How to Build Sustainable IoT Products

Many companies are looking for ways to become more sustainable and play their part in stopping or slowing down the climate crisis. You’ve probably heard a lot about how IoT can fight the climate crisis by helping integrate renewable energy sources into the electric grid, powering electric vehicles, or optimizing manufacturing processes to reduce their carbon footprint.

Those contributions are certainly meaningful, but what about the carbon footprint and sustainability impact of the IoT products themselves?


According to new estimates from the latest Global IoT Forecast report from Transforma Insights, there will be 24.1 billion connected devices by 2030.

All of those IoT solutions will require a considerable amount of energy to run. Our role as Product Leaders is to build solutions that provide value to customers, to our company, and to have a positive (or at least neutral) impact on society and the environment.

Making the Case to Executives – Sustainability is Good for Business

Although the climate crisis is a critical problem in our world today, it’s still challenging to convince executives and other senior leaders to invest in this area.

Our job as Product Leaders is to articulate the benefits of sustainability in business terms. Sustainability can be a big differentiator for your company and your product. In short, sustainability is good for business! Here’s how:

Reduce your product’s total cost of ownership

Industrial IoT is one area where IoT is having the biggest impact and clearest return on investment.

For most industrial customers, their energy bill is a major line-item in their P&L. These companies spend millions of dollars in energy management to keep their electricity bill under control.

Help your customers meet their sustainability goals

Today, more and more companies have aggressive sustainability targets—either because it helps their brand or their bottom line. For example, many leading companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have pledged to become energy neutral in the coming years.

If your IoT product can solve the customer’s pain AND help them achieve their sustainability goals, they are more likely to purchase your solution, even if you are more expensive than the competition.

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Attract talent

The competition to attract IoT talent is fierce. Companies with a focus on sustainability have an advantage as new generations are more purpose-driven, and they are choosing to work for companies that they believe have a positive impact in the world.

Incorporating sustainability practices in your product will give you an advantage when hiring and retaining the best and brightest minds.

Setting Your Sustainability Targets

One of the reasons sustainability efforts fail is because they don’t have clear targets or a distinct definition of success. For many companies, sustainability is just a message from the marketing team, but it doesn’t have real weight behind it.

In contrast, some of the top companies in the world have robust sustainability strategies. For example, check out the sustainability plans from MicrosoftAmazon, or Ericsson.

Before you propose plans to improve the sustainability of your IoT product, make sure you have clear targets to ensure you are moving in the right direction.

A sustainability target includes:

  • The sustainability area to address (e.g., one or more of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals such as energy consumption or waste reduction.)
  • The desired goal
  • A timeline to reach the goal

For example, the key to halting climate change is eliminating carbon emissions produced by burning fossil fuels. Therefore, a common target is to become carbon neutral by a specific year. Keep in mind, these are usually company-wide strategies, and your product is just one of the components. But, you need to do your part to contribute to that goal.

When defining sustainability goals, you will usually have intermediate milestones along the way. You can leverage these milestones as the targets for your own product roadmap.

A Structured Approach to Sustainable IoT Products

Now that you have the tools to convince executives that sustainability is good for business, and that you’ve set your targets, it’s time to drive action.

For Product Leaders to drive action, we need a structured approach that includes sustainability within our products.

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My proposed approach has three parts:

  1. Define a sustainability baseline for your IoT product
  2. Identify sustainability opportunities for your IoT product
  3. Balance sustainability decisions with the rest of your product strategy

1. Defining a sustainability baseline for your IoT product

Before you create a plan for creating a more sustainable IoT product, you need to start by understanding where you are today. In short, you need a baseline.

Creating a baseline might seem daunting if you think of your product as monolithic. My recommendation is to break down your product in its core components and then analyze each one of them with your team.

2. Identifying sustainability opportunities for your IoT product

Your next step is to identify opportunities where you can improve your product to drive towards your sustainability goal. Walking the IoT technology stack is again a great tool for involving your team in identifying these opportunities.

Below is a list of questions you can use as you walk the IoT Technology Stack with your team. Though the list is not exhaustive, it is a starting point as you prepare to facilitate this exercise.

3. Balancing sustainability decisions with the rest of your product strategy

Once you identify sustainability opportunities for your IoT product, it can be tempting to start implementing them right away. Before you dive in, it’s crucial to evaluate the impact of those opportunities across your current product strategy.

Putting your sustainability plan into practice may require changes to your product, your processes, and your supply chain. You need to be aware of how those changes will impact your user experience, your data strategy, your business model, etc.

  • UX Decision Area: how does changing this chip impact the user experience of all the personas that interact with our product?
  • Data Decision Area: how does swapping this chip impact the amount of data my device produces or transmits to the cloud?
  • Business Decision Area: how does this hardware change impact my pricing and profit margins? And what impact does it have in my partner structure?

To learn more about how to use the IoT Decision Framework, read my article here. If you are looking for a deep-dive into the IoT Decision Framework to improve your overall product strategy, I recommend checking out my online course: The IoT Product Manager Certificate Program.

Beyond COVID-19: 10 Benefits of Hybrid & Virtual Events

If there is any positive trend the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the events industry, it is the adoption of virtual event platforms as a viable alternative to in-person events.

This adoption has helped many event organizers to prevent event cancellation, thereby minimizing their revenue loss. They have also been able to retain and engage their audiences through the use of virtual platforms.


But in a pandemic-free world, are there particular benefits that hosting a virtual or hybrid event (a blend of live and virtual) can bring to a business?

