Archive for Business & Economy

Google Night Walk: An Immersive Maps Experience

Google Night Walk: An Immersive Maps Experience
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Google Maps is by far the best navigation tool available for public use. There’s no competition in sight and efforts from rival competitors like Apple have failed miserably. But Google is not resting on its laurels as it constantly looks to evolve its mapping solution to offer more rich and enhanced experiences for users. We all have come to love street view and now Google is extending that with night walk.

Google’s night walk although an experiment for now offers a really rich experience. It’s an in-depth tour of Marseilles, with your own private tour guide. The idea is to show how Marseilles looks in the night. The tagline says it all: explore the sounds, streets and soul of the city.

You can’t explore the whole city, but a majority of the famous places have been covered. The interface is similar to street view but with quite a lot of bells and whistles thrown in. So you will hear the voice of your tour guide as you move through different streets, alleys and corners of Marseilles. He will let you know the significance of the place and why it’s famous. You also get rich contextual information of the area in terms of photos and other information pulled from Google’s vast database. You can zoom in, zoom out and move around the city with the help of a map on the bottom left.

To make the experience closer to being real you will hear the sounds of the city. For instance, I was exploring the area where localities play football and you’ll hear sounds of the players and can actually hear the football being passed around. When it comes down to it, you need to try it to feel it. In the end I believe it’s the closest anyone has ever got to capture the spirit of a city. Interesting to see which city is next on the list. NYC anyone?
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Using Technology to Boost Business Productivity

Using Technology to Boost Business Productivity
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Making your business productive is a not an easy task, it requires a lot of concentrated effort and overall effective implementation of your strategy. Optimal utilization of resources is tricky but technology can be a great helping hand in realizing your long term goals. Allowing employees to use productivity apps on their smartphones and tablets for work purposes can yield great results. Following are a few tips to increase productivity using technology:using smartphones for productivity

  • Cloud Services: A lot of businesses are still reluctant to use modern day cloud services and apps. Using cloud services can to a great extent simplify the work flow for employees. Collaborative editing and sharing of files are really strong features. Simply use a free solution like Google docs for managing word, excel and powerpoint documents or you can use the Office 365 suite from Microsoft. With these tools at your disposal you can sync and share files with ease. No more sending files through email.
  • Mobile Apps: It’s a mobile and tablet first environment out there. Companies should encourage employees to use productivity apps like Quickoffice, Dropbox, Teamviewer, Zamurai and Clear among others. These apps have been developed to make life easier when you’re working.
  • Communication Tools: Being in constant touch with your colleagues on an important project or a strict deadline can make all the difference. You can deploy corporate instant messengers for quick and effective communication. This would minimize the need to wait for email replies. Real time communication is the key here.

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Eye Tests Made Possible With Smartphones?

Eye Tests Made Possible With Smartphones?
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Technology has helped tremendously in giving access to medical solutions to people across the globe. There are a lot of towns, cities and countries in the world that do not have the medical infrastructure to assist patients with their eye problems. This is partly because medical devices for examining your eyes cost a ton of money and not every hospital can afford it. But there is something positive to look forward to.

Researchers at the Stanford University have developed low-cost and highly functional iPhone adapters for taking high resolution images of your eye with the existing camera. The adapters can be used to snap pictures of your eye and even the retina with reasonable detail and then you can simply upload it to your medical record. The device is designed to be used with minimal training and patients can use it themselves too. The patient can than show the image to an ophthalmologist for further diagnosis. This reduces the cost attached for having high priced eye testing devices and optical cameras. It could be really helpful in rural areas where medical infrastructure is bare minimum.

stanford-adapterIn principle, there are two things in action here. One is the adapter for the anterior or front of the eye and there’s a fundus camera mount for the back of the eye. This can do wonders for testing eyes remotely and sending pictures across to the ophthalmologist at the hospital. The model is still in early stages and the researchers would be testing its efficiency against the more expensive eye testing devices. The cost for developing the anterior adapter is close to $15 whereas the 3D printed mount for the fundus camera costs $90 but the costs can be scaled down further.

David Myung, one of the researchers, says “Our ultimate goal is for this system to be usable by healthcare staff with minimal specialized training for taking high resolution retinal images”

It’s always a good thing to find out about innovations in technology that contribute to a social/health cause.
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Maximizing Your Team’s Efficiency with IM

Maximizing Your Team’s Efficiency with IM
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Team work has been an underlying foundation for the success of an organization in challenging times. Getting along with team members and forging a strong relationship has been a key factor for successful teams. Another important factor for truly top notch teams is the use of collaboration tools like Instant messengers to communicate, share files and get work done with team members scattered across the world. Group chat features in an IM can be really useful for teams handling small to medium size projects on strict guidelines.

