banking-firms-increasingly-experimenting-with-blockchains

BANKING FIRMS INCREASINGLY EXPERIMENTING WITH BLOCKCHAINS

BANKING FIRMS INCREASINGLY EXPERIMENTING WITH BLOCKCHAINS

Blockchain technology has the subject of experiments for almost all global banks now. This technology promises operational efficiencies as well as improved cost savings which is what the banks are ultimately after. Various methods are being used by banks as they seek to explore and utilize the technology. Some of them have entered into partnerships with fintech companies while others have become members of global consortia. Many banks have also opted to invest in their own solutions in-house.

BLOCKCHAIN USE IN FINANCIAL SECTOR

The majority of banks are experimenting with the use of blockchains in streamlining their processes. Cutting costs is also one of their aims. At the same time, banks also want to make use of the other advantages provided by blockchain technologies. One of the most important of those advantages is that they can remain competitive with fintech companies. Banks become capable of developing newer business models as well. Blockchain technologies can certainly provide several benefits. However, banks are focusing on the more tangible ones. They are exploring the use cases of the technology which can actually solve real-life problems which occur in the banking sector.

Of course, banks are not the only ones interested in this technology. Blockchains have increasingly become the interest of regulatory bodies. After all, the regulators need to understand the technology if they are to oversee its usage. As a result, they have begun to start working with major banks in the development of regulatory frameworks. Banks are certainly not going to be the only ones in the financial sector to use blockchains. Solutions based on this technology are certain to be developed for various domains of financial services. Solutions will be required for resolving specific issues while developing a network that is big enough to be beneficial.

THE APPLICATIONS OF BLOCKCHAINS

According to a survey by Accenture, 9 out of 10 commercial banks in Canada, Europe and USA, have already started to explore the potential of blockchain for payments. The survey was conducted among 32 professionals from some of the top banks in those regions. Approximately 30% of the banks have already entered advanced stages of their experiments with blockchains in this regard. In the field of payments, the most significant use cases are cross-border transfers within the same bank. In fact, 44% of banking professionals consider this process to be their primary priority. The other important areas of focus are on remittances across borders, cross-border transfers between different banks and corporate banks.

THE REASONS FOR USE

Banks are investing in blockchains for a simple reason. They expect the technology to lower their administrative and frictional costs. Settlement times for the banks can also be sped up while reducing the exceptions and errors present. Blockchains can also present banks with newer revenue opportunities. The fact is that blockchain technology has already proven that it is highly scalable. As a result, it can support the infrastructure demanded by the banking sector in payments. In fact, payments can be the first area where blockchain technology adoption can be tried out. It might not be long before that happens.

are-smart

INTERNET OF THINGS AND SECURITY: ARE SMART DEVICES SECURE ENOUGH?

ARE SMART DEVICES SECURE ENOUGH?

The Internet of Things is a seemingly futuristic concept that connects of everyday objects and making it possible for them to send and receive data just like your smartphone or laptop does. As billions of items used in everyday life are set to be connected to this network, security has become a rising concern. This is worth being addressed before the Internet of Things is launched as a full-fledged practicality instead of just a concept in building. That being said, the Internet of Things is more than a mere concept today. Chips that make this interconnection possible have been getting cheaper and smaller. It won’t be long before the production cost between a dumb device and smart device is 10 cents, says the chief research officer at F-Secure, Mikko Hypponen. When this happens, it is easy to guess which option will be chosen a majority of the manufactures. The chips will be so small that it will be easy to fit them in virtually any object. In fact, manufacturers will connect a standard household item to the internet, not because they need to but simply because they can.

WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM IOT?

Coming to the anticipated security issues that this will give rise to, the major benefits from interconnecting devices will be, not to the consumers but to the manufacturer. Imagine living in a place where everything around you, starting from your microwave to your toaster collects information about you and your daily life. Scary as it may sound, experts are of the opinion that this is going to happen soon and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. A time will come when all goods sold in the market are connected to the Internet of Things.
Additionally, it is not who use them but those who make them, along with government surveillance services who will benefit the most from it. For instance, the manufacturer of kitchen appliances will be able to collect data about the place of residence of the customers, the frequency with which the device is used and the time. All this data can then be analyzed to advertise better.

