How to Use the Crafty Vaporizer?

Crafty Vaporizer is a remarkable achievement for mankind as it is one of the first portable vaporizers manufactured by a German Company, ‘Storz and Bickel.’ The company has spent a lot of time in developing this product. Its previous version of vaper, ‘Volcano’ was not as popular as this new vaporizer. In fact, Volcano is the only desktop vaporizer which was approved by the ACMPR or Access to Cannabis for Medical Purpose Regulation. Crafty uses a mix of hot air convection and conduction for remarkable results. It has a mouth piece which completely blocks any wastage of steam and you do not need to refill those vaporizers recurrent time. This entire machine can also be controlled using a mobile application. This speaks volume about the crafty vaporizer as it can be operated using technology.

What Comes in the Box?

The crafty vaporizer box has a lot of components within it. The vaporizer comes with several other things and thus, the box contains the following parts:

  1. The Crafty Vaporizer – 1
  2. Power Adapter – 1
  3. USB Cable – 1
  4. Liquid Pad – 1
  5. Screens – 3
  6. Cleaning Brush – 1
  7. Herb Miller or Grinder – 1
  8. Easy Filling Tool – 1
  9. Seal Rings – 1
  10. Instruction Manual – 1

How to Use the Crafty Vapour?

Using the vaporizer is simple and easy. When it arrives, you do not need to charge the device as it should be charged fully. Even if charging is required, all you need to do is connect the vaporizer with the plug point using the USB cable which arrived in the box. You can use the device without connecting it to the mobile application. But it is always suggested to download the app from iOS or Android store at free of cost and connect it with your vaporizer.

  • If you are using flowers as the herb, you need to grind it before putting it in to the machine. You can do that by using the grinder which comes in the box. As soon as you finish grinding, simply twist the upper part of the machine and you will find a chamber. Simply put the weed into the easy filling tool which resembles the letter O and fix it above the chamber using a screw.
  • Once you have finished doing this, open the cap that is in the middle of the tool and pour the grinded contents in to the chamber. After this, simply remove the easy filling tool from the device and now you can use your vaporizer.
  • If you want to use concentrates or hash, pour a few drops on to the liquid pad and put it inside the chamber. You should use the liquid pad when you are using less amount of cannabis which allows the heating process to be equal.

The crafty vaporiser comes with 2 different temperatures which are 180 degree Celsius and 195 degree Celsius. To arrive at 180 degree Celsius, you simply need to press the power button once and for 195 degree Celsius, two simultaneous clicks of the power button are necessary. Once the red colour of the device changes to green (which takes around 90 to 120 seconds) the device will vibrate which represents that the vaporizer is ready to use. Depending upon the strength of your inhalation, the device might take some time to re-establish itself back to the desired temperature.

Crafty Vaporizer is an expensive device which surely makes an investment. The battery life could be better and thus needs a little work on it. Overall, the product is a catch and the vapour quality surely beats the battery life and cost.

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The Case for a More Human Approach to AI

Author: Chris Pope, VP Innovation, ServiceNow

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all about machines, obviously. Except it’s not. In truth, discussions surrounding AI may often centre around how competent, intuitive and contextually aware the machine brains we are building have become.

But really, AI is all about us―the humans—and how it can make our lives better.

There was a time, perhaps even inside the current decade, when AI tools and functions were still associated with the fanciful ‘talking computers’ that featured in many 1980s movies. It wasn’t that long ago that we considered AI as something of a ‘toy’ and its application in mission-critical enterprise applications was still somewhat laughable. Of course, now we take talking computers completely seriously. So much so that we’re equally focused on the proficiency of computer speech recognition.

 

Application of AI

But as far as we have come, we still need to look at the real world use cases of AI and ask how it can help us make our lives better. If we’re not applying AI to our human work experiences to examine and analyse where it can make those experiences greater, then what are we doing here in the first place?

The truth is, many enterprises large and small have been struggling with finding the appropriate use cases for new and emerging AI technologies. Companies need to find the workflows inside their business models that can benefit from AI. Only then can they start to architect towards turning those operational throughputs into truly digital workflows.

So how do we define AI-enabled digital workflow Nirvana and how do we get there?

Typically, the process starts with a technology audit and a process of assessment, quantification and qualification running throughout the IT stack in question. Individual business units will need to step back and identify their work problems and challenges as they look for the elements of their workflows that can be digitised.

Everybody across every line of business function will be involved―we need to crowdsource and collaborate to identify strategic areas of business operations that still exist as predominantly manual, accurately measurable and fundamentally repetitive.

These are the parts of business that represent liquid gold, i.e. once we tap the seam, we can channel these functions into AI-driven services that subsequently run as digital workflows. Individuals are liberated from drudgery, productivity is increased and employees have a greater experience—a new virtuous circle is established.

