Top 8 Tips for Managing Your Logs

Log management is an essential ingredient in the administration of enterprise technology infrastructure and data. However, not just any form of log management will do. To ensure your log management strategy and tactics are effective, you must invest significant thought, time and effort to make it work.

Logs-

By applying the following tips in conjunction with Papertrail’s best practices, you can increase the odds of success for your log management.

1. Streamline Requirement Specifications

Creating a requirement specification document from scratch can be a time-consuming process. However, if you do not get the requirement specification right, you’ll have difficulty finding the most suitable log management system. Log management is used to get business insight until Big data was introduced. With Big data maintaining log files and analyzing logs has become easy.

The good thing about an exhaustive requirement specification is that you can reuse it (with minor modification) if you ever need to procure a new log management tool. The core components of the document such as log file format and the data to be captured in the log file will remain the same.

2.    Know What to Monitor and What Not to Monitor

The average enterprise’s technology infrastructure generates millions of log events every day. If you have to monitor all this log data, you will not only rapidly exhaust the storage space on your log servers but you will also be adding unnecessary complexity to your log analysis. You, therefore, have to make a decision on what type of events your log management tool will focus on. Artificial intelligence plays a vital role in this, it can efficiently turn the monitoring process into a real-time monitoring system.

All system events are not of equal significance or value. Any type of log data that is critical for auditing and compliance purposes must be logged. So should any information that streamlines and speeds up your ability to troubleshoot system problems, solve end-user issues or keep track of security incidents. On the other hand, it isn’t necessary for you to monitor test environment data. You should also avoid logging sensitive information like credit card numbers.

3.  Ensure You Have All the Data You Need

In order to develop effective correlation rules, log management systems must have sufficient volume and variety of contextual data to analyze.

For example, what was the origin of a given event? To know this, one would need to have considerable knowledge of the originating IP address. Ergo, the log management system must be keeping a record of that information if the engine is to parse it. If an organization wants to write log analysis alerts and rules for a specific activity, the log data must accurately capture such activity.

4.    Plan Log Storage Capacity

Log storage would seem like a relatively straightforward aspect of log management. However, this is one area where you can easily drop the ball with catastrophic results. It’s especially risky to plan log storage based on average log volumes. Instead, storage should take into account high load peaks.

When systems are running smoothly, the volume of log data generated is predictable and near-uniform from day to day with the only variable being the reasonable fluctuation in transaction volume and system utilization. However, when the system runs into critical errors, you can expect a surge in log volume. The danger here is that if your storage hits its limit unexpectedly, you will lose the latest logs which now cannot be stored and yet are fundamental to the resolution of the errors.

5.  Go Beyond Static Reporting

The last thing, an organization need is to be inundated by new spreadsheets or lists filled with rows of data but without any overarching analytical strategy to facilitate making sense of it all. Log alerts should not just be configured based on the static characteristic of an individual row of data but more importantly, based on a clearly defined baseline of acceptable or expected activity.

For example, say one of the baseline requirements for a system alert is two consecutive failed logins.  If password rules are modified from accepting simple dictionary words to only allowing 8+ character strings of non-dictionary alphanumeric characters and symbols, you can expect a temporary rise in failed logins as users adapt to the new rules.

An intelligent log management system could monitor trends and generate reports for system administrator consumption and action including, in our example, triggering a temporary alteration to the failed login alert threshold.

Read More:- IOT Automation Solutions: Full Guide for Your Smart Home

6.  Let Log Data Drive Investigation

During a crisis, IT staff may go into a panic and adopt a reactive approach to problem resolution. But relying on speculation, intuition and unrelated information to get to the root of the problem is a waste of precious time, money and resources. Instead, the incident investigation should be driven by the relevant hard data found in system logs.

Logs are a record of exactly what has happened. Often, this is all that you need to determine the cause of the outage. By basing your response on the facts of an incident, you stand a better shot at understanding the problem and resolving it conclusively.

7.  Configure and Manage

Irrespective of how sophisticated the features of a log management tool might be, it won’t have much impact if it is not configured right. Procuring a log management tool and then simply throwing it at your logging problems will not work. You must be prepared to install, configure and manage the tool meticulously.

A log management system must be configured to parse the data and events that matter to the business. Both alerts and the alert console must lend itself to the smooth communication of critical security events. That way, the reports generated will have tangible technical and financial value for the organization. If you commit to logging management technology, you must also commit to making sure it works well.

8.    Develop and Enforce a Log Security Policy

Logs contain a wide range of sensitive information such as customer personal data and API internal access keys. If such data falls into the wrong hands, it could be used for fraud, identity theft or unauthorized access. Hackers will also often attempt to access and alter log files in order to hide their tracks. Log security isn’t just something you should do but it may also be required by regulations such as the EU’s GDPR.

To keep sensitive log information safe, develop a log security policy and procedure that requires and details how to log data should be encrypted or anonymized before it’s shipped to a third party. Limit who can access the log servers. For clear accountability, ensure each user ID that can access the log management tool and log server is assigned to a specific individual—there should be no shared logins.

The security policy must also address log data retention times. Log retention times will vary depending on the application and the event type. Some application log data necessary for troubleshooting may be useful for just a couple of days. Business transaction and security related logs call demand longer retention windows.

Machine learning is the ultimate solution to analyze large volumes of data with a higher accuracy level. For classified data, log analysis uses supervised machine learning. It helps in clustering the unstructured data into meaningful groups.

Log management shouldn’t be viewed as a routine afterthought but rather as an essential component in the management of technology infrastructure. By applying the above tips, you can make your log management effort and investment count.

IOT Automation Solutions: Full Guide for Your Smart Home

The world has turned into a modern era. This contemporary time is known as a digital world, where technologies are ruling on humans, without technologies we can’t even imagine our lives. There are many mechanization which is playing the vital role in the human lives, but among them IOT Automation Solutions has made our lives easier and has become the important part of our lives and home.

IOT Automation

What is Internet of Things ?

The term IOT refers to the Internet of things. This technology has turned our lives into modern lives and change the style of our living. As we can take out from the name itself that things connected to the internet and convert them into the smart device. Hence, once these devices are interconnected via the internet, so they can intercommunicate among each other. This process reduces the human efforts and make the daily lives working easier and enabled devices to act as per the instructions.

Growth History of Internet Of Things – Statistics of the IOT

The term Internet of things was professionally found by the Kevin Ashton in year 1999 but when scientist researched so they found the earlier predictions were held in 1926 but at that time the idea was introduced as embedded internet” or “pervasive computing.

According to the statistics, It has been declared by the experts that in 2018 – 2025 the number of the connected products will get triple and will reach to a massive 75 billion devices installed worldwide. During that time, the IOT technology itself will also get upgraded.

The market of IOT has increased worldwide and it is benefiting to the consumers at high level. Many people have stated that this technology has turned the life into luxury.

How IOT is Helpful in Our Daily Lives?

Internet Of things technology is really very helpful in our daily lives as it reduces human efforts and working has become easier. The technology has been designed in such a way that the devices are connected to the smart devices and act instantly and turn the home as a smart and advanced home. The devices include the home electrical lighting, air conditioning system, security alarms, vacuum cleaners, washers, etc. The mobile applications enabled devices when users are not at their home.

Nowadays, in every home you will get the feature of the smart home, our places have been turned into modern place and with this technology we are living our luxury lives. We can’t decline the fact our lives have become easier and this technology has reduced our efforts. Humans don’t require any specific degree or skills to handle this technology, it is very easy and simple to use.

Benefits of Internet of Things

There is a wide range of advantages.