IOT IS ALREADY HERE

The most disturbing part is that while most people think of the Internet of Things as an upcoming revolution, it is much stealthier and has already begun. Unlikely objects such as children’s toys are fitted with an internet connection giving rise to security issues that were only a part of theoretical discourse until now. Security experts are of the opinion that the real problem lies within people themselves and the way we approach this hyper connected world. Instead of asking questions such as “Should we do this?” the more popular enquiry has become “Can we?” Vice President and CTO of technology services at Symantec, Darren Thomson says that human beings tend to forget these things and get complacent about them with time. There are many people who wear smart devices on their wrist and forget that it is even there in a week or two. Therefore, when the IoT devices in the future go online, it will not be for the consumer’s benefit but for data collection benefits.

360

Top Social Networks Dedicated To 360 Degree Content

360 degree cameras have become quite popular. Once you have such a camera, you will certainly be interested in sharing the videos or photos that you have captured while browsing on similar activities by other users. This has given rise to a new niche in social networking. YouTube and Facebook have already enabled support for 360-degree videos. However, there are now several social networking sites which are dedicated to sharing and discussing specifically such content. They even offer tools which are not available in the more popular social sites.

METTAVR

This social platform allows users to share their 360-degree videos. It has a thriving community of around 360 creators from across the world. Users are able to explore the works of other users via a world map. Various editing options are available to the users such simple filters, video trimmers or the addition of text. MettaVR is still in beta and you need an invitation to join or add your name to the waitlist.

png

PORTBY

Developed by Fulldive, a VR startup, Portby is a photo sharing app dedicated to 360-degree videos exclusively. Users are able to see and edit their 360-degree photos here before sharing them on other social networks such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It is also possible to view these photos via Google Cardboard. The app is currently available in the Apple App store and Google Play

1-4dgpwyss792cjzootgzhlq

KUULA

This web based app enables you to share 360-degree photos. Apart from easily sharing pictures, users can also embed their photos. Unique effects are also available for application on the photos such as lens flares and filters. The app has been developed by Bartek Drozdz.

LITTLSTAR

Littlstar is a worldwide network where you can find a wide collection of 360-degree videos. Funded by Disney, this platform also showcases 360-degree videos from various famous brands such as Fusion, Mountain Dew, Red Bull, National Geographic, Discovery, PBS, Showtime and, of course, Disney. The app is available for iPhones and Android devices.

KUULA

VRIDEO

Apart from being a social platform, Vrideo also aims to become one of the primary platforms for the distribution of VR content. Users can explore the content through the Samsung Gear VR, iOS or Android app apart from uploading their own. Alternatively, they can also use the company’s site.

SPINNABLE

Created by Intermersive, this is a cross-platform social sharing app designed for 360-degree content. Users can upload their own 360-degree pictures. Alternatively, they can use the app to convert a panorama picture taken by the phone’s camera into a spherical photo. Currently, the Spinnable app is only available for iOS users but Samsung Gear, desktop and Android versions are to be released soon.

360

VIZOR.IO

This VR platform is based on the web and is meant for sharing VR content. The content is accessible via the mobile app, desktop or even head mounted displays. 360-degree content can be embedded on other sites. Users can also edit the content before uploading.

video

As 360-degree hardware become more accessible, there is sure to be an increase in the number of networks and apps dedicated to the content produced.

grand

A GUIDE TO USING 360-DEGREE CONTENT IN SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Facebook has already begun to support 360-degree content. As such, you are sure to have come across videos and images which make you feel that you were actually present in the situation. Due to the high level of interest and curiosity commanded by this kind of content, it would be a good idea to consider using them for marketing your brand. As for costs, you will need to spend less than $500 or even free.

HOW DOES 360-DEGREE CONTENT WORK?

If you want to make an absolutely basic 360-degree photo on Facebook, you simply need to upload a panoramic image into the app. These days, nearly all smartphone cameras allow you to take panorama images. Once uploaded, the app should detect that it is a panorama automatically and display a globe icon after uploading. However, taking a true 360-degree image is more difficult. Such images can be scrolled in all directions. To take such images, you need a 360-degree camera. Use the camera to take the picture and upload it to Facebook just like any other image. There are several such cameras in the market in different prices

TAKING 360-DEGREE CONTENT FOR FREE

Of course, you might not be interested in investing in a 360-degree camera. There is an alternative solution called Google Street Video. Although time-consuming, it is free. You will have to take each photo and stitch them to create a 360-degree photo. The images can then be shared on Facebook and other platforms.

