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Sensiple Skype4B Adapter in ServiceNow App StoreAugust 30, 2016

Integrating ServiceNow Incident, Request, User Management with Skype for Business (SfB) / Lync / O365 Sensiple, an award winning solution provider for collaboration, communications and customer engagement has recently listed Skype4B Adapter for ServiceNow in ServiceNow App Store Skype4B Adapter extends SfB collaboration to ServiceNow Service Teams. Sensiple’s Skype4B adapter redefines the way interaction happens within the service desks by extending unified communication & collaboration across your service delivery teams and employees or external customers. This connector supports both On-premise and Hosted implementation models and it provides users the ability to create, update and review service ticket / incident / request from SfB (Both Chat and Voice). “Skype4B Adapter will help companies to leverage their SfB enterprise voice investment for customer support calls,” said Arasappan T. Pillai, Vice President of Customer Experience at Sensiple. Sensiple's Skype4B Adapter provides highly personalized customer experience by, Delivering Intelligent Interactions Allows agents to seamlessly access Service desk tickets within the Microsoft Skype4B. This helps the agent to know the reason of the customer call, engage in a context aware conversation and save manual effort Connecting the Right Agent Sensiple has a unique ability to feature the Skype for Business Presence of a user to the service desk portal. This enables the Service representatives to interact with the users and resolve the incident swiftly Promoting collaboration Enables agents to interact in real time and gather information on the issues from caller thus avoiding gaps in communication and improving speed of resolution Benefits of Skype4B Adapter Smart Chat/Voice call routing to right agent Shows 360-degree view of the caller to Service Desk representatives for context aware conversation Improved First Conversation Resolution Reduced call handling time Improved chat channel adaptation & acceptance because of familiarity of SfB Consistent high quality customer experience by providing a unified view across all channels Resources Skype4B Adapter for ServiceNow Unified Service Desk To Understand our solution better,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUfMdcB6W0c Sign up for Demo https://s4badapter.sensiple.com To Watch our other videos, Subscribe https://www.youtube.com/user/sensiplesoftware...

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Ideal Products/Applications for Test AutomationAugust 19, 2016

The goal of automation is not to eliminate manual testing, but to reduce the number of test cases that need to run manually. In Mainframe applications, millions of records are tested. In such cases, the use of Automation Tool gives efficiency and quality, compared to manual testing in finding the defects. Automation testing is the great way to accomplish testing goals effectively with optimal usage of cost and time without compromising on quality. Choosing the right automation tool is a big challenge. Tools need to be selected based on the technology and also be ensured that there are skilled resources to support. Before automating any feature of the application, it is mandatory to have good knowledge of the application. If there are any changes implemented in the application, particular automation test scripts needs to be updated. For all applications 100% automation is not possible, there may be scenarios where manual testing is required. This is primarily because: Not all business functionalities in the application will be covered with automation scripts Manual testing is necessary for covering the functionalities that are not covered in Automation Maintenance cost might be involved if it’s a commercial tool Each Application / Product is built on a particular technology. Different Automation tools will be required to test applications that are built on various technologies. Commercial and Open source tools are available in the market. For example, Desktop based Applications cannot be automated using selenium, rather it can be done using other tools (like UFT, RFT etc.) Selecting the right automation tool is critical. It requires detailed study & analysis and various other factors such as, Testing requirement in detail Application and technology behind it Available skill set within organization Integration with other systems License cost of the tool Language supported by Test Automation Tool etc. Popular test automation tools Selenium – Open source automation tool for web based applications. UFT (QTP) – Automation tool from HP for web and desktop based applications. All products / applications serving different utilities can be automated to a certain extent with the help of various automation tools (some of them are Selenium, HP UFT, Watir, GEB and IBM RFT etc.). Given the technical detail and requirement of the application, automation tools catalyze the performance and effort of Testing in a significant way....

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Email Marketing 2016 - stay relevant with predictionsMarch 9, 2016

Email marketing is alive and fighting fit. In spite of it often being seen as an outdated digital medium, it remains relevant as an irreplaceable tool for marketers. It has evolved a lot over the past few years in terms of content, design and timing; and it is not slowing down. Reports say that email users are double in number than Facebook and Twitter users combined! And by the end of 2016, there will be more than 4.6 billion Email accounts. With the spectacular use and prevalence of email for Marketing, check out a few predictions for 2016 to make the best of the email platform. Personalization “Emails that I receive most of the time in my inbox are not of my interest” is the concern of many customers. People are more interested in receiving personalized messages, which goes beyond being addressed by their first name. A customer receiving a relevant email message as the inbox is tapped is an engaging experience than an untailored message. Hence, personalized touch will be the important expectation of any customer at present and as well as in the future. Therefore, blasting of massive emails won’t work anymore and this should be a wakeup call for all digital marketers now. Set & get it right because opportunity through personalization is vast. Mobile - Top Priority 66% of brand marketing emails are opened on mobile screens. So businesses need to reach at the customer’s place, at customer’s time on the customer’s chosen device. Marketing focus for 2016, should obviously be optimizing emails for mobile devices. The best way to engage customers on mobile devices is through responsive design, readable fonts, finger friendly buttons, concise contents etc. Movement draws attention than static Emails with videos and GIFs will conquer the stage in 2016. Embeddable content used within CTA’s helps to strengthen the message. Even though videos may not play in the inbox due to compatibility problems, there are creative ways to incorporate them in email marketing. Not only videos, GIF’s stand out in the email messages and gather attention. Live countdowns, video snippets, social media follower counts etc. can be used in email messages. If properly done, this may increase the click through rates radically and support call to actions (CTA). Others Wearables - will have their mark and it is necessary to focus on them too via email marketing in order sustain in the current trend. Lightboxes - basically a pop up in the website where the user can download or subscribe to the list of resources/collaterals, by providing their contact/personal information. By making sure that you are offering something useful to customers, you may avoid this pop up to be felt as interruption while browsing the site. In the end, the companies that are creative with email marketing will keep their businesses alive & growing. Email marketing is one of the important changes aspects of digital marketing & it will continue to progress. So the sooner you adopt and try out a few new approaches, the better it will be. By 2016, inboxes will be flooded with emails & emails marketers should be aligned with above mentioned upcoming trends to achieve their marketing goals....

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Exploratory TestingMarch 9, 2016

Exploratory Testing, which is often referred as black box testing technique is all about exploring things during testing. Unlike other testing concepts, exploring is more of a hands-on approach with minimum planning and maximum execution. Greater focus is on exploring what the software does, how it works, what functionalities go through the testing funnel and so on. The simplest definition of exploratory testing is parallel test, design and execution. Testers discover and learn about an application & simultaneously design test cases and plan execution, which saves lot of time. The steps carried out in the exploratory testing is given in the below diagram. ...

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Bringing together Perspectives in Testing: Pair testingMarch 9, 2016

Pair testing, also known as buddy testing is a latest trend in software testing. The idea is simple; it involves two supporters from different teams testing a project on the same device/computer. Typically, the pair is a tester and a developer, but the pair can also be combination of a tester, developer and an analyst. What does the “pair” do? The pair - Developer and tester, work in shifts of 1-2 hours, which is called session-based testing. During these sessions the pair brings individual skillsets and backgrounds to the table . Developer will run the tests & propose real new test cases from a technical perspective and the tester’s work is to write bug reports and suggest alternate test cases based on incumbent testing practices. What does the practice of Pair testing deliver? Pair Testing helps in closing the usual communication gap between testers and developers. It also acts as an agile form of exploratory testing (testing approach in which test design and execution takes place simultaneously), which paves the way for team members to learn from each other. A tester will be able to get an idea about how the software is built and on the other side a developer can understand how the software is perceived and used by a tester. The number of participants in testing are significantly less now and it helps in finding & analyzing the root cause of important bugs in a more easy way. When to use and When not to? Technically, if a problem is identified at an early stage, it is easier to set it right. Exploratory testing in the development phase with testers, developers and analysts helps to address issues related to functionality, usability, design etc. on time. After the release of the completed project, pair testing at post development stage will be the solution for finding the areas of improvement and supporting continuous development. As Pair Testing complements automated testing, it serves as a best solution for startups/small organizations to save time. Yet it can’t be a replacement for total testing activities because of its unofficial and examining nature. It may not be a wise choice to introduce the entire pair testing development life cycle in an existing process. However, this can be introduced as a practice in specific phases of the testing cycle. It is not applicable for scripted testing, as all test cases are pre written and one need to run the scripts. Get started with Pair Testing To get started with choosing the suitable project for pair testing, team members needs to set an approach on how to handle and schedule time for each other’s work. It is advisable to choose a pair-tester and developer who have already worked together. Size of the project chosen is important - not too small or too large. After initial discussion & one or two sessions, get comments from the pair on what worked out and what didn’t and where pair testing fits in the development cycle. Pair Testing has obvious plus points than the traditional one way testing approach. Learning and knowledge sharing - about testing & the SUT (software under test), training new team, break down blockades between team members and more importantly it is interactive & exciting. Thus, if you are be able to convince your top management that paired tests are one of the best ways to scale satisfaction with a product/service early on as well as the likelihood of skipping training, you can stand a better chance of winning a situation of being left to finish the tests & get those worthy conclusions. ...

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Application testing trends 2016 - An OverviewFebruary 9, 2016

As per the predictions of the Nelson Hall research group, the market size for overall software testing is expected to rise to around $34 billion by 2017. In the worldwide software and product development, overall quality is becoming better and better as application testing as a discipline is evolving. Agile techniques and practices are gradually being adopted, and software testing is more widely used. In fact, there has been an upward spiral in the number of companies adopting a fully operational Test Centre of Excellence with growing testing budgets. Some of the technologies in this field of testing include Mobile testing, Agile development based testing, Service Virtualization and automation. Few of them had given way to the new emergent technologies and the remaining still play a vital role in testing. With the Software Development Life Cycles becoming more faster the clients start demanding more frequent releases and changes resulting in a reduced timeframe for testing activities and creating a roadblock for running full regression cycles. In such a turbulent scenario, the main quality control and assurance challenge is to identify the areas software testing should focus on. As of 2016, the focus is expected to shift from traditional software testing towards process enhancement and optimization with the key attributes being customer experience, usability, security and performance. The following are some of the Software Testing Trends for 2016: Security Testing As companies are more concerned around security of their applications, security testing & penetration testing will be the key trends in the upcoming years, especially in the healthcare industry. Security related actions should be conducted in the beginning of the application development process rather than pushing it towards the end, which tends to happen most of the time. Security testing should include, manual & automated code analysis, Dynamic & static application security testing, review & penetration testing. Internet of Things Today the connectivity has gone beyond PCs, smartphones and tablets. Most of the day –to –day devices are connected to each other and with various other sensors to generate a huge amount of data. With a greater connectivity there comes greater challenges in the accuracy and sanity of the data being collected. IoT has resulted in significant effect on different types of testing like the connection to a large number of devices, raise in the number of scenarios and the use of different types of OS, and has enforced the use of automation in testing to provide a wider code coverage. Usability testing also plays a critical role because the IoT devices typically have a minimalistic design and a wider array of buttons and controls. Performance testing is taken to a new level with IoT because the performance of any operation depends heavily on the Internet connectivity and bandwidth. With information being transmitted over the network on a continuous basis, security testing becomes critical with IoT applications to avoid data breaches and malicious attacks. Shift from Reactive Testing In 2016, moving from reactive testing to proactive defect deterrence practices will be a major trend. Early detection of defects will be a key to success in software testing practices. In order to start this transformation, companies need to perform assessments & audits of the current process, either individually or using consultants. These results of assessments will act as a roadmap for transformation & process enhancements, with details of risks which may affect the process. All aspects being clearly analyzed & estimated, a detailed mitigation plan will be provided along with it. Testers should develop their testing skills in order to support transformation. As test & development environments are moving to cloud based infra (hybrid), testers need to learn about different DevOps skills to deal with such technologies. As mentioned in the beginning, process optimization budgets are growing for software testing. The cost of the mistake will be more than expected and companies need to be aware of the real time quality & predictability in order to take business decisions as well as make any predictions. Major task is not to collect data but to gather sensible details for any specific company and project. These data should be easily representable in a way that each and every one can understand its trends & values. Test Automation The extent of automation moves up, which makes the test engineers to focus on more complexed context-bound & customer-driven circumstances. In test automation focus, shifts from traditional regression & smoke type to non-functional requirements like performance features. Reiterating that frameworks are the other aspect of test automation, existing scripts are expected to be analyzed & optimized to support the faster delivery process. ROI is also a main concern while considering and calculating any existing activity or before launching new automation development efforts. Decent usage of test automation performance, in the right area & functionality, rather than just attaining test automation by increasing the volume of scripts, is the future of software testing. An organization spends around 52 percent of their IT budget towards QA and testing, out of which major allotments are for cloud (27%), big data, analytics (40%) and mobile (17%). On the whole, we can confidently foresee a great future for QA (quality assurance) & software testing domain, particularly in the areas of mobile, cloud technologies, automation testing, security testing and performance testing etc. Based on this testers need to scale up to meet these demanding needs and fulfill the customers changing requirements....

