Pros and Cons of Autonomous Vehicles

Fully autonomous vehicles are the main innovation you’ll see on highways of the near future. These driverless cars will be a revolutionary game changer, transforming how people conduct their daily activities. Here are the pros, cons, and some questions that you may ask regarding autonomous vehicles.

The Pros

A study by the NHTSA has shown that the majority of road accidents are caused by human mistakes. Eliminating the human-error component behind driving ensures better road safety. With fewer possibilities of accidents caused by things like miscalculations, drunk driving, speeding and texting, people will be generally safer. There will be a lowered risk of endangering pedestrians, drivers, passengers and property.

Also, more public transport could be offered with autonomous vehicles providing quicker transportation. Autonomous vehicles have reliable sensors that can detect when other cars are close by. These vehicles can even communicate with each other, and, because of this, road congestion could become a thing of the past. More importantly, a highly-advanced form of technology means that these vehicles could reduce carbon footprint and help save the environment. These futuristic cars also offer many economic advantages by reducing possible destruction of life and property.

The Cons

Driverless cars are not without possible complications. For one thing, legal infrastructure isn’t yet in place for autonomous vehicles, so figuring out how to get things done will take a lot of time and money. For example, according to Dolman Law, in the case of an accident, figuring out who is at fault when one of the vehicles lacks a driver can be less straightforward than when there are drivers responsible for each vehicle.

On top of that, there are many other considerations which can lead to accidents. For example, Vest brings up that hacking and glitches in the machinery of autonomous cars could cause an accident. Perhaps, the worst possible scenario here is that many people will lose their jobs, from public transport drivers, traffic aids who guide the cars and other workers involved in the transportation industry. Also, in the early stages of the implementation of these autonomous vehicles, the price of each unit will undoubtedly be exorbitant, making it cost-prohibitive for ordinary citizens to buy.

Questions to Ask

Since this is a fairly new industry, there are many impending questions to ask. When drivers no longer control their cars, what happens when there is a collision? Who will be held liable? Will the manufacturers be responsible for these machines that they sell? What are the possible consequences for insurance? On top of all these questions, there are many legal considerations because there simply are no rules and regulations in place for autonomous vehicles.

With this industry looming on the horizon, these are the issues that everyone must think about. There was a time when everyone thought that video conferencing and SMS messaging systems were the stuff of science fiction only. Even the TV was called an idiot box because of the fear that moving images would kill everyone’s imaginations. Being mindful of the pros and cons of fully autonomous vehicles can help everyone prepare for their inevitable arrival.

New Research by University of York shows everyday technology helps people feel less lonely

This article was written by one of our contributing authors. You can learn more about them below.

In June 2019, the UK’s oldest loneliness charity, WaveLength, released their new report with the University of York. Their report, ‘Everyday technology fighting loneliness’ shows that people felt less lonely after receiving a radio, television, or tablet. People also rated their health more positively after using their new piece of technology. The charity collected information from over 180 people, who were on average 44 years old, over a period of 2 years. Over 50% had been homeless and experienced poor mental health.

 

Commentary on the relationship between technology and loneliness can often be negative in tone, despite there being little rigorous academic research. WaveLength’s report shows how technology can positively impact those who are lonely, which can be especially true for people who are in a bad financial situation and experience poor physical and mental health. Everyday technology which many of us take for granted can reduce people’s loneliness levels and leave a lasting impact on their lives.

WaveLength is celebrating its 80th Birthday this year. Alongside supporting on an individual basis, the charity works with organisations including women’s refuges, homeless hostels, day-care centres, hospital wards, and care homes. In 2018 alone, 12,700 people benefited from the charity’s work.

Clare, who is living in Kilburn, recently received a television from WaveLength after she left prison. Experiencing several health issues and disabilities means that she is now often housebound. Commenting on the difference her television has made, she explained:

“I have found the TV to be invaluable as it is a real companion to me when I am bedbound and stops me from feeling lonely. I really enjoy tuning into my favourite programmes for entertainment and learning. The TV has made such a positive difference to my life.”

 

Alongside processing individual applications, the charity also gives technology to organisations. One initiative WaveLength has helped is the Home for Good Club, run by the homeless charity, The Passage. The club helps previously-homeless people transition to independent living. Using tablets given by WaveLength during the club, one client reflected:

“When I first came to the Home for Good Club, I was living like a hermit. I hardly spoke to anyone. Conor gave me a tablet to use and this gave me access back to the “real world” and the opportunity to talk to, and make, friends. Without the tablet I would probably still be suffering from severe depression.”

