What Features You Need In A Sales Team Collaboration Software

Sales is one of the few departments in an organization that is considered a profit center – that is, they bring money to the company while other departments like HR, operations or IT is mainly focused on sustenance and operational  activities.

Not surprisingly then, business managers seldom think twice before investing in software applications that can make their sales team better. While this inevitably helps your sales teams do better, it also comes with its own set of challenges.

New software tools come with their own learning curve. Investing in multiple software applications would then mean a lot of time that is spent in learning how to do stuff. A lot of times, the software you invest in may not be the right one for your team. This means a lot of time is also spent in unlearning and relearning.

Why your software tools is not the right one for your team

There are two reasons why business users change their software tools. The first and the most common reason is poor needs assessment. Decision makers in the company use internal surveys to gauge needs and pick a tool accordingly. However, the results of these surveys are heavily influenced by the questions you put up. Consequently, this is a case of ‘Garbage in, Garbage out’ – poor surveying results in misleading results which cause the team to pick the wrong tools.

The second reason is evolving business needs. Let’s take the example of a startup team that has grown from a dozen SDRs (Sales Development Reps) to a 100 in over a year. Software tools that are handy for a small team does not work for large teams. If you have signed up a lengthy contract with the service provider, you are likely to be using apps that are ill-fitting to your business needs. The result is an inefficient sales team that does not perform to its potential.

Finding your business needs

There is a reason why many businesses fail to demonstrate results even with the best and most expensive apps. The first rule of business is to pick software applications that will complement your processes and not supplement them.

To put this in other words, the software you pick must help you carry out processes much in the same way as you normally do; only more efficiently. Expecting your sales team to change their ways or processes in order to use an app can be a disastrous decision.

There is another reason why this is important. As we pointed out earlier in this article, there are several reasons why a business has to switch from one service provider to another. Picking an app that requires your sales team to change their working process would mean disrupting their routine each time and this requires a lot of unlearning and relearning. This is a productivity sink.

That being said, what features should your sales team collaboration software need? Here are a few points.

Conversation consolidation: This is by far the most important feature that your sales team needs; especially big ones where a prospect talks to multiple contacts over the course of the sales cycle.

For instance, a prospect may have left a message on your website and may have talked first to an inbound sales agent. They may have passed the contact to a sales associate in charge of gathering requirements. Once the requirements have been gathered, the prospect may then be transferred to  the Operations rep in charge of proposing a solution.

Your CRM application must serve to consolidate conversation across all these different stakeholders. This allows anybody in the team to track progress and plan the cycle for your client.

Process alignment: Your sales team is just one cog in the wheel of all business operations. As such, it is important to ensure seamlessness between the processes followed by your sales team and those followed by other departments in your organization.

The core objective of using a business process management application is to take a step back and ensure business process alignment among various teams. Ensure you pick a BPM software that allows this alignment to happen without a substantial change in processes.

 

Remote working: Sales teams across large enterprises are spread over several zones and geographies. A lot of  these teams in smaller zones operate remotely with no real “office”. Collaboration among team members in such a setup needs to be planned after considering the impact it has on remote workers.

An ideal digital workplace is device agnostic and can help sales teams effectively collaborate over any device through a multitude of communication channels like chat, email, video conferences and phone call.

Centralized document management: Sales processes come with a lot of repeatable tasks like creating proposals, sharing product samples, sending follow up emails, and so on. Efficient knowledge management processes would require organizations to create optimized process and templates for each step of the journey. This way, an individual SDR does not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to creating a sales pitch that converts the best.

In addition to this, it is also important for an organization to have a centralized document management system for all departments. This allows a marketing team to share content that will aid an SDR in closing the deal. Similarly, this helps a sales  team member transition the prospect to the team in charge of onboarding a customer.

Pick file sharing tools that are on the cloud and work across different devices. They must also let users quickly search for specific files and folders from across the entire repository. Most importantly, you should use a tool that integrates with your existing home directories so that it does not disrupt your current work process.

We are merely scratching the surface here in terms of the features that a sales team might need for collaboration. However, they establish a strong fundamental for collaboration which is essential to a highly productive workforce.

 

10 Best Induction Cooktops In India For 2020 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Are you searching for the best quality induction cooktop? You have reached the right platform to make your choice. Induction cooktops have turned out to be the superior choice to contemporary kitchens in Indian households. Compared to other electric and gas cooktops, it is a better option, as it relies on magnetic induction. Some of us choose this appliance for energy efficiency. What’s more, the availability of induction cooktops at a reasonable price is another reason to buy this gadget.

Induction cooktop follows the principle of magnetic induction to heat your cooking pan. As the heat starts conducting to your pan, this innovative technology works faster. Your cooktop remains cool while you are using it. The absence of any flame for heat generation is another advantageous trait of the induction cooktop. Within a very short time, it produces a lot of heat. 

We have read the reviews of various customers who have bought induction cooktop. Based on those reviews, we have picked the best induction cooktops for you.

  1. Philips Viva HD4928/01 Induction Cooktop 2100-Watt

Philips has offered one of the stylish and perfectly designed induction cooktops. This sleek cooktop is made of the durable microcrystal plate to ensure consistent heating. This 2100W induction cooktop makes your cooking process faster. Moreover, electromagnetic induction technology helps in retaining the nutrients of your food. After your everyday cooking activity, you may easily clean the cooktop.

This cooktop panel includes six preset menus, helping you to cook Indian recipes. You may use oil-boiling pots, stainless steel pots, water jugs and rice cooker with this cooktop. The touch-start button enables you in activating the cooktop. In addition, you can find a push-button for controlling the system. This lightweight cooktop is easy to move and store at any place. 

The surface is cool to touch, and you can easily manage the cooktop. The system comes with a cord of about 1.2 meter. Electricity flows smoothly through this cord.

Pros

  • Auto-off program for cooking foods safely
  • Time setting system (0 to 3 hours)
  • Easy to program
  • Comfortable to cook food

Cons

  • Sometimes can vibrate
  1. Pigeon by Stovekraft Cruise Induction Cooktop1800-Watt

The Pigeon Cruise, another induction cooktop model of 1800W, has become popular to several customers. This elegant looking cooktop has a trendy design, and it does not consume much space in your kitchen. The LED display is highly advanced, as it includes temperature and power settings. Control the power and temperature with the use of this LED screen. For busy users, this induction cooktop is the right choice. Set the time and then let the system properly cook the food for you. The system automatically becomes deactivated as per your timer.

The panel also includes options for increasing or decreasing the mode level. The dual heat sensor is a special technology, used for the induction cooktop. The technology also helps you in saving more than 90% of energy.

The cord, included in the package, is 1.3 meter in length. The high-standard electrical elements of this package prevent the risk of short circuits. The top plate is capable of enduring high temperatures.

Pros

  • High heating efficiency
  • Easily portable
  • Hands-free cooking
  • Automatic switch-off 

Cons

  • Sound issues
  1. Prestige Omega Granite Induction Cooktop 3 piece set 

When you are looking for a comprehensive package of the induction cooktop and cookware pieces, you may choose this product. With 230V of current, this cooktop performs its function smoothly. The push-button, present in the panel, helps you to control the appliance.