 

Practical examples

Think about a typical office. When people leave the company, we need to manage who has a key fob for access to the car park. This is a perfect example of the type of job that has typically been performed manually through the use of a spreadsheet. This is time consuming, error-prone and obviously creates security issues.

But it’s also (I hope obviously) a perfect example of the type of task we can evolve to become a digital workflow driven by intelligence stemming from AI. Our analytics engine should know that an employee is leaving the firm and so reports, alerts, emails and perhaps even mobile device management, to cancel the key fob, can all happen automatically.

If we can make all those things smarter and more intuitive, then we can build better experiences faster.

Uber hasn’t actually done anything fundamental to change the way taxis work or drive. It has changed the digital workflow that governs the ability to book and pay for the service. The list of services-centric examples in this space is growing every day.

 

Automating a bad process doesn’t make it good

In the technology industry, we are often bad when it comes to decommissioning things. Think about how many business processes probably exist today that firms need to eradicate and get rid of.

There’s no point in applying AI to these aspects of the business. As we know, automating a bad process doesn’t make it a good process; it just makes it an automated bad process! So, this re-engineering is actually an opportunity to clean out your cupboard and stop doing the things that you no longer need to do.

An example that came out of a recent hackathon, we conducted, is a tool to help with filing of patents. One of our hackathon teams used AI and ML to trawl the web for all registered patents using word recognition. They wanted to identify connected words to see if a new invention already existed in some form already. This would have been costly manual work, that may have been handed over to a specialist (in this case, a patent lawyer), but now we can digitise these aspects of the business.

 

The human factor baseline

We as humans now need to engineer the existence of AI into our own mindsets and consider how it can help us work differently. This includes knowing what things we don’t need to worry about anymore. For example, we don’t take a map out with us these days, because we use a smartphone—so what else can we stop doing?

As we move down the more humanised road to AI, we will find that AI itself gets smarter as it learns our behavioural patterns, penchants and preferences. We must still be able to apply an element of human judgement where and when we want to, but that’s already part of the current development process as we learn to apply AI in balance when and where it makes sense.

The future of AI is smarter, and it is also more human. The end result is more digital at the core, but more human on the surface. If that still sounds like a paradox, then it shouldn’t. We’re at a crucial point of fusion between people and machines and it’s going to be a great experience.

 

About the Author

Chris Pope - ServiceNow

As ServiceNow’s global VP of Innovation, Chris brings more than 15 years of C-level executive experience with leading technology solutions and platforms across Product Management and Strategy. Chris also has the rare, added-value, experience of having been a ServiceNow customer multiple times so he understands the client and the vendor perspectives on business transformation. Chris’ proven track record working at and with the largest organisations globally, has seen him recognised as a thought leader in process and methodology. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Electronic Engineering from De Montfort University in the UK, and is a well-published author and contributor to many leading digital publications and blogs.

Common Mistakes To Avoid While In Choosing A UX Designer

It is not easy to choose the best UX designer for your business as it is different from recruiting any other employee. You will need to have a fair bit of knowledge about UX design yourself to ensure that you make the right choice in the end to get the desired benefit for your business. However, if you are completely unaware of UX and its importance in this modern business world then at least you must know the common mistakes that most people make wile recruiting a UX designer and avoid the same so that you do not fall into the potholes in the end.

Starting with a brief knowledge about UX designers and their importance is the best way to proceed. Typically, the job of the UX designers is to use several user data driven metrics so that they can create more functional and user friendly digital apps. These will not only be user friendly but will also be:

  • Very easy to navigate
  • Highly intuitive for the customers and most importantly
  • Highly effective to provide the best user experience to attract and retain them.

It is for this reason there is such a high demand for the UX designers in the market these days. If you select the right professional UX designer you will get the best website or application that will be able to deliver exactly what your users are looking for.

However, selecting the best one from such a huge pool of UX design professional is not an easy task because you will need to know the specific skill set that such individuals need to have in the first place.

The mistakes to avoid

This is why you should know the common mistakes that you should avoid during UX recruitment for the benefit of your business and high ROI.

Hire an authentic UX designer:

Most recruiters do not even know the skills and criteria that make a great UX designer. Typically, you should consider then as a customer satisfaction expert. Their job is to:

  • Gather and leverage user insights
  • Collect feedbacks
  • Analyze the data using different advanced tools and software
  • Identify the areas of digital products that need improvement
  • Find proper design solutions that will address any issues and
  • Create the best possible user experience.

Right from the start to finish they must be focused about the needs of the users to create the most user friendly digital product.

Therefore, make sure you do not hire a web designer, developer or a graphic artist who may put in a few of the above essentials into the initial design process. Instead choose an authentic UX designer who knows how to process all necessary information by empathizing with the user.

