Category: Business

Slack vs Microsoft Teams

A couple of months have passed since Microsoft Teams became available to everyone but many are still unsure about the service, especially when comparing it to its more established competitor.

In the Slack vs Microsoft Teams debate, there are a few very distinctive points which will make your choice of one over the other much easier.

Cost and accessibility

The two productivity apps take an entirely different approach to both pricing and accessibility. This seems to have confused some users, particularly those who were interested in switching from Slack to Teams.

Slack has a free tier with a simple registration process so it can be used by anyone in an instant. Its paid tiers include additional features such as more cloud storage, unlimited archives and app integrations, and more customizability.

In contrast, Microsoft Teams is only accessible via an Office 365 subscription. The cost of such a subscription varies quite a bit, starting from as low as $5 per user, per month all the way up to $35 per user, per month.

When considering Slack vs Microsoft Teams, think of the former as a standalone product and the latter as an add-on.

With that said, both services offer a lot of flexibility. They are accessible through mobile operating systems, desktop apps, and web-based versions too.

Features and app integration

As one might expect, the two services have very similar features and also seem to feature comparable app integrations.

To start with, both services allow users to add third-party apps to the platform such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

The main difference here is that Slack has managed to include quite a few customizable bots and partnerships with third-party companies, whereas Teams allows easy and complete access with the rest of the Office 365 suite.

The differences amongst the main features are minimal. While some features may bare different names between the two services (e.g. channels vs teams), both services operate in much the same way.

In some ways, the two services even compete for the same features. For instance, video conferencing was added to Slack only in December last year after the beta version of Teams demonstrated the feature.

Interface

The interface differences in Slack vs Microsoft Teams are easily distinguishable but also surprisingly similar.

For example, both services utilize a similar navigation pane and input interfaces for text, images, and videos. If you are used to Slack alerts, you will be pleased to know that they are very much the same in Teams.

Slack offers a very clean interface. It is always easy to see everything that is going on in every channel and among your private conversations. Sharing items is a sleek process and the app integrations are seamlessly blended in the main interface.

Perhaps owing to its Office 365 integrations, Microsoft Teams opts for a different approach with an emphasis on threaded conversations. Depending on your preferences, this can be either confusing or liberating.

Like any good productivity app, both Teams and Slack are great for collaborating with multiple people, sharing files, and using the integrated apps and featured bots for any task without them feeling overly complicated.

The user experience

The concept of user experience is certainly different in the two services. Slack, which has basically provided a modern IRC service, is a platform for seamless collaboration in small businesses, freelancers, and similar types of users.

Slack has billed itself as the casual productivity tool with powerful features, the new kid on the block who has (successfully) attempted to combat giants and come out on top.

On the other hand, Teams follows the standard Microsoft trends of enclosing everything inside a single service and offering powerful tools for its users which, in this case, are all about business.

Slack seems incredibly open to the idea of integrating as many third-party service as possible and making sure that users can have any tool that they require in an instant.

Microsoft Teams instead focuses on leveraging the full power of Office 365, integrating as many of its own services as possible so that organizations who rely on the platform can actually take advantage of it.

Conclusion

Hopefully, the points outlaid here will be enough to help you understand the Slack vs Microsoft Teams differences.

If you wish to gain access to the Office 365 suite or already pay for it, then choose Microsoft Teams for its great integrations with products like Word, Excel, and SharePoint.

If you are a freelancer or a small business who frequently likes to collaborate with people outside your organisation, then choose Slack because of its flexibility and the free tier that may well be enough for such a use.

 

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‘Sponsored songs’ show that marketers are exploring new avenues

Spotify’s latest attempt to monetize its service comes in the form of sponsored songs. As confirmed by TechCrunch, the music streaming company is currently testing a new system that is aimed at its free tier users.

Spotify sponsored songs

The sponsored songs system allows labels to promote single songs which will appear above the main playlist/playback interface. The feature is opt-out, which means that it will be automatically enabled for all users.

Spotify has said that the feature is aimed at free users but premium users are also seeing the toggle and the accompanying sponsored songs. However, the difference may be that premium users will be able to turn the feature off while such a thing may not be possible for free users.

