Business and Technology Articles Contributed by UWA Students

Month: July 2018

What to expect in Italy


If you haven’t been to Italy, it’s on the top of your destination list. And if you have been to Italy, well, you most likely are planning your next trip there for a second round. How can you not like Italy? The jaw-dropping scenery, the mouth-watering food, and of course, the charm of the Italian people are all factors of why Italy is a top tourist destination. Regardless of all its splendour, there are some things you need to know before travelling to Italy.

You’re going to eat late
When in Italy, do what the Italians do. Actually, you won’t have much choice as most restaurants won’t open until 7pm. So, you’ll want to plan to eat a late dinner. But, remember, before dinner, most of the shops and cafes will close between 1-4pm for riposino which is an afternoon nap, meaning if you’re hungry, it’s best to hit the local supermarket before then.

Do you need a visa?
Some nationalities are privileged with being able to enter Italy and other European countries without a visa, however, many are not. Before travelling to Italy, check and see if you need a visa. If you’re planning on travelling around Europe, including Italy, then you need to check if you need a Schengen visa. If so, you’ll need to schedule an Italy visa appointment from London. If you live in another country outside of England, you’ll need to inquire about the application process in your country.

Learn some basic Italian
Italy is not like other countries such as the Sweden, Israel or Germany, where English is commonly spoken as a second language. When in Italy, most people do not speak English. It’s best if you have a couple of important phrases written down that you’ll be able to use when you need help. If languages aren’t your strong suit, then, prior to speaking English, ask them, “Parla l’Inglese?” They won’t feel attacked and will be more willing to help you out.

Take advantage of their public transportation
If you’re planning on travelling around Italy, going from city to city, then you should take advantage of their train system. Italy has an advanced high-speed railway which can take you from the North of Italy to the South. But, if you want to experience Italy’s rail system, you need to book your ticket in advance. Not only will you save yourself some money with an early booking but you’ll reserve yourself a seat.

You won’t be able to see it all
Even with a 90 day Schengen visa, you won’t be able to witness all of Italy’s beauty. In reality, you’ll need to visit Italy a couple times just to see half of what you want to see. The north and south of Italy are completely different, with different foods, wines, and culture for you to indulge. But, not seeing everything at once isn’t a bad thing, right? This just means you’ll need to go again and again and again.

What you need to know about the Schengen visa


If you’re planning to travel across Europe, rather than applying for multiple visas, instead, you can opt for the Schengen visa which covers most of the countries in Western and Northern Europe (28 to be exact). The Schengen visa allows you to stay up to 90 days within a 6-month period in the Schengen zone for either business or pleasure. But before you schedule a Schengen visa appointment, there are some things you need to know about the Schengen visa.

Not everyone needs to apply for a Schengen visa
You may be thinking that regardless of where you’re from, you need a Schengen visa. However, not all nationalities need to apply for the Schengen visa, rather, the visa is granted to them automatically when they’re at the border. Now, this makes it super easy for some people, however, if you’re not one of the lucky nationalities that have this privilege, then you need to apply for the visa.

You can move freely between 28 countries
Think of the Schengen visa like an access card to all the countries within the Schengen zone. With this visa, you’re able to move freely between all the Schengen countries without having to go through passport control. The Schengen visa includes countries such as Portugal, Greece, France, Austria, Italy, and Malta. So, whether you’re interested in tasting some delicious Italian pasta or exploring the nature of Iceland, you’ll be able to flip from country to country with this visa.

The day you enter and leave count as a day in the Schengen
If you don’t want to be interrogated at the border, you need to leave the country before your visa expires. This is a crucial mistake that many people make and the punishments can be harsh. Countries like Germany and Switzerland are particularly strict with entry and exit. When you enter the Schengen zone and leave the Schengen zone, both days count as a part of your visa. It doesn’t matter the time of day your passport was stamped, count that day in your visa. If you’re unsure about the day you entered the Schengen zone, look at the stamp in your passport.

Do you want to extend your visa?
Many people find that 90 days is simply not enough to see all of Europe. So, they want to extend their visa. Makes sense, right? You are given the opportunity to extend your visa, however, you must apply prior to your visa expiring. Here’s the thing, it’s not easy to get an extension. You’re going to need to strong reason as to why you want to stay. It’s up to the immigration authorities of whether or not they want you to stay. In other words, you better have a better reason then, “I haven’t been to Italy yet”.