For saving power, the manufacturer has integrated an automatic voltage regulating system. Another positive trait of this induction cooktop is the aerodynamic cooling technology.

The vessel to be placed on the cooktop must have an induction base. Its diameter should be at least 12 cm. While you have chosen the wrong vessel, you may find an error message.

Now, the cookware pieces also provide you with long-lasting value. They have a spatter-coated, non-stick surface, making it easier to clean. You may use a metal spoon with them. You can place the cookware not only on the induction cooktops but also on the gas cooktops. 

Pros-

  • Provided the guidelines for troubleshooting
  • German technology-based cookware set
  • Dishwasher Safe cookware
  • Granite-finish coating applied on the cookware pieces

Cons-

  • Glass lid is not very durable 
  1. Prestige PIC 16.0+ Induction Cooktop 1900- Watt 

We have chosen another reliable induction cooktop from Prestige. The consistent and faster heating capacity is one of the notable aspects of this induction cooktop.

Moreover, the system has an anti-magnetic wall and aerodynamic cooling system. The engine performs in the best way. The fan continues its function although you have switched off the appliance. Thus, the cooktops cool down very fast.

The appliance is compatible with Induction base cookware, and the diameter of the cookware base has to range from 12 cm to 26 cm. Like other induction cooktops, it also has dual heat sensor.

Integrated with timer, the cooktop also includes a pause function to provide you with the convenience. You can turn off your cooking hob temporarily. While you have turned it on, it will resume the cooking temperature very fast. Furthermore, Prestige PIC 16.0+ comes with the power-saving technology. It can control the level of power based on your vessel size.

Pros

  • Best for cooking Indian dishes
  • Pause and restart anytime
  • Regulates voltage
  • Computer controlling system

Cons

Power button is a little hard to press

  1. Havells Insta Cook RT 1400 watts 

It is now easy to prepare tasty foods with Havells induction cooktop. The stylish looking cooktop is full of innovative features. You can conveniently cook your everyday meals with this appliance. The panel of this induction cooktop includes four cooking options- Manual, gravy/dal, deep fry and boil.

You may use the timer to preset the time while cooking the foods. The time can range from 0 to 2 hours. Also, the soft-touch buttons simplify the operations. There are controls for adjusting the power level.

Intelligent and in-built programming mechanism has made this cooktop unique. The appliance will control the temperature level based on your cooking purpose. Some dishes need variable cooking, while others must have a fixed cooking style. For every case, you will find this induction cooking to be much useful.

Pros

  • User-friendly digital LED screen
  • Black, attractive induction cooktop
  • Eco-friendly choice- No flame
  • Special sensor for auto-pan detection

Cons

  • No negative comment from customers
  1. V-Guard VIC-15 Induction Cooktop 2000-Watt

V-Guard VIC-15 can be one of the best additions to your modern kitchen. The digital screen is easy to read, and it displays four digits for showing the status of cooking activities. The innovatively designed cooktop protects its mechanism from the fluctuation of voltage and other electrical effects.

You may use the induction cooktop for preparing dosa, idli and chapati, for heating milk, for boiling water and slow cooking purpose. For cooking any type of dish, you can choose to rely on the timer feature. You may set the timer of up to 4 hours. While the set time is over, the cooktop automatically becomes deactivated.

The power level is easily adjustable. You will get eight options for setting the power. For various types of cooking activities, there is a need for varying power levels. That is why the manufacturer has integrated this feature to the induction cooktop.

The crystalline glass, used for the gadget, endures the high level of temperatures. Besides, it has a quality finish, helping you to clean the surface very easily. The copper coil for running the cooktop is also durable.

Pros

  • Made of high-grade materials
  • Energy and voltage consumption indicator
  • Preset cooking functions

Cons

  • Hard-ionized utensils do not work with this cooktop
  1. Bajaj Majesty ICX 7

Bajaj has offered one of the feature-rich induction cooktops. This 1900 W cooktop is best for all types of cooking purposes. For its compact design, lots of customers have chosen it. Although it is a compact model, it has a spacious heating surface. You can place the bigger pans on it.

The Tact-switch control is one of the features, helping you to adjust the cooking time to prepare various dishes. The touch panel of this cooktop is very stylish. The stainless steel pots, water jugs and rice cooker, grilling iron plates and cast iron pots are safe with the cooktop.

The Bajaj Majesty induction cooker has 8 Pre-set menus that simplify your cooking process. You may only press one button for preparing the favorite dishes. The preset menu includes- stir fry, hot pot, fry, deep fry, boil, braise, soup and stew. This menu performs the best function, as it helps you in saving your effort and time. 

Pros

  • User-friendly design
  • Automatic shut off within a minute in the absence of any vessel
  • Warm mode available 
  • Power button indicating the amount of power consumed at the time of cooking

Cons

  • Button materials must be of better quality
  1. Sunflame Sf-Ic09 2000 W Induction Cooker

Sunflame has manufactured high-quality induction cooker, having high power efficiency. This cooktop does not consume high amount of electricity. However, it still produces much amount of heat, needed to cook foods. This 2000 W Induction Cooker has the potential of preventing unnecessary heat generation due to the presence of Aerodynamic Cooling System. Thus, you can use the system safely.

Crystal Glass Plate, used for the cooktop, helps in producing the consistent amount of heat. You will get perfectly cooked food. Thus, Sunflame has offered highly reliable appliance, performing at a superb level. 

The preset menu helps you to cook various Indian dishes within a short time. In addition, the system also includes Dual Heat Sensors to ensure the right amount of heat, applied to your food. The soft push controls are easy to use, and you can adjust the temperature and power. Moreover, the system includes an auto cut-off feature.

Pros

  • Quality glass plate
  • Cooling mechanism
  • Elegant and sturdy design

Cons

  • Vibration and sound problems
  1. Preethi Excel Plus 117 1600-Watt 

Preethi induction cooker is one of the innovatively designed appliances for a modern kitchen. Cook your food with one simple touch on the menu. You can find separate controls, including boil, slow cook, idli, roti, fry, milk, tea, gravy and manual. You may place the bigger vessels on the heating base. In addition, the induction cooktop is highly durable, and its ceramic plate has the capacity of enduring the high level of temperature. However, make sure that you have used the flat bottom vessel. The cooktop will not be able to heat up other types of vessels.

The system needs 230 volts for operation. The cord, included in the package, is very long to give you convenience in connecting it to the plug. 

The customer service from Preethi is also good, and you will be able to solve your queries on the cooktop.

Pros

  • Safe to operate
  • Lengthy cord
  • Easy to use
  • Preset menu

Cons

  • No complaints
  1. Bajaj Popular Ultra Induction Cooker 1400-Watt

In the world of electronic appliance, Bajaj has earned a high status. Thus, we have chosen the best induction cooktop model from Bajaj. This 1400W induction cooker with stylish design is easy to use. The novices would face no challenges in dealing with it. The LED screen clearly displays the control. The menu includes 7 preset options. Touch the right option on the menu to boil water, cook rice, prepare soup, idli and curry, heat milk, deep fry anything and pressure cook the ingredients. Thus, you will get fun in your everyday cooking activities. Among other controls, you can find timer. Preset the time for cooking the desired food. In addition, there are tact switch controls and a separate on/off button.