Creative talent:

It is true that UX designer needs to follow proper technical approach to create a better digital product but that should not be the only criterion for your recruitment or selection. You should look for better and more creative talent over technical knowledge only so as to make sure that the person hired can actually build websites and apps according to the demands and needs of the users.

Also look for other skills such as extensive knowledge about:

  • Graphic design
  • Copywriting
  • Illustration
  • Video production and of course
  • Search engine optimization or SEO.

These specific and additional set of skills will help the UX designer to deliver better results just as you desire. In addition to that you can also focus on other metrics such as interactive designing, cognitive psychology, and wire framing to ensure that your visitors are happy.

Be flexible:

Most recruiters also make the mistake of requiring too much from the UX designer. In fact, if you have too many requirements for selecting a UX designer then it will not help the designer in any way. This is because:

  • There will be too many pre-conceived expectations in a new design project such as how it should feel or look and perform and
  • It will limit the ability of the UX designer to find out what works best for both the new as well as the existing customers.

Therefore, it is important that you are flexible in your requirements as much as possible so that you get better results. That means you should include only the major elements such as mock-ups and initial wire-frames. If you have trust in the expertise and methods followed by them, it will be easier for the designers to determine and deliver optimal layouts, functionality, content, and images.

Former projects:

You must take a look at the former projects designed by the UX designer you want to hire but abstain from making the common mistake of focusing too much on the design elements of those. Though it may seem like a common sense to rely heavily on the portfolio of the designer to define the overall skill level, this mistake can often have a negative impact on the final project. Instead you should focus more on things like:

  • The ability of the UX designer to make quick decisions based on the feedbacks and data of the users
  • Their styling choices that you will prefer personally and
  • Their design process.

The best way to ensure this is by asking about the results that they achieved though such products.

Feedback:

Another common mistake that people make is turning towards their most loyal customers for feedback regarding their app and website. This is not recommendable because these customers being loyal already know and are very familiar with the technology you use. They know how they can easily access the features they are looking for. This means in other words that you will get opinions that will be influenced by their own experience which may not reflect the opinion of the greater audience about your company.

Lastly, expecting a quick turnaround time is also very unrealistic. It takes time for the scientific theory to show its effect and create maximum UX and increased rate of visitors that will convert to actual customers no matter how usable, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing the design is.

6 Reasons for Internet Congestion that May Cause an Outage

Every day more and more people are stepping into the virtual world of connections – into the cyberspace. Living in this modern era of technology we absolutely have no choice of avoiding the online lifestyle. We are all plugged in and wire up and these makes the cyberspace a very, very crowded place.

Despite the fact that modern technology is constantly working on improving of the equipment and technical support has enhanced greatly, outages cannot be eliminated. A congested network is becoming the number one, most common reason to cause outages.

On the other hand, network congestion can affect the network speed and this is quite a serious problem for businesses, both large enterprises and smaller businesses. If you happen to be affected by a slower speed or repeated outages due to congestion, you should understand the reasons that are causing these issues.

Understanding the cause of the problem, in this case congestion, is the first step to permanently solving of the issue. Here are the most common causes of network congestion.

“Copyright: Unsplash/author:Host Sorter / I License: CC0 Public  Domain”

Large Number of Hosts in the Network domain

A network domain is a group of hosts within the same network infrastructure. These hosts are represented by the routers that are spread around a bigger enterprise, library, shopping center etc, to transmit the connection. When to many hosts are placed in one network domain it results in network overload. Moreover, this will cause interrupted connection and slowing of the speed.

 

In another case, a mobile network or a single router can represent a network domain. The big amount of devices such as tablets, computers and phones acting as hosts, may exceed the permitted number of devices to request network at the same time and result in congestion. Therefore, every device will be experiencing connection interruptions.

Multicasting

In computer networking, multicasting means a simultaneous data transmission between groups of computers. Absurdly, multicasting is designed to prevent congestion, however in some cases it could be the reason creating it. Moreover, this happens when the transfer of the date in the same time causes a collision and this collision causes network congestion.

Broadcast Radiation

Extreme amount of traffic, hence, too many people requesting access on the same network results in so-called, broadcast storm. Broadcast storm consumes sufficient amount of network resources causing a situation in which the network cannot process all request at once. Therefore, this causes a repeatedly disrupted connection and slow speed that often times may end in an short-term outage.

 

Broadcast storms usually happen in public and crowded places such as libraries, schools, cafeterias, shopping malls etc. On the other hand, the cause can also be video or news gone viral, ecommerce, black Friday sales etc.

  “Copyright: Unsplash/author:Alex Kotliarsky / I License: CC0 Public  Domain”

Outdated Hardware

An optimal hardware configuration is essential for a good network connection. Frequent checks and equipment maintenance may eliminate a congestion problem caused by outdated network components.

