Category Archives: Application & Technology

Friends holding their smartphones

Cash in on Emerging Technologies by Investing in Graphite

Friends holding their smartphonesYou would probably not think of graphite as an excellent investment opportunity for anyone looking to cash in on emerging technology. The mineral is in high demand in the lithium-ion batteries sector, as it powers electrical devices.

Drawing pencils are likely the first things that come to mind when graphite is mentioned. It probably takes you to the early years when you were learning how to read and write. If you haven’t held a pencil in years, you’d be thinking that your foray with graphite is over.

That would not be accurate; you’re probably using a product with graphite right now. See, graphite is a core component of the lithium-ion battery — the one that powers your phone. The growing popularity of smartphones has one benefit that could pad your wallet — it leads to spiking graphite costs.

A multibillion-dollar industry

Graphite makes the anode material in the lithium-ion batteries that power just about any known smart gadget. That makes it a $20-billion industry with future projections forecasting a 20 percent growth a year for the foreseeable future. Other than powering smartphones, lithium-ion batteries power electric cars.

As the government pushes towards eco-friendly cars, the production of these vehicles is soaring. The number of electric vehicles is projected to reach 17.5 million by the year 2020. That means there will be a consistently high demand for graphite in the coming years.

What does this mean for you?

It is only natural to imagine that you’re not averse to making some extra cash. If that’s the case, then you might want to consider investing in some graphite stocks. Doing so means you can profit from anticipated price hikes as demand continues to soar against a dwindling supply. China holds 75 percent of the world’s supply and is currently looking to build a stockpile that equals 80 percent of its annual output.

The spiking demand and dwindling supply have led to 40 percent increment in graphite prices over a span of six months. In both Europe and the U.S., graphite is declared a supply critical mineral. It means the prices are likely to shoot up in the near future.

Graphite has many industrial applications and the booming lithium-ion battery only adds to the list. The growing demand is causing the prices to rise, making it a perfect investment opportunity.

Customer Satisfaction and Ease of Use are Hallmarks of NFC

Man inside store holding smartphoneGoing contactless is not just a trend, it is a game changer for a lot of devices. Tech and communications company NFC Direct believes that the future is contactless with the use of near field communication devices. NFC devices work like the RFID for toll booth payments on highways.

These use low amounts of energy and can communicate with other NFC devices. They differ from the RFID payment devices with the distance required to exchange information. NFC devices need to be inches away from one another for the connection to be made and data transferred.

Advantages of NFC

NFC devices are more common than you think. A lot of cellphones nowadays have NFC builtin to their system. These can be used for payments and other transactions, as well as the transfer of small files and text, as well as images. The convenience and ease of use stem from the way data transfer are made. There are no cables involved; there is no need for WiFi nor Bluetooth.

With a tap of the screen, two-way data transfer could be initiated. NFC is very versatile. It can be used for most modes of payment. Its uses include train bookings, bus fare payment, rewards points, mobile banking as well as booking restaurant reservations. It can work with a wide range of industries from transportation, banking and finance, hospitality, and food industry.

Improved User Experience

Making transactions easy lead to increased customer satisfaction. This is a priority for most merchants, along with the ease of use. There is no need for a manual to use an NFC device. Coupons, reward programs and others can be implemented on any NFC device.

With an NFC enabled smartphone, access to these programs is even easier. The customer does not need to buy any other NFC device or rewards card. What is only needed if for the customer to download an app, and he has access to the rewards program or the payments program, as well as access to data transfer and payments.

Web designer coding

Here are 3 Traits You Need to Find in a Web Design Team

Web designer codingAccording to a 2015 IBISWorld report, there were more than 150,800 web designers in the U.S. market. As the world of business continues its transition into the digital future, more and more companies are seeking to hire web design companies in Denver to help them become more competitive. What are your personal criteria for hiring a web design team? Here are three traits you should be looking for.

Ability to communicate and collaborate

One of the best traits a web design team should have is the ability to explain to you in simple terms the technical processes involved. An effective web design team should know how to collaborate with the client on how to fuse their ideas together and bring these to life. Proper communication is very important in any project.

