The Trouble With Big Data

Big data is all the rage these days, and it’s certainly something that appears as if it will drive the businesses of tomorrow.

However, it’s also an area of business that is very much in its infancy, and as with any other young technology, it can often be a source of frustration and problems. But what are these issues, and how can they impact your business?

Given that the vast majority of companies these days use web technology to reach and engage with customers, it’s vital that you understand the potential pitfalls of collecting – and using – data. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know.

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Privacy

First and foremost, it is essential for your business to look after your customer’s personal details and any other business-sensitive information you hold on a database.

Hacking, malware, and data theft is an all-too-common problem, and although you only hear about the big companies suffering from data breaches on the news, the reality is that small businesses suffer most. It is vital that whether you use a cloud-based online database service or invest in creating your own, security is at the forefront of your mind. Don’t forget, even in a small company, the information held by your database could be available to a lot of different people.

Employees, suppliers, and even customers could have some kind of access, and a clever hacker could – in many cases – find an entry point in any part of the chain.

Communication

On the face of things, the data you collect about your customers can inform you of how to speak and communicate with them. However, the reality of big data is that it just isn’t that simple.

Data only tells you a part of the story, and every metric you see is quantitative rather than qualitative. Ultimately, you have no idea why a particular customer liked a particular ad, or clicked on a particular call to action, only that they did. And it is easy to draw false conclusions about any item of data you have.

The simple truth is that the average business owner just doesn’t know how to sift through the sheer volume of data they are presented with, and it is all too easy to become overwhelmed. The result of that could be sending the wrong messages to the wrong people, and even making poor business decisions based on misreading the information.

People

Continuing on from the previous point, one of the biggest issues with big data is down to the people that use it. As we looked at above, it’s easy to misinterpret data sets dues to our own preconceived ideas. And you can pretty much prove any point you like when there is so much data on the table, regardless of whether it is true or not.

Also, the people accessing the data can be an issue, and you have a choice of two different options, both of which can cause their own problems. First of all, you could take on everything in-house, which means hiring more people and putting others through expensive training courses.

Secondly, it involves outsourcing to a third-party, meaning you have to hand over your sensitive information to people you don’t know. If you go down this route, it’s essential that you choose a reputable, experienced, and open company that you trust implicitly.

Are you a big data lover or hater? Let us know in the comments!

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And The Safest Car Of 2017 Is…?

Before it’s revealed, think for a moment about what you think the safest car on the road would be in 2017. You might not know the name but consider some of the features that you believe it might have. You might go completely futuristic and determine that the safest car on the road today is obviously going to be one that is autonomous. Actually, with all the talk around autonomous tech, that idea might not even feel that futuristic. It could feel perfectly normal and almost expected.

Autonomous Cars

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After all, it makes sense, doesn’t it? You might be aware that ninety percent of accidents caused on the road are due to human error. So, you could assume that by cutting the human out of the equation you have one of the safest cars ever built. But there’s a few reasons why this isn’t the case, and no, the safest car of 2017 is not autonomous, although it does have adaptive cruise control which is perhaps a step in the right direction.

Why isn’t an autonomous car the safest on the road? Well, there are a few reasons. First, one could argue that completely autonomous tech doesn’t actually exist. The most advanced form of the autonomous vehicle tech comes from Tesla. However, you have to make sure you keep your hands on the wheel for Tesla tech to work. In fact, a recent update means you have to apply pressure too. So, you’re driving…without actually driving.

Besides, even if you could drive an automated car with no hands, they’re not that safe. Almost every version of automated tech on the market today has crashed at some point, leading to severe injuries and even fatalities in certain cases. We just haven’t reached the point yet where this tech can be considered a safe bet and even if we could it’s not really that affordable. So what other ideas did you think of when you were picturing the safest car on the market?

Luxurious And Costly?

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Yep, perhaps you thought that the safest car in the world would be one of the most expensive. After all, there are stunning sports cars and incredibly powerful cars packed with every luxurious feature such as massaging chairs and every soft material imaginable. But that doesn’t make them safer and luxury car developers don’t actually pay that much attention to safety because they know that’s not what their target audience is looking for. They want the fastest not the safest. They want the comfiest seats, not the ones that will keep them completely free from injury in a crash. The most expensive cars in the world are actually quite odd and can be found on https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/worlds-9-most-ridiculously-expensive-cars/.

In contrast, cars for the masses are developed with safety as one of the most important priorities. That’s why the safest car in the world is not the most expensive. It’s actually available on the market for a cool thirty grand. That’s a darn site cheaper than most other cars on the market. How about who it’s designed for? We bet you thought it would be a car for families.