Opportunity to Expand Audience Base

Hybrid and virtual events open up event attendance to qualified audiences from any part of the globe. By hosting a virtual event or adding a virtual component to your in-person event, you will eliminate the hassles of travel distance, time, and money that often prevent many interested participants from attending events. You will also be able to capture those who would rather prefer to join your event from the comfort of their homes rather than attending in-person.

More People Can Be Encouraged to Attend Live: There are some prospects who can afford to travel to attend your event live but are reluctant to make the financial commitment. When you make your event hybrid, you can capture this category of people and give them a taste of your compelling content. When they see what you’ve got to offer, they might be willing to attend your next event in-person. By giving them that opportunity to join virtually, you have won them over and retain them as your audience.

Significant Reduction in Costs

One of the main benefits of hosting virtual or hybrid events is a significant reduction in cost and event logistics. For a virtual event, your overhead cost could be reduced to about 25%. This is because many event logistics such as venue, staff, travel, accommodation, and meals will have been eliminated or reduced drastically. This increases event ROI and gives you higher profitability on your event.

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Ease of Collaboration and Community Building

Virtual or hybrid events offer more opportunities for collaboration and community-building than in-person events can offer. Event organizers can use virtual platforms to gather information and foster community before, during, and after an event.

Pre-Event: You can use your virtual event platform as an opinion sampling center to gather feedback and opinions from past event attendees about event topics and focus areas for future events. You can also poll the community on speakers they would prefer to listen to. The platform can also be used as an information center to place announcements, notify your audience of changes, or upload materials for download.

During Event: The platform can be used for networking during your event. Virtual platforms offer multiple networking opportunities with live chats, 1:1 video meetings, Q&A, gaming, and other networking and collaborative activities that can be initiated using a mobile event app.

Immersive Learning Experience

Incorporating a digital learning experience into your event can give both in-person and online attendees greater value and a more robust learning experience.

By infusing the possibilities available on your virtual event platform and a collection of compelling content, you will enhance the attendees’ learning experience and engagement. Some of your onsite attendees might also gain a double advantage by using the virtual platform to consume more content.

Sometimes, conflicting schedules during an event can make attendees miss out on an important session but if there is a virtual platform, they can tune in or listen to the session later.

Extension of Event Content Life Cycle

Content from event sessions can be stored on the platform, giving your audiences the opportunity to playback and enjoy the sessions over and over again. Speakers can also use virtual platforms to push additional content out during or after the event.

It is also possible to create an information library for attendees to access slides, notes, and other event-related content. You can also add features such as quizzes, mini-courses, and paid content to continue to drive engagement on the platform. With that, your content can last year-round rather than ending with your live event.

Data-Driven Lead Tracking and Capturing

Adding a virtual component to your live event or hosting an all-virtual event can give you the opportunity to track, capture and make the most of attendee data in ways that would be difficult to achieve with live-only events. Virtual platforms offer deep data analytics that you can use to determine user interests and behavior during your events. These data can be captured at different points of your event. You can track login, chats, connections, views, shares, clicks, etc.

By monitoring user activity on your virtual platform, sponsors and partners can acquire qualified leads and prospect attendees in real-time. Virtual platforms also have machine learning algorithms that can suggest leads to sponsors based on user activity. This makes lead capturing much easier. Sponsors and partners will get real value for their investment as they will be able to access their target audience directly.

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Extended Opportunity for Driving ROI

With virtual platforms, you can make your content available on-demand and even pre-record or create additional content to continue to drive ROI and make more money from your event.

There’s also an opportunity for topic expansion. If you notice that some sessions resonated more with attendees and there seemed to be a craving for more, you can collaborate with the speakers to expand the topic and produce more content in that area without having to wait for another event. All that you’ll have to do is record the new sessions with your facilitators and post them on the platform for a fee.

You can keep providing additional content to sustain the enthusiasm of your audiences, thereby turning attendees into customers.

Convenience and Flexibility

When you host a hybrid event, you are providing your prospective attendees with multiple options to choose from. They choose whether to attend the event in-person, in the comfort of their home, in their office, or while on another journey. This flexibility makes it possible to get a lot of people to participate in your event.

The flexibility will also reduce the incidence of attendee cancellation. Instead of canceling, they can downgrade to virtual-only. With that arrangement, you might still retain them instead of losing them outright.

Opportunity for Smaller Companies to Make Huge Impact

Companies with smaller marketing budgets can produce quality and engaging events and reach a larger audience with a limited budget when they host virtual events. They can also get speakers and facilitators from anywhere around the globe to feature in their event without having to spend more on travel costs and accommodation.

Significant Reduction In Carbon Footprint

If your organization is concerned about carbon emission, one of the ways to cut down on carbon is by reducing the amount of travel. Virtual events are eco-friendly events, so thousands of people can attend a global event without having to travel any distance.

So the next time you consider how to organize an eco-friendly event, think about hosting a virtual event or a hybrid event where you can get more people to participate without adding to the carbon footprint.

The New IoT Cybersecurity Act: A Step in the Right Direction

The prospective law aims to ensure that Right devices are protected and not vulnerable to attack and also that vendor products are both patchable and conform to industry standards. It would also prohibit vendors from supplying devices that have unchangeable passwords. In addition, the bill also directs the Office of Management and Budget to develop alternative security requirements for devices with limited data processing and software functionality and requires each executive agency to inventory all internet-connected devices in use.Right

If passed, the bill would also require the government to issue guidelines calling for each agency to include certain clauses in future contracts when IoT devices are being acquired. This includes using modern and non-deprecated protocols, as well as requirements for updating, replacing or removing, in a timely fashion, vulnerabilities in software and firmware components in a properly authenticated and secure manner. The provisions and guidance in the bill for leveraging existing security standards will be useful for building on the success of successful existing implementations.

The Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act is a much-needed upgrade to a few critical laws, including the 20-year old Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The new legislation seems to be generally viewed as a positive step because it would not significantly impact manufacturers beyond the burdens of shipping a useable product and because security researchers would have increased legal protection enabling them to hack devices to track down exploits.

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IoT Adoption in the US Government

The US government has relied on internet connected devices for years and after the increasing number of attacks, it’s no surprise that it is now making moves to secure the many “things” it purchases and connects.

In a study conducted last year by the Center for Data Innovation, it was shown that the US government uses IoT devices on a wide basis to improve facilities and reduce costs. For example, in the smart buildings sector, thousands of low-cost connected sensors are installed at 80 high-energy-use government buildings. The Government Services Administration uses telematics to track, locate and monitor the emissions of more than 200,000 vehicles to ensure compliance with government mandates for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2025. Other federal agencies such as the Department of Defense (DoD) use RFID tags and sensors from connected devices to track and manage military supplies, such as clothing, construction materials and medical supplies. These devices have enabled the Defense Logistics Agency and the US Transportation Command to monitor 3.5 billion transactions per month from 67 DoD logistics systems and 250 commercial transportation carriers.

For industries like manufacturing, which will increasingly rely on Digital Certificates and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), such as GlobalSign’s offering that enables secure device identity, the proposed law is a step in the right direction. Experts have warned for years that connected devices could be exposed without a way to patch their software or replace shared hard-coded passwords set at factories – increasingly a concern since hackers are known for exploiting basic security holes, especially in the case of sensors. By leveraging existing best practices stronger authentication approaches like per-device unique Digital Certificates will be more widely adopted. This prospective law could be a tipping point for manufacturers to collaborate more closely with the cybersecurity industry to ensure that devices in the exploding IoT market are as secure as possible.

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Our Thoughts on the Bill

As GlobalSign continues to expand its offerings for identity and security solutions for some of the world’s largest organizations, we believe the proposed law demonstrates the government is taking the necessary steps to ensure the security of connected devices, and that stronger security solutions will be put in place to limit attacks. Our company is uniquely positioned to issue Digital Certificates at high volume and massive scale to IoT devices – as many as 3,000 per second – delivering strong device identities to enable the foundations of IoT security; authentication, encryption and device integrity. We are working closely with manufacturers of some of these devices, which in some cases could be part of government networks.

We will be monitoring developments around this proposed law and how it will shape the next generation of IoT devices and the industries sprouting up around them. Legislation such as this cybersecurity improvement act will also have market consequences for how organizations do or do not approach IoT security. If passed, the effectiveness of this act will be determined in the following months as the first phases of the program are enacted.

How to Create a Customer-Centric Onboarding Strategy

Creating an accessible onboarding experience is a customer service power move right now. Especially considering that more people than ever are accessing digital platforms and self-service applications. People who would never opt for a digital solution under normal circumstances are being forced to adapt; including people with very little experience using mobile apps and digital services.


A straightforward onboarding process determines the quality and longevity of your customer-company relationship and it’s essential to get it right for everybody. People who encounter a difficult or frustrating experience using your digital services might decide to never do business with your company again—online or otherwise.

What Is Customer Onboarding?

HubSpot defines onboarding as the nurturing process that gets customers acquainted with your digital product or service. A customer-centric onboarding sequence typically includes step-by-step tutorials, limitless support services, and milestone celebrations when a customer achieves success using your product or solution. Great onboarding answers the key questions your customers have about your product or service before they even think to ask. The process is about more than just welcoming new customers, instead, it’s about showing them around, pointing out how the most important things work, and ensuring that they’re set up for success when the training wheels come off.

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Why Should You Care About Customer Onboarding?

Onboarding sets the tone for a customer’s ongoing experience with your company. The reality is, you need to be proactive, helpful, and strategic about getting customers to use your platform again and again. User retention is easily one of the biggest challenges of any digital platform or mobile product, and part of the problem is many customers don’t understand the value and benefits of the platform quickly enough. For this reason, onboarding is the most important aspect of any customer journey.

How To Create A Customer Onboarding Strategy

According to Tallyfy, an onboarding experience needs to answer two questions:

  1. Have you successfully introduced the new customer to your business and addressed all their questions and concerns as quickly as possible?
  2. Have you gathered enough information about the new customer to properly understand what products and services will benefit them directly?

You wouldn’t create a business campaign without first creating a strategy; otherwise, you run the risk of executing ineffectively. The same is true for customer onboarding. You need actionable goals and a plan before you create anything your customers will see.

You will continuously refine your strategy as you learn more about your customers’ needs and pain points, but an effective onboarding program needs to begin with a clear objective in mind. It’s essential that you keep your central objectives specific to your product, service, or platform, as well as your customer base. It’s also important to ensure your strategy covers these three retention requirements:

  1. Get customers to use your product, service, or platform more than once in the first week.
  2. Establish a pattern of usage.
  3. Make your product indispensable.

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Step One: Understand Your Customers

To send the right message, you need to know what your customers want to hear. You should have a thorough understanding of your user or buyer personas before you start building a customer onboarding strategy. Make a point of understanding each unique obstacle, pain point, and challenge your customers face, as well as their ideal solutions and outcomes.

Customers bought your product or signed up for your service because they saw its promise. They learned from your website, a friend, or your product description that they could get value from your service. User onboarding is your time to fulfill that promise.

