versus Net-Zero Energy BuildingsDoes a Composting Toilet Stink Up Your House?Who Deserves the Prize for the Greenest Home in the U.S.?last_img read more

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Attaching Ducts to a Heat-Pump Water Heater

first_imgAn increasing percentage of green builders are choosing to install heat-pump water heaters — appliances that use an air-source heat pump to extract heat from the air, transferring that heat to water stored in an insulated tank. Most heat-pump water heaters incorporate both of these components — the heat pump and the insulated tank — into a single unit, with the heat pump compressor mounted above the insulated tank. This type of water heater is typically installed in a basement, mechanical room, or (in warm climates) in an attached garage.If you look at the heat pump compressor mounted on top of a typical heat-pump water heater, you’ll notice that there are two openings for air flow. The unit has a fan that pulls ambient air through the intake. Inside the unit, this air passes over a copper heat-exchange coil and transfers some of its heat to the refrigerant flowing through the coil. Then the air, now cooled, is expelled from the exhaust side of the appliance.This process raises the temperature of the refrigerant and, eventually, the water in the tank. The process also cools the air in the room where the heat-pump water heater is located. If a heat-pump water heater is installed in a very small room — a closet or a tiny mechanical room, for example — the room can get so cold that the heat pump can’t operate properly. That’s why the manufacturers of heat-pump water heaters dictate the minimum volume (generally, 1,000 cubic feet) of the room in which this type of appliance can be installed.The larger the room, the lower the chance that the room’s air temperature will sink to a level that is too low for efficient operation of the water heater.Some manufacturers of heat-pump water heaters allow installers to connect these… This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.center_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log inlast_img read more

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What Do Startups Need Most Right Now?

first_imgHow to Get Started in China and Have Success How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … Related Posts For startups, it is the best of times and it is the worst of times. It’s easier than ever to launch a company these days. But because there are so many new companies, it’s harder than ever for startups to survive. There just aren’t enough resources to support them all.To stay in the game, startups need three things:MoneyTalentCustomersBut with competition so intense, founders are finding it extremely difficult to attract those vital ingredients.Naval Ravikant is the founder of AngelList, which connects new startups with funding and talent. Recently he asked the entrepreneurs who use his service what things they need and how hard it is for them to get those things. The results of his informal survey show a lot of startups are going hungry.What Startup Resource Is Hardest To Find Right Now“In the past, funding was the biggest need but today it’s recruiting,” says Ravikant, himself a serial entrepreneur who founded Epinions and Vast.com, and currently runs HitForge and Venture Hacks, in addition to AngelList.After recruiting comes funding, then advisers. “That’s followed by social-media marketing and press, which really is another way of saying, ‘We need lots of customers.’ After that comes cofounders, whichis really interesting.”Interesting because, although cofounders is halfway down the needs list, the fact that it’s there at all is yet another indicator of how difficult it now is for startups to bring talent onboard.“In a frothy environment it becomes so hard to recruit people that you start having to expand your cofounding team,” Ravikant says. “It was similar back in the dotcom days. Epinions, which we started in 1998, had five cofounders instead of two, primarily because it was really hard to recruit early-stage employees without giving them cofounder equity.”Top Startup NeedsTalentFundingAdvisersSocial-media marketingPressCofoundersBoard membersSalespeoplePR helpOffice space, lawyers, accountantsProduct/Market Fit Is KeyNot all startups have a tough time pulling talent, however. Ravikant says there are a special few with a magic ingredient that automatically attracts top people: product-market fit. “If you’ve just raised $250,000, big deal – so have lots of other companies. If you’ve just come out of an accelerator program, big deal -so have lots of other companies. It’s companies that have product-market fit that are able to recruit employees. Everyone else is recruiting cofounders.”Funding is the same. Cash flows to startups that have product-market fit- and trickles to those that don’t.“Raising money has gotten more difficult in the last few months, especially compared to the last few years,” Ravikant says. “There were tons of companies launched in the last few years and the amount of series-A VC has not gone up. So it’s only companies with real breakout traction that can raise new rounds, while everyone else can’t.”Millions Of UsersSeed funds and angels are tired of casting a wide net and hoping one minnow grows into a whale. They’d rather shoot fish in a barrel. So the serious funding now goes to companies that get to millions of users very fast, especially on the consumer side.Takeaway: if you’re an unproven startup, set your sights on $250,000 in funding – max – and expect to treat everyone on the team as a cofounder. It’s no longer a realistic option to load the cubicles with employees and then go in search of product-market fit.The New MathThe upside to this new math: Most startups these days don’t need a shedload of investment.“It’s possible we’ll see a downturn in overall funding and an increase in the number of startups, just because the amount of money startups need continues to decline,” Ravikant says. “What I do think is changing, however, is that startups will be seen more as experiments than businesses capable of being backed by venture capital, at least until they’ve really proven something.”A few years ago, you just had to be in the game to win funding and talent. Now, Ravikant suggests, the startup world is returning to a more traditional script: To the victor go the spoils.Image courtesy of Shutterstock.center_img What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… Tags:#startup tim devaney and tom steinlast_img read more

