AusTech

Business and Technology Articles Contributed by UWA Students

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 9)

Technology is creating safer home environments and living conditions

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Home security has been always been an important factor when one is making a house purchase. Previously, home security was limited to getting several different types of locks and maybe installing a couple of small cameras around the house. This would a lot of times lead to people losing their keys and struggling to get into their own houses. In recent years, however, there have been many technological innovations in the field of home security. The advancements range from more accessible locksmith options to even fully smart technology implemented in the house. Now, it is easier than ever, therefore, to correctly analyze and implement suitable home security technologies. Here are a few of the latest innovations which one can use while updating the security of one’s home.

Lighthouse is one of the most recent home security cameras and it comes with many smart home features that make it unique. One of the many reasons this camera is recommended is because of the easy installation process. This camera can identify between different 3 D objects. However, the feature that really sets this camera apart is its artificial intelligence component and the smartphone app. The app allows the camera to have show specific footage and even give commands and set reminders.

Another reliable home monitoring and security system is SimpliSafe. There are many features that make this a preferable home security system. It is a system that is recommended for both big and small houses and has sensors that detect objects quickly. It is also considered an affordable alternative to most home security technologies and offers several customizations. Moreover, SimpliSafe allows its users to customize the different alarm triggers in order to make sure the alarm is more dependable. It also has several add-ons and can be connected to various different smart home technologies such as Amazon Alexa and soon to be integrated Google Home.

For people who prefer to have a home security system that can be installed by oneself Abode is one of the most affordable choices. However, the ease of integration that Abode allows does not reflect on the advanced features it contains. Abode offers features like motion detectors as well as door sensors. Moreover, the system can be easily connected to Amazon Alexa, giving it an extra touch of technological innovation. There are, as in the aforementioned systems, several add-ons that come with Abode that the users can choose to implement if required.

The home security system one decides to implement relies on the different requirements of each individual. The factors that the choice can depend on can range from the neighborhood in which one resides to the number of hours and weeks one spends outside the household. However, it is necessary to understand that there is a need for home security in each household. One study even demonstrated that offenders were 60% less likely to go into a house with a security alarm.  The options of home security technologies are vast and it is advised to be implemented as the results for the users are safety and security.

Expanding an empire – Ecommerce in food & beverages

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The food and beverages industry has been a strong empire for many, many years, but now ecommerce is taking it to new, unforeseen heights. Hospitality demands fresh produce and ideas to keep it flourishing, and we are seeing the implementation of winning ideas bringing the industry ever-higher, including a coffee of the month club for some cafes or a diner’s club membership for some restaurants. Of all these ideas, however, the most transformative are those driven by ecommerce; the future of the entire planet is deemed to be going digital, and so ecommerce is the pioneering force of modernising and transforming industries ahead of the complete takeover – including the food and beverages industry.

Opening a successful restaurant, café, food truck, or other food institution ultimately opens up a sense of community and inspiration that drives new ideas and the sensations of taste to unprecedented heights. For every hospitality business, there are aspects and concepts that subconsciously work for or against them. The introduction of ecommerce into any industry is renowned for being a definitive game changer. In the food and beverage industry specifically, however, there are two core waves of ecommerce that are sweeping across the sector, strengthening and improving it, and steadily preparing it for the digital future we are so obviously barrelling towards.

The food and beverages industry is unique in that its products genuinely must be the freshest they can possibly be. One of the most valuable transformations of e-commerce has been borne in the wake of the move to digital shopping for food and beverages.

As more hospitality businesses – whether it be the supermarket giants that carry the items on everyone’s shopping lists, or the pre-made meal plans available through sites – take their plans online, more are finding themselves faced with the reality that taking the hospitality industry online requires more forethought and intricate processing than other industries does.

Food specifically must be fresh when it arrives at a customer’s door; people are not going to pay for product that has gone bad in its journey to them. All food must be delivered overnight or at the very latest within 48 hours. Any longer than this maximum deadline and you risk contamination and loss of customer trust and loyalty.

Your hospitality business is only as successful as your inclusions of a potentially global market. That is why it is so important to have payment options available that cater to most people (ideally, to all).

Giving your consumers the choice of how they pay is how you appeal to the vast majority of your possible consumer base. The food and beverages sector thrives on providing customers with the best, so it only makes sense that providing them with the best availability of payment options is the next logical step in ensuring your customer trust and loyalty.

The food industry is the most integral to human survival, so opting and pushing towards making sure your business in the hospitality industry offers the best of everything is exactly how you ensure the longevity of your business model and methods – and, most importantly, the happiness of your customers… both existing and prospective.