WaveLength’s report calls for more attention to be given to the benefits everyday technology can bring to some of the loneliest people. Not everyone can afford to buy the everyday technology which many of us take for granted. It is just as important for funding to cover the purchase of equipment, alongside training. The report calls for free access to a minimum standard of broadband in order to connect greater numbers of people via smart televisions and tablet computers as well.

To read the report, and to learn more about WaveLength, visit https://wavelength.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/WaveLength-Everyday-technology-fighting-loneliness.pdf

 

Digital Signage And Why It Matters

Several months ago, we published an article titled, “Think Your Business Won’t Benefit from New Tech? Think Again“. In it, we covered some ways that tech can help us save time, money and improve efficiency.

To that end, we soon had the chance to talk to an innovative company by the name of ScreenScape. They’ve been around for over the past decade providing solutions for digital signage and menu boards. Now you might be wondering, just what is digital signage and why should I care?

Well, we hope this interview clears up those questions!

What is the major difference between traditional and digital signage that not many people know about?

Today’s form of “connected” digital signage is much more powerful than static signage ever was. Digital signs are dynamic and easy to manage as part of a network. In fact a digital signage network may be comprised of dozens, or even hundreds of screens that can, at the same time, be managed independently or as a group.

Unlike conventional signage, digital signage can display rich animated digital content that is data driven and ever changing. Because digital signs are powered by computers, and you can publish content to them via the Internet.

Any given sign in a digital signage network can be customized to display information that is tailored to meet the needs of a very specific local audience. Having these messages placed strategically inside a place of business, such as next to the point-of-sale inside a retail store, poses obvious advantages for effective communication. It allows you, wherever you are, to make sure that customers visiting a specific location are treated to the right message at the right place and time.

Let’s compare why Digital Signage is a significant step up from conventional signage:

  1. Operational Cost
    Traditional: Ongoing operational costs are high due to reprinting, shipping and care.
    Digital: There is an initial upfront cost but long term operational costs can be significantly lower than traditional signage.
  2. Fresh Content
    Traditional: Content needs to be printed, then physically installed onsite (spelling mistakes will cost you!)
    Digital: Content can be pushed to your entire network, anywhere in the world, in real-time, right from your browser. Content can be updated anytime and as often as required.
  3. Supported Content
    Traditional: Displays only one, static image.
    Digital: Displays multiple pieces of content at the same time including videos, images, current news and weather, online streaming content, etc.
  4. Technology Integration
    Traditional: Standalone, no integration
    Digital: Can integrate with other technologies like point of sale systems or Wayfinding to create an awesome viewer experience.

Are there any exciting trends or technology developments coming up?

The traditional digital signage industry grew out of the Professional Audio/Visual (Pro AV) industry. The primary value-add of a traditional digital signage vendor has been in setting up screens, and offering professional services to operate and manage a physical digital signage network.

An exciting trend in digital signage today is that more and more networks are being developed using Internet-based software. Equipment costs are dropping at a rapid pace. Large format display screens are popping up everywhere. Wireless networks are now commonplace in most businesses. These are the physical infrastructure components that are necessary for most businesses to participate in a digital signage network, and they are now mostly in place.

This gives rise to the opportunity for Internet-savvy businesses to “connect the dots” – to connect screens to a common software platform that unifies and simplifies the process of creating an Internet of screens. Where traditional networks used to be very capital intensive to build and complex to own and operate….the new “online” brand of digital signage network has the benefit of having these infrastructure components already in place. With much of the physical layer already in place progressive firms like ScreenScape can focus on connecting screens and delivering robust content creation and publishing tools with powerful software. The newer technology is more cost-effective and less complex, which means it’s easier for businesses of all shapes and sizes to participate. It’s easier for networks to grow and prosper leading to a network effect that helps to accelerate the proliferation of even more network growth.

What is the most important thing businesses need to know about digital signage?

Digital signage networks are evolving quickly, not unlike websites did in the late 1990s. Instead of thinking of a digital signage network as a discrete technical project that you outsource to a partner they are becoming fully integrated inside the enterprise and across the value chain. They help to create a customer-centric point-of-sale network that connects retailers, distributors, brands and suppliers, and many other stakeholders, to real customers inside real world venues, in real time. This makes owning and operating a digital signage network a strategic initiative for most industries. A land grab is happening to determine who owns the conduit to the retail customers. Those who own the conduit will call the shots. Industry partners that might want to participate in the onscreen messaging at retail will have to go through the gatekeeper to enjoy mindshare inside the places where buying decisions are made.