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Scriptless - Test AutomationFebruary 9, 2016

IT testing is known for the exhaustive number of test cases and manual toil - but is no longer a pain after “automation” in IT came as an angel in disguise. Execution times reduced there by increasing efficiency. First generation test automation tools provided macro recording facility which ran on synchronous API where the test execution engine fires a command and then waits for it to be executed. This tool was working well for short length automation and was also done by combining a logical sequence of such short length macros & the test flow. Then Came - Second generation Test Automation tools - offering full-fledged scripting with more features and supporting better user interaction. These tools simplify most of the windows based common tasks like file operations, application launch, generating elementary test reports, etc. however, these frameworks require to be built on long term test automation to go live with quality. Scriptless test automation came into play at this juncture with an approach to build an optimized test automation engine. The motive is to help the testing team to quickly build ready-to-use automated test cases and reusable code assets that have full test coverage. Testing automated withScriptless testing - an alternative to coding? The name “Script-less” suggests a NO to scripting & programming. Not to mislead, Scriptless testing doesn’t really eliminate scripting completely, and is not a substitute for actual coding of any test automation tool. It is an extremely flexible testing framework with minimal exposure to code. In simple words, it can be said that scriptless testing is an approach to conduct testing without scripting or coding in any programming language. It reduces the time required for creating automated tests by considerably minimizing the amount of scripting needed. Scriptless test automation is a more structured model where majority of test cases can be automated by functional users and those are reusable scripts. It is a myth that test architects will be involved in scriptless testing but in real-time they are actually not. Based on their expertise and knowledge, test architects will be involved in identifying possible reusable part of the test scripts. When operational scope spreads out, few new components will be added to the application and then test architects will be involved to integrate them. Scriptless automation is being refined to highly organized tools for use in multiple real time test scenarios. The developers of those tools shall have analyzed various business cases, deployment environments, operational scenarios before building each reusable components for their tools. Hence they offer a good standard of practical reliability as well. With scriptless testing, testers can create better automation scripts that showcase the core functionality of the application. This type of testing will certainly reduce the number of licenses for the testing tools. Scriptless testing will be more useful for product development companies where the same resources can be leveraged for multiple tasks. Though it has many advantages, there are few scriptless frameworks which have complex underlying codes that need to be maintained and updated periodically. Those frameworks are not free – they consume an initial & maintenance cost which is more than the tool’s cost. Therefore, choosing the right framework specific to your business requirement is the only manual effort you need to do!...

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Software Testing in the Cloud EnvironmentOctober 28, 2015

Software testing plays an important role in the software development life cycle as every customer expects zero defects &100% performance. Innovative ways in testing practices which can bring down cost and save time are always in need. Cloud computing is one of the best ways for Software testing at the present scenario which gave a new thought in delivering services in IT sector. It has advantage of distributing & using resources across the globe at the time of your convenience. Nowadays cloud providers are offering cloud based testing services on demand to test user’s application quickly and efficiently. It is similar to other cloud based services on a pay per service model. In-house Software testing is costly and consumes huge time. In this booming face of cloud computing, testing the application in cloud eliminates the cost required for creating In house testing environment. Generally cloud testing services is of two types – On Premise and On Demand ...

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Quest for Real Time Response: Machine LearningMay 26, 2015

There were days when organizations were striving for getting real time information. With mastering real time information, organizations were able to make decisions quickly. But with recent advances in analytics, cloud computing and data mining, the quest has transferred from real time information to real time ‘Sense and Response’. In the race of real time response, Machine learning is a hot concept. Machine learning basically gives the computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning is a part of Artificial Intelligence which is broadly a mix of multiple disciplines like philosophy, psychology, information theory, control theory, data science and Neuro science. The uniqueness of machine learning is its ability to adapt to a changing environment. In machine learning, computers are provided the learning algorithm. With these learning algorithms, computers try to capture the general manual behavior of user to respond to any new data. Machine Learning - Process: Machine learning is a two phased process: Training and Application. In training phase, learning algorithm automatically prepares a model from the user general behavior. In application phase, the system uses the model to sense and respond to new data. The popular learning algorithm approaches are decision tree, artificial neural network, inductive logic programming, instance-based learning, reinforcement learning etc. Machine learning has found an increasing level of applicability in real world scenarios. At present, users are experiencing machine learning in real time applications such as Google Maps, Kinect, Netflix, iPhoto and Siri - a natural language processing. Application of Machine Learning: Considering its wide scope and applicability, organizations are continuously working on finding the solution for online learning. After a long drive, the world now is able to come up with real time inference but far behind the real time response. Machine learning field requires a human resource rich in analytic ability, statistics and domain knowledge. Machine learning have many applications such as market segmentation, customer lifetime value, predictive inventory planning, condition monitoring, credit worthiness estimation, risk analytics to name a few. To reap the fruits of ever increasing data, organizations needs to evolve highly sophisticated algorithm for real time learning and response. ...

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Data LakesMay 26, 2015

In the future, difference between successful and unsuccessful company will be increasingly dependent upon its ability to leverage information. For an organization to produce great decisions, it will require two pieces of data - one with real time information and the other with historic information and even further with the ability to blend this together and predict results. As time moves on, the amount of data gathered will go up at least by one or in some cases by two or three orders of magnitude particularly when we start pulling in data from outside the organization & from the “Internet of Things” Relational data warehouses and their big price tags have long dominated complex analytics and reporting. However, the slow-changing data models and rigid field-to-field integration mappings are too fragile to support big data volume and variety. The data lake approach disables these problems. “Data lakes” is a storage depository that holds data in its innate format which is used by “Data Scientists” for ideation and discovery. It is an effective approach to the challenges of data integration as enterprises increase their exposure to mobile and cloud-based applications and even the sensor-driven Internet of Things. Data lakes store large amounts of data at a cost 10-50 times lower than traditional “Data Warehouses” and gives business users immediate access to all data. Data Lake can contain machine generated data, social media content; click stream and even video and audio. Traditional data warehouses are limited to structured data but Data Lake can hold any type of data. Data Lake accepts inputs from various sources and can preserve both the original data fidelity and the lineage of data transformations. Data models emerge with usage over time rather than being imposed as a huge block of data. The lake can serve as an assembly point for the data warehouse, the location of a more carefully “treated” data for reporting and analysis in batch mode. However some experts regard data lakes as a “Fallacy”. Data lakes are marketed as enterprise wide data management platforms for analyzing disparate sources of data in its native format. The idea is simple: rather than placing data in a data store, you move it into a data lake in its original format. This knocks out the upfront costs of data transformation which makes it a cheap storage house in this data driven economy. Risks in Using Data Lake Data lakes carry substantial risks. Biggest risk is its inability to determine data quality .Absence of any mechanism to maintain data quality ends up turning data lake into a data marsh. Another risk is certainty and access control since it is a ungoverned store. Data lakes are going to be critical for successful enterprise because what companies are realizing with the new upcoming standards like “Hadoop” & “MapReduce” is that they can keep all sorts of data about their business and form their businesses into common structure. It is bringing together application data & analytics in seamless manner because of its huge storage capacity and immediate modelling feature. ...

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Big Data Analytics - Security for Data EconomyMay 26, 2015

People and electronic gadgets are generating voluminous amount of data every day. You play a song or a video, shop through online stores or you just simply surf some popular pages, these activities are spawning data with greater velocity and even with greater variety. This large cookie collection, data exchanges and analytics worked out on such huge data collection to find out patterns and correlations is – in short Big Data Analytics. With the kind of such huge “Data Pool”, boon lies in ability to make decisions in a timely and accurate way. It also allows for improved operational effectiveness and opens up new opportunities for revenue generation. But the foul part of it lies in, how to store and process such large amounts of data? Even this, at times lead to security and fraud issues. Security is incredibly important in organization because if you ever have an attack on data warehouse and have your property stolen, it’s a reputational risk. Customers will never be interested to transact with companies who lose their private information. Chief Information Security Officer’s (CISO) are looking at measures to combat persistent threats, mitigating frauds on business processes, preventing hacktivism on their network as well as identifying internal threats for the organization. Solution for such malicious threats may be - Big Data Analytics. It improves the visibility that security team has of their security processes by monitoring the network, log information from the host, identifying information from the access management and many other security devices that organization have including Firewall & other security information. “Security intelligence” is already a big data solution mainly because it can yield terabytes of information that needs to be processed in real time or atleast near to real time to deliver important insights for organization. Whether it’s about crime detection, financial misconduct or national security, big data analytics provides the capability to store and analyze vast amounts of electronic communication data to identify patterns or connections that may indicate suspicious behavior. Big Data Analytics helps in mitigating the risks arising out of the full gamut of fraud and financial crimes like mortgage fraud, tax evasion or insider trading. Suppose using statistical parameters on a share trading platform to calculate outliers with unusual gains/losses helps to find out anomalies, which often turns out to be the indicators of fraud. Similarly, banks have been using the tool of “Predictive Analytics” for their risk and fraud management system whereby they aggregate information from multiple sources about the credit worthiness or credit score of their customers. These statistics provide banks with real time risk intelligence which allows them to take decisions based on hundreds of variables. Data privacy is still vague and tremendously intricate, making it capable of creating a major trust deficit. Therefore, organizations need to build customer friendly privacy models to enhance “Cyber-Security” and increase up business efficiency....

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Platform as a ServiceMay 26, 2015

The rapid growth of IT industry continuously brings efficiency, innovation, and agility in IT operations. Organizations are fast approaching cloud computing to gain efficiency in development, testing and creating web applications to meet customer’s demands. Cloud platforms such as PaaS allow organizations to maintain proper balance between centralization and distribution of control. Centralization of control brings consistency, economies of scale, and efficient roll out of innovation while distribution of control allows agility and flexibility to organizations to respond quickly. PaaS is an online platform where users can develop, run and manage web applications without the propriety of any complex infrastructure such as Software, Hardware, Middle-wares, Security, Database and Web servers. It gives users a cloud platform for developing, testing and running new applications without investing heavily in building infrastructure. A user needs to pay only the usage cost to service provider for using their cloud platform. Typically, PaaS allows self-service and self-provisioning of resources to support cloud architectures. PaaS is helping the organizations in many ways:- It reduces time to market new application. It provides a platform for real time automated testing and development of applications. It provides common standards for developers to integrate with web services and databases. Reduced risk as organizations are not required to build & operate infrastructure to support their applications. PaaS provides flexibility to choose any tool already installed in platform and assists in setting up of customized platform if required. However, like any other new technology, PaaS holds its list of challenges - security issues attached with cloud technology, vendor lock-in, integration with other application and standardizing developers work flows. PaaS extends businesses to multi-servers in vague geographical areas and there is always a concern for data access, authentication and authorization. Today IT world is well out of the starting blocks with PaaS. The global PaaS market will top $6 billion by 2016 with growth rate projected to be over 48% per year for the next four years. Considering the size of the market and the projected growth rate, PaaS could be a driver of infrastructure business in near future. ...