The crystal glass with the semi-polished surface has a dimension of 250 mm by 250 mm. You must not touch the plate after cooking anything. This plate remains hot and can injure you.

Pros-

  • Preset menus
  • LED screen with clear controls
  • Low energy consumption

Cons-

  • Few users have found it tough to use the system 

Guide to buy the best induction cooktop

Buying quality induction cooktop is not easy. You have to check out the following features while buying the appliance. 

Features that enable you to cook food safely and properly

  • Safety sensor

It helps in assessing the temperature level at the base of the cookware. When you have left the empty pan on the cooking zone, this feature performs its function. The safety sensor also helps in adjusting the power output for avoiding your cookware damage. 

  • Automatic switch-off

It is one of the special features, effective for turning off the element automatically while there is an overheating issue. Most of the models have this special feature.

  • Automatic heat-up

It is another innovative feature, intended for heating the cooking space to some higher setting. It automatically follows the preset option. This feature is helpful while cooking different foods. For instance, at the time of cooking rice, you can initially boil rice and simmer it later.

  • Safety cutout

Safety cutout is another important feature to let you cook food without any risk. While you have switched on the cooking zone for a longer period without adjusting the temperature, the system becomes deactivated automatically. The lower setting means cooking zone, remains activated for a longer period. Thus, when you think of cooking continuously, you can choose the cooktop, having longer safety cutout time.

  • Power management

Some cooking zones have a higher wattage, and thus, power manager helps in splitting power level between different cooking zones. You can set the optimum power level only for a particular cooking zone. For another zone, the power level has to be low.

  • Protection from overflows

The best cooktop produces the beep sound or shuts down the system while the water, milk or any other liquid is overflowing the controls. You have to wipe out this spill and restart your cooking activities. However, you must treat the cooking surface thoroughly by cleaning the gaps and cracks. 

  • Pan detector

While there is no pan, your induction cooktop won’t perform its function. Similarly, if you have removed the pan from the cooking surface, the system will stop its operation, and you will find an alert notification. Conversely, this alert goes away while you have put back the pan to the right place. You will also see the symbol for using the wrong cookware. After displaying the sign, the cooktop deactivates itself.

  • Touch controls

Instead of the conventional style control knobs, there are touch controls on the induction cooktop. Those cooktops enable you in altering the temperature level with the simple touch on the glass-made surface. Touch controls work best while you are merging your kitchen benchtop to the cooktop.

  • How many cooking zones do your cooktops have?

An induction cooktop with a width of 60cm provides you with more than 3 cooking zones. Thus, you will have much amount of space for preparing your everyday meals. Moreover, the wider induction cooktops have more cooking zones. You may prepare much amount of food at a time.

What’s more, the wide cooktop is capable of accommodating the bigger pans and pots. Hence, it is best for growing families.

  • Automatic detection of pan size 

The sophisticated induction cooktops have this unique feature, and they can quickly identify the cookware shape and size, used by you. It is a unique feature, enabling the cooker to have energy efficiency.

  • Choosing the size of induction cooker

Size is one of the most critical factors to the induction cooktop buyers. The smallest models have a width of about 30 cm. However, the biggest one can be almost 90 cm. Although you may find a difference in the cooktop models, most of the buyers look for 60 cm induction cooktop with 4 cooking zones. 

When you need to replace your older cooktop, you have to take the measurement of the space. While you are in search of one cooking zone, you may invest in the compact models. These models are highly portable, and you can move them from one site to another. 

  • Child locking system

It is one of the safety features, integrated to most of the models. The child lock option prevents your children from dealing with the buttons or controls in any way.

  • Timer

The automatic timer is best for busy users. This is present in most of the sophisticated models. You can activate the timer feature for switching off the system automatically. There is no need to observe the cooking process a number of times. However, you must specify the right time with the timer. You may read the instructions of the manufacturer.

  • Pot Compatibility

The use of right pots is highly important to get the optimized benefit from the induction cooktop. You have to check out the compatibility of the pot with the chosen cooker. The vessel and pot, placed on the cooktop, must have magnetic conducting design or ferrous bottom. It ensures the proper conduction of heat. The stainless-steel cookware with cast iron base is best for induction cookers. It is also essential to find out the minimum size of the pot base that works properly with your induction cooktop.

  • Does induction cooktop produce noise?

Induction cooking process is noiseless, as the system’s electrical coil generates energy silently. The device has no moving part. The cooktop also has a cooling fan in its interior side. However, the fan may cause some noise. Moreover, while the power level is high, the lightweight vessels have slight vibrations. 

  • Power Ratings of the cooktop

While preparing any dish, you need to adjust the power level for heating the ingredients precisely. You have to check the power levels of the modern induction cooktops. Thus, you must choose the right power setting for cooking the food. For instance, 1800 W induction cooker has 10 power levels, and the lowest level can be 200 W.

  • Pre-set Menus for Induction Cooker

The menus are intended for definite dishes. The common options, included in the menu, are – boil, heat milk, deep fry, fry, idli, grill and stir-fry.

Now, it is the right time to purchase the best induction cooktops of a reliable brand. Read our above guide and choose any of the products to make your deal.

How To Pitch Your Tech Startup

Want to successfully pitch your tech startup to get that funding? Well, memorizing mission statements, highlighting groundbreaking features and displaying impressive 3D models won’t be enough. Instead, you need to work on your storytelling strategy to inspire those willing to participate. Use this as a guide to know how to be a good storyteller and shine during your pitch.

Since their purpose is to bring technology to people, tech startuppers often focus on the innovation factor and tech details. Though this is, of course, relevant for your product or service, information may get lost in a sea of numbers and specs. Your audience may not be so excited about getting a ton of data since it may feel cold and unappealing. 

Tales Aren’t Just for Children

Don’t get me wrong, information is fine but there’s a craft for talking about it and making it interesting. It doesn’t have to be a straight-up fairytale, just have the structure of a story. Let me put it this way: we hear, read, and watch stories all the time on the internet, the news, with your neighbors, next to someone waiting for the bus, during lunch at work…  but not all of them are interesting to you. 

To get that funding after a pitch, learn to master the art of storytelling by making it emotionally appealing to a certain audience and, of course, without losing the focus of selling your idea, which is essentially the main goal. 

There are plenty of marketing strategies for startups. Some are more aggressive than others, and not all of them are suitable for every kind of business. When it comes to inspiring potential partners or investors in the technology industry, storytelling marketing is a powerful, low-cost strategy that can work wonders for startup tech companies

To Captivate, Write Your Story

Everyone has their own vision of things, be sure to ask your team for ideas and powerful insights. Write down interesting facts and details that you’ve found along the way, how you found the right people to develop your technology product or service, the struggles you’ve faced, the lessons you’ve had so far, and how your team operates now. 