Family Saloon

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You’d be right, the safest car of the year is a family car. In fact, it’s clearly designed with families in mind to the point where almost every unique feature benefits families as well as ensuring that it’s one of the safest cars on the market.

It provides plenty of room for shopping and luggage and enough leg room in the back for a full family. As such, you can guarantee that your family won’t be disappointed with this purchase and neither will you. It’s also highly fuel-efficient, and that means it’s going to save you a lot of money. Since it’s a hybrid you can even run it purely on electric for up to 65kms and 1433km in total. So which car are we talking about? Well, you can read all about it on https://www.whatcar.com/awards/best-car-safety/2017-overall-winner/toyota-prius.

Introducing The Car Of The Year: Toyota Prius

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Did you guess? There are numerous reasons why this is the safest car you can buy right now. Statistically, it received flying colours on all the safety tests it was put through and had a 92 percent safety rating for adults and 85 for children. While that might not seem great, it’s a darn sight higher than most cars on the road and available to buy today. It also had a rating for pedestrian accidents of over 75 percent. While that sounds odd, it essentially means that the odds of injuring a pedestrian when traveling at the legal speed limit are slim.

While we did say that this car doesn’t have any autonomous tech built into it, that’s not strictly true. It does have reverse AEB or autonomous emergency braking, but it’s important to put that in perspective. Essentially, this means that if you’re about to hit something like a pedestrian behind you, the car will brake for you and prevent the incident. The car won’t be able to avoid other people hitting you though, and if that happens, you’ll need a site like https://www.calahanlaw.com/baton-rouge-car-accident-lawyer/. They’ll help you get the compensation you deserve from someone for damaging your super safe car!

This isn’t the only cool feature the car offers of course. It also has warnings to tell you when you are over the speed limit and it can even alert you of dangers on the road. So, while not autonomous it’s certainly heading in that direction, and with an 85 percent assist rating, it could certainly help you avoid an accident.

Of course, the reason why this car gets such a high rating and has been named the safest vehicle for the roads is that all the features we’re talking about are standard. It’s common for additional safety features to cost extra for the buyer but with the Prius, all the features are built-in. As such, it’s completely affordable for a family to have the safety they deserve on the road with this vehicle.

So, will you be purchasing a Prius this year? You can learn more about how to on http://www.greencarreports.com/. Or, are you hoping another vehicle will blow it out of the water in 2018?

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4 Safety Features To Stop You Arriving 10 Minutes To The Pearly Gates

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Every manufacturer that has entered the race for autonomous vehicles knows there is only one endgame that holds any real weight, and that is safety. Societies, governments, trade unions, researchers, rule makers and just about everyone that has a brain cell knows that driverless cars will not be granted a place on our roads until total safety can be guaranteed, and it is this search for all things safety that has seen some of the most incredible crash avoidance technology become standard in most modern cars.

So, while a future of self-driving cars may still be some way off, a future whereby the roads are safer than ever before is here, and these are technologies that are leading the way:

Blind Spot Detection

To give it to you in Layman’s Terms, the blind spot detection system simply makes you aware of a car lurking about in your blind spot, usually with a blinking light located on your side mirror. The more recent blind spot detections systems will issue an audio alert, as well as apply the brakes on that side to prevent a lane change. Some even detect pedestrians and cyclists, which is great for city driving.

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Lane Keeping Assist

According to a car accident lawyer we spoke to, while tiredness, distracted driving, and reckless driving are among the three main causes of a collision, it is while changing lanes that these collisions occur. That is where lane changing assist technology comes into play because it prevents you from wandering into someone else’s lane for whatever reason. The way it works is through a camera-based system that detects the lines to keep you central. If it notices you steer or veer to one side, it will gently counter you and put you back in the middle.

Rearview Camera

In the same way we can’t remember how on earth we survived without smartphones, we’re not sure how we ever managed without rearview cameras either. Because they are now so standard in modern cars, you may have forgotten their importance, but they have had a significant impact on safety and damage. You simply put your car into reverse and a camera flicks on the dash, helping you see exactly what – or who – is behind you so you may react accordingly. They are immensely handy, but they are also immensely important.

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Windscreen Displays

The fact car displays have been located within the dashboard for so long does not nullify the fact they can distract. You are having to take your eyes off the road in order to check your speed or glance at your navigation system. This is annoying, but it is also dangerous. That is where heads-up displays come in, solving this problem by projecting everything onto the windscreen, from speed to directions, so that you never have to peel your eyes away from what’s ahead. People think that distracted driving means driving while using your phone or telling your kids to stop arguing in the back, but it is any kind of distraction, including looking at your Sat Nav.

