Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Best Ways to Be More Productive While Working from Home

Due to current events, you might be working from home right now. Thanks to technology, it’s great that we have this option, but adjusting to working at home can still be tough. Here are some ways to be more productive while working from home.

Designate a Working Area

One of the hardest challenges when working from home is finding a place to stay on task. Most people like to separate their work life from their home life, but the two can start to merge when you are required to work remotely. One of the best ways to be more productive while working from home is to find a designated work area. This can be anywhere from your basement to your garage, but not only will this space help you stay focused, but you can also avoid any distractions if your family is home.

Add More Monitors

Working from home also gives you an opportunity to improve your workspace. Adding more computer monitors to your work setup is an excellent way to take your multitasking skills to the next level. Adding more doesn't have to be too expensive. Once you have your monitors in place, there are plenty of ways to get the most out of them and optimize your setup.

Move Around

When you work a sedentary job, it can create a lot of health complications. To avoid any fatigue that might prevent you from getting the job done, make sure you move around. Think about doing some chores around the house or taking out the trash to get your legs going. Also, consider getting a standing or even a treadmill desk. Don’t forget to give yourself breaks and go for a walk outside to get some fresh air.

Listen to Music

Some workplaces might not allow you to listen to your own music or play any at all. However, when you are at home, you can listen to anything you want, and it can actually make you more productive throughout the day. Experiment with different music genres or even listen to podcasts to see what works best for you.

Rely on Natural Lighting

Another way you can optimize your home office is by taking advantage of natural light. You might not have many windows in your traditional workplace, but at home, you can truly soak up the sun. Try to work in an area of your home where you don’t have to rely on artificial lighting. Letting in natural light won’t only brighten your mood; it may also make you more productive.

Be Comfortable

Make yourself comfortable to really stay as productive as possible. This doesn’t mean you should work in your bed; however, do consider wearing comfortable clothing when working from home. The right clothes can improve your productivity.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Technologies That Are Transforming Retail

Like any industry today, retailers are starting to use many new ways to increase sales and raise their profitability. While this can be through new marketing techniques, customer relations, or even new products, many people don’t realize that technologies are changing retail too. The top technologies that are transforming retail are tech-driven applications to enhance customers satisfaction and ensure fast, efficient transactions for a smooth shopping experience.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are changing the retail industry with their improvements to customer satisfaction and sales. AR uses an interactive experience where real-world objects use computer-generated information to depict a certain image. In retail, customers can use it to see how certain pieces of clothing or items would fit in their homes. This way, these customers feel more confident in their choices and are more likely to make the purchase. Additionally, retailers use VR to redesign stores or compare different products before any actual development takes place.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is making a big impact on retail today. One of the main duties of AI in retail is processing customer data. AI records buying patterns to use for merchandising to create a more personal shopping experience. Likewise, many retailers implement facial recognition software to remember customers facial data. This way, when repeated customers return, their facial scans show their shopping patterns. This allows the retailer to retrieve the right products or services beforehand. Not to mention, using facial recognition technology can deter theft because it would improve store security.

POS Software

Lastly, one final piece of technology to change retail is a point-of-sale system. Modern POS systems provide full functionality to process credit card payments, handle gift card balances, and manage employee and customer information in addition to payment processes. Many of these systems are EMV and PCI compliant to protect against credit card theft. Also, each transaction is smooth and efficient. Rather than use an older POS system or even a cash drawer, new POS systems can use cloud-based technology for each payment.

Friday, March 20, 2020

What to Know About Smart Factories

Like any industry today, manufacturing has changed to become more techno-savvy. The purpose of this is to improve production rates and quality assurance. This new type of manufacturing, often called smart manufacturing, utilizes internet-based systems to manage large data processes and quick changes. For more information, read below on what to know about smart factories and how they’re changing the manufacturing industry today.

What Is a Smart Factory?

A smart factory refers to the utilization of modern technologies and innovations in the realm of smart manufacturing. It employs computer-based systems to adapt and change designs rapidly, process digital information, and optimize the supply chain. This leads to more efficient production and a flexible workforce. Unlike previous automated techniques, smart manufacturing uses intelligent automation and interoperable network systems to increase data storage and manage supply chains. This can handle large data sets easier and react to orders or changes faster.