The hardware setup must be excellent and up to date, in contrary it may result in gridlock when transmitting data. Moreover, this is the base to any stable network configuration. Having an optimal configuration is a promising start to having an uninterrupted and high-speed connection.

Poor Network Design from Service Provider

Along with an optimal hardware configuration, the network layout also needs to be optimized to ensure every part of your network is connected. Sometimes, congestion can be caused by a fault in the network design. However, service providers should aim for a good infrastructure to maximize the performance across any area of coverage.

Internet network is divided into subnets and their design should be accommodated for all the devices permanently connected to the network. The subnet should be sized appropriately according to the number of devices demanding data.

Poorly designed network and subnets in some areas may lead to congestion. Congestions as a result of poor design almost always ends in internet blackouts across an area.  Therefore, choosing an internet provider is an important decision if you are in need of a strong and stable internet connection.

If you are experiencing an outage and assume that it is a result of a fault in your provider’s services, you can check the outage map. Also it is advisable to report the outage on the map or the connection disruptions on the outage chart. This way you can learn for any similar experiences in your area and determine the cause of the outage issue.

Artificial Congestion

Your internet service provider determines the speed of the internet traffic on its network. In some cases your internet service provider may slow the rate at which data is moving and due to many reasons. This is called artificial congestion.

The constant speed of the network is determined with the agreement when choosing an internet package. Despite of that, a customer may be receiving a slower rate speed that may cause network disruptions. IPS often claims these changes in speed as a network management. However, it may be that you are sending more traffic than the network provider expects.

Choose a trusted service provider and always have a backup network connection.

Top Benefits of a Smart Home

Can you imagine the days when the only way you could operate the television was to physically get up off your chair, and go fiddle with the buttons on the TV?  With technology came the remote control and you no longer need to get off your lazy couch to flip through the channels.

The scenario above is a basic example of how technology has made life so much simpler. Life can only get better with Smart Homes.

Smart home automation means that a homeowner does not have to be within the vicinity of the house to operate certain functions. By using a smart device like an iPad or iPhone, the homeowner can control gadgets that are web-enabled like putting on the lights, locking doors among other functions.

The consideration to invest in a smart home is a weighty decision because it is not cheap. However, there are a number of benefits that may sway you towards making the investment.

You Will Save Money

Have you ever run out of the house, and when you get to the office or your final destination, remember that you did not switch off the iron box or the curling iron?   Or, the neighbor calls to tell you that you left the porch light on again? And now all you can think about is how high your electricity bill will be for that month.

One of the main advantages of smart homes is that you can control appliances that consume energy from the comfort of your office, or wherever you are. Easily switch on and off the energy consuming appliances, or even monitor your consumption. By making the necessary adjustments to how you use the energy consuming appliances, you’ll end up using less, thus more savings on your energy bills.

Home Security

                              Copyright: Unsplash | License: CCO Public Domain

A smart home will help boost your home security because you can operate it remotely.  If for instance, you require the cleaning crew to come in, you do not have to leave the key behind or make an extra copy for them. Once they get to the venue, simply use your smart app to unlock the doors. When the crew is done, use the same device to lock up the house again.

By incorporating the use of motion detectors, door locks, surveillance cameras among others, you will significantly improve your home security wherever you are.

Increase awareness through video surveillance

Installing security cameras around your property will enhance your home security because you will get live feeds on your smart devices. The video surveillance will allow you to monitor whatever is going on in or around your home, including keeping an eye on the children thereby ensuring their safety.

Enhancing Safety

By being able to control the appliances within your home, you do not have to worry about the house burning down because of an electrical accident.  By being able to monitor what is happening, you reduce the likelihood of an incident involving the children playing with electrical appliances. Simply use your smart up to switch off any hazardous electrical appliance and keep your family and property safe.

Time-Saving Aspect

Gone are the days when you needed to stop doing your work to run home and take care of certain things. If your dog walker needs access to the house, or the cleaner is late in coming in, you can use the smart app to give them access. This saves you precious time because you control everything from wherever you are.

Improving the Functionality of Appliances

Smart appliances will make your life so much easier.  A smart TV, for example, we’ll help you find age-appropriate channels, as well as help you select your favorite programs. A smart fridge alerts you when you are running low on food.  Manage your music and movie collection with smart home theatres.

The smart appliance will send a system error when there is a problem, allowing you to repair it before the system shuts down.

Monitoring System

Use smart home appliances to increase your convenience.  With a smart TV, you can control what programs the children watch.  Smart bulbs can go on or off depending on your scheduling, thereby lowering the bills. Smart thermostats can adjust themselves according to the external temperature, or even switch themselves off when not in use.