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Welcome To The Future

The world of business is constantly evolving. The technology that is growing with it is immense. So many companies have streamlined their business so that their processes are quick and easy, using such advanced technology. But with it constantly changing, it can be pretty hard to keep up. Depending what niche you’re in, they’ll be more advancements than others. For example, manufacturing relies on machinery and robots so heavily, that the industry has no choice but to keep evolving its technology. With this however, comes a few issues. Money being one of them, time, and human labour. There isn’t enough time to keep up with the demands of what’s changing. There isn’t enough money being pumped into technology innovation by the government. There isn’t enough skilled labourers to build the parts as quickly as people would like. The demand is so high, that we’re seeing more and more businesses struggle to keep up. However, it is common that businesses will fund their own innovative technology that is changing the world, let’s take a look at some of the tech that will revolutionise how the business world works, in particular, manufacturing.

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3D Printing

Possibly one of the most innovative pieces of technology to date. This is a process purely controlled by a computer. It’s basically layers of material that are constructed by the orders of a computer, to form a 3D object. Usually, they’re created to mimic an object already created, but they can be used to create brand new designs. This however, is much more confusing. The benefits this brings to businesses is huge. Time saving is one of them. Compiling the product itself using manual labour would take ages. A machine can do it in a matter of hours, and will do a much more precise job. There are so many components working at the same time to give you the perfect output. The parts are usually manufactured by multiple different companies. A 3D printing company with then compile them all to work seamlessly to create a perfect product. For example, the MOON’S brushless motors are handcrafted by that company, as is the thermocouple. It is wise to be done this way, as the companies designing the separate parts are experts in their field. Precision is another positive, rarely any faults occur compared to when a human hand is producing the product. The only negative side is the fact they are rather expensive. Money’s no object to some companies that just want to deliver quality products. However, for smaller businesses it may be a bit of a set back.

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Robotics

Robotics is now becoming a huge part of business. Again, especially in the world of manufacturing, and automotives. It can also be widely seen in medicine. However, we’re going to mainly focus on the benefits it gives to manufacturing and automotives. The main being speed. Robots are programmed to act in the same way as humans. They are essentially meant to be mimicking the movements a human would make. However, everyone knows a human has the tendency to become a little lazy now and again. With robots, they’re working at maximum efficiency all the time. So in theory, they’ll be doing a quicker job. They don’t need to take breaks either, further speeding up production time. Most companies choose to still use humans along side robots. This is mainly due to the fact that just like humans can have days off sick, robots can break. And unlike humans, they aren’t always the easiest to fix. However, on the whole they are generally much more reliable. Car manufactures in particular love using robots due to the fact they are so clean. During some points of the manufacturing process, suits have to be worn, and rooms have to be completely sealed in order for no dust particles to enter. Using robots eliminates this risk factor. They’re also so much more precise. They have the skills and stability to perform tasks that an unsteady human hand might not be able to do. Overall, they’re such a great addition to so many companies and production lines. Robotics technology is only going to improve over the coming years.

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IT

IT already played such a huge role within a business. From just computers in the office, to huge servers managing different aspects. The way the technology is evolving in terms of IT is huge. The power of computers is taking over the way processes are run. Whether it be in house, or outhouse, companies are constantly find new ways for IT to improve their business. Let’s use servers as an example. Huge companies that rely on a lot of software and other components may have their servers in house. Smaller companies will choose to use companies outside to manage them. Simply because servers are just so hard to control. The issues that can arise with them can be devastating, so it may be cheaper for companies to have a managed server outside of their company. However, in-house servers are safer in terms of, you can manage what goes on with them. Pretty much everything has had to evolve to be on the internet. Services, marketing, sales, you name it, it’ll be on the internet. So the speed and functions of IT systems has greatly improved. There’s now fiber optic broadband that businesses use to speed up their in house processes. Website design is unparalleled compared to what it used to be. The power of social media to influence marketing among a given audience is also huge. Your business will literally rely on IT for the rest of time. It is for the most part reliable, however, things such as copyright and trade marking etc. need to be closely monitored. Utilise IT and the web to make your business better.

The future of tech in the business world, as you can see, is constantly evolving. Before we know it, we may have machines, computers, or robots fully taking over the role of humans. It’ll be interesting to see where these three factors are in the next 50 years.

