Tech Trends Expected Over the Next Decade

Technology has been constantly evolving for decades now. Over the past two decades in particular, we have seen major changes to our way of life come seemingly rapid fire. The growth of these advancements isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

But what does the next decade look like? What are the biggest trends on the horizon? Here is what to expect.

Developments in AI

Artificial Intelligence is one of the hot button topics within the tech world. Just what are the capabilities? Where can we expect it to develop over the next year, five years, or 10 years? Creating AI enabled tools seems to be the next step in the development.

Some advanced AI models can create specific tools targeted to solve very specific issues. More and more businesses are looking to explore the boundaries of AI-assisted design, graphs and ontology, small data, generative AI, and more. Automation is a big part of what is to come and AI will lead the charge.

Trust in Algorithms

There is a greater importance on the protection and security of data and privacy than ever before. With big companies such as Facebook and Google constantly coming under scrutiny for violating those terms, the ball is there to be picked up by others.

Technologies that are tied to algorithmic trust include differential privacy, secure access service edge (SASE), responsible AI, explainable AI, and authenticated provenance. Each with the goal of reducing risk and loss of trust with partners, employees, and customers.

New Materials

Traditionally, silicon has been the go-to material for the tech industry. That said, we are approaching the physical limits of silicon, leading to a breakthrough in advanced materials that will make technologies both smaller and faster.

Biodegradable sensors, DNA computing, and carbon-based transistors are just a few of the materials gaining traction. After all, we are living in a world of Moore’s Law, which dictates that the number of transistors within a dense integrated circuit will double every couple of years. That means the need for better, more readily available materials.

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How to Create an Emergency Action Plan

No matter how well we prepare, emergencies can and will happen. Natural disasters are more prevalent in some areas than others, leading to things such as fires and flooding. There are also chemical spills and gas releases. That’s not even accounting for workplace violence and civil disturbances.

For that reason, having an emergency action plan is of the utmost importance. After all, when things go awry, you need to have a plan to ensure that people remain calm and safe throughout the emergency. Here are a few things your action plan should have.

Escape Routes

No matter the work site, there should always be a path to escape. Whether it be fire, chemical spills, or violence, there should be predesignated paths to exit the building. Route assignments are also a helpful manner of executing these plans.

Medical/Rescue Duties

The goal in an emergency is to get medical and rescue professionals on the scene. That said, it takes them some time before they arrive. Having duties assigned to workers can help to bridge that gap before the professionals arrive.

Procedures for Those Who Remain

While the goal is to get everyone out quickly and safely, there should also be procedures in place for any employees who need to remain to perform or shut down essential plant operations, perform essential services, or operate fire extinguishers. There are some services that simply cannot be shut down in the event of an emergency alarm.

Contact Information

It is also helpful to designate titles and distribute contact information for individuals both inside and outside of the company that can be contacted for additional information. These individuals would also have extra responsibilities related to emergency events.

Secure Document Storage

Most businesses have onsite storage for their records. That said, there should be a secure onsite or offsite storage location where duplicates are kept. This way a company is not left completely lost in the event that a fire destroys one set of copies or leaves them unusable in the future.

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Why Achieving a Work-Life Balance is More Vital Than Before

Nowadays, people have the idea that you have to work hard to achieve your goals, which is true! But in today’s society, where everything is upside down and more than likely, many people are working their jobs remotely, there needs to be a sort of work-life balance to your job. And it’s true, prioritizing work is vital at times, but there also needs to be an equal amount of time for self-care, in which we can focus on ourselves so that we can fend off things like anxiety, weight gain, even physical issues like diabetes or cancer.

Approximately 57% of the working adults in the United States say that work-life balance is essential, giving them time with their families. Balancing self-care with your work life is one of the main things that can keep you from experiencing burnout. Companies use flexible work schedules, prioritizing the work done rather than the number of hours achieved. Some places even give extended maternity leave– in Uruguay, they offer 22 days leave and coordinate 6 months of part-time pay to the parent.