Used cars are on the rise despite not being eco-friendly

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Buying a car is a big investment, therefore it is necessary to consider one’s options. The options available in the current generation are many, from fully automatic cars to manual cars. There are a lot of different ways in which the innovations in the automotive industry have influenced buyers’ perspectives. One can even purchase a car depending on the brand, the color, and other physical features of the automotive. But, one of the most important decisions to take as a new car owner is whether or not one wants a “new car.” There are many benefits of both buying a new and used car. This is the reason why a lot of companies focus on purchasing used cars. Companies usually offer a cash for car quote for used cars which can be of benefit to the customer in the future. As there are reasons companies purchase used cars, there are reasons individuals do as well.  For instance, if one is learning how to drive, or is a student, many believe that buying a used car is beneficial. The car one chooses also depends a lot on the funds available to them and the investment one is willing to make. However, here are a few reasons to support purchasing a used car.

Buying a used car will obviously be less expensive than buying a new car. Moreover, a lot of used cars have been bought quite recently, hence they are good as new. Buying used cars from reputable sources assure that one can purchase a car at the best value. Because of the reduced prices of used cars, customers are more likely to pay in full rather than through loans or payment plans. Loans and payment plans are fairly common while purchasing a new car, and experts suggest that these payments are many times the cause of lower wealth. Therefore, one can save up more buying used cars.

It is a known fact that new cars have big depreciation, especially in the first year. Therefore, it is a better investment to buy a used car. Since automobiles depreciate in value the quickest, it is necessary to make sure one has the funds to afford a new car. There are also several cars which are better bought used than new because of the depreciation costs. These are some of the best value cars, with features of new cars and the cost of used cars.

There are several other reasons to consider buying a used car. This is the reason why the sales for used cars are increasing, as buying a used car is a better investment. Another benefit of buying a used car is that the insurance costs of used cars are generally lower. Moreover, for new and younger drivers, a lot of families consider more affordable automobiles. Although the current generation believes in providing their young children with cars with extra safety features, buying a used car of the year 2012 and after is considered beneficial. Overall, both used and new cars have benefits and the purchase ultimately depends on one’s funds and the costs one is willing to incur.

The Changing Business Paradigm: Online Entrepreneurship as a Utile Function

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Business grows and business slows, as many have experienced or observed in their careers and the cure for such stagnation is entrepreneurship. As a notion, entrepreneurship refers to developing and implementing new business ideas to promote economic activity and market growth, making it possible for new companies to enter the markets or existing ones to enhance their businesses. Online entrepreneurship is a relatively new phenomenon which takes the given procedure to a digital level, enabling producers and consumers to engage into business through the internet. Whether it be a news website dedicated to technology, an online retailer of goods or a new social media outlet, online entrepreneurship opens new frontiers for business in the new world. It is up to those with a smart business mindset to take advantage of the situation and connect the dots.

Information is key for business and online journalism has become more important than ever, both as a mediator of ideas and as a business. Online entrepreneurs such as Sam Apple have taken notice of the current crisis is printed media to start companies such as ‘The Faster Times’, a web publication that was created using open-source software at an ever affordable price tag of $20,000. Apple recruited numerous jobless writers in New York to offer them 75% of all advertisement revenues as salary, in turn making them business partners. Apple believes that the problem with printed media is that the customers are expected to pay for the ‘freight’, meaning that paying for the print services has been rendered unnecessary. The online entrepreneur realized that by using advertisement revenue, the given constraint could be eradicated which led to success with his online journal. The Faster Times went online with a lavish party in a Manhattan bookstore last July with correspondents from 20 different countries reporting on a variety of subjects including food, science, travel and arts, receiving appraisal from its readers. It seems as if Apple and his team have solved the crisis of American journalism by implementing a new business scheme and retaining journalistic integrity.

What is the key for success in online entrepreneurship? According to Jennifer Trask of The Huffington Post, there exists a formula. Online entrepreneurs should save money for taxes, as the legal complications arising from illegality might lead to sever financial consequences. Such entrepreneurs should not compare their projects with others for the sake of retaining confidence. Getting quality leads is necessary and those who can do it faster are automatically more successful. Seeking for professional aid is required because confidence does not pay bills: profits do and there are people who know how to make money from online operations. Building a large email list does not hurt anyone because it enables the entrepreneur to reach out to the right people and promote their services/products. Keeping successful people around one’s self is crucial because it becomes possible to learn from their ideas and experiences. Having the capability to say no is important because the current market paradigm has a habit of pushing new projects into oblivion, leading to dead ends. Finally, having fun while working is necessitated because neither the employees nor the clients want to have a bad time with the project. All in all, in order to succeed as an online entrepreneur, one should pay attention to finances,   legality and quality to ensure a safe and profitable ride.