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From 'Software as a Service' to 'Human as a Service': Crowdsourcing of MicroworkMay 26, 2015

Crowdsourcing of microwork is the latest addition in today’s fast paced growing cloud technologies. With crowdsourcing, hobbyists, part-timers, and dabblers suddenly have a market for their efforts. In present global network, companies are not only trying to tap the talent of the crowd but also leveraging new opportunities by directly interacting with masses. Let’s see Sam’s case. Sam spends nearly 4-5 hours on internet. He is active on every popular social media platform like Facebook, Google plus Twitter, MySpace, Gameszone etc. He loves photo editing, text editing, graphic design, web-design, coding etc. As a fresh graduate, these activities are his routine but the bitter part is that he is still unemployed. Wouldn't it be worthy if he gets paid for these things? This is the place where ‘Crowdsourcing of microwork’ comes in. Microwork is a work that can be completed in a small block of time on a paid or voluntary basis. It is most often used to describe tasks for which no efficient algorithm has been made, and require human intelligence for reliable result. The Crowdsourcing model targets web community users as virtual labor force. Workers sign in to see a list of tasks that have been posted to the market. For each task, they see a short description, the name the requester chooses to display, the payoff for doing the task. A task might be marking the color of the product pictured in an image provided by the requester, or it might be small coding. There may be 10 instances of a given task or there may be 10,000. In this way, the model actively manages the online activity of engaged user communities to elicit the crowd’s latent productivity and creativity. Crowdsourcing can be applied to a variety of tasks ranging from complex problem-solving and open innovation in specific domains to small micro-tasks such as working in a cloud call center, quality rating on a Wikipedia article, giving an answer to requester's problem, customer feedback for a new product, small coding, translation of a paragraph from Hindi to English, or visual perception of a graphic in shape and position.In recent years, the crowdsourcing sector has grown with the appearance of a number of new companies. Samasource, LiveOps, InnoCentive, Amazon's Amazon Mechanical Turk, Mobileworks, Cloudfactory are few names which are solely based on crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing of microwork is providing a large benefit to less developed economies. The model is effectively used for work to be conducted by a marginalized or disadvantaged community. With this platform, an unemployed person can work for 'Fortune 500' companies. At the same time, companies are also getting things done for very less money.This cloud based model is not only helping the companies in meeting their current demand but also facilitating them in finding more opportunities for tomorrow. ...

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Data Science – A Step into the Digital WorldMay 26, 2015

Today, the world is being increasingly recorded and portrayed into digital bits for perpetuity. Our human existence is splashing into the digital kingdom with the pace never recorded. Talk about human emotions, behaviour, love, global business deals and so on. All of it is being measured in bytes and these when bunched together formulates MB, GB and TB. This is where “Data Science” comes in. Data science is the technique of turning data into valuable information. It makes use of techniques and theories of different areas like Information Technology, Statistics and Mathematics. But it’s not just restricted to using data but rather winning its value from data and generating more data as a result. So it is not just about crunching or re-shaping the data but also enabling the creation of data products. Let’s take the case of buying a shirt. Your preferences may be size, color, price, brand which you simply jot down on your shopping list. This denotes a piece of data. Now when you get to a multi-brand store to for shopping, you turn up to your data to pick out the shirt as per your set preferences and put in your shopping cart. At the cash counter, the teller scans the barcode on your shirt and records the price. You might have finished your shopping, but the data transformations would have started just then. With this scanning, computer notifies the stock manager to put an order for the shirt to the supplier. You have a discount coupon which you present it to the cashier who scans it and reduces the burden on your wallet by the discount amount. At the end of the month, details of each of the scanned coupons get uploaded to the Shirt Company for reimbursement to the stores. Also, at the end of the month the store managers look upto the circle graphs and scatter diagrams to analyze the monthly sales of shirts and take a decision whether to increase or decrease the number of shelves for that particular brand of shirts. Thus, the journey of small piece of data which started from your shopping list ended up at different places for decision making after some transformations. In summary, data science enables us To build strategies for financial security To identify the target markets To reduce wastage in manufacturing process To create new revenue streams This is how “Data Science” is bringing in a breakaway in the modern organizations. Data science is increasingly becoming a competitive base for the organizations. It provides action reports to executives without exposing them to underlying figures or analytics. Even the way businesses make decisions has been evolving. Today every organization wants its decision making based on real information and thorough analysis of business environment rather than on inherent tendency or the loudest voice. Data science is increasingly becoming important because ‘Future belongs to companies that can turn data (eventually customer preferences) into products’. ....

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Exploring Web 2.0 Technology for EnterprisesMay 26, 2015

Enterprise social network is a representation between enterprise and their various stakeholders like suppliers, vendors, retailers, customers, partners, employees and the general public. In today's IT driven world, social media plays an important role in getting connected to the world. Web 2.0 applications have found their way into corporate practices, and we have seen a continuously increasing demand for corporate social software to support knowledge transfer and collaborations. The organizations are continuously trying to leverage the potential benefits of social networking. Today, organizations use facebook, twitter, amazon, YouTube, flipkart etc to connect to their customers but the enterprise social graph is much beyond that. Enterprise social graph enables organizations in knowledge dissemination, collaboration among stakeholders, to enable innovation and productivity improvements. Enterprise social graph has large potential in terms of workers engagement, connections and collaboration. With their social graphs, organizations can respond spontaneously to any call in their external environment. Organizations had first developed enterprise centric tools in mid 90s which were mainly focused on exposing social information online. The second generation came in mid 2000 where the emphasis was on integrating work flow objects in stream and analysis capability but even after two generations, organizations had not been able to attain the potential benefits that enterprise social graphs has. Today we have entered into third generation of social technologies which are more focused to provide richer understanding mass data. To gain more, organizations are trying to integrate the social technologies with existing processes, data and applications. The suitable alignment of social technologies to ERP and CRM can bring efficiency to existing system. To be productive, organizations need platform that is secured, effectively controlled and easily manageable. The major data sources for enterprise are Supplier portals, Retail partners, Business relations, customer interactions, E-mail interactions, Social platforms etc. Now organizations need to build infrastructure which would help to extract the most relevant information for maximum benefit. The developments in big data, analytics and artificial intelligence provide numerous opportunities for designing and understanding the social graph....

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I LOVE MY VOICE! My Voice is My Password!May 25, 2015

In today’s digital world, we all have tens of passwords stored in Brain, Stickers, Papers, Mobile Phones, etc. Have you read news about lost money because ATM password was written in a piece of paper along with ATM Card? Do you know the most-used password across the Globe? The answer is very simple - literally – 123456 top the table followed by password (Can you believe many use the word “password” itself as a password?). And some other passwords in the list include 111111, 00000. The fact is that we all are running out of passwords for various systems that we use today. I still struggle whether it was my mother’s name followed by a $ or my wife’s name or my daughters names. With so many rules defined for a STRONGEST password, digital life is becoming convoluted. Failure of text based password lead to Biometrics. Common forms of biometrics used for logical and physical access control include fingerprint, facial, Iris and Voice. Have you seen Bond movies? My name is Bond, James Bond! That charismatic mesmerizing voice allowed Bond to open many doors. Yes – The solution to the Password menace lies with our own voice. Many years of research in the Voice Technology helped to utilize ‘Voice Biometrics’ as a proven Authentication system. Voice Biometrics uses simple principles of Enrollment and Verification. During enrollment process, the voice prints are recorded and stored after sensing Biometric characteristics. During Verification process, it validates the current voice with the stored voice. Based on the result, it either allows or rejects the user. “Voice Biometrics will play a major role in the Authentication world. Mobile based Biometrics will lead the mobile payment process. VB will be the critical component in Finance,Healthcare, Human resource and other sensitive applications”, says Aras Pillai, Vice President of Sensiple Software Solutions –a leading System Integrator in Voice Biometrics solutions....

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Don't Get Stuck: Sensiple’s Voice Biometrics helps Hospitals Manage HIPAA complianceApril 21, 2015

In every hospital scenario, 6 of 8 FTE’s (Security Administrators) are dedicated in provisioning and de-provisioning users. And 40% of helpdesk calls are requests for resetting the passwords. These are some of the realities that most of the large organizations face. Any typical hospital (with more than 2000 beds and 4000 employees) helpdesk averaged between 20 and 25 password resets a month, and each required about 30 minutes to resolve because of laborious process of receiving the call, placing the work order, resetting the password and then informing the busy clinician. Does this play a significant role in HIPAA? The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that health institutions employs procedures that protect the disclosure of an individual’s personal health information, ensuring privacy and security of information as it is collected, processed and transferred to other health organizations. Password management is a critical component of your HIPAA compliance plan. These passwords also protect your PM and EMR systems, and all the critical Protected Health Information they store. Let’s take a look at the Administrative Safeguards section of the HIPAA Security Rule. 4. PASSWORD MANAGEMENT – § 164.308(a)(5)(ii)(D) The last addressable specification in this standard is Password Management. Where this implementation specification is a reasonable and appropriate safeguard for a covered entity, the covered entity must implement: “Procedures for creating, changing, and safeguarding passwords.” In addition to providing a password for access, entities must ensure that workforce members are trained on how to safeguard the information. Covered entities must train all users and establish guidelines for creating passwords and changing them during periodic change cycles. In accordance with HIPAA regulations, all new passwords must be “strong,” meaning difficult for individuals and automated systems to decipher and be frequently changed once in 120 days. Creating new passwords frequently may help to lessen short-term risk. People often forget their password particularly after a long weekend and vacation. Secret questions as a backup password is a bad idea. Speech-Activated Password Resets Here’s a solution that uses voiceprint as a backup password. Sensiple’s Voice Biometric Password reset solution, prompts the user a passphrase to repeat to reset the password. Using Sensiple’ Voice biometric Password Reset solution, enterprise users can reset their own passwords quickly and securely. After a simple one time enrollment, users can access the system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over any telephone to reset their password. The real beauty of this system is that it doesn’t require any customer support personnel to deal with the user. Voice verification enrollment takes about 30 seconds to register using their own easy-to-remember phrase and identity verification takes less than 5 seconds. Quick ROI can be realized within two months and our solution helps to save 70% Opex and Time in a year. Voice Biometrics to protect Patient Data Integrity Voice biometrics solutions are increasingly used to secure tablet and smart-phone based healthcare applications. Voice biometrics helps in ensuring that only the designated person is accessing sensitive EMR data through a tablet or patient viewing his results on his smart phone app. ...

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Ensemble InteractionsApril 3, 2015

Collaboration of content from multiple channels is needed for a business to be successful and make informed decision. Ensemble interactions help to do the same by syncing multiple devices for completing a task in the best possible manner. Some of the capabilities of this multi-channel multi device ensemble interaction include: Synchronization Screen Sharing Coherence Device Shifting Complementarity Simultaneity ...

