folding cartons

The worldwide demand for folding cartons is increasing, and with this increase comes the need for further innovation within the industry. Market demands are driving technological advances in folding cartons, reshaping the market to fit new trends. Consumer preferences are always evolving. Expectations have changed. Here are five trends reshaping the folding carton industry.

New technology and evolving consumer and market needs are trends reshaping the folding carton industry. From the need to meet environmental standards, fight counterfeit products, create eye-catching products.

Much is to be done to prevent contamination and integrate with broad technological trends, folding cartons are changing everything from production processes to materials used.

The desire for environmentally-friendly services and products continues to grow at the same time that new regulations are put into place to avoid counterfeit products. These challenges, as well as changes to printing techniques and industry requirements, create an ever-evolving landscape for folding cartons.

Internet of All Things — Smart Packaging

Traditional folding cartons are also seeing the impact of broader technological trends, such as the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Industries as diverse as transportation, healthcare, and public utilities are investing in this growing trend, and an astonishing 94% of businesses implementing IoT’s into their business have seen ROI.

Embedding digital technology into packaging allows for a variety of innovations that would have been unimaginable even ten years ago. Asset management, product tracking, quality control, and direct communication with customers can all be a part of folding cartons in the future.

Placing sensors into products and packaging can help aggregate information, providing never before seen data sets to help create more effective industry strategies. Beverage companies, for example, are capable of embedding digital content into their packaging to offer services and provide product information.

Anti-Counterfeit and Security Measures

Counterfeit products account for a large amount of the global black market. Scammers and criminals can mimic designs and packaging to deceive consumers and retard growth for legitimate business. Advances in the folding carton industry are catching up with counterfeiters and adding a layer of security to the global markets.

An area of growing concern is the pharmaceutical market. Concerns about product tampering throughout the supply chain, as well as counterfeiting of products, has led to the implementation of stricter global regulations in the form of the EU Falsified Medicines Directive 2011/62/EU.

This directive regulates the manufacturing, importing, and wholesale distribution of medicinal products within the EU, and has impacts for package makers throughout the supply chain.

Folding cartons now see demand for innovations such as 2D data matrix codes, tamper evidence fixtures, and potentially RFID technology. RFID labels are capable of first-open sensors that interface with smart technology, recording information such as temperature recordings and whether or not the package was opened.

Embedding anti-counterfeit and security measures into the folding carton process will continue to be a growing area of need.

Environmentally Friendly Packaging

Globally, markets are adopting more environmentally friendly techniques and products. Consumer demands are shifting in many areas, which require an evolution in the way folding cartons are developed and distributed. This evolution has most directly impacted the materials used for folding cartons.

Pressure from brands and consumers is leading to more eco-friendly carton materials. One of the most innovative trends comes in the form of non-wood pulp materials. Manufacturers are leaning into raw materials such as cocoa beans, hazelnuts and edamame beans as a substitute for conventional materials. Hot melt adhesives used to join packaging materials are likewise made from biodegradable and recyclable material.

One industry seeing a significant change is the beverage market, which accounts for 23.0% of the carton shipments, or 1.11 million tons (see: keystoneparts.com). The market has moved away dramatically from plastic packaging and towards renewable cardboards. Improvements in decorative carton-based multipacks see more environmentally-friendly solutions come to the fore.

Food Safety Advancements

Concerns of contaminants absorbing through packaging to food products and causing widespread food contamination is an increasing area of interest among food safety experts. The growing awareness of this issue is leading the folding carton process to adopt a range of safety options for the industry.

Improvements to the techniques applied during curtain coating and advancements in water-based coatings show that the industry is responding to these needs. The movement towards alternative packaging and away from expanded polystyrene is also serving this purpose.

The application of ink coatings during the printing process can create a well-designed, consumer-friendly product for the consumer. However, potential cross-contamination during this process, or from outer packaging, has been a growing concern. Evolving processes contain this issue using new technology, which provides a barrier to prevent contaminants from entering the food product.

Improved Printing and Decorating Techniques

While environmentally-friendly, contaminant-free and secure folding cartons serve a growing need, the end-user also requires an attractive, eye-catching product. Improvements to the folding carton industry have evolved in this area as well, particularly as new printing techniques emerge.

New printing technologies mean more colors and more finishes to meet consumer needs and better match brand identity. Digital printing in the form of laser and inkjet printers has improved to the point that the economics of the industry has changed. Higher quality graphics can now be produced at lower costs due to manufacturing advancements.

Special features such as hot foil stamping and registered embossing can also be included at lower costs when manufacturing folding cartons. This is now done without expensive tooling costs during short-runs. The result is a better quality product at an economical price, opening up folding cartons as an option of short-run products.

The evolution of these new techniques and features opens up new markets for the folding carton industry. Short-run projects mean that smaller producers, such as artisanal food providers, craft beers, distillers, and craft products, are now viable markets for folding cartons.

Reshaping Folding Cartons for Years to Come

The growth of technology will continue to evolve the way folding cartons are created and used. The need to keep us with evolving trends will change the market. Consumer expectations, unexpected technological advancements and continually shifting regulatory standards will shape folding cartons in the coming years.

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ai and customer experience

 Artificial intelligence is the latest trend in technology, and its application cutting across all fields. It’s all about technology mimicking biological intelligence. Here are three ways tech startups are using AI to revolutionize customer experience.

Customer experience is becoming the hallmark of business growth.

Tesla’s self-driven cars, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, albeit popular are but a few examples of AI’s applications.

AI varies widely, from algorithmic trading in finance. We see medical diagnosis in healthcare, sentiment, or emotion recognition in marketing and advertising, and customer service. AI reaches use in Human resources (HR), agriculture, robotics, natural language processing, voice or speech recognition, and many other businesses and industries.

AI has transformed the customer experience greatly in the sense that it is able to predict consumer behavior, gage emotions, and sentiments of customers.

AI can ensure 24/7 customer service available to provide users with an intuitive and engaging experience, and also help businesses make informed decisions by providing their employees with intelligence to easily perform tasks.

On that note, here are three ways tech start-ups are changing the ways we relate with service providers digitally.

  1. Consumer Sentiments

Other’s opinions of a product influence our view of it. According to statistics,63.6% of consumers said they would most likely Google reviews before visiting a business. 94% of them said that online reviews assured them to avoid a specific market.

The act of avoiding a market shows how consumer opinions affect businesses. However, many businesses still haven’t been able to utilize consumer sentiment data efficiently.

Revuze, a New York City-based start-up, has developed an algorithm that analyses customer opinion.

Revuze takes information from various sources such as social media, e-mails, online reviews, surveys, and data that is collected by call centers. Many other businesses, both online and offline, thereby eliminating the need for traditional surveys that require specific surveys conducted from a single study or a couple of studies.

The algorithm monitors keywords and can decipher the context in which it is being used to estimate the user’s sentiments.

It uses this information to identify trends and topics from unstructured data. This provides businesses with information about consumer’s opinions on their products in real-time. Compared to traditional methods where it takes a while to gather and process the information needed.

Revuze’s solution is indeed revolutionary as it helps businesses to improve and provide a better insight into customer experience, and it changes the way businesses assess consumer’s perception of their products and services, and it is a self-service platform that requires no involvement of IT experts.

  1. Personalized Ads

Do you ever wonder why you receive ads for an item you just thought you needed when you surf the net, or from a site you just visited when sending an e-mail? Personalized ads deliver content to customers based on their recent online activities.

Compared to traditional means of marketing where products and services being advertised may not be relevant to those viewing it. Personalized ads directly target the interests of those viewing it based on demographic data gathered. The varied information includes such collected data such as gender, area of residence, age bracket, income bracket, likes, political leanings, race, shares, and many others.

Spirable is a tech startup that uses artificial intelligence to create personalized video ads.

To generate these video ads, data is dynamically connected into user-friendly video templates, and its data feeds include Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data.

  • Personal information data includes purchase data, website activity, service usage data.
  • Preferences like social audience data (such as audience persona, behaviors, interests, and preferences).
  • Location data (such as location stores, weather forecasts, pollen levels, UV levels, and markets).
  • Live contextual data (such as live sports, trending events, stock levels, live travel date, time, and date).

These data feeds tailor the content of the ads to the customer’s preferences based on events happening around them in real-time to provide the right message at the right time.

  1. Consumer Behaviour

The popularity of virtual assistants has contributed to how we purchase goods and services online. According to statistics, 54% of consumers said that digital assistants have played a huge role in simplifying their lives.

  • 65% of consumers who have virtual assistants use them for a lot of purposes besides communication.
  • 50% of them use it to surf the net, obtain weather forecasts, and stream music.
  • 37% use it to check messages, e-mails and traffic reports while the rest use it to obtain information and shop online.

This goes to show the influence of virtual assistants on our daily lives. Based on personal data and artificial intelligence algorithms, these virtual assistants are able to anticipate customer behavior. They are thus predicting what users need in order to provide service and product recommendations.

Tact.ai is a tech start-up located in Sunnyvale which developed a digital assistant for sales teams.

Through the use of Artificial intelligence, the Tact sales assistant integrates customer data from multiple sources. Using such data as CRM, e-mails, calendars, LinkedIn, Zendesk, OneDrive, Box and legacy databases. Creating a frictionless experience for businesses, Tact.ai can increase sales, productivity, drive revenue growth, and improve the user experience.