Which do you see evolving more in this space, software or hardware?

With the physical components slowly but surely falling into place, the digital signage industry will be dominated by savvy software companies. In time digital signage will become another form of online marketing, however, because the screens are strategically located to engage with customers in the right place at the right time they will be a very special kind of online marketing network – where online and offline intersect.

What other features does your software provide?

The most complete explanation of our digital signage software is available on our site but let’s highlight a couple key features:

Superior Aesthetics
The playback experience combined with our professionally designed layouts & themes means great results. You’ll spend less time and get better looking signage with our system.

Superior Ease of Use
We offer an industry leading, sleek HTML5 user interface.
Our templates are powerful on their own yet entirely flexible.

Superior Manageability
1-2-3 device setup process. We make it as easy as possible to have your signage up and running quickly.
Built-in device management means you can manage your hardware from right in the software interface.

More for Less – Lowest Total Cost of Ownership in the Industry
Professionally designed templates
Free software accounts
Use any TV, any Network
No hidden costs

Collaboration & Control
Our system offers elegant separation of concerns between Media, Playlists, Hardware to allow for a range of workflow models to support any organization.

And with that, that wraps up our interview with the team at ScreenScape. If you have any questions or thoughts feel free to leave a comment!

Why Cybersecurity is More Important Now Than Ever

Security has always been an important part of society to protect what is valuable to us. In an era that is all about computing and the internet, there is nothing more valuable to us than what is kept online. With society becoming progressively online, cybersecurity is more important than ever.

Everything is on the Internet

The most important parts of our life and our society are now on the internet. From its inception, the internet has grown exponentially, both in terms of users and data. This rapid growth has led to a dependence on the internet both personally and industrially. 

If the internet fails for a person, they will suddenly lose access to their communication, their entertainment, and their financials. If an industry lost the use of the internet, they would lose the ability to reach clients, to research, and to communicate both locally and internationally. Hacking is now a global threat that affects people, organizations, and entire governments.

This threat extends into the national defense sector with the Department of Defense (DoD) relying on targeted system security plans to safeguard Controlled Defense Information (CDI). On both the individual and national level, hacking creates massive and longstanding consequences. Cybersecurity is the only way to protect against these risks.

Hacking is a Serious Threat

Hacking is a crime that is becoming easier to learn and easier to make money with. According to Stevens-Henager College, cybercrime is more profitable than illegal drugs. A hacker can learn the skills on their own and use them to go after major targets, such as business databases, email servers, or even bank accounts.

Data breaches are becoming more frequent, and hackers fear little with them since, even if they fail, they almost always remain anonymous. This makes hackers very difficult to catch, so they are able to continue learning and trying to infiltrate their targets’ information.

Lack of Computer Literacy

As computers continue to become more advanced, its users do not. People may put all of their information and valuables online, but that doesn’t mean they understand the cyber world. This lack of understanding means much of the population are easy targets to hack. People commonly use lax passwords and give out information they shouldn’t online.

Lax passwords pose a significant threat to businesses who store customer data online. That’s why data security ultimately comes down to controlling who is allowed access to business systems and passwords. In a world where people can’t always be relied on to protect themselves, cybersecurity tools and measures will need to protect them. 

The Advancement of Hacking Tools

Tools used in hacking are becoming smarter and more advanced every day. As these tools continue to grow in sophistication, the threat to society grows alongside it. Hacking tools evolving means that they are harder to detect and harder to stop and protect against than ever before.

It also means they are being made simpler to use; as a result, less-proficient hackers are still a threat, and the industry of hacking is becoming more widespread and profitable. As hacking becomes more advanced, the only way to stop it is for cybersecurity to become more advanced alongside it.

Cybersecurity will always be as important as computers and the internet in society. So, as our dependence on the digital world becomes more and more prominent, so too must our respect and advancement of cybersecurity.

Interested in learning the hottest news in tech? Check out the Latest in Tech News Podcast where we cover the latest in tech, gadget, and gaming news.