                       Copyright: Unsplash | License: CCO Public Domain

Include smart appliances like those that can detect gas leaks and water leaks, thus saving you a lot of headache and money in case of a leak.

Final Thoughts

Smart home automation is the way to go when it comes to home security. We have highlighted the top benefits of a smart home, other than having that piece of mind that your home is safe, you enjoy the convenience of technology and will save quite a bit of money by using the intelligently designed smart home appliances.

Why SEO is so Important In This Modern World of Business

Do you have any idea how many people publish blog posts every day? Well, if you consider WordPress alone then you will be surprised to know that there are more than 2 million posts published though it every day. It means in simple math it will come to around 24 such posts every second! Want to be more amazed? Well, while you are reading this sentence the users have already posted about 225 posts!

This is only in case of the users using the WordPress only. If you consider all the publications across all different platforms, this number will certainly be magnanimous and unbelievable. That means it is very difficult for a post to stand out among such a huge crowd.

Therefore, apart from spending three to five hours writing a blog post, you must also spend about ten minutes to make sure that you optimize each of your post. This is highly important to make a mark in the world of web.

Need for an SEO service

No wonder there are millions of users like you who Google the term “SEO” every now and then to make the best of the internet. If you do not have that much time or the required knowhow to optimize the search engine results, you will need a competent SEO service to make your blog successful and for several different reasons.

  • If you hire a professional SEO consultant Mumbai you will get the assurance that your blog will be found easily by the visitors as it will rank high up in the Search Engine Result Pages or SERPs.
  • At any given point of time and day there are more than million searches conducted in Google alone and the SEO consultant will put in the best effort and techniques to make sure that you feature high not only on Google but also in other search engines.

Therefore, the SEO consultant is your only resort that will consider all the determining factors to ensure you show up on the front page and assure the desired reach of your business to a larger audience.

What SEO means

A higher SEO result will make your business a success and enable you to stay ahead of the competition. But, at this point, you may wonder what SEO actually means and how it can help your business and your web presence.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is all about three things such as:

  • The design
  • The writing and
  • The links.

If you search in the Wikipedia you will see that SEO is defined as the specific process that will affect the visibility of your web page or website in the unpaid result of a search engine. In plain and simple terms it is the process in which you can augmentyour online content so that it is liked by the search engines. The search engines in turn will put in their algorithm to make sure that your website showsat the top of the SERP for a specific keyword.

How Machine Learning Is Improving Customer Service

Efficient customer service is crucial to the success of client-facing businesses. The $350 billion industry has transformed over the last couple of decades with the mass adoption of the internet and social media, taking the customer service channels for many businesses online. Although the increased connectivity provided by technology has helped facilitate customer service processes, it has also increased customer expectations.

To keep up with these expectations, businesses are finding ways to implement machine learning into their customer service processes in hopes of efficiently handling as many customer inquiries as possible.

Customer Service Needs

Although the internet can often provide answers to almost any question a customer could have, customers more comfortable speaking directly with a person will often reach out to customer service agents. This frequently results in customer service representatives spending large amounts of time answering very basic queries, which can be monotonous and frustrating for agents. To reduce the need for customer service reps to answer these types of questions, businesses have been using AI to offer answers for basic questions before transferring clients to a customer service agent.

This is done both on the phone and online through the use of chatbots that are often employed on a business’ website and Facebook page. Over the phone, automated recordings help navigate customer calls by asking questions that the AI will either be able to answer or transferring their call to the proper department.

Online, chatbots have become a huge resource for businesses to attain customer information, gather feedback, and provide customers with quick responses to standard questions. The use of chatbots and other forms of AI is expected to help businesses manage 85 percent of their relationships with customers by 2020.

Machine learning also facilitates security processes for businesses that handle sensitive customer information. In the past, customers have been required to verify their identity by providing personal information, a process that could take many minutes, especially if a customer forgot their answers to security questions.

However, many businesses are now using two-factor authentication to verify customer identity during customer service calls. This involves verifying two pieces of information: a security question, followed by phone verification. Customer service agents will use machine learning to send a code to the phone number on file with the company, and once a customer verifies they received the code, their identity is confirmed. This approach has improved security measures and can be completed quickly.

Growing Use of Tech in Customer Service

Overall, the use of AI in customer service has increased job satisfaction for customer service agents, as well as help businesses keep up with customer expectations. Businesses need to constantly look for ways to improve customer service. One of the results of implementing AI to help facilitate customer service has been giving customer service agents more time to handle complicated customer inquiries. Increased job satisfaction for customer service representatives and reduced call volume provides them with a greater opportunity to dedicate time and empathy to customers who need a human touch for their inquiries.