Save time: This technology has never introduce before and it is a better facility for the home owners. This technology offers an endless possibilities, just have an example support the homeowner has to switch on the AC so as he get free from the office, he can switch on from his mobile device, so it saves the time of the owner. When the owner step into the house, so he will get the perfect temperature as his desire. It saves the time of the owners by again and again doing the chores, human can put their efforts into the valuable work.

Multiple work: The Internet of things can do the multiple home task for us and its saves time also. The work can be done by the device such as home vacuumed, plants watered or laundry, etc. With only a click on the smartphone.

Secure home: The biggest concern of the homeowners are to secure the home, especially when they are far from their homes when they are at work or on holidays. It is the biggest concern, if they have children or the elderly at home. The home automation process comes with a perfect solution as with devices owners can monitor the devices. Even the cameras can be installed in the home to get a look around. Smart locks are also introduced which act as a modern demand. They enabled to open the main doors from the workplace only the same work as a smart alarm, it works to warn homeowners about an unauthorized access. It can issue a warning against the unnecessary acts such as fire or smoke, it will help homeowner to take instant action, even it can be helpful if he/she is not present there.

Easy to handle: The devices are very easy to handle as it is not that much complicate to handle and it doesn’t require any specific skill or degree to handle the working.Anyone can handle these working.

Save resources: It saves the resources as by mistake if the owner left the light on, so with the IOT it can help to off the light immediately or the tap left un open so it can also be sort out. It saves resources at a high level. It also helps to save the power bills and it offers an Eco friendly environment to us.

Read More:- Get Ready for the ISDN Switch Off and SIP Safe

Business Challenges of IOT

Business owners face a lot of challenges to deal with this technology.

  • High Market
  • Expensive appliances
  • Security alert
  • Appliance tracking
  • Integration of device
  • Energy consumption
  • Complicated technology
  • Emergency alerts.

Despite, all these challenges the biggest problem can be sorted out and that is emergency can be sorted out so this technology is really beneficial and while seeing the other home appliances, IOT Solutions is Lil bit expensive but sort various hurdles of daily lives. The investment turn into an effective investment at the EOD and this investment turn the homes into smart homes and in the future this technology will get upgraded and bring more and turn our homes into smart homes. This technology will become as a basic need of us and make us live a luxury life.

As it is modern world, so the selling of the modern product should also on a digitalised way to turn IOT market into effective there are various IOT Development Company who are offering their iot development services to the business owners for the perfect business growth.

Get Ready for the ISDN Switch Off and SIP Safe

Have you heard people in your industry talking about ISDN? It’s an important technology infrastructure that’s due to be turned off, and that will affect a huge volume of businesses across the UK. 

ISDN Switch1

Let’s get some clarity, we’re talking about telephony here, and if your business relies upon this for any internal or external communications, it’s important that you read this article. Just like no forward-thinking business would still be using a 56k dial up modem, it’s time to start considering the next progressive technology when it comes to your phone line, as of 2025, the old ISDN lines will be shut down.

If your business relies on phone lines for any function at all, the ISDN switch off affects you. BT announced back in 2015 that it would be turning off the ISDN network in ten years, but it’s safe to say, looking at the current landscape, there are still a large portion of businesses who have not prepared for this transition.

Now we’re less than 6 years away from that changeover point, so in terms of future-proofing your business, your ISDN changeover strategy requires action imminently.

To understand the situation further, let’s start with a bit of background knowledge!

What is the ISDN?

ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network, of which the ‘Integrated Services’ part refers to its ability to deliver a minimum of two simultaneous connections, which could include voice, video, fax and data. For a long time, it was the standard service BT provided.

The ISDN was first launched by BT in 1986, which in terms of technology lifespans, is lightyears ago (just think about how quickly new mobile phones become defunct!).

The network was launched to replace the old, outdated BT landlines, as at the time it was revolutionary in its ability to facilitate early video conferencing systems, and at the dawn of internet usage, it offered the fastest speeds in the UK, at 128Kbps.

It’s funny to look back and think 128Kbps was ever fast; that’s barely capable of streaming video, and nowhere near meeting our current expected requirements in business and at home.

Why is the ISDN being switched off?

It’s simply not viable and useful to integrate into our new daily standards of technology. In the same way we don’t rely on video instead of Netflix, or music tapes instead of Spotify, technology progresses and supports other new technology that works with it.

If you want to stay relevant and accessible to your customers and clients, it’s time to start thinking about upgrading from ISDN.

What is the alternative to ISDN?

If you want to upgrade from ISDN, the first thing to realise is that you are not necessarily upgrading your costs or moving to a service that is more expensive, just because it is more advanced. In fact, most of the alternatives can even be less expensive than a traditional phone solution, because the alternatives will soon become the new standard.

It’s also essential to know that although the ISDN is not being turned off until 2025, support for ISDN will cease in 2023, so if you don’t consider alternative providers now, you’ll have cornered yourself into an interesting situation!

ISDN is analogue technology, and the natural progression from that is SIP, which is digital.

ISDN Switch

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, and it manages real-time sessions such as voice, video and instant messaging. It controls internet telephony including live video calls and conferences.

SIP will facilitate your calls and it is much less expensive to maintain than ISDN. Due to the fact it is hosted technology, there is very little physical kit aside from your phone that sits in your business. SIP systems tend to come with an easy to use program that can help you manage communications from your desktop, should you wish to use a video conferencing application and an instant messenger platform.

The systems that come with SIP can have much more advanced functionality than that too, you can have User Interfaces that allow you, or your IT manager, to totally manage the system, set up new numbers, manage your availability, call forwarding, track analytics on your team’s phone usage, record calls and much, much more.

SIP is a type of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and this primarily uses the internet to facilitate calls. If you have a basic level of reliable internet (as most do these days, if not, your VoIP provider will be able to help), you will have very little downtime to your phones. Whether you’re a large call centre or a small estate agent, an issue with your phones being down can lose your business revenue instantly. Why would you risk relying on old tech?

Our VoIP partner Gamma, guarantees a highly reliable service with a 99.95% uptime, meaning its extremely rare to need to worry about service outages.

Read More- Top 10 Mobile & Tech Blogs To Read

Is SIP ever going out of date?

You wouldn’t want to overhaul any technology solution in your business if you knew it’s lifescale didn’t justify it’s ROI, but SIP does not have that problem.

Hosted and maintained through the cloud, SIP technologies and interfaces can be updated instantly and regularly, meaning there is no expensive call outs and technicians to cause disruption.

SIP is also massively scalable, so if your business goes through a growth period, it’s unlikely that the SIP technology will become defunct. You can very quickly add lines and manage new users, with a little easy training.

Your provider can also update your network remotely should you ever need their help to expand your operations.

Is SIP safe?

Our perceptions formed from the past can lead us to believe that having any service over the internet leaves us vulnerable to hacking and fraud – we put this concern to Gamma, our VoIP partner and asked them exactly how safe the service is. The good news is, Gamma comes with fraud protection as standard. If you are the victim of fraudulent activity on your phone lines, you won’t be charged, and Gamma’s built in security algorithms should alert you to anything unusual on your account.

How do I move to SIP?

Want to know the best thing? It requires no technical know-how on your part. That’s what we’re here for. Get in touch today and we’ll hook you up with one of our knowledgeable team, who will tailor a solution specific to your needs, and offer completely specialised advice for your business. Want us to call you back to discuss? Click through below to visit our contact page, and we’ll do our research specifically for your business ready for a friendly chat!