Powerful group chat features in an IM has a lot of benefits over doing conference voice/video calls, where team members often overlap in their talks, there’s no record of what was discussed, and you surely can’t share files over the call. There are lots of IMs that have great one-on-one chatting features, but that doesn’t always make the cut for companies having teams spanned across continents. Business group chat features are specifically designed and tailor made to improve collaboration between team members and increase efficiency.

small_9180358591You can set up group chat rooms between different departments like marketing, sales and development. Add all the required members to the group and start discussing your project requirements with all the members. You can share files and send links to everyone at one go and even ask for suggestions from individual team members so other members can improvise on the suggestion and come out with the best solution. Virtual group chat truly enhances the brainstorming process which is essential for any competitive organization today.
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Using Instant Messengers at Conferences or Events

Using Instant Messengers at Conferences or Events
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Tech conferences and events are an exciting thing for tech geeks and nerds. You can learn a ton of new things and it’s a great opportunity to network with new people. You’ll get a chance to get your hands on the coolest new devices and services in the industry and its one hell of a ride. The recently concluded SXSWi was a grand success as expected.

A lot of journalists, bloggers, and marketing professionals attend these events to network and learn about the new trends emerging in the marketplace. In such a scenario using instant messengers can be really helpful for staying connected with their colleagues back at the office. You could be a blogger or journalist covering a live event or launch of a new product. Your colleague at the office needs quick updates on what’s happening at the moment. This is where instant messengers can play a crucial role.

small__917810014Additionally, you could report the latest happenings and news back to your colleague at the office. This could help him write an article or do a section for the live updates from the event. Even better you can send pictures from the event using your IM and share it on your blog article for your audience.

There are various other ways IMs can assist you at the events, such as having virtual meetings with your colleagues over a video call to discuss what things to cover next and deciding the strategy for the remainder of the event.

 

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Why a Retreat is a Great Idea for Professionals

Why a Retreat is a Great Idea for Professionals
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Retreats used to be thought (to some people) of as places for people to get over an addiction or to handle a personal crisis in their life. However, retreats of any kind can help business professionals in their career, as they hold many benefits that aren’t fully realized until the retreat is over.

Here is a list of some of the reasons why a yoga, meditation, writing, or silent retreat (or others) may be just what you need:

Increases Focus

When you are forced out of your daily routine of work and home (while trying to fit a social life in between), you can then start to work on the skills that can actually make you a better companion, friend, and parent. One of the great things about retreats is that they usually include workshops on improve focus and mindfulness, skills that can help you in any aspect of your life.

Lowers Stress

Another benefit of retreats is that they are usually held in beautiful places. This vacation atmosphere automatically makes most people relax, allowing them to soak in the experience since they are often so far away from home. Taking some days to focus on the purpose of the retreat can help lower the stress that comes with your career and family responsibilities.

Improves Self-Awareness

For many retreats, there are several intervals throughout the days that allow for self-reflection time or time alone, away from the group. This can be tremendously useful to professionals, as many of us don’t have the time to reflect on our own personal development. “Forced” silent time alone helps retreat-goers turn inward and make it possible to work out some of the personal and emotional issues that may have been affecting their work or home lives.

Additionally, group workshops, where participants often learn about one another, can allow for different perspectives to showcase experiences and ideals in a different way that you hadn’t thought of before. This makes group session an important aspect of self-awareness as well.

Creates Relationships

Because most retreats are more of a close experience, you really get to know the people in just a short time of the amount of days that you are there. Going through a retreat experience with others can help create a bond and friendship that is hard to cultivate almost anywhere else. While this could help you professionally, it’s important to go into a mindset of getting to know these people personally instead of hoping to further your business through them. A genuine interest in the person can help create those bonds that will last years after.

 

No matter the reason or location, retreats can be a great way to relax, pamper yourself, and learn a little bit more about yourself along the way. To find retreats that you are interested in, try searching the topic keywords and then the word retreat, or search for the country name you want to go to with the word retreat. You’d be surprised at what is available!

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Windows on Chromebook is now a Possibility

Windows on Chromebook is now a Possibility
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It’s a point proven; a lot of computers in the US still use traditional desktop applications that run on Windows. Not everyone has made a move to complete cloud solutions like the Chrome OS and it’s not going to happen in the foreseeable future because Windows still has a strong hold in major corporations and households across the globe. This has forced Google to team up with VMware and offer desktop virtualization services to its customers on Chromebooks.