Step Two: Set Clear Expectations

Your customers should always know what to expect from your product, service, or platform. Your company’s sales process should ideally highlight the qualifying factors for using the product. This practice needs to carry over into your customer onboarding sequence as you reiterate the value proposition that your product provides to your customers and prepare them for any potential setbacks. That way, when customers hit a snag, they are better prepared for it and know how to resolve the issue so they don’t give up on your platform quickly. 

Step Three: Find Your Aha Moment

Beyond just describing the utility a customer gets from the platform, a customer needs to get a feel for it during onboarding. Samuel Hulick explains in Elements of User Onboarding, that you need to give customers “a small win that provides them with a positive outcome to their first excursion, and one that can be used as a springboard for future efforts.” In other words, an aha moment is tactical and it’s essential to help customers achieve their aha moment early in the onboarding process.

Step Four: Demonstrate Value

Before new customers can get excited about your product, you need to reemphasize its value proposition for their individual circumstances. Give your customers specific examples of how your product will address their pain points. You should include as much personalization as possible. A kickoff call, specialized training, or documentation are all valuable assets at this stage.

Step Five: Keep Communication Consistent

After your first welcome message, continue using email as a communication channel throughout the onboarding process to support any in-app tutorials or guides. At this stage, email is probably your customer’s most frequented communication medium. Once your product becomes indispensable, you can count on them to sign in on their own to view in-app messages.

Step Six: Create Customer-Centric Goals

Your customer’s goals and metrics will always be unique to their experience. Allow them to define their own success, then guide them to create measurable milestones to get there with benchmarks to hit along the way.

Step Seven: Measure Your Success

Onboarding benefits your customers and your business. Keep gathering customer feedback, proactively identify friction points, and track key metrics so you know what’s working and where you can improve.

Customer Onboarding Helps Grow Your Business

Customer onboarding doesn’t begin when someone purchases your product or service. Instead, it starts the very first time a prospect comes in contact with your brand. Every encounter is an opportunity to gather the information that will help you create an onboarding experience that converts. So it’s vitally important to build a seamless experience across all of your business’ touchpoints.

SSL vs TLS Protocol- What’s the Difference?

Unless you work with it regularly, there’s a good chance that you don’t know the difference between SSL Protocol (Secure Sockets Layers) and TLS (Transport Layer Security). And this industry doesn’t do you many favors by colloquially referring to TLS as SSL.


There’s been four iterations of the TLS protocol. SSL has been (or is supposed to be) entirely deprecated. So, what’s the difference between SSL and TLS?

A Brief History of SSL and TLS

SSL and TLS are both cryptographic protocols that provide authentication and data encryption between servers, machines, and applications operating over a network (e.g. a client connecting to a web server).  In reality, SSL is only about 25 years old. But in internet years, that’s ancient. The first iteration of SSL, version 1.0, was first developed in 1995 by Netscape but was never released because it was riddled with serious security flaws. SSL 2.0 wasn’t a whole lot better, so just a year later SSL 3.0 was released. Again, it had serious security flaws.

Downgrading to SSL 3.0 was still dangerous, though, given its known, exploitable vulnerabilities. All an attacker needed to do to target a website was downgrade the protocol to SSL 3.0. Hence, the birth of downgrade attacks. That ended up being the nail in the coffin for TLS 1.0.

TLS 1.1 came out seven years later in 2006, replaced by TLS 1.2 in 2008. That hurt TLS 1.1 adoption as many websites simply upgraded from 1.0 to TLS 1.2. We are now at TLS 1.3, which was finalized in 2018 after 11 years and nearly 30 IETF drafts.

TLS 1.3 makes significant improvements over its predecessors and right now major players around the internet are pushing for its proliferation. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Mozilla, and Cloudflare all announced plans to deprecate both TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 in January 2020, making TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.3 the only game in town.

At any rate, we’ve been using TLS for the past couple decades. At this point, if you’re still using SSL you’re years behind, metaphorically living in a forlorn era where people still use phone lines to dial on to the internet.

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Should You Be Using SSL or TLS?

Both SSL 2.0 and 3.0 have been deprecated by the Internet Engineering Task Force, also known as IETF, in 2011 and 2015, respectively. Over the years vulnerabilities have been and continue to be discovered in the deprecated SSL protocols (e.g. POODLEDROWN). Most modern browsers will show a degraded user experience (e.g. line through the padlock or https in the URL bar, or other security warnings) when they encounter a web server using the old protocols. For these reasons, you should disable SSL 2.0 and 3.0 in your server configuration, and while you’re at it – go ahead and deprecate TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1, too.
According to a recent WatchGuard survey, nearly 7% of the Alexa Top 100,000 still support SSL 2.0 and/or SSL 3.0. So those sites are still out there in abundance.

Certificates Are Not the Same as Protocols

Before anyone starts worrying that they need to replace their existing SSL Certificates with TLS Certificates, it’s important to note that certificates are not dependent on protocols. That is, you don’t need to use a TLS Certificate vs. an SSL Certificate. While many vendors tend to use the phrase “SSL/TLS Certificate,” it may be more accurate to call them “Certificates for use with SSL and TLS,” since the protocols are determined by your server configuration, not the certificates themselves.

That goes for encryption strength, too. Many certificates advertise encryption strength, but truly it’s the capabilities of the server and the client that determine that. At the beginning of each connection, a process called a handshake occurs. During this process, the client authenticates the server’s TLS certificate and the two decide on a mutually supported cipher suite. Cipher suites are a collection of algorithms that all work together to securely encrypt your connection with that website. When the cipher suite is negotiated during the handshake, that’s when the version of the protocol and the supporting algorithms are determined. Your certificate just facilitates the process.