Top 10 Mobile & Tech Blogs To Read

With constant changes in mobile and new technology developments all the time, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to try and keep up. Fortunately, we have many blogs and websites that cover mobile and new technology to help you out. Here is a list of the Top 10 Mobile and Technology Blogs To Read:

Tech Blogs

Read More- How Tech Could Rescue the Awful Democratic Debates

  1. TechCrunch: TechCrunch has a plethora of information for technology news. At ChaiOne, we especially like the Mobile section of the website. Besides technology news, readers can find information on technology companies through TechCrunch’s free database, CrunchBase. They also have great information about startups and has the latest info on all things tech throughout the day.

  2. The Next Web: The popular website covers a wide range of technology news across the globe. We like reading The Next Web because we can get technology news and information that affects everyone. In addition, The Next Web has a division that organizes various conferences and events. The Next Web Labs is another part of the company that builds startups so you can learn more about what types of companies and services are sprouting up.

  3. ReadWrite: ReadWrite is a great blog that provides tech news, reviews, and analysis. You can learn more on various topics including cloud, enterprise, hacking, mobile, and more. We especially like the clean design of the page which makes it easy to read and share articles.

  4. Re/code (from the former All Things D team): To expand upon the All Things Digital conference, AllThingsD.com was created to open the conversation to everyone. The team at All Things D recently launched a new business and have brought their writing talents to Re/code. With Re/code, people will get news, analysis, and opinion on existing and new technology, the Internet, and media in a variety of media styles and from multiple sources.

  5. GigaOM: GigaOM is a great source for mobile news. In our opinion, it also has some of the best information on wearable technologies. You can learn more about emerging technologies and the disruption of media by reading GigaOM. Also, an interesting thing to note is that the site includes a specific news section on clean technology.

  6. Android Police: A more niche mobile blog is Android Police. For information on everything Android, you will find the latest news and posts on Android Police. This blog is a great source for all Android news, apps, games, phones, and tablets with great posts for developers. The site also has helpful tips and tutorials for Android apps and mobile devices.

  7. Apple Insider: On the other side of the mobile and tech space, Apple Insider covers all things Apple and iOS. There is always something happening in the Apple Universe and this site has it all. Apple Insider has great coverage for those that want to keep up with Apple insider news, rumors, updates, and additional analysis. The site also offers price guides to help you find the lowest prices on Apple products.

  8. TabTimes: TabTimes is a great blog for mobile news, reviews, and apps to help managers, professionals, and business people navigate the tablet world. It has a good deployment and strategy section for tablets. In addition, since this website targets business people, you can get information on how enterprises are using tablets and the growing BYOD trend.

  9. Forrester Blog: Forrester Research is a great resource for data and analysis on technology. In particular, the CIO section of the Forrester blog is a great place for information and stats on mobile and technology throughout the world. You can look to Forrester for upcoming technology and mobile trends.

  10. CITEworld: We like reading CITEworld because it has information that will help IT professionals, business leaders, and other technology investors keep up with new developments in technology. The site is great for information on IT in the enterprise and the latest technology news.

How Tech Could Rescue the Awful Democratic Debates

Debates Like many of you, I watched eight-plus hours of Democratic debates last week, and they seem to be getting worse over time. The last effort made it look like CNN was trying harder to create drama than to help people make a choice among the candidates.

Debates

We have a ton of technology — some new, some in place for decades — that could make this process far more informative and help people to make a decision that’s right for them. It also might get people excited about the election, so they actually would vote.

I’ll offer some ideas, as I did after the first round, on how we could use technology to make the debates more meaningful and improve the quality of our choices (we really need to improve the quality of our choices). I’ll close with my product of the week: an interesting new smart tablet from Lenovo that thinks it’s an Echo Show and arguably is a better value.

The Problem

The Democrats fielded a buttload of candidates who largely seem to be clones. This makes choosing among them difficult. Were it our job to make the choice (which it is), the debates so far haven’t helped much.

The No. 1 thing that the Democrats want (and I expect not an insignificant number of independents and even moderate Republicans) is a replacement for Donald Trump. I mean, if the Democrats lose, it really doesn’t matter what their candidate intended to do — it won’t get done.

Now that should make it pretty simple: Run largely on a platform of removing Trump from office, fixing what is perceived as broken, and not breaking stuff that isn’t. Instead, the Democratic candidates seem to be focused on issues that will polarize the voters and have many thinking that the president is the better of two bad choices.

For instance, once again on healthcare (this was the problem with Obamacare), they are focusing on getting the government to pay for it rather than focusing on the real problem — the excessive costs. We are the source of government funding, so just shifting the payee doesn’t fix the real problem, given the money comes from us regardless.

There is also the issue of reparations, which would take money from folks who did no wrong and give it to folks who weren’t harmed directly, and no one is talking about amounts. Rough calculations suggest that at US$500 million, it would only give between $10 and $20 per person (around 40 million black people in the U.S. = $12.50 per person at $500 million).

Learn More:- Fitness: The Sweet Spot for Smartwatches

It would cost less than that per taxpayer (some of whom would be the people getting the money; a tax exclusively on white people would be, well, racist). The tax per person would be around $6.25 (assuming 80 million taxpayers) netting those who got the reparations around $6.25 each. Don’t spend it all at once… . That assumes the collection and distribution of the money would be free, which it wouldn’t be.

Yet if that money, all $500 million, were to go toward fixing education or reducing racial bias in the legal system or promoting more diversity in politics (note I’m saying “or” not “and,” so it isn’t diluted so much it can’t make a difference) the impact would be far more meaningful. Without detailing what people will get, or what people will pay, any proposal is likely to create more conflict between the races (not enough paid out, too much paid in).

The candidates seem to have no idea that all the “Day One” stuff is B.S. For the first several weeks they’ll be learning the job. Getting anything done, other than being sworn in, is unlikely, given how that first day goes.

In reality, folks don’t care whether something is done on Day One or Day 300, as long as it gets done. Much of what is being promised won’t get done at all, let alone on the first day. (The history of presidents keeping promises suggests most were just blowing hot air during their campaigns.)

Given the platforms, it really looks to me like the Democrats are trying to lose — but be that as it may, here is how we could apply technology to help improve the process.

A BS Meter Application

It wouldn’t be hard for a news service to create a B.S. meter. Using machine learning and working off campaign promises and the cumulative coverage of the candidates, an outlet could put up a running B.S. meter, much like The Washington Post‘s Pinocchio score (and it would be useful both for the primaries and the general election).

The system wouldn’t be limited to showcasing whether what was said was true. It also could gauge whether promises made were achievable by probability. For instance, a lot of candidates made promises that Congress, which is dysfunctional and has been the bane of both parties’ presidents, would have to enact — and likely wouldn’t.

The nice thing about a machine learning or deep learning artificial intelligence would be that it would learn over time, and that also would force the candidates to be more honest and realistic. I don’t know about you, but I’m a tad tired of politicians who seem to get into office due to their ability to lie to us. Or, put another way, this could help change “honest politician” into something that isn’t an oxymoron.

Virtual Debates

A few years back IBM demonstrated its Watson AI verbally debating a professional debater. While the system lost, it performed incredibly well. Most interesting was that the system was more entertaining than the human and arguably more accurate.

You could get that same system to emulate Trump and you could have a virtual debate between each of the prospective candidates and the virtual president. The result would provide a far better idea of which candidate could best counter Trump’s unique style of manipulated facts and ad hominem attacks.

1Debates

This also could help offset the perception problem with minority and woman candidates. Voters have locked into their heads what a president should look like, and that clearly is an old white guy. If done right, this approach could help broaden that perception to include a woman of color who, on paper, might be the strongest natural foil for President Trump. It would focus on performance first, however, better ensuring the intended outcome.

I’m actually surprised this isn’t being done for debate preparation — even if it weren’t broadcast, the training would be invaluable.

