Category Archives: Technology

Report: AI Technology in Construction to Reach $1.83B in 2023

Robotic hand accessing laptopArtificial technology will continue to have a larger footprint in the construction sector, as evidenced by more investments and projects in the next five years.

This would be one of the trends for 2018, when companies that explore the viability of AI technology will be rewarded in terms of better productivity and safety. Sustainability will also be another key trend, whether it involves the use of flat-rolled steel sheets or any other related material on an eco-friendly perspective.

A Bigger Role

A report by MarketsandMarkets showed that AI technology in construction would increase up to $1.83 billion by 2023, from the $407.2 million in this year. The residential segment will have the most exposure to AI growth during the forecast period due to an increasing demand for homes. Heavy construction and commercial projects are other industry sectors where AI will be beneficial.

Some benefits of using AI include shorter timelines for construction work and reduced expenses, which then improves the chances of gaining a higher return on investment. By region, the construction industry in North America will still account for the biggest investments in AI technology.

Construction Trends

Aside from AI, other forms of innovative technology include the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) with virtual and augmented reality. For instance, some companies have already invested in virtual simulations of work environments to train construction workers.

Technology that also looks out for the environment will continue to gain traction in 2018. From net-zero buildings to recycling construction waste, these ecological initiatives focus on conserving natural resources. In the U.S. alone, the spate of natural disasters led the industry to think of ways on how to improve structures with sustainability in mind.

Construction companies should explore the possibility of investing in AI technology to stay relevant and keep up with the competition. If sustainability is your focus this year, consider sourcing your products from processing and service centers that are mindful of their impact on the environment.

Digital Analytics and E-Commerce: The Perfect Partnership

e-commerce website with the word retail on a computer screenThe development of technology today has brought amazing breakthroughs in different parts of the business sector. Many industries have been using analytics to predict movie success, monitor the activity of the financial market, and create the perfect product based on customer insights and behaviors.

The e-commerce industry is one that’s been reaping most of the benefits of digital analytics as it uses customer behavior to offer products that best match a customer’s profile. Here’s a brief look at e-commerce and analytics and how they make the perfect partnership that aids consumerism.

E-commerce

You can consider any commercial transaction online part of e-commerce. The terms online shopping, electronic payments, and internet banking are all part of it. Just imagine a shopping mall, that’s cramped into your device – that’s it.

Digital Analytics

By definition, analytics is the computational systematic analysis of statistics and data. If you collect the data and statistics from websites and mobile apps, then it’s called digital analytics.

This data is gathered, measured, visualized, and interpreted to reach a specific goal and to improve the performance of website processes.

It helps online businesses improve customer experience through their websites and mobile apps and aids in their marketing efforts as well.

Their Marriage

When e-commerce businesses use digital analytics, it offers solutions to these three major areas.

  1. Revenue and Engagement – It improves how customers engage with the business resulting in an increase in revenue.
  2. Promotions – It helps run promotions that are targeted more for your customers.
  3. Pricing – It optimizes your pricing strategies to maximize your profits.

Digital analytics is crucial to the success of e-commerce today, and you should not neglect it. It may be a long process of collecting, measuring and analyzing data, but the results will always tell you what to improve in your process and help you get the ROI you’ve always dreamed of having.

SaaS Renewals: 3 Things to Remember to Become Successful

Saas on a laptopOne of the critical areas in managing software as a service (SaaS) for business-to-business (B2B) enterprises is making sure that clients will renew the services that you sold to them. Ideally, every renewal should be an engagement that you should work out and close in as if it were a new sale. It’s only by doing so that you begin to realize the effects of SaaS. It could help you experience rapid growth from a scale’s and traction to a stakeholders’ point of view.

You, however, should not be oblivious of the fact that customer acquisition demands massive investment in the right strategies. With that, you can tell how proper management of SaaS renewals is the key, especially since this is where most of your profit lies. Do you know what will it cost you to realize a successful SaaS renewal rate?

Map Out a Process

You probably have not considered it yet, but mapping a well-thought process is critical when it comes to managing every SaaS renewal. It can help you know when to contact customers and what to cover in that conversation.