Historically there have been four algorithms in a cipher suite:

  • Key Exchange
  • Digital Signature
  • Message Authentication
  • Hashing Algorithm

(If that seems a little in the weeds, it won’t in a second when we discuss the differences between SSL and TLS.)

For now, it’s likely you will continue to see certificates referred to as SSL Certificates because at this point that’s the term more people are familiar with. We’re beginning to see increased usage of the term TLS across the industry, and SSL/TLS is a common compromise until TLS becomes more widely accepted.

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Are SSL and TLS Any Different Cryptographically?

Yes. The difference between each version of the protocol may not be huge, but if you were comparing SSL 2.0 to TLS 1.3 there would be a canyon between them. At its heart, the concept is the same through each version. It’s just the way the different protocols go about accomplishing the task of encrypting connections that diverges.

Each newly released version of the protocol came and will come with its own improvements and/or new/deprecated features. SSL version one was never released, version two did but had some major flaws, SSL version 3 was a rewrite of version two (to fix these flaws – with limited success) and TLS version 1 an improvement of SSL version 3. Between TLS 1.0 and 1.1, the changes were minor. TLS 1.2 brought some significant changes and TLS 1.3 has refined and streamlined the whole process.

Disabling SSL 2.0 and 3.0 and TLS 1.0

If you’re not sure if your servers are still supporting SSL protocols, you can easily check using our SSL Server Test. For instructions on how to disable SSL 2.0 and 3.0 on popular server types, including Apache, NGINX and Tomcat, check out our related support article. If you still need to disable TLS 1.0, we can help you with that, too.

So, what’s the difference between SSL and TLS? In polite conversation, not much – and many people continue to use the terms SSL and TLS interchangeably. In terms of your server configuration though, there are some major architectural and functional differences. And those differences are the space between vulnerabilities, outdated cipher suites, browser security warnings – and a secure server. When it comes to your servers, you should only have TLS protocols enabled.

Role Of Competitive Intelligence Technologies In Travel

It is known that technology has affected businesses as well as individuals to a substantial level both in for benefits and annoyance. The travel industry is no exemption. There have been adequate discussions on whether technology has promoted the travel industry or has damaged it more.


The Internet, technology software and communications tools all have made the travel industry processes more accessible for every player. Technology has brought effectiveness, mechanization, data intelligence and more business prospects. It has inserted an assortment of new things to cater different customer requirements, swift development, innovation in services and products to be offered in the market. Traveller data and business openings for new entrants in the industry call them the disruptors.

New business concepts backed with travel technology

Airbnb is a typical case; the conception of staying in people’s homes during the travel is not a new idea and was done earlier. Technology has just enabled it by swift-moving and easily reachable global scenario. Technology and the internet have made data accessible to everybody easily. Having said that, what adds value to the traveller are applicable and planned insights from this data, assorted with the precise intelligence and insights from it. This is where the travel technology software comes into the picture.


Technology software playing a key role

Technology software tools have played an essential role of the driver of this transformation of coming up with the spot on traveller experience based on very explicit customer needs. Mobility, tracking, and monitoring of personal as well as social activities, especially predictive data analytics are what will influence the new business models and opportunities.

Needed technology actions by tour and travel companies to keep up with market competition:

  • Structuring of data
  • Real-time web data extractio
  • Social media intelligence
  • Price monitoring and comparison
  • Pricing and competitive intelligence
  • Data Intelligence and Analytics
  • Structuring of data

This is not restricted to the gathering of data but also arranging it in a precise and structured manner to be further used for different business use cases. This will further augment the potential of managing non-structured data to take it into utilization.

  • Real-time web data extraction

Swiftness and freshness of the information sketch out its real worth. Today the value of data lies in its real-time extraction from single or multiple sources. Customers want all information instantaneously and updated with real-time comparisons. Thus, explains the increasing use of software tools of DataCrops like online travel intelligence which assists in understanding the overall market dynamics and the competitive pricing strategies.

  • Social media data extraction and intelligence

Social Media data extraction is significant as it assists in grabbing the expanding user-generated content that travel companies are interested in for product and service reviews, guest feedbacks, customer complaints, brand monitoring along with competitor and market trend analysis. It also comprises of extracting and analysis of tweets, likes, marketing updates, discussions, promotions, pictures, and images.

DataCrops Social Media Intelligence solutions are well capable of analyzing professional and social data along with actionable analytics packaged with social media data extraction.

  • Price monitoring and comparison

The price monitoring software offers complete visibility into competitors’ pricing and product packages in the travel industry, enabling intelligence to make beneficial pricing decisions. The online travel industry is going forward with pricing intelligence software solutions that have the complete facility to extract pricing data from their single or multiple competitor web portals.

    • Pricing and competitive intelligence

With DataCrops competitor price analysis software and competitor price monitoring tools, travel companies can improve their price competitiveness, advance their competitor pricing analysis strategies and implement their pricing tactics successfully.

  • Data Intelligence and Analytics

With the understanding of consumer behavior through data intelligence and analytics, needed components like profitability and customer experience can be evaluated for travel and hospitality revenue management.

With all these advantages, users on both sides of this travel business cycle benefit. The booking engines and online travel portals are now more influenced by online research and price comparison. Tour operators can enhance their travel package offerings while completing their online reservations which they can enable with enhanced technologies, further capturing consumer insights as well as intelligence.


Key Takeaways

As per the travel companies, the expansion and progressions of technology have assisted them to augment communication, handiness, outputs, the swiftness of business, marketing and increase in overall revenue generation.