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Why Your Business Needs To Fully Embrace Technology

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Your business already uses technology in its day to day workings, of course. Every company uses computers and the internet; it would be impossible to reach clients and deliver any sort of service in the modern age without using at least some manner of technology within your business’ operations. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean your business is fully utilizing the potential of current and upcoming technologies in the modern age. You need to have your eyes on the digital industry so that you can spot new and exciting opportunities to really build your small or medium-sized company into a real empire with the help of computer science. Here are some reasons as to why your business needs more technology.

Automation is the future.

One of the most intriguing ways in which technology has changed business over recent years is through the increasing improvement of automated systems. Of course, the big question that scares people is: “When will computers become as smart as humans?” However, singularity isn’t really a concept that should scare you. As a business owner, the idea that you could automate increasingly complex tasks with the beauty of artificial intelligence should be exciting; it means free labor (until computers become self-aware and demand equal pay).

Still, you don’t have to fire employees just yet or worry about a computer taking over your role. We most likely won’t be completely replacing humans with robots in our lifetime (perhaps that’ll be a worry for people a few hundred years from now), but it is becoming increasingly possible to help your employees use their time more efficiently. Utilizing new programs, such as accounting software, you can leave administrative and menial tasks to automated systems so that your workers can focus their brainpower on more complex and creative issues. Essentially, your company can increase its workforce virtually, save money, and maximize time. And whilst automated labor has been replacing manual labor for many years already, the ways in which it does so are looking to multiply over coming years. That’s why you need to keep your eye on new technological solutions.

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Exist on the cloud.

What is important to understand is that the cloud isn’t infinite or disconnected from the physical realm (that’s a big shocker, I know). Cloud computing is physically based but what makes it a better solution than storing your business’ data on-site is that it can increase security, reduce the costs that come with a large server room, and help to keep your workforce connected online. It means any remote workers can access company files online, for example, but it’s secure and smart enough to block out unwanted access. It means your business’ data is backed up offsite should something ever happen to your company’s physical premises. The positives are endless.

You have two options: you can either fully embrace technology or your business can be left behind. The world may have changed but the way in which business works remains the same. You need to stay ahead of the curve if you want to be successful; you can’t always play catch-up. Consumers are looking for stand-out solutions and you have to be ready to separate yourself from the cloud; simply “having technology” isn’t enough. What are you doing to address the gap in the market? Are you fully embracing technology to offer more to potential customers?

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Will Autonomous Cars Eliminate Accidents? Don’t Count On It

There is a lot of hype and excitement surrounding autonomous cars with some people believing that they could take the level of accidents on the road down to zero someday soon. But before we get carried away, there are a few things to consider here.

Autonomous Cars Are In Their Infancy Stages

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You might think that the tech surrounding autonomous cars is highly advanced and it is. However, it’s still in its infancy stages. You can think about these cars like the first laptops that appeared on the market. They were bulky, used a lot of power and were nothing compared to the ones that we have today. Well, that’s a great way to look at the autonomous car market. Right now, there’s only one or two developers of autonomous cars meaning that customers don’t have a wide range of choices. And when they do, there’s going to be significant difference in the level of the tech. Some cars will be completely hands-free while others will be glorified versions of cruise control. As such, the tech just isn’t at the stage where it can be the massive advancement in safety that people are hoping for. If you don’t believe this, be sure to check out the advice that Tesla provide to owners of their self-driving vehicles.

Tesla explicitly state that drivers still need to pay attention to the roads, even keeping both hands on the wheel. Since Tesla are currently the producer developing the most advanced form of this tech, one has to wonder how autonomous these cars actually are. After all, there have already been reports of cars crashing because the drivers weren’t paying attention to the road. That brings us to the next point.

Distracted Driving

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What causes the most car accidents on the road? If you speak to a an accident attorney from firms like Jones Wilson, they will probably tell you it’s distractions. We often associate distractions with talking on our phones while driving. But a distraction can be anything. It could be fiddling with the sound on the radio, an argument going on in the back seat or someone flipping you the bird. Anything like this can be a distraction that could ultimately lead to an accident. Will autonomous cars be able to fix this issue? Probably not because don’t forget, the man who crashed his self-driving Tesla car was actually watching Harry Potter at the time.

But let’s assume for the moment that the tech is advanced enough to do whatever you want while the car is driving itself. It isn’t, but let’s imagine for a moment it is. There’s still another issue that we can’t ignore, and that’s the situation with rights.