Ability to plan well

A seasoned web design team is not just capable of designing user-friendly websites but also able to deliver on time. And all these start in the planning stage. Look for a web design team who knows how to plan well because this will show you that they would be able to meet your deadlines and even exceed your expectations.

Ability to find solutions

If you think about it, creating a website is all about solutions. In fact, in the world of business, a company shouldn’t simply sell products and services, they should sell solutions. A good website design team should be able to create an online counterpart of a company and use that to sell solutions. Additionally, a web design project is often littered with challenges, so you have to find a team that can offer you solutions to problems.

There are many web designers out there, so you have to do your homework as a client and research the traits to look for. Doing this extra first step can help you make more informed decisions.

Software developer trying out cloud testing

Factors to Consider During Cloud Testing

Software developer trying out cloud testingIt is not easy to get cloud testing right. There are a number of things that need to be strictly followed to ensure that the process is successful. You need to clearly identify the goals of cloud testing needs. The role of cloud testing services is to deliver non-functional testing techniques so as to determine software’s parameters. However, there are a number of key factors to be considered when carrying cloud testing.

Proper attention to mobile is another factor that should be considered for cloud testing process. Most people tend to use mobile for browsing purposes, and therefore companies should think of developing mobile-friendly websites and apps. Load generation software tools stimulate peak loads.

User behavior patterns should be considered for cloud testing process. Behavior patterns involve the activities that people spend most of their time on, what their expectations of the app are and technological constraints involved.

Testing of transactions should be considered in testing cloud performance. Apps should meet any surge in traffic so that there is a possibility of retention of customer loyalty. Every user patch should undergo cloud testing.

Trial runs should be done for cloud test performance to make sure that all configurations, logs, and connectivity are according to the requirements and in order. During the cloud test run, it is crucial that a plan for the test run is created, so that involved parties are aware of their tasks and roles during the process.

Cloud testing is a crucial process for software. It involves many people carrying out different procedures during the process to make it successful and very reliable. Stakeholders, the business team, infrastructure team and more all have to join hands and put heads together so that cloud testing is done thoroughly.

Is Managed VoIP a Better Choice than Private Cloud Phone Systems?

Man interacting with cloud service applicationThe emergence of different telephony systems based on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been beneficial for companies that want to have a streamlined communications system.

At the same time, the proliferation of different technologies has made it confusing for businesses to choose the right system for them. Public and private cloud telephony systems are some examples.

Defining Private and Public

A public cloud VoIP system involves contracting services from a third party. An example is Asterisk SIP provider, which offers services from their own infrastructure. Think of it as renting someone else’s apartment and using the facilities in that property. In the context of a public system, you are simply renting a service provider’s platform and using a portion of their publicly hosted or managed telephone network.

On the other hand, a private system means that you should have your own platform. This rules out the need for monthly subscription payments, by hosting your own cloud system.

Different Benefits

Low upfront costs and minimal security risks comprise some of the benefits of using a public system. Also, maintenance and upgrade issues will not be a concern since your service provider takes care of these tasks for you. You should consider a public service if your company has a distributed workforce, easier management, and deployment via a “plug and play type solution,” and the absence of an in-house IT department.

Those who want to run their own platforms and network systems should consider a private system. By choosing to do so, you have the choice and flexibility in selecting external VoIP connections.

A public cloud VoIP telephone system offers benefits that are different from the advantage of using a private system. When choosing between the two, businesses should ultimately determine which benefits appeal most to their needs.

How to Develop an Enterprise Mobile App: Essential Guidelines

an enterprise mobile app in the form of electronic medical recordsYour business must continuously strive to give your customers best-in-class products and services. This is where your enterprise mobile app could help. It makes your business’ job so much easier, all while improving your business’ success. But creating an enterprise app that users would love is no easy feat. Below are some top tips to get you started.

Know What your Target End Users Need

When creating your enterprise mobile app, think like an end user. You need to determine what your target users want and need in your app before drafting designs and writing codes.