Pay special attention to funny, challenging, or even sad events that made your startup grow. These interesting anecdotes will be useful for writing your core story and boost the human factor of it. We’ve all made mistakes and faced adversities, and ultimately learned from them.  

Regardless of the topic, follow these essential steps every good story should have. Try to keep things organized so you know where to finish and don’t spend too much time on other narrative lines. Stick to one narrative line, remember that pitches often last a few minutes. 

Your story should be suitable for both experts and people who are not really familiar with your startup’s approach. 

  • Bring a character to life. It can be a person, a fantasy, or sci-fi character or even an object. Incorporate a few characters but keep it cool since too many may be confusing and distracting. Keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to talk about your startup. 
  • Create an incident. An interesting story is built by actions and key events, not so much on descriptions and dialogue, or irrelevant events that have no connection to the goal of the main characters. Make things happen in your story. 
  • Get to the point. Explain the problem you’re solving and what your startup is doing to solve it. Why is this important for people’s lives? Highlight the reason for this marketing opportunity and how your service or product is something that’s missing or not working.

Have a clear outcome and provide a message that doesn’t leave out key information. At the same time, keep your audience wanting to know more about your startup. 

To Engage, Illustrate Your Story

Remember when you were a kid and you enjoyed going over and over the same illustrated books? Well, things haven’t changed that much in terms of visual attention. Work on visual storytelling to build the strongest message possible. 

If you’re starting from scratch, sketch a storyboard. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a professional artist, you just need to translate your ideas onto paper so they’re clear for everyone participating. You can even use one of many storyboarding apps to help you out. 

Besides illustrations and good pictures, make sure you include your graphic branding elements such as an appropriate color palette and logo. If you still don’t have one, use a logo maker, which can save you a lot of time when creating a logo design

Startup pitch

To Influence, Practice Your Story

Mirror mirror on the wall… Is my startup pitch ready? Before meeting the investors, practice along with your team, make changes, avoid overdoing it, but most of all… feel your story! A well-rehearsed pitch will feel more natural when you master every part of it and work on the tone variations as if you were telling any kind of story in front of an audience. 

Remember those days when you used to hear storytellers and they kept the kids interested in the ups and downs of a tale? That’s how you want to resonate with your audience. Define the tone you want for it: dramatic, humorous, serious… or even scary, if you’re planning on giving it a twist! 

Now You Wish upon a Startup 

Once you’re ready to pitch, it’s time to release the real magic, get inspired, and enjoy the pitch! You got this far after hours of hard work and, if you’re confident about it, the outcome should be positive.

The story doesn’t have word-by-word identical to what you first wrote. You can take little breaks, improvise and make some side comments, just don’t waste too much time on them. Keep the basic structure in your mind –or on a small piece of paper– and everything will be fine. 

In a room full of people, know that people want to be part of a story, and your future investors are no exception. Globally known successful startups have done this. Be confident about your story and you will live happily ever after… or at least get that funding for your startup!

Instagram Hashtags Not Getting You Likes? Here’s What You Can Do

Hashtags are a popular phenomenon across a number of different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even LinkedIn. Yet, it is on Instagram where hashtags play a central role in the way the app is used.

Instagram lets users follow hashtags on your timeline. For instance, if you are an interior designer, you could follow a hashtag like #interiordesign to stay updated on the latest trends and styles in this industry.

Find the right hashtags

Picking the right hashtag is thus half the battle. Going back the example of hashtags related to interior design, a search on Kicksta’s hashtag generator  lists the following hashtags as having more than a million posts each.Instagram Hashtag Generator

Quite clearly, these are the most popular hashtags related to this industry. Posting content with these hashtags should help you reach the maximum number of users. Right?

Not necessarily. Popular hashtags like these are also the most competitive. With over a million posts made with a hashtag like #interiordesign, chances are that your post with this hashtag could get drowned among several other posts that get made with yours.

Pick niche hashtags

There is another factor to consider here. A topic like “interior design” is pretty broad. What interests one user and fetches likes and engagement may not interest another user.

In other words, when you use broad hashtags, then your post reaches a good number of users who are not particularly interested in what you have posted. Instagram’s ranking algorithm places a lot of emphasis on user engagement. So when that does not happen, Instagram tends to rank your posts lower and lower.

Here’s the fix -try to include hashtags that are highly relevant to what you post. For example, if you are posting about books on interior design, you could use a hashtag like #interiordesignbooks. If your design incorporates a certain element of styling, then use hashtags relevant to this style may be used.

While this does help you reach your targeted users better, this does not solve your purpose always. Niche hashtags don’t tend to be followed as often  as broad hashtags are. Consequently, while engagement stays high with such hashtags, they reach a vastly lower number of people.

Increase hashtag count

It is here that your hashtag count is useful. Instagram lets user add up to 30 hashtags for each of their posts. While many marketing gurus recommend limiting hashtags to around five or six per post, you can maximize reach by maximizing your use of hashtags.

The recommendation to lower the number of hashtags is not without merit though. Hashtags do not contribute directly to the conversation you are making with your followers. As such, cluttering your description field with hashtags can seem excessive and spammy.

One way to maximize the use of hashtags while keeping it clutter-free is by using multiple line spaces between your description and the hashtags. Some users also tend to include hashtags as part of a comment and not within the description.

Trending hashtags

Another problem with hashtags is that new trends emerge all the time. Using the same hashtags for each of your posts can bring down the engagement on your posts over time.

One way to work around this is through competitive analysis. The process here is straight-forward – pick a popular competitor in your industry and look up the hashtags that users tag this company with in their posts. Here is a quick guide on Instagram search from Mentionlytics that explains this process.

  • Enter the name of a competitor you want to monitor
  • Configure the data source for your monitoring and set it to Instagram
  • Sort the results by top trending hashtags to view all the emerging hashtags against your competitor.

Of course, not all of this may be applicable to your business. But if you notice a sharp rise in the number of followers to a relevant hashtag in your industry, it is a good idea to start using this in your posts as well.

Competitive analysis of hashtags

What is your competitor doing that is working for them? A competitive analysis of their Instagram submissions can go a long way in giving you insights to increase your likes as well.

You do this by building a large list of Instagram accounts that cater to your target group – only include those accounts that are fairly large (at least 40,000 followers) and have a highly engaging comments section.

Next, identify patterns in the kind of content they publish. Once you have an idea of what works, produce similar content of your own that can be posted on your Instagram feed. Have at least 30 of such posts ready for submission.

Third, go through the list of popular Instagram accounts again and prepare a list of hashtags that are in the ‘medium popular’ category – that is, about 20K to 200K posts containing them. You may also have a similar list of ‘highly popular’ hashtags – those with over 500K posts.

Finally, schedule your Instagram posts with 30 of these hashtags included in each of them. Generously rotate these hashtags across these posts and schedule not more than 2 per day.

This strategy is helpful in two ways. One, it helps you efficiently replicate the success of your competitors. Also, shuffling your hashtags gives you better insights on which hashtags work and which ones don’t. You can now steadily bring down your hashtags count to ones that work most effectively and stick with them.

 

Top 13 High Paying Tech Jobs For 2020

“Money can’t buy happiness, but it will certainly get you a better class of memories”- Ronald Reagan.