Keep track of the days
It’s a hassle but it’s something that you need to pay attention to. When travelling, you need to keep count of how many days you were in and out of the Schengen zone. Remember, you’re allocated 90 days of travel within the zone, that’s it. Don’t forget to include your day of entry and exit in your 90 days as well.

Should UWA Student Startups Have Cyber Insurance?


All businesses need to have some types of insurance to protect them. Workers’ compensation insurance is required by law in many areas, and product liability and general liability insurance are musts to protect the integrity of your company.

Now there’s a new type of insurance emerging, and it’s seemingly growing in importance: cyber insurance. Meant to protect companies and entrepreneurs against hacks, data breaches, and online threats, cyber insurance is a safety net for modern, data-centric businesses.

But is it really worth the money? And should your business have it?

What Is Cyber Insurance?

Let’s start by defining exactly what cyber insurance is and how it can be used. In general, cyber insurance is designed to protect businesses against most types of cyber threats, including any financial damages or losses that arise from those threats.

While policies will vary based on providers and client needs, these are some of the most reliable hallmarks of your average cyber insurance policy:

  • Data recovery. If your business’s data is corrupted or damaged, your cyber insurance policy may be able to compensate you for the costs of recovering it. This might include forensic data recovery, or other strategies meant to repair or retrieve lost records. It may also include the costs necessary to re-gather information.
  • Damage compensation. You’ll probably be compensated for whatever damage the data breach does to the business. For example, if you lose a piece of hardware to a cyberattack, your cyber insurance policy will likely cover the costs of a new model.
  • Defense costs. Cyberattacks can be even costlier if your customers decide to take legal action against your business. Most cyber insurance policies will pay for some or all of your defense costs as you attempt to make things right.
  • Business disruption. While you’re sorting out the hack or data breach, you won’t be able to dedicate the same time or resources you once did to the core business. Some cyber insurance policies also have a business disruption or interruption clause that can compensate you for some of the work you’d miss out on during this time.

How Much Does It Cost?

The costs for a cyber insurance policy vary based on several variables, including:

  • The size of your business (and managed assets). The bigger your business is, and the more data you have to protect, the more you’re going to pay for a cyber insurance policy.
  • Your risk factors. Some businesses have more risk factors than others. You might be in an industry that’s a common target for cybercriminals, or you might have more points of a vulnerability than other businesses. These will cost you more.
  • Your current level of cyber If you already have a good IT team, and solid security measures in place, you’ll probably get a discount on your policy.
  • The comprehensiveness of the policy. Of course, the nature of your policy will also factor into how much you pay; the more clauses and features you have, the more you’re going to spend.

Some large firms, such as those with up to $500 million in client assets, might pay $5,100 per year as a premium. Other small businesses with more basic policies might pay less than $1,000.

The Typical “Hack”

So is cyber insurance really necessary, or worth the money? Let’s take a look at the numbers. You can look at the biggest hacks to get a gauge for how expensive a cyber vulnerability can be; the total cost of the Equifax breach is estimated to be more than $600 million, though costs continue to climb. But even small-scale hacks can be costly. Cyberattacks cost businesses somewhere between $84,000 and $148,000. You might be able to swing those costs, but keep in mind that 60 percent of small businesses go under within six months of an attack. By comparison, even a pricey premium seems reasonable.

Your Risks

You should also consider what specific risk factors your business faces. Small businesses, for example, are especially vulnerable to attacks; not only do 36 percent of all hacks target small businesses, 83 percent of small businesses currently have no formal cybersecurity plan. Some industries, like the healthcare industry, are higher-value targets for hackers as well as offering a higher volume of available data. The catch-22 is that the more vulnerable your business is, the more you’ll need cyber insurance—but the more expensive it will be as well.

Is It Worth It?

So is cyber insurance worth it? That depends on the nature of your business, and how well-protected you are against a potential cyber threat. However, the prevalence and power of cyberattacks are increasing, so cyber insurance is becoming more important for business owners. And for most companies, this simple insurance policy is worth it.