The Silicon Valley is a landmark in today’s globalist capitalism and Vivek Wadhwa of The Washington Post believes that online entrepreneurs should follow its lead. Digital infrastructure is a necessity in today’s global business and the Valley’s habit of promoting new ideas is a key element in its success. Facebook literally took its entire modus operandi from previous projects such as MySpace and Friendster and currently the company is copying Snapchat with its Facebook Stories and Facebook Live is almost a replica of Meerkat and Periscope. “Knowledge is sharing,” says Wadhwa and building on previous ideas by utilizing new and fresh ones from others is totally acceptable. This way, the online entrepreneur might utilize the feedback given to other projects to perfect it and create a better one. Companies such as Apple have been killing imitations by constantly producing new products and therefore such interactions are necessary for constant innovation and most definitely are not a strategy to be frowned upon.

Building an online presence is crucial in digital marketing

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No one knows who coined the term “Google It”, but it has been a catch phrase that has elevated the way business is conducted. Whether a searching for a close restaurant, nearest gas station, or even where to find baby food, this term answers whatever is being searched. However, there is much to be said for digital marketing and how the algorithms work.

For many consumers, there is little thought put into how an item populates onto their device searches. Many simply push a button, or type the words into a search bar. Realistically, there is a great need for this focus, and if a company or business has not worked to provide additional details, there is a greater chance of being lost in the world wide web. These tools can be small and unseen by the consumer.

This would be classified under Search Engine Optimization or S.E.O. can look like specific pages on a website that are geared to a topic. It may also include backlinks to those same pages, where a backlink is another page or website on the internet that connects to that original page. These are not challenging to accomplish, but can be if the company does not know where to turn, or how to accomplish their goals.

In many cases, companies do not even know they are not found or what they are lacking. This is where a SEO agency is useful. With the specific knowledge these teams provide, overall enhancement and visibility on the internet is likely. Help on these tasks may not only be about S.E.O., but can extend to include research into a specific market and how a company can not only enter that field, but reach a more targeted market.

There is also the overall online presence the company portrays. To have a team utilize all their resources to hone to the development of a proper niche is only one aspect. This same team should be able to develop a marketing plan that reaches every corner of social media as well. It may be a Facebook advertisement, or it may include using a different type of purchased marketing like AdWords. Alternatively, it may also mean a complete overhaul of the online site is necessary, through design, images or content. Either way, knowing how consumers behave and how the algorithms work and are changing the internet can increase exposure in the digital world.

A correct marketing plan should also include a move to device management, which broadly stated is defined as the ability for a website to be accessed through handheld or similar devices. In many cases, websites are not designed through a dedicated mobile application which decreases online visibility. An online digital agency can assist in these aspects and increase online visibility, and can produce the difference between being not found online, or being the top of the list when someone decides to “Google It”.

The mechanics of a successful F&B Business

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The food and beverage (F&B) sector have humble origins. People naturally experienced pangs of hunger as they went about their daily routine. The F&B business stepped in to satiate people’s desire for food and drink. And as the demands grew, so did the offerings of the food and beverage sector. The F&B business is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today and any new aspiring entrant should keep the following in mind.

Benjamin Franklin had said centuries ago, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” These words of wisdom are relevant even today. A company aspiring to venture into or expand its F&B footprint should draw a detailed roadmap of where it is positioned and headed, in the backdrop of its target audience and competition.

An old adage goes thus, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” To begin with, a business should attempt to understand the market dynamics and behaviour of the consumers by taking on what it is prepared to handle and reaching out to a specific group of people. At the same time, a business should not lose sight of the larger picture and equip itself with the ability to scale up and expand upon existing processes and systems.

An F&B business must have a unique selling proposition (USP) to differentiate itself from the competitors. The uniqueness could either be a specific product or a service proposition. A concept without a unique story would fade away without leaving a trace. For example, this Chippendale café offers a unique “post-canteen canteen” dining experience to its customers with their Bauhaus inspired interiors and bold, experimental flavours.

The F&B business is a people-oriented business that is centred on adapting to ever-shifting consumer interests and expectations. It should demonstrate the flexibility to improve and adapt its product basket over a period of time. Businesses should also be open about expanding into new areas if the customer so demands. In other words, the business plan should be adaptable to changes in market dynamics.

The team is a huge part of a successful F&B business as it does the humdrum work and is also the face of the company. The business should ensure that it chooses the right candidates who mirror the enthusiasm and goals of the company. It is also important to develop a culture that fuels team spirit as when employees feel connected with each other and with the company, they would be able to give their best.