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Data as a ServiceMarch 30, 2015

Data as a service (DaaS) is usually referred as the cousin of Software as a service, for the simple reason that in both the cases the product i.e. data and software, is provided on demand. Service is provided regardless of geographical constraints between the user and the provider. DaaS was initially used in web mash-ups but it is now used more commercially. Usage of DaaS provides convenient and cost effective solutions to the organisations which are consumer based. They can fetch data as and when required rather than maintaining a huge repository. One more reason for the wide spread popularity of DaaS is the fact that high speed internet is readily available around the globe, round the clock. This makes data retrieval easier. There is no limit to the types of data that are available in DaaS – be it financial data, census, geographic, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, anything can be made available. The main advantage of using DaaS is that the data is retrieved as a block regardless of the application for which it is being used. So, it makes life easier for the organisations which have varied consumer/client bases. They need not worry about the application for which the data is being retrieved. Since the demand for DaaS is increasing rapidly, there are numerous vendors offering the service. Basically, these vendors charge customers either based on the volume of the data retrieved or based on the type of data retrieved. Volume based can be further divided into quantity based pricing and pay-per-call pricing. In quantity based pricing, the consumers are charged as per the quantity of data retrieved. In pay-per-call pricing model, the consumers are charged as per the number of requests they send for data retrieval. As mentioned earlier, DaaS is gaining immense popularity. So it is obvious that DaaS provides innumerable benefits to the users as well as the service providers. The benefits include Agility – Due to the simplicity of data retrieval, consumers can easily move from one platform to another. Cost Effectiveness – Since data is retrieved as a block/package, it reduces the cost. Also the providers can build the base with experts and can outsource the presentation layer, which further reduces the cost. Quality – As the update is through single point, the quality of data is assured. Ease of collaboration Accessibility Auto updates Even though DaaS provides various benefits to the user there are few concerns over security, privacy and other similar stuffs which are common for all cloud based technologies....

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Cloud BurstingMarch 30, 2015

In recent times, we have access to huge volumes of data. The reason for this explosion of data can be attributed to social media. Since the data availability is exploding, the complexity of processing is also increasing. Every organisation will have its own private/internal cloud for data processing. All the requests from the user and the internal requests will be processed in this private cloud. The private cloud will be configured according to the organisational needs and it will have a limit for processing the requests. If the private cloud runs out of resources, the organisation can burst the additional workload to the public/external cloud on an on-demand basis. This process is known as cloud bursting. Cloud bursting becomes extremely crucial in catering to the varying workload levels. An internal cloud will never have a capacity larger than the average workload of the organisation. But there is no guarantee that the workload will forever be within the average limit. Spikes are quite common. Few days it may be more and few other days it may be even more. To overcome this, the concept of cloud bursting is used. You may wonder why the capacity of internal cloud is never increased! The reason for this is the additional cost involved in doing so and these spikes come and go. So any organisation will try to keep the resources limited and control costs.- Cloud bursting is not as easy as it is described here. As mentioned already, it is available on on-demand basis. Private vendors will manage external data centres and make it available for organizations on demand. There are many challenges involved in this process. Since many organisations will be using the same external cloud, there may be security concerns and it is possible for the external cloud to run out of resources. The main challenges in this regard are: App Configuration Management – Cloud bursting an application involves the use of same type of resources. But there may be variations in the versions of software available in the external cloud. So it is essential that all those applications are configured properly or else it will result in fatal errors. Pro-active Communications – If the data and application are in different clouds, then there is a possibility of latency. This will eventually decrease the efficiency especially when the communication is over public internet. So, this route should be optimized. Encryption & Security – As always security is a major concern, because several users will be accessing the cloud at the same time. So it is essential that the channels are properly encrypted. There are several approaches available to create secured communication channels. Cloud bursting will show the way for organizations to optimize storage costs while taking care of data security. Companies will make the best use of infrastructures by launching resources on demand and managing workloads in the best way....

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Reviews are more than a matter of trustMarch 27, 2015

Ecommerce has attacked the retail stores big time replicating store experience. There are pros in each account – the comfort at your door step and view of large product varieties in a single screenshot are advantages of ecommerce whereas we cannot get the touch and feel of a product online as in a physical store. At this point, let us take a moment to think how online has built its trust in selling products to our eyes without actually giving the look and feel of the product. Here come online reviews! Consumers are helping themselves to build credibility over online shopping -- description of the performance, service, quality and feedback on the delivery, seller response etc., these are different perspectives of user experiences. These are quick references to assess a product and obviously consumers trust those reviews of peers for decision making. So ecommerce has surpassed the confidence game of touch and feel of products. In fact reviews have become part and parcel of ecommerce experience. It is the retailers turn to knock the power of reviews. Takeaways for the online players: Product Flop or not, review is a default hit. Encourage good as well as bad reviews. Painting the goody things is not always a sign of trust. It is misleading at times. Consumers want to see the bad to decide upon what features they can compromise on. The more the better. Encourage more reviews. The top ten reviews could be the most read but there is no way to standardize consumer experiences for a product. The more the reviews, the more the information and the more trust on the product/service. Reviews across channels and platforms. Consumers expect to see reviews in all channels and platforms. Retailers are expected to follow the consumers on the go. You never know where the product has caught the consumer’s attention (social media, ecommerce website, seller site, ads in mobile apps …) Reviews are information as well as agents for expectations. Sometimes reviews not only nose around the wow (or flop) factors, it discusses more on product nitty-gritties and features. Reviews guide the buyer’s awareness and consideration in evaluating a product. This also sets expectations of the product for the consumer. Unique perspectives. Reviews are a feedback for the analysts to know how the product is faring in the market. Consumers are the most reliable critics in business. Timing. Ask for reviews at the right moment. Follow the consumer to find that right time to talk. Ask the customer if a beacon served personalized information or if the customer is happy with the new payment experience. There are specific instances when the consumer is too happy to share his purchase experience and incidents where the consumer badly needs a platform to voice his problems/complaints. Give and take. Consumers and sellers need to complement each other in trading opinions. Consumers should not feel pestered or deviated from the actual buying when asked for reviews. Consumers need to participate and endorse the product and influence others buying decisions. Retailers, at the same time, need to be warm in inviting the users to post their feedback – simple and easy to fill surveys. On a further note, reviews are primary market research data. They are powerful real-time inputs to analyze the status of a product in the market place. Retailers can skip the brainstorming and drawing board sessions and directly tweak their strategies for business. And it works because the consumer has asked for it!...

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Getting Closer To Your Customers Than Ever BeforeMarch 25, 2015

To survive in today’s unrealistic and sceptic market scenario, taking that extra step in delighting your customers, makes a difference. Guiding the customers along their customer journey serves as the heart and soul of contact centers. This poses challenges in terms of agent cost, interacting at the right time. Proactive Notification system helps in prompting the delivery of customized services to a slate of customers while accommodating their needs and preferences. Recent Forrester survey predicts that 29 percent of enterprises are planning to invest in outbound communication for the forthcoming years. Outbound communications will help companies in adapting services lines according to the preferences of their customers. It is an integral part of every organization to query their customers, in their earlier part of their engagement lifecycle and identify their service preferences. Proactive Notifications have been widely used by companies in healthcare, financial services, travel and tourism industries. These industries thrive on empowered relationship with customers. Companies can exceed customer expectations by constantly fine-tuning the messages based on urgency. Some usage scenarios in different industries include: HEALTHCARE: Appointment reminders Prescription refill reminders TRAVEL AND TOURISM: Proactively communicate to the customer’s information on check-in, flight changes/updates and upgrades Travel loyalty programs UTILITIES: Remind customers of late payment courtesy calls Alert customers of disruptions to prevent a spike in inbound customer complaint calls Alert customers of a system shut down management Welcome Greetings Alert staff on emergency situations to ensure safety Notify customers when power has been restored RETAIL INDUSTRY: Billing and payment information Loyalty programs Order confirmation status Order shipping and delivery status Personalized promotions Sensiple Notification system helps to imperatively drive revenue and profits by: Engaging customers with market opportunities to make them take advantage of multiple item purchase and product offers Provoking early subscription or service plan renewals which will step up the revenue streams Holding off the missed revenue opportunities by avoiding late and missed appointments Keeping the customers engaged via various channels There will be an increased usage of proactive outbound notification in the marketplace to reach customers via different channels in the future. As long as vendors remain focused on providing right information at right time to their customers, there will be a tremendous growth for this system in the market place for the forthcoming years. ...

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Software Defined SomethingMarch 17, 2015

‘Software defined’ means anything that is dynamically configurable or that which offers most of its administration functions via API. By using Software defined something, computer infrastructures are virtualised and delivered as a service. For instance in a SDX environment, networking, storage and data centre services are automated by software instead of hardware. EVOLUTION OF SDX ...

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Simplest Way To Make Best Of Big DataMarch 13, 2015

Big data refers to any kind of data source with high velocity, wide variety and in extreme large volumes. Big Data enables organizations to gather, store, manage, and manipulate vast amounts of data at the right speed and time to gain the right insights. Data sets such as customer transactions, social media interactions can outpace the existing data management tools but how do we make a balance of the data flare-up? STEPS TO MAKE THE BEST OF BIG DATA Identify the Strategy: Organizations can be successful if they develop a data-driven culture .Before making use of the big data, a first step is to develop a strategy or a model on what the organization is focusing upon .This helps in streamlining the data collection process towards the business objective. Data Collection: The next step is to capture the required data to meet the objectives. This is the step where the masses are tracked on their past behaviour. Data Analysis: The data obtained from the previous step is vast and unstructured and to bring it down to useful insights, the organization has to use various statistical tools and techniques. This would filter out the unnecessary details from the useful information. Report the Results: The insights discovered have to be presented in a format that it is easy to identify the key variables at a single glance. Data Visualization techniques and dashboards have to be used such that the top management and the clients can easily understand what the insights are about and how it meets the business objectives. Implement the Changes: The last step is to bring about a positive change in the organization by making it more data-driven. Insights are now driven to actions resulting in successful campaigns. Big Data in itself will not bring success. Organizing the concept for business needs is the best way to make use of Big Data. The organization has to first answer why it is using big data, how big data is being used to meet strategic, tactical and operational objectives for business. Only if it identifies the purpose of using big data and then implements it, big data will be beneficial. ...

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Using Analytics to Improve your IVRMarch 3, 2015

You would have faced many a times, frustrating experiences with IVR systems. And wondered for whom is this IVR system designed for? The choices didn’t seem to match up. User interfaces weren’t intuitive, leaving the user dissatisfied. “Your phone system is so confusing”, “Selections are quickly read, before I could interpret”. Each time the system kept saying “I do not understand your request” DMG estimates that majority of IVR scripts and VUI have not been refreshed in over 3 years. As a result, IVRs continue to frustrate callers. IVR optimization is the single largest improvement opportunity in today’s contact centers. AVOKE Analytics benchmark data reveals that IVR optimization is the single largest improvement opportunity in most large contact centers. IVR issues like call disconnect, mis-routed calls account for nearly 4-6% of agent calls. When it comes to designing IVR, keeping it simple would be the best strategy. IVR reports are inadequate to understand customer behavior and optimize IVR systems. It tells you that your IVR is behaving as it was designed, but does not give you any clue whether it is working for your customers or how to improve it. IVR analytics tools help in analyzing calls end-to-end and provide valuable insights into where customers are struggling in the IVR. Sensiple has been partnering with leading IVR analytics providers. And with our years of experience in IVR, we have analyzed overly complicated IVR systems of our clients. Some of the key performance indicators (KPI) that are critical for improving an IVR system are: Customer Displacement Rate: percentage of calls that do not require the help of agents Customer drop-out Rate: Pinpoints exactly where callers request the assistance of a live agent Call Containment-How many customers hang-up in the IVR IVR Logs and Log-based Reports- Engineers view detailed logs describing callers interacting with each prompt Automated Speech Recognition: predicting the accuracy of ASR engine Some of the leading tools available in the market are BBN, ClickFox and Nuance. 1. BNN captures the whole-call recording of the call, until it gets transferred to an agent. The captured audio files are loaded into AVOKE application for analysis. The findings are presented as reports and dashboards. Companies can use this data to identify the root cause of IVR issues. 2. ClickFox works by ingesting raw data logs from various third party systems. Using a behavioral pattern recognition engine, builds a path visualization layer that displays customer’s task flow for every transaction. The system builds a model of the exact path the customer has taken for each transaction, on a granular level. 3. Nuance records a predefined percentage of calls, end-to-end, including IVR and agent conversations. A full text transcript is created and natural language analysis of all captured calls are performed. Nuance Voice Insight to systemically group calls by caller intent/category so that this information can be further analyzed. Managing a poorly designed IVR would no longer be an excuse to companies. Its going to cost you less to implement IVR analytics, but you can see the returns in 3 to 6 months itself. ...