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Time Warner Invests $36 Million In YouTube Network Maker Studios

first_imgRelated Posts 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… fruzsina eordogh 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Tags:#entertainment#film#Streaming video#YouTube center_img 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Time Warner has officially entered the YouTube content industry by investing $36 million into Maker Studios, a prominent network on the video-sharing site that gets roughly 2 billion views a month. (So much for the rumors of Yahoo snapping up the network!) The Time Warner Investments group deal is for $1 million more than Google invested in Machinima – typically seen as the leading YouTube network – and marks the first time a major outside media conglomerate has made a big investment in the YouTube space. Rachel Lam, the head of Time Warner Investments group (which led the investment which included big names like Robert Downey Jr and Elizabeth Murdoch), will also join the board of directors at Maker Studios. Lam’s presence should be welcomed, as the YouTube network has been embroiled in a scandal with the space’s biggest celebrity, Ray William Johnson, over predatory contract disputes. (The network also failed to transition Johnson’s AdSense account following his departure from the network for two months – which I estimated at the time resulted in at least a $112,000 revenue loss for Johnson.)Why Time Warner Did The Deal“In just a few short years, Maker has established itself as the go-to network on YouTube for top creative talent, and the combination of outstanding creative with formidable audience reach has translated into Maker’s phenomenal growth as a company,” Lam wrote in a statement sent to multiple publications. (Apparently, despite the recent departure of top talent, the statement was not meant to be ironic.) “Our investment in Maker gives us insight into next generation video content and the ever-evolving online video landscape, as well as access to new producers of content for Time Warner’s existing television, film and cable network operations.”Maker Studios was found in 2009 and acts as a production studio, distribution network and ad sales team for YouTube-based talent.  PandoDaily reported Maker Studios has garnered $78.5 million in total equity funding (not counting Google’s Original Channels investment), while TechCrunch and All Things D put Maker Studio’s total raised at $44 million. Maker Studios did not respond to ReadWrite’s requests to clarify this funding amount, but the consensus is the company is valued at $200 million. Viewership for the network has been steadily increasing, with the network even surpassing Machinima in terms of views in October. The Time Warner Investments funding comes at a good time for Maker Studios, and not just because it helps the network move on from accusations of unprofessional behavior during the Ray William Johnson scandal: The network has just completed a 40,000-square-foot production space in Culver City that includes sound stages, production offices, prop and wardrobe areas, editing bays and recording booths.“We’re extremely excited and grateful to have the support of Time Warner and our other investment partners who are some of the most respected names in media and entertainment, and are thrilled that we will be able to provide even more resources and opportunities to our valued network partners,” wrote Danny Zappin, Maker’s co-founder and CEO, in a statement sent to multiple publications.Traditional Media Finally Getting It  Eugene Lee, the co-founder of the YouTube analytics service for media companies and brands called ChannelMeter, told ReadWrite that Time Warner’s investment “validates” the YouTube space and shows traditional media is finally ” recognizing that viewers are moving online and that online audience is growing.” Lee predicted the infusion to Maker Studios is just the beginning of outside investment in YouTube content. Lee also said that the cash infusion is likely to “light a fire” under YouTube networks like Machinima, Fullscreen and Alloy Digital to “get their A-game on” and “be smarter with their money.”  Machinima seems to already be doing that, having just laid off 10% of its staff this month, which the video-game and entertainment network called “a reorganization to address its global growth.”  9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex…last_img read more

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FTC To Smartphone Makers: Fix Security Or End Up Like HTC