Limit Sales Involvement

While sales are important, it’s also important if you limit your participation in sales. Instead, invest more in caring for existing customers on a daily basis.

CRM Integration

Integrate this process into your customer relationship management software for seamless and intelligent tracking of every SaaS renewal. SaaS management experts advise that you should not settle for a churn rate of less than 5%. Doing so will mean that you might lose about 46% of customers annually. That will be a loss of revenue as well as wasted capital in customer acquisition if you don’t take this seriously.

It’s understandable that managing SaaS renewals, especially for B2B products, can be challenging. With the help of an expert, however, you better keep a smart check with better training and enhanced user experience.

 

The Placebo Effect of Lift Buttons

Open elevator Have you ever pressed the up button on a lift, but it wasn’t coming fast enough, so you pressed the button a few more times in the hope that it sped up its arrival? Despite what your brain is telling you, pressing the call button over and over again to make the life come faster doesn’t work.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the lift is faulty. Professionally-made lifts like those from Vertrans Lift Surveys & Certification Ltd prioritises the safety of passengers over anything else, and the placebo effect of lift buttons can help ensure it.

The Truth about the Call and Door Close Button

Once you press the call button on the lift, the lift’s controllers register the command and proceed to go to your floor. If you press the call button again, however, it doesn’t trigger a mechanism to make the lift arrive faster.

The close door buttons inside the lifts do not always work, either. It can be due to different reasons: the doors could be set on a time delay to close after five seconds, broken, or disconnected.

Doors Must Stay Open Long Enough for Disabled Passengers

Lifts don’t have functioning close buttons to ensure the safety of disabled passengers. Doors must stay open long enough for anyone who uses a cane, a wheelchair or crutches to safely get on, after all.

The Illusion of Control has Therapeutic Effects

Experts agree that the minor sense of control people experience when they hit the buttons on lifts and cross walks that don’t have definite functions is mildly therapeutic. The Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer states that the perceived control is very important since it diminishes stress and promotes one’s mental well-being. The concept of a placebo is so effective that evidence shows that it still works even when you know you’re getting a placebo.

Buttons on lifts are not entirely useless; they just have to follow some guidelines to ensure the safety of all its passengers.

Advantages of Moving Your Business to the Cloud

Cloud Service ApplicationsMore and more businesses are reaping the benefits of moving their business to the clouds, meaning to the Cloud-based storage such as LoadSpring. If you are still using land-based storage systems for your business, here are some of the benefits you might be missing out on.

It helps your business recover faster from natural disasters

Every business needs to have a business continuity plan in cases of natural disasters such as floods, typhoons and more. In a 2015 report, companies in North America end up losing up to $700 billion annually due to IT outages.

This number already includes the 78 percent loss that stems from employee productivity. If your storage is up in the Cloud, an outsource team can quickly take over operations faster. This means minimizing company losses and limiting the effects on business operations.

It helps improve collaboration and productivity

If you have offices around the world, it makes sense to move your storage up in the Cloud to foster faster and easier collaboration among teams.

The ability to get information from anywhere in the world also improve productivity, especially nowadays when flexible work schedules are the most sought-after employee benefits people look for more than healthcare packages.

It helps improve your security

Companies end up losing more money because of lost laptops, not only because of the value of the equipment but because of the value of the files in notebooks as well as the temporary loss of employee productivity.

Most companies require a stringent process when employees lose a work laptop so it takes a while before they can get back to full capacity. But if the files are in the Cloud, companies are more at ease about the security of work documents.

Cloud computing also allows your IT team to wipe the data remotely on the lost laptop.

Consider these benefits and move your business storage in the Cloud. Keep your data safe and secured and help lower the risk of data theft with Cloud computing.

Smart UX Design: A Must-Use for Exemplary Browsing Experience

Website Accessibility on Laptop, Cellphone, and TabletIn the web design industry, it is possible for website owners to encounter acronyms they aren’t familiar with. For example, what does it mean when a user talks about the impressive ‘UX’ of a product? Knowing what the term stands for is important, especially before searching for web design services in Raleigh.