Stress caused by work generally causes physiological reactions. These reactions are called allostasis, allowing your body to adapt to the stressors you encounter. However, sometimes they can fail to turn off, resulting in wear and tear on your system from the overactivation of the reactions. How do you undo the damage? A healthy work-life system. Time away from work doesn’t automatically undo the years of damage to your system, so making the right choices with your free time can help undo the anxiety you feel.

For example, yoga and meditation are helpful in mindfulness activities, as they let you live in the moment and highlight the good things that happened that day. Spending time with your family, partner, and pets can help you with your everyday stress. Planning date nights with your partner or scheduling movie nights with your friends can help too! Relaxing your body away from your work is essential for you to be the best you can be in the workplace. A good balance is critical to your overall well-being and happiness.

Disconnecting from your work on the times that you are off is also incredibly important. Whether staying off the email, the Slack, or just not picking up the work phone, prioritizing yourself is essential to your balance between work and life.

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Using Technology to Improve Your Fitness Routine

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If you’ve been a victim of the newly named “Quarantine 15,” it is not too late to turn back! Staying fit while staying at home has never been so easy, thanks to the abundance of ways technology can actually improve your fitness. Read on to find out how!

Fitness Tracking Apps

Since many individuals work out with their phones by their side nowadays, it is easier than ever to track your fitness on an app. There are many free fitness apps with a variety of features available for download. You can use these apps to track your heart rate, be trained by professionals, gain access to workout guides and more. These apps will keep track of how many calories you’ve burned, how many steps you’ve taken, etc. This is a great way to keep yourself accountable as to whether you are meeting your fitness goals or not. 

Online Fitness Classes

Upset that you can’t go to the gym because of covid restrictions? Thankfully, fitness instructors have been quick to think of an alternative. Many organizations now offer live fitness classes online as a way to keep individuals active while also making them feel part of a community. There are a variety of classes available, some free and others part of a subscription plan. If you are missing the community feel of fitness classes, this is a great way to become involved in an interactive group again. Create new friends and stay active with a plethora of programs to choose from.

Fitness Equipment

Fitness equipment has really been upping its game lately. With more companies like Peloton releasing equipment with interactive screens and training, individuals are able to work out in the comfort of their home while feeling like they are in a gym atmosphere. While these pieces of equipment are still being introduced and are, therefore, a bit pricey, they offer payment options in order to keep your cost spread out so you don’t break your bank when you purchase the product. Do some research on the types of equipment out there and decide which would be most beneficial to you!

In many instances, technology can be a distraction when it comes to fitness. The temptation of laying in bed to watch television or scroll through social media is overwhelming. However, technology also has many benefits and can help individuals meet their fitness goals quickly, especially while stuck at home for the time being.

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How Your Company Can Use LinkedIn Successfully

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With so many social media platforms available to the public, it can be hard to know which ones to promote your business on. A social media platform that is often overlooked is LinkedIn. Read on to discover how you can effectively use LinkedIn to promote your business!

Post Status Updates

As with most social media sites, it is important for businesses to be active. Of course, if your company has a dedicated social media team, it will be easier to stay active on all of these platforms. You could post status updates about projects the company is working on or photos from holiday parties. A lot of times, this can boost your sales or create interest in joining the company. Regularly posting is a great way to get free advertising, and all companies should be taking advantage of it.

Optimize for Google

If your company does not get listed high on Google search results, LinkedIn is a definitive way to ensure your company gets more recognition. Google favors keywords listed on LinkedIn profiles. If you have done your research on effective keywords in your industry, make sure you are involving those in your company’s bio and title. As with any industry, it is important to stay aware of the ever-changing SEO trends so you can update your bio if needed. This is necessary to rank high on Google.

Connect With Potential Employees

LinkedIn is all about connections. Your company should use connections to build authentic relationships with others, not just to try to sell something. Building these authentic connections can eventually lead to new customers, but you should not be too forward in trying to market yourself. Additionally, you can find potential new employees on LinkedIn. Most individuals do use the app for job searching, after all. This is a great space to meet someone virtually and observe their qualifications before going through all the steps of an interview. Making connections and positioning your brand as a great place to work will more times than not encourage people to apply for your positions, giving you a larger candidate pool to choose from.