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#complaint#federal trade commission#FTC#HTC#personal data#privacy#security#settlement#smartphones#tablets Related Posts antone gonsalvescenter_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Mobile device manufacturers should pay close attention to a recent settlement between the Federal Trade Commission and HTC, which the Commission claimed had failed to protect customer’s privacy and personal data. Rather than affecting only HTC, the agreement is a warning that the commission is finally prepared to hold device makers responsible for securing their products.How It StartedHTC drew the attention of the FTC by deploying customized software in 22.5 million Android devices that allowed third-party applications to bypass a security mechanism requiring user permission before installation. The HTC software was meant to gather data only to help the manufacturer troubleshoot problems, but its implementation showed HTC was clueless when it came to security.In investigating HTC’s sloppy work, the FTC found a number of poor security practices. For example, HTC had no effective program for assessing the security of products before shipping them to consumers. In addition, engineering staff was not properly trained in security and privacy and there was no testing for security flaws. Also, there was no process for receiving and addressing vulnerabilities found by third-party researchers and academics.The FTC’s findings were listed in a complaint that HTC settled by agreeing to a “comprehensive security program” that includes patching vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers and spammers. The agreement is a big deal, because taken together with the original complaint, the FTC has outlined for all device manufacturers what it considers best practices for security.“To settle the case – the FTC’s first against a device manufacturer – HTC has agreed to a far-reaching settlement that imposes a first-of-its-kind remedy: patching vulnerabilities on millions of mobile devices,” FTC senior attorney Lesley Fair wrote in the commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection blog.Dismal Android SecurityMakers of Android smartphones and tablets have created a huge security problem by shipping devices with older versions of the operating system and then failing to quickly update the software with the latest security fixes from Google. This has left millions of customers with devices that contain known vulnerabilities that cybercriminals are working feverishly to exploit.“It’s reasonable to assume that the next thing the FTC will look at is the unpatched vulnerabilities in Android itself that Google has fixed, but where the fixes haven’t reached end users either because of the handset vendors or the wireless carriers,” Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, said. “This is probably the most interesting FTC case to come out in the last couple of years.”The rise in Android malware is substantially faster than any other Internet-delivered malicious app, according to Cisco’s recent 2013 Annual Security Report. At the same time, cybercriminals are developing better software tools for breaking into Android devices.In October 2012, the FBI warned that cybercriminals had built a mobile version of FinFisher, commercial spyware sold to law enforcement and governments, to steal personal data from Android phones. Also last year, the first Android botnet was discovered on the Internet, according to Cisco. A botnet is a network of compromised devices used to distribute malware and spam.The FTC Isn’t AloneThe FTC won’t be alone in demanding better consumer protection from device manufacturers. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), co-chair of the bi-partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, plans to reintroduce this year “The Mobile Device Privacy Act,” which would require companies to get the permission of consumers before using any monitoring software on mobile devices.“With this important settlement, the FTC has sent a strong signal to the mobile marketplace that consumers’ sensitive information must be safeguarded,” Markey said.With so much government attention on mobile device security, it’s clear that manufacturers can no longer treat data protection and consumer privacy as an afterthought. Both will soon have to become a top priority.Image courtesy of Shutterstock.last_img read more

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How Google’s Chromecast Lets Down iPhone Users