Google’s selling plenty of Chromebooks but it’s still not mainstream because it lacks the tons of traditional Windows applications. With this move Google plans to offer you the best of both worlds. In practice this is how everything comes together:small_4170105491

  • Your IT department needs to install the Horizon Server which is a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offering by VMware on your Chromebook. Buying server space on Horizon costs you money but Google estimates it’s still cheaper for organizations than to buy Windows 7 or 8 licenses.
  • Horizon runs Windows in a virtualized environment. All you need is to log in the server using Horizon view and start using windows on your HTML 5 compatible Chromebook.
  • You could still switch to the Chrome OS if you’re looking to run Google Apps.

This setup is especially helpful for organizations that don’t want to get bogged down with license and administrative costs associated with managing every PC. It’s also a viable proposition for companies looking to upgrade from Windows XP as Microsoft will stop supporting it in April. Companies no longer need to worry about security because Windows will virtually be beamed to your device from VMware. This is a great solution as organizations can leverage the remote computing and cloud power on their low spec Chromebook and still get the job done on legacy windows applications.
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Instant Messaging Can Help the Deaf to Communicate

Instant Messaging Can Help the Deaf to Communicate
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Instant messaging has been viewed by many as a convenient and personal way to communicate and stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. But there are different use cases for several people. One such demographic are the deaf or hard of hearing population. Sign language has been their preferred choice of communication. IMs can mean so much more to the hearing impaired than it can mean to you and me. It’s an entire new way of communicating for the hearing impaired.

small_193401260The technology deployed in Instant Messengers today can create a level playing field for the deaf community. The hearing impaired can now do tasks such as scheduling a meeting, interacting with friends and families with ease. Not only can they use chat functionalities available in today’s IMs but do so much more in terms of productivity with things such as Screen Share, Co-Browse and also interact with sign language using video calls. With the increase in Internet connectivity more and more hearing impaired users are finding IMs as their go to communication tool. Internet based IM also provides an opportunity for the hearing impaired to communicate with anonymity without having to disclose their disability, if they chose to do so.

According to a research carried out at University of Haifa in Israel, it was found that the hearing impaired teens generally feel lonely and suffer from low self-esteem as compared to hearing people. In such a scenario, Instant Messengers can be a boon for the hearing impaired in ways more than one.
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Conducting Video Interviews over Instant Messengers

Conducting Video Interviews over Instant Messengers
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Human resource departments in companies today conduct a lot of interviews on daily basis to match the right candidate with the right profile. Interview costs can be high for companies if they are looking to test candidates from far away states because it can include paying for air fares and accommodation.  With the increase in broadband speeds and technological advances in Instant Messengers, companies are now using Video calls to conduct long-distance or even international interviews at least for the initial round.

Video Interviews can really help companies save on transportation costs and setting up interviews is much quicker. With companies looking to hire global talent, video interviews are the way to go forward for initial screening. It’s even convenient for the candidates to interview from their home or office without having to travel long distances. Video interview can also be less stressful than in person interviews if the candidate is well prepared.

It’s important for Companies to use the right Instant Messenger for conducting interviews. Brosix with its comprehensive features can be a good choice for organizations looking to conduct video interviews. It’s essential for employers and employees to select a quiet place to do the interview because the microphone would pick up even the faintest of sounds. Common tips like dressing well, being active, confident and well prepared still hold true for video interviews.
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The Art of Lying on Instant Messengers

The Art of Lying on Instant Messengers
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New findings have shown that it’s now easier to predict if a person on the other end of the chat is lying or not. A Recent study concluded by Birmingham Young University shows findings that people are more likely to be lying when taking long to respond, making edits or having shorter responses. Lying on the internet and digital playground is easier because people can conceal their expressions while chatting.

The findings were based on a test of 100 students from 2 different universities who were asked to converse with the computer and answer 30 questions. Their responses and answers were analyzed and monitored which led researchers to conclude that it takes 10 percent longer to type a lie than a truthful and honest reply. This holds true for conversation on social media and instant messaging apart from text messages. Unfortunately, the human brain only detects a dismal 54 percent of all lies. It’s a bit easier to detect lies and edits on instant messengers because you can see when the user is actually typing in real time.

Having said all of this, Meservy and Jenkins who have collectively done the research say we shouldn’t automatically draw conclusions that a person is lying purely based on the time they take to respond because there might be other factors that play a role here. It is this very reason that in the next stage of the research they would be including sensors such as Microsoft’s Kinect to track human movements and how that connects to lying in the digital world. Till than the next time you know when to get suspicious if a person’s lying. We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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