Email data security components every entrepreneur should be aware of


Data security is a complex architecture involving multiple layers of hardware, software, and expertise. It’s been packaged for the general public in ways that require nothing more than push-button installation. Anyone can set up encrypted Wi-Fi without doing more than setting a password.

While the user-friendly package is convenient, there’s good reason to learn more: you don’t always get what you think you’re paying for. Not all data security software is equal. Experts can easily spot security deficiencies, but can you? If not, it’s time to learn.

Data security software has limitations
Understanding email security in-depth provides the ability to identify where each piece of software falls short. For example, Azure RMS is a popular Microsoft 365 add-on that encrypts email messages using Transport Layer Security (TLS). Although Azure RMS encrypts email messages while in transit, once they reach Microsoft’s servers, they’re stored unprotected. Microsoft, or anyone with access to Microsoft’s servers, can access this data.

Unfortunately, unprotected data at any point makes it difficult to meet data privacy and compliance requirements (like HIPAA, CJIS, and EAR). Businesses with an IT security expert understand this dilemma and often use third-party add-ons like Virtru to cover what Azure RMS misses. Although it might seem redundant to use multiple pieces of software, experts do it, and here’s why:

There are multiple ways to encrypt data
Encryption scrambles text to make it unreadable by anyone who doesn’t have the keys to decode it. Years ago, encryption seemed like something reserved for computer geeks and the government. Today, it’s a must-have strategy for businesses and individuals to deter hackers from stealing data.

Saying data is encrypted isn’t saying much. Data that travels from one point to another might pass through multiple points along the way. If the data is decrypted before it reaches the final destination, it becomes vulnerable.

Incomplete encryption won’t be a problem for everyone, but for those bound by compliance laws like HIPAA, it’s enough to create a violation.

As explained in Upwork’s guide to encryption, data needs to be encrypted while it’s in transit and at rest.

There are multiple ways to encrypt data
Data can be encrypted in various ways. Hard drives can be programmed to automatically encrypt stored data. Files can be manually encrypted on an as-needed basis. Messages can be encrypted and sent to others who have the decryption keys. Websites use SSL or TLS protocols to encrypt data entered in forms, and email servers can be equipped with encryption software that applies to all accounts.

There are secret-key, or symmetric algorithms that use the same key for encryption and decryption, though it’s quite vulnerable. Public-key algorithms use asymmetric keys, which means the encryption and decryption keys are different.  

Block ciphers encrypt data in blocks rather than individual bits, and stream ciphers like Rabbit, W7, and RC4 encrypt plaintext one character at a time.

There are multiple algorithms for encryption
Encrypting data requires using an algorithm. There are multiple types of algorithms, some better than others.

DES was created by IBM in the 1970’s and was the first encryption algorithm approved by the government for public disclosure. This block cipher was easy to crack, and in 1999, the Electronic Frontier Foundation decrypted a message in 22 hours. Since then, many advanced algorithms have been created including:

  • Advanced Encryption Standard. You may have seen the AES option when setting up your Wi-Fi. AES is a block cipher, and is the gold standard according to the government. AES provides 128, 192, or 256-bit encryption for the ultimate protection.
  • RSA. This is a basic asymmetric algorithm that uses paired keys.
  • International Data Encryption Algorithm. IDEA is a block cipher that uses 128-bit encryption and isn’t easily broken.
  • Signal Protocol. This is an open-source, asynchronous encryption protocol.
  • Blowfish and Twofish. These block ciphers are used by ecommerce websites to encrypt payment information.
  • Ring Learning With Errors. This algorithm is a modification of elliptic curves and has a reputation for being unbreakable.

Key management is essential
Encrypted data that gets stolen can’t be read without decryption keys. Once someone has the key, they can read the data; therefore, securely storing your encryption keys is essential.

Data security experts know their field
There’s a reason experts have software preferences that aren’t always user-friendly, while the general public tends to prefer the simplest option. When in doubt, find out what the pros use to encrypt data and follow their lead.

The use of technology in training


In order for a business’s operations to run smoothly, it needs talented staff. The issue of nature vs nurture does come into play here. Aside from natural, inherent talent, how can a business ensure that their employees/team members are well-trained enough to handle their duties and function within the organization?