Conclusion

Artificial Intelligence is a booming market because of its dependence on a large amount of exploitable data easily available from multiple digital channels.

Through the development of machine learning (ML) algorithms that are tailored to efficiently maximize the usage of data AI applications are limitless. Its role in improving the customer experience online has however changed the marketing for the better.

Customers derive satisfaction from purchasing goods and services than ever before due to algorithms that express empathy, apply humor, show understanding, and respect. These attributes build trust and establishing loyalty.

Also, employee efficiency is increased as repetitive tasks are automated and they are fed with predictions to enable them to make sound judgment when engaging customers.

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ai save you money

In 2019, artificial intelligence (AI) is taking the world by storm. The optimism around this emerging technology spurs businesses around the world to pour investments into AI, with the hope that it will transform their efficiency and profitability. In February, President Trump signed an executive order calling for federal agencies to invest in AI to grow the economy and achieve greater national security. 

Perhaps unintentionally, the executive order epitomizes a key trend in AI today: widespread readiness to invest with little insight into budgets or timelines for adoption. Although plenty of companies are eager to harness the power of AI, few are able to accurately gauge its long-term impact.

Customer service represents one of the most appealing—and riskiest—applications of AI. More and more companies are augmenting their customer service with automation software, chatbots and call center scripts. These AI-powered tools promise to filter queries quickly and efficiently, at a fraction of the cost. After all, chatbots don’t need wages like the human customer service reps do. The average annual salary of a customer service representative is $35,800, compared to just $3,000 to $5,000 for a Facebook Messenger chatbot

But automation doesn’t necessarily save you money in the long run—and testing the waters of AI adoption could expose your company’s reputation to serious risks. Here’s why it’s still worth investing in customer service with a human touch. 

Patchy data leads to AI difficulties

A company’s customer service directly impacts its overall reputation, which in turn determines its bottom line. Before rolling out an AI solution, companies must weigh the benefits of faster service against the risk that AI could deliver a subpar experience for customers.

In an ideal world, AI tools can help companies serve more customers, especially outside of normal business hours or during periods of high demand. For example, when customers call a company’s support line, many are forced to endure hold music while they wait for the next customer service representative to pick up the phone.

By contrast, an AI chatbot isn’t limited to helping one customer at a time or working during business hours. Instead, it could help an unlimited number of customers instantly, at any time of day or night. 

The problem is, a lot of companies are working with bad data, whether it’s incomplete information or too many data sets to meaningfully manage. Poor data management can amplify a bad customer experience and harm businesses.

In fact, 95 percent of respondents in a recent Experian survey said that bad data negatively affects their business; it costs $3 trillion a year in the U.S. alone, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Bad customer service will cost you

Additionally, there’s a big difference between using AI to improve overall customer experience compared to using it in real-time customer service interactions. While AI might help companies manage customer experience at a high level, the reality is that the most memorable customer service experiences occur when a customer is unhappy. 

Telestra, an Australian telecom company, learned this the hard way when it launched a virtual assistant chatbot nicknamed “Codi.” Codi struggled to interpret customers’ questions and connect them with the information they needed.

Worst of all, when customers requested a human agent, the bot promised to connect them, only to promptly get stuck in a loop. One customer asked for a human agent 15 times during a single chat.

Frustrated customers took to social media.

As customers hop on social media, it prompts local news outlets to cover the disaster. American publications later picked up the story, piling on the negative press. Instead of improving customer service with AI, Telstra ended up with angry customers and a significant reputation issue. 

The risks for an unhelpful AI interaction remain incredibly high. The 2017 American Express Customer Service Barometer found that more than half of Americans have abandoned a transaction after receiving bad service, and one-third would consider switching companies after just one negative service experience. 

Businesses can use AI to leverage data and improve customer experience.

AI’s ability to provide direct customer assistance remains unproven. Younger generations, especially, are more skeptical and less likely to wait patiently for service. Until the technology improves, most companies should continue to trust human representatives to handle sensitive interactions with unhappy customers.

Human customer service is still a worthwhile investment

Maintaining well-trained, human customer service staff—especially one that’s available 24/7—requires a significant investment. But that investment delivers excellent returns. 

According to a recent PwC report, an astonishing 82 percent of U.S. consumers want more human interaction in customer services. Customers are also willing to spend up to 16 percent more on products and services if they receive great customer service, resulting in long-term customer loyalty.

Costco, a market leader, often lauded for its great customer service, it also pays its employees higher wages and gives them more benefits than the retail industry average. Investing more in customer service yields higher customer loyalty and satisfaction, creating a positive feedback loop for growth.

Of, course, this doesn’t mean companies should ignore AI, but the best approach is to combine the best of both worlds. Businesses should use AI to supplement, rather than replace, human customer service representatives—and do so slowly and carefully.

A well-designed chatbot can answer low-level, FAQ-type questions from customers.

Using a chatbot for lower-lever questions frees up human customer service representatives to focus on more complex issues. Chatbots of the future may even be able to compose responses indistinguishable from real humans, and with a literary flair, to boot. 

Slack provides a great example of this hybrid approach.

Every Slack account is equipped with a channel called “Slackbot,” where users can type simple questions about how to navigate their accounts. Its customer service channel, however, is operated 24/7 by real people who aren’t allowed to use scripts.

If Slackbot isn’t able to solve a problem, customers still have access to human representatives who never circulate through automated responses. This commitment to customer experience has played a pivotal role in Slack’s explosive growth.

Automation, AI and data analytics are all an integral part of customer service—but they’re not sufficient on their own as of yet. Today, investing in great customer service staff will still pay off. 

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ai in financial markets

Finding complex solutions to financial challenges has become achievable with advancements in technology. Practitioners are daily seeking ways to use computational applications to offer modeling, forecasting, and robust trading solutions in the financial sector. Here are five ways artificial intelligence technology is transforming the financial markets.

Notably, the cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology is mainly transforming the financial markets.

Understanding AI Technology

Most people commonly use AI and automation terms interchangeably, but the truth is that one does not necessarily mean the other. Typically, the automation process involves using computer systems to perform tasks repetitively.

Repeating tasks does not necessarily mean that AI technology is at play, although AI mainly involves automation. Also, the fear caused by unrealistic futurists who paint a world where computers run things on their own preferences is unfounded.

So, what is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is a pattern-emulating technology that automates predictive or repetitive tasks for better or easier performance. As technology advances, AI is slowly becoming part of human consciousness. Many people are entirely relying on AI to accomplish tasks easily, effectively, and more productively.

Many people still speak of AI as futuristic. However, the technology is here, with us and it’s being used. Already, there are sectors, such as healthcare, environmental, and transportation, which are already using robots in automating most of the jobs.

Who hasn’t heard of the innovative self-driven vehicles that have revolutionized the transport sector?

More so, self-driven trains are expected to take the notch a little higher. Even socialization will soon be affected as some people make and keep robotic friends. Why should the financial sector be an exception?

How AI Technology is Transforming the Financial Markets

Foremost, it’s good to mention that there are continuous advancements in technology, and the revolution cannot be limited to the discussion below.

Nonetheless, here are 5 main ways artificial intelligence is transforming the markets.

1. Enhancing Risk Management and Decision Making.

Creating effective investment portfolios requires sound judgment. The traditional approach of leaving this delicate task to individuals whose judgment could be impaired is unsustainable in the modern era.

To err is human = human is to error.

With AI technology, sophisticated algorithms are used to model risk management scenarios, ensuring only rational decisions are taken. AI neural networks, contrasted to conventional methods, are effective and top-notch in performing risk management.

2. Enhancing Fraud Detection.

The financial sector is susceptible to fraud, and the transactions in the financial markets are no exception. In Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), a distinct area in AI research, computing systems are routinely used to detect patterns in data.

Since we are accustomed to habits, we tend to be sticklers to routines, and any slight change could signal an abnormality.

For instance, if someone transfers a large sum of money, something that is not in their normal way of doing things, AI could detect that as a threat, even giving the geo-location details of where the transaction is taking place.

This is possible because of modern AI technologies that can detect patterns in raw data and identify abnormal behaviors.

3. Catapulting Chat Agents and Client Advisory Systems.

Clients are constantly making financial transactions and need agents and advisors to make recommendations for sound spending outcomes. AI robotic-advisors that give handy advice is proving to be beneficial to the industry.

For example, they can study a user’s spending habits and advise them on how to use their credit card, balance their budget, and so on. AI technology is allowing for the development of wise personal assistants that utilize client data to make sound advice on spending habits before completing transactions.

Most ecommerce institutions have introduced chatbots that help customers in navigating products. Nowadays, it is difficult to tell whether customers are talking to a bot-driven AI or a real person.

Such assistance improves their relationships with the institutions—even without human intervention.

4. Enabling High Intelligence Trading.

AI technology is currently used to create intelligent trading systems capable of making consistent profits in the financial markets—without complaining of getting tired. AI robots can be trained to learn from their mistakes and avoid making the same mistakes in the future, leading to increased accuracy of trading decisions.