Sponsored songs are instantly playable and can be saved in an instant, allowing labels to easily promote songs, such as new titles or those which are underperforming.

Like Facebook, Spotify likes to sometimes test out new features on a select group of users before deciding whether to roll them widely or not. As such, we do not currently know if the feature will make it to the live version for everyone.

What we do know, however, is that no one should be surprised by Spotify’s sponsored songs feature. In fact, the company may well be applauded by people in the marketing industry simply for trying out a new advertising method that is not as obvious to regular users.

One thing that has become abundantly clear to everyone in the industry is that even less tech-savvy users have become increasingly aware of traditional advertising methods as well as the tools to avoid them, such as browser ad-blocks.

To put it simply, the traditional digital advertising methods will be irrelevant in the next few years. While some will persist with traditional methods, the cold hard truth is that they are just not effective anymore.

What is effective, however, is personalized and sponsored content. Spotify’s sponsored songs is a simple yet perfect example of the new kind of advertising that will undoubtedly become the new standard before being replaced by something else.

Spotify already knows a lot about its users and their listening habits and it will leverage that knowledge to promote relevant sponsored songs that they may actually want to listen to. That way, Spotify can position the feature as a sort of “win-win” situation.

Another example that is also becoming increasingly popular is influencer marketing. Take a quick look through any Instagram page with a decent number of followers and you will see branded content throughout.

The best news for marketers is that they do not even have to hide such practices. Before, advertising in an Instagram post may have been seen negatively.

Now, influencers are transparent about sponsored content but they make their followers believe that they actually support the brand/product/service or whatever else it is that they are promoting.

Marketers and advertisers should take note here. While the implementation of sponsored songs may leave something to be desired, the idea is a solid one.

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IoT & Wearables: Workplace

While many of the major tech companies have focused on the consumer side of IoT and wearables, others have recognized that there is a lot of potential in the enterprise as well.

IoT and wearables in the workplace offer unique opportunities for new experiences within the office, in the interactions with clients, in gathering data in new and possibly more efficient ways, and in a lot more areas.

When data reigns king

In most businesses, data is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Marketers need to gather data about potential target audiences, measure the potential of marketing campaigns, and track traffic, responses, and more.

Imagine, for instance, a retail store equipped with a variety of IoT devices such as Apple’s own iBeacons. Such devices could track exactly how consumers operate within those facilities so that the store can be refitted accordingly.

Identifying, measuring, and quantifying consumer responses to processes like marketing and advertising would be instant and unfalsifiable, especially when paired with the rising artificially intelligent services that can provide a host of analyzing features.

Gathering data through IoT and wearables in the workplace is still an area in its infancy. However, it is reasonable to assume that such devices will assist in data gathering in the future, especially as technologies like 5G become commonplace.

Every process can be simplified

Any and every process in a business can be simplified, especially if it has to do with a mundane task that takes up a lot of time for no reason.

For instance, the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport recently installed sensors in several of its restrooms. Then, it paired those sensors with smartwatches equipped by the housekeeping staff.

The application of those technologies was simple: once 150 people had used the restroom, the staff would get an alert on their smartwatch that the restroom should be cleaned. In an instant, the process of checking up the restroom became much more simplified.

The potential list of applications here are endless. Processes across every industry from medicine to hospitality could be vastly simplified, improving the customer experience and saving resources in the process.

Wearables may be as ubiquitous as smartphones

Today, it is unthinkable for office employees not to have access to mobile devices. Most people in the world own a smartphone and such devices are actively used in enterprise in a thousand different ways.

It is not unthinkable that a similar pattern may emerge with wearables as their associated technologies become more accessible.

The point here is not to think in restrictive terms. When thinking of wearables, for instance, most people will bring a smartwatch to mind. However, a wearable can be absolutely anything.

It could be a simple sensor in an otherwise “dumb” piece of clothing, a wristband with tactile feedback, even a pair of glasses with HUD-like information.

IoT can assist with both background and foreground tasks

With mobile devices, most applications in the enterprise are concerned with active tasks. For example, a team may use Slack for easy collaboration or a dedicated app to solve tasks within the company’s framework itself.