The Current Impact on Manufacturing

Given its reliance on new technologies, smart factories have changed manufacturing significantly. Smart manufacturing relies on what’s called the industrial internet of things (IIoT). This refers to the interconnected sensors, instruments, and machines networked via a computer’s industrial applications. This is to increase integration and data storage through cloud software and computational metrics to track workflow. The interconnectivity allows for more efficient data processing to enhance the flow of production. Additionally, the various benefits of industrial robots has tremendously improved production rates and speeds. Many robots work with humans to evaluate sensory input and solve problems. They are flexible and can reconfigure to handle different problems when needed.

More so, industrial robots ensure a safer work environment. This is because less error on the manufacturing floor mean less accidents. Also, robots can handle different high-risk applications that too dangerous for humans, such as high temperatures, exposure to certain materials, or other occupational hazards that humans cannot handle.

Industries That Use Smart Factories

With this, it’s interesting to see which industries use smart manufacturing in their daily operations. Two main industries that do this are the automotive industry and the energy industry. The use of robots in these factories mean 24-hour production times, more accurate inspection findings, and more detailed assessments. These devices also help these industries take a greener approach in their daily operations. Specifically, IIoT devices integrated with sensing systems can optimize energy consumption while balancing power generation and usage. Robots are especially useful in the automotive industry where IIoT devices process data to effectively manage and customize vehicles, as the robots conduct the heavy repetitive tasks.

5 Creative Ways to Use Digital Signage in your Store

If foot traffic and sales in your brick-and-mortar retail outlet are lagging, it might be time to shake things up. Devise a new marketing strategy for in-store promotions and re-engage your customers. The human eye is drawn to a screen—marketing professionals and ad execs have known this for decades. As we go through our daily lives surrounded by screens, we can’t help but try to look at all of them. Use screens to your advantage by placing them in your store. Smart business owners use visuals to engage their customers and boost sales inside their stores. Here are some ways to use digital signage to improve your business.

Promote Your Other Platforms

People are in your store because they like your products and services. They’ve already decided that they like you and your shop, so give them more. Use digital signage to promote your other platforms and services. Show customers what else you have going on, such as your social media, YouTube channel, or an upcoming tradeshow you will be attending. If your store has another location, promote that as well and get more traffic in there, too.

Create a Window Display

It’s not enough to hope that people see your store from the street as they walk or drive by. You have to grab their attention and pique their curiosity. Set up a window display that dazzles the eye and brings people in. Run promotions, product demos, or clips of whatever—just use that screen as a big hook to bring people in.

Run Product Demos

Use the screen to demonstrate your products. Set up a simple demonstration, infomercial style. There is a reason those still run on TV—they are effective. Show customers how great your products are and how to use them in different and creative ways.

Tell Your Story

Consumers want to connect with a brand now, not just buy products. They want to feel that the brand speaks to them and has similar values. Use the digital space to tell customers about your business and how it came to be. Tell them what your business is doing to help the community at large. It’s your story, so craft it however you like but be genuine in the approach. Everyone loves a great story about overcoming odds, not a fantastic story full of embellishments.

Inform About Coming Promotions

Make the display a bulletin board for your customers. Provide information about upcoming promotions and sales, shows you will be at, and whatever else you think they need to know. Be a resource for your customers and tell them what new products are coming in and when they’ll be available for purchase. If you don’t tell your customers about your services, no one else will.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Ways to Improve the Audio Quality in Your Car

We tend to spend a lot of time in our cars, in large part due to work commutes. One way to instantly improve your work commute is to listen to music, but you might be dealing with audio issues that prevent you from jamming out. Here are some ways to improve the audio in your car and enjoy your favorite songs on the way home.

Replace Factory Speakers

The first order of business you should do is replace the factory speakers that you are given with your car. Factory parts in general are known for being lower quality, but the good news is you can easily replace them. When you get new car speakers, consider adding a subwoofer; it will enhance the sound even more.