For example, in the forex trading industry, AI-powered robots are currently used to identify market patterns and make forecasts with increased accuracy.

Consequently, this can reduce the most common forex trading mistakes.

5. Enhancing Blockchain Transactions.

The blockchain technology is truly revolutionary, and AI-blockchain mix is poised to cause major disruptions in different sectors, including finance. The two giant technologies blend each other and can greatly benefit one another.

The blockchain technology is lauded for its ability to enhance transparency and build trust in peer to peer transactions, something which can improve the security of AI systems. On the other hand, AI-infused with blockchain can lead to faster and cheaper blockchain.

AI-trained algorithms can efficiently verify blockchain transactions, instead of relying on miners who are prone to mistakes. We see that AI can enhance efficiency in blockchain systems by optimizing data management processes and improving mining processes.

Wrapping it up.

There’s always a good and bad side of things, and AI is no exception. If used incorrectly, artificial intelligence can cause unprecedented mistakes, but if properly used, it will amplify the benefits, especially in the financial markets.

After all, he who loses money loses much.

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6 Ways the IoT is Transforming the Auto Industry

As the IoT continues to leave its mark on dozens of different markets and niches, the future of the automotive industry is starting to take shape. Major changes have already occurred and more are on the way – so what do they mean for the future?

With IoT, Rapid Change Becomes the Norm

Believe it or not – and this is particularly challenging for young folks to grasp – there was a time when you didn’t need to be a grease monkey to understand what was going on underneath the hood of a car. It was fairly easy to understand how cars worked and the average person was completely capable of doing his own maintenance on basic parts.

Today, not so much.

In the days before computers, little problems weren’t a big deal. If your truck was burning a little bit of oil, you simply had to top it off and make sure the oil level didn’t get too low. Today, this approach might not work. Whatever is causing the oil to burn off could send a signal to a computer and shut down other key systems – making the problem worse (and rendering your truck useless until a costly fix is made.)

But it’s not just the technology in cars that’s changing – it’s the business side of the industry, as well. From how auto manufacturers structure their arrangements with dealerships to how the end customer ultimately makes the purchase, very little about today’s setup looks anything like what was happening in the past.

But here’s the thing: We’re just getting started.

As the IoT continues to expand and its technological tentacles find their way into more core areas of the industry, the auto world is going to experience an even more dizzying pace of innovation and evolution.

Change always brings a mixed bag of emotions. While there will always be people who dig their heels into the ground and whine about hanging on to yesterday, most people naturally embrace the ebb and flow of new innovation. And the quicker consumers latch on to these positive developments, the more they’ll impact what we buy, how we buy, how we drive, and – ultimately – how we live.

6 IoT Trends in the Automotive Industry

Trying to compile a list of IoT trends in the automotive space is challenging. However, as we enter 2020, there are a few that stand out more than most. Let’s dig in a little deeper and study what’s happening behind the scenes.

1. New Design Ideation Processes

Over the years, one of the biggest sticking points has always been the slow-moving nature of manufacturing.

Traditionally, researchers would conduct studies and find out what consumers really wanted. Then they’d take these findings to the manufacturers and meetings upon meetings ensued. Once changes were agreed upon, they would go through rigorous testing. This testing would lead to proposed changes, which would eventually get put into the manufacturing pipeline for future models. Then months (or years) later, the technology would finally be introduced into a vehicle that a customer could buy at a dealership.

Slow, slow, and slower.

Today, IoT is making it easier for companies to manage the product lifecycle. They’re able to accelerate product and engineering timelines, which results in a much faster time to market. Naturally, this results in a superior product with a higher degree of customer satisfaction.

The secret is found in the way IoT technology clears up confusion in the processes and reduces manufacturing costs. Advanced systems are capable of identifying which components add value and which ones don’t. The latter components are removed and the high value ones are put through machine learning processes to augment the design and ideation in a way that’s most likely to guarantee success.

2. Superior Service Enablement

Did you know that many of today’s newer vehicles come with more than 100 million lines of code? While it’s pretty impressive, it can also be a bit frustrating. All it takes is something going wrong in a few lines of code and problems ensue. This has produced a serious need for advanced code management and service (in addition to traditional mechanics).

But guess what? All these lines of code are actually making it easier for manufacturers to identify, track, and understand what’s going wrong. This enables them to conduct more efficient maintenance, send out proactive notifications, and provide more value.

Secondarily, software gives manufacturers the ability to create an additional stream of revenue. By releasing occasional software upgrades, they can actually tap into customers’ wallets more frequently. (The typical customer only buys a car every few years – so this is a practical way of generating more value per customer.)

3. Digitized Buying and Selling

While traditional modes of buying a vehicle still exist, the days of kicking tires at dealerships are coming to an end. There will always be people who want the dealership experience – and it won’t necessarily become obsolete – but IoT technology has opened up the doors to completely new processes.

Car services like Carvana are a great example. Customers have the ability to shop for vehicles online, see pictures, secure a price, and then have the vehicle shipped to them.

Even cash for cars services are booming. With these services, a company shows up at your home or place of work and will actually buy your vehicle on the spot. Everything from the cash to titles and registration are handled then and there.

Customers want convenience and new technology is making it possible to buy, sell, and trade in without wasting time in a dealership. This is good news for drivers, but could prove to be challenging for dealerships.

4. New In-Cabin Features

If you haven’t been inside a new luxury vehicle in the last couple of years, you’d be shocked to discover all of the in-cabin features. From infotainment features like Apple CarPlay and music streaming services to predictive maintenance to driverless features that automatically kick in when needed, the new driver experience is powered by convenient and progressive technology.

5. Superior Traffic Reporting

We hear a lot about how technology makes roads more dangerous. There’s a lot of talk regarding distracted driving and other issues. But the reality is that certain IoT innovations actually have the ability to make our roads safer.

For example, the IoT can be used to send out alerts that detect accidents and even provide warnings of bad driving. This enables emergency services to respond faster. Not only does this help with medical care, but it also clears up traffic faster and keeps roadways clear.

Then there’s the issue of “swarm intelligence,” which gives traffic operaters the ability to carefully coordinate the flow of traffic to reduce congestion in real-time. This has the potential to eliminate bottlenecks in busy areas – like major cities or interstates – and alleviate traffic frustrations.

Additionally, IoT applications under current development would allow state departments to design and develop roads that actually detect and track things like traffic usage, maintenance needs, and accident data. This could lead to safer roads, fewer wrecks, and better overall traffic patterns.

6. Enhanced Security

Any time IoT technology is introduced into a consumer product that’s as personal and private as a vehicle, there will be concerns over security. Thankfully, these issues are being addressed. In fact, IoT may also be improving the physical security of vehicles at the same time.

For a few years now, BMW has given its owners of newer models the ability to download the My BMW Remote App. This app not only lets drivers start their cars remotely, but it also provides capabilities like locking and unlocking doors, flashing the lights, sounding the horn, and modulating temperature and airflow inside the cabin.

TapKey is another app that’s gaining adulation. It essentially turns any smartphone into a car key and allows vehicle owners to grant vehicle access to other drivers without handing off a physical key.

What Does the Future Hold?

Trying to prognosticate on the future of the auto industry is a lot like guessing the weather forecast for a random day on next year’s calendar – you can’t do it. However, there’s a lot of information to consider. We can clearly see the direction that the IoT is pulling us.

For better or worse, we’re moving to an industry that will be defined by automation. For now, it’s little bits and pieces that are automated. Soon, automation will be the defining label of the day. Once it is, we’ll wonder how we ever did without it.

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validate startup idea

Everyone is excited about starting their own business. Countless people try their luck every year, but most of the business failed due to a lack of proper planning.

Approximately 45% of startups struggle because they didn’t reach their target market. To run a startup successfully, you need to validate your idea systematically for making your product successful in the market.

There are some essential steps to follow for validating any startup idea –

Market Validation of the Product

Market validation is comprised of surveys and feedback from your target market. It is a process to know about the interest of your target market, whether your product is market fit or not.

Share Idea:

validation by sharing idea
Share your ideas.

Most of the people make a mistake that they keep their startup idea with themselves. Sharing your idea with the right people and taking their views. it is the initial step of validating your startup idea.

Tell anyone and everyone your idea without fear they are going to steal it.“                                                                    —Aaron Patzer, founder of mint.

You can take quality advice from those who are already in that business and ask them directly specific questions and follow successful entrepreneurs on LinkedIn who have accurate information about a specific industry. You can collect more quality information and advice if you might get a chance to meet any of them.

Analyze the competition:

The first thing you should always keep in mind is analyzing your competition. you should analyze their business and find some areas they are lacking as you can focus on those areas.

For example, if you are planning to launch an operating system in the market (and surely there is a huge market for this) you know that windows is already dominating the market. But you think, on another hand, Mac and Linux are also doing very well.

So it is hard to find space for your product, and even if you made it in the market, you can’t compete with the level of resources and depth in the market that these other company’s have.

It is important to know your competitors very well. By analyzing them, you will learn about their mistakes and how they overcame as well as the strategies they followed for success. You can apply it to your startup.

Evaluate Whether Your Idea Is Profitable:

You should research whether your product is profitable or not because you can’t invest your own money all the time your business should generate revenue for you to sustain your business.