Licence To Drive

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Imagine that you’re a teenager and you have just learned to drive ten or twenty years from now. Congratulations! You probably can’t wait to get your hands on a wheel and take a car for a spin. But wait, a law passed a couple of years ago prohibits driver cars being allowed on the roads. Just take a moment and think about whether a law like that would be passed. Don’t forget, plenty of people enjoy driving. You might say, well that’s okay because people who want to drive still can and those that don’t can use driverless cars. Cool but if you take that tactic you’ll never get to zero accidents on the road because human error will still be a factor. Though, if the majority chose to buy self driving cars, then you would see a sharp, massive reduction in the number of accidents. Note we did say, If.

Concerns Of Cost

Despite energy efficient alternatives being readily available to majority of people still buy cars with petrol and diesel engines. Why? Some people may just prefer a true gas engine, but the majority just can’t afford to buy a car like this. Even second-hand, they are still far too expensive for the average individual. So, if people can’t afford to buy a car like this, what are the chances they’ll be able to afford one that can drive itself. For at least a few years, this tech is going to be out of reach for the majority of the buying public.

So you see the only way autonomous cars leads to safer roads is by making several assumptions. The tech has to be cheap, the tech has to be reliable, and the tech needs to be advanced enough to work without human interference. Right now, none of these assumptions are true, and it’s unlikely this will change in our lifetime. 

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A Bitter Pill: The Effects Of Giving Your Children Tablets & Smartphones

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It’s a common part of society now, everyone has their smartphone glued to their hands, and people would rather flick of their finger back and forth on a small screen rather than engage the person next to them in conversation. But the biggest place where it’s having an impact is at home with your family, and, more specifically, your children. A lot of young children are already addicted to tablets. And it seems that by the age of two, most children already know how to use a smartphone or a tablet, so is this a little premature? But also what are the negative effects of your child having a smartphone or a tablet at such a young age?

 

It Becomes Their First Addiction

As we all know, it’s very difficult for us to put down or smartphone for any lengthy period of time anymore. Think about this in terms of an infant, where between the ages of 0 and 2 years old, their brain will triple in size. And if their brain space is taken up by an allegiance to this electronic device, not only do they become addicted to it, but it also doesn’t teach them how to control their impulses or to even challenge themselves, both of which are traits of an addictive personality.

 

Your Relationship With Your Child Can Be Fractured

If the tablet becomes their priority, this gets in the way of any young child developing proper personal bonds, which means they will struggle to utilize their emotions, and they will struggle to form bonds with other people down the years. In addition to this, any time you take away their tablet or smartphone, it will result in temper tantrums, which aren’t pleasant to deal with. We tend to think that we are keeping them quiet for 5 minutes by giving them a tablet. However this kind of behavior will self-perpetuate itself, and you may find that you have got into a desperate cycle of pacifying your child with a tablet for an excessive amount of time.

 

The Health And Safety Concerns

It has been widely spoken off that if you go to bed with your smartphone, it will suppress your melatonin, known as the sleep hormone, and therefore it becomes a struggle to have and maintain good quality sleep. Couple this with the all too real concern of mobile phones and tablets catching fire, this is something for every parent to be concerned about. If, heaven forbid, your child fell asleep with their tablet under their pillow, and it caught fire that would be a terrible thing to endure as a parent. There may be some sense of redemption in hiring accident lawyers to fight for a product liability claim, but this would be low on your list of priorities if your child were severely hurt by their tablet. We all think nothing of plugging in our phones to charge at night, but this is the time when you are most at risk.

 

It’s Incredibly Distracting

Children growing up with a smartphone are being distracted in many ways. It is argued that these devices can have an impact on the hands on approach to completing tasks. So, for children in school who are solely relying on their tablet or smartphone, their sensorimotor or visual motor skills may be very underdeveloped. By being distracted by their phones, there’s a high chance that they are not being as creative or imaginative as the average child used to be. In fact, with the wealth of information at your fingertips now, it means that there is less engaging with the brain, and the ability to recall information is not used as much as it used to. A good example is that instead of trying to remember a fact for the purposes of debate, they can simply look up the information. This can be argued as a good thing in one respect, but on the other side of the equation, this means that everyone, not just children, are not using their brain the way it was meant to be used.

 

It’s Stopping Interaction

This is all too obvious to everyone, but if we as adults are not interacting with people more, how is this affecting our children? And if you think back to the playground in school, you actually played; you didn’t sit in the corner on your phone. This lack of interaction and engagement with other people is showing in the increase in obesity in our children, but it’s also a critical signpost of how future generations may be ill-equipped to deal with basic human emotional processes.

 

You may have already given your children that smartphone or tablet, but with these, and many other dangerous symptoms of being glued to a screen, it’s time to take them back. It is, indeed, a bitter pill to swallow.

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