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand,” said Howard Schulz, the former CEO of Starbucks. F&B companies should invest their time and energy in creating a space in the consumers’ minds and evoking a positive emotional response. They should capitalize on the power of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to establish and maintain relationships with the customers.

To conclude, the F&B industry is here to stay as food is the key to human survival. But individual F&B players will rise and fall, depending on their vision and business acumen.

How technology makes lives more convenient

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Technology is innovating every minute. There are now apps and digital devices to help individuals execute almost any activity. Technology has taken over the most important sections of society, be it communication, travel and tourism, shopping, or even medicine. Everything is more convenient for people today as everything can be found on one’s phones and brought to one’s doorstep. Companies and governments are constantly leveraging technology to create a more comfortable life for all individuals. Technological innovations are creating a new way for individuals to interact with the world. Here are 3 areas in which technological innovations are allowing people to lead a more convenient life.

  1. Travel

Traveling in the past few years has become more affordable and accessible. Companies are constantly trying to simplify processes which once used to be very time-consuming. For example, esta provides assistance and ease for Visa applications. There have also been innovations in the manner in which travel is booked and visits are chosen. This recent convenience in travel has made the market grow immensely and become one of the most important industries of today’s generation. The travel industry has benefited a lot from technological advancements because of millennials. Millennials are the main travel audience as well as the generation which is most comfortable using technology. 

  1. Communication

With social media apps growing every single day, communication has changed completely in the last decade. It is now easier than ever for information to travel, be it mass information or personal information. Although the increase in the use of social media has raised concerns, it is hard to state that those are greater than the overall influence social media has. Through social media consumers are becoming more informed than they were before, news is traveling faster, and more problems in society are being recognized. Social media has made it more convenient for people to learn about their surrounding, but also to stay connected with people living in another part of the world. Globally, social media has made people more connected. 

  1. Shopping

Online shopping is one of the many digital advancements that has made life more convenient for people. Shopping online has become extremely common for the current generation. Some research even indicates that more people have been buying consumer packaged goods (CPG) online, and are more than likely to continue doing so. However, technological advancement in shopping are not limited to e-commerce. There are many innovations taking place within normal retail stores, like facial recognition to identify previous purchases. In addition, Amazon Go has become one of the latest innovations in shopping whereby people simple pick up their product and leave the store and are charged on their credit card automatically. 

There are many more technological innovations that are reshaping people’s life and making areas of their life a lot more convenient. The medicine, hospitality, and even the education industry is constantly transforming due to the digitial innovations. All companies around the world are utilizing digital platforms to make their own products accessible. Digital marketing has also become an important part of people’s lives and is allowing smaller business to reach bigger audiences, hence allowing both the consume and producers to gain benefits of technological advancements. Technology has become an important part of people’s lives and is allowing the world to transform every single day.

The Car Industry: What is to come?

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Mobilization is a necessity in today’s modern world and nothing beats cars as the most comfortable, utile and accessible vehicles to move around. Although for longer distances there exist alternatives such as planes, ships and helicopters, in terms of in-city and countryside mobilization, cars are simply the greatest. Car business is also one of the most dominant and important sectors of the global industry today, with several different sub-categories of business operating under a single dome. There is the retail business which sells first and second hand cars, while there are also the spare parts/service and cash for cars businesses that offer assistance to car owners in terms of maintentance and sales of their vehicles. With the introduction of electric cars recently, the market began to make headlines once again with its new products, services and future promises, meaning that it is a good idea to keep a tab on what is going on in the auotomotive markets to be ready for exciting news and products as well as issues awaiting to be revealed to the public soon.

 Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States has affected every aspect of life in the country and in the world, with the automobiles business being no exception. Ford has announced recently that, thanks to the Trump Administration’s recent tariffs on cars assembled in China, it will not be releasing the new Ford Focus Crossover into the American markets. The tariffs go up to 25% for such cars and the situation constitutes a risk for the company’s predictions of 50,000+ vehicles to be sold annually in the US. The American automobile market is heavily dependent on imports and no producer can compete in the game solely by domestic production, meaning that Trump’s economic plan will create further complications for other brands as well. In addition, as the tariffs will shrink the markets and reduce the consumers’ purchasing powers, US based production will also find it harder to sell cars in the country due to higher prices and lower consumer demand. The financial markets have already begun to respond to such a critical mistake in policy making as Ford’s stocks fell under the $10 benchmark for the first time in 10 years to $9.48, equating a 2.3% loss of value for the company.