 

5 DIY Smart Home Automation Projects That Can Be Done on a Tight Budget

Creating the smart home of your dreams is no longer a pricey luxury. The marketplace for all things “smart” has exploded and now stands to offer homeowners of all income levels the opportunity to tackle pet projects like security systems, remote appliance controls, entertainment centers and telephonic communication coordination, to name a few. Your smart home can be as complicated or as simple as you like. That’s the beauty of starting out with DIY options and upgrading whenever you like and as your budget allows. Here are five smart home automation projects you can do on your own and on a budget.

Electric Options

Even for the technologically challenged, it’s possible to install dozens of different home automation projects that run on a simple electric current. Things like door sensors, window alarms, light controls and kitchen appliances are near the top of everyone’s DIY project list. With the proper attitude, a limited budget and minimal skills, anyone can create an electronically sophisticated home in the course of a weekend.

Whatever electric project you decide to pursue, remember to research it before buying any components. That way, you can make sure that it allows for future upgrades and integration into more sophisticated systems. Whether you install remote-controlled music and video systems or driveway motion detectors, check the specs of any project before you splice that first wire. Thinking ahead will save you lots of money later on.

Home Security

There’s no reason to strive for complete integration. Indeed, many homeowners like to keep their security projects unconnected to deter hacking attempts and keep systems decentralized. Some providers of home security are exclusively DIY, which helps save you money on installation and service. DIY enthusiasts who want to boost their home security systems can opt for relatively fast and inexpensive projects like installing reed switches on windows and doors. These simple devices can operate on the home’s electric current or a battery pack. The switch will sound an alarm when the window or door is opened.

There are DIY projects and kits that let you connect any number of reed switch alarms to your smartphone as well. One of the best things about reed-switch alarms is that you can keep them utterly simple for now but easily integrate them into a whole-house upgrade when you have more money to spend.

Temperature Controls

For less than the cost of a typical restaurant dinner, anyone can install a smart temperature control device on any wall of the home. This is actually more of a “ready-made” project that you can purchase at a hardware store and install yourself. Even so, it’s also possible to buy a smart controller and run several thermostats off of that one location. This project is one that can pay for itself in a matter of weeks through lower utility bills during bouts of extreme weather.

Entertainment Systems

One of the most popular choices for smart home enthusiasts is a sophisticated entertainment system. You can purchase a few components and have all your TVs, radios, and sound systems integrated and up to snuff in an afternoon. Big box stores all over the U.S. sell ready-made components that require minimal technical skill to install and operate.

Flood Warning

Depending where you reside, flooding can be a major area of concern. This simple DIY project that helps warn homeowners about the presence of moisture in places where it should not be have been around for decades. For DIY enthusiasts who want to focus on a few low-cost projects, a flood-warning system is an ideal first effort.

You’ll have to make two decisions before beginning: whether are you interested in stand-alone devices or integrated ones, and whether you run the warning units on battery power or the home’s electric current. The most popular option is batteries, for obvious reasons. In a major flood, one of the first public utilities to go down is the electric grid. Stand-alone units in basements, hallways, near water heaters and washers are wise choices for this type of project.

Turning your house into a smart home need not cost a fortune. For example, anyone can install an effective DIY home security system in just a few hours, like this DIY smart mirror, for example! For smart home enthusiasts, the possibilities are endless. Remember that the best DIY projects for your home will allow for future upgrades. That helps you avoid having to start from scratch a year or two down the road when your budget isn’t as tight.

 

Why You Should Be Excited About New Healthcare Technology

Innovation in healthcare technology, along with its increasing integration with the internet, has led to an explosion of new advancements in recent years. In order to solve some of the oldest problems in healthcare practice, doctors are relying on fresh ideas to improve the patient and provider’s experience. Here are a few details on some of the newest and most exciting developments in healthcare technology.

Blockchain Technology is Advancing

A key issue that doctors face when dealing with patients is organizing their data. Information on a client is more important to a healthcare professional than it is to many other forms of customer-based service. Doctors need to know what a patient is allergic to, what medicines they take, accurate history, etc. Medical blockchain technology solves this by accurately storing and sending data to providers.

Nanomedicine is the Stuff of Sci-Fi Made Real

Nanomedicine may sound like something out of a futuristic video game or movie, but it’s actually a technology that’s seeing increasing application in the field of healthcare. Nanomachines are employed in a variety of ways. They can be used to help doctors understand more about a patient’s body, increase the efficiency of medicines, reduce the damage from cancer related treatments, as well as having many other uses. The nanomedicine market is expected to grow to $350.8 billion by 2025.