It does not make sense if you are about to start a business, and you don’t know whether it has the potential for profitability or not.

If you are going to launch your startup, you need proper planning that will make your business profitable.

Prepare Your Product Concept:

The purpose of creating a product concept is to finding key questions for testing in the market. These questions could relatable to the problems that might occur to your target market.

  • Who is your customer: There is a specific market for every business, so you have to make sure which one you are going to target and how big the market is. If your product is for a particular market, so what is your title for the buyer.
  • Why are you in the market: You should be aware of your target customer’s problems. When you will get to know your customer’s problem you will be able to validate and solve them.
  • How your product will help: You can elaborate to customers how it will help them to resolve their problems. You can represent a prototype to your customer, and by their feedback, you can improve your product further.
  • Key features: Your product should provide plenty of benefits to your customers as it will make their life easy and better. Like the value of money and time saving etc.

Interview With People:

interview with your target people
Take the time to interview a few of your target people.

You can hardly get people for free surveys because people don’t want to waste there time on any kind of free surveys.

But this is a very crucial part to validate your startup idea it helps you understand customer’s needs and problems, and it will give you some valuable insight.

You can start with a list of questions to learn more information and make sure you can visit them or secure their precious 10 minutes over a video call.

This natural face to face interview is very essential to see their reaction. Some keys you should remember while interviewing any customer-

  • Thank them for their valuable time and tell them how they will help you to make the best product for customers.
  • Explain to them how your product is different from others that are already in the market and how you are going to tackle those issues.
  • Explain to them about your product and the nature of your business.
  • You should explain to them all versions of your product and ask them for their thoughts. Observe their body language and their reactions and their feelings and thinking about your startup Idea.
  • There is a difference between liking and buying a product. People are only buying the product when that is needed by them. So if someone likes your product asks them if they want to buy that kind of product or not

Review And Decide:

Eventually, you have to review all feedbacks and decide what work would be best for your potential clients and how can you change or modify your product for your targeted market.
Lean market validation helps you to get enough information and data to make a decision. This concept helps a startup to validate and succeed.

Validate With MVP (Minimum Viable Product )

build your MVP product
Build your MVP product.

The MVP(Minimum Viable Product) is a technique to create or develop a product with sufficient features for early customers. The final product(having all features) is only designed by considering the feedback of early customers (users of the initial product). It is a prototype version of your product.

  • It has enough value for people to buy and use it initially.
  • Early customers can have enough future benefits.
  • MVP provides a future guide to develop your product for future development.

Idea Validation Landing Page

It is an easy way to validate your startup idea. Because building a prototype takes less time and effort than creating a complete product. You can create multiple prototypes for better future development using customer reviews and basic market research.

Some important features you should keep in mind while creating a prototype –

Simple and Consistent with design:

The prototype should look professional. Means, it has to look like you already have established business. You have to make sure about design and image quality as you are going to sell your MVP. A prototype with user-friendly functionality and simple yet clean designed to attract your customer easily than a prototype with complex designing and functionality. The design and functionality of a product are important for brand building, improving conversions and adding legitimacy.

Product Description:

As you are writing a copy to describe the product, you need to address users’ problems and the solution you are providing as well as your product benefits or services.

A/B testing:

A/B TESTING
Build your MVP and better market strategy.

A/B testing is a very important feature during validation. Because it allows users to compare and vote between two or many products. This statistical analysis determines which one is best for a conversion goal. It will give a better result to

 

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

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boost employee productivity

It’s no secret that productive employees are a tremendous asset to the companies they work for. A study proving the worth of employees (as a company asset) was officially confirmed by Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace Report, which stated: Companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share. Here are five actionable strategies for boosting employee productivity.

The Gallup report also explains that only 15% of the global workforce is actively engaged in their work. The other 85% of professionals, on the other hand, do not work to their full potential.

Companies with unproductive and disengaged employees pay a heavy price — but you can boost your employees’ productivity.

Such companies, according to the report, have:

  • Higher employee turnover
  • More quality-related incidents
  • Lower customer satisfaction rates

You’d want to do everything you can to keep employees productive. This post describes five actionable strategies you can use today to boost your employees’ productivity.

1. Give them the right tools (and support).

A great way to help your employees be more productive is by equipping them with the right tools – to ensure that they can go about doing their jobs effectively.

Here are some tools you absolutely must provide to your employees:

Communication tools.

It’s always a good idea to invest in high-quality communication tools that help streamline communication within and among teams. Here are a few good ones:

  • Slack: Great for team chats. You can use it for one-on-one and group conversations.
  • Skype for Business: With the business version of Skype, you can share large files and conferences with up to 250 people simultaneously.
  • Zoom: For small teams, Zoom is the perfect video conferencing tool.
  • Hangouts Chat: This is Google’s messaging application that also supports basic audio/video calls.

Collaboration tools.

You’d also want your teams to work together better on projects and tasks. Here are a few tools that foster teamwork:

  • Hiver: For teams looking to collaborate on managing emails, for support or anything else, Hiver is the ideal solution.
  • Basecamp: This app helps you manage your company’s projects across all departments.
  • Asana: Asana is a to-do app that helps you manage small tasks.
  • Trello: It lets you create Kanban boards for virtually any project. And each board can be shared with an entire team.
  • Jira: For teams who work using the Agile methodology, Jira is a great project management tool.

In addition to the right tools, you’d also want to give prompt support to employees when things don’t function the way they’re supposed to. The faster you solve their problems, the more productive they will be.

2. Harness the power of refresher training.

Your employees’ current skill set might not be enough for them to do their best work. As such, you need to constantly invest time and resources to train them to become better at their job.

According to HR Magazine:

“Three-quarters of UK workers (74%) believe they are not achieving their potential at work and want to be given more training on the job.”

There are many resources available at your disposal to train your current employees. The most effective resource, however, is a competent employee who is already good at their job.

Since a finely tuned, competent employee already know exactly how to work on projects in your company — they can guide the employees who require more training. Of course, to make sure that your employees are motivated to do this, you can tie this task to monetary incentives.

You can offer each employee who successful trains another one a small bonus.

Here are a few other ways to train your employees:

  • An on-site trainer: You can hire a trainer and ask them to host educational or skill-based workshops for your employees.
  • A high-quality online course: There are many companies and professionals offering courses and consultation services online. You can buy these for your employees to help them improve their knowledge and skillset. Websites like Udemy Coursera are a good place to begin.

Tie these training activities to performance reviews and promotions. This will make sure all your employees will willingly and enthusiastically participate in the required training sessions.
With enough training, employees will become more competent and skillful, which will result in them becoming more productive in the work they do.

3. Build a workplace culture that fosters innovation.

To make your employees more productive, you have to create a workplace culture that accelerates productive thinking, instead of one that stifles it. Here’s how:

Empower your employees to play a more active part in your company.

In some organizations, employees have zero say about the tasks they will work on. As a result, ideas don’t spread. They stagnate.

Do the opposite — and instead, allow your employees the privilege to give feedback and make suggestions to decision-makers within your organization. This will enable a culture where ideas will flourish, and out-of-the-box solutions will emerge.

Create a relaxed work environment.

33% of workers report that they often or nearly always’ feel burned out at work.

To increase their productivity, you should allow your employees to relax and take breaks.

A few unconventional relaxation strategies that studies show improve productivity are:

  • Allow occasional web surfing: Employees who occasionally distract themselves from work and surf the web are 9% more productive.
  • Encourage micro-breaks of up to 5 minutes. This increases productivity by 11.5%.
  • Motivate employees to take short walks every day: A Stanford study concluded that walking improved creative output by up to 60%.

4. Use goal-setting to boost productivity in your employees

To boost your employees’ productivity, you should adopt the practice of ‘goal-setting’ in your company. By setting goals, employees’ performance improves by 12-15%, even without financial incentives.

For optimal results, start by implementing: Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

Here’s what it means according to Jim Collins and Jerry Poras, who coined this term:

BHAGs are bold, falling in the gray area where reason and prudence might say “This is unreasonable,” but the drive for progress says, “We believe we can do it nonetheless.” Again, these aren’t just “goals”; these are Big Hairy Audacious Goals.”

For example, Microsoft’s original BHAG was to put a computer in every home. Similarly, you should also define what your company’s ultimate goal is – that you want to achieve in four, six, or even ten years.

After you define your BHAG, align all your employees’ short, medium, and long-term goals towards achieving this goal. You will need to include the steps to achieving and reaching this goal, as a BHAG on its own is not enough.

Once you’ve defined the goal and written out the steps to get there — start measuring which employees consistently hit their daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. 

Identify those employees who aren’t hitting their goals as efficiently as other employees.

  • Help these employees. You need not have anything negative actions attached. Your employees want to do this.
  • Remove any roadblocks in the way of their performance.
  • Give employees the required training and flexibility to do their work.

You’ll see that your employees’ productivity levels will rise.

  • Employees become driven by the urgency to hit their short, mid, and long-term goals.
  • Ultimately, you will see, employees will love your company’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

5. Boost your employees’ morale.

In 85% of companies, morale declines sharply after just six months. As a result, employees become disengaged, and their productivity levels take a hit.