This saying is pretty much self-explanatory. While money is not the ticket for a happy life, it surely is a way to live a quality life. As the world is progressing and developing in unimaginable ways, people have started giving stress on the importance of the way you live your life.

From your social status to your market value, everything depends on how much you earn. To survive in this competitive society, you need to earn better.

Apart from this, having good pay also allows you to live your life in luxury and secure the future of your coming generations. This is why most people have started picking out careers which will help them earn better.

What are the Top Paying Tech Jobs Today?

It is no surprise that medical and IT fields have the best paying jobs in all the sectors. Here is a list of the top 13 high paying IT jobs. The respective job salary data is taken from PayScale.

Data Scientist

A Data Scientist must have knowledge of the following:

    • Languages and technologies like Java, Python, R, SAS, and more
    • They must know how to use analytical tools
    • Knowledge of data models, data mining, Big Data Analytics, Software Development
    • The latest technologies and innovations in the IT field
    • Skills in AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning
    • Managerial skills to identify business issues and goals

The average salary of a Data Scientist is $95,000 a year.

Big IT players like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS), Hewlett-Packard (HP), Wipro Technologies, HCL Technologies, Deloitte, PayPal, Dell, and more are offering jobs to Data Scientists.

If you want to make a career as a Data Scientist, here are some courses that can help: 

  • Data Science Certification Training – R Programming
  • Data Science with SAS Training
  • Data Science with Python

Software Engineer

Software engineers require knowledge about the following:

  • They need to have in-depth knowledge about software architectures
  • They require good programming skills in C, C++, Java, PHP, Spring, Angular, React, Ruby on Rails, and more
  • They need to have strong analytical skills
  • They also require knowledge about data models 

The average salary of a Software engineer or architect is $60,000 a year.

Employers like IBM, Rubicon Project, FINRA, American Management Association, and more are hiring software developers and architects.

Courses that can help:

  • Selenium 3.0 Training
  • Node.js Training
  • Certified Android App Developer
  • Full Stack Web Developer – MEAN Stack

Project Manager

Skills required by Project Managers are:

  • Business Analysis knowledge is very important for Project Managers
  • They require knowledge of different technologies and languages like Java, HTML, SQL, Agile Software Development, and more
  • Managerial skills are also necessary to become a Project Manager

The average annual salary of a project manager is $75,000.

Here are some companies who are hiring Project Managers: CISCO, Accenture, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and more.

Certificates and courses that may help:

DevOps Engineer

Some skills required by DevOps engineers are:

  • Knowledge of Amazon Web Service
  • Software Development 
  • Understanding of network operations
  • Knowledge of different operating systems 
  • Knowledge of different platforms and tools like Git and Jenkins

DevOps engineers enjoy an average annual salary of $137,000. DevOps was the highest recruited job of the year 2018.

Here are some courses that help you become a DevOps engineer:

  • DevOps certification training
  • DevOps Architect
  • Salt Training Course

Big Data Architect

Here are some skills required by Big Data Architects:

  • Knowledge about technologies like data warehousing, NoSQL, Hadoop, and more
  • They require good programming skills and knowledge of coding
  • They need excellent data visualization skills
  • They also need managerial skills and communication skills

The average annual salary of Big Data Architects is $123,000. 

Companies hiring Big Data Architects are Amazon, Google, IBM, Oracle, and more.

Here are some courses that will help you become expert Big Data Architects:

  • Big Data Hadoop and Spark Developer
  • Big Data Engineer

IoT Architect

IoT Architects should have the following skills:

  • Complete knowledge of programming
  • Knowledge of different technologies
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning
  • Knowledge of hardware designing and architecture

An IoT architect earns an average annual salary of $111,000.

AI Engineer

These skills are highly desired from AI Engineer:

  • Strong programming skills
  • Knowledge of languages and technologies like Python, R, SAS, and more
  • Knowledge of Machine learning, Deep learning, Data Science and more

An AI Engineer can expect an annual salary of $171,000.

Top AI companies like Amazon Web Service, IBM, Google AI, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and more are hiring AI Engineers.

Here are some AI courses which are highly valued in the IT market:

  • Artificial Intelligence Engineer
  • Deep Learning with TensorFlow
  • RPA with UiPath Certification Training
  • Automation Anywhere Certified Advanced RPA Professional Training Course

Cloud Architect

Some skills that are required to become a Cloud Architect are:

  • Knowledge of Amazon Web Service
  • DevOps engineering
  • Knowledge about Systems Architecture
  • Knowledge about IT Infrastructure and Business Analysis
  • Knowledge of Cloud Computing

The average salary of a Cloud Solutions Architect is $154,000.

Top companies like Amazon and Wipro are hiring cloud solutions architects.

Some courses that can make you expect cloud solutions architects are:

  • AWS Solution Architect
  • Microsoft Certified Associate: Azure Administrator (AZ-100 and AZ-101)

Full-Stack Developer

Full Stack developers are highly paid IT professionals. Here are some mandatory skills required by Full Stack Developers:

  • Knowledge of different technologies like MongoDB, Angular JS, React JS, Express JS and more
  • Knowledge about web development
  • Knowledge of scripting and programming languages
  • Knowledge about databases
  • Skilled in client-side as well as server-side development

The average annual pay of a Full Stack developer is $110,000.

Companies who are hiring Full Stack Developers: Weinvest, CallHub, Tracxn!, NanoNets, and more.

White-Hat Hackers

Information security engineers and White Hat Hackers are responsible for keeping a company’s information safe from malicious hackers and other threats. 

Here are some skills desired by Ethical/White Hat Hackers:

  • Knowledge of Cyber Security, Software testing, network support, web security and more
  • Knowledge about systems architecture and security policies and procedures
  • Knowledge about programming languages
  • Skilled in security risk management

The average salary of a White Hat Hacker is $131,300.

Here are some popular companies hiring Cyber Security expert: Wipro Technologies, Tata Consultancy Services, Paladion Networks, EY (Ernst & Young), Infosys Limited.

Courses that can help you become an expert Ethical hacker are:

  • CompTIA Security+ 501
  • CEH (V10)- Certified Ethical Hacker
  • CISA®- Certified Information Systems Auditor
  • CHFI-Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator Certification course

Blockchain Engineer

As blockchain technology is becoming increasingly popular and the availability of blockchain engineers is low, they are one of the highly paid IT professionals.

Here are some skills required by BlockChain Engineers:

  • Knowledge of technologies like Ripple, R3, Bitcoin and more
  • Knowledge of cloud computing
  • Understanding of Data Analysis, Data Modeling, logistics 
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) skills

A Blockchain Engineers earns an average of $130,000 a year.

Here are some courses which can help you sharpen your Blockchain skills:

  • Blockchain Basics
  • Blockchain

Product Manager

The products that are built by engineers cannot survive in the market without proper management. A project manager takes part in all processes of a product lifecycle and ensures that the product does not fail in the market.

Some key skills required by Product Managers are:

  • Complete knowledge of Product Lifecycle Models and Management
  • Skilled in product management tools like JIRA, Asana and more
  • Strong managerial skills 

The average annual salary you can expect as a Product Manager is $100,000 a year.