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The Dummies Guide to Social MediaFebruary 27, 2015

Remember the scene where Professor Charles Xavier locks himself up in a room, wears a helmet and then connects to a world beyond his reach? In that world he voices his thoughts that travel far and wide to gather a crowd of audience. Social media! Considering the fact that it gives your ideas and eloquences a reach that was not previously possible in real time is similar to what Charles Xavier uses in X-men. It has now become an essential two way media that shifts the paradigm where human and business interactions takes place. What is Social Media? Social media has now become synonymous with the word internet itself, for many the first entry into this digital realm is invariably through social media sites like Facebook, twitter etc. The advent of Web 2.0 opened up the internet world to an interactive hub, where discussions and interactions manifests first online rather than in the real world. Let’s be clear about the fact that Social Media is not just social networking sites like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn; they are platforms for engagement and thus explains the reason why it apparently becomes social media itself. Social media is simply the content that you upload, it could be blogs, eBooks, podcast, newsletter, video or audio. There were many who has sowed the seeds in Social media some have withered yet some remain stronger after a decade of existence. The one thing that we can be sure of with almost 74% of internet users is that social media is going to be a staple be it for business or personal communication. Social media Sites There are many social media sites in existence today and you might even be a part of one or more of these; it could be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, vimeo or Youtube all of these give a certain way of engagement with the audience. Facebook: Perhaps the most used social networking site of all with a whopping 1.32 billion monthly active users. The users create their profiles and network with people. It is an essential network that lets us choose what interests us, post details about our life with discretion and also to engage in discussions. Many apps have been developed around this website. Twitter: This networking site is about micro blogging. If an audience is to be engaged, care has to be taken to make the most of the 140 words providing an interesting outlook. The 140 word limit blog is called a tweet in this network. It has gathered great response with its short and effective style in this attention deficit world. YouTube: Essentially a free video sharing website. It enables us to upload, view and share videos. Discussions and followers can help in understanding the pulse of the people watching it, which can give us an idea of the people watching it. LinkedIn: Much similar to Facebook but with more focus towards your business. It is an enormous database of professionals from around the world. Up-to-date views on industry trends and job prospects can be found. Acquiring and sharing expertise enables us to satiate ourselves with a stream of knowledge. Engage with your Social Media Social media is your push strategy. Make sure that the contents that you post should be a way that opens up a dialogue and get people to network rather than just being passive about it. Once the effective push is given, the contents should facilitate effective engagement and interactions. Find the correct social medium engage with the audience on a regular basis to keep them interested. Let the posts be more about giving rather than taking, bridge the gap with the products you have to offer. Social media is definitely a very essential tool to generate interest and to pull customers to your business. So integrate your social presence by social media and enhance them by social networking....

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How the Internet of Things Makes the World A Better PlaceFebruary 27, 2015

I would rather be a glass half full person rather than be a pessimistic, digital warmongering, glass half empty sort of person. The whole balance of the world in fact resides with the magic that is of opposite energies, but time and again there has been promise of a utopia and closely followed cynicism of a muddled dystopia. Even more profound is the promise of technology being the new savior to help us from this dystopia and help us get to the point of the promised digital utopia. Utopia or not, I am a firm believer of the power of technology, more so in the power of Internet of Things which is the new face of the tech front. Granted it wouldn’t be the Promised Land but then it can make the world a better place than how we know it now, technology right now is rather incomplete, it is still an imperfect creation of humankind which is evolving to be a better companion to mankind. Internet of things, the new paradigm, is all set to take us closer by leaps and bounds to be the right fit medium of technology. It can help us in ways that would possibly be limited by the imagination of humankind, the transformation of daily life in the way we work, travel, communicate, exercise and shop would be nothing like what we have experienced. The IoT Promise Let’s start with the environment, especially with a lot of attention on building sustainable models it would only make sense for a new tech paradigm to take the lead and protect the environment we live in. With IoT it is now possible to bring an end to all the anxiety surrounding Al Gore and his predictions of world doom through a flood. The sensors and its communication with other devices would inform us of the conditions about the environment in real time. This could help us be informed about soil moisture, pollution levels and soil conditions to help proactively combat climate issues. Our bodies would help keep a check on the vitals and alert doctors of possible ailments and health conditions that need to be checked. This can help to reduce instants of cardiac arrests and check whether if the cardiac arrhythmias are in safe range. Higher energy consumption at home can be checked with smart meters, alerting you to check the use of high power consuming items during peak load. It can help you in regulating the temperature of your thermostat and switch off those power appliances when not in use. Homes can also be embedded with state of the art security that can help you sleep better knowing your home is being protected with direct transmission to your local police station about any unusual activities. Be it at your home or the way you commute, Internet of Things would definitely be an aide in the years to come. It can touch your lives in more ways than one leaving an indelible mark on the lives on which it has touched. I mean seriously, could you even fathom a future with no upgrades of the current tech be it twitter, Facebook or YouTube, forget that could you even imagine being transported to an era of Web 1.0 of read only web! I sure can’t! Let’s see the change, let the old tech be replaced by a newer, more perfect tech creation, one that can lay aside all the digital warmongering and help us build a better world through technology. ...

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7 Problems with the Internet of ThingsFebruary 27, 2015

With the advent of IoT, ubiquitous computing is set to be the norm to which our normal lives are marching to. All things that are now not connected would find themselves more in place with connectivity features being embedded onto it-- making it a gigantic network of interconnected things. The pros associated with are promising so is the disclaimer which asks us for more secure and seamlessly communicable devices that can speak the same language. Technology in the new world is all set to blend into the fabric of daily human life, making it a silent but omnipresent companion, changing the way we use technology and connected things. This connectivity, however, is marred by some technological and moral implications that needs to be addressed if IoT is to make us sleep better in the comfort of technology rather than forcing us to keep an eye out for possible mishaps. 7 Problems with the internet if things The following points needs to be heeded for the IoT paradigm to become a helpful ally or a chronic bottleneck. Security: Think of all the good the IoT offers and these positives invariably beckon the query of security associated with it. With IoT, the minute to the complex part of your life’s details becomes encoded in a digital format. Good things when used to monitor your vital signs or the security of your homes, but it poses the question, what happens if hackers or other non-intended recipients get hold of your data? Then what? Privacy: Forget being secure for a while, with IoT you wouldn’t even know who would be spying on you and what details of your secret life are being read and analysed by people around you. The concept of privacy would be alien to say the least. More and more companies can spy on you, with the most significant details of your life out there in the open, the possibilities of companies cashing in on the patterns of your life would be hard to evade. Compatibility: The entire buzz surrounding the mammoth interconnectivity of things and of them conversing with each other would remain a pipe dream if the devices can’t talk a common language. At present all the manufacturers of Internet enabled devices have their own proprietary technologies that they embed into the devices; this can pose a serious implementation risk as different protocols would not talk to each other thus reducing the actual impact of an IoT enabled device. Intrusion: What happens when privacy becomes not so private? Everything you think, browse and use both out there in the open and in the close confines of your rooms becomes not so confined. This pattern of usage is a great opportunity for companies to target you with things that you never wanted. The messages and targeted advertisements would turn into a digital onslaught that you just can’t outrun. Spread of malware: Malware have spread havoc and coerced irksome behaviour in our times, stopping us from our work or giving a hard time in the flow of our life. With IoT this effect becomes far more profound as the interconnectivity of devices and thus the spread of malwares through these connected devices becomes more profound. Data: The most important use of IoT is when data plays the part of the enabler; it should be in a format that can be comprehended by the interconnected devices. The streams of data generated needs to be stored, they need to give out these data when required and needs to be analysed to make sense out of it, and these are very practical and real problems that would accompany IoT. Employment: The risk posed by IoT on the scale of automation it brings to the employment landscape is challenging. There could be a lot of people who end up losing their jobs, creating an issue of unemployment in the society. This is a problem that accompanies any new technological paradigm shift and it needs to be addressed with proper education. Yes, granted there are problems with the Internet of Things but the promises it offers are far more promising, besides a few tweaks with security, privacy and making them embedded into the system can go a long way to secure those ginormous amounts of data and to make sense out of it. ...

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10 Surprising ways Internet of things are more refreshingFebruary 27, 2015

The internet as we know it is essentially a human to human medium of interaction. It has been the major change agent, improving the way we connect, exchange, consume, learn, work and play; in short it has made life more easier and comfortable. Internet has constantly evolved from the days of Tim Berner-Lee’s “read-only web”, Web 1.0, to his “read-write web” era of Web 2.0. From the present day Web 2.0 we are now witnessing the next stage of evolution in much greater magnitude as we step into the era of Web 3.0 the “read-write-execute web”. Web 3.0 will see the internet breaking its boundaries of human to human interactions to an internet of everything to everything thus explaining the exponential magnitude of devices online. So far the internet has roughly the equivalent of 50 Petabytes (1 Petabyte=1024 Terabytes) of data, all these were input by humans either in the form of pictures, videos, audio and text files over the span of the web. Things are about to get much bigger with the advent of Internet of things, the kind of data generated will make the 50 Petabytes of human input like a droplet in an ocean of Web 3.0 data. The connected devices can intrinsically consume data it requires to transform into information and how do they do it? The answer lies in the frontier of semantic web. The web of the present is made purely for human consumption; semantic web would alter that by making it interpretable by machines themselves thus helping the machines to make decisions for us. This comprehension and the extraction of information from data can help us to be served by the “things” around us. The scope of this new frontier is only limited by imagination be it in your personal life or business and for luxury or for need, as time passes prepared to be amazed and pampered. Let’s get a sneak-peek into the refreshing possibilities that Internet of things can offer. Liberation of the Data The data generated by machines and humans are huge and with the advent of analytics and incorporating them into Internet Of things, essential information can be extracted. No more would the data be encrypted and made into obsolete junk instead actionable insights would be gained from them that can help make sense of business challenges. This data would be in a form that even the machines can understand thus enabling it for better communication between devices. Meanwhile back at home… Waking up: You will never miss an appointment or a flight, your personal dairy has taken a note of your early morning crusade and ensures you wake up by talking to your alarm. The curtain blinds go off, the lights come in and before you hit the shower you have a hot water bath waiting for you. As you step into the kitchen it already has the aroma of the freshly grounded coffee and a hot cup awaits you. Energy saving: After that hot cup of tea and the morning news you step out to leave for office, all the electrical appliances gets switched off as you leave the area. Security: The house goes locked down and switching on the motion sensors for intruder alert helping you feel safe and secure about the safety of your house. On the way to work Commute: You get into your car, the car talks with the local traffic updates and chooses the least congested way to commute to the office. Helps you save time and the hassle of driving around in circles. At work Reliability: Your office is at the 24th floor and with more than a few thousand people working there the elevators, automatic doors all should work glitch-free assuring you a hassle free entry into the office space. Reliability is a key issue for around the clock mechanical objects. With an embedded sensor and internet of things data can be sent for enhancing uptime and improved reliability. Operational performance/ productivity: Your productivity is going down a notch as you have worked hard for too long, your fatigue state is recognized and you are advised to stay away to recharge those sore grey matter. The state of machines can also be monitored for the optimum performance and if it is overloaded and the remaining processing capabilities left. Continuous interaction: With continuous interaction in a non-obtrusive, on time and proactive way your clients feel much cared for personally. This can also help marketers make reach out to customers in a more meaningful manner. Healthcare: It’s time for your regular pills and a reminder is sent to your phone to remind you to pop those pills. The heart rate monitor checks for any anomalies and if any updates your doctor on the same. Your usual dose of workout is monitored ensuring that you are keeping an optimum level of fitness. Environment: It can help you to monitor air pollution levels in real time giving updates on your gas guzzler and your contribution to the pollution trouble. Also get real time updates of the weather and of other calamities helping you to be prepared. The scope mentioned above is just a skin deep portrayal of the possibilities and capabilities of Internet of things. There are many things that will be connected and the future is beckoning us to embrace the evolving web by fully understanding the pros and the possible threats one can face. Internet of things is definitely what the net will evolve to be for a long time....