Completed Thoughts

One of the real problems with the last debate was that the format was too tight, and candidates often were unable to complete a thought. Now the post-debate coverage could deal with that, but after five hours of the debate (with commercials), I’m not sure how many people would be hanging in. However, with the addition of active links, people could go and read what the candidate wasn’t allowed to finish saying.

In addition, candidates could record complete answers after the fact, and much like an extended movie with added footage, there could be a post-debate experience that would give viewers more information on issues that concerned them. The 15-second rule was insane, in that it had no real connection to reality. One would need a ton of specialized training to be able to articulate complex thoughts consistently in 15 seconds.

An AI application could do it in real time, though, and if the AI could feed a display on the podium, the candidate then could pass on learning the 15-second skill and leave it to the AI, which could perform better. This also would be a great example of how to use AIs to help humans advance the technology, which is in an area the U.S. currently dominates (China is coming on fast though).

Instrument the Audience

One of the things I’m surprised hasn’t happened yet is the creation of an app that would allow the audience to provide feedback on what they are seeing. The surveys on how people will vote aren’t reliable, given there is just too much time between now and the election. However, it would be possible to monitor how perceptions were changing and report that in real time.

That way candidates could better hone their messaging. With results pooled by interests, people could see how their like-minded peers were trending, which might help them realize a candidate they liked actually wasn’t right for them, and help them identify a candidate who would be better on merit, rather than on sex or race.

Aggregated Impact

One thing the current-generation system can do is take and parse a lot of information quickly and provide voters with an individual context at scale. What I mean is that a properly trained AI could consider your personal information and provide a ranking of the candidates based on which one proposed the path most favorable to you personally, based on your interests and investments. It also could adjust that for the likelihood of execution.

So, you’d get a ranking not only of who was listening more, but also of who was likely to accomplish more. For instance, both Sanders and Warren have similar aggressive policy proposals, but Warren is better integrated into the party and thus more likely to get done what she promises. That’s an important distinction that likely is lost on most.

Once again, this would provide a strong counterpoint to voting based on physical appearance and likability to voting based on merit and ability to accomplish the tasks you, as a voter, want done. This would be useful for more than debates. It could be a website that voters could check periodically. It could go beyond the election, showing a running tab of how well the then-president was living up to promises made.

Wrapping Up

It continues to amaze me that while we are the world technology leader, we don’t use technology better to ensure a well-run government. The last guy we elected was a reality-TV star. He doesn’t like to read and arguably has created far more problems than he has fixed. That means the process is broken, and if we don’t fix the process our happy future is anything but certain.

Technology, particularly artificial intelligence, is incredibly good at helping people make difficult decisions at scale. We need to apply it to the political process, so we are better able to pick candidates who don’t just tell us what we want to hear but make actual progress. Without technology, that appears to be a bridge too far.

Fitness: The Sweet Spot for Smartwatches

Smartwatches outsold traditional watches in the fourth quarter of 2018. The category saw a 51 percent increase in dollar sales for last year, along with a 61 percent increase in unit sales, according to recent data from NPD Group. One in four Americans aged 18 to 34 now own a smartwatch, and that is likely to increase.

Traditional watches did regain the majority of the market in Q1 2019, suggesting that not all consumers are ready to have a mini-computer on their wrists just yet, but devices that do more than tell the time are capturing a greater segment of the market, and that isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon.

Global sales of smartwatches will increase from 51.3 million units last year to 91.8 million this year, reaching as high as 131.6 million in 2023, IDC has forecast. That is lot of mini-computers on the wrists of consumers in years to come.

Smartwatches

Apple, Rolex, Fitbit, Patek Philippe and Samsung are now the top five smartwatch brands, according to NPD Group, signifying that a mix of features and fashion are the key drivers in the wearables category.

Apple has maintained the largest share of the smartwatch market, but Samsung is now the fastest growing brand, while companies such as Fitbit and Garmin are holding steady, according to a report from research firm Canalys.

Fitness functionality is crucial to many consumers, which is why we soon could see more athletic apparel companies enter the market.

Sporting goods company Puma earlier this year announced a partnership with the Fossil Group to bring out a line of wearables designed with active individuals in mind. Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset and running on Google’s Wear OS, these devices are designed to help athletes train and track goals, while still taking design cues from a traditional watchmaker.

Read More- 12 Effective Ways to Expand Your Social Media Influence

Form Over Function

Despite the fact that fitness functionality is a key feature in smartwatches, a lot of emphasis increasingly is directed toward design elements.

“The wearables market is about form factor, not specific device function,” said Steve Blum, principal analyst at Tellus Venture Associates.

“That’s true whether it is smartwatches, fitness trackers, sleep monitors or something else,” he told TechNewsWorld.

What is notable is that the market has seen a convergence of fitness devices and wearable computers that do much more than track heart rate or steps taken. They have greater connectivity with smartphones, which also have evolved from simple communication devices to a go-anywhere personal computers.

“Smartphones are networked handheld computers that are a convenient parking spot for any app, sensor or content that you can imagine,” noted Blum. “It’s an accident of history that we call them ‘phones,’ and similarly, what we’ll end up calling a ‘smartwatch’ will just be a wrist-mounted platform for whatever can conveniently ride on it.”

The Downsizing Trend

Smartwatches align with a trend that began more than three decades ago with personal computers. The first “personal computer,” or “PC,” was personal in that it stood on one’s desk. The early “portable computers” were the size of small suitcases — or at best a large (and heavy) briefcase.

PCs eventually became laptops, which led to the development of smaller devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

“Since the mainframe became a mini became a desktop became a notebook became a phone, the next step is obviously a wearable, which is by definition small and comfortable,” suggested Roger L. Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.

“It was always the case that computers would keep getting smaller, and full-function machines are limited in size theoretically only by input and output methods,” he told TechNewsWorld.

If a big screen is required for the computer, it simply can’t get any smaller. The same holds true when a keyboard is required, added Kay, “but if output is small semasiographs of a known thing — a small red pulsating heart that even a person with limited vision can distinguish from some other icon — or output is sound, the form factor can get much smaller,” Kay explained.

The same holds true when voice input is an option. Reduction in the size of sensors has allowed computers to become wearable, as they can pick up signals from the wearer.

“Thus, the primary function may be to monitor these input levels for changes and report out,” said Kay. “That sounds like a fitness tracker.”

End of the Fitness Tracker

The convergence of technology could come at a cost — and not just reflected on price tags. Those who want a dedicated fitness device could be left with fewer options.

“I’m seeing fewer and fewer Fitbits and other dedicated fitness wearables on people, and more and more Apple Watches, and those are often used for step counting and other fitness-tracking purposes,” said Blum.

In fact, 76 percent of respondents to a recent Parks Associates survey used their smartwatch to track steps. Sixty percent used them as a heart rate monitor, and 53 percent to track calories. Overall, 41 percent of smartwatch owners reported that the most commonly used apps were to track calories or to monitor weight loss goals.

“While fitness is a major feature of smartwatches, we need to evaluate them on a case-by-case basis,” said Julie Sylvester, coproducer of Living in Digital Times.

“Fitness devices in general are moving towards more general health-based wearables,” she told TechNewsWorld. “While most wrist-based devices have a time feature, smartwatches play a broader role, and lumping them together ignores these features and dilutes the role of the more specialized wrist-based fitness trackers used in health and stress monitoring.”

Watches will continue to be multi-use devices simply because of how they are worn, and a portion of the workload always will include fitness tracking.

A watch “can be seen, felt and heard easily, consulted from various distances, and operated with the free hand,” noted Kay.