Salesforce Developer

A good Salesforce Developer is expected to have the following skills:

  • Knowledge of Software development, RESTful Web services, Data Analysis, CRM and more
  • Web development skills and knowledge of different programming languages like Python, HTML, JavaScript, SQL
  • Project Management skills and knowledge of Enterprise System Development is also important

The average salary of a Salesforce developer with 1 to 3 years of experience is $59,000 – $105,000. 

Companies hiring Salesforce developers are: Accenture, Cognizant Infosys, Cognizant, Deloitte, Wipro

Some popular Salesforce courses and certifications are:

  • Salesforce Administrator & App Builder
  • Salesforce Platform Developer I (Apex and Visualforce)

These were the top 13 high paying IT jobs which are a great career choice in today’s world. More IT fields like Agile and Scrum Development, Digital Marketing, and more have great career prospects and pay scales too. 

If you are interested in these fields, you should start preparing and master your skills by taking up certifications and courses. Become an expert in your field and get better jobs and higher pay!

This is a guest post by Mohsin Ali Khan. He is a SEO Team Lead at Simplilearn concentrating on two major categories Project Management and Cloud Computing. A writer and SEO strategist by day and he is passionate to bring in the best SEO optimized page / content for the readers that are based on facts and research. He values curious minds and scrambles to learn new things.

150+ Almost Free and Essential Products To Start Your Business

Are you a newbie to the startup world? If yes, then you must be definitely knowing that starting up a business is no cakewalk. It is one of the toughest tasks and involves a lot of risks. Especially, if it’s a startup, you come across a lot of roadblocks that you never thought would ever crop up. Factors such as budget, limited manpower and time can also affect your business or startup when the workload starts piling up and the bills come rolling in.

But fret not! With the help of right tools and an effective team you can easily come over these hurdles and can reach your business potential. There are many tools and products available out there which can prove to be super beneficial for your business in the long run. Below mentioned is a curated list of some important products that every business must use, irrespective of its size, in order to take your business to new heights over the course of time:

Domain name suggestion

Booking the right domain name is the first step of any startup launch. But it is very difficult to get a desired .com domain name under your budget, however, you can try some hacks and find the domain name that best fits to your business name.

  • domainwheel(generate different variations of your desired domain name)
  • domainhack(take advantage of different TLDs and hack your domain e.g hy.pe)
  • agiledomainsearch(generate domain names by adding some random but related word)
  • domaindart(Generate domain name by adding prefix or suffix)

Domain Name Booking

Booking domain is not free but privacy, email forwarding and DNS can be free. Consider these free resources before selecting registrar.

Create Logo

Logo designing charges may vary from $10 to $10,000 but here is options to get one for free.

Create website by yourself

If you are not a web developer or a designer but need simple websites, then you can make it yourself for free or at a nominal cost with the help of these products. You don’t need to worry about hosting and setup also.

Create blog

Blogging is an important way to grow your business online. These tools can help you pull in your target audience.

  • wordpress(self hosted cms, you need to pay for server or hosting)
  • Managedwordpress hosting, free with wordpress.com sub domain
  • WP Buffs – Managing WordPress websites with 24×7 support
  • medium( $75 on time for custom domain)
  • tumblr(use with your custom domain for free, limited features)
  • blogger(everything is free. use your domain, customize theme.)
  • jekyll-now(host your blog on github)

Create Ecommerce Website

You can use open source software and host on your server, but must have prior knowledge of server management and PHP & Mysql.

If you don’t have technical background you can start from these hosted version of e-commerce platforms.

Host for free

Hosting your website can result in a recurring cost since many of the shared and cheap hostings are not able to provide more than 99% uptime but you can opt for some reliable hosting services for your needs that are free or almost free. It requires some technical skills to deploy your website.

Communicate

Interact with your team or clients.

Lead Generation

If there are any details which are missing from your lead you can get more details by name, company name or email Id

Get Work done

These all services are paid starting from $5

Analytics & Tracking

 

Website Traffic Monitoring

Having a good statistics package working in the background is important for your site. You must know what works and what doesn’t and also the trends that will make your website the next stop for visitors every day.

Track Email

Scheduling and tracking emails is important, especially if your clients are in different time zones.

Track Link

Tracking links of your competitors and those of your web pages is an essential part of SEO strategy.

Create Awesome Social media Posts

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, so make it stand out with the help of these tools.

Manage Social Media Accounts

Social media management tools can help you make the most of your social presence  and reach a wide number of audience.

Create Promotional Video

Create engaging online promotional videos affordably with these tools.

Launching Startup

Get your startup enlisted in these communities and create a good audience base.

Note Taking

In order to build a personal knowledge database, the good old note taking is undoubtedly one of the best ways.

Project & Task management

Managing projects and tasks can be a little difficult. But don’t let anyone tell you this. Manage everything on your own with these tools.

File Hosting & Sharing

Share and host files seamlessly with these tools.

Work Automation

These tools come with a wide range of applications and are ideal for those who are mostly digitally connected workers.

Create Forms

Forms can be a great asset for your business sites. Create one for yours with any of these:

Transactional & Newsletter Emailing

All the email services are paid but they offer a free tier until you start growing

Chat & Support

There are many chat service providers for your website who offer free plans but restrict the contact limits. Here I am mentioning the options which do not restrict them.

Get Payments

These tools help you receive payment from any corner of the world. These are safe and secure to use.

On Site Search

For the times when you want to allow your visitors to search on your website or your database.

Track Competitors

Having an insight of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses can help you create a good strategy

  • mention(Starts from $29 / month)
  • alexa(most popular website ranking probider)
  • builtwith(check what third party technology powering a website. free , paid plans starts from $295)
  • whatruns(Discover what runs a website, when you open a website.)

Security

These tools help make your business fast and safe.

Bookmarks

Lets you save important stuff that you need to get onto later.

Engagement

Good engagement tools help your product grow in the best possible way.

Free Stock Photographs

Finding good images is difficult. These tools make your work of finding them an easy task.

Influencer Marketing

Instead of directly marketing to a large group of your consumers, you can get or hire influencers who can do the work for you or on your behalf.

Others

If you find anything that we have missed, then please let us know in the comments.

Article contributed by Vijay Nagar, marketing manager at BetaPage, a startups & early adopters community

5 Impressive Blockchain Applications for Small Business Owners

It is an era of smart gadgets, cool apps, and big data. In this time of emerging technology, do you often wonder how you can tap into the right technology to empower your small business?

This article will put light on one such technology which could completely change the way you manage your business affairs: Blockchain!

Started as a public transaction for bitcoin, blockchain has now evolved into a technology used for dynamic purposes — from cloud computing & storage to business contracts and from payment methods to supply chain management.

No wonder entrepreneurs, businesses, and enterprises, all are trying to grab hold of this innovative technology for its benefits.

Multiple blockchain applications can help you boost your business while being easy on your finances. But, before we dive into that, let’s first get a solid grasp of what exactly is blockchain and how it can benefit small business owners.