Get a New Head Unit

If you are someone who owns an older car, then your head unit is likely outdated with a CD and cassette player. The good news is you can easily replace the unit and get a brand new one with satellite radio, USB outlets, and Bluetooth capabilities.

Download High-Quality Music Files

While many people tend to stream music off apps today, but this could be a reason why your audio quality is low. To avoid this, download your music at a higher quality because you will get a more consistent sound because it’s already stored on your device.

Consider Sound Deadening

Another way to improve the audio quality in your car is to consider sound deadening. Sound deadening will essentially soundproof your car. You might be driving a truck or a Jeep, which are known for making a lot of noise. To soundproof your car, install sound deadening foam on your vehicle’s floor, insulate the doors, get new tires, and get a new muffler if you need one. These changes will greatly improve how you listen to music in your car.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Free Up Storage on Your Mac with iCloud; Why Doesn't Additional Free Space Become Available After Transfer from Mac to iCloud

According to Apple, optimized Storage in macOS Sierra and later can save space by storing your content in iCloud and making it available on demand. When storage space is needed, files, photos, movies, email attachments, and other files that you seldom use are stored in iCloud automatically. Each file stays right where you last saved it, and downloads when you open it. Files that you’ve used recently remain on your Mac, along with optimized versions of your photos.

You can transfer older files to iCloud by manually dragging files from your local Documents folder to a folder you name ArchiveDocuments if you wish. For example, you can free up local space by dragging all of your file from 2016 to folder you could name "Documents2016."

Lets say you move 3 GB worth of files from your local Mac to iCloud. You might not see the 3 GB extra space immediately. It will likely show up after a restart, but you can also prompt the extra space to display by opening the Storage Management window:

Access the the Storage Management menu from Apple Menu: About This Mac: Storage Tab (in the Storage Management). On slower Macs it may take awhile for space capacity, partitions and availability to display. You will see "calculating" perhaps for a few minutes before the information properly displays. When it displays, you will see the latest space available with the extra 3 GB available.

Store in iCloud
Click the Store in iCloud button, then choose from these options:

Desktop and Documents. Store all files from these two locations in iCloud Drive. When storage space is needed, only the files you recently opened are kept on your Mac, so that you can easily work offline. Files stored only in iCloud show a download icon , which you can double-click to download the original file. Learn more about this feature.

Photos. Store all original, full-resolution photos and videos in iCloud Photos. When storage space is needed, only space-saving (optimized) versions of photos are kept on your Mac. To download the original photo or video, just open it.

Messages. Store all messages and attachments in iCloud. When storage space is needed, only the messages and attachments you recently opened are kept on your Mac. Learn more about Messages in iCloud.

Storing files in iCloud uses the storage space in your iCloud storage plan. If you reach or exceed your iCloud storage limit, you can either buy more iCloud storage or make more iCloud storage available. iCloud storage starts at 50GB for $0.99 (USD) a month, and you can purchase additional storage directly from your Apple device. Learn more about prices in your region. In March 2020 2 TB of storage costs $9.99 per month (50GB: $0.99 and 200GB: $2.99).

Optimize Storage
Click the Optimize button, then choose from these options.

Automatically remove watched movies and TV shows. When storage space is needed, movies or TV shows that you purchased from the iTunes Store and already watched are removed from your Mac. Click the download icon  next to a movie or TV show to download it again.

Download only recent attachments. Mail automatically downloads only the attachments that you recently received. You can manually download any attachments at any time by opening the email or attachment, or saving the attachment to your Mac.

Don't automatically download attachments. Mail downloads an attachment only when you open the email or attachment, or save the attachment to your Mac.

Optimizing storage for movies, TV shows, and email attachments doesn't require iCloud storage space.

See more at support.apple ...

How to free up storage space on your Mac ...