To boost morale in your employees:

  • Start by making sure they have a work-life balance.
  • Create employee-friendly policies that encourage your employees not to constantly check their work emails outside work hours.
  • Encourage employees not to spend too much time in the office.
  • Create and support initiatives that increase your employees’ wellness. And such initiatives don’t even have to be high-cost. It can be something as simple as providing better coffee — or allowing video games and exercise breaks (both of which, incidentally, help increase productivity!).

Lastly, you can boost employee productivity simply by asking them what positive changes they want to see in your company.

Employees have opinions about your company and how to improve it. Conduct simple stay interviews — in which you ask your top employees questions such as:

  • What about this company makes you want to stay.
  • What about this company makes you want to leave.
  • What can we do to make work-life here more satisfactory?

Merely asking these questions helps build trust. The result of asking will boost your employees’ morale.

In addition, because you asked — you’ve gained valuable insight on what your employees require from your company to do their best work.  If you implement a few suggestions, it will lead to higher productivity and performance.

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HyperIce HyperVolt percussion massager

Recently, I tried the Theragun massager to help with sore muscles and sciatica. Then, someone brought the HyperIce Hypervolt into our office so I had to also give it a try to see how it performed. Here’s my review of the HyperIce Hypervolt, which is also a percussion massager.

About the HyperIce HyperVolt

HyperIce HyperVolt is a handheld massager that is used to activate, soothe, or loosen muscles due to exercise, injury, or the everyday life of tech workers who sit too long at their desks. The intent is to alleviate stiffness and soreness while increasing a person’s range of motion and circulation.

HyperIce HyperVolt

How the HyperIce HyperVolt Works

The HyperIce HyperVolt has a powerful high-torque motor. It offers Quiet Glide™ technology, which keeps it operating at a much quieter level than the average handheld massager. The massager uses percussion therapy. The therapy focuses on continually hitting a certain area of the body to effectively target that muscle and loosen it.

The Hypervolt has a hard plastic exterior with a removable battery. It features a medium ball head for whole body use and large muscle groups. The dampener is for whole body use, particularly legs, chest, hips, and butt. The bullet attachment should be used on trigger points like the ankles, hands, and feet. The fork is an attachment that focuses on the feet and scapula.

Why I Like the HyperVolt

This is a quiet, lightweight handheld massager that has a variety of attachments to use for different parts of the body. It’s easy to use and take with you wherever you go.

One of the best features is its built-in pressure sensor technology. This provides visual feedback to tell you if you are using it correctly and the type of effect it has on your muscles.

The battery lasts up to three hours on a charge, which is an hour longer than the Theragun. There is a helpful LED light that also lets you know when the battery is ready for recharging. HyperIce HyperVolt Massaager

HyperVolt Improvements

The cons with this percussion massager include its bulky design and non-adjustable angle. It also doesn’t have a travel bag as the Theragun provides. Although it’s cheaper than the Theragun by about $50, but it’s still an expensive investment for the average person.

In the Box

You get the massager, an applicator set, wall charger, and battery.

Where to Buy the HyperVolt

Priced at $349, you can buy the HyperVolt from the company’s website. Other retailers include Rogue Fitness, Amazon, and Best Buy.

Overall Thoughts

I enjoyed using this percussion massager and felt like it did work well. However, I’m keeping my Theragun because it had more attachments and accessories and a travel bag. In terms of massage, I felt like the Theragun also did a better job of going deeper into my muscles and was a lifesaver for my sciatica.

If I hadn’t already purchased the Theragun, I probably would have tried this one and liked the results. For others in the office, including my colleague who owns it, there was unanimous agreement that it provided relief from soreness, spasms, and muscular stiffness.

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5 Outrageously Innovative Israeli Startups to Watch in 2020

Silicon Valley gets significant attention for its role in producing tech startups that often go on to see massive, international success. However, it’s far from the only startup hub in the world, and it’s not even the only startup hub in the United States.

While Silicon Valley has the advantages of a self-sustaining entrepreneurial reputation and proximity to multiple major universities, other countries have natural advantages that make them highly supportive of new tech entrepreneurs.

Take, for example, Israel, whose rate of entrepreneurship is still growing tremendously, despite being the second-biggest startup hub in the world for the past several years. In the past decade, hundreds of interesting, innovative tech companies have emerged in and around Israel—and they’re worth learning from.

Israeli Startups to Watch in 2020

These are some of the most innovative and interesting tech startups to emerge from Israel in the recent past.

1. DayTwo. DayTwo was founded in 2015 as a science-empowered approach to food as medicine. Primarily focused on glycemic control, DayTwo spurns diet gimmicks in favor of personalized nutrition recommendations. Driven by technology, DayTwo has the power to analyze your individual gut microbiome—the collection of bacteria and microorganisms found naturally in your digestive system—and use that information to determine what you should be eating. Available for both patients and clinicians, DayTwo’s proprietary technology provides evidence-backed recommendations for foods that can help you maintain your blood sugar and weight, and ultimately live a healthier, happier life.

2. Substrata. There’s also Substrata, an AI-powered technology company in Tel Aviv that provides critical insights on conversations, email threads, and other points of human contact. If you ask team SubStrata, business is too important to remain an elusive form of “art.” So they broke down the “art of sales” and turned it into science. With their cutting-edge pragmatic analysis engine (using natural language understanding/AI) they can identify and extract hidden patterns, cues, and subtext from live conversations—and generate critical insights that help dealmakers close any closable business deal. “Our platform’s ‘EQ’ is higher than mine”, as Ori Manor, Co-founder and CEO, once stated.

3. LawGeex. As the name suggests, LawGeex is all about making legal practice easier. Businesses are often slowed down by the process of signing and managing contracts, but LawGeex is trying to make it easier. With the help of AI and machine learning, LawGeex provides tools that can help legal teams and businesses automate and review approvals for everyday business contracts. Ultimately, it gets rid of the legal bottlenecks that can stagnate your company, and hastens the legal process.

4. JoyTunes. Music is a crucial element in the lives of many, but it can be hard to learn how to play an instrument, or better appreciate the music in your life. JoyTunes is an Israeli tech startup hoping to make things easier. JoyTunes has a series of different apps to help people learn how to play the piano (and several other instruments), from a beginner level all the way up to pro level. There are also available apps for families and educators, enabling a more communal experience when learning a new instrument.

5. Verbit. Relying on adaptive algorithms, Verbit is speech recognition technology that provides transcripts for both live and recorded conversations. Sporting more than 99 percent accuracy (a rate that even human transcribers can’t match), Verbit employs AI to consistently improve. It’s an ideal tech tool for captioning videos, or for transcribing conversations (like presentations, sales calls, or important meetings) so you can easily review them later. It caters to the legal and academic industries, but could hypothetically be used by anyone with a need to transcribe.

Keep an eye on these startups in the coming years as they grow and become even more advanced.

What Makes Israel a Startup Hub?

What is it about Israel that makes it such a promising startup hub in the first place? Why are entrepreneurship rates growing so quickly in this country?

There are several potential answers to this question. In the past decade or so, for every startup in Israel that failed, two more launched to take its place, and in terms of startup production, Israel is second only to Silicon Valley, with the highest density of tech startups in the world.

One motivating factor is the number and generosity of Israeli-sponsored government programs incentivizing growth in STEM fields. The Early Stage Incentive Program, for example, is designed to promote technological development, offering grants of up to NIS 10 million every year for approved budgets. Some of these incentives are preferentially given to minorities and Ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs.

We can also surmise that the entrepreneurial spirit in Israel has blossomed because of the history and needs of the country. Israel has typically been a land of desert and swamp, forcing early innovation in irrigation and other water-related technologies. Due to the violent geopolitical conflicts in Israel and surrounding areas, Israelis have been all but forced to aggressively pursue military engineering and related tech research. With a culture and history that favors the pursuit of better technology, it’s not hard to see why so many modern Israelis make entrepreneurship a major priority.

The culture of Israel also promotes the idea of individual responsibility and accountability. People are encouraged to vocalize their opinions and question things; they’re even encouraged to challenge authority and the status quo when need be. People in Israel have a deep sense of personal accountability and loyalty to their country; accordingly, they’re often drawn to create their own businesses, challenge the norms, and take risks for the sake of their future, their families, and even their local communities. This attitude is ideal for developing new tech startups.

Israeli entrepreneurs aren’t just interested in financial gain, of course. In Israel, the concepts of Judaism heavily influence everyday life. One of those concepts, Tikkun Olam (or, the “repair of the world”) encourages people to behave in a way that’s constructive and beneficial for the entire community. Accordingly, many Israeli entrepreneurs intentionally start businesses to benefit society overall; they want to provide jobs to people in their communities and products that can help people all over the world.

These natural advantages make up for Israel’s relatively small size and scarcity of natural resources. It’s no wonder why so many promising tech startups have emerged there in recent years.

Key Lessons to Learn

If you’re a tech entrepreneur in Israel or elsewhere, hoping to build a massively successful business of your own, there are several important takeaways you can glean here.