As more businesses use machine learning to automate routine tasks and data entry during customer service calls, call time should be reduced, leading to an increase in customer satisfaction. Currently, in a typical six-minute customer service call, 75 percent of that time is devoted to agents doing manual research. Only 25 percent of call time is spent interacting with the customer. AI can streamline this process by memorizing customer information and creating easier routes to accomplish tasks online.

This also provides customer service agents with more time to do important customer service work online, such as responding to customer reviews, which has become a high priority for businesses over the last few years.

As more customers go online to offer feedback or complain about poor experiences with companies, the need to moderate reviews and comments has grown. In the internet age, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Therefore, if a business receives many reviews, they must dedicate resources to responding to them. This will increase customer trust in a business, as well as its ranking with Google.

As more businesses implement AI, machine learning will become the standard for customer service expectations. Although the impact AI will have on jobs within the customer service industry is unclear, the new and rapidly advancing technology will soon provide efficient customer service to consumers looking for help. AI will also help improve the job environment for customer service representatives and open the door for better customer service and increased customer satisfaction. With the implementation of machine learning, the future of customer service looks to be promising.

Cobots – The New Employee

Author: Chris Pope, VP Innovation, ServiceNow

 

The renaissance we are currently experiencing in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and all forms of Machine Learning (ML), has given rise to widespread discussion on how business will run in the immediate future. As the impact of AI starts to be applied to real-world use cases, we will inevitably need to get used to some new terminology. One of the technology industry’s new favorites is the notion of the ‘cobot’, short for collaborative-robot.

Cobots come in many forms. Some will be purely software-based helper robots that we might think of as sophisticated extensions of chatbots or virtual assistants. Some will more physically manifest themselves as robot arms, exoskeletons or some other form of intelligently programmed machinery. Some will be a super-smart mix of both.

 

Your intelligent new office buddy

You can think of cobots as your new office buddies and people—I do mean all of us―are going to have to get used to working alongside intelligent machines, in close proximity, very soon.

Cobot brains are composed of software-based virtual services that form the synapses of ‘thought’—we know its processing and data analytics really―that they run on. Like a Tamagotchi, they do need feeding and watering, but only in the form of software updates, exposure to new datasets and patches for security provisioning and so on.

People who find the notion of cobots unnerving should perhaps stand back and consider the fact that machines have already been looking after us in close proximity for years. Your desktop machine, tablet and smartphone are all using AI to power the spam filter algorithms that assess every email you get for its potential threat value.

If it helps you warm up to the concept, think of cobots as just one step further than a spam filter. But instead of just protecting you from a potential virus, cobots will be able to intuitively manage your work schedule, actions and business decisions, to create a better employee experience all round.

As DXC Technology’s Marc Wilkinson writes in Wired:

For businesses, the promise of AI is that [intelligent assistants] will be embedded across all aspects of the organization. Such agents will analyse data, discover patterns over time and then make decisions based on predictive analysis. The outcome? The application of AI on this level will make businesses not only more efficient, but also more profitable.

 

Behavioral responsibility

As shiny and fabulous as all this sounds, there is a responsibility factor to bear in mind here. As we start to feed data into cobot brains, we need to be able to reflect a consciousness of and appreciation for society’s acceptable behavioral norms.

This means that cobots will need to be able to assess the risk factor in terms of the judgements they give to any individual worker based on that person’s skills, background and other competencies. To do this effectively, we will need to be able to assess and measure individual workers’ skills in an even more granular and mathematical way before we start to engineer more automation of this kind into our lives.

Cobots will also need to appreciate cultural, ethical and behavioral norms for the global culture that they are applied in depending on location—and this is of course a subject in and of itself.

 

Cobots and global digital workflows

As the cobots start to take over the mundane tasks in our world, we must consider how people will now coexist in the new world of automated controls that drive digital workflows and how we actually implement these devices―be they software-based, hardware-based or both—in the workplace.

Some argue that we will now need to be able to measure an individual’s rank or score in terms of workplace competency. If we accept this methodology, then it could arguably help us find the engineering point at which we can apply cobot technology to an individual’s role.

To reference DXC’s Marc Wilkinson again, he notes that really smart cobots that run on fine-tuned ML models will be able to bring a new level of workplace personalization to our daily routines and discover where we could be doing better. He talks about ‘intelligent agents’ that are capable of interpreting emails for us to automatically schedule meetings, flag important tasks and even unsubscribe us from newsfeeds that we never open, and more.

With a cobot as your new office buddy, we can start to think about the workplace itself from a different perspective. We’re all used to open plan office seating layouts these days, but with cobots in the workplace, the software itself will be able to straddle cross-team functionality matrices that far outstrip the boundaries of the physical office itself. For example, team member actions in the UAE can be automatically reflected in plans for the UK or US offices in near real-time. The cobot doesn’t sleep, so a new global digital workflow starts to become possible.