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Proactive SearchFebruary 27, 2015

There is no dearth of information available on the World Wide Web; in fact the volume of information sometimes is so massive that there is a dearth of “relevant” information. Time and time again, there would have been instances where much effort had been put into finding the relevant information at the expense of creative work that could have otherwise been performed. There can be arguments on the necessity of search effort but the fact remains that it is not the search but results that matter. This is where the concept of proactive search comes into play, in this rising field you don’t spend time to find what you need instead the proactive search will find the relevant information for you. How is it possible? Proactive search uses inputs from sensors, captures insights from a particular context and the user behaviour associated with it, learns them and creates answers without a user instigated enquiry. It forms a collaborative nexus of personalization, enterprise search, analytical capabilities, interactive user experience and contextualization. Why proactive search? In the field of business more specifically in the enterprise search effort, it is expected that the user knows what to search for and the keywords to be employed to find the right information. If the user is not aware of the right keyword the search effort becomes cumbersome. This unproductive search effort can be made more productive and precise with the enterprise search engines learning the user behaviour. This learning combined with application of analytics gives the unstructured content a structure. Rise of the Smart assistants Search and analytics helped by the backing of good computational power creating a situation where results are pushed rather than pulled. This becomes a good start for companies to work with smart assistants that could save you a lot of time and hassle. Such smart assistants that employ proactive search anticipate need based on the location, behaviour and contextual requirement. Smart assistants and proactive search application can automate the search process making the results relevant. Granted these concepts would take some time to get implemented in a large scale as the algorithm involved would take time to get used to the user and his set of unique needs. But once the learning and deciphering of unstructured data takes place, these technologies can fasten the access and processing of unstructured information thus effectively decreasing the time to find the solutions to organizational queries....

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The Simplest Ways To Make The Best Of Social Media MarketingFebruary 27, 2015

Social media is big and omnipresent, it is a big ecosystem of physically separate yet connected individuals around the globe, their collective association and participation makes it a platform which no company can ignore if it has to connect effectively to their customers. The sheer number of people in this virtual space itself speaks for the hidden potential that this medium has to offer, think about these stats for a moment; there are 1.39 billion active monthly users for Facebook which means that if Facebook was a nation it would be the third largest country in the world. So does twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and blogs boast of their own specialized shade of social media. There are people that are engaged in these social media sites, there are active discussions, searches, enquiries, shares, tweets, posts all giving the marketer an effective platform for active involvement of customers. The tools are present but there are also few tricks and tips that can make the posts, videos, audios, blogs and tweets more effective.As a first step let me put up a disclaimer that shouts “neither your brand nor the customer experience starts with social media” social media should ideally leverage your existing brand, solidify and bolster it. The social media efforts should be an extension of what you do in the organization. Second choose the type of Social media you want to be active on, you can’t be active and efficient on most platforms on a consistent basis, thus it is highly recommended that your relationship with the customers should be fostered through the right choice of social media. Questions like where are the chunk of my users? What time do I have? What skills can I leverage, is it engaging audio, video or written content? These can set you up in building good relations. Next, try and fill up your profiles completely, starting from the necessary fields that the social media asks you about and while you are at it, make sure that you tailor the keywords for your audience, be personal, update regularly and form a personality for your brand. If you are present in multiple platforms make sure that they all lend the same perspective through different medium.Social media is not a one way media, in fact the genesis of social media has got a lot to do with the interactive way of Web 2.0.Building relationships goes a long way to foster this one to many or many to many platform. With strong relationships come strong advocates and influencers, these breed of people gives more credibility. Similarly it is highly imperative that you follow these people in return as well, why? This is because they have valuable insights that can go a long way to understand the pulse of your customers and simply because they would be more relevant. Finding the right frequency and the timing of posting is decisive for devising a posting strategy. Different content, correct frequency and timing needs to be tailored for the contents to make it more interesting, keep them interested with the right content at the right time and you can gain great customer engagement. These steps can go a long way to implement strategies to devise your social media marketing plans, but always bear in mind this is much an art as it is a science, be creative, let these be guidelines for a creative process that is both effervescent and effective. Delight customers and keep them engaged in the right way for the right period of time....

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Why Internet of Things will make you question everythingFebruary 27, 2015

In the recently concluded CES 2015, among the plethora of gadgets and promises of a tech suave future, there was one particular concept that caught the imagination of the people present there. The rose-tinted glasses came out and internet enabled devices made one imagine the “ordinary” at a slightly more connected and “intelligent” way. Cisco predicts that there will be around 25 billion devices that will be connected to the internet in the year 2015; these statistics are all but surprising after experiencing the array of devices that were showcased. The show and concepts left me thinking on the possibilities and calculated probabilities of being connected, helping me to breathe life into the devices that I use. Internet of things paradigm seems to make my now smart devices seem dumb, also it has left me with some queries on the way we use things that we take for granted. It’s not just one particular area that can benefit immensely out of this new paradigm but a whole web of things, some more beneficial than others, even a few of them made me think about why it isn’t connected to the web already. A perspective shift Internet of things is a paradigm shift in our world where the technology would be an enabler for a change in the way we perform our tasks. Everything that we do now from the mundane to the complicated can be made intelligent and seamlessly integrated with IoT, this could invariably take away a lot of effort and reduce errors from the human side. The impact of internet of things can be felt in different domains that includes but are not limited to medical, smart homes, industrial, smart grid, building automation, construction and smart transport. In the healthcare sector, chips embedded into the body could sense vital signs that can help save lives by proactively informing the nearest medical aid and also caution you to refrain from potential hazardous activities. Smart home application can help you to wake on time, the alarm can further communicate with the smart grid and transport to analyze the traffic if more or less time would be required for the commute and wake you accordingly. It sort of makes you more prepared for the uninitiated and help you to respond in an optimized manner. Reductions in utility bills can be realized by cutting out that running hose and switching off unused appliances that can cause wastage. With cloud services coming into full force the components and things that we use can behave in a way that is conducive to our behavior pattern. The cloud can store your interactions with components and help the same response to be initiated no matter in which part of the world you are in, thus making you feel at ease. There is bound to be a lot of changes once we embrace the full potential of internet of things. We would definitely stay wonder eyed gazing into the yonder questioning and reimagining the things as we know it now. It would be this curious enquiry that leads us to unfold the true potential of IoT leading to a utopia of technology enabled resurgence of the world as we know it, truly making it a wonderful place to live in....

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12 Secrets about Social MediaFebruary 27, 2015

Social media! The implications this new paradigm of communication and its use as a treasure trove of latent information is unquestionable. Then again, there comes the question of it being really “social” to the means of connecting people or rather not, that let us leave for another day’s bout. One thing that can be said free of much polarity is the potential of the data that gets generated from the different social platforms. How to make use of this data? And the ways to engage the customer is a different ball game altogether. The best businesses are people businesses, where the most invaluable assets are the people who we engage with. The efficiency with which social media is being utilized can only be mostly accepted with a sheepish grin even from the people employing it. Social media is definitely the new paradigm and is reshaping the business landscape as we know it. Just like with any other media, social media too needs experienced and well thought out ideas to make the impact that we hope to have with it. Be it YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc. all have a different shade of the social media platform that makes up a compelling social media experience. There are thus no secrets about social media but an effective integration of the different shades and comprehension of each aspect which becomes crucial to its success. Keep In Mind Now that the bubble of having secrets to an effective social media have been burst, let us try and understand the good practices that we can adopt. You should ideally start it yesterday! : Yup! You read that right. Social media engagements take time to serve its actual purpose. There is an incubation time in which you have to get ready with the plan on the different social media platforms you will work with, the kind of contents you put out and the frequency with which you engage with the people. So you just can’t expect instant success. Curate your content: There are many things you can write about or share with the people. What’s really important is to understand what to give out. Choose the relevant content and tailor it for different social media. Make the content relevant: Give out to the people. Make the information relevant and satiate their wants and engage with them. This can help us understand the customers better and give them a better perspective. Listen to the people: This is one way that can help us achieve the optimum use of the content we generate. Listening is a sure shot way to enable us to create well curated and relevant content. Make it human: The different social media we use should ideally be more human centric. Feedbacks and complaint redressal needs to be monitored and dealt with high priority. This can help both in satisfaction of the customers and also reduce lackadaisical approach from the business end. Contents developed should be unequivocally personal and human so that it is easy for people to relate to. Make it seamless: The steps that a person has to go through to get the transaction done should be hassle free and minimized as much as possible. Don’t be a me me Media! Don’t let all what you create in the social media scream “me” and “my business” it has to be about others too. It is never a bad idea to give so that you shall receive in social media. Don’t forget the share button: Improve and create content sharing options. This can invariably help the brand to reach a wide audience from the help of your customers. Gamify your social media: The Gamification concepts can be used in ways that can make social media engagements more fun and rewarding. This can help prompt the user to do what the business wants them to do. Go mobile: Mobile devices are becoming the preferred device for most social media activities. It is thus highly imperative that the contents developed be optimized for mobile viewing. Use conversational tones for Social media: Make it sound like a human is making the conversation and not a machine. That can give a more credible and human nature to the entire social media experience. Frequency Matters: Toe the fine line between being informative and being a nuisance. The frequency would again depend upon the medium and the type of audience. So whatever combination of shades you choose for your social media, one thing that can be certain is that it will keep you on your toes. Be ready for action, read the pulse of the people whom you cater to, delight them, don’t let it be all about you and never forget that the returns are slow. So sow your social media crops well in advance, when its time savor the success and be ready to further change the gameplay. ...

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Why Customer Analytics in E-CommerceFebruary 6, 2015

When a customer walks into a retail store he will be treated as a king. The shopkeeper will see to that his customer is comfortable with the services they offer. Similarly a visitor who lingers into e-commerce store expects same level of comfort and service. E-Commerce has grown almost three times in a span of four years which is tremendous! In spite of this, there is a lag between customer expectations and what they actually receive. Most stores offer same content to all their customers. This is because E-commerce companies normally generate leads from social websites or collect data from purchase histories of their wide range of customers. In fact it is quite difficult to tackle huge bundles of data and marketers fail to apply differentiated approaches for individual customers and end up sending ads for all products they offer. Such ads turn out to be irrelevant to the customers or at times they miss out on updating important offers to prospective customers. The probability of losing valuable customers in such instances is quite high. According to a survey, 74% of online shoppers are frustrated with the fact that the content that they are served online has nothing to do with their interests and 89% of the customers switched brands after a poor customer experience. On the similar lines 20 % of annual percentage revenue losses are due to poor customer experience. This is where analytics plays its commendable role in addressing these specific concerns. Analytics crafts sophisticated visions by taking entire data of the customer into account at gritty levels. These visions facilitate to construct business rules or “best decisions” that recommend the service or product that is appealing to the customer. Role of Customer Analytics In ecommerce, a firm may only be interested in customers who signed up or who made a purchase within a particular period. Analytics segments these set of customers using RFM analysis (based on their recency, frequency and monetary values). Besides transactional parameters of the RFM, analytics can spread its scope in analyzing the sentiments and behavioral patterns using Cohort Analysis. Analyzing behaviors could be subjective most of the time – for example, customers who buy more during seasonal sales or attractive discounts, customers who choose to buy because of the ease and comfort of payments and shipping methods and so on. Analytics resolves this type of data by observing timely and repeated behaviors to further define patterns with empirical data and further, generate insights for marketers on their campaigns and advertising. The next level of analytics uses customer equity analysis which helps firms to prioritize their customers. At different stages, data identifies related customers and uncovers specific insights. This helps to derive the uniqueness of customers and then deliver communications, offers, and online experiences that reverberates customer vision. This helps us to understand their similarity and difference .Their individuality is exactly what makes personalization so powerful to develop customers’ comfort. ...