“A necklace, for example, would be hard to see, but could be heard and felt easily enough. Much of the utility converges on the watch, which is really only a ‘watch’ in name,” he pointed out.

“It keeps time, but it’s more of a DickTracy-type thing you whisper into and look at,” Kay remarked. “Watches subsume fitness-tracking as an app with specialized hardware, and fitness trackers try to do more and become ‘watch’-like.”

Addressing Shortcomings

Even as a wearable computer, the smartwatch has a major drawback — one that has plagued other personal or portable computers.

“Batteries are the major limiting factor inhibiting the collapse of everything into a single smartwatch,” Blum said. “There are two problems: battery life and recharging. So far I haven’t found a smartwatch that can operate with everything running, including GPS, for more than about eight hours straight.”

That can be inconvenient for users who just want to put it on in the morning and let it do its thing all day long.

“It’s a deal killer for people who need that level of functionality for long durations — cyclists, hikers, triathletes, for example,” noted Blum.

“Recharging requires users to take the watch off once or twice a day and leave it somewhere to charge,” he said. “That can limit its usefulness as a sleep monitor, for example. It is also a lot more fussy than we’re used to being about our watches.”

As younger users are enticed by the form factor, the smartwatch/wearable category is going to have to solve the battery issue. Phones can be plugged in while a user is sitting at a desk, but that isn’t the best solution for a wearable device.

“If someone can figure out a system for wirelessly recharging smartwatches with ambient energy, it’ll be a game changer,” said Blum.

“At that point, it won’t be just fitness trackers that collapse into smartwatches, but also many smartphone functions as well,” he predicted, with “maybe a low-level magnetic field on keyboards, steering wheels, handlebars, or anything else that’s regularly near your wrist for more than a few minutes a day.”

12 Effective Ways to Expand Your Social Media Influence

The digital era is a gift that keeps giving. Before digital technology made the planet essentially into a global village, both individual and business possibilities were only limited to geographical limits. Now, there are well over 3 billion people around the world who are on social media. Geographical restrictions which used to exist in the past, exist no-more.

Social Media Influence

With so many people online, social networks are no longer exclusive to bringing people together but are also the best places to establish an impact, especially for businesses with the intention of expanding their brand outreach. And with brand recognition comes the opportunity to drive valuable traffic and attract permanent clients, making it an essential tool for both online and offline marketing.

There is no doubt that using social media and establishing the right social networks is an essential part of every business’ operations; the only real issue is getting to leverage it effectively to attract the underlying benefits. Since there are no shortcuts in leveraging the various social media networks, going through the motions is the only sure way to know what sticks and what does not. The learning curve may be intimidating as you try to incorporate the various techniques available, but the excitement that comes from seeing your business gain traction through social media interactions is inherently rewarding.

With that in mind, how do you leverage Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media platforms to create the influence your business needs?

How to expand your social media influence the right way

The difference between a business that has an impact on social networks and one that doesn’t, depends on the ability to understand what your potential clients want. To help with this, here are sure ways you can use to expand your circle of social media influence.

1. Have clear objectives and goals

Identifying your goals and objectives is as essential as having a compass to direct your actions. Once you have an understanding of the achievements you have set for your business, you can then dedicate time to research the various social media platforms to gain an understanding of how they work. That research also helps to understand the type of audience, for instance, on Facebook, as opposed to the one on Twitter.

Making a note of those subtle differences will also give you an edge on how you will integrate your efforts to achieve the most favorable outcomes. Since creating a strong social network is a process, it means always studying trends and having objectives that guide your every move.

2. Network with influential people and brands

There is one profound outcome that comes from networking with influential people and brands: credibility. When you follow people with influence or follow other brands relevant to your unique business brand, you build security around your followers since you openly establish that what your business does is credible and authentic.

3. Employ social media optimization

There is only one thing that concerns itself with optimizing your social media platforms, and that is using relevant keywords. Search engines, like Google and Bing, use specific keywords and key phrases to conduct quick searches and bring up the list of immediate results. You should, therefore, carry out extensive keyword research to find such keywords to link back to the content you have posted.

4. Present content that is useful

Content is at the heart of social media where businesses are concerned. Therefore, presenting useful content means bringing a sense of purpose to what you post on social media. Basically, the content you publish on your various platforms, should either entertain, educate, or inspire your followers.

People on social networks are in search of solutions they are facing in real life, and thus, having content augmented towards a purpose is beneficial. It, then, means that quality is a must. Having a few, or even just one, useful and quality-driven post on your blog and different social networking accounts will also enhance the value you bring, and hence, your credibility.

Learn More- Best VR Games For iPhone And Android

5. Maximize your interactions

It is well-established that the prime intention of social media is to connect with people, and with this, comes with a unique opportunity to get your business to interact personally with its followers. So, when people post on your various platforms, engaging with them is paramount.

You should make it a priority to respond to their posts and the comments they may have regarding the content you have posted. Maximizing your interactions with your followers creates a personal relationship between them and the business, and that will also encourage them to find out more about what it does.

6. Get to know and understand the needs of your audience

When your followers feel that you understand them, the more they will rely on your brand. It also makes your interactions with them inherently easy. Therefore, when you focus on your understanding of their needs, keep in mind certain things, for example, what they want to see and read so that you can post content that is satisfying. Grasping this concept will give you a unique edge and direct traffic to your business.

social media influence1

7. Add social media icons on your website

Since your website already has valuable traffic, why not use that to make your social media footprint known? Adding icons of your various social networks will do exactly that. For those who visit your website, it lets them know that they can stay in touch with your brand through other channels that are easier and more interesting to use.

The same should apply to your emails. For those followers who have already subscribed to your content through the emails you send on a monthly basis, for example, having relevant icons attached to such emails could persuade them to find additional content you have, resulting to more followers.

8. Add links to your social profiles and website

Apart from adding icons of your social profiles, it is also advisable to add links to the same on your website. This will serve the same purpose as the icons, and make those who visit your site to learn more about what your business does.

9. Create a coherent social network strategy

Social media entails working with various platforms that have a different set of audience, and that work differently from one another. It can, therefore, be daunting and stressful to work on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus, among others, at the same time without having a strategy guiding you through it. Trying to manage all your social networks simultaneously, and without a plan in mind can only go on for so long.

And since every platform has its own set of goals, that makes creating a coherent strategy that much important. You can effectively make sure each one is performing its set tasks by establishing a social network calendar. In it, you can track activities like upcoming events, and blog posts, among others. With such a plan, you can organize and have a good handle on all your social networks.

10. Make maximum use of hashtags that are trending

Hashtags are of absolute importance, especially on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Every time you post something on social media, incorporate hashtags in them so that people can find your other relevant platforms, as well as your website.

11. Adopt the habit of profile sharing

Sharing your profile handles is another critical way of expanding your social media influence, particularly to people you are familiar with. Being strategic in this specific instance is of importance so that you do not come off as pushy. When done right, however, profile sharing enhances awareness pertaining to your brand’s presence on social networks. Concurrently, you may land some important referrals, in turn.

12. Do not restrict yourself; branching out is essential

Here is the thing when it comes to establishing your social media footprint: it is either you go all in, or not at all. Branch out and explore other social networking platforms to widen your approach and multiply your efforts. It’s not just Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, other interesting apps and websites with unique features, like Foursquare, Pinterest, Tumblr, among others, are out there. While you’re at it, registering on social review websites is also recommended. Remember that the goal is to expand your social media influence, so limiting yourself is out of the question.

There is no doubt that it is difficult to expand your social media influence rapidly, but the above-highlighted strategies serve as insider secrets, which the top-ranking brands in the world use to take their social networking game to the next level.