IoT, however, can provide new avenues for interaction both actively and passively. For example, simple sensors may detect who is working on any given office, allowing queries to be directed in a quick and efficient manner.

Several concerns should be addressed straight away

Cyber-security is an increasingly important area that many companies unfortunately neglect. With IoT and wearables, the potential for abuse is enormous and should not be discounted.

For example, there are very real privacy concerns about using sensors and other types of devices to gather data about people. In the example I used about the retail store there is the issue of consent, for instance.

It is equally important to consider such concerns within the workplace. For example, what data should a company gather from its employees automatically? How will that data be analyzed and store to ensure fairness and anonymity, especially if they are used as performance indicators?

Such concerns should be addressed before IoT and wearables in the workplace become any more popular. Knowing the answers to such questions before they pose problems is the only way to ensure that the integration of such technologies will be as smooth as possible.

Conclusion

IoT and wearables in the workplace have a very good chance of disrupting several businesses and entire industries if implemented correctly. Right now, they come with plenty of issues that make them undesirable for widespread implementations.

Though some issues may persist well into the future, most of these will be solved sooner rather than later. Connectivity, for instance, will only improve over the years.

Have you been using any kind of IoT and wearables in the workplace? Share your stories in the comments below!

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In-display fingerprint sensors to arrive next year

Biometric security features are popular with both manufacturers and consumers. Now, Qualcomm wants to take things a step further by adding in-display fingerprint sensors to smartphone by summer 2018.

When fingerprint sensors originally arrived, quite a few people were skeptical about their usefulness, particularly because early models were more expensive than their counterparts.

Now, however, fingerprint sensors are standard in virtually every flagship out there and users are very much used to using them to unlock their phones, log in to apps without having to enter their passwords, and more.

According to Qualcomm, the new fingerprint sensor will work with every chip in the Snapdragon 200 series and onward. That means it will work on both current and future generations of Android devices.

On top of all that, the company also reports that these ultrasonic sensors will also be able to pick up  a user’s blood flow and heartbeat, additional measurements that may be employed for increased security.

These new in-display fingerprint sensors will work under metal, glass, and underwater. The placement of fingerprint sensors has long been an issue for debate amongst consumers with some preferring a placement in the front rather than in the back.

With these sensors, however, such debates will be a thing of the past. All current trends point towards bezel-less devices with screens that take up as much space as possible with phones like the Galaxy S8 and the newly announced Essential Phone making like-minded moves.

Biometric security methods that make things more convenient are always welcome and it certainly seems like these in-display fingerprint sensors will move the industry a little bit forward which is particularly interesting for those who truly appreciate bezel-less displays.

It seems that biometrics are experiencing a mini Renaissance as an increasing number of companies are investing in the field. For example, Token recently announced a wearable ring that acts like an always-on fingerprint sensor and can authorize payments and interact with other smart products.

While biometrics can also be abused, they offer new pathways for casual users who are not particularly good at managing strong passwords and end up using incredibly insecure methods of interacting with technology.

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Getting Started with note-taking apps

Technology advances in a rapid pace but human habits are hard to ignore. Note-taking, for example, is an ancient art that has been a part of life for organized human beings for centuries.

Where technology can help is in the way we take our notes. Handwritten notes may be just fine for some people but a vast selection of note-taking apps with numerous features exist to assist with such processes.

Side note: There are countless note-taking apps in both iOS and Android. For the purposes of this article, we will only go through some of the most popular ones and briefly examine what they can offer.

Note-taking apps – Dozens of features but what do you actually need?

If you have never used a note-taking app before, you may be forgiven for thinking that such apps offer nothing more than a basic way to type and save notes.

In fact, the major players in the field offer much more than that. Here is a taster of what you can expect:

  • Scanning images with advanced recognition.
  • Effortless cloud syncing.
  • Third-party app integration.
  • Saving clips on the go.
  • Record and save audio.
  • Collaborating with multiple people.
  • Organize and search hundreds of different notes with tags and labels.
  • Write searchable notes with a stylus on a tablet.