User experience design, or UX, is the process of creating a positive user experience for a company’s website or mobile app. Some if its key features include intuitive functionality, easy-to-use navigation, and compelling content presentation. While the discipline isn’t entirely new, it is becoming more and more important, what with the proliferation of smartphone web browsing.

A Customer-Centric Approach to Website Design

Nothing stays constant in the digital world, as users demand better devices and developers compete to present the latest innovation first. One way business owners can keep up with the changing needs of their clients is to employ a customer-centric approach, something that UX design focuses on.

Responsive UX design is unique because it merges the different features of a website for a better user experience: interface, graphical and industrial design, and navigation. In fact, smart UX design is beneficial on both ends as it provides website owners with several benefits:

  • An efficient design process – UX design encourages people to work together to deliver maximum and functional website features.
  • Increases customer loyalty – Users that are happy with their browsing experience are likely to become loyal customers who would recommend the brand to others.
  • Reduces costs and usability issues – Using the right set of features right from the start minimizes costly errors and mistakes that could occur in the future.

Giving Users Freedom over the Browsing Experience

Woman Doing Research on a WebsiteAn important facet of UX design is to give customers more freedom while surfing. When something unexpected appears on the screen, it takes away a user’s control and in turn, lowers their trust for the brand and affects conversion rates. Websites that automatically play videos and send out push notifications, for instance, would translate to a negative user experience. Using a sales approach won’t bring up rates, but an approach that makes users feel like they have freedom over their own choices will.

Taking Note of the F-Pattern when Browsing

A study by Nielsen reports that customers tend to browse pages in an F-Pattern: they notice the upper left corner of a page first and then scan horizontally until they find something interesting. Understanding the F-Pattern is essential for those seeking to improve website design, as it allows business owners and designers to place strong elements and the latest offers at the top of the web page.

Keep the Number of Options to a Minimum

Getting more visitors to stay on a web page relies on understanding how Hick’s Law works. The law states that increasing the number of options available also ramps up the time it makes for users to reach a decision. In the web design context, applying the law could work by limiting the links in the navigation bar.

Moreover, opting for a unique user journey may be an effective way to increase conversion rates. Try showing returning users a different version of the website by personalizing what appears on their screen, depending on their interests. Showing the best deals on products may also work in a website owner’s favor, instead of having everything on the page.

Smart UX design celebrates a minimalist approach to website design: cutting out the non-essentials and providing users with relevant, personalized content. The approach works best for customers and website owners alike as it keeps things precise and simple while packing a powerful punch.

It’s All in the Listings: Making Organic Listings Work

Effective Organic ListingsRunning a business in this day and age calls for going beyond traditions, especially in terms of marketing. As a result, looking into the best SEO and social media practices is now part of the daily routine.

Keeping up with digital marketing means loading up on your Panda and Penguin knowledge plus other ways to boost up the search rankings. Some entrepreneurs, however, get too invested and end up with black hat tactics.

Don’t be one of them. Instead of biting into temptation, pause and review the basics of organic SERP listings.

According to SEO Reseller Program, many businesses and digital marketers overlook the link between click-through rates (CTRs) and organic listings. The reputable SEO reseller also adds that rank improvement efforts will go to waste if the listing is not compelling.

So, what can you do?

Determine Pages with Low CTRs

Start by identifying pages that receive low click-through rates. Go to Google Analytics and click on the following: Acquisition > Search Console > Landing Pages. Export the data into an Excel or CSV document. Sort pages according to their positions: high position, low average position, and relatively low CTR position.

Explore Other Title Tag Expansion Opportunities

When it comes to increasing CTR, improving a page title’s effectiveness is one of your best bets. In 2014, Google changed the title tag limit by using pixel lengths as the basis (estimation: 512px), which resulted in plenty of title tag reductions. Marketers and SEO experts rejoiced when the search engine expanded the limit to 600px.