Get Healthcare Service from the Comfort of Your Home

Another problem that healthcare providers have to work around is availability in regards to schedule and location. If a patient has to travel a long way to see their doctor, then that lowers the quality of service and increases cost. A new way that doctors are seeking to treat their patients remotely via telehealth care channels, including video, phone, and patient portals. Rather than have someone physically come into the doctor’s office just to receive a prescription, the patient can explain their symptoms remotely and get their prescription while saving time for all parties.

Emerging healthcare technology means that patients will be seeing an increase in the quality of care that they receive. Because this is a field that affects everybody, it’s important to learn more about nanomedicine as well as familiarize yourself with new ways to connect with your healthcare provider. Remember to stay informed by doing research and asking your doctor about the improvements that are constantly made in medicine. As an informed patient, you’ll be able to receive better quality care.

5 Technologies That Are Revolutionizing Justice in the US

In any trial in the justice system, the evidence that is in front of the judge or jury will be the determining factor in the outcome of the case. Advances in technology mean that court cases will involve new types of evidence that were never seen in the past. Here are some technologies that are changing the way that the justice system works.

Machine Learning & Prediction Algorithms

One of the major areas where artificial intelligence and algorithms affects the justice system is in allocation of police resources. Starting in the 1990s, police in major cities began to apply a method of statistical analysis to crime patterns in order to figure out where police officers should be positioned. Now based on statistics, certain neighborhoods will have heavier police presence at certain times. As for artificial intelligence, Emerj explains that, “police departments are using facial recognition to help establish whereabouts and identity of an individual for criminal cases.”

Dash Cams

Millions of people are hurt by car accidents every year. However, it is often difficult to establish who was at fault in a car accident. According to Hinman Law Group, “insurance companies rely on people’s’ fear of attorneys or the courts to keep that money for themselves.” However, dash cams are helping drivers lose their fear of confronting the insurance companies since they can now be shown conclusive video of what happened during the car accident. Now, the insurance company does not simply have to take a driver’s word for what transpired.

Police Body Cameras

Now, what the police see as part of performing their job duties is increasingly being recorded. While a police officer’s testimony was largely enough to secure a conviction, the body camera footage can either corroborate or contradict their testimony. Under most circumstances, footage from the body camera is admissible in court as evidence. They can also serve as an evaluation of the officer’s conduct during the course of an arrest if it is called into question. Police officers may change the way that they arrest suspects knowing that their actions are being recorded.

Drone Technology

According to RedShift, “drones are increasingly being used for police surveillance. They can be used before an arrest or operation to gather evidence.” This evidence can lay the basis for obtaining a search warrant. It can also be used in court to obtain a conviction of the defendant. Drones will serve as a force multiplier for police departments, giving them many extra sets of eyes without having to send an officer on patrol. Those breaking the law will never be able to have confidence that they can carry out activities without being watched by the police.

Database Technology

Advances in the technology behind databases facilitates information sharing between police departments. With a simple information check, a police officer can know someone’s criminal record and whether they have any outstanding warrants for their arrest. Computer technology now means that officers have this information at their fingerprints when they are on patrol and apprehend someone. In addition, there is greater information sharing between governmental and international law enforcement. After some high-profile failures where various law enforcement agencies were not talking to each other, efforts have been made to increase and enhance communication. More information is being tracked on databases and is shared between departments.

The criminal justice system has changed dramatically as the technology around it has changed. This has helped police departments become better at what they do since they have various instruments to aid them. Of course, an increase in technology means that criminal are better able to stay a step ahead so the new technology is needed.

How Much Should Businesses Control Their Employees’ Computer Use?

Businesses now have a wealth of technology available to them to help them keep tabs on their employees. Everything from cameras to keystroke loggers is used to make sure that employees remain productive and to prevent them from engaging in activities that could ultimately harm the business. Employers welcome this technology because it gives them a way to make sure that their business is running smoothly. However, employees do not share this same enthusiasm for surveillance practices in the workplace.

The Trend of Employee Monitoring

In recent years, the number of techniques and products available for employee monitoring have increased significantly. If you feel like you are being watched, you are probably correct. A recent survey found that approximately 80 percent of all major companies monitor the online activities of employees. In 1997, only 35 percent of companies monitored their employees. Workplace monitoring is now considered business as usual.