At times, despite someone having an impressive résumé under his/her belt, the person may not necessarily be the best suited for the role. A business has to ensure that the most suitable talents are delegated towards relevant roles and that employees/team members are confident, knowledgeable and skilled enough to correctly run the operations that they have been assigned to.

In every industry, in every aspect of work, technology has become increasingly crucial but in order to benefit from technology, employers need to keep up-to-date with the relevant developments in their field. Technology can have a significant impact on the training and development of employees. Investing in the training and development of employees should not be seen as a burden. It can have a huge impact on their productivity, their performance and their confidence. If you want to bring your organization to the next level, retain clients and gain loyal customers, the professional development of employees should not be ignored.

How can technology help in the training and development of your employees? The Purdue University website states that in 2011, The American Society for Training and Development found American businesses spent around $156 billion on employee training but it was discovered that when employees returned to their jobs, 90% of the skills they had acquired were lost. Now, through technology, there are even more ways in which you can offer corporate training. This means that many of the issues that organizations once faced can now be tackled in many different ways (such as engaging trainees through better methods and much more).

Corporate education no longer needs to be bound to lectures. Employee engagement can be heightened through interactive technologies such as the Medical Knowledge Simulator (MEKSI), which Jawahar Thomas received an innovation patent for. MEKSI is a digital tool used for educational purposes by students and doctors to roleplay consultations with hypothetical patients. Involving hands-on interaction and relevant material in training can help trainees retain information more efficiently.

There are many ways that technology can bring benefit to the training and development of employees. These can be in the form of virtual classrooms, which help learners through learning which is not bound by time and place. Virtual learning can take place through videos or video conferences.

Several businesses such as Walmart, United Rentals and Fidelity Investments also use STRIVR, which is a virtual reality tool used to improve the performance of individuals, brands, corporations and more. Walmart uses STRIVR for training employees in customer service and management. In the 360 VR environment, there are on-screen cues that will prompt the trainee to make decisions based on real situations like how to deal with customer service scenarios.

Technology can play a part in helping employees gain more of the knowledge that they require and also help them to retain knowledge. More importantly, technology can help spark a passion for continuous learning which can be vital to achieving success in today’s fast-moving world.

However, it is equally important to remember to not become a slave to technology. Training does not have to be bound to technology or any particular method. Employees should be encouraged to take initiative and to put in the effort to find out what works for them and expand their knowledge autonomously. Seeking out mentors the good old fashioned way can also provide them with a rich source of knowledge.

A day in the life of a day trader


The world of fiction probably hasn’t done traders any favours. Outsiders probably think that it’s all exactly like the plot of The Wolf of Wall Street or one of the countless other sexed up dramas that offer up a Hollywood hyped up half-truth.

The practice of day trading probably suffers more than most. On top of the fictional stereotypes, the portrayal in the media is that this is some giant ‘get rich quick’ scheme – hardly helped by some scammers who have tried to suggest that it is just that.

Day trading, in actual fact, requires you to be blessed with a lot of knowledge and a decent amount of funds. This type of trader, as Investopedia succintly notes, ‘utilizes high amounts of leverage and short-term trading strategies to capitalize on small price movements’. It take a lot of time and effort, not to mention strategising, to truly investir CFD bourse or, invest in the CFD stock market.

Typically this involves engaging in online share trading in highly liquid markets or, often, currency.

So, what does a day look like for a day trader?

Firstly, the planning stage is crucial. While you might be able to think about trades in advance, day traders need to be able to capitalise on the particular strategies that will work on that day. As a result, they need to know what’s new and what that means for their market.

This means learning to structure a day around the start of trading – getting up at least an hour before beginning and mulling over strategies over breakfast – regardless of whether this is an activity being doing alone or within an organisation.

The preparation required involves catching up on the main financial news from across the world, spotting key signs from trusted sources and checking out analysis from commentators whose advice can be trusted. Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Australian Financial Review and Reuters are key for this.

At this point, it also means:

  • Checking a trading account balance to set a ‘budget’. Beginners shouldn’t be risking more than 1% on each trade while experienced traders will stretch this to 2%.
  • Looking at an economic calendar to assess major events that might occur. While not all news is planned – natural disasters and tweets from Presidents are difficult to predict after all – key economic statements, elections and financial results can be placed in a calendar so that traders can brace themselves to react quickly.

Then it’s time to access a series of charts and graphs before finally deciding on the day’s strategy.