The situation at the other end of the Atlantic seems to be no better as the UK based car producers and retailers are also worried about the prospects of business following the recently approved controversial bill ‘Brexit.’ Creating a socio-political environment of confusion and uncertainty, Brexit led the British public to cut down on expenditures on cars, creating a 5.7% drop in sales of automobiles in the country in 2017. The same ratio for 2018 is expected to be around 5.5%, showing no sign of improvement 1and signaling a long term recession for the industry. The UK economy enjoys a steady relationship with the rest of the globe regarding automobiles, selling 80% of the domestic production to foreign markets, meaning that the incapability to continue such commerce will have drastic effects on the country’s economy. The main point of concern is that trade barriers will be heightened following Brexit while America’s ongoing economic war with China will continue to have adverse effects on the European automobile businesses. Considering UK’s current intimate economic relations with China and its political associations with the US, the current state of crisis is prone to produce larger problems for the country’s economy in the years to come.

China’s great production power seems to pose yet another threat to Western capitalist economic dominance: serious competition in the newly emerging electric supercars market. Companies such as Tesla, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Lamborghini have all released promising vehciles into the market recently but China’s NextEV seems to have defeated them all with its new model, the NIO EP9. The car is capable of reaching 265 miles/hour speed while also being charged in as little as 45 minutes, both of which are features that are currently only dreamed of by the company’s competitors. Although the car costs $1.2 million per a single unit of production, China’s integrated economic system has enabled NextEV to partner with other industrial conglomerates to create extra funding for the project to continue research and production. Government owned companies such as Bejing Auto International Corporation are also helping NextEV reach global markets to help promote its cars and enhance its sales with sub-brands such as ArcFox to help establish a strong brand image in the eyes of the global consumers for the company.

Laws, Rules and Realities: the Business World as a Motivator of Modern Life

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Imagining a modern world without order and structure is close to impossible and one cannot help but ask the question, ‘what keeps all this mess together?’ Among many possible answers is one that sticks out as unique and undebatable: law. Societies operate on legal systems, which intend to define and regulate social, political and economic relations between their members and the structures they create. Constitutions are taken to be central to such social construction while local laws are also frequently re-created, changed and updated to fit the needs of specific people and their relations, giving the modern day legal systems a compartmentalized structure. Professionalism is required in such a system as it becomes virtually impossible for anyone to understand and figure out every aspect of it, given the monumental amounts of information and technicality involved.

This is why there are different types of legal professionals in the world today, dealing with different types of legality. A criminal lawyer concerns themselves with legal issues that can be explained and handled through criminal law and represents their client in this regard. A personal injury lawyer deals with physical and psychological damages resulting out of incidents to seek for legal punishment and compensation, while a corporate law works with business law to represent their clients, protecting their rights and privileges within the respective legal context. Business law in today’s world is a substantial subject matter because business relations and operations play a centralized role in the way modern societies form and behave, making the healthy and productive regulation of such relations and operations a dire necessity. Without such regulation, modern societies would be haunted by issues such as corruption and illegality, which makes authority building and keeping crucial issues for all the players involved. This is also why business law is frequently subjected to changes and improvisations in virtually every society in the world, as business tolerates no mistakes or errors, especially in the field of legislation, which is a non-negotiable necessity for its secure existence and successful operations.

Not a day passes in today’s world without hearing something new that is going on in America, thanks to the newly elected 45the president of the country, Mr. Donald Trump’s ambitious and sometimes vicious new policies. Unsurprisingly, the American businesses got their share of controversy in this reality, as the Trump administration imposed new tax policies targeting American businesses as one of the first things it did for America. Matt Egan’s CNN article concentrates on this issue to state that “President Donald Trump’s tax law was sold as a transformative overhaul that would unlock an ocean of money Corporate America could spend on job-creating investments,” meaning that there are some intriguing aspect to this new legislation. The plan that was put into action last December has managed to create millions of one-time bonuses for employees of American companies, accompanied by serious wage hikes, which has initiated a “record-shattering stock buyback bonanza that enriched shareholders.”  However, economists tend to agree that the healthy amounts and levels of spending have not translated into new investments as of yet, meaning that the newly legislated tax policies have not necessary contributed to economic development in the country. Although the rate of real non-residential fixed investment was measured at 6.1% for the first quarter of this year, the given ratio has been stumbling around the same level for several past quarters anyway, meaning that the given policy change did not substantiate any growth there either.