  • Communities are powerful for entrepreneurs. While it’s possible for a tech startup to become successful practically anywhere, the odds are in your favor if you start a business in an area that incentivizes and supports entrepreneurship. Access to grants, mentorship, and even rivalries are all beneficial.
  • Disruption can happen in countless ways. As you can see in this short list of disruptive Israeli startups, you can disrupt almost any field with new technology. By utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), you can automate, improve, or better understand almost anything.
  • Success depends on your mentality. Part of the reason Israel has so many entrepreneurs is because it has people who pride themselves on personal accountability, loyalty, and community support. These mentalities make it easier to start and manage successful businesses, and lend themselves to a more supportive network of entrepreneurial support overall.

Regardless of whether you’re interested in starting a tech business of your own or you’re just interested in observing the latest business developments, it pays to remain informed about the most innovative and disruptive tech companies emerging around the world. As you scout for the latest entrepreneurs to emerge from Silicon Valley, make sure you expand your horizons, and keep an eye on entrepreneurial communities in other countries—especially Israel, which has one of the most impressive tech startup scenes in the world.

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webinar

A new world record was set in September 2014 where nearly 12,091 people attended the largest webinar hosted by Glavbukh in Russia. Webinars have been gaining popularity ever since. Businesses and organizations have realized the outstanding potential of webinars as an effective marketing strategy as well as a tool. Here is how to create a webinar page with WordPress.

There was a survey conducted recently where the Content Marketing Institute discovered that webinars have ranked the 2nd. Why? Let’s use infuse you with the idea.

It is the 2nd most effective form of content marketing. The sheer power of webinars has been so gaining paparazzi that nearly 66 percent of the marketers are making their way to implement such a great marketing strategy. Webinars will help you to position your brand in a competitive space.

Now, if you are associated with a large number of business that has acquired a drooping success through webinars, you need to garner the knowledge on creating a successful webinar. But how?
In this article, we will help you to garner all the details about the webinar and how you can successfully create and run a webinar on WordPress. Being a specific marketing tool, we will showcase you with the different effective methods that will help you to find the right way to create a webinar for your beneficial aspect.

What is a Webinar? 

Mainly a portmanteau of the words web and seminar, you can gradually understand the simple concept of the word presented. Still, to give a better view of the same it is a form of presentation or seminar which is conducted over the online platform through top-notch video conferencing software.

Businesses and organizations have recognized the importance of seminars and education. Most companies have been allowing people to venture through the issues, discuss and express their ideas, garner new information from industry leaders, networking with peers, clients, and generation of new leads.

One of the biggest problems with seminars is that they are pretty expensive and highly time-consuming. This goes both for the organizers as well as the participants. On the other hand, Webinars removes much of the tradition struggles.

It allows people to attend the seminar from anywhere around the world who are having a stable internet connection. Webinars have been offering on-demand access to people who are not able to participate in live events. There are many advantages to watching a webinar later after an event too.

Why do you need to create a webinar? 

Here are some of the solid reasons that will state why you need to create a webinar –

They are convenient.

You can directly get in touch with the business partners as well as consumers from your home or office. It is also convenient for the ones who are attending as they will not have to travel to attend this online seminar. The increased convenience is that the number of people is getting to sign up for the online seminar.

Webinars are cost-effective.

When it comes to conducting Live seminars online, the only thing needed is advertising, displays, staff, transport and a proper place where you can conduct the event. Thus, it is cost-effective. For a useful webinar, you need a computer and a good internet connection.

Exposure to more audience.

Yes! The webinar is a platform that will help in the promotion of your business. It will also enhance your exposure to a more extensive customer base and targeted audience. Anyone all around the world can be a part of your online seminar. You are allowing the platform to acquire potential consumers.

Increase Credibility.

Through conducting a proper webinar, you are enhancing your credibility and gaining trust with your audience. The people will be able to see you and hear your brand. And this could be a better opportunity for a face to face meeting, the next time. Webinars showcase the added benediction of presenting you in front of numerous people just at the same time.

Interacting With Audience.

Webinars have got a platform where you can approach your targeted audience directly. It will further give you clear knowledge and understanding of their needs and queries. Understanding what they need will rather push you to tailor your products, services, and problem-solving ability to match their needs.

Great Marketing For Lead Generation.

A webinar is an effective marketing tool that will help in fetching potential leads. During the signup process, you will be able to garner the names, email addresses and other important information from your audience. The best part about this online session is that all the people are qualified enough to showcase the interest in your product or service.

If you are still a little skeptical, here is other information. For instance, the average conversion rate when it comes to a landing page turns out to be 25 percent. This conversion rate, if marked between 5 percent and 10 percent are considered exceptional.

Recent studies, research, and survey have stated that between 20 percent and 40 percent of webinar attendees transform into potential leads as well as consumers. So, if like 150 people are attending your webinar, nearly 30 and 60 of them will be your potential conversions.

During WordPress web development, if you are not using a webinar, you are missing out on an effective marketing tool and strategy to enhance your credibility. Not only this, this could be an effective way to garner information about your audience, enhance your brand recognition, acquire potential leads, and gain profitable revenue streamline.

When it comes to creating a webinar through WordPress, it is not that of a time-consuming process. Let’s know-how!

Choosing the best WordPress Webinar Software

There are numerous software packages launched in the market that will further allow you to add the functionality of webinars to your WordPress site. Before delving into the same, you need to have clarity on choosing the right webinar software.

  • Do you need a complete service to take care of everything, right from registration to attendee’s feedback?
  • Will basic factures like a proper video stream and chat will meet your needs?
  • Are you looking for advanced features like file sharing, polling as well as detailed analytics?
  • Looking for webinar software for the integration of 3rd part apps and services like connecting to social media and payment gateways?
  • Do you want paid software or a free one?

PAID WORDPRESS WEBINAR SOFTWARE

If your preference is paid WordPress Webinar Software, here are three of the most popular choices in the market.

wpwebinar
Paid WordPress Webinar.

WP Webinar

WP Webinar is an easy to use software that is used by almost every WordPress development company. If you are willing to know about its specification, here to know more about this plugin –

  • The installation of the software is completed in 30 seconds.
  • The complete focus of the webinar software is on the ease of use. It further becomes the best choice for inexperienced WordPress users.
  • You can create recurring webinars. There are scheduled for broadcasting multiple times per day or week.
  • You will be able to utilize your WordPress theme for keeping the consistency between your site and your webinar page. Get to choose one of the customizable pre-made themes which you will find in the plugin itself.
  • You are entitled to make yourself some customizable features. This includes video size, headers, and button text, allowing you to formulate a webinar that feels as well as looks original.
  • Integration of an autoresponder in the market. The output of the code features into a fully customizable webinar opt-in.
  • You will be able to create a Thank You page that you can integrate with different social media platforms like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter for helping your webinar go viral.
  • Addition of Call To Action areas that will help to appear during the specific times during your online presentation.
  • Making use of the Follow-up system for creating automated messages. It will remind your attendees to watch your webinar.
  • One-time payment where you will not need yearly renewals. It is one of the most cost-effective choices.
  • This one-time purchase will lead you to lifetime access to updates where you will be able to access the latest features where they are released.
  • This single-time purchase commences at $197 for a single site and $247 for multiple sites.

WP WebinarSystem

wpwebinar
The WordPress Webinar System.
  • The WP Webinar System is a customizable webinar software that will help people without any technical skills for creating a functional webinar. Here are some of the best features of this plugin.
  • Webinars are based on Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts will further allow you to acquire an unlimited amount of viewers during the online seminar.
  • All the Webinar pages are going to be highly responsive and mobile-friendly. Highly responsive design provides the viewers to become an attendee of the online seminar from any device with a good internet connection.
  • Creating a landing page for attendee registration is available. Display a countdown timer for your webinar. Not only this, you will be able to send reminders and notifications through the built-in email system.
  • Making use of the Incentive Box for delivering presents, downloads, or any bonuses to your attendees.
  • There is a set of automated or recurring webinars that will help to display a recorded video at a set time and date.
  • Availability of integration with WooCommerce and different other popular payment gateways. The payment gateways will allow you to charge people for attending your webinar.
  • Develop Call To Action button that appears at set times during life or recorded webinar. This button will allow you to redirect your attendees to an affiliate, check out the link or add to cart section.
  • People following your webinar will have the right to ask private questions that will appear on your dashboard in real-time. If you are implementing an automated webinar, these questions could be redirected to your mailbox.
  • It comes with an integrated live chat system, so you might not need to install any third-party software.
  • Collection of attendee information when they sign up and export it to a text or CSV file. This WP WebinarSystem is available in 26 different languages.
  • The free version of this software has got limited features. To switch to the pro version, it starts at $ 197 for a single site and $497 for unlimited sites.