first_imgThis is no iOS-specific quirk. It’s not currently possible to do tab casting from any phone or tablet, which means mobile users have to rely solely on apps. And that’s a problem for a platform that only has two Chromecast-compatible apps available. So if you’re an iPhone or iPad owner, get used to the fact that while Android users may have Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Music and Google Play Movies & TV apps at their disposal, you only have the first two right now. (It’s quite possible you won’t care, but that’s a separate issue.)The Bugs Android users have a handy native Chromecast mobile app to set up and manage the device’s settings. So do Mac and Windows users. iPhone users, however, don’t. It’s not clear if Google simply hasn’t submitted it to the App Store or if Apple is holding back approval, but either way it’s not available. So to configure the streaming stick, we have to do it online from our mobile Web browser. That’s not so bad, except that—unlike the Chromecast app—this doesn’t allow you to later tweak those settings from an iDevice. So if you want to change networks, Wi-Fi passwords, rename the device or remote reboot/factory reset it, you have to put down your iPhone and pick up a laptop. Or borrow a friend’s Android gadget. (Update 8/27/2013: The iOS Chromecast setup app has finally entered the App Store.Click here to grab it.)(Note: If you don’t mind digging behind your TV and grabbing hold of the device, you can do a manual factory reset by pressing and holding the physical button for 25+ seconds, or until the light starts to flash.)When it comes to apps, there’s an even peskier issue—the actual streaming. Only four mobile apps directly support Chromecast at this moment, and two of them—Google Play Music and Google Play Movies & TV—aren’t available for iOS users. We can listen to Google Play Music via Safari and mobile Chrome, sure, but we can’t beam that music to the TV.  I’ve had a Chromecastic week playing around with Google’s $35 streaming device. Overall, I’ve come away with positive impressions. Then again, it’s easy to be forgiving when a new gadget costs less than dinner at a middle-of-the-road restaurant.See also: 10 Things You Need To Know About Chromecast; 5 Cool Chromecast Hacks And Workarounds; and What You Can Watch On Chromecast, And HowBut that forgiveness is key. I’m an iPhone user, and it has become increasingly apparent that Chromecast sometimes works rather fitfully with Apple gear. That’s a tough pill to swallow given the attention Google lavished on the Chromecast’s touted ability to work across Android and iDevices alike—and the fact that Android phones and tablets handle the streaming so well.True, the disconnect isn’t necessarily surprising. Among other things, there was never much chance that Apple would help optimize the Chromecast experience on iOS. Certainly not in the service of its arch rival, and definitely not for features that compete with its own Apple TV and Airplay.So for iPhone and iPad users, Chromecast comes with some compromises—namely a dearth of compatible apps and a rough-around-the-edges experience.The iOS App Fail 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… The Netflix app works better on both iOS and Android, and perhaps it should. The company has a lot of experience with streaming and resumptive playback. It also made Chromecast remote controls easier to find. Whenever a Netflix video casts to the TV, a blue banner shows up on every page within the app. No hunting around; users just tap the banner to jump back to the streaming video and its controls. In contrast, YouTube’s iPhone app hides away the casting notification in a side tray that only shows up when the user swipes the screen from the left.This side tray also holds the TV Queue. Google hyped this feature, which lets multiple YouTube users create a single Chromecast playlist from different devices. It works differently on iOS than Android. Creating or adding videos to the queue was easy and obvious on my Nexus. Once I had a connection to the Chromecast, an “add it to the TV Queue” immediately showed up on YouTube videos. Once again, on the iPhone, that feature’s buried—this time under the “share” icon in the upper right. I have no idea why the iOS app handles such features differently than the Android version, so I asked YouTube to weigh in on that. I’ll update this post if I get a response. As of publication, I hadn’t heard back. 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… adriana lee Related Posts 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App But this ease of use issue goes beyond any single app. Chromecast remote controls are available everywhere on Android. Starting a stream on the Nexus puts an icon in the top left, complete with drop-down controls like play and pause. This stays available, even if you return to the homescreen or use another app. And when the tablet sleeps, touching the screen puts the full-size controls front and center. iOS users don’t get these user-friendly benefits. Instead, we have to fumble around to turn on our iPhones or iPads, enter the app that originated the stream and find the controls in there somewhere. I asked Apple if there was any possibility of Chromecast remote controls showing up in the app tray, like Pandora’s do, or landing on the lockscreen. Predictably, there was no response. Final ThoughtsSee also: Have Chromecast, Will Travel … Er, Maybe NotIn general, Chromecast on iOS feels rough around the edges. And maybe it wouldn’t, if it didn’t pale in comparison to the experience on Android. Little things, like where to put the remote controls, can make a big difference. No one wants to lose track of which video they’re casting or search around just to pause a streaming video. And yet, it’s a compromise I’m putting up with to save a little cash. If it was crucial to have a device that worked perfectly with my iPhone or iPad, that could stream lots of media—including my iTunes library, as well as those from other apps—I would have splurged on an Apple TV instead. But I didn’t. I bought a cheap streaming stick. And so, I take the issues above in stride and adjust my expectations.Of course, it helps greatly that app makers seem intensely interested in Chromecast, so the offerings will likely expand soon. Still, one person’s annoying compromises can be another’s unforgivable problems. If you fall in the latter camp, then there are certainly better, more cohesive experiences available. That is, if you’re willing to pay for them. Tags:#connected TV#media#streaming Worse, with one of those two remaining apps, iOS users face further compromises. If, for instance, you assumed that Google-owned YouTube would perform better than Netflix, you’d be mistaken—and the disappointment is especially acute on iOS.I tested Chromecasting from YouTube on both an iPhone 5 and the new Nexus 7 tablet. Here’s what I found: Casting a video to the TV and remote controlling it from the same device worked well in both cases. Since Google also hyped remote control swapping between devices, I gave that a go too. At various times, both had trouble detecting the current stream. But the Android picked it up more easily than the iOS device. I just tapped the “cast” button and selected Chromecast, and the tablet locked on. With the iPhone, that only worked half the time. I tried another feature: resumptive playback. I casted a YouTube video from the tablet to the TV, and tried to continue it from the same point on my iPhone. It worked. Then I tried to send it back to Chromecast. That was less successful. I tried several times, and often my handset just didn’t want to let it go, no matter how many times I tapped the “cast” button. The Experiencelast_img read more