 

A toast to cobot IPA

With cobot technology now developing fast, we will more clearly be able to understand our transition from RPA to IPA or IRPA. If Robotic Process Automation (RPA) allows us to program home heating controls, for example, based on defined patterns, then Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (IRPA, or just IPA) is one step further, where home heating controls start to program themselves for optimum usage and efficiency based upon observed patterns of use. Cobots have IRPA in their ‘DNA’ from the get-go.

We’re on the cusp of many technologies―perceived today as almost ‘toy like’, such as self-driving cars—becoming quite natural. We will think that cobots and intelligent assistants are quite standard in half a decade’s time. In the same way that you went from reading a map in the car and now automatically turning the GPS on, you get to a point where you just expect a new technology to be there…and cobots will be there.

Chris Pope - ServiceNow

Chris Pope, VP Innovation at ServiceNow

How Employee Corporate Email Use Can Put Your Organization at Risk

Author: Morey Haber, CTO, BeyondTrust

 

As part of onboarding, new hires typically sign an employee handbook which includes policies and guidelines for acceptable information technology usage. Within the details, are often policy restrictions regarding unacceptable usage for email. Typically, these policies state that email should only be used for official company business correspondence, and not for personal communications.

If you travel frequently for work, or are responsible for purchasing merchandise or services for your employer, is it acceptable to use your work email address, or should you use your personal email to complete the transaction?

This question, and the aftermath of your departure from an organization, can create a complicated situation and security risk that most employers are completely ignoring. And, unfortunately, they have no way to manage or mitigate the potential risk. Consider these real-life scenarios that organizations are facing today:

 

Scenario 1: Using corporate email accounts as login for travel services

An employee creates an account on an airline’s website using the corporate email address. This address is used for authentication into the service and to book flights or other travel arrangements.

Potential security implications

After their employment is finished, any notifications or future bookings for flights are tied to the suspended business email account. If your organization auto-forwards the email to a peer or a manager, then an identity theft threat vector has now been created. A co-worker now receiving the former employee’s emails can simply select “Forgot password” and own the former employee’s account. This is especially true if the account is not further protected by security questions or additional two factor authentication. If verification is tied back to the same email address, then it is game over once they have a confirmation link.

Recommendation

The most security-conscious way to handle this scenario is for an organization to enforce the use of an approved corporate travel service for booking flights, hotels, cars, etc. in lieu of allowing employees to book travel on their own and using a corporate email account. If the business permits bookings outside of a corporate service, allow and recommend individuals to use their personal email accounts for booking travel—even if they pay with a corporate credit card. After all, it is their account.

 

Scenario 2: Email address formats

Most organizations have an email address schema. Typical formats include first initial last name or first name dot last name.

Potential security implications

What happens when an employee leaves the organization and a new employee starts with the same name or initial combination? The new employee potentially receives all email of the former employee even if it not slated for them. Depending on the new employee’s role, the email may not be remotely appropriate (such as when PII and financials are involved) for them to receive. Organizations that continue to grow will have a higher statistical likelihood of overlap for names and initials.

Recommendation

Organizations should never reuse email addresses from former employees for new personnel. Consider adding numbers like “01” to the end of new email addresses to avoid this problem in the future.

 

Scenario 3: Using corporate email accounts for payment gateways

Some organizations allow for the purchase of merchandise and services through common payment platforms, like PayPal or Apple Pay. These are necessary for some employees (such as marketing team members) to perform their job functions.  However, none of these platforms should be set up with a user’s corporate email address. If they need to use a business email address, create a group or alias for these services.

Potential security implications

Just as with the air travel example in the first scenario, a personal account used for services can be leveraged against the individual if they leave and have no access to change their email address.

Recommendation

For these types of situations, it is recommended to use a dedicated account name for authentication, as opposed to an email address. This option allows the account owner to change the email address, but does present additional risk if the account is shared. Former employees using shared accounts for payment services underscore the ongoing risk of inadequate privileged access controls and the threats of shared accounts.

 

Scenario 4: Using corporate accounts for personal email

Some employees use personal email for group-based personal correspondence, such as for their children’s school.

Potential security implications

Once an employee departs the organization, the receiver of forwarded email is now potentially exposed to highly personal information, and potentially in violation of some local regulations.

Recommendation

Corporate email addresses should always remain strictly delegated to business usage—and never for personal communications. The results can present some interesting legal ramifications, especially if removal of the address from a group is not trivial.

 

Today, the boundaries of work and personal spheres continue to blend and blur—providing benefits (work flexibility, higher productivity, etc.) for both employers and employees—but not without cyber risks. Completely strict policies of corporate email usage will only introduce more risk as employee turnover occurs and our dependence on electronic communication continues.