Naturally, businesses take their time to comprehend this new reality to make decisions and adapt to the new paradigm. According to Egan, it should also be noted that spending on industrial equipment such as “new tools, tractors and servers, increased by 4.7% at the beginning of 2018” which was “less than half the growth from the fourth quarter,” depicting a “slight uptick from the year before.” The author quotes Ed Yardeni, the president of investment advisory at Yardeni Research Inc., who believes that this increase has to be contributed to the state of recovery taking place, regarding the given market following a two years long period of recession based on an increase of oil prices. Similarly, The Carlyle Group’s Jason Thomas points out that the Chinese economic growth, as well as recent market developments in American domestic energy and mining businesses contributed to such a recovery and not solely the tax cuts themselves. Technically speaking, the new law has managed to create significant savings for large corporations by lowering the corporate taxes to 21% from their previous level of 35%, while also giving such companies a tax reduction for overseas profits, deducing the expenses associated with capital spending for such business ventures. On the other hand, the markets for various goods and products remain at either same levels of growth or have actually regressed, which has created confusion so far and put the Trump administration under significant political pressure as it is being accused of implementing a pointless and unproductive laws to appease the masses.  

Egan then refers to Alan Auerbach, the director of Berkeley’s Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance, who believes that the tax cuts did not translate into a surge in investment, presumably due to the current hostile political environment. Aurbach also pointed out  that the most notable effect the legislation had so far was in regards to the stock prices at Wall Street, “with the Dow racing to an all-time high of 26,616 in late January before tumbling,” and several companies also reporting significantly high levels of earning due to lower taxes.  A good example is Corporate America, which distributed high amounts of dividends and share buybacks to its shareholder as well as Apple Inc., which spent “$22.8 billion on stock buyback during the first three months of the year,” which was “more than any company in American history, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.” This situation constitutes yet another reason for criticism to the given legislation because although it is working out wonders for the highest-ranking companies and their financial standings, it did pretty much nothing for the middle or small sized businesses. Given Trump’s own position as a high-profile businessman and investor, it is understood that his administration is following his personal philosophy regarding comprehending and supporting business decisions. As the administration continues to boost growth for its highest earners, it will face significant political consequences regarding possible setbacks to stem out of dissatisfied businesses and their respective owners/employees/supporters.    

An important aspect of business law today is the issue of resignation as wrong or unlawful practices in this field might lead to serious legal problems for the employees. Matt Gingell’s report for The Independent outlines the proper legal strategies to employ when quitting one’s job to ensure safety and justice as the author states that “the key thing is to assess your options, have a strategy, and [not] do anything rash.” There are various reasons for wanting to quit one’s job according to Gingell, such as problems with the employer, ignorance in the workplace, harassment by a manager or unfair evaluation of performance by the administration. In such case scenarios, the trust element is usually lost between the employee and the organization, leading the employee to make mistakes with respect to which steps to follow next. Most legal problems emerge when employees do not follow the routine and behave out of frustration at this level of things because they cannot keep up with the pressures anymore, thinking that an immediate resignation will solve all the associated problems, which unfortunately does not seem to be the case at all. Quick and unwise decisions create further complications which the employers and their organizations capitalize on to refrain from following legal procedures which have been designed to protect the rights of the employees.

The author refers to how important it is to raise a grievance, meaning that employees who have found themselves in such a situation need to raise an official complaint to resolve the emergent issues of conflict. Since all companies have different procedures and regulations of such nature, it is important that such employees follow company guidelines and not make crucial mistakes in the process. Gingell then states that “in some cases it may be appropriate to make an informal complaint before lodging a formal grievance” because this way the employee might alert the manager before a serious damage is dealt to their professional business relationship. By giving the administration time to investigate and respond, the employee ensures that they cannot resort to unexpected and undesired strategies to hinder possible legal procedures. In addition, when such an informal complaint is issued before a formal one, it becomes possible that during the pursuing official complaint stage, the employee might be awarded with higher compensation if a period of communication took place between the two parties. In other words, the business law of today has a tendency to punish ‘crybabies,’ who directly resort to legal procedures without sparing time or effort to negotiate with their companies.

Gingell then points out that negotiations lead to off-the-record deals because  most employers do not wish to involve legal procedures to begin with, fearing that they might lead to higher expenditures in time, resource and capital, not to mention the possibility of defamation. In another way, such deal-seeking behavior makes it possible for the given parties to “enter into a settlement agreement,” where it is also quite important for such employees to “obtain legal advice before entering into such an agreement” as such advice “allows [them] to assess [their] options carefully, and obtain information.” In some cases, there are different legal procedures applicable to different cases of disagreement, which means that it is virtually impossible for a regular employee to know about such procedures without professional guidance. The author adds that one of the most common problems employees observe after falling out with their organizations is the issue of negative references and therefore it is important to agree upon a mutually satisfying recommendation before quitting the job. If the proper legal steps are taken, employers are deterred from giving biased negative recommendations for their past employees to limit their future capabilities in the workforce. Fearing legal setbacks, such employers become legally bound to provide the agreed upon recommendation to the future employers as long as the given legal procedure was completed. Additionally, in the case that a restriction exists in the employment contract that prevents an employee from being hired at a competitor firm for a specific period of time, such a restriction can also be waived through legal means.