Prioritize Performance Over Features

Your enterprise could offer several features, but make sure that they’re focused on providing your customer’s real solutions. You must likewise take into account both the limitations and interests of your customers. Remember, your app’s functionality is the key factor that influences the perception of end users so you should focus on developing an app that offers seamless navigation, solutions, and smooth operation.

Consider the “Power of Context”

Your app would be useless if it isn’t capable of integrating with real world’s workflow. Consider the following: Does your app have to have an Internet connection? Would the user have to use it singlehandedly? Do you need to include industrial settings in your app?

Backend Considerations

Technically speaking, you should consider these to ensure that you meet user expectations:

  • Does your enterprise app have to share information or access information in real time?
  • What kind of API work and integration should you include?
  • Does your app have to access existing systems or data?

Keep Security and Customer Service Standards High

This goes without saying, but you must make absolutely that your enterprise mobile app is as secure possible because no end user would want to use a mobile app that’s easily compromised. Also, unless your mobile app’s main feature provides customer service, make certain that your app offers excellent customer service, and that end users could easily get a hold of your business when they have issues with your app.

Your Budget

Budget matters a whole lot when it comes tocustom app development. Essentially, this would significantly impact the business benefits and opportunities you could potentially generate from your app.

Put simply, the failure or success of your enterprise mobile app would greatly depend on the factors mentioned above. That said, you must know exactly how to employ innovative tools, techniques, and technological advancement to make sure that you get the best possible results for your efforts and money.

Person pressing the screen of an e-Learning tablet

Online Learning: A Great Option for High School Students

Person pressing the screen of an e-Learning tablet

You may already be familiar with online schools. Instead of attending an actual university, college students have the option to earn a degree through online platforms offered by the schools. Such an option allows students to stay home, save money, and have a healthy and flexible work-study balance if the student has a job.

The same option is available to high school students. The American Academy notes that more students are taking high school courses online. Read on to learn more about this popular trend.

Online Option for High Schoolers

Today, not only college students can enjoy the benefits of online courses, high school students can also take courses without leaving their homes. Online learning for high schoolers offers flexibility through a wide array of courses and electives. Students can even take physical education online.

More Control and Flexibility

As with any other online learning course, online high school courses give students the freedom to dictate their daily routine and learning pace. Children can study full-time or part-time. At the same time, they can choose how much they want to learn on a daily basis.

Suitable for High School Students

High school students who can benefit from online learning include homeschoolers whose parents may sometimes be too busy to attend to them. Students with serious health issues can continue to learn in the comfort of their home or the hospital. Gifted and talented students can have a customized curriculum that challenges them.

Caveats of Online Learning

Of course, online learning also has a few caveats. You must stay at home to keep track of your child’s progress. When you work out for long hours, online learning may not be suitable for your child, unless your child has enough self-motivation. If your child has the drive to learn, you can have peace of mind knowing that he or she chooses to learn even in your absence.

You can find more information about online high schools and programs by browsing reliable resources. Your child may be able to benefit from such learning even if only for a temporary period.

Using a Law Enforcement Software

Software for Better Public Safety and Security Service

Using a Law Enforcement SoftwareThe advancement of computer technology means that more and more industries and sectors of society can automate crucial processes. With automation, processes can be done faster and more efficiently. With better processes, in turn, more work can be done. The efficient and quick accomplishment of work is one of the reasons public safety and security agencies have turned to software.

Software in Your Agency

Many police departments, correctional facilities, and jails have now installed jail management systems software that help automate different processes. You can follow suit and install similar software in your public safety and security agency. With software, you can get rid of perplexing paperwork and improve productivity and efficiency.

Example 1: Benefits to Jails
Take the example of jail management software in a correctional facility. Of course, paperwork can be significantly decreased or made non-existent. Besides that, you can have a full and comprehensive history of an inmate, including medical history and other important details.