Best VR Games For iPhone And Android

Virtual Reality or it is commonly referred to as VR has changed the course of animation and game design techniques. While Virtual Reality is changing the course of future technology in many fields, it has surprisingly set benchmarks in the gaming industry. Offering a completely immersive experience, VR has allowed gamers to live their game experiences beyond the surround sound and high-definition display.

VR Games

The jolts of shocks and vibrations in consoles take gamers on to the next level of enthusiasm and interest in games. This is the reason, every gaming studio is making efforts to create a perfect VR game to set a new benchmark in the industry. And now, with mobile being the first reachable device for everyone, the VR industry has turned to introduce VR games for mobile phones. One can buy a compatible VR headset and can enter his/her favorite game universe on the phone.

Checkout best gaming console and their reviews if you haven’t bought any.

How VR Games Can be Played on Mobile Phones?

Playing VR Games on mobile phones is a bit tricky. To get the best VR apps for android and iPhones, you can’t just go through the in-built app stores. Yes, there are a few VR games that you can download directly from App Store or Google Play Store, but not all of them. Here are some points that would give you a glimpse of available VR games on different platforms:

  • Oculus, a Virtual Reality platform owned by Facebook has a variety of games on its official Oculus website and app. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Play Store. So Oculus games can be played on both iOS and Android via Oculus app.
  • Samsung Electronics has developed its own VR especially for Samsung Galaxy Series phones in collaboration with Facebook’s Oculus. The headsets are known as Gear VR and VR Games for Samsung phones are available on Oculus App.
  • HTC Vive is another VR gear one can use to play games. HTC Vive models such as Vive Focus is compatible with only some mobile phones, as it is still focused on its mainstream PC gaming.
  • Google Cardboard, the homemade VR solution from Google can also be used to play some of the first VR games launched for mobile. Some of these games are available for install on Google Play Store.
  • Google’s Daydream is Google’s second VR venture. However, Google Daydream’s games can only be played specific phones including Pixel, Pixel XL, Moto Z, Galaxy S8/S8+, and Asus Zenfone AR.

These are the mainstream platforms to install/purchase your favorite VR games for Android or iPhones. So, let’s break down the best VR games available that you can play on the go using your cell phones:

Learn More- 9 Popular E-commerce Products to Sell Online in 2019

Top VR Games For iPhone And Android

1. Smash Hit VR

Let’s begin with the most simple one. Smash Hit is one of the top-ranked games on both Android and iOS. In the original game, the user has to throw metal balls at glass objects in the surrounding area, as well as smash and break glass obstacles in the way to avoid losing lives. The more you smash, the more you score. The game is known for its immersive music and visuals, which are now more exciting in Smash Hit’s VR addition. In the VR version, the user dives in an endless run while throwing the balls at glass obstacles to clear the path. The endless-run format of the game may lead to a tiresome run for the gamer, but it is one of the best VR apps to try out.

  • Playable via Oculus VR, Samsung Gear Vr
  • For both Android and iPhones
  • Price: $2.99

Download on Oculus

2. Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope

The name Serious Sam isn’t new to gamers. It is a series of first-person shooter games that dates back to 2001. Serious Sam: The Last Hope is a spin-off VR entry in the series and is one of the best mobile VR games in FPS-arcade category. The plot of the game does not distinguish from the original game, wherein the protagonist fight against extraterrestrial threats. Now unlike the main series, this one doesn’t include strategy and stealth. In this game, you play Sam and act as a killing machine for aliens. So, if you’re looking for having some fun with cool weapons and crazy alien attacks, The Last Hope is worth a shot. But it would be a bore for those who want to immerse in the story. So, choose wisely!

  • Playable on Oculus Rift/Rift S and HTC Vive, which makes it compatible with both iOS and Android
  • Price: $39.99

Download on Oculus

3. Minos Starfighter VR

Minos Starfighter is one of the most fun VR games for android, as well as iPhones. For iPhones, it goes by the name  End Space VR. The game is an FPS-shooter game turned into VR, featuring extravagant space battles, laser weapons, and hi-tech missiles to be fired at enemy pilots. You pilot Minos as the hero of the game and fight against the enemy spaceship fleets, which keep hitting you hard until you are defeated. The game has a head-gaze shoot feature, where you can use your head to turn, aim, and fire without a trigger button. The detailed 3D modeling of featured spacecraft and the immersive surround sound audio would optimize your gaming experience and provide a smooth VR gameplay.

  • Designed exclusively for Google Cardboard, however, it can be played using other headsets.
  • Priced at $0.99 on both Apple Store and Play Store.

Download: iOS|| Android

4. Virtual Virtual Reality

VR is all about immersing yourself in a completely different world. But with Virtual Virtual Reality, you get to explore a world within a world. This inception of virtual realities is the best mobile VR game for android. The game explores a world run by machine sentience, wherein the protagonist, which is you, uncover the true world hidden by artificial delusions. The plot is similar to that of the movie Matrix. Here you break patterns created by machines to uncover the facade you think of a regular world. One of the most recommended VR apps for Android phones and is also available on Oculus as well.

  • Playable on Android using Oculus Go and Gear VR
  • Not available for iOS
  • Priced at $9.99

Download on Oculus

5. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

If you’re looking for something beyond fun and want to take your VR experience to the next level, then why do it alone. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (yeah, that’s a lengthy name) is the best VR game for multiplayer fun. The game follows two people in a room, wherein one tries to defuse a bomb and the other swifts through papers to provide instructions so that they don’t get bombed up. The faster you convey instructions, the faster your partner would be able to save you. As the levels proceed, the difficulty starts escalating, thus, adding more fun to the adventure. Though it may be a bore in normal gameplay; however, in VR, this game is highly enthralling and is a must-try.

  • Playable on Google Dreamday and Oculus; can be installed via Google Play Store.
  • Android Only
  • Priced at: $9.99

Download on PlayStore

6. Need for Speed: No Limits VR

This entry in the list is more of a nostalgic one. Need for Speed has been part of everyone’s life at some point and now you can relive those memories of NFS in VR. Need For Speed: No Limits VR offers highly detailed and intensifying racing experience, wherein you’ll be immersed into its intuitive race tracks and action-packed events. However, given the fact it is developed by EA, it has got a higher price tag.

  • Available on Android, playable on Daydream
  • Priced at $14.99

Download on Android

7. In Cell VR

Now here is some unique VR opportunity for you to explore. In InCell, as the name says, you are thrown into the microscopic environment of the human body, shrunk into a cell. Then the game follows on-track gameplay where you run along with your cell structures while fighting against an influenza virus. While the science in the game is mostly made up, the concept and design are amazing. The high-end graphics and music add up to the excitement. Though it may seem a simple one, InCell offers you one of the best VR game experiences on mobile.

  • Playable via Google Cardboard or supporting headset.
  • Available on both iOS and Android.
  • Free of charges

Download: iOS || Android

8. Eclipse: Edge of Light

The futuristic game follows you, the protagonist, and his quest to discover the uncovered mysteries of a sentient planet. The only thing you have is the artifact, capable of communicating with the alien technology on the planet. The game is best known for its soothing soundtrack, navigating you through the game’s enthralling plot and cutting-edge graphics.

  • Playable on Oculus Go and Daydream.
  • Priced at: $8.99 on Google Play Store. Also available on Oculus

Download on Play Store

9. Fractal Combat X (FCX)

Take your flight skills on VR and get involved in one of the best VR games on iPhone. FCX puts you in the shoes of a pilot commanding a fighter jet. Now it’s up to you to destroy enemy aircrafts, dodge incoming attacks, and win the war for yourself. The game is supported by a progressive story-based narrative that adds up more thrill to your gameplay. You get to live a character in the most astonishing way and fly some hi-tech aircraft loaded with guns and missiles.