Conclusively, Gingell states that in the case that an employee suspects unfair treatment at the workplace, they can “consider bringing a claim for constructive unfair dismissal” upon a quick resignation based on “a fundamental breach of contract by [their] employer” such as “a breach of trust, or another [related] major breach.” The author also points out that these types of claims are not necessarily easy to prove in a court and therefore it is equally important to obtain legal advice before resignation and follow the proper legal procedure to minimize the risks of future legal confrontation. In either case scenario, the author emphasizes the fact that the best advice is the one that is obtained at the earliest opportunity. Every employee should know that they “need to have had at least two years’ service” and that they are also “required to follow the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s (Acas) early conciliation process prior to lodging the claim.” In terms of the actual procedure itself, Gingel points out that such employees have the obligation to pay the requisite fee to the employment tribunal within three months beginning with the date of termination while specific laws might be applying to specific cases, meaning that the local laws should also be researched into and respected during the process.

Finance is a crucial element in today’s business and the United States is a playground for legal battles over financial issues, given the country’s controversial yet equally dominant Federal Reserve system. Binyamin Appelbaum for  The New York Times has worded an article titled “Federal Reserve Is Sued, Accused of Limiting Competition,” referring to a recent case involving, James McAndrews, a former employee who is “suing the Fed for blocking his plan to create a new kind of bank.”  Mr. McAndrews has claimed that the Fed is “putting the interests of big Wall Street banks ahead of their large customers,” as evidenced with his own banking investment. While being a typical claim, the issue is actually a largely debated one with the Federal Reserve system being accused of protecting the rights and privileges of the large corporations and their financial partners over those of the regular people. Such criticism is leading many to speculate that the system is designed to create debt, poverty and slavery as its preset and built-in mechanisms. Accusing the bank’s chairman, Jerome H. Powell, the lawsuit claims that the bank’s administration took legal measure to prevent the establishment and obstruct the operations of a new bank, TNB USA, by denying permission for the bank to open an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which was “a necessary precursor for TNB USA to open its doors.” The Fed’s officials have publically stated that they are aware of the case and are currently reviewing it with no further comments made to the public.

TNB USA’s premise was that the bank would not be making any loans but instead, “it would put all of its customer deposits into an account at the New York Fed,” seeking to capitalize on a legal space the Fed created in 2015 following a monetary policy implemented by the institution in 2008. Prior to the financial crisis of the same year, the Fed would seek to slow down economic growth by recalling all the money in the financial system, whereas after the crisis and the pursuant policy changes, the organization now “seeks to immobilize money by paying banks to maintain deposits at the Federal Reserve.” The interest rate to be applied to such deposits is 1.95%, while the institution has been known to lower the interest rate for the money obtained from customers such as large-scale investors, to around 1.75%. In this system, the Federal Reserve maintains its dominant position to be able to offer low interest for its capital, which it creates out of its own secretive banking procedures, while pressuring the secondary banks and crediting institutions to increase their interest rates, which in turn decreases their competitiveness in the game. Mr. McAndrews seems to be interested in challenging the status quo because he believes that it is important to pay low interests “ so that all of the rent doesn’t get soaked up by the banks,”” which he believes is “what’s happening right now.” After working at the New York Fed for six years between 2010 and 2016, Mr. McAndrews obtained his own banking charter from Connecticut in 2017 but was denied an account at the New York Fed to continue with his own private banking affairs.

The 2008 financial crisis embarked a new era in banking, in the sense that it became a lot harder and unusual to establish new banks, with the total number of chartered banks being only seven between the years of 2013 and 2017. Prior to the crisis, this number was around 750, showing how volatile and discriminatory the practices became following the global incident. Although Mr. McAndrews kept a close relationship with the Federal Reserve officials over the years, he believes that it was the “specific direction of the Board’s Chairman” that blocked his application and lead to its dismissal. The officials are currently not providing explanations for their decision while the general conception is that projects such as TNB USA are considered to be ‘narrow banks,’ meaning that they offer more problems and complications than solutions, making support for their operations a risky business for the Fed. However, the opponents of this view state that such banks are actually good for the banking business, providing institutional investors with “safe parking spaces where they can easily access their money,” through banking procedures such as “short-term ‘commercial paper’ lending to corporations.” In many such cases, where investors seek funding for projects, they tend to get lost in the procedural difficulties and especially during times of crisis, large corporations such as the Fed and its associates simply refuse to offer any credit at all, pushing the market and its financially constricted competitors into further trouble.