Protect Your Data

Employers have a good reason for concern. According to one survey, it is estimated that as many as 55 percent of all companies have experienced a data breach that is a result of employee action. Sometimes, this is due to a lack of knowledge about security protocols. Other times, it is because the employee clicks on a malicious website unintentionally and exposes the entire business system to a virus. When employees are allowed to use company devices for personal use, it can have significant negative consequences and even result in liability if customer data happens to be compromised. Monitoring software can be used to block employees from visiting dangerous websites and taking security risks on the company’s system.

In addition, if they are allowed to use personal devices for company business, it can result in vulnerabilities to the company system. Business owners need to know how to protect their databases and networks. If the employee does not have proper antivirus protection, it can expose the company to a virus that is uploaded from the personal device. It is also difficult to track productive time when the employee is not using a company device.

Encourage Productivity

Employee monitoring can not only help to keep your system and business safe, but it can also help to improve employee productivity. It is no news that social media and smartphones are a big problem both at home and at work. It has worsened to the point where it can be considered an addiction in some people. Studies show that the average employee wastes about 2 hours of company time per day on personal internet use. Implementing content control with managed IT can increase productivity. It may be noted that during this time, the employer is paying them for services that they are not receiving.

Laws Related to Employee Monitoring

Let’s take a look at some of the legal issues surrounding privacy and rights. The issue of employee monitoring at work goes back to 1993. It was decided by the courts that when at work, employees had a limited expectation to privacy. Throughout the years, this principle has expanded to clearly include telephone monitoring, email, mobile devices, and audio and visual monitoring.

The rights of monitoring are now extended to include GPS tracking, especially when employees are in employer-owned vehicles. It also includes the monitoring of mobile phones such as contacts, call logs, photos, email, text messages, and video. For the most part, the law favors the rights of the employer to monitor almost every aspect of the employee’s life when they are on the clock.

Can it Go Too Far?

The law gives employers considerable liberty when it comes to monitoring the activities of employees, especially when they are on company-owned systems and using company-owned property. Technology has caused the blurring of lines between various realms of our lives. Many times, relationships formed at work carryover into after hours. This is when the line tends to get fuzzy.

When at work, there is a legal expectation that the employer will perform the activities for which they are being paid. In Vail v. Raybestos, it was determined that employers are permitted to spy on their employees if they suspect that the employee is taking illegal FMLA leave. This represents a specific situation. The employer’s right to monitor their employees depends on the type of job they do and whether they are public or private sector workers.

Protecting Yourself

It is clear that employee monitoring can help improve workplace productivity and to protect company assets. Many of the issues that have arisen regarding employee monitoring involve consent. This is where a good media policy and legal consent documents that address the limits and types of monitoring that will be conducted can save many hassles down the road. If you will be engaged using employee monitoring, the first thing that you need to do is to get a strong and clearly defined media policy in place that each employee will acknowledge as part of their employment at the company.

Now, there are many solutions for employee monitoring available to employers. It is clear that employees waive many of their rights to privacy when they are in the workplace, and in some circumstances, this limitation to privacy extends outside of the workplace as well. Having a strong social media policy and consent practice in place will help avoid any legal issues that may arise as a result of employee monitoring. In addition, the application of these policies must be uniform and consistent for them to represent the best protection.

Employee monitoring is now considered a part of good business practices. Employees are losing ground when it comes to the ability to complain about being monitored if they are using company property on company time. Monitoring employees at work is now the norm rather than the exception. There are many solutions available at an affordable cost. You can choose one that is obvious or one that works behind the scenes. The type of surveillance that you choose depends on the nature of your business and the types of vulnerabilities that you face.

Think Your Business Won’t Benefit from New Tech? Think Again

Apps are strategic tools that any business can use to boost web traffic, foot traffic, customer satisfaction, and sales. In the restaurant industry, apps are popular among employees and customers because the technology simplifies the process of getting food to tables quickly. Restaurant apps can highlight order history, display a menu, and give customers opportunities to enroll in a loyalty program. According to a report, 36 percent of diners prefer using apps instead of ordering food the traditional way. They enjoy the convenience that an app provides as a typical program can process a reservation quickly and efficiently.