However, it has turned essential for traditional travel agencies to advance their business strategies in order to stay alive in the dynamically transformed travel marketplace. The modernized e-Commerce driven environment has made mandatory for these offline players to enhance their offerings with personalization and with efficiency to the current marketplace.

The traditional tour and packages operators will see additional evolution as technology is carrying on to advancements with every single day. As long as requirements for packaged tour and travel remain, there will be a space for travel companies as well as OTAs. DataCrops technology like Competitor Price Monitoring & Tracking Software for travel, flight, and hotel industry will go a long way in fulfilling this demand for the worldwide customers on both the business ends.

Decoding the Potential of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in banking is a leading force to reckon with. The technology—which enables machines to simulate and augment human intelligence—has manifested the potential to drive tangible, real-world business outcomes for the industry.


An OpenText survey revealed that most banks (80%) are well-aware of the benefits of AI and believe that technology is the business advantage of the future. In fact, most of them have started with AI initiatives. A USB Evidence Lab report found that almost 75% of banks with over $100 billion in assets say they are currently implementing AI strategies, compared to 46% of banks with less than $100 billion in assets. In another report by Autonomous Next Research, the aggregate potential cost savings for banks, attributable to their AI initiatives, is estimated to reach $447 billion+ in 2023.

These numbers are proof that AI has finally descended from the realm of fiction, bearing a groundbreaking potential for the banking industry.

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Artificial Intelligence: Galvanizing Growth for Banking

By letting machines to learn, adapt, and improve, AI isn’t only reshaping the operational structures across the board, but also relationships—with employees, customers, and ecosystem partners—that ensure business success. Below are some of the areas where technology is helping banks differentiate and beat the competition.

    1. Customer Experience

      AI is making customer service more efficient than ever. Today’s chatbots are evolving to interact with humans using contextual learning, which means that they are outgrowing their potential to think and respond like humans and providing relevant solutions based on real-time data. Juniper, in a report, has predicted that chatbots will be responsible for cost savings of up to $8 billion by the end of 2022, making it clear that the era of chatbots with human intelligence and awareness is here. In addition to this, AI systems have been helping banks analyze customers based on past interactions and customize financial products and services to meet their needs.

    2. Process Automation

      Banks have begun capitalizing on the power of AI to compete effectively in an increasingly saturated market. The technology has helped banks solve multiple internal challenges, which includes lower efficiency and increased labor costs. AI has radically streamlined a variety of back-office processes that once reduced productivity. By letting machines take over most of the manual and repetitive tasks, banks have been able to create a work environment where employees are focused on strategic and rewarding tasks, which exponentially increase performance, efficiency, and resilience.

    3. Event Forecasting and Predictive Maintenance

      AI has been helping banks see and shape the future. By deriving actionable insights from data, technology has made it possible for banks to predict events and anticipate risks. As a result, the combative measures to control fraud and money laundering have changed from prescriptive to predictive, saving millions. Using key recommendation engines, banks have also been able to up-sell and cross-sell their products and services to various customers.

    4. Effective Decision-Making

      Cognitive systems, enabled by AI, use augmented intelligence to uncover insights and provide optimal solutions. These systems use sophisticated algorithms and ensemble techniques to extract value from data and identify patterns and anomalies that help banks make consistent decisions based on existing as well as evolving business rules.

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  1. Improved Recall and Precision 

    The application of AI in banking has been effective in handling manual processes and reducing the possibility of errors thereby. The technology has introduced bots to enable automation of voluminous tasks such as data processing, which not only prevents errors but also saves costs by over 30% – 70%.

AI in Banking is Emerging But Not without Challenges

  • AI is still operating within the data conundrum. Most banks have huge but unspecified data, which results in faulty insights and derails the entire decision-making process. Imagine, for example, the severity of risks that could arise from KYC compliance processes if data isn’t verified, or the consequences of building fraud prevention strategies without the right data.
  • There is a sense of hesitation around AI as it is believed that technology will wipe out jobs for humans. It’s no secret that humans are far more fallible than computers, and this insecurity forms the basis for employees’ resistance to AI. Inspiring trust in AI is perhaps the biggest roadblock to its adoption in banking.
  • Scaling AI is where most banking firms find themselves at a loss. Confusion over how to define workflows, to what extent automation must be present, and where human intervention is required, still persists. Most enterprises have started implementing AI but aren’t ready for AI-first thinking.
  • Banks have a bigger challenge in addressing the cultural shift in order to best leverage AI. Every firm, even today, has a pool of legacy people, who aren’t receptive to any technology shift, let alone AI. These people show resistance to change, which means that, even if banks manage to adopt digital transformation, adoption without people actually using the new technology is difficult to achieve.
  • There aren’t enough AI experts who can offer a touch of reality to the rapidly progressing realm. In a recent Ernst and Young poll, 56% of respondents agreed that lack of talent and qualified workers is the single biggest bottleneck, impeding AI’s success.

The Future is Intelligent Banking

AI has brought a revolution in the banking sector. The technology is helping firms cross out traditional processes to introduce new, innovative methods that improve efficiency and create better experiences for customers and employees alike. However, the challenges of implementation are overwhelming. To make the best use of AI, banking institutions are required to rewire their DNAs. They need to find a middle ground where AI can work with employees in tandem and ensure that the technology is used responsibly. And, all of this can be achieved if banks find a way to bring people, processes, and data together and be persistent in the face of change.

How to Use Your Android as a Wi-Fi Repeater

We all get frustrated when a Wi-Fi signal is nearby but is just out of our device’s reach. Sometimes, Android your Wi-Fi router doesn’t cover your entire home and this is where Wi-Fi repeaters or Wi-Fi extenders come into play. You can either buy them separately or you can extend the Wi-Fi reach by using your Android device.