That is just a glimpse of the different features offered by most major note-taking apps such as Evernote and OneNote. However, these are advanced features that many people will entirely forego.

If you are looking for such features, read on to find out what Evernote and OneNote can offer you. Otherwise, skip ahead to Google Keep and Apple Notes.

Evernote – Get it if you have handwritten notes

This service is one of the oldest and most recognizable ones in the field. Evernote has pretty much everything you could think of in a note-taking app. What distinguishes it from pretty much everything else, however, is its Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology.

As you may have seen elsewhere, there are services that can read and convert text from images. Evernote goes one step further, however, and allows users to convert their handwriting as well.

Evernote Android

Other apps offer similar features but none of them is as good as Evernote. Even if your handwriting is not the best, the app’s OCR will indeed manage to understand it and instantly convert it into searchable text.

If you write a lot of notes by hand throughout the day and wish to find a way to organize all of them digitally, then you will not find a better service for that.

Evernote has reigned supreme in the note-taking industry for a very long time. A couple of years ago, most people would have readily recommended the Evernote apps to anyone almost without hesitation.

A couple of years ago, however, the company decided to rip its foundations and follow a revised business model which, among other things, cut features in the free tier. As one might expect, people were not happy about that.

The only thing you should really know about that is that the free tier is very limited now. Users only get 60MB of monthly uploads and if you are planning on uploading images and recordings then you will reach that limit in no time.

OneNote – Perfect for Office 365 subscribers

Microsoft’s OneNote has evolved quite a bit throughout the years. What was once a clunky app that struggled to compete with similar services is now a very decent note-taking suite which integrates very well with Windows and other Office apps.

That is also OneNote’s killer feature. Integrating with Microsoft apps is quite seamless and it will (hopefully) only become better in the future. For example, you can easily create Outlook tasks within OneNote which will then be shared across the Office ecosystem.

OneNote iOS

The reason why OneNote is perfect for Office 365 users is because of those integrations. OneNote is actually free across all platforms and there are no “premium” restrictions on it. However, paid users will get a lot more storage and access to a bunch of other Office apps that can aid with productivity in any platform including iOS and Android.

And if you really want to use OneNote and would also like some form of handwriting recognition that is better than the one provided inside the app itself, Microsoft’s Office Lens app may be of some help.

Google Keep and Apple Notes – Simple, no-frills notes

For those of you invested in either Google or Apple’s ecosystems and who simply want to take a few notes here and there without any advanced features then Google Keep and Apple notes will do the trick just fine.

Apple Notes

Apple Notes, a default system app, features excellent syncing via iCloud, it looks great, and it supports attachments, photos, videos, sketches, and every other thing one might need for in simple note-taking apps.

Google Keep

Google Keep is similar, allowing users to easily create notes, to-do lists, and more while adding videos, images, and audio to complement the experience. Keep is also great at syncing with other Google services and the Android widget is especially useful for spontaneous note-taking.

Summary

Evernote and OneNote are both great services which offer slightly different incentives for advanced note-takers. In contrast, Apple Notes and Google Keep offer incredibly simplified and accessible ways of saving and organizing notes.

And if none of these apps appeals to you, a quick search in the respective app stores of iOS and Android will result in dozens of different apps, each with their own style and features.

Which note-taking app do you use? Let us know in the comments!

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AI, chat fiction, and apps for different ages

When developing and marketing apps, there are countless things to take into account in order for the apps in question to be successful. For instance, developing a great app and marketing it to the wrong age demographics will all but guarantee its failure.

Chat fiction apps are on the rise

One does not need to look any further than the recent trend of chat fiction to understand this concept. If you have not heard of chat fiction apps, then you are probably not in the intended target audience (read: teenagers).

Apps like Hooked (Android, iOS) and Yarn (Android, iOS) are rapidly rising in the app stores yet many people will never know about them. The chat fiction genre of apps is exactly what it sounds like; fiction presented in chat form.

Yarn app

As you can see in the image above, these kinds of apps present stories as if they were actual conversations between people. There are all kinds of stories available ranging from comedy to horror and, as you might expect, those are mostly targeted towards young people too.