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Instagram Hits 150M Users, Will Introduce Ads Next Year

first_imgselena larson Tags:#Ads#Instagram#users Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Related Posts A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditcenter_img Instagram announced today it has hit the 150 million user mark. The company has increased its user base by almost a third this year, as it boasted of 100 million users six months ago.Instagram’s acquisition by Facebook in April 2012 doubtless helped fuel its growth, especially in markets outside the U.S. The company announced that over 60 percent users are from countries outside the U.S. Activity on Instagram has also increased, with over 55 million photos shared and 2 billion “likes,” per day on the network.And as long rumored, the company will apparently start selling advertising relatively soon—”within the next year,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The newspaper notes that its big challenge will be to maintain Instagram’s “cool factor” while still making money.Instagram caught some flack last year when it attempted to update its terms of service to include leasing user-generated images to advertisers; the company later backed off that change. Instagram’s parent company Facebook has generated its own controversy in recent weeks involving updates to its privacy policy, specifically its declaration that it will use profile information for advertising purposes. If and when Instagram decides to start generating revenue via advertising, it will have to maintain transparency around privacy concerns, something users might find more troubling than the platform’s “cool factor.”  The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verificationlast_img read more

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PostgreSQL Hits 9.3, New Levels Of Popularity With The Cool Kids

first_imgRelated Posts Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Matt Asay 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now More importantly, PostgreSQL now translates into an increasing number of jobs. It’s nice to have people talk about technology. The real key is when they start to pay for it with headcount.  In terms of absolute jobs, PostgreSQL still trails MySQL by a wide margin:But if we look at relative job growth, it’s clear that there’s something happening in the PostgreSQL community:The question is why? Again, PostgreSQL has long been a great database with mature functionality. But that hasn’t made it popular. Why is this database suddenly cool?PostgreSQL Gets Its Cool OnIronically, PostgreSQL’s rising relevance probably isn’t due to its underlying technology. After all, PostgreSQL has always been a great, feature-rich database that offers solid performance. And its proponents, like StreetCred Software’s Nick Selby, haven’t needed any help recognizing this:With version 9.3, PostgreSQL gets lateral joins, improvements to its JSON support and more. It’s a great database that just got even better. But technology isn’t really the driving force for its renewed popularity.Nor is it PostgreSQL’s easy licensing terms. While this definitely plays a part, as open-source developer Max Rydahl Anderson posits—developers like to have maximum flexibility with minimal imposed restrictions from a license—PostgreSQL has long enjoyed this licensing freedom. And for whatever reason, this feature never earned it much love against MySQL’s copyleft-oriented GPL license.It’s The Community, StupidOne thing has changed over the past few years, and in a big way. MySQL got a change in management. Justin Cormack suggests that while PostgreSQL “was always quieter as [there is] no big vendor just community,” and hence it “takes longer to get word out.” While that lack of a strong vendor may have hurt PostgreSQL historically, it may well be one of the key factors promoting it today.In other words, one reason for PostgreSQL’s new popularity is that it isn’t MySQL. That used to be a badge of shame, but since Oracle took over MySQL, open-source developers have been seeking alternatives. While not necessarily fair—Oracle has been investing heavily in MySQL’s development—it’s nevertheless a reality.Analysts agree. 451 Research analyst Matt Aslett suggests its popularity stems from “developer-friendly support (hstore, JSON) + solid, mature code base (inc replication) + licensing + (not) Oracle.” Redmonk analyst James Governor echoes this sentiment, caling out the fact that “it’s rock solid, increasingly developer friendly (see JSON), does geo very well, and isn’t owned by Oracle.”Or as Ovum analyst Tony Baer indicates, a big part of PostgreSQL’s new cool factor is “Probably because MySQL became ‘less cool’.”This isn’t to deprecate all of the great things that PostgreSQL has done. Version 9.3 looks awesome. The PostgreSQL community is active. It has all the ingredients for success.But sometimes you need a bit of luck, and in PostgreSQL’s case that may well be the perception that MySQL is losing its open-source bona fides under Oracle. It may or may not be true, but it’s certainly helping to feed PostgreSQL’s increased popularity.Not that they’ll complain. Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Tags:#database#MySQL#Open Source#PostgreSQL IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… There’s something about PostgreSQL. Over the past year or so, the once-somewhat-dull-open-source database has seen a renaissance of sorts. Long the ugly stepchild to MySQL, the cool kids now increasingly prefer PostgreSQL to MySQL. And with a major new release—PostgreSQL 9.3—a great but somewhat ignored database just got even better, and almost certain to be less ignored.Why?PostgreSQL’s Steady RisePostgreSQL has been around forever. That is, since 1986. Database king Michael Stonebreaker first started working on PostgreSQL (then Postgres) in 1986, originally intended to be a superior successor to Stonebreaker’s Ingres database. But while PostgreSQL has always had its fans, it never really caught on as a dominant industry database. That honor goes to MySQL, which started in 1995 and has grown to become the world’s most popular database.But something is brewing in PostgreSQL Land.While general interest (as measured by Google searches) seems to be waning for PostgreSQL, with the kingmaking developer crowd, there is evidence from other sources that PostgreSQL is making new in-roads. Since early 2012, developers have been talking about it much more, as evidenced by Hacker News mentions:last_img read more