Simply put, blockchain is a growing list of records called blocks that are linked using cryptography. It is a time-stamped series of record data that is managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. These blocks are secured and bound to one another through cryptographic principles.

Some of the features of the blockchain application include: 

  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Enhanced Security
  • No Transaction Cost
  • Decentralized Technology
  • Distributed Ledgers
  • Faster Settlement

In the coming years, your business can escalate towards success if you get on board with implementing these 5 most impressive blockchain applications:

1. Payments and money transfers

The massive inflow of cash can make your banking experience a mess. And often, you are expected to pay hefty transactional fees to banks to transfer a lump sum amount of money.

In such a scenario, blockchain emerges as a warrior that can defeat your adverse banking experiences while giving you a smooth and secure transaction method. Having its roots in cryptocurrency, this seems to be the most prominent and beneficial application of blockchain.
Through blockchain technology, you can instantly transfer funds in an extremely secure manner without any intermediaries or extra fee.

It also comes in handy while paying wages to international/remote employees and contractors. Abra, Bitwage, and Coinpip are a few companies that are leading the path of transferring funds or handling payrolls via blockchain technology.

2. Smart Contracts

Be it starting a new firm with fresh contracts or entering into new terms in your existing business, documenting fair and reasonable contract often becomes an uphill battle. And to add to your problems, there are always middlemen or third parties making the situation more complicated.

Now imagine if self-automated computer programs could carry out the terms of any contract. It isn’t a far-fetched dream — it is precisely what “Smart Contracts” is.

The term “smart contract” may sound like a newly coined technological jargon. However, you’d be surprised to know that the term has existed since 1993. It was only after a decade that “Smart Contract” became the buzz in the business world. The credit for this goes to the Ethereum Project, which “is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.”

Blockchain Technology will allow you to form self-executing contracts, i.e., smart contracts, while eliminating the need of a third party. It will not only save you a decent amount of money (which your lawyer would have vacuumed out of your pocket), but it will also enhance security, traceability, and accountability.

3. Cloud Storage

Are the various cloud hacks in the news making you question your cloud storage charges? Do you often wonder if the price you paid for your cloud storage solution worth it? Its exorbitant fee can become overbearing for your business as they lack security and transparency.

However, it is practically impossible for a firm to store data without these clouds. It is where the introduction of blockchain can prove to be beneficial. Blockchain cloud storage solution takes the user’s data and breaks it up into small chunks.

Further, it adds an extra layer of security and distributes it throughout the network. Each chunk of data is stored in a decentralized location. This method makes it impossible for hackers to gain access to your complete data. If intruders try to hack into it, they first get encrypted data and then get only a chunk of the data. It makes blockchain cloud storage solution one of the safest options while being easy on your finances.

4. Supply chain management

Today’s consumers are curious and well informed. They are attracted towards a business that can provide them the complete details of their products-from manufacturing to sale. However, it isn’t an easy task to keep full track of each transfer of your goods.

This is where you can rely on blockchain supply management to help you get real-time information of your data. It would increase transparency and visibility, improve inventory management while reducing delays and frauds. Tracking the supply chain and digital trail information would help you to build trust among your consumers.

5. Raise Capital Globally

If you are willing to raise more capital for your business via global investors, blockchain is the way to go. As digital currency operates independent of geographic boundaries and can be transferred easily without any international fee, it gives every business an equal opportunity to raise funds.

Summing it all up

These blockchain applications will help you scale up your business and gain maximum profit by optimally utilizing the blockchain technology. With blockchain, you don’t have to worry over things like data breach and lack of privacy anymore — your business transactions are protected by a system that you can rely on.

On top of that, with blockchain, you don’t require a central hub anymore; it serves as a bridge between vapors devices and help you carry out transactions at low cost.

Author Bio:

Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Right Mix Marketing Blog. She specializes in writing about content marketing, SEO and social media. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling. You can follow her on Twitter at @rightmixmktg.

How Will Instagram Checkout Change ECommerce

Last month, Instagram announced the launch of Checkout, a new feature that will allow users to check out products from brands from within the app and even make purchases without ever having to leave the app.

The feature works quite smoothly on the limited number of accounts that it is now available on. For instance, if you visit the @NikeTraining Instagram page now, you will find a number of posts with a ‘shopping bag’ icon. These are posts with products that you can purchase.

Hitting any one of these posts will take you to the image with a ‘Tap to view products’ message. You may pick the product you like, and then also customize your purchase based on size, color, etc. and make the purchase. Instagram users outside the US are now displayed a ‘Visit Website’ option instead to make purchases directly from the brand’s website.

From a business perspective, this is a huge step for Instagram as it builds a sustainable business model around its current visual social networking platform. The potential is huge. Instagram could, in theory, open this feature to everyone, and this could make way for influencers to make affiliate commissions for products they refer on the app. Today, Instagram does not have a way to monetize the huge influencer marketing ecosystem, which will change with this new feature.

So what does all this mean for the eCommerce ecosystem at large? Although the feature is in closed-beta right now, we expect the Checkout feature to be available to all businesses in the next six to twelve months. When that does happen, we are likely to see a huge churn in the way eCommerce businesses operate.

Think of the small-time retailer selling fashion accessories online. Today, most of them have a store on eCommerce platforms like Magento or BigCommerce. Customer acquisition is a huge pain given that most buyers head to Amazon online. Given that Search engine is no longer a viable channel for these small time stores, most of them head to social media to attract eyeballs to their stores.

Alternately, most of these small time stores who do not sell products that is a good fit for social media (think auto spare parts) choose to list themselves on Amazon instead. After all, if Amazon outranks your website on Google for every conceivable query, it is a good idea to join them rather than fight them.

But with Instagram Checkout in place, store owners no longer have an incentive to run their own store. They may, as well, list their products on Amazon, Facebook (which already has a Store feature), Instagram and every other customer acquisition channel and monetize directly instead of having to bring customers to their website and then translating them into sales. Selling on Instagram has lesser friction than acquiring traffic from this channel and converting on the site.

That does not mean stores will not have a website presence at all. Instead, most store owners might choose to use websites purely for marketing purposes like content marketing or to build a mailing list. Spending on a store may seem like an unnecessary expense.

That could however not be the case if the various stakeholders in the ecosystem adapt suitably. Should Instagram charge users a monthly fee based on the number of products they have listed, that could make the platform less attractive to sellers.

At the same time, should platforms like BigCommerce move away from a subscription model to a model based purely on processing fee, it increases the likelihood for sellers to continue selling on these web platforms while using Instagram as an alternative source. After all, selling on your own store gives you a level of control that would never be possible over third party platforms like Instagram or Facebook.

But from a buyers’ perspective, Instagram Checkout is more user-friendly. Imagine coming across a new seller you want to buy from. If you were to land on their website, you will be required to go through the entire checkout process like entering your billing and shipping details manually each time. With Instagram, all this is a one-time process. You may buy from new stores with just a click of a button without any of the checkout hassles.

In some ways then, Instagram Checkout could do to eCommerce stores what Reddit did to message boards – why sign up on new boards each time you had a question when you could simply ask the same question on the relevant subreddit?