Both of the aforementioned app have a free basic version but cost $2.99 for weekly subscriptions or $39.99 for a year. So while it may be easy to discount them as a fad, all the numbers point to something different.

Age demographics matter for AI too

With that in mind, artificial intelligence is another area that should consider age demographics. For instance, 2017 has been a tremendous year for chatbots. However, they are certainly not viable for everyone.

The older generation is not only used to human contact in their business dealings but also expects it every time. Coming face-to-face with a faceless entity is quite impossible, after all.

In contrast, the younger generation has no issue with adapting to new technologies and using them to their fullest potential. But something that developers and marketers often seem to forget is that the young generations are not as susceptible to traditional marketing techniques.

For instance, no young person will go to a chatbot and attempt to have a normal conversation with it as if they were talking to their friends, despite what advertisements might show.

Instead, they will treat it exactly like what it is: a new type of tech-based interaction that can help them get what they want, whether that is new flight updates or shopping recommendations.

There is currently a lot of talk around AI and how it will replace jobs, particularly I the customer experience industry. One thing that everyone in that field should keep in mind is that age demographics still play a vital role and should not be discounted.

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Slack vs Microsoft Teams

A couple of months have passed since Microsoft Teams became available to everyone but many are still unsure about the service, especially when comparing it to its more established competitor.

In the Slack vs Microsoft Teams debate, there are a few very distinctive points which will make your choice of one over the other much easier.

Cost and accessibility

The two productivity apps take an entirely different approach to both pricing and accessibility. This seems to have confused some users, particularly those who were interested in switching from Slack to Teams.

Slack has a free tier with a simple registration process so it can be used by anyone in an instant. Its paid tiers include additional features such as more cloud storage, unlimited archives and app integrations, and more customizability.

In contrast, Microsoft Teams is only accessible via an Office 365 subscription. The cost of such a subscription varies quite a bit, starting from as low as $5 per user, per month all the way up to $35 per user, per month.

When considering Slack vs Microsoft Teams, think of the former as a standalone product and the latter as an add-on.

With that said, both services offer a lot of flexibility. They are accessible through mobile operating systems, desktop apps, and web-based versions too.

Features and app integration

As one might expect, the two services have very similar features and also seem to feature comparable app integrations.

To start with, both services allow users to add third-party apps to the platform such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

The main difference here is that Slack has managed to include quite a few customizable bots and partnerships with third-party companies, whereas Teams allows easy and complete access with the rest of the Office 365 suite.

The differences amongst the main features are minimal. While some features may bare different names between the two services (e.g. channels vs teams), both services operate in much the same way.

In some ways, the two services even compete for the same features. For instance, video conferencing was added to Slack only in December last year after the beta version of Teams demonstrated the feature.

Interface

The interface differences in Slack vs Microsoft Teams are easily distinguishable but also surprisingly similar.

For example, both services utilize a similar navigation pane and input interfaces for text, images, and videos. If you are used to Slack alerts, you will be pleased to know that they are very much the same in Teams.

Slack offers a very clean interface. It is always easy to see everything that is going on in every channel and among your private conversations. Sharing items is a sleek process and the app integrations are seamlessly blended in the main interface.

Perhaps owing to its Office 365 integrations, Microsoft Teams opts for a different approach with an emphasis on threaded conversations. Depending on your preferences, this can be either confusing or liberating.

Like any good productivity app, both Teams and Slack are great for collaborating with multiple people, sharing files, and using the integrated apps and featured bots for any task without them feeling overly complicated.

The user experience

The concept of user experience is certainly different in the two services. Slack, which has basically provided a modern IRC service, is a platform for seamless collaboration in small businesses, freelancers, and similar types of users.

Slack has billed itself as the casual productivity tool with powerful features, the new kid on the block who has (successfully) attempted to combat giants and come out on top.

On the other hand, Teams follows the standard Microsoft trends of enclosing everything inside a single service and offering powerful tools for its users which, in this case, are all about business.

Slack seems incredibly open to the idea of integrating as many third-party service as possible and making sure that users can have any tool that they require in an instant.

Microsoft Teams instead focuses on leveraging the full power of Office 365, integrating as many of its own services as possible so that organizations who rely on the platform can actually take advantage of it.