For those, who are unaware, a Wi-Fi repeater is used to extend the coverage area of your Wi-Fi network. It works by receiving your existing Wi-Fi signal, amplifying it and then transmitting the boosted signal.
Android The Wi-Fi repeater feature is not present in Android devices by default but some manufacturers are including it in their upcoming models. Samsung introduced the Wi-Fi sharing feature with the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge and it’s also present in the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus. Similarly, Huawei’s Honor 6X comes with this feature, dubbed as Wi-Fi Bridge.

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Step 1. Head to Google Play Store and download the NetShare-no-root-tethering app.

Step 2. When you open the app, you will see the Share internet connection tab. Click on the button to enable it. This basically repeats the Wi-Fi signal you are connected to.

Step 3. It must be noted that you cannot change the name or the password. The name of the new Wi-Fi network that is transmitted from your phone will be the Network Name displayed in the app. The Wi-Fi key will be that of the Network Password.

Step 4. Once you enter the password, try to connect to the Wi-Fi network. This will fail because you still need to enter the proxy settings.

Step 5. If you’re using the Wi-Fi repeater on a Windows PC, you will have to change the proxy settings. Head to Control Panel > Network and Internet. Go to Internet Options and then Connections. Click on the LAN Setting option below.

Step 6. In the Address box, enter and enter 8282 in the Port box.

Step 7. Save the settings and test your connection. You will now have access to the Wi-Fi network transmitted from your Android phone.

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Step 1. Download the Net Share app.

Step 2. Once you open the app, tap the Start Sharing button at the bottom.

Step 3. Connect your device using the SSID and password mentioned in the app.

Step 4. In the case of a Windows PC, you’ll have to head to Control Panel > Network and Internet. Go to Internet Options and then Connections. Click on the LAN Setting option below.

Step 5. Change the Address to and enter 44355 in the Port box.


In my case, both the apps worked without any hiccup. However, I noticed that I was losing the Wi-Fi connection on my Windows laptop quite often with the Net Share app. However, it would reconnect immediately.

What do you think of these apps? Do you see yourself using them? Do drop a line or two in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!


Artificial Intelligence Era Requires New Approaches Talent

As a Huawei Era partner and a member of Huawei’s Key Opinion Leader Program, I joined three other experts conducting several keynotes at Huawei Connect in Shanghai all related to the question of how to develop talent in the AI era; Dr. Hao Lu, who is the Chief Innovation Officer at Yitu, Huang Weiwei, who is the Senior Management Consultant for Huawei, and Qian Wang, who is the Co-Founder of Mai Mai.


A Sequoia China report that was revealed recently mentioned that there are over 1,000 AI companies registered in China currently. These companies account for nearly one-fourth of all AI companies across the world. China is, hence, second only to the United States when it comes to the most number of enterprises linked to AI within the country.

The Impact of AI Talent on Company Performance

With the horizons dictating artificial technology expected to broaden in the future, one can tell that AI talent will have an imperative role to play in company performance. The talent that a company possesses in the field of AI dictates how well they’re able to manage the analytics for the future.

The best AI talent in the market will realize the performance of different models and harness their potential to help them perform at their full potential. This knowledge is what AI companies will crave in the future.

As the age of AI kicks in, the management philosophy will also change. While previously managements were involved in routine decision making and innovations, the AI age will define how organizations now rely more on their top talent to define and lead innovation. The innovation that the workforce inside an organization brings would be the differentiating factor for all forms of AI companies. Their workers would help propel them forward and foster innovation for them. Realizing the impact of their employees’ creativity in the overall company policy, organizations would also reward this talent accordingly.

AI now dictates a major part of the talent pyramid. AI professionals and data scientists have revamped the way people look at the pyramid because the decision making has come down from the top tier to skilled workers below. Data scientists and AI professionals are more involved in the decision making process as they are the ones leading the process of change within the organization.

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What Does It Mean to the Talent?

With rapid advancements in AI, the top talent out there keeps a stringent check on the job market. Knowing that the talent will play an important role in AI advancements, it is pertinent to see what these advancements mean for all of this talent.

The following skills or qualifications will be expected of employees in the future:

More Specialized

Rather than being exhaustive and trying their hands at everything, employees of the future will have to specialize in one specific field; be it data labeling, machine learning or parallel computing, the upcoming talent should identify one facet of AI and start working on it. With the need for enhanced innovation and skills in the future, you cannot exhaust yourself by trying to study everything in one go.

More Comprehensive

The need for specialization, mentioned above, would require a more comprehensive approach towards models at work. This is to ensure that errors don’t spread and are not found in the first place. Since a single error in the analytics stage can destroy momentum, comprehension is something that should be guaranteed.

More Attentive  

Humans tend to make costly errors, too, when it comes to AI. This is exactly why attention is a quality expected from future AI talent. They should remain attentive and at the top of their game at all times.

Recruitment of Highly Qualified Talent

With the passage of time, and with developments in the field of AI, there will be a special focus on recruiting only the top qualified talent in the market. The core talent in the era of AI would be the highly qualified workers coming through and leading the change.

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This highly qualified talent can relate to:

  • Application of AI
  • Cloud Computing
  • IoT
  • Industrial Robotics

The talent of the future would be required to:

  • Provide data insights
  • Apply AI technology across different scenarios
  • Maintain human computer interaction
  • Respond to dynamic changes
  • Customize demand
  • Diversify industry business
  • Maintain various business standards
  • Coordinate among different platforms
  • Maintain demand for safety and reliability

Main Strategies for Enterprises to Develop In-House AI Talent

With the heightened focus on ensuring the availability of top AI talent, organizations can also take the safe and reliable way out of developing this talent within their own enterprises.