It’s likely, depending on the market in question, that there might be a flurry of activity at the start of the day followed by a lot of waiting.

As The Balance stresses: “Day trading isn’t always exciting; many days are actually quite boring. Most day traders will admit that they love what they do, though. If you know your strategies well, not much will surprise you or get your adrenaline pumping…although the outcome of each trade is unknown when you take it. That does make it fun, but it should never be viewed as gambling.

“Most day traders have brief days, working two to five hours per day. Five hours is high. Add on a few minutes each day for preparation, and review at the end of the day and week, and day trading still isn’t very time consuming.”

However, such short days are only possible after day traders have picked up a decent level of experience.

Timings also depend on the market you’re involved in. Australian currency strategist Gregory McKenna, for example, notes that currency markets open at 5am Monday, Sydney time and are open 24 hours a day, until 5pm Friday New York time, which is around 9am Saturday morning in Sydney.

This means he has to pay attention to a potential peak time in the afternoon. He explained: “Depending on whether we’re in daylight savings mode or not, I’ll either get ready for some action between 3 and 5pm, or if it’s summer, a little while after that. The action comes from the UK/European open and those traders sometimes like to play odd moves when they paddle in, which can trigger or set up trades. It can also stop you out, so be careful.”

Day traders will then typically end their day by taking a snapshot of the success of their trades in pips, points and cents. This log of activity is crucial to help expand a day trader’s knowledge bank – helping them to pinpoint key losses and gains in order to learn lessons for future days – feeding back into the preparation stage for the next day.

A day trader, therefore, is a skilled, quick-thinking individual who engages in a flurry of high value trading decisions within the first few hours of the day – as well as key peak times relevant for their chosen asset. Beyond that, there’s more waiting around – and time for other pursuits – than the stereotypical image might have you believe.

Sports Experience in the Technological Age


We are at the cusp of a new era in sports viewership and experiences. Sports has become a 24/7 activity and sportspersons have become an extension of our lives, thanks to the power of mobile devices and the universe of social media respectively.

Watching live sports has become a far more interactive experience today than it ever was. Just as television changed the manner in which families in the 1950s interacted with sports, the internet has transformed sports experiences in contemporary times. The internet provides virtual access to sports in real time and on demand, allowing spectators to remain connected with the sports events. The major leagues are also deploying technology to stream content to fans and keep them engaged. Live streaming is becoming increasingly available across all platforms, with fans watching content on their mobile devices on the move just as easily as they could be sitting at home. With internet-enabled real time video streaming, people are watching their favorite teams playing a game in another time zone. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs are connecting sport fans with each other and with the sports professional themselves. Thanks to the internet, people are visiting the websites and Facebook pages of their favorite teams, browsing for stories, reading sport blogs and betting on the probability of winning a tennis match or any other sports for that matter.

The conventional sports stadiums are embracing technology in order to attract and retain fans in the face of a rapid increase in remote sports viewing experiences. Ticketing has gone high-tech, with sports fans being able to purchase tickets online in a matter of minutes. Online platforms such as Eventbrite have simplified the entire ticketing process, Facebook and Craigslist are allowing fans to purchase and sell tickets without having to navigate through ticketing websites, and apps are bringing tickets into people’s hands. Parking has become simplified, with a smart phone app revealing the closest available parking slot and guiding fans to their seats. In addition to big screen replays and highlights, stadiums are making it possible for fans to watch the sports-related content on their smart phones and share it with other enthusiasts at the venue. Laser light shows and projection mapping are taking the concept of pre-game entertainment higher by a few notches.

We are staring at a future in which our tablets, smart phones and laptops will recognize the game that we are watching on TV and give us a personalized experience on a second screen. The entire world of sports will be available in the palm of the hand and will be personalized on the basis of individual needs and conveniences. The arrival of new technologies will further blur the lines between the athlete and fan. The sportsmen will find innovative means of reaching new heights, while the sports lovers will discover novel modes of relating with their beloved team on and off the playing field.