Webinar Ignition

webinar ignition
Webinar ignition is another paid WordPress system.
  • Webinar Ignition is another Webinar WordPress Software, which is a professional and flexible platform for the integration of any WordPress theme. Its setup of the same is simple. Here are some of the best features of this plugin.
  • Create live or automated webinars that will help in the linking of any video stream. This system includes Google Hangouts on Airor LiveStream.
  • With the use of Live Console Hub, it is related to real-time monitoring of attendees, sales data, and questions.
  • The integration of all the major email autoresponders is available. Autoresponders include GetResponse, AWeber, iContact, and MailChimp.
  • It comes with a myriad of professionally designed page templates. It is customizable with your brand colors and images at the same time.
  • Attendees are entitled to signup through the one-click registration process. You can add a viral sharing feature to your confirmation page. It offers git incentives to the people who are sharing their registration links on social networks.
  • Export the details of “hot leads” who are willing to attend your webinar, watching the replay as well as helping them to become paying customers.
  • Push a Call To Action or any other HTML when you can pitch your product whenever necessary.
  • Increase your attendee rate by scheduling email and text notifications. It might help in the integration with any SMTP service or through Twilio.
  • Choose between Questions Box and a Live Chat for your webinar page. It depends on the feature that is apt for every individual webinar.
  • It helps in the integration along with the popular payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe. Then, It will further allow you to charge a fee for webinar entry.
  • It needs a one-time payment structure that does not require yearly renewals. It comes for a cost-effective choice.
  • The plugin has a costing of $97 for a single site, $197 for three sites, or $297 for unlimited sites.

The Ultimate Guide for Free WordPress Webinar Software

If you prefer to stay with a free option, the best choice among the lot is Google Hangouts on Air. It has also been shifted to YouTube live. It presents you with the basic features that are needed for hosting a webinar. The basic features include automatic recording as well as a DVR. It is one of the best choices for anyone on a budget.

Also, we recommend that anyone interested in creating a webinar through WordPress should try this option before acquiring a paid software. To provide you with a clear view of the same, we have combined some steps to adding Google Hangouts on the Air webinar to your WordPress Site.

Before we go through the steps, you need to know that for setting up a webinar, you need a Google AdSense Account. In case you don’t have one, make one which takes 12 hours and three days to be approved. Set up your account beforehand.

Creating a Google Account

To begin with, you need to have a Google account. If you have, then you will not have to follow the step.

Creating a Google account is easy. Go into the Sign-Up Page, input all the detailed information and Click on “Next Step.”

Create google account
Note that you will want to have a Google account.

Review the Terms and Privacy to click on “I Agree.”

Google will verify if you are a real person. Make sure you have entered the correct details. Choose text or voice verification to click on “Continue.”

Create adsense account
Be sure to create an AdSense account.

Put the verification code that you have received and then forward it with “Continue.” You are not ready to have a Google Account.

Since August 2016, Google is allowing people who are willing to embed live videos to have a Google AdSense account. So, here is the next step.

Creating a Google Adsense Account

Visit the Google Adsense site and click on the green button, which states “Sign Up Now.”

Create adsense account
Your AdSense account.

Fill in the details. Review the terms and conditions to click on “Create Account.”

terms and conditions
Always review the terms and conditions of any account information.

Input all the personal details along with your web address for the complete verification process.

copy code
Here is how you copy and paste your code to your WordPress site.

The next thing that you need to do is to paste the AdSense code to your WordPress site. Click on “Copy Code.”

Open a new browser window and log in to your WordPress site. Now, you need to add the AdSense code to your WordPress site. 

The method is a little bit different varies on the theme that you are using. The best method that works for all themes is the installation of Insert Headers and Footers plugin.

Go to your Dashboard menu and click “Plugins” and “Add New.”

installed plugins
Here is how you install your plugins on your WordPress site.

Search for the plugin mentioned above and click on “install now.”

add plugins
When you have gone over all of the information, add your plugins to your WordPress site.

Now it’s time to click on “Activate,” followed by “Settings” and then “Insert Headers and Footers” directly in the dashboard menu.

Paste the code into the “Script in Header” section and click on “Save.”

Head back to the AdSense page, review the confirmation box to click on “Done.”

confirmation box
Here’s how to check the confirmation box and then you click Done when finished.

Google will be reviewing your site and send you an email once it is finished. It nearly takes three days for completion or might take less than 12 hours.

Once the confirmation is done, it is time for the next step.

Creating a New Event on YouTube Live

Now you need to create a new event on YouTube Live. For this, go to Google, click on the 3×3 app icon in the top right corner of the page and click the link to YouTube.

Youtube
To make it more simple, you can directly click on youtube.com.

If you follow the first step, you will be automatically signed in. In case not, there is an easier method of direct sign up through Google click on the same and enter your Google password.

Click on “My Channel” which is situated on the left in the menu.

youtube home
Click on “My Channel” which is situated on the left in the menu.

Enter your details and review the terms and conditions to click on “Create Channel.”

Now you need to let YouTube recognize your Adsense account. To enable the same, go to https://www.youtube.com/features.

Click “Enable” in the Monetization box.

Ad monetization
Click “Enable” in the Monetization box.

Click on the blue start button, go through the terms, review the boxes, and click on “I accept.”

Monetization process
Click on the blue start button, go through the terms, review the boxes, and click on “I accept.”

Again, click the start button next to step two, click “Next,” and sign in to your AdSense Account.

Check your details and then click “Accept association.”

You will be redirected to your dashboard, click on the blue “Start” button to go to step three.

You can choose to monetize “all” or not for all the videos. It will not affect your ability to embed webinar videos. Now Click on “Save.”

monetization preferences
You can choose to monetize “all” or not for all the videos.

You need to set up the webinar video. To make a webinar, create a live event. For that, click on the “Video Manager” link.

In the left menu, “Live Streaming” followed by “Event” and then on the blue “New Live Event” button.

Verify your YouTube account. So enter your details, get the verification code, and enter it on the next screen.

account verification
Be sure to verify your YouTube account.

Now that you are verified, check that the embedding is enabled. Go to the “Channel” menu on the left.

Live to stream and embed live videos will be enabled.

Create the webinar event by clicking on “Live streaming” on the left menu. Go to “Event” and then click on the blue “Schedule a new event” link.

new event
Create the webinar event by clicking on “Live streaming” on the left menu.

Input the name of your webinar, date, and start time. Make use of Google Hangouts on Air.

You can also decide whether you want your webinar to be Public, Unlisted, or Private. Public states it is viewable by anyone, Unlisted events are viewable by anyone who has the link, and the Private events are visible by only those people who you are going to invite personally. For most people, Unlisted will probably be the right option.

new event
Decide whether you want your webinar to be Public, Unlisted, or Private.

Customizing your event.

If you want to customize your event further, click on “Advanced Settings.”

Select languages set age restrictions; you can also change the recording setting and numerous other things. For a regular webinar, you might not need to change such things. When you are making such a step, make sure that “Allow embedding” is checked.

After you are done, click on the “create event” button. The next thing is to fetch the link to the video.

Click on the title of your webinar. You will find the grey screen with a countdown timer.

Click on the “Share” button under the video. Then click on the “embed” tab. Copy that code and keep it with you. It will be needed later.

Creating a new event page for WordPress Webinar.

The video segment is all set. It is time for creating a new page for displaying the webinar. For this step, you will be making use of the standard WordPress Twenty Seventeen theme. Just open your WordPress dashboard and click on “Pages,” followed by “Add New.”

Enter a title for your page.

Embedding your WordPress Webinar.

It is now time to paste the video code that you copied. So select the “Text” tab. Paste the video embed code directly into the page.

Click on ‘preview” to be sure that the video is linked. Viola! You have now the webinar video ready for broadcasting.

Creating a Signup Page.

For a successful webinar, you will have to know who is going to attend your webinar. It is time to create a signup page.

Your signup page link will link this page to the email marketing tools. Before creating a new WordPress Page, give it a proper name.

Write a relevant description of your webinar and use the “visual” tab now.

Make it simple yet information to garner the attention of the audience. Now, you will create the form for acquiring the attendee’s information.

Add a form through your email marketing tool.

Creating a new form? For a new form, you need an email marketing tool. There are different marketing tools that you can choose from, including MailChimp, Converkit, and AWeber.

Let’s take the example of a MailChimp account. Head to the site https://mailchimp.com/.

Click on “Sign Up Free.”

Input all the details and then get “Started.”

Confirm your email address, fill in the personal information, and head to the MailChimp dashboard.

For creating a form, start a list. Click on “create a list.”

Fill in the details and click on save.

create list
For creating a form, start a list. Click on “create a list.”

Click on the “Signup forms” tab and click “Embedded forms.”

You can change the form title and the information at the same time. When you are done with everything, copy the code from the “Copy/paste onto your site” box.

join webinar
When you are done with everything, copy the code from the “Copy/paste onto your site” box.

Get back to the signup page, click on the “text” tab and paste the code that you copied.

code
Head back to the signup page, click on the “text” tab and paste the code that you copied.

Click on “Preview.”

Now you have the sign-up page where you can acquire the details of your attendees.

What’s next? 

Once creating your webinar is ready, you need to review if the process is successful. Here are some things that are worth the try.

  • Conduct a test webinar to familiarize yourself with YouTube live control. Make sure that there should be zero technical errors else it might ruin your first live webinar.
  • Add social media plugin for promotion and share of your webinar.
  • You should have an interesting and innovative presentation for your attendees. It is important to garner the attention of the audience.
  • Creating a replay page for allowing the attendees to come back and watch the recorded webinar anytime. YouTube live automatically saves your webinar. It is quite simple as creating a new webinar WordPress page and linking the same.
  • Choose the right time and day to broadcast the webinar to acquire maximum attendance.
  • Proper promotion of your webinar is the key to success. Share the registration forms, fetch ore beforehand, conduct promotions for the same.
  • For sending promotional emails, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days. Weekends are not that effective though. For holding your webinar session, the best days could be Wednesdays and Thursdays. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday draw the lowest audience.
  • Schedule a time where people will be most active. Skip lunchtime and commuting time for the majority of your audience. The average viewing time is nearly 57 minutes. Make sure to conduct the webinar for less than an hour.