By identifying areas, you can improve efficiency. For example, in the United States, over 25 percent of the general population don’t enjoy talking on a landline phone or smartphone. As a result, old-school businesses that lack a customer service app lose many potential customers. Also, when compared to phone calls, customer service apps are better since they don’t make major mistakes. As a result, in order to maintain the highest level of customer satisfaction and consistent sales, a business must invest in some sort of customer service app.

Technology Saves Money

In the restaurant industry, thousands of owners are saving money using POS systems because the technology lets customers process transactions without calling over an employee. This is a big advantage for a growing business as it prevents the need to hire extra employees during a holiday sales rush. Integrated POS systems also work well in retail stores, malls, and hotel lobbies.

Using technology to cut down on utilities and other recurring fees can greatly lighten the load of a business. For example, businesses in the hospitality industry have begun to incorporate smart thermostats throughout their hotels and suites. They are able to minimize costs as the thermostat is able to self adjust according to if the guestroom is occupied, therefore not heating or cooling unoccupied rooms.  

One of the key areas where all businesses can use technology to save cash is the shipping department. Many things can impact a mobile company’s bottom line, such as breakdowns, maintenance, excessive gas usage, and undeliverable mail. But when mobile drivers use GPS tools along with vehicle diagnostic devices, they’re able to take practical routes around traffic and reach customers on time without experiencing breakdowns. Then, the next part of the process is making sure that items are delivered to the right postal address. Through address verification technology, businesses can ensure that mail and other packages reach their customers and effectively reduce operational waste

Digital Signs Simplify Marketing

When a digital sign is used as a marketing tool, people notice the brand. This technology is practical and convenient because it lets a business highlight sales, company info, important events, and more on a convenient LED display. Screens also just naturally draw the eye more than paper marketing can. There’s something magnetic about screens that make people look. Using this magnetism to your advantage can help you connect with customers and potential customers. Make sure your signs provide useful information as well as catching the eye of customers. A sign that is only attractive, but doesn’t try to sell your business or products is a sign wasted. Digital signs are becoming so popular that many fast food restaurants are now using digital signage for their menus and overhead signs. You’ll see a noticeable ROI with digital signage.

4 Amazing Ways Technology is Lowering Business Energy Consumption

The modern business places a substantial drain on energy leading to a major impact on the environment. Technology is currently attempting to reduce the usage and costs of usage as well as environmental impact in four different ways.

Smart Shut-Off

When an office is empty, power does not need to be used. When the lights and computers are left on, power is wasted. Any vampire power drain must also be addressed. Sun Run explains, “Vampire Load is an industry term that refers to cost of vampire energy usage. Every household is spending over $200 a year simply due to vampire energy. That number grows exponentially when compared to the usage of an office or work building.” The main causes are the electronics left plugged into a socket. This includes printers, desk lamps, computers, paper shredders, etc. These devices waste a significant amount of energy. The best option is to purchase power strip bars. When everything is connected to one of these devices, everything can be turned off at night by flipping a switch. This not only saves the business money, it is beneficial for the environment.

Smart Climate Control

If there’s any energy need that all businesses share in common, it’s climate control. Verdant explains, “whether it’s air conditioning or heating, every business has the need for some kind of climate control, and often a dedicated HVAC system. And IoT, or Internet of Things, and machine learning are helping businesses save significantly on their energy consumption and costs. From smart thermostats that allow users to program their energy consumption around daily occupancy needs to smart sensors that monitor fluctuations in real-time occupancy, there is no shortage of energy management tools available to help business save on their energy costs.” Climate control can waste tons of energy.

The New Technological Devices

Cost-effective and energy-efficient devices have become available due to new technology. This includes cooling, heating, lighting, refrigeration, computing and transport. These devices save energy through demonstrated, realistic and proven technology. Some of these devices are already on the market and are capable of saving businesses a lot of money in energy consumption. This type of product was designed specifically for energy conservation for businesses.

The Energy Audit

An energy audit is an excellent way for businesses to learn where they can reduce energy consumption without a negative impact on their output. This includes analyzing energy flows, reducing energy output and energy conservation. Correlate explains, “an energy audit is often the first step to identifying a wide variety of opportunities to reduce carbon footprints and reduce energy expenses. But an energy audit can’t be the last thing done. There needs to be extensive renovations on all systems for an energy audit to be worth it. Generally this is done by constant communication with an energy minded company.”

The steps a business takes are not as important as making an effort to decrease energy consumption. Ineffective energy and climate control can waste tons of energy. Lowering energy consumption for businesses has become critical for both the cost and the environment.