Dell Set to Make a Comeback

pexels-photo-811587.jpegFormer tech giant, Dell, is set to make a comeback to the industry. Dell Technologies Inc. will buy out its tracking stock to obtain stronger control over VMware, Inc, giving Dell an easier avenue to obtain the rest of the software in the future. The current value of the stock is about $17 billion with the total market value of VMWare at around $60 billion. The stock has almost doubled since it was issued, with the current closing value around $84.58. Currently, over 80% of VMWare is controlled by Dell stockholders and Dell’s DHI shareholders, Michael Dell and Silver Lake.

Dell used to be a top personal computer brand. They have since expanded further into the tech atmosphere, with products including servers, storage hardware, and networking gear; with the EMC acquisition last year in 2016 for $67 billion, Dell now also has software tools being developed, helping them brand themselves further as a software development company.

The current business venture comes five years after Dell dropped from the stock markets. When Michael Dell made Dell private in 2013, $4 billion of his own Dell shares and $750 million in cash were used to complete the $25 billion deal. In 2015, a $67 billion cash and stock merger with EMC was completed. VMWare had over $11 billion in cash at the end of 2017. It had generated $8.1 billion on sales and $3.3 billion in cash flow in one year. Dell has offered to pay $21.7 billion for the shares.

If this is the case, Michael Dell will own 54% of Dell Technologies. This implies that Dell now has $33 billion or so in Dell Shares. VMWare’s New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) value is marketed at $65.8 billion. He will lay claim to around 40% of VMWare, which leads his stake at somewhere around $30 billion. He was ranked at #39 on the 2018 Forbes Billionaires List, with a net work of $22.7 billion. After this merger, his rank and net worth will likely climb.

The purchase was approved by the boards of both Dell and VMWare. This not only simplifies the current confusing structure of Dell but allows Dell to become involved in public stocks again.

“Like our customers, we had to transform for a new digital era, the world of business and technology is merging in a fourth industrial revolution enabled by a perfect storm of technology tipping points,” Dell said to investors and analysis in a conference call, “It’s computing and the Internet of Things, ubiquitous computing through broadband and 5G, along with AI, machine learning have come together to transform the way we use data.”

“In 2012, people were saying the PC was dead. It wasn’t. Three years ago, people were saying that everything’s going to the public cloud. Turns out that was completely wrong, too. I believe we’ve accomplished what we set out to do in evolving the business. But the work of evolving a company is never done,” Mr. Dell said in an interview.


Artificial Intelligence: Re-imagining Travel Technology


With the emergence of big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, travel companies are witnessing a radical change across the globe. It has enabled the emergence of newer business models, a string of successful startups, and higher visibility for existing players through micro-targeted campaigns. To meet the growing demands of the modern consumer, travel companies have embraced new technologies that have the potential to generate a greater return on investment for the firms. With the new changes, travelers have only been willing to adopt them to make their travel easier and enjoyable. Reports revealed that 80% travelers would prefer to self-book their trip online than rely on offline processes.

The latest technology has given rise to a flurry of shared economy companies such as Airbnb and Uber, online travel agents, chatbots for customer support and supported many other business models. In today’s data driven world, clients can make hotel reservations through app-based platforms and apply for visas online. One such example is where online travel agents process Malaysia visa for Indians simply by filling in a form that takes less than a minute. With an increasing number of travelers relying on technology to take care of a wide spectrum of their travel needs, here are some key areas where innovative technology and artificial intelligence can impact the travel industry:

  1. Personalized interactions powered by chatbots:

Be it the myriad options to compare travel packages, budgets, or make bookings online, there’s ample research that needs to be done by the traveler. This requires spending time sifting through terms and conditions, travel guides and reviews before narrowing down on one option. With AI comes a quicker alternative. The traveler can use an interactive app that will factor in their requirements and provide a finite set of options.

The benefits are plenty and the scope for scaling it is infinite. Chatbots can help non-native travelers navigate through a foreign land effortlessly. If there arises weather conditions that require travelers to be constantly updated, travel companies can use assistance from AI to handle queries efficiently. This can remove large pain points for travelers.

  1. Facial recognition technology:

Travelers are scrutinized for travel documents and oftentimes deal with complex and lengthy paper-based processes. This can be replaced with facial recognition technology, which will enable a seamless process for migration and airport check-in and check-out. If data and blockchain are used, it makes the process much simpler for travelers, only demanding a simple facial scan to process transactions.