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Discover the top smart home security systems of 2017

first_imgWhat is the best home security for 2017? It has never been simpler than it is in the age of the Internet of Things, where sometimes all it takes to lock down your home, condo or apartment is a few sticky sensors and access to a smartphone. While companies like Piper and Scout make systems that are low-tech but highly effective, others like LiveWatch and Frontpoint are looking to blur the line where old technologies end and new ones begin.See also: How to use your light sockets for your home security systemThese systems all work by combining smart home strategies and hardware integration into their own network of sensors, using the power of our connections and the internet to give you all new levels of control over your smart home like never before. The Internet of Things is creating an all new paradigm shift where your phone isn’t just your phone, and your home isn’t just your home, but both act together in some intertwined blend of the two.So, which is the best home security system in they age of Internet Connected Device?#1 Best Comprehensive Home Security – FrontPoint Home Security SystemFor your money and ours, the FrontPoint home security system is the best of both the old world of security and the new. FrontPoint really puts the “DIY” in “do-it-yourself”, breaking the whole process down into simple bits with a mobile setup process that doesn’t even make you download an app.If you’re not technically savvy but still want a full-fledged, customized home security system that will keep your family and your home safe from intruders, FrontPoint has got it covered. FrontPoint is also the only option on this list to feature an optional 24/7 monitoring service, so if having direct access to the police or fire department from your panel is important, this is the way to go.#1 Best Smartphone Home Security System  – Scout Alarm Home Security SystemLooking for something even simpler to setup? A Scout Alarm Home Security system might be the better choice.Unlike FrontPoint which uses both cell signal from a central base station and WiFi to protect your home, Scout Alarm is a 100% online-only operation with no monthly fees, no contracts, and no hidden costs other than the price to set it up.We like the Scout because it incorporates many of the same motion sensors and door sensors into its network as FrontPoint, all without the need to pay a monthly stipend to keep them activated. If you want a basic but effective home security system that you can set up yourself without any extra help, the Scout Alarm can do no wrong.#1 Best All-in-One Home Security –  Piper NV Home Security SystemLast up we have an all-in-one option that does a whole lot more than just keep your home safe. The Piper nv Home Security camera features a number of extra sensors on its 3.4-megapixel night vision-enabled camera, including motion, noise, temperature, humidity, and light sensors that all tell you the current status of your home.The Piper will even warn you if serious weather events are on the horizon, in case you’re not close to home and a flood or ice storm threatens to damage the property while you’re away. If you live in a smaller apartment or can afford to have at least two of these all-seeing, all-knowing cameras in your home, this is a simple way to get full protection without a hefty fee tacked on to your bill every month.Although it doesn’t have any IFTTT integration options, the Piper NV is still a solid device that will protect small apartments or homes from intruders in the most crucial areas like back and front doors, while keeping you aware of severe weather alerts in case burglars aren’t the only threat on the horizon that you have to worry about.And in conclusion…No matter what your budget is or your level of technical expertise, there’s a DIY home security solution out there for you.If you’re concerned about having 24/7 monitoring that automatically connects to the authorities when an alarm is triggered, you’ll definitely want to keep FrontPoint at the top of your list. That said, if you think your wireless network and a solid smartphone could get the job done all the same at a mere fraction of the cost, a Scout Alarm or sensor-heavy Piper nv system will fit the bill just fine too.Now that our smartphones can not only connect us with our devices at home, but also our neighbors, friends, and family in an instant, it’s never been easier to protect your home with the help of all the latest technology. Tags:#Comcast#Frontpoint#home security#ifttt#Internet of Things#IoT#Piper#scout Related Posts Follow the Puck Christen Costacenter_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…last_img read more

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Which Type of Chatbot will have a Positive Impact on Your Business?