Easier Management

You can also have an easier time managing records and other data. Records management can be a pain especially if you still rely on paper records. You can greatly hasten the process by using jail management software. You can sort and find data without breaking a sweat.

Smoother Operation

With software, you can also improve the efficiency of jail operations. Delays can be prevented since data on inmates can easily be accessed. Even when third parties request information, you can easily access and send the information with software assistance.

Example 2: County Law Enforcement
Although the example above is of software for correctional facilities, you can probably see the good software can bring to public safety and security agencies. You can look at another example: the Rice County law enforcement in Minnesota. They have had a changeover of their computer system, and they have seen the value and potential of such software.

Naturally, a system change from paper records or old software to new software still poses challenges. You still have to learn and be familiar with the new system, yet the benefits can make the system easier to manage as well as more efficient.

Don’t you think it is time for a change?

By Design: Technologies for the Construction Industry

Engineers talking about planssa What if builders of the Great Wall of China had access to today’s technology: drones, 3D printing technology, and modeling software? Maybe they would not have taken over 2,000 years to complete the ancient architecture.

Fortunately for modern construction companies, innovative tools not only keep project completion within reasonable periods. They also enable accuracy in every stage of the building process, from planning to budgeting to construction.

Here are some of the more notable technologies that can help your construction firm do more:

Paperless Project Management

No longer will your offices suffer from disorganization and inefficiencies with the right project management software. Whether you own an established building business or a startup contracting company, construction software streamlines and mobilizes communication, documentation, and other aspects of the project.

It reduces cost, boosts efficiency, and prevents issues that can delay delivery. You’ll also find tools specific to a construction process, for example, estimators that ensure accurate quantity plan takeoff.

The Robot Brick Layer

Robots may soon do masonry. You could cut building time in half with this technology, which promises to speed up brick laying; a robot can lay about 1,000 bricks every hour. Instead of the usual three to six weeks, your company could finish the shell of a building in two days.

“Designer” Equipment

Equipment manufacturers can now design machineries specific to applications. Companies use telematics information to determine whether your equipment fits the job, from light operations to heavy duty work. This allows manufacturers to improve construction equipment, enabling them to improve jobsite productivity.

The Future of On-site Access

Finally, construction companies in China are using advanced fingerprint and face recognition systems to limit jobsite access. The “Mission Impossible” approach to control access certainly brings an exciting element to the “authorized personnel only” sign.

Such a system not only ensures security for your construction site. But it also conveys to future clients of your company’s advanced capabilities.

Managing a Hotel

3 Commandments of a Successful Hotel Business

Managing a HotelWith the rise of the middle-class and the changing lifestyles of millennials, there is no denying that the tourism industry will continue to boom. More people are exploring both local and international destinations. If you're in the hotel industry, you are on the right track. However, your success is never guaranteed. Don’t be complacent and live by these rules:

1. Recognize your brand identity and stick to it.

As much as you want to cater to everyone, this will keep you from being the best at anything. Know your brand and establish its boundaries. Eventually, you will be able to zero in on your target market and reach out to them easily. Brand Manager Jim Holthouser at Embassy Suites Hotels, for instance, explains that one of the reasons for their success is that they don’t pretend to be a luxury brand when they are not. They know who they are and who they are not.

2. Aim to give your customers an unforgettable experience.

Whether you are managing a small or a huge enterprise in the industry, your main objective should always be to provide your customers with a great experience. When it comes to amenities, they get what they pay for. What sets a great customer experience apart, however, is exceptional service. Train your staff to be friendly, helpful, and willing to go the extra mile. 

3. Work on converting first-time customers to loyal ones.

The best way to do this is to have an incredible post-sales support. For a customer-centric business, having a customer support is crucial. If this is something that you can’t afford yet, United Call Center recommends getting a professional answering service from a reputable company. These people would know how to handle your customers — from inquiries to reservations to follow-ups. They are also trained to handle complaints and other negative feedback.

Selling and marketing your hotel enterprise involves more action than the ones mentioned above. However, these three are your non-negotiables. A combination of those steps will help you ground your footing.