  1. Machine Learning:

Machine learning enables firms to track data and gauge the client’s needs based on patterns and trends. Travel companies can leverage this information to provide customized services to travelers and extend recommendations that are tailored to the client’s requirements.

  1. Social media:

With the surge in social media analytics tools, travel companies can avail their features to track feedback on services or products across social media channels. This will help the companies better understand what clicks and what has failed. It will also help them track if a customer is unhappy with the service and reach out to the client real-time to fix the issue.

With the deluge of options available in today’s market, artificial intelligence and other advanced technology stand to revolutionize the travel industry. They enable greater efficiency and reduces the heavy consumption of time.

The Future of Smart Cars

Image result for smart cars
Technology is such a powerful element in our lives that there exists no field of our lives it did not infiltrate into: we are guided, supported and led by technology in every second of our lives. At home, the modern day citizen has smart home appliances which make it easier for them to cook, clean and relax, while on the street, the same person utilizes GPS to find their way to the office. Upon reaching the office, the same person uses their smartphone for various purposes, ranging from e-mailing clients to creating a
timesheet app for the next business meeting for more efficiency and success. One specific field where technology did not necessarily infiltrate into the way it did into humans’ home and office lives is the car business, which showed significant progress recently to integrate fundamental technologies into its vehicles but regardless left some more empty room for further innovation. As cars get faster, their fans expect more on the technological side of things and hopefully soon the world will begin to experience the true joy of driving with extremely smart and versatile vehicles if the companies pay attention to such customer demand.

One of the most important aspects of “smart living” is assistance and unfortunately many cars lack such assistance which has created significant demand for such services in the industry. David Kiley for Forbes Magazine reports on Amazon’s Alexa as the new superstar in this field as the company seeks to integrate the software into more cars produced by different brands to aid the drivers in enjoying their ride with the safety of a smart co-pilot. Kiley speaks of the latest deal with Toyota which will make it possible for drivers and passengers to “get directions, control in-car infotainment services and perform all the other ask-and-answer functions Alexa delivers in the home application” while enjoying their ride  to the fullest extent. By connecting their home and car versions of Alexa together, users can enjoy a seamless and integrated living experience and the idea is so good that Amazon managed to strike a deal with other car producers such as Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan as well. Once Alexa begins to dominate the office life too, its users will be living in a world of their own creation and choices to be able to elevate their life standards to higher security and technical complexity to reserve more time to enjoy their time at home, in the office or while driving.

The safety of riding a self-driving car is an unquestionable advantage the vehicle provides to its users but it comes with a couple of glitches along the way. Brian Fung for The Washington Post reports on Ford Motor Company’s new project in collaboration with Stanford University and founder Jerry Yang, namely Civil Maps for Waze, which is a database of detailed maps for such cars. The problem is that these cars require human input for the first trial which is a big hassle for those interested in time and effort efficiency. By utilizing real life drivers and their contributions, the system intends on creating a database of valuable information including maps, traffic information, images and videos to help self-driving cars optimize their passengers’ ride. So far, the project has received 6.6 million dollars of investment but considering Ford Motor Company’s position in it, it is understood that in the future when it becomes more popularized, the numbers will increase as well. The system allows real-time input from its users that makes it possible to resolve real-time problems through intelligent solutions brought in by its users which means that the system depends on its users as much as the users depend on it which promotes trust and fidelity between the two camps.   

Naturally, car producers are not falling behind in this pursuit either and Mercedes-Benz is one of the leading car producers in the world that has stepped into the game. Darrel Etherington for The Huffington Global reports on the company’s latest innovation, MBUX smart multimedia system and in-car voice assistant which the company is directly installing in its newest models. The system utilizes the world’s pioneer video card producer Nvidia’s latest GPU technology to provide excellent visuals of the road, the maps or any other information demanded by the user while also providing services such as internet connectivity, social media and weather forecasts. The system also has a great user interface with interactive animations which is compatible with both Google’s Android and Iphone’s iOs and is also quite simplistic to make itself accessible to all of its users. As a result of this innovation, Mercedes-Benz gained significant respect in the eyes of its fans along with the tech geeks who are closely following the developments in the smart cars industry daily and hopefully the company will continue to innovate in this field to provide even smarter and more utile systems to help its drivers with their needs as they are driving their state-of-the-art cars.    

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