360-DEGREE CONTENT PLATFORMS

So far, it is only Facebook that provides support for 360-degree content. However, this is certain to change with time. Currently, if you upload such images to other networks like Instagram and Snapchat, the photo will be flattened, resulting in a distorted image.On the other hand, you can easily stay ahead of the curve by creating 360-degree content now. You can start creating such content and posting on Facebook. Once this feature rolls out on other social networks, your existing experience with the content will prove to be invaluable. You will be able to leverage this media much before the competition. Apart from Facebook, you can always embed the images on your site.

HOW TO USE 360-DEGREE CONTENT IN SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

The benefits of 360-degree content will be obvious in certain industries. Real estate businesses can use them to showcase properties. The tourism industry can also use them for showcasing spots and interiors. Cruise lines have already started using them. For other industries such as ecommerce businesses, creativity can help leveraging 360-degree content for marketing success. Such businesses can use 360-degree images and videos of the events that are hosted or attended by them. Even conferences and team-building exercises can make the perfect subject for such content. Businesses can use them for showcasing their stores and offices. It will be a like a tour for the customers. Product demonstrations are another excellent idea.360-degree content is inherently interesting. Moreover, marketing with them presents a wide range of opportunities. As a result, they are worth the consideration in your social media marketing campaign.

BY 2022 THE GLOBAL AR AND VR MARKET TO BE WORTH $120 BILLION

By 2022 The Global AR and VR Market To Be Worth $120 Billion

As per analysts, it has been estimated that the global augmented reality and virtual reality will be worth around $120 billion by the year 2022 with the CAGR being 58.3%. In 2015, this market had a worth of just $2.67 billion.

Understanding the Market

Much of the AR and the VR market is propelled by software, apps and hardware devices, with the devices being used for 3D display. These technologies have found widespread usage in a variety of applications. Apart from gaming and entertainment, they have also been used for training purposes in sectors such as industrial, defense and medical. All of these factors are playing a role in the growth of the market.

The only factor that is repressing the growth is the advancements in the technologies. The fact is that the advancements are completely dependent on the innovation taking place in digital network and computing devices. It is only with the improvement of those devices that AR and VR can grow in leaps and bounds.

Among the device type segments of this market, the biggest piece of the pie belongs to Head Mounted Display devices. This is mainly due to the immense demand for such hardware in the fields of medicine, entertainment and gaming with respect to their vertical segments. In terms of geography, North America has been estimated to be the biggest market for revenue generation. After all, it is the main technological and IT base. On the other hand, the Asia-Pacific region has assessed to be the fastest emerging among all the markets.

The Key Players

There are several well-known names that are making strides in AR and VR but quite a few new ones have also make powerful impressions here. Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Qualcomm and Oculus VR are some of the famous corporations which have begun to invest significantly in these technologies. Other companies with notable works in this market are Magic Leap, Vuzix, Blippar, Metaio GmbH and Cyberglove Systems.

It is interesting to see Apple’s stand on AR and VR. CEO Tim Cook has continued to drop hints that Apple is making investments in AR. It seems that the company believes that AR has a high potential although nothing concrete has been forthcoming from Apple so far.

As for Google, its Google Cardboard offering has been available for a few years and has garnered a sizeable niche of enthusiasts. This VR platform enables users to create their own VR headsets with cardboard and a smartphone. It was designed to encourage interest in VR and inspire developers to work on VR applications.

While Microsoft has invested in AR, its product, HoloLens, is yet to find its way into the consumer market. Currently, only early adopters and developers have the product. Microsoft’s current plan is to release HoloLens in 2019.

Vuzix Corporation has recently become headlines after it entered into a deal with Toshiba to create custom smart glasses. The corporation is already making a name in the development of AR and VR products and technologies, not only for enterprises but also consumers.

While it has taken time, it seems that AR and VR are finally going to arrive. It is a possibility that these technologies will, one day, become as ubiquitous as smartphones.

safe guard mobile

SAFEGUARDING FROM THE MOBILE INTERSTITIALS PENALTY OF GOOGLE

SAFEGUARDING FROM THE MOBILE INTERSTITIALS PENALTY OF GOOGLE

Google has recently taken the decision to penalize mobile sites that displayed annoying popups. While this is beneficial for readers and users, it is a huge problem for marketers. Known as mobile interstitials, these popups were extremely effective at generating leads.