Appelbaum then quotes John Cochrane, an economist at Stanford University with his words published in a blog post discussing Mr. McAndrews’ plans, on how the Fed should “encourage narrow banks and give others a gold star for using them rather than shadier short-term assets in the first place.” According to Mr. Cochrane, if the institution seeks to acts as a stabilizing force against financial crises and their adverse effects on the American economy, it should show initiative to place itself at a more centralized and authoritative position. According to his critics however, narrow banks such as TNC USA have the potential to destabilize the entire financial system by discouraging depositors from keeping their money in commercial banks to lead them to riskier options. As the Federal Reserve itself is also criticized and pressurized politically, regarding its disproportionate profits that the bank is making from interest payments totaling $25.8 billion in 2017, the financial markets are currently caught in a state of stranglehold. The Federal Reserve is not holding back however, continuing with its policies of increasing interest rates that it pays on deposits, while “reducing the volume of deposits by gradually draining money from the system.” Mr. McAndrews continues his criticism by stating that “the Fed is already in the business he is seeking to enter” as the organization not only takes money from unrelated financial companies, but it also “pays interest on deposits from foreign central banks and on deposits from financial utilities” such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In such a case scenario, according to Mr. McAndrews, the bank can decrease its interest rates paid on deposits from its accounts to completely block his business options. Either way, the ex-Fed employee and new banking entrepreneur simply accuses the bank and its policies for reducing competitiveness in the market and therefore damaging the already inconsistent business environment through legal games.

Technology as a Frontier, Market and Constraint: Observations of Actuality

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Speed, efficiency and productivity. As three major determinants of success in today’s world, these notions are also necessary components of modern day technology, separating the good from the bad. In today’s world, the users of technology are provided with various options to make the most out of their experiences. Whether it be electric cars running on batteries, automated drones flying over huge distances or vpn providers providing easy, safe and unlimited internet access, modern day technology adds all the three mentioned elements into the routine of live. Consequently, technology and human life continue to interact with one another to produce utile and constructive results while the future holds nothing but promises, possibilities and opportunities for the human race.

Apple’s introduction to human lives has a long history stretching back to the 80’s, but it was essentially the introduction of the iPhone in 2008 that established the company’s dominance in the electronics markets. Every year, the company releases new products and the new iPhone makes the headlines, adding fuel to tech-related discussions. Being the first company in the American history to reach a market value of one trillion dollars, Apple seeks to bypass this year for releasing a groundbreaking phone and observe its competitors experiment with new technologies. Samsung has a plan to release a phone with a flexible screen, OnePlus has announced that it will embed a fingerprint sensor into its new device’s screen while Huawei also has plans to build a more flexible smartphone. While a new iPhone XS and iMac are expected to surface sometime during the new season, the company seeks to observe the novelties in the markets and pick up on successful technologies to utilize them in future phones and computers.

One feature that separates iPhones from Androids is the iMessage function that enables iPhone users to “read receipts, text over Wi-Fi and send high-resolution pictures and video.” Google and Samsung have teamed up in their pursuit to integrate this function into the Android system under the label of ‘Rich Communication Services (RCS)’ which will provide all the mentioned functions described above for Android users. iPhones currently provide these preset functions to their users but prior to RCS, the Android systems would require specific applications such as WhatsApp to carry out such functions. Samsung has announced that its Galaxy S8, S8+, S9, S9+, Note8&9, Galaxy A and J devices will include RCS while Google will be integrating the system into its Android Messages platform. This way, all the smartphones running on the latest Android system will have access to RCS. The innovation shows that the smartphones market is getting more integrated and saturated on a daily basis, with shared expectations shaping the capabilities of future products.

Modern day life simply cannot exist without social media and as outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are gaining worth and value by the minute, opposition and criticism also build up. Kara Swisher, a “veteran Silicon Valley journalist” is one of the leaders of such opposition and she believes that “Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are doing great damage to the world, perhaps without realizing it.” Swisher believes that these services are responsible for supporting massive political disinformation campaigns, publicizing and legitimizing hate speech as well as disclosing personal information. In other words, the social media giants are ‘weaponizing’ the human societies by controlling, altering and manipulating communications which in turn puts people at each other’s throats. What is even scarier, according to Swisher, is that they are utilizing the First Amendment for this purpose to disrupt civil discourse and political stability. The modern day philosopher believes that there is further damage that the global society will suffer from these services in the future, meaning that societies will have to develop a new sense of social responsibility to counter the effects of disinformation.

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