LinkedIn is the app where connections happen. You should be utilizing this platform to the best of your ability instead of putting it on the backburner. While it can sometimes be overshadowed by some of the bigger platforms like Facebook and Instagram, it is no doubt a fantastic marketing tool that could significantly impact your business. Make sure you are giving it some effort!

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Data Security Best Practices

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Being able to protect your data is of the utmost importance. There are many threats online and you want to be able to avoid them if possible. If you aren’t taking the right security measures, then you might be more at risk than you know. Read on to examine the best data security practices so that you can protect your important data. 

Restrict Access to Certain Documents

If you want to protect sensitive data from your business, then it’s not going to be smart to allow just anyone to access it. You should restrict access to important files so that only the necessary workers will be able to view them. This keeps prying eyes away from sensitive details and it makes it less likely that you’ll have a breach or a leak. You have to be proactive about security and restricting access is one of the first things that you should do. 

Make Use of Encryption

Making use of encryption is going to be crucial when you’re trying to protect your network from potential threats. You should have a good encryption service that can make using the Internet as safe as possible for you and your team. Do your research to find a reliable VPN network that will work for your circumstances. You don’t want to operate without encryption if you care about the security of your data. 

Develop a Security Plan

Developing a security plan is going to be important when you want to keep things safe, too. You should have a plan in place so that you’ll know what to do if you are attacked. If someone tries to hijack your data, it’s going to be best to have procedures to follow so that you can resolve the situation. It’s better to have a plan than to panic the moment that something bad happens. 

Ensure That Your Employees Understand 

Ensuring that your employees understand your new safety procedures is also crucial. You need to take the time to educate your employees on the best safety practices for protecting company data. If you don’t do this, then you could risk having an employee jeopardize your data. It won’t take long to train your employees if you have the right strategy and it is certainly worth your time to do so. 

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The Types of Direct Marketing

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Direct marketing is a marketing style where brands are able to talk directly to a specific group of consumers. It is an important part of modern marketing, and most companies do at least a little bit of direct marketing. If you want to learn more about direct marketing, then you’ll be interested to hear that there are several types of direct marketing to learn about. Read on to examine more about direct marketing. 

Direct Internet Marketing

Using the Internet to drive sales is a very smart idea. You can promote your goods and services online using your website and other types of content. Search engine optimization is a big part of direct Internet marketing, and you need to ensure that your website is getting the right amount of traffic. Internet marketing is a huge part of any marketing strategy in the modern era. 

Direct Social Media Marketing

You likely already know how important social media is in modern times. Marketing on social media allows businesses to connect directly to consumers. It can increase brand awareness while also helping to inform people about what your business has to offer. Many companies focus a lot of their marketing on social media specifically. 

Direct Content Marketing

Content marketing is about providing content that will be informative and valuable. This is a form of marketing that has become increasingly important over the last decade. Content marketing costs a lot less than traditional forms of marketing, and it helps businesses to get many more leads. It’s an important part of any direct marketing strategy. 

Direct Email Marketing 

Email marketing is a fantastic way to get new customers. Businesses can use email marketing software to easily send emails out to a large list of potential customers or clients. Taking the time to create well thought out emails will make a difference when you’re trying to market your business through email. This is a good way to interact with people, and it can help you to get more information about your goods or services out there. 

Direct Marketing Through Print Ads

You can also decide to use direct marketing through print advertisements. You can print ads in newspapers, magazines, and other types of media to get your message across. Advertising using billboards also falls under this category of direct marketing. Print advertising isn’t as prevalent as it once was decades ago, but it can still be a useful tool for marketing campaign managers to utilize. 

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How (and Why) to Mitigate Distractions While Working From Home

Eliminating distractions while working from home — especially with kids running around belting Frozen II and housemates doing mid-day workouts — might not be entirely feasible. However, it is still possible to mitigate distractions. After all, they’re hurting you — and your business — more than you might realize. You might have heard the popular statistic that you need an average of 25 minutes to get back to your original task after a distraction.