Organizations have embraced policies like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for mobile device support and should consider allowing personal emails addresses for exactly the same reasons. Acceptable email usage policies need to clearly state when personal usage is acceptable, should be implemented, and when it creates unnecessary risk due to employee termination.

 

About the author:

Morey Haber, CTO, BeyondTrust - 1

With more than 20 years of IT industry experience and author of Privileged Attack Vectors, Mr. Haber joined BeyondTrust in 2012 as a part of the eEye Digital Security acquisition. He currently oversees BeyondTrust technology for both vulnerability and privileged access management solutions. In 2004, Mr. Haber joined eEye as the Director of Security Engineering and was responsible for strategic business discussions and vulnerability management architectures in Fortune 500 clients. Prior to eEye, he was a Development Manager for Computer Associates, Inc. (CA), responsible for new product beta cycles and named customer accounts. Mr. Haber began his career as a Reliability and Maintainability Engineer for a government contractor building flight and training simulators. He earned a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

How New Tech Is Revolutionizing HR

Human Resources is often looked upon as a sort of necessary evil in every business. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, as cutting-edge technology is helping HR departments in companies of all sizes evolve into a field that is equally relevant and innovative.

Tech including artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are helping to streamline HR processes, while cybersecurity is taking the front seat where company data and privacy is concerned. Here’s what you need to know about how an HR department can harness the power of new tech to change its influence and impact within companies, and by extension its reputation as a whole.

The Role of Cybersecurity

A big part of the job in HR is keeping employee personal data secure. In our digital age, it’s easier than ever for cyberthieves to hack into data systems. That’s where cybersecurity comes into play.

As an HR professional, it’s your job to hire individuals who are educated in the latest technologies and equipped to protect the organizations they work for. This can be especially challenging if you have staff members working remotely.

Remote workers are increasingly becoming the norm rather than the exception, with more than 40 percent of workers reporting that they perform some remote duties. As an HR rep, it’s your job to clarify policies and provide resources for remote employees so that they understand how to protect themselves, as well as company data, while working remotely. It’s also your job to anticipate and identify potential security issues before they turn into a major problem.

Your company may even consider putting together a cybersecurity team to address today’s security needs. A cybersecurity team is made up of individuals who are trained in information sciences and cybersecurity. Typically, those professionals are up-to-date on the latest equipment and technologies in order to effectively perform their duties.

Some companies are taking the cybersecurity hiring process even further by designing and building a cybersecurity control room. This move highlights the vital role a cybersecurity team plays in day-to-day operations. HR professionals should work closely with their cybersecurity team in order to answer any question that may arise.

AI and HR Analytics

AI has been changing the way we work for several years, but we’re only starting to see how it can help streamline the field of HR. The technology is meant to work in tandem with human processes, effectively doing three things:

  • Amplifying human function
  • Automating tasks
  • Augmenting human capabilities

AI use in HR starts with the hiring process. Automated software can help narrow down candidates without bias, based on information provided by potential hires. This is where amplifying comes in, as automated screening amps up the capabilities of HR professionals.

With AI, corporate training and payroll are augmented and automated. The use of AI reduces the chance of human error and keeps HR reps accountable for the data collected and processed. AI also allows for better tracking and accountability of remote workers.

Utilizing AI is a smart move for every business since the technology is becoming so ubiquitous. According to Personnel Today, nearly 40 percent of businesses were already using AI in some form as of 2017. A further 62 percent said that they expected to adopt AI into their business model in the near future.

Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Beyond

Payroll is an intrinsic part of the job for many HR professionals. And in today’s landscape of digital payments and other currency forms, payroll may seem more complicated than it has in the past.

If your business has remote workers on your payroll, chances are some of them are part of the emerging bitcoin and blockchain revolution. But what does that mean for you? Put simply, bitcoin is a form of digital currency, and a blockchain is an encrypted digital ledger of those funds.

Data indicates that about 28 million people around the world have a blockchain wallet. On the business end, more than $110 million in bitcoin payments are made every month. These numbers are growing, and HR professionals should have at least a basic understanding of blockchain technology.

Savvy business owners and HR techs should keep payment methods flexible and able to incorporate bitcoin and blockchain as needed. There are now more than 1000 types of digital currency that can end up in a blockchain, worth a grand total of more than $22 billion. That’s a number that’s hard to ignore.

While your company may be years away from adopting blockchain technology, it may be prudent to put together employee training sessions that revolve around digital currency, including bitcoin.

Final Thoughts

Our modern digital age has brought numerous, exciting changes to the realm of HR. Corporate data privacy issues and security training are increasingly part of an HR rep’s job description, alongside recruitment and payroll. Those duties are becoming easier, thanks to the automation, innovation, and augmentation found in new tech such as AI and blockchain.