  • Available for iPhones, playable via Google Cardboard and other VR headsets.
  • The VR mode is an additional bonus in the original game
  • Available for Free

Download on App Store

10. VR Tunnel Race: Speed Rush VR

Here is another endless virtual reality escape game, wherein you get to fly out in a spacecraft within a confined tunnel to get to safety. In Speed Rush VR, you play an astronomer trapped in a tunnel between the two ends of a time and space continuum. The only way out is to dash in a spacecraft and pass through a black hole. But the black hole is a mystery within itself. Throughout the journey you’ll experience a change in colors, hypnotizing you with the help of a soothing soundtrack. This VR explosion of color combinations offers you an extraordinary and real-like visual journey, which feels exciting as well as terrifying at the same time.

  • Available on App Store and is playable on iPhones only.
  • All iPhone supporting headsets can be used
  • Available for Free

Download on App Store

These are the ten best VR games that you might not have heard about. While there are many others who people are enjoying, some of these in the list are often neglected. Nevertheless, these offers top VR game experiences and allow you to play in a completely immersive environment for as long as you want. Currently, the promising future of the VR industry is still focused on PC gaming. But the recent developments in mobile technology may allow you to take VR on one level above in the near future. And with continuous research into other areas for making games more enthusiastic, there can be a completely new tomorrow of VR gaming.

Remember, not every cell phone device is compatible to launch VR games. So before you get too excited, you need to check if your device would support such type of game or not. Now suppose your device is compatible with VR games, does it mean you’re all set to launch them. No! You need a specially designed VR headset to launch such games. These headsets range from cheaper alternatives such as Google Cardboard (which is also possible to design at home) to some hi-tech. versions such as Oculus, HTC Vive, and Samsung VR Gear. There is one more catch. It is not always necessary that these headsets would be compatible with all the Android or iPhones. So, it is essential that you chose your games carefully, acknowledging the compatibility of both your VR headset and your cellphone alike.

Hope you liked this list. checkout more blog or reviews on gaming console site here. Let me know what you think in comments!

9 Popular E-commerce Products to Sell Online in 2019

E-commerce The eCommerce industry is booming. People are buying products online more than ever before. Nearly anything you can imagine can be purchased on the Internet and delivered to your doorstep. It’s a great time to be a consumer. But as an entrepreneur, you can leverage this craze by creating your own eCommerce shop. You can take advantage of this opportunity and start an online store from virtually anywhere with Internet access. While technology has made it easier than ever for consumers to buy, it’s also easier than ever before to start an online business.

Sure, there are a handful of things that you need to figure out. You’ll have to create a website, choose an eCommerce platform, pick a web hosting service, and learn how to market your brand online. But before you get ahead of yourself and start all of that, you need to figure out what you’re going to sell.

Lately, I’ve been talking to so many entrepreneurs who want to sell online, but they just don’t know what to offer. That’s what inspired me to write this guide. Using in-depth research and trend analysis, I’ve come up with a list of nine popular products that you can sell online in 2019. Use this guide as an inspiration for your eCommerce shop.Ecommerce

Learn More- 5 Accounting Firm Tech Problems That Require a Professional

1. Groceries

When most people think about selling products online, they automatically think of new gadgets or products that are designed for everyday use around the house. Or they try to think of something innovative that will solve a common problem. However, it seems like people rarely think to sell food. Consumers are buying everything else online, so why not groceries? It’s something that everyone uses on a daily basis. Take a look at the current and projected growth of online grocery sales in the United States alone.

 

By 2021, experts predict that this will become a $30 billion industry. Furthermore, the online food and beverage industry is growing at 18% year-over-year While the majority of grocery shopping still takes place in physical store locations, the e-commerce grocery movement is the way of the future. So this is a great chance for you to jump on board before the market gets too saturated.

There are seemingly endless opportunities here. You could sell anything from snacks, to produce, to prepared and pre-packaged meals. Ultimately, there is plenty of money to be made in this space if you’re able to carve out the right niche. Just make sure you educate yourself about the legal aspects of selling food online, as the regulations are different from selling other products.

2. Electric scooters

If you live near any major American city, you’ve probably seen the rise of electric scooter usage over the last couple of years. Depending on the area, this trend has seemingly taken over the streets and sidewalk. Companies like Bird, Lime, and Razor are pioneering the scooter ridesharing industry. Even bigger names like Uber and Lyft have entered the e-scooter space. The idea behind ridesharing scooters is great.

Essentially, riders just use a mobile app to locate and start a scooter. Then they ride to a destination and park it anywhere. They are charged based on usage and everything is handled through the mobile app. With this trend growing in popularity, it seems like more and more people want to own electric scooters, as opposed to just using the rideshare options. In 2018, there were roughly 44 million electric scooters and electric bicycles sold worldwide. That number is expected to reach 50 million in 2020.

This is a great opportunity for you to seize. That’s because high-end products can be sold at a higher price point. Research shows that the average cost of an electric scooter is roughly $300. But some high-end models can retail for more than double that amount.

3. Virtual reality headsets

Virtual reality and augmented reality are increasing in popularity. If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know that augmented reality already made my list of the top mobile trends that are dominating 2019. I also wrote about how augmented reality is impacting the future of SEO. But now I want to take a moment to talk about the business opportunity for the virtual reality market. First, let me clarify the differences between AR and VR. AR uses overlays on computer-generated screens to put digital figures into real-world images. For example, AR can be used on a smartphone to play games like Pokemon Go.

As the name implies, VR puts users into a virtual world, using more specialized and sophisticated equipment, like a VR headset. Take a look at the growth of VR and AR users in the United States. As you can clearly see from the graph, both VR and AR users are growing each year. There are more AR users, simple because augmented reality is easier to use and doesn’t require special equipment.

 

With that said, the number of virtual reality headset users is still continuing to grow and carve out a good-sized market share in this niche. In 2017, there were roughly 11 million VR headset users in the US. That number has already doubled and will reach 26.5 million users by 2021. There are lots of potential consumers to target with this product. According to a virtual reality headset review by The Verge, VR headsets have quite the price range. Inexpensive headsets can be bought for less than $100, while higher-end models retail for upwards of $800.

4. Smart speakers

As long as we’re on the technology subject, I figured this would be a good time to talk about smart speakers. This is another trend that’s growing in popularity. Today, in 2019, there are more than 74 million smart speaker owners in the United States. However, this only makes up 26% of US Internet users, meaning that there is still plenty of room for growth in this space. China has that most smart speaker owners in the world, with 85 million. But this makes up just 10% of the country’s total Internet users. Again, this proves a high global demand for the product, with tons of room for growth in the category.

Speaking of growth, look at the number of households in America that have a smart speaker. There was a 78% growth rate between 2017 and 2018. Here’s a crazier statistic. More than half of smart speaker owners have two or more devices. This means that current smart speaker owners are still potential customers for you. This product is a great opportunity to sell online via your e-commerce shop.

 

5. Vapor products

E-cigarettes and electronic vaporizers, better known as “vapes” are growing in popularity. There are several different components to vapor products. There is the device itself, which operates by heating a liquid solution. Then there are the flavored liquids, usually containing nicotine. Plus there are other accessories as well, and these products come in all different shapes and sizes. Just to be clear, I’m not here to talk about the health risks of vaping or anything like that. Nor am I encouraging the use of e-cigarettes or nicotine products.