Friday, February 28, 2020

Best Social Media Platforms for Marketing

Social media seems to be everywhere nowadays. Whether it’s used for personal or professional purposes, there’s no denying the influence that social media has on society. Social media is so influential that many companies now use various social media platforms to market to and interact with consumers. There are many different social media platforms, each with its own unique uses and advantages. This guide to some of the best social media platforms for marketing will help you sift through the sites to find the platforms that work best for your business’s marketing strategy.

Instagram

A picture is worth a thousand words, so it stands to reason that Instagram is one of the best social media platforms for marketing. Instagram is a popular choice for marketing to consumers of all ages and backgrounds, thanks to the fact that people of all different demographics use Instagram. Companies commonly use Instagram to share photos and videos of up-and-coming products or to provide insider information regarding a current promotion.
The uptick in social media influencers has also helped make Instagram a popular platform for marketing. Partnering with popular social media influencers and encouraging them to post photos using the company’s products helps widen the audience base for that company. Consumers are heavily influenced by celebrities, and seeing an influencer use a certain product increases the likelihood that the consumers themselves will also purchase that product.

Snapchat

What once began as a fun way to share photos back and forth with friends is now a highly profitable platform for social media marketing. Snapchat allows companies to contact consumers in a quick and fun way. Photo filters and public stories provide consumers a fun way to interact with the company while also allowing them to get in on the action themselves.
Companies will also frequently post Snapchat stories that provide a behind-the-scenes look at upcoming product launches or promotional events. Snapchat is especially effective when used in tandem with event marketing. Companies leverage Snapchat for their marketing events through unique geofilters, fun photo walls, and pre-event promotional posts.

Facebook

Certain social media platforms are more effective at marketing to consumers within a specific demographic than others. Facebook is one such platform. Though it was originally devised as a means for young adults and college students to interact with each other, Facebook is now more commonly used by older adults and individuals within the baby boomer generation. However, it’s still highly effective at marketing to consumers within this specific demographic.
This type of consumer generally prefers one-on-one conversation with company representatives and places a high importance on quality customer service. These elements are easily achievable through Facebook, as it allows companies and consumers to speak directly to one another through comments or private messaging. Facebook also lends itself to slightly longer posts than some other social media platforms, allowing a company to provide detailed information to its customers, yet another factor that older consumers value.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Is Having a Smart Home Worth it?

Smart devices and appliances continue to flood into the marketplace as fast as manufacturers can make them. Every day, the latest and greatest widget hits the market, tantalizing consumers with their ease of use, connectivity, and sophistication. Converting your home into a smart home might seem like the right thing to do. There are some things to consider, though, before making that decision—both good and bad. Before making the investment of time and money in the conversion, ask yourself: is having a smart home worth it?

Pros

There are Buckets of Convenience

Adding smart lighting, plugs, and thermostats to your home ups the convenience level in your home exponentially. We can all get up off the couch and turn on the lights, but now you’ve given yourself another option; not getting up and doing it from your smart device. Have you ever tried to explain to someone how to turn on your TV and cable box? It’s like entering a combination to a safe. Now, you only have to tell them, “say ‘Alexa, turn on the TV.’” Done.

Problem Solving Abounds

Smart homes help you solve daily problems and annoyances. Anyone with kids knows the frustration of speaking to someone in another room. Ask a kid to go get their brother and they will move two feet from you and yell for them. Thanks for the help. Voice assistants eliminate this problem. For people with handicaps, smart sensors on lights illuminate rooms as they enter—and for anyone else, for that matter.

Cons

There are Safety Concerns

With all this technology and connectivity, though, comes concerns that are specific to home networks. First and foremost is the network’s security. There are people in the world that are up to no good and would love nothing more than to corrupt your smart home to steal information and resources from you. The more devices in your home that are connected to the internet, the more vulnerable you are. You must take precautions to protect your smart home from hackers.

Devices Can Stop Working

A smart device or appliance might be super cool and advanced, but it’s a machine, and machines break down. The more technology that a machine has, the more chances there are for something in it to break. When it breaks, the more sophisticated it is, the less likely you can fix it yourself. That means either calling in a professional, replacing it altogether, or both. Keep in mind that just because something is first to the market, doesn’t mean it’s the best.