first_imgTags:#Artifical intelligence#chat-bot AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Reasons to Outsource General Counsel Services f… Related Posts Zubair Hassan is a digital marketing expert . He loves to work for companies who need his skills in the marketing domain to market their product and make a mark for itself. He can offer you tools and strategies so that you can get in touch with your customers and able to communicate with them through all the popular social media platforms of your choice. Please contact him for further details as how he can assist you in your digital aspirations… Zubair Hassan Zubair Hassan Follow the Puck Chatbots are all the rage in the realm of consumer-facing technology. Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) have birthed a new generation of chatbots that are increasing across all corporate organizations, marketplaces, and sectors. But, different chatbots have a positive impact on various businesses. You have to know which type of chatbot to use in what kind of business.Not only are these chatbots a sci-fi-dream-come-true, but they are also like real beings — communicating better with customers as compared to live personnel.What clients and customers love the best about bots is precisely what we see in the business. There is an observable, measurable capacity in chatbots to boost customer engagement, increase sales, and convert visitor traffic while alleviating business overheads.Facebook’s most recent bot count was counted at over 33,000 — and Gartner predicted that 85 percent of customer engagement would be fielded without human intervention in the near futureRegardless of the industry, chatbots not only help to resolve problems expediently, but they also offer a personal touch to every customer and save costs. From scheduling meetings to resolving IT issues, tailoring conversations between the brand and their customer, ordering food, to making lifestyle choices, chatbot will impact our lives more than ever in 2019.For instance, in the hospitality industry that caters to a clientele that is always on-the-go, a “virtual concierge” is nothing short of a blessing. These chatbot angels can handle endless questions about amenities round-the-clock — without any delays in service.This personal care form the bots free up their human counterparts to focus on more specialized requests. Similarly, in the retail business, AI engine powering a chatbot can dramatically optimize the customer experience by analyzing the visitor’s purchase history and past behavior to predict their current needs. Clients, customers and friends depend on a highly-personalized and highly interactive shopping experience, provided by the hyper-vigilant AI-powered “sales assistant.”80 percent of businesses aspire to integrate chatbots in their business model by 2020, making us wonder which industries and companies can reap the most significant benefits by implementing consumer-facing chatbots?Different Types of ChatbotsGenerally, chatbots are of two types:1. One which is rule-oriented.2. Other which is AI-Powered.1. Rule-Oriented ChatbotsIt is the type of chatbot that works on the basis of a specific set of rules. Such chatbots can only respond when they are triggered using particular commands. In case a user doesn’t know the command and types something else in the chat screen — it will automatically notify the user that it does not understand. You can easily find these commands by typing in the help command within the interface.2. AI-Powered ChatbotsThese chatbots work on the basis of artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI-Powered chatbots are more efficient than their counterpart, the “rule-oriented chatbots.” The AI bots not only understand the command language but also work on the element of human interaction. They cheerfully predict customer needs and respond accordingly based on the stored information from past interactions.Maybe you are under the impression that chatbots are merely associated with enterprise firms and global digital platforms — but that’s certainly not the case. Recent research conducted by Think Relay on the data assembled by NerdyData discovered that companies having fewer than 250 employees. Generally, using a chatbot with that number of regular employees can account for an almost 40 percent of all the businesses in the world.Some Interesting Chatbots and Their Impact on BusinessesHere are some exciting chatbots which can help you get the inspiration you need to get a chatbot for your business.1. Hipmunk’s Hello ChatbotIf you are the kind of business that is associated with the travel business, Hipmunk’s Hello chatbot is an algorithm that can work wonders for your travel agency. From booking flights to hotel rooms, you can offer a whole lot more to your customers through your travel agency website. With Hipmunk’s Hello chatbot, you can make your online presence more agile and proficient for customers. Moreover, travel chatbot can easiy be integrated with Slack, Facebook, and Skype.2. InstabotIf you want quick qualifying leads coming to your website, you need to integrate your website with Instabot. A recent study has revealed that customers who integrated Instabots in their websites observed almost a 33% increase in their sales in comparison to the traditional web contact forms. The best thing about having an Instabot is that it automatically segments the prospects and then sends them towards personalized mailing or pre-setted drip campaigns.3. JarvisIf you are reminiscing the Jarvis you watched in Iron-Man movies, know that it is not. This Jarvis is entirely different, but if there is one thing that is similar to the prototype shown in the film, Jarvis is highly efficient and can offer quick assistance to businesses. Jarvis is a messenger bot that sends you notifications on essential business tasks and deadlines. It not only helps you with running the business with greater efficiency, but it also assists you in streamlining your processes.4. RightClick.io Ask a website design agency in London, and they will tell you how time-consuming website development can be for someone who lacks the appropriate expertise. Many small businesses don’t have enough time to start their own online businesses, and this is where the RightClick.io comes in extremely handy. Powered by AIWA, this chatbot leverages Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing algorithms to make the chat experience much more interesting and engaging for customers. To create a website, all you have to do is chat with the bot and let it find the most interactive solutions for you.5. Nat Geo Genius Messenger BotDo you wish to have that nostalgic feel of having a vis-a-vis with the most mind-numbing geniuses that history spew out? NatGeo Genius Messenger Bot is a bot replete with entertainment, and it is specifically designed just for you. NatGeo Genius allows you to conduct conversations with geniuses such as Einstein and Picasso before the show gets aired. Geniuses often crack jokes with you, carry out personal conversations and answer professional queries quite proficiently.6. GeekBotsOne of the most troublesome challenges faced by teams while working coherently is how effectively they can communicate among themselves. When members are located across different parts of the world, they often find themselves struggling to stay on the same page with their teammates. Geekbot is a chatbot that helps organizations overcome this hurdle by establishing asynchronous team meetings in Slack. Now, whether you wish to chat with them or not, Geek-bot can enable you to communicate effectively.7. PullString ChatbotIf you are under the impression that you require sound technical knowledge and par excellent algorithm coding to launch a successful chatbot, then my friend, you are quite mistaken. The pull string chatbot is a platform that allows you to build the perfect chatbot of your dreams. It enables you to create the perfect conversation enabled applications without getting into the hassles of tiresome coding. The apps you design are highly-efficient and are the best fit for any kind of industry. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more