But there’s more affecting your productivity than that. We looked through some of the research behind the psychology of distractions and found some interesting insights:

  • Distractions have a demonstrably negative effect on our ability to perform, even when the distractions had little significance.
  • People who consider themselves at multi-tasking may be worse at moving from task to task than others.
  • Even if you attempt to “move on” to another work-related task, you may find yourself distracted by the first task of your day.

With that in mind, let’s dig deeper into the studies and find some better strategies for managing distractions:

1. Too Much Information Has a Detrimental Impact on Performance

In one UK study, researchers had volunteers carry out problem-solving tasks in a quiet environment—then tested them while they were “bombarded with new emails and phone calls.” Even though the volunteers didn’t have to respond to any of these messages, simply being aware that they were taking place had a significant impact on their ability to concentrate.

The result was that performance suffered. The average IQ dropped by about 10 points.

The conclusion is that not only are interruptions distracting, but if you allow distractions to weigh on your mind in even the slightest way, they can have a detrimental impact on performance. Given that volunteers didn’t have to respond to any email or phone call and still found them distracting, we can only imagine the impact distractions have on us when the emails and phone calls do need responses.

So try having an open dialogue with those you live with and creating a chart that hangs outside of your workspace where it will be seen that alerts housemates of your current work status. It may include options such as “available,” “busy,” “in a meeting” or “do not disturb unless facing a MAJOR emergency”.

2. Switching Between Tasks Takes Up More Energy Than You Think

A 2009 study at the University of Minnesota found the existence of what they dubbed “attention residue.” They defined it as the delay that occurs when someone sets aside one task and takes up another.

It turns out that the mental task of switching gears takes more energy and attention than we might have thought. And that led to some interesting conclusions, including the “surprising result that heavy media multitaskers performed worse on a test of task-switching ability.”

That’s right: even experienced multitaskers aren’t as good at switching between tasks as they might have thought. In fact, they may even be worse than the population at large.

This should lead most people to reconsider their approach to multitasking and asking the following questions:

  • Am I really a good multitasker, or do I just multitask often?
  • How long does it take me to “switch gears,” and do I often put off work because of the energy required to start a new task?
  • Where are some areas in which I might combine activities to minimize “switching gears” and improving my overall concentration?

These questions will help you identify some of the habits that may be leading you to lose concentration as you move from task to task. So whether you claim to be a good multitasker or not, try scheduling out your day in the early morning to help limit the amount of times you have to switch tasks and accommodate for the needs of those you live with.

3. The First Problem You Focus On Tends to Get Most of Your Brain Power

They call it “cognitive fixation.” If you like to multi-task, you may find that the first activity during your day is the one that retains most of your attention later on, even while you’re attempting to give 100% of your attention to something new.

This is evidence in favor of the strategy of attacking your most important tasks first. If you were to work on a big work project in the morning and only take on lighter menial tasks later in the day, part of your mind will continue to work on that “big” work project that you started off with. This can work to your benefit, so long as you’re aware of the effect and schedule your day accordingly.

4. Distractions are Disproportionately Affecting the Young

Millennials and Gen Zers—those most affected by the digital lifestyle—are also the groups that report the highest rates of distraction, with a rate of 74% identifying themselves as frequently distracted. This suggests something other studies have observed; the multi-tasking demands of the digital lifestyle have a detrimental effect on our ability to concentrate, which means that strategies for reducing social media usage may have long-term benefits for personal productivity and concentration.

One other reasons many of us may be suffering from distraction issues: using multiple devices at the same time can negatively affect self-control. So try to limit the number of devices you have within your reach while working from home. Allot yourself windows of time during the day — if needed — to check on certain devices.

5. Attention is a “Limited Resource”

Not only is our attention limited by the time we have in a day, but our energy is subject to the demands of being a living, breathing being. We simply don’t have as much energy to devote to willpower and attention as we’d like to have.

One study, as reported by Psychology Today, found that distractions eat into about 2 hours of our daily work lives. Given that our attention is a limited resource, the strategy of working on the most important task of the day as early as possible—while we still have the concentration to do it—may seem most effective.

One Reason to Use Distractions to Your Benefit

This post paints a very dire picture of the impact of distractions on our life. But if you can manage them effectively, you can sometimes use them to your benefit as well.