Conclusion

Hopefully, the points outlaid here will be enough to help you understand the Slack vs Microsoft Teams differences.

If you wish to gain access to the Office 365 suite or already pay for it, then choose Microsoft Teams for its great integrations with products like Word, Excel, and SharePoint.

If you are a freelancer or a small business who frequently likes to collaborate with people outside your organisation, then choose Slack because of its flexibility and the free tier that may well be enough for such a use.

 

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‘Sponsored songs’ show that marketers are exploring new avenues

Spotify’s latest attempt to monetize its service comes in the form of sponsored songs. As confirmed by TechCrunch, the music streaming company is currently testing a new system that is aimed at its free tier users.

Spotify sponsored songs

The sponsored songs system allows labels to promote single songs which will appear above the main playlist/playback interface. The feature is opt-out, which means that it will be automatically enabled for all users.

Spotify has said that the feature is aimed at free users but premium users are also seeing the toggle and the accompanying sponsored songs. However, the difference may be that premium users will be able to turn the feature off while such a thing may not be possible for free users.

Sponsored songs are instantly playable and can be saved in an instant, allowing labels to easily promote songs, such as new titles or those which are underperforming.

Like Facebook, Spotify likes to sometimes test out new features on a select group of users before deciding whether to roll them widely or not. As such, we do not currently know if the feature will make it to the live version for everyone.

What we do know, however, is that no one should be surprised by Spotify’s sponsored songs feature. In fact, the company may well be applauded by people in the marketing industry simply for trying out a new advertising method that is not as obvious to regular users.

One thing that has become abundantly clear to everyone in the industry is that even less tech-savvy users have become increasingly aware of traditional advertising methods as well as the tools to avoid them, such as browser ad-blocks.

To put it simply, the traditional digital advertising methods will be irrelevant in the next few years. While some will persist with traditional methods, the cold hard truth is that they are just not effective anymore.

What is effective, however, is personalized and sponsored content. Spotify’s sponsored songs is a simple yet perfect example of the new kind of advertising that will undoubtedly become the new standard before being replaced by something else.

Spotify already knows a lot about its users and their listening habits and it will leverage that knowledge to promote relevant sponsored songs that they may actually want to listen to. That way, Spotify can position the feature as a sort of “win-win” situation.

Another example that is also becoming increasingly popular is influencer marketing. Take a quick look through any Instagram page with a decent number of followers and you will see branded content throughout.

The best news for marketers is that they do not even have to hide such practices. Before, advertising in an Instagram post may have been seen negatively.

Now, influencers are transparent about sponsored content but they make their followers believe that they actually support the brand/product/service or whatever else it is that they are promoting.

Marketers and advertisers should take note here. While the implementation of sponsored songs may leave something to be desired, the idea is a solid one.

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IoT & Wearables: Workplace

While many of the major tech companies have focused on the consumer side of IoT and wearables, others have recognized that there is a lot of potential in the enterprise as well.

IoT and wearables in the workplace offer unique opportunities for new experiences within the office, in the interactions with clients, in gathering data in new and possibly more efficient ways, and in a lot more areas.

When data reigns king

In most businesses, data is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Marketers need to gather data about potential target audiences, measure the potential of marketing campaigns, and track traffic, responses, and more.

Imagine, for instance, a retail store equipped with a variety of IoT devices such as Apple’s own iBeacons. Such devices could track exactly how consumers operate within those facilities so that the store can be refitted accordingly.

Identifying, measuring, and quantifying consumer responses to processes like marketing and advertising would be instant and unfalsifiable, especially when paired with the rising artificially intelligent services that can provide a host of analyzing features.

Gathering data through IoT and wearables in the workplace is still an area in its infancy. However, it is reasonable to assume that such devices will assist in data gathering in the future, especially as technologies like 5G become commonplace.

Every process can be simplified

Any and every process in a business can be simplified, especially if it has to do with a mundane task that takes up a lot of time for no reason.

For instance, the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport recently installed sensors in several of its restrooms. Then, it paired those sensors with smartwatches equipped by the housekeeping staff.