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coding from home

As a programmer, large amounts of your productive time, you are working on your own. Doing research, testing potential solutions until you piece the product together to a point you are happy with your work. Then you start the process of debugging and optimizing.

For this reason, many software development companies now offer programmers the option to be coding from home. And let’s not forget the developers out there who opted for a freelance career due to the perks of schedule flexibility and getting to choose what projects they want to be working on.

This relatively new working trend begs the question:

Can you be Productive Working from the Comfort of Your Own Home?

According to research conducted by Harvard Business Review, letting employees work from home benefits the company much more than any potential adverse side effects. The study traces a nine-month-long experiment tracking productivity, and the results showed that the measured results jumped by 13.5%.

Besides, the company saved upwards of nearly two thousand dollars per employee for the nine-month duration. The concern that the results may be unreliable due to a temporary burst of excitement were ruled out. The reason behind it is the fact that the statistical data behind the research remained consistent throughout the entirety of the time-frame.

Finding ways to keep your productivity consistent in a home setting

Home is often the place of comfort you go to unwind after a long day at work. Staying consistently productive when you have changed your daily habits and your surroundings is a challenge. Especially until you find practices that are sustainable for you.

coding on couch
Consistency in a home setting.

For example, you might think it’s a good idea to take advantage of coding from home. You choose to set up to work on the couch as you were, in your pajamas with a bowl of snacks on the coffee table.

Did you consider all the time you spent building the habit of watching something on TV while you are on the couch?

How easy would it be to let the thought of “Is there anything interesting on Netflix” creep into your mind? For many of us, it would be quite easy (at least in the first few attempts at working from home).

Before you know it, chances are you are two hours into a TV show, and you have not written a single line of code.

I am now a part of a company that allows coding from home (when done responsibly and within measure). From my experience here, in a java development company, I have developed specific methods that help me stay on top of work issues and situations — all without slipping into the habit of procrastinating at home.

Consistency is KING

Think about what you do before you get to the office on any given workday and do the same before you get to work at home. Maintaining as much of your usual consistent habits as you can make all the difference in your productivity levels.

  • Do you sleep in late or wake up relatively early? Do you stay in bed and snooze your alarms? You don’t snooze? Then get up.
  • Do you brush your teeth, eat breakfast and drink coffee? Yes? Then do all of this in the same order, at relatively the same time of day.
  • Do you do a home workout, go to the gym or jog, or take a  walk with your dog? Yes? Then do the same exercise routine at the same time of day as you usually do.
  • Do you eat junk food for lunch on the couch in your pyjamas, while scrolling through YouTube? No? Then grab a balanced meal and eat it on your desk or kitchen table as you usually would.

The human body and mind crave and understand consistency and predictability.

That means to do the same things in the same way repetitively and reliably. By doing this, your body and mindset can adjust and prepare to work before you even sit on your desk to code. This way, the adaptation between starting your day and getting started with the work process is much smoother and feels more natural, despite the change of surroundings.

Being consistent and predictable in our repetitive actions are essentially what makes up a habit. It is also the reason why it is so important to be mindful of what habits you build when you start coding from home. If you set off a collection of “bad” habits (in this context, such that cripple productivity or result generation), it will be that much harder to fight them later on.

If you want to understand and master your habits, you can read more about the meaning of consistency and habit building in the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.”

The Illusion of “having enough time” when working from home.

Are you thinking that since you are working from home, you have more time to finish what you need to get done? After all,  there will be no commute to work, or distractions, or having a long lunch with colleagues — Right? 

Do you let the illusion of having a lot of time calm you at the beginning of your day? Only to realize it is four in the afternoon, and you are way behind on what you should have done by now?

Just because you code from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t manage your tasks in terms of time. When you are in the office, do you go through the motions until late in the afternoon? Or do you systematically go through your tasks list until it is complete in order to leave work on time?

Start your day off strong.

You should approach your workload when coding from home, the same way as you would in the office. Chances are, the sooner you complete your tasks, the less stressful your day will be. The more free time you will have to pursue any of your other interests or take care of non-work responsibilities.

Create a to-do list of all you need to get done, either at the end of the previous day or at the start of the same day. Plan out your tasks and assign them by name in your calendar. Give each assignment each their own much-much needed time frame. The best part of using Google calendar is that your commitments are easily editable and displayed excellently, which subconsciously prompts productivity.

Having a visual representation of what you need to do throughout the day helps keep your mind in check and focused on the work. Of course, you can always move up an assignment if you finished early. Or push it later in the day if something comes up or you simply feel like you need a break.

Delegate working sessions.

schedule working sessions
Consistent with a calendar. Plan sessions.

The human brain can only be functional for a few hours at a time. So consider dividing your home-office-workday into a few sessions dedicated to working. During each session, silence your electronic devices that are not work-related to avoid distractions.

Make sure to have eaten beforehand and bring a bottle of water to your desk. This helps to minimize the need for you to get up off your desk as much as possible.

Naturally, the working periods are something that you should choose based on your personal preferences and what you have noticed to be working for you in the past.

This is a principle that should serve as a guideline. All you have to do is put your undivided focus into your work for a few hours. You can work until it is time to take a break if you need it. Or keep working if you feel like you got in the groove of the workflow.

Good Practices Lead to Good Results

As with just about any structure that has ever been developed and implemented by people working from home has the potential to be a fantastic opportunity to revolutionize the working experience on a large scale. It also holds particular risks such as distractions, letting leisurely habits disrupt the workflow and more.

And as with just about any structure that has ever been developed and implemented by people, the key to extracting the best results is moderation. Find the ways that help you obtain the best results from the home office practice.

If you found the tips listed above as helpful, be sure to leave a comment below. What is a method that you apply when coding from home, that helps you stay productive?

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workplace environment

As technology continues to improve, we’re seemingly able to control almost every aspect of our lives through smart devices we carry with us everywhere, such as our smartphones. Software applications that allow us to order transportation easily, access our home security cameras while on vacation and even pay bills during our commute. The same expectations of simple management and improved personalization are moving to the workplace environment.

Employees are looking for comfortable, convenient, and productive spaces in the workplace environment.

Building managers and owners want to meet the needs of their employees by delivering a comfortable and safe environment while ensuring efficient operations. No matter the building type – whether it be an office, hospital or municipal plant– these two objectives can be met.

Building efficiency features can lead to employee wellness and satisfaction through proper air circulation and temperature control, for example. With smart technology apps, a workplace environment co-managed by facility professionals and employees is possible.

Smarter technology for enhanced efficiencies and employee morale.

Before handing over building controls to employees, it’s important to ensure the proper mechanisms are in place to help monitor usage and building efficiencies. Connecting building systems – like HVAC, lighting and elevator controls – onto one interactive and easy-to-access enterprise management system. The system can help create a flexible, future-ready foundation for smarter technology integration and streamlined efficiency.

With an enterprise management system in place, smart building management apps can be deployed to allow employees control over their environment.

These apps can allow occupants to adjust building environment variables like heating, cooling and lighting to create their own perfect work setting that meets their unique needs. These apps can also be configured to allow conference room booking, locate colleagues within their building, and navigate to meeting rooms and other spaces. With these apps, employees are empowered to take control of their day-to-day workplace experience.

In addition to an improved management experience, enterprise management systems produce large volumes of valuable data, especially when transitioning to an employee-controlled environment.

Combining this wealth of data with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning offers an opportunity to analyze internal operations and uncover patterns in energy usage. Starting an employee-controlled environment project by first uniting building operations within an enterprise management system helps to ensure the facility is functioning at its most efficient capacity.

With granular insight into how equipment and technology are performing and being used, building managers can monitor how employee adjustments are impacting building performance. For example, if an employee consistently turns on lights but forgets to turn them off, managers can use this information to help correct the problem.

Why invest in employee-controlled environments?

Employers have a responsibility to their staff to deliver the best environment experience possible. For companies interested in boosting employee retention, offering more control over their environment can show a commitment to their wellbeing.

Caring about the needs and day-to-day wellness of employees by providing an enjoyable space can directly impact workplace productivity. It’s difficult to remain focused and motivated when you are working in an uncomfortable environment, whether that’s an uncomfortably cold office in the winter or under the blinding effects of fluorescent lights.

By giving occupants the power to control these factors by turning up the thermostat or dimming the lights using a smartphone app, they can create a space that is optimized for their personal productivity needs.

The marriage of building efficiency and employee satisfaction

Achieving building sustainability goals and improving employee satisfaction and productivity are common business objectives, but as building management technology continues to evolve, they’re no longer siloed.

With smart technology solutions, buildings can operate at peak efficiency while providing employees with the ability to optimize their own environments.

By investing in enterprise management systems and intelligent apps, buildings can become more than just a workplace – they can transform into a comfortable, productive, and sustainable environment for employees and employers alike.

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