One study at Carnegie Mellon found that the regions of the brain that handle your decision-making process will still be in use even when you’re consciously focusing on something else. That means that sometimes, actively seeking distraction when you’re stuck on a problem can be a great way for you to relax, loosen up, and allow a solution to suddenly pop into your mind while you’re thinking about something else.

Otherwise, if you want to be productive while working from home, try to keep the distractions at a minimum (as much as possible), schedule out your day, and focus on your most important task of the day as soon as possible. Your calendar will thank you.

from The Grasshopper Blog – Insights for Entrepreneurs Distractions While Working From Home/

The Growth of Speech Recognition Technology

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Speech recognition technology has become very important for a number of different reasons. You might use speech recognition technology every single day to do things around the house. Whether you’re asking your smartphone a question or if you’re speaking to your AI to change the temperature of your room, you can see why this tech is seen as something that is important. The growth of speech recognition technology has been impressive and it is likely that it will continue to become a bigger part of human’s lives in the future. 

Speech to Text

Speech to text is one of the most basic forms of speech recognition technology. You can speak to your phone and it will type out what you’re trying to say in your message. The technology will continue to become more sophisticated over time. 

Creating Captions Automatically

Being able to create captions automatically is a great use of speech recognition technology. This helps to translate content that is being produced in a foreign country so that it can be understood by fans in America. It’s also very useful for creating captions so that hearing-impaired individuals can enjoy the content. 

Authenticating Using a Voice Biometric System

Another interesting use for speech recognition is in the security sector. You can use your voice as a type of voice biometric security system key. Currently, this technology isn’t perfect, but it’s something that is being explored. 

Speech Recognition Being Used for Analytics

Speech recognition is also being used for analytical purposes. For example, customer service is seen as a very important area for companies to focus on. Companies can use speech recognition technology to analyze calls between customers and customer service representatives. It allows them to glean data from the calls so that they can improve their services. 

What the Future Has in Store

In the future, speech recognition technology will likely be paired with machine learning AI. Currently, speech recognition technology is limited to being able to act on your instructions only. Eventually, it might be able to allow for true communication between humans and thinking machines. 

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How to Plan Marketing Objectives

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You need to be able to understand your marketing objectives so that you can find success throughout a marketing campaign. Your marketing objectives are going to be the smaller goals that you’re trying to accomplish on the way to meeting your large goal at the finish line. If you take the time to plan your marketing objectives properly, then you’re going to put yourself in a much better position. Take a look at how to plan out your marketing objectives below. 

Understand How to Measure Your Success 

Measuring your success is important, and you need to know how to do it. Are you going to be measuring your success by looking at the increase in your sales data? You can also measure the success of a marketing campaign using website traffic, KPIs and metrics. Consider how you’re measuring your success before you go further. 

Ensure That You Have Specific Goals

The goals that you set for your marketing campaign need to be specific. Setting vague goals and milestones won’t really be helpful. Instead of setting a goal to gain more customers, it would be better to set a goal to gain fifty new customers. Put an actual number on your marketing objectives so that you have something to shoot for. 

Set Obtainable Objectives

There is nothing wrong with dreaming big, but you don’t want to shoot for the moon all the time. Set attainable marketing objectives that you can reasonably accomplish. This will allow you to make progress toward your big goal while maintaining a clear vision. Setting goals that are unrealistic will only discourage you and your marketing team when you don’t find that level of success. 

Objectives Need to Be Relevant

Your objectives that you’re setting should also be relevant to your company and any shareholders or business owners that are involved. Setting arbitrary goals won’t really help you to gain any new ground as a business. Goals such as bringing in a certain amount of new customers or reaching certain sales plateaus make sense. Even setting social media objectives might be very relevant to your overall marketing success. 

Make Sure the Timing Is Right

Making sure that the timing is right for your marketing campaign is important, too. You want to set objectives that make sense for your company, and you need to consider the timing. If your current marketing budget won’t allow you to meet specific goals, then you might need to put things off until you can reasonably launch a more aggressive campaign. Consider your current position, and make sure that you are capable of setting these marketing objectives before moving forward. 

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