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It’s Time to Upgrade your IVRFebruary 4, 2015

It’s a hard reality that Enterprises are realizing that their IVR systems are nearing end-of-life or that their system is next on the obsolescence. Enterprises have challenges of high annual maintenance charges with poorly supported legacy technology Today’s customers are engaging with different brands and are already experiencing advancements in IVR with conversational interface, better speech recognition built-in. These busy consumers would not hesitate to shift brands for want of better customer experience. Weighing up all the alternatives, the ideal path for Enterprises would be Migration of the outdated IVR. But they need to ensure that they will not have to migrate again in few years. VXML is the most popular development standard that enterprises are adopting with fear and excitement. The traditional IVR systems were constructed within proprietary development environments and tools that locked the customer in. The original design documents are long lost and if exist, they do not reflect the changes made to the IVR over its lifetime. Traditional IVR platforms use a hardware solution (racks, servers, and telephony cards) and software solution (port licenses). Traditional IVR operation requires exceptional technologists with rare skills. Recreating these legacies IVR from scratch can be a challenge. Conversion tools offer little panacea with their integration to back-end systems. Either be it end-of-life IQTalk, Edify EVIP platform, they can be moved to Voxeo Prophecy, Voice Objects, Convergys Interaction Composer and other VXML based platforms. With all the advances in technologies, it’s time now to re-evaluate your IVR investment plan. Gone are the days, when IVRs sounded robotic with their menu mazes. The objective of a modern IVR should be natural, conversant and provide easy self-service experience. Next Generation IVRs should be construed with the following natural language building blocks: Natural Language IVR: allows customers to use natural language and enhances customer’s self-service experience Speech Recognition: helps in recognizing caller response to questions such as account numbers, transaction dates, or order status etc. Personalization: Customizing the IVR specifically for each caller Voice Biometrics: Stored voice prints can help to authenticate customers for enterprises focused on data security A new refreshing technology platform can pave way for more innovative services, but the cost of re-developing a new system is really enormous. So you will have to decide between staying on an unsupported legacy technology and keep paying high annual support fees or go for a new platform and incur high redevelopment costs with lesser annual maintenance cost and abundant skilled resources. If you decide the latter, go for a modern IVR utilizing natural language interfaces. And more importantly ensure that you don’t get locked in. ...

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In love with ‘Her’- Samantha, An Hyper-Efficient VAJanuary 19, 2015

In the movie ‘Her’, Joaquin Phoenix, a writer recovering from lovers past, falls in love with his Siri-like personal assistant. Theodore and Samantha’s relationship becomes complicated, as questions regarding love, real-world relationships and marriage seem to hang unanswered. Samantha, is a kind of virtual assistant that we haven’t seen before- an expressive virtual assistant, impressive conversationalist with a perfect command of language, involved in composing music, email dictation, conversing in natural language and sometimes emotions transcending the humanity of her human owner. The type of Virtual Assistant depicted in the fantasy flick “Her”, can be found in real world products like Naunce’s Dragon Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana. While it’s highly unlikely for any of today’s virtual assistant turn into anything like Samantha, many natural language developers believe it won’t be long before Virtual Assistants get much more personal than they are now. Virtual Assistants that are available in the marketplace engage in simple dialogs and are limited in predictive and proactive behavior. They are evolving in terms of simple commands –placing or directing calls, making appointments, helping in directions, booking tickets and performing searches. Intelligent Virtual Assistant Vendors are leveraging natural language processing, intent recognition, advanced analytics, text to speech technologies and automatic speech recognition to provide an experience that totally delivers awesome customer experience. When machine interactions with humans feel effortless, natural and “real”, then that’s the ultimate metric of success. To create the illusion of intelligence, companies are still using generic natural language processing with some clever front-end work. The best part of the virtual assistant experience is that for a brief moment, you get the feel that you are interacting with a live person. You get this feel, because virtual assistants sound so human. 2015 promises to be the year that we will witness radical improvements in Intelligent Virtual Assistants. ...

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Why the next 10 years of internet of things will smash the last 10 yearsJanuary 14, 2015

A little over two decades in the year 1990 John Romkey and Simon Hackett connected another device other than a PC to the internet. That “other” device connected in the 1990’s was an electric toaster that was controlled by a simple protocol. It wasn’t till another decade that Kevin Ashton coined the phrase “Internet of things”. Adoption of Internet of things was slow during the subsequent two decades but towards the end of the second decade in the year 2008-2009 a transition happened, the “things or devices” connected to the internet numbered more than people. Now in 2015 it has picked up pace and we are traversing a boom of connected devices backed by the potential of its large scale integration into everyday life. This integration is possible as the human led intervention of inputting data would be replaced by the “things” reading data off each other. This increased and efficient data exchange along with the trends discussed below is going to see Internet of things being adopted and going mainstream in the years to come. IPv6: The use of IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version6) provides us with more IP addresses for identification than what was possible with IPv4 system. This comes in handy as the number of devices that could be connected is practically limited by imagination. This ready availability of addresses gives us an opportunity to connect ever expanding connected things. IOT Semiconductor Growth: The microcontrollers, sensors and embedded processors will see a growth of 36 % from 5%. The connected device would require the individual semiconductor chips to be embedded into them to enable it to be a part of the internet of things. This growth would be driven by every conceivable industry, thus bringing an explosion of semiconductor growth. Digital Shift: The present day businesses are all set to adapt and embrace the concept of Internet of Things. The Digital shift that was started by social, mobile, analytical and cloud will realise its full potential with Internet of things. The Data and the interaction between the SMAC elements would enable the device connected to the internet to perform activities more precisely. In the years to come this digital would be the norm and the extracted information could become priceless in the world of Internet of Things. Common Standard: A major hindrance to the widespread adoption of internet enabled devices communicating seamlessly is caused due to the fact that the devices speak different languages. In the future these multi standards would be unified and every device would be able to speak to each other through common standards. Lower Cost: The cost of the components to make the device internet enabled will come down to a point where connectivity becomes a standard feature. This can encourage the large scale adoption of Internet of things into every conceivable device to make them smart. Motion sensors, temperature gauges, image sensors, GPS, NFC, and BLTE are becoming less expensive; these devices can send data continuously to devices that can use them to drive further processes. Connectivity would be taken up to new levels with the large scale integration of IoT. IoT will become more common and the way we interact with each other, work and live would be touched in ways that we are yet not accustomed to. The coming of age of the Internet of Things beckons us and that call can’t be ignored as it would be the norm of the future....

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Social Shopping: For The Instant-Everything WorldJanuary 5, 2015

One of the interesting trends in consumer behavior while shopping in both online and brick stores is impulse. It comes as no surprise with apparent trends in shopping on mobile devices and is quite obvious from the competitive landscape of google wetting their feet in employing the “buy” button and Amazon grappling with its one-hour delivery. Retailers are testing a host of strategies and platforms to pacify the consumer’s impulse. Social Media is one elite emotion whipping platform of impulse – search and choose where you are, make your payment and get it delivered to your doorstep- Instant isn’t it? There are three things of interest in the above discussion. Social channels are turning into shopping arenas, payments through social currency and prompt deliveries. Shoppable Social: Social channels are driving the consumer purchase cycle with the instant mantra. There are real time investigations which quote inferences of consumers’ behavior who share, like, tweet, retweet, comment and make it their favorite product/ brand before making a purchase. Post purchase feedbacks are anyway granted. For retailers this is a blazing business. As soon as a prospect “likes” a product or a brand on social media, it is a fair opportunity for retailers to update their leads. The streaming history followed by email addresses and specific product images of the consumers clicks would help the retailers with “recommendation” and converting business. Recommendations towards Real-time commerce: When customers are disposed to instantaneously add items to their cart from social media, they also need instant and comforting solutions to pay. Allow the customers to enjoy deals and discounts for having staked their account details. For the same card that is used for shopping, hail them to be premium members and reward their engagement in social shopping. Retailers can pitch in to work around the payment infrastructures and leverage social itself as an avenue for sales. Customers are happy to pay as they choose and this also makes them expect instant gratification. One-day, two-day shipping efforts of retailers are sustaining the inertia of customers to shop more. Customers are exposed to millions of product options to choose and they are excited about it. As much as they are motivated, it is equally probable to disappoint them with out-of-stock inventory and delayed deliveries. Supply chain is a key phase in this mode of business. Availability of the offered stock, delivering what you promise and securing the trust of your customer makes it a happy social shopping. Social shopping is sensitive of consumer emotions and plays around the “instant” cue. Customers cannot be taken for granted by displaying jazzy product features and colors. At the end customer adopts this new phenomenon of shopping on social media, provided he is offered real convenience to pay and is delivered what is expected. Having said that, Social media is definitely an open source for consumers to explore and retailers to offer. With open minds come open wallets. ...

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10 Things Your Boss Should Know About AnalyticsJanuary 5, 2015

At an era when companies in different industries give a cut throat competition to each other and the points of differences getting highly reduced analytics come to the fore to bring in a complete change in the way the companies are operating by using data to attain qualitative difference from the competitors and the ability to acquire and retain the customers by providing a personalized customer service. Better Customer Loyalty Programme: The first thing that the boss would focus is to retain the loyal customers. Analytics helps to determine the recency of the customer visit .Frequency of customer visit is one of the important aspects to sustain a business in long time which can be tapped by using analytics. Identify the areas that fetch in more gains: Analytics helps in the process of segmentation thereby identifying the amount of revenue generated by each area which helps in determining the key success areas in a business. Better Customer Acquisition: Analytics help to determine what the customers want thereby focusing on those segments and targeting the right set of customers .This will help to reduce the cost of acquisition and helps in better pricing and promotion of the products. Integrate performance across different marketing channels: Marketing can be used to integrate different channels such as social media sites such as facebook and twitter pages, websites, e-mail and blogs. For instance based on the contents of a blog a person may access the website and view all the products offered by the company. Key Perfomance Indicators At a glance: Analytics provides with features such as dashboards and visualizations which are used to determine the health of the business and the opportunities present in the related business segment. Identify the Bounce Rate: Web Analytics can be used to determine the number of customers who have visited only the entry page and have logged out before the process has been completed. The customers might have added the product to the cart but before the purchase could be realized some technical glitches might have occurred in the payment gateway,or the site traffic might be heavy etc. .This bounce rate can be tracked by analytics and measures can be taken by the business organizations to ensure better conversion rate. Better guide to make decisions: One major problem with the emergence of vast amounts of data today is the amount of noise or irrelevant information which may dampen the right insights and analytics help in cutting out the clutter and driving the business safe. Prevent from excessive spending: Instead of spending excessive money over advertisement and campaigns performing multivariate analysis on the sample data and applying it to the population at large thereby determining the model holds good or not is a better way especially to test new opportunities and to save money. Benchmarking against the competitors: Analytics helps not just in tracking the performance of the organization but also that of the competitors such as the search engine performance by looking out for the phrases that have been ranked higher, how significant is the domain of the competitors? And what new phrases can be used to outrank them. How well is the customer traffic and visitor frequency is present for the competitors? Improve the content :Web analytics and SEO’s can help to improve the quality of the content thereby providing the customers what they are looking for thereby achieving better customer loyalty....