However, Google has already started to enforce their new policy. As a result, mobile sites that run popup banners will start to lose their rank. Interestingly, the penalties only affect mobile ranking. Of course, there is a reason why Google is targeting interstitials especially in mobiles. On smaller screens, common to many mobiles, interstitials can be quite problematic.

WHICH SITES ARE AFFECTED?

All mobile sites are not going to be affected by the new policy however. Sites using interstitials to display legal information or for logins, will not suffer from the penalty. If the banner is small enough to be dismissed easily, the site will not be affected. The penalty will only be levied in the following cases.

  • Sites which use interstitials that hide the content as the users visit their site or while the users are browsing.
  • Sites that use interstitials which need to be closed before the content can be accessed.
  • Sites whose main content lies below the fold while a message resembling interstitials lies above it.

HOW TO SAFEGUARD THE SITE?

It is easily to believe that Google will not be targeting your site with this penalty. However, following some precautions can ensure that the risks of attracting a penalty are as low as possible. It is not easy to determine to what extent this new policy is going to affect your site after all. Here are some things you can take care of.

  • Ensure that mobile users can instantly access the content they are after when visiting your site.
  • If you use popups, make sure that they serve a reasonable purpose. For example, you can use interstitials for age verification or legal reasons among others.
  • Ensure that the interstitials are permanently removed. They should not reappear as the users are scrolling the page.
  • Work on developing a content strategy that is less intrusive for generating leads.
  • Examine the advantage of organic ranking in the long-term with the short-term effects of removing interstitials.
  • You can still use interstitials for the desktop versions of your site as the desktop is not being targeted by this update.
  • It is possible for you to display interstitials when the user is moving from one page to another within your website.
  • You can display mobile interstitials during the exit of the user from your site.
  • If you have a WordPress site and use plugins for the mobile interstitials, you can make minor adjustments to comply with the new update. You simply need to make sure that your banner does not cover the main content of the page.
  • You should never forget the importance of being mobile-friendly. It is vital to success.

It is easy to see why Google is taking steps against interstitials. After all, they want to provide the best experience through their search results. As a marketer, you must understand this and work to develop alternatives to your lead generation programs.

googleblog

Google Now Targets Hateful and Offensive Results with New Algorithms

GOOGLE NOW TARGETS HATEFUL AND OFFENSIVE RESULTS WITH NEW ALGORITHMS

Google has recently released a new set of guidelines for quality raters. The new guidelines specially target web pages that are not only inaccurate but also offensive, hateful and upsetting. The document, available online, is meant for helping quality raters in spotting and flagging such pages in the Google search results.

QUALITY RATERS AND OFFENSIVE RESULTS

Paul Haahr, who has been a lead search engineer for 15 years at Google, mentioned that the search giant has been working to develop algorithms that can track web pages which are abusive and disrespectful.

According to Haahr, such content affect only 0.1% of the search queries but it is still an important issue nonetheless. In fact, the percentage comes as a surprise considering the publicity that is given to such results in the media. On the other hand, more and more sites are now being launched that are exclusively dedicated to the propagation of false information, hate speech and other kinds of offensive and inaccurate content.

Haahr mentioned that there are certainly users who are specifically looking for inaccurate or hateful content. For example, there are many who enjoy satire content and sites. There are also those who search for hateful content for research purposes and the like. Google does not aim to stop people from search content which they specifically want. To ensure that this is the case, the guidelines give detailed examples and instructions on how the affected pages should be rated by the quality raters.

The job of quality raters is to ensure that the work being done by the engineers is reflected in the search results. The quality rates do not have the power or the ability to remove the search results or modify the rankings of the site. They can only rate the search results as per the guidelines provided. This is the data provided to the engineers of Google for implementation into the algorithms.

THE INCREASING NEED FOR ACTION

The fact is that internet behemoths such as Google and Facebook among others have come under increased pressure to take steps against the rising tide of offensive and inaccurate content among others. This has only increased since the recent elections in the US. Certain steps have certainly been taken such as the development of fact-checking schema to be used for news stories. Google has already removed several classes of inaccurate and offensive results. Google is at the forefront of such developments, having working on rectifying the issues for quite some time.

The aim of Google has always been to provide the most relevant and insightful content through their search results. For this, they keep working on their algorithms. That is also the reason why the guidelines were updated. This way, they can test and check if the search results are reflecting the changes made to the algorithms. If Google finds that the changes have not been implemented, the data gathered by the quality raters will be given to the engineers who will then proceed to implement the necessary changes.