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3 AI Trends Every Real Estate Broker Should Know

first_imgChina and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Nick Jiang Nick is the Cofounder & CEO @ Birdnest, a curated, visual place for startups to find their dream office. Prior to Birdnest, Nick had grown venture-funded startup Shots to over 10M active users. Duke MBA, Princeton Engineering. AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Tags:#AI#real estate AI Will Empower Leaders, Not Replace Them Artificial intelligence (AI), simulation of human intelligence by machines, has become part of our daily lives. We are conversing with Alexa, getting rides from self-driving smart cars, receiving recommendations on music and movies, and playing games against computers. But what about applying AI in buying homes or renting offices?Real estate seems to be a few steps behind when it comes to technology adoption, even though it is the largest asset class in the world, contributing $3.5T to the US GDP. But there are early signs that AI is already part of our home buying and office renting experience.At Birdnest, we are seeing a growing demand from our customers for a better and faster experience. On the other side, we are seeing a growing number of brokers who want to start adopting technologies to provide a better experience. Here are three AI trends that every real estate broker should know.Alexa, Answer the CallA new study reveals that 48% of buyer inquiries never received a response and that the average response time from a broker was 917 minutes. In another study, 93% of buyers rated responsiveness as a very important quality. Brokers know this, which is why they usually team up on a deal so that when they’re busy, their colleague can respond to the inquiry. But what if no one is available? Enter the “Siri’s for real estate,” who are always available, 24/7.OJO Labs, an Austin based startup who has raised $71M, is developing a real estate chatbot that answers potential clients’ questions about listing information via text message.Like most people, I had a mixed chatbot experience. When I asked about HOA cost, it gave an accurate answer within 2 minutes. But when I asked a more open-ended question, “Is the neighborhood safe?” it didn’t understand.Given that almost half the buyer inquiries never received a reply, this will certainly help brokers capture some of those leads. And with their recent acquisition of WolfNet, they have access to millions of additional data points to improve their algorithm. Their main competitors include Structurely and Keller Williams’ Kelle.The Crystal BallWouldn’t it be great if you can predict who will list a home or who will buy a home soon? When every broker is looking for that extra edge to win a deal, nothing is more important than having that crystal ball!Rex, a Los Angeles based startup with over $70M in funding, is using AI to predict buyers who are most likely to buy a specific home. It sends out targeted ads based on who it thinks the likeliest buyers are. Then based on who clicks on the ad, it targets similar customer segments in future ads. In addition, the computer uses data from retailers and businesses to further improve its accuracy.First, a North Carolina based startup with over $7M in funding, analyzes a broker’s contacts to “identify how much more likely than average your contacts are to sell in the next year.” During the pilot period with @properties, First predicted over 1,800 homes that listed during that period.Reevaluate, another startup that predicts who is most likely to move within the next 3-6 months, claimed they have a 36.4% accuracy rate by analyzing over 200 data points, from spending habits to social news and more.Goodbye PaperworkAs Benjamin Franklin once said, “Time is money.” This couldn’t be more true for real estate brokers, and one of the tasks that suck their time is paperwork.Imagine how much time is spent entering information about a space, like its lighting, room types, kitchens to name a few. Thanks to Restb.ai, AI can automatically populate this information by analyzing a property’s photos. Its technology can classify images into 30+ homes scenes, recognize 16 architectural styles, and instantly tag 30+ valuable home features. Recently, MRED has partnered with Restb.ai “because it will save time and reduce hassle,” according to MRED CTO Chris Haran.Leverton, a Berlin-based startup with $17M in funding, reads and extracts key information from corporate documents, leases, and contracts. All the broker has to do is to upload his documents, then AI starts to extract key information like “rent charges” and allow brokers to quickly search this information. For brokers, this means more insights in less time, a key reason JLL signed a partnership with them.AI is here to assist brokers, not to replace them. AI technology is here to help a broker be more responsive. To save them time from paperwork so they can spend more time finding the right space for their clients. They are here to empower brokers to provide the ultimate experience for their clients and bring meaning to the statement that “real estate is a relationship business.” Related Posts last_img read more

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