The following are some strategies to augment the growth of in-house talent within your enterprise:

  • Have a clear vision of what you expect and want from AI talent in the short and long run.
  • Have multiple agile teams that deal with the customer’s journey.
  • Ensure the availability of data to the best data sets.
  • Maintain a culture that is driven by data.
  • Maintain an end-2-end lifecycle management for AI.

How Huawei Develops Top AI Talent

Huawei’s method of developing top AI talent is based on four strong pillars.

  • Continuous investment on basic research
  • Talent acquisition from a global scale
  • Strong framework and application.
  • Leading technology and solid theory.
  • Convenient platform with a learning mode.
  • Practical and up-to-date training.

Huawei Developer Program

As part of their efforts in this regard, Huawei has also built a developer program to foster the growth of talented AI individuals. This program will help Huawei in collaborating with developers, universities, research institutes and partners to build a better talent pool and ecosystem for supporting AI resources. Huawei has decided to invest over 140 million USD to ensure that AI talent education is supported and made a priority. This cost covers scientific research, AI courses, and talent training.

China has grown as one of the world’s most potent forces when it comes to AI. The country promises to revolutionize almost everything—from policing to driving to healthcare—by using AI. Beijing is investing big on the technology and plans to create an ecosystem that best works in its favor. Huawei has a strategic position in this regard for they will act as the pioneers of this change.

How to Improve the Visibility of Your App on the Play Store

Visibility , it is expected that the total revenue earned through mobile apps would surpass the figure of $189 billion by the end of 2020. Now, this is huge. Needless to say, figures siggest a promising future of all the app developers. However, developing a website alone is not enough. Given the app deluge, developers need to tread cautiously when implementing an idea, affirming its uniqueness and then channelise the app to outreach potential customers.


Yes, you heard that right. Even though you are a developer, you need to market your app. Simply upload an app on the play store would not fetch the anticipated results. The app needs to be tailored to map the user’s expectations. To be precise, you need to take a step to improve your app visibility. The app store page should be such that it entices users to download. Right from the icon to the description, the keyword, and the title, all have to be perfect to gain a minimum level of user traction.

This would not just drive traffic but also leverage the conversion rate. Now, if you have recently opted for e-commerce website development, then you need to have a walk through the different ways by which you can optimize your app.

Optimising App for the Play store

App Store Optimisation

The certified method for optimizing the app within the play store, App Store Optimisation or better known as ASO is something you should pay heed. ASO itself opines strategies and ways by which developers can improve and enhance the visibility of apps within the store.

The optimisation technique implants off-the-page and on-page factors proven to leverage the ranking of your app. Adhering to the layout of ASO increases the odds that people drifting towards your app and even downloading it.

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ASO methods

  • Embed keywords in the name and description of the app

The first and foremost thing to cater to is the name of your app and its description. You need to make sure that the name along with the description has the keyword within it. It helps users track your app hassle freely. In case you are not sure about the keyword, you can conduct surveys and votes to find the suitable one.

  • User Reviews & Ratings

An app that has positive reviews and higher ratings would no doubt outperform others and considering the above, your app visibility automatically improves.

  • Downloads

The greater the number of app downloads, the higher its value. Every single download instills trust and increases the possibility of further visibility. The Play store never hesitate to block your app so always be careful.

  • An Attractive & Apt Icon

Your app icon should be such that it voices your business. It should speak for itself, meaning that as soon as users view the icon, they can figure out what your business actually strives to attain. The more informative icon has a greater appeal on users and so increases the conversion rate.

  • Integrate A Freemium Model

According to research, 98% of the earned app revenue is from free to use apps with an option of in-app purchases. And it a known fact that users would prefer apps that are free to download as compared to the ones that need to be purchased before downloading. In order to enhance your app visibility, you need to witness a many downloads,  so opting for a free app would be the best choice for your ecommerce website development.

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  • Improve Online Presence By Sharing Content

An important factor that would promote your ecommerce website development is enhancing the online presence of your business. In order to drive users to your app, you need them to know. Creating blog posts, websites, sharing content, etc are some of the best ways to create awareness about your business and direct visitors towards your app. You can also invest in the paid promotion or in case money seems to be an obstruction, you can promote your business through social media channels. Creating engaging content on social media about your business not only drives traffic but also turns them to potential users.

  • Modify Your App Regularly

User reviews and feedbacks aren’t just to fill the blank but they need to be heard, respected and implemented. One of the key elements of any business is to abide by the customers’ expectations and the same goes for e-commerce and Magento website development. You need to update your app frequently so as to keep up to the market trends and map industrial standards. Regular updates affirm that the app is free from bugs and can function seamlessly under all circumstances. Further, adding new features tend to attract users more, in a way facilitating higher app visit.

  • Apply For An Award

To stand out from others on the list, you need to have something exclusive. Having distinctive features is good, for one but to be the best you need to have the best. One way is to apply for rewards and if your app receives the same, the news gets flared and people know more about your business. This helps to build a network of users who might visit your app and download the same.


Having an app on Play store is different from having a revenue-centric app. As a developer, your task is to develop an app but what value does the app hold, if it fails to generate decent revenue. Nothing, right?

So, optimising an app or increasing its visibility is not an option any more. Instead, if you need your app to survive in the fast-paced competitive world, you need to take up measures to enhance and improve visibility