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Is IT SECURITY a threat to your organization’s BYOD adoption? January 5, 2015

Do not always blame technology. Now the blame is in your court. Play a fair game! Bring your own device (BYOD) is being talked about as a successful mobility strategy today. Adopting BYOD apparently reduces infrastructure costs and renders work flexibility for users. While the devices are wandering around places along with the users, MDM services are also catching up to monitor them. But for a fact, the growth in the BYOD strategy doesn’t really match with the adoption rates. Why? Two prevailing reasons I can think of are data “security” and the “trust” factor. Security has always been a threat in IT environment and when things are liberated towards user flexibility, it is for sure a nightmare. When mobility solutions are striving to drive the enterprise capabilities, security should not disregard its ambition. Like I said earlier, do not think you have a reason to blame the IT always. When you think systems cannot agree on security, prepare the systems to perform to your expectations. Establish your ground rules, describe your considerations and steer BYOD so that systems work in your favor. For instance, define the profile of the user and his purpose of work with the device to regulate control and allow or disallow access to specific resources. BYOD solution for a trainee in an organization differs significantly from that of an executive resource. Similarly the nature of usage in the education domain is different from that of the healthcare industry. While the security-bind can be liberal in few instances, it needs to tighten up in the others. Medical profiles cannot be exposed but referred doctors can have access to the same. Essentially, the point to drive home is to recognize your risks and define your own ground rules around your business strategies. In case of company owned devices, the deployment would be formal and therefore less probable to security threats. However, employee- owned devices may meddle with lot of personal and professional data increasing security backlashes. Companies need to work around secured connections to monitor data interferences and unnecessary interactions. This yields to another point of discussion called “trust”. Allow your employees to use their devices and also allow them to work on different apps available in store today. After all, apps and tools are here to make your work easy. So why pose a control over application tools! Shift the trust factor on the employees. It is indeed a fact that people feel a sense of ownership when they are assigned accountability and responsibility. The user should be able to configure their machine, update softwares and also comply with the security policies of the organization. The usage behavior shall be transparent and the security status will be monitored from a centralized unit. The administration will be able to track and see-through the positioning and working status of devices. In case of any breach, misused information access or stolen data, should you decommission the device or fire the employee out of the company? Again…the point reiterates, define your policies assuming radical risks and BYOD shall be the best strategy for your business....

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Could the use of Voice Biometrics Change the way we bank?January 5, 2015

As Companies like Apple, Samsung, PayPal, Square, and Google Wallet are embracing mobile payments, mobile commerce seems poised for massive adoption in 2015. A lot has been talked and researched about mobile payment security and use of biometrics to secure Mobile Payments. According to Frost and Sullivan, the number of global biometrics smartphone users will reach 471.11 million in 2017. As Mobile devices with personal identification information hit the market, securing these devices to recognize and authenticate will be a major challenge. FIDO (FastIDentity Online) alliance has developed various technical specifications with interoperability among strong authentication devices. These protocols safeguards user’s information used by different online services and helps in tracking a User across the service. “Voice Recognition is one of the most acceptable types of biometric authentication in US, UK and Germany” - 2013 consumer survey report. Voice Biometrics is the most-intrusive, accurate, revocable, stable form of technology. Over the next few years, Customer will be accustomed to using their voice to interact with their smartphones and can become frustrated with key-entering passwords. Natural Voice interactions have been reinventing Customer experience in the banking industry. Using the voice biometric system, customers who initiate a transaction would be called by the bank to get their voice verified and complete the transaction. According to Associated Press interviews with dozens of industry representatives and records requests in the US, Europe and elsewhere, more than 65m voiceprints already on government and corporate databases. Voice biometrics will be the de facto standard in 2-3 years. Voice Recognition technology has been adopted by financial institutions throughout the world including Barclays Wealth, ING and Banco Santander México. Mastercard has completed a successful voice and facial recognition payments trail. The credit card firm has created a successful verification rate of 98%, mixing a combination of voice and facial recognition, in “an e-commerce environment of over 14,000 transactions”. While we are beginning to see movement in this direction, as the development of technological innovation gains pace, there is still some way to go and hopefully 2015 paves way for it. ...

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Contact Center Trends 2015December 19, 2014

If you take a look at last year’s contact center/call center trends, you’ll invariably find mentions of ‘The Cloud”, “Big Data” and “Social Media”. We have analyzed various reports and summarized the trends for 2015. Gamification, Omnichannel, WebRTC and Workflow Optimization are some of the buzzwords that you will be hearing over the next several months. However those technologies and strategies are likely to see real adoption in by contact centers. Some of the trends that will be impacting contact center industry in 2015: 1.Cutting down time taken to Identification and Verification Process- Latest smart mobile devices from vendors such as Apple and Samsung already featuring powerful fingerprint recognition technology, the impact of biometrics technology is already available to millions of customers worldwide. Smartphone’s voiceprint or fingerprint can be used to manage the end-to-end Identification and Verification process right through to core contact center and CRM applications. 2. Multichannel Interaction-Multichannel interaction has been ongoing in the contact center industry for some time now, particularly in response to the rise of social media and consumer mobility. The shift this year, would be in precisely understanding where various channels fit in the larger scheme of the customer journey. 3. “Big Data” has been a hot topic in the contact center software industry. The amount of metrics, key performance indicators (KPI), and other measurements are tracked in the contact center, can be overwhelming. This information will be used to identify and promote right behavior. 4. Gamification is likely to play a larger role. These solutions build excitement, create competition, and provide instant feedback, keeping employees moving and “leveling up” so that their constantly improving. 5.Rise in Virtual Agents: Businesses are expected to utilize virtual agents in some capacity by 2015. 6. WebRTC has the potential to offer a faster, more seamless experience that encompasses both the Web and telephone. Customers browsing the Web site need not log off and pick up the telephone to start a customer transaction from scratch, but can instead launch a phone or video session right from where he or she is on the Web. 7. Personalization of Interactions: According to Salesforce and Forrester Research group, “Personalizing Customer Service Interactions” is among the top key trends facing customer service organizations today. Catering each interaction to a customers’ unique communication preference, history, needs, and expectations will be a driving trend in 2015 and an opportunity for competitive differentiation amongst businesses. 8. Cloud Infrastructure: According to DMG Consulting, cloud-based infrastructure is the fastest growing area for the call center industry, predicted to almost double between 2013 and 2015. When compared to premise-based solutions, contact centers based in the cloud have experienced 27% reduction in annual contact center costs and a 35% improvement in uptime. Source: http://www.customerexperiencereport.com/strategy-and-trends/predicting-future-trends-will-drive-contact-center-management-2015/ http://blog.3clogic.com/2015-contact-center-trends http://www.tmcnet.com/channels/workforce-optimization/articles/364116-nice-predicts-contact-center-resolutions-the-new-year.htm ...

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The Simplest Ways To Make The Best Of GamificationDecember 9, 2014

The advent of technology and the passing of time have taken us to new frontiers on how businesses can be made more effective. The tools and rules of customer engagement and employee productivity are changing. Social networking has become ubiquitous in more than one facet of the present day business. The people who are engaged and the people who engage them seem to have more than one trick up their sleeve. They transcend old boundaries the rigidity bringing in elements that were not present previously. The latest trick is from the multibillion dollar gaming industry. Games! Call it a child's play or a solace of the spoilt brats of the genx and z's they just might have the secrets on how to make work and business more compelling and fun. Did someone just say fun? Yes indeed! The latest buzz in the field of marketing and improving customer engagement-Gamification-takes some core concepts from the world of games. So what is Gamification? Gamification is a concept that has been employed by many industries in more ways to drive the user or the participant to participate effectively and to keep them loyal. Here let us discuss more about the business implication, it is all about taking customer engagement and making it a worthy experience that would compel them to do what the businesses want them to do. It doesn't end there, from within the walls of the organization it can be used to motivate employees to perform their task and to be more proactive with it. The simplest ways to make the best of Gamification can be gauged from the way games are structured and taking these game technology and game design to create something unique. The game based mechanics, aesthetics and game thinking are used to engage people, motivate action, solve problems and to promote learning. There are many similarities and parallels that can be drawn along the lines of Games and real world business situations. Take a game for example, the common elements to it would be a structured space which has characters, a plot, challenges, rules, tension, interactivity, feedback, resolution, emotional reaction and these elements according to their interaction produces an outcome. These are also found in a business environment where the employee would face a task and he would have to find a solution or work on a given job with different elements that we see in games as well. The customers also can be engaged with businesses by leveraging the best of a social digital world through total engagement. What better way to do this than to create a game that all of them can play. Researches have shown us that people work extremely hard to get better at games, so why not transfer the hard work by borrowing the elements that makes games compelling and fun. Making the Best of it! So what could be the simplest ways to make the best of Gamification? First of all Gamification is not about slapping badges onto the profiles of the customers and employees expecting them to deliver what the business wants them to do. Sure a graphical shiny badge wouldn't hurt but there has to be cohesiveness with elements like achievement, competition and fun. There is a genuine need to understand what your employees and customers want. These players must then be aligned with the business objectives. Once the motivation and goals of the players are deciphered the Gamification needs to be designed with these elements in mind. This can give an employee reasons to engage with the company and a customer to return. The personal goals of these players must overlap with the goal of the business. The gamified solution by virtue of helping the players reach their goal would invariably result in the hitting the business goals as well. Gamification is bound to stay and can help a lot to motivate people to find solutions and to go that extra mile finding a feasible solution or reasons for staying engaged. ...

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Unconventional Guide To AnalyticsDecember 9, 2014

Analytics is a continuously evolving field of science that can be used in determining patterns in data. These patterns can be represented in a graphical format. The data visualizations thus obtained can be used in converting the insights into results which guides in decision making. Ideally, analytics is a Sherlock in the field of vast unstructured data . If an entertainment agency wants to sign up an actor to determine if it is profitable or not a simple social media analytics on the number of likes, number of fan following, number of tweets and retweets are the metrics that are used to determine the same. Thus descriptive is nothing but dividing the vast chunk of data into small sets of information. If in a telecom industry the churn rate of the customer is to be determined then the current data usage of the individual customers, the type of data plan that they are using currently, demographical factors of the individual customers in the past months can be used to predict the same. This is an instance of the predictive analytics where the future scenario is predicted based on the current trends of data. Analytics can be used in umpteen number of fields such as retail, pharm, e-commerce , medicine, banking etc. In retail sectors where Customer relationship is of key importance analytics can be used to determine the customer lifetime value thereby targeting the right set of customers. If any normal marketing strategy is adopted then the customers of a particular band in CLTV will be treated as homogeneous but through analytics we can observe that every customer pattern in unique. This helps to target the top decile of customers who will be more profitable to organization. In e-commerce fields it can help in determining the sale traffic in the sites , average order rate ,number of non-conversions due to the traffic in their sites. This can be used by the e-commerce giants to grab the customers attention and be in par with competitors and prevent any collapse in the site especially during any 'Big Day Sale' . In future almost all the fields may be driven by analytics because of the speedy and better insights it provides and may become an integral part of the day-to-day activities in an organization. ...

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What Wikipedia can't tell you about AnalyticsDecember 9, 2014

Today "Analytics" has become the keyword for all digital enterprises. The buzz around Analytics is growing rapidly; to be more precise it is rather growing exponentially. So, what exactly does analytics mean? Few say analytics is all about deriving meaningful patterns from data. Few others say it is the process of converting the data collected from the business process into meaningful information to make better business decisions. So, is analytics the process of converting data into business insights? Actually, Analytics is much more than that. Initially, there was a misconception- I would rather put it as a perceptual difference – that analytics is all about the use of statistical tools on data to obtain business insights. Analytics was purely viewed from a statistical perspective. No one can be blamed for this. In fact, no one had a clear understanding then. Over the years, the perspective has changed. Now analytics is viewed as a part of business itself. It is used to arrive at valuable business insights by using statistical tools. So, knowledge of statistics is a must for analytics. Moreover, sophisticated statistical packages make life easier for an analyst. So, Analytics is a blend of business, statistics and technology. ...

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