It will be interesting to see how eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce change their models to take on the new eCommerce platform in town. Will this mean an end to a subscription model? Will that mean a fundamental shift in the way customers buy?

Digital Crime – Top Targets are Not Who You Think

Digital crime is a booming industry. Every day we hear of huge data breaches that have exposed the data of millions of a company’s clients. And we’re not talking of a few years ago either. Just last year, the data of 150 million users of the MyFitnessPal app where stolen.

Modern living comes with perks. We’re not likely to have to run for our lives to avoid being eaten by a lion anymore. We get to access information with the click of a mouse and possibly even a voice command. And, how did we ever learn anything before we had YouTube?

Unfortunately, modern living also comes with some downsides. We might not have to run for our lives anymore, and this could actually be a bad thing when it comes to our fitness levels. Our easy access to information and the fact that we live such a large part of our lives online means that our data is under constant risk of attack.

Data Breaches are Serious

If you check out the infographic below, you’ll see that the MyFitnessPal hack was only one of a long line of data breaches. You’ll also see exactly how much the hacks cost businesses annually. Most surprisingly, though, you’ll learn that your typical victim of cybercrime is not who you’d think.

Small Business is a Big Target

Did you know, for example, that cybercriminals target small businesses 43% of the time? That surprises a lot of people, because, naturally a small business won’t have millions of clients. Let’s look at things from the cybercriminals’ perspective, though.

Google would be a far more lucrative target to hack because you could get the details of millions of account holders. The problem is that Google knows this, so they take serious measures to stop hackers from gaining access.

Not only would it take mad skills to hack a large corporate like this, but it would take a lot of time and effort. You are dealing with a company with the resources to hire the best security experts in the world. They spend a lot of money on security products and security awareness training every year.

Now, compare that to the local plumber’s office. Maybe they have the details of four or five hundred people on record. It’s not a huge amount of data, but the security is probably not all that great anyway.

All our hacker needs to do is to hope that someone in the company clicks on the wrong link. Then they can have all that info transmitted to them. It’s an easy score. And, if the malicious software was ransomware, the hacker makes even more money when the plumber pays to regain control of his computer.

Cybercriminals are quite happy to settle for the simple score, even if it means earning less. In the time that it might take them to crack Google, they could easily have scored a similar amount of information from less well-protected systems.

Cyber security infographc

5 Mobile Technology Trends 2018: What You Should Know

Advanced technologies have made the business landscape more cut-throat, keeping business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals at the edge of their seats. To stay ahead of the competition, owners need to constantly observe both their target markets and their competitors, and learn how each side adopts the latest trends.

One such trend that has emerged is mobile technology, primarily the adoption of connectivity to gadgets. The cost of adopting this mobile technology to businesses—both big and small—will be within reach, making it more accessible.

Furthermore, with the integration of smartphones and handheld devices into the daily lives of consumers, companies and organizations need to understand the various opportunities that mobile technology presents to both the business and its customers.

What are the mobile technologies that my business should know about?

Internet-of-Things

The ability to turn almost any device into a smart object is possibly the best use for IoT. It’s the metamorphosis of the internet that will allow something to connect, monitor, control, or search without human intervention.

A Statista report shows that by the end of 2018, IoT-connected devices will be more than 23 billion and that by 2025, it may reach 75 billion. Items will range from LEDs, toys, sports equipment, and medical equipment, to controllable power sockets.

These smart objects will be interacting with mobile devices to function as a remote. IoT will allow users to interface with their social networks to monitor things, pay for subscription services, update object firmware, monitor readings of devices and sensors, analyze data, and so much more. Soon, it will be useful for many industries, including healthcare, education, manufacturing, and transportation.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

In 2017, both Google and Apple invested heavily to study and improve AR, releasing ARCore and ARKit, respectively. This technology allowed developers to innovate and create mobile solutions for the smartphone using AR.

AR was mostly used in gaming apps and marketing campaigns, as the additional digital layer provides a more realistic and immersive outlook to entertain and impress consumers. However, there is an opportunity for retail, life science, manufacturing, and other sectors thanks to a wide range of AR apps being developed today.

New applications using AR for more practical purposes is expected to launch on mobile, like object measurement, navigation, interior design, and more. Its power to provide a compelling user experience may result in a variety of creative AR apps targeted to market customized offerings.

VR, meanwhile, will still be focused on the game and events sphere but may go beyond by offering a better form of entertainment.

The Digi-Capital New Report in 2017 shows that “mobile AR could become the primary driver of the $108 billion VR/AR market by 2021.”  Indeed, mixed reality or immersive environments have the potential to integrate the digital world into the physical to address the needs of people who are consuming the digital world through mobile.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Developments in AI and machine learning will help fuel intelligence to machines through Deep Learning. This could mean that computers will soon be able to make smart decisions without human interventions. Mobile chatbots are the best example of machine learning by AI.

It has also been predicted that apps that can make decisions and customized to anticipate user behavior would soon be developed. Smartphone developers are looking to pack future devices with as many AI elements as possible and inspire more voice- and images-based AI innovations. Mobile data will be tapped for all these future innovations.

AI and machine learning could also be useful in the education industry through apps that can teach kids based on how they learn. Naturally, mobile e-commerce could also benefit, with apps that could shop based on the consumer’s preference.

5G

The fifth generation of mobile network dubbed as 5G New Radio (NR) is expected to launch by 2019, starting with a few US cities. The world regulator of cellular communications standards 3GPP has already approved it.

5G NR is built around sub-6 GHz and mmWave (24 GHz) spectrum bands. The increased spectrum chunks, bigger carrier aggregation (8 times for mmWave), and beamforming and tracking capabilities can significantly improve throughput and efficiency.

This new standard is expected to provide up to 100 times faster connectivity than 4G, improve user experience, and promote the advanced technologies aforementioned for mobile. Qualcomm already demoed their prototype during the Mobile World Congress 2018, showing a smartphone connected to an actual 5G mmWave and transferring data of over 4 Gbps.

Instant Apps

Android has led the way for this trend, with the Go edition of their latest OS version Oreo. Instant Apps are substantially smaller or lighter versions of apps that do not eat up too much storage space and do not require a download of the whole app from the Play Store. They were borne out of the hassle of deleting apps to make way for other purposes.

These apps have the same design and animation extracted from the native application, without the bulky size. Google is expected to integrate this along with the launcher and is believed to be the next step in the app streaming feature. Other OS will hopefully follow suit.

Which of these technologies is the best for my business?

With different power requirements and data consumptions, the answer to the question depends on what your business needs. And in some ways, one technology would require another piece to work more seamlessly.

For instance, a company that plans to adopt IoT should not be satisfied with m2m sim cards that only use 2G or 3G networks and move to LTE, and eventually to 5G. Both networks are expected to shut down soon and would spend the remainder of their lifespans through applications with legacy devices (that will also be replaced).

More trends are expected to pop up as 2018 comes to a close and a new year comes in, making it harder for organizations to decide which technology to utilize for their business. The good news is whatever mobile trend you choose from the above mentioned will help your company be more successful.