But like every other product on this list, I’m simply identifying market trends and sharing the information with you. These trends are telling me that it’s a hot category. By 2023, the global vapor market is expected to reach $43 billion. That’s a 15% compound annual growth rate for five years. The figures are impressive, to stay the least. There is definitely a market for this product, and plenty of money to be made by selling vapor products online. Just make sure you comply with all of the legal regulations associated with selling vapes and accessories through an e-commerce shop.

6. Jewelry

Jewelry is another product category with seemingly endless opportunities for online sales. You can target men, women, children, and teenagers with high-end diamonds, low-end rings, and everything in between. There are so many options for products and targets in this industry. Plus, you can even make jewelry by hand. More than 2 million handmade jewelry products are sold on Etsy.

E-commerce

 

Studies show that the global online jewelry market is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 16% between now and 2022. According to Shopify, e-commerce only represents 4-5% of all jewelry sales worldwide. However, that number is expected to be 10-15% by 2020. What does this mean? Jewelry sales, like most products, are starting to trend in the e-commerce direction. There is so much room for growth in the coming years with this product category.

7. Digital courses and learning material

You don’t always need to sell tangible products on your e-commerce shop. You can also sell digital goods like ebooks or online learning courses. This is another booming industry. According to Forbes, the e-learning industry is going to reach $325 billion by 2025. There are so many potential customers here as well. In fact, 77% of corporations in the US use online learning tools. E-learning increases retention rates by up 60%.

So if you’re good at something, take advantage of it. Teach others how to do whatever it is that you know best. Product content like blogs, ebooks, and videos. Then sell those digital goods online. The best part about this is the low overhead. Your only costs will be running your website, processing transactions, and your time. Everything else is just straight profit.

8. Drones

The drone market is segmented into two categories.

  • Consumer
  • Commercial

There’s actually a military category too, but that’s not really relevant for e-commerce purposes.

While you might be tempted to just target the average Joe who wants to flow a drone around his neighborhood, you might want to consider the commercial market as well. Check out the growth of commercial drones over the years. Between now and 2025, the global commercial drone market is expected to grow by roughly 700%. Now is the time to jump on this trend to get your share of the action.

 

You can still go after consumers as well. The unit sales of personal drones dominate 94% of the market. However, this only represents 40% of the total revenue share, since commercial drones are typically priced higher.

9. Clothing and accessories

It may sound simple, obvious, or boring, but the online clothing industry is huge. But in order to be successful here, you definitely need to go after a niche. Trying to sell to anyone and everyone will be too competitive to survive. By 2023, revenue from online clothing, footwear, and accessories in the US is expected to surpass $145.7 billion. That’s up from $93 billion in 2017.

58% of Americans have purchased clothing online. Again, this is another industry where you have tons of options. There are different types of people to target, and countless options of products to sell at varying price points. Ultimately, there’s lots of money to be made selling clothes online.

5 Accounting Firm Tech Problems That Require a Professional

Problem 1: Paying per Problem

When you don’t have an IT partner, you will find yourself having to pay per incident, which can become financially challenging for your company.  You never know what your IT spend will be from month to month.

On top of that, trying to find trusted help for one-off jobs can be difficult when service providers are busy with their retainer clients.  The hours tick by as you try to get someone on the phone with emergency availability, and your technology situation worsens.

This is how one company knew it was time to enlist IT professionals.  “The biggest thing was just trying to get help,” reflects practice administrator Sherry Dawson from Kennedy Vision on life before working with Tech Guru.  “Every time we call, we’re needing them now, and they might not be able to do it now.  We were paying per incident. We weren’t being proactive, we were being reactive.”

When you partner with a reputable IT firm that understands your business, you are setting yourself up for success.  The right provider will be there to answer questions and serve your needs as they arise, so you encounter as little downtime as possible.

Learn More- Investing In Indian property In 2012

Solution:

  • Make your IT budget predictable with a managed IT service provider
  • Ensure a service desk is available to solve issues in a timely manner

Problem 2: You Have Questions that Need Answers

Many businesses are a “do it yourself” company when it comes to IT. When Tech Guru assesses a company’s technology needs, we talk to a lot of individuals who say that they wear many hats in their organization, even joking about being the resident IT expert. This can be a lot of pressure (and a liability) for an employee who is not a trained IT professional.

Thankfully, employees can go back to doing the job for which they were hired once the company partners with an IT firm.  Rana Severson, a firm manager and paralegal with Tech Guru client de Beer & Associates, knows this better than anyone.  “They’re always friendly and willing to help,” observes Rana.  “I always give them ‘bad’ questions about things that I am not sure that they’re even supposed to help with, but they do.”

Tech Guru takes a page out of Nordstrom’s customer service book.  You ask us about how to work your coffee maker, and we’ll do our best to walk you through it!

Solution:

  • Find an IT provider that doesn’t believe in dumb or “bad” questions
  • Judge a provider on their customer service, because they’ll be serving you for a long time

problms

Problem 3: You’re Losing Sleep Over Security

By now, you know Tech Guru is understanding of DIY IT.  It’s where a lot of businesses and nonprofits start.  The downside of a self-service tech setup includes feeling worried about potential worst-case-scenarios.

What if the computer shuts off and we can’t get it back on? How do we know if things are backed up and protected? What happens if we are the victim of a cyber attack?  The outcome of these concerns ranges from inconsequential to potentially devastating to your company.

Darlene McGee, controller of Cody Management, says that partnering with Tech Guru has given her company peace of mind.  “We know that our data is taken care of and backed up.  And then we have a confidence that we can do whatever we want because it’s just a phone call away if something goes wrong.” Darlene continues of Tech Guru, “We turn things over to them, and they just take care of it.”

Solution:

  • Turn your IT problems over to a professional, and get some rest
  • Feel better about interacting with your technology knowing the experts have your back

Problem 4: You’re Losing Time

Technology can suck a lot of time and energy out of your organization. If your network goes down, you can lose a day of work. If you don’t properly back up files, you can waste a lot of time re-entering data manually. This is something that CPA Steve Zelinsky struggled with before he partnered with Tech Guru.

“Tech Guru set my assistant up so she could do direct data entry into the data file. I knew it could be done, but I didn’t know how. They also set up auto-backup, where before I was doing the backup manually, once a week,” Steve notes.  Being able to utilize his time more strategically has made a big difference in his firm’s productivity.

When you don’t have an IT partner, a lot of tasks related to technology can eat up hours – and even days – that you could otherwise spend on generating revenue. Partnering with a knowledgeable IT provider like Tech Guru could help you boost profitability by creating some shortcuts you didn’t even know were possible.

Solution:

  • Ask IT, experts, to help you leverage technology to grow your business
  • Stop spending 8 hours doing what would take an IT expert 10 minutes!

Problem 5: You Don’t Know Where to Start

Making sure your business is secure is no longer a bonus for your clients, it is a must.  The FBI has reported that since January 1, 2016, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred on a daily basis (on average). Those are some scary statistics, especially when it comes to your business and the credibility you could lose if you were to become victim to one of these attacks.

Security has become a growing concern for business owners everywhere. When Steve Zelinsky decided it was time to start looking for an IT professional, cybersecurity was his main concern, “I think with identity theft and the importance of cybersecurity being elevated to the area that it was – I just felt that I wanted a second look.”  Steve wanted to “make sure that I had the barriers in place that I need to have.”

Partnering with an IT professional not only helps you gain credibility among your clients, but it also keeps you safe from both current and future cybersecurity threats.  It’s not your job to solve security concerns.  That’s what Tech Guru is for!

Solution:

  • Protect your clients and your reputation by securing your data
  • Be advised by a cybersecurity expert on when and what security measures to employ

If any of the problems above are ones you’ve encountered in your business or organization, Tech Guru is here to help.  Put and end to the drama of DIY IT and set up a free initial consultation.