The application of those technologies was simple: once 150 people had used the restroom, the staff would get an alert on their smartwatch that the restroom should be cleaned. In an instant, the process of checking up the restroom became much more simplified.

The potential list of applications here are endless. Processes across every industry from medicine to hospitality could be vastly simplified, improving the customer experience and saving resources in the process.

Wearables may be as ubiquitous as smartphones

Today, it is unthinkable for office employees not to have access to mobile devices. Most people in the world own a smartphone and such devices are actively used in enterprise in a thousand different ways.

It is not unthinkable that a similar pattern may emerge with wearables as their associated technologies become more accessible.

The point here is not to think in restrictive terms. When thinking of wearables, for instance, most people will bring a smartwatch to mind. However, a wearable can be absolutely anything.

It could be a simple sensor in an otherwise “dumb” piece of clothing, a wristband with tactile feedback, even a pair of glasses with HUD-like information.

IoT can assist with both background and foreground tasks

With mobile devices, most applications in the enterprise are concerned with active tasks. For example, a team may use Slack for easy collaboration or a dedicated app to solve tasks within the company’s framework itself.

IoT, however, can provide new avenues for interaction both actively and passively. For example, simple sensors may detect who is working on any given office, allowing queries to be directed in a quick and efficient manner.

Several concerns should be addressed straight away

Cyber-security is an increasingly important area that many companies unfortunately neglect. With IoT and wearables, the potential for abuse is enormous and should not be discounted.

For example, there are very real privacy concerns about using sensors and other types of devices to gather data about people. In the example I used about the retail store there is the issue of consent, for instance.

It is equally important to consider such concerns within the workplace. For example, what data should a company gather from its employees automatically? How will that data be analyzed and store to ensure fairness and anonymity, especially if they are used as performance indicators?

Such concerns should be addressed before IoT and wearables in the workplace become any more popular. Knowing the answers to such questions before they pose problems is the only way to ensure that the integration of such technologies will be as smooth as possible.

Conclusion

IoT and wearables in the workplace have a very good chance of disrupting several businesses and entire industries if implemented correctly. Right now, they come with plenty of issues that make them undesirable for widespread implementations.

Though some issues may persist well into the future, most of these will be solved sooner rather than later. Connectivity, for instance, will only improve over the years.

Have you been using any kind of IoT and wearables in the workplace? Share your stories in the comments below!

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In-display fingerprint sensors to arrive next year

Biometric security features are popular with both manufacturers and consumers. Now, Qualcomm wants to take things a step further by adding in-display fingerprint sensors to smartphone by summer 2018.

When fingerprint sensors originally arrived, quite a few people were skeptical about their usefulness, particularly because early models were more expensive than their counterparts.

Now, however, fingerprint sensors are standard in virtually every flagship out there and users are very much used to using them to unlock their phones, log in to apps without having to enter their passwords, and more.

According to Qualcomm, the new fingerprint sensor will work with every chip in the Snapdragon 200 series and onward. That means it will work on both current and future generations of Android devices.

On top of all that, the company also reports that these ultrasonic sensors will also be able to pick up  a user’s blood flow and heartbeat, additional measurements that may be employed for increased security.

These new in-display fingerprint sensors will work under metal, glass, and underwater. The placement of fingerprint sensors has long been an issue for debate amongst consumers with some preferring a placement in the front rather than in the back.

With these sensors, however, such debates will be a thing of the past. All current trends point towards bezel-less devices with screens that take up as much space as possible with phones like the Galaxy S8 and the newly announced Essential Phone making like-minded moves.

Biometric security methods that make things more convenient are always welcome and it certainly seems like these in-display fingerprint sensors will move the industry a little bit forward which is particularly interesting for those who truly appreciate bezel-less displays.

It seems that biometrics are experiencing a mini Renaissance as an increasing number of companies are investing in the field. For example, Token recently announced a wearable ring that acts like an always-on fingerprint sensor and can authorize payments and interact with other smart products.

While biometrics can also be abused, they offer new pathways for casual users who are not particularly good at managing strong passwords and end up using incredibly insecure methods of interacting with technology.

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