Don’t let the increased space go to waste. Make the most of the 17% increase by including high priority keywords. Use SERP preview tools to see how the listing will appear on Google and to adhere better to the new title tag standards.

Use Compelling Meta Titles

A page title shouldn’t sound like pages from a boring book; instead, it should captivate readers through compelling wordplay. Customers are all for interesting, intriguing, descriptive, and emotional; otherwise, they’ll get bored.

Prioritize a descriptive and compelling meta description that also complements the title tag statement.

These tricks might seem simple, but you’ll be surprised with the results. Try them out today and be amazed.

Rural Businesses need Fast, Reliable Internet Connections Too

Rural BroadbandFor some people, living, working and running a business in a rural area is an ideal situation. The countryside offers tranquillity and beauty far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. Unfortunately, a poor or non-existent internet connection often offsets these benefits — which is bad for business. According to SingTel Satellite, in fact, to remain on top of the competition, as well as to maintain production, on-site efficiency, and increased security, rural business owners should make sure that they have access to high speed and reliable communications.

As of the moment, unfortunately, urban and highly populated areas have been the focus of commercial investment. This concentration on specific areas are alienating the more rural and hard-to-reach areas of the world.

Why is a Fast Internet Connection Important?

A high-speed internet connection enables rural businesses to expand their reach far beyond their geographic base. Furthermore, it tears down communication barriers related to time and distance. The availability of high-speed internet connection can result to the development of a whole economy and country.

Challenges and Barriers to Providing Rural Broadband

There are the two main challenges to providing broadband to the countryside. The first has to do with the remoteness of a location: establishment of a reliable internet connection is difficult to implement when the area is mountainous or island-based. This brings us to the second issue: prohibitive costs. When a location is very remote, the equipment and labour needed to establish a site far outweighs the potential for Return On Investment (ROI). Even if the government subsidises the expansion of rural broadband networks, the budget allocated for each area may not always be sufficient to cover all the costs involved.

A Possible Solution

A good strategy is to build a fixed wireless (microwave) network that can offer super fast broadband connections to areas that have poor broadband facilities or to areas that cannot receive internet access due to its remote location and financial constraints. It is a good alternative to a fibre connection as there will always be areas that cannot and will not receive broadband through fibre.

The geographical location of a business need not be a hindrance to fast, reliable internet connection. Technology, specifically the power of wireless networks, now makes it possible to have good fast internet connection speeds regardless of the business location.

Managing Field Workers: Common Mistakes

Mobile WorkforceWhen you are in charge of a mobile workforce, you basically have to manage a team of people who aren’t around. While your staff is spread out over their assigned locations, you have to be able to provide support and the same time monitor their progress and productivity.

For some, it can be quite easy. But for others, mistakes are inevitable. Make sure you’re not one of the others who make mistakes. Here are some things to avoid:

1. Failing to cultivate good working relationships.

Since you won’t see each other as often as you should, being on good (but professional) terms with your workers is essential to your success. Being concerned with their welfare and always giving them the benefit of the doubt is always good practice for making them trust you as a manager.

2. Failing to leverage technology.

When you don’t use technology like smartphones and mobile job management software to handle your fleet of workers, you’re only shooting yourself in the foot. You’ll be able to track data better and give support to your staff better if you have a common platform to turn to even when you’re not available. You can also see easily who is being more productive and where your staff can improve further.

3. Failing to give proper training.

Proper training should not just be about delivering service but also dealing with irate customers and on-site issues. You can’t expect every site visit to go smoothly — your team has to know how to deal with difficult clients. They represent the company so they should be able to maintain dignity and be a good face for the customers.

Being able to give support and monitor your staff are important functions of any manager. Some mistakes, though, are quite easy to make if you aren’t aware of what you’re doing.

Estimating Construction Cost: Issues to be Aware of

Issues When Estimating Construction CostA construction project entails different aspects, one of which is estimating the construction cost. During this phase, you must take into consideration certain factors that could greatly impact the cost, and eventually impact the project.

Before a single pile of soil is moved in a construction project, a detailed estimate on its total cost must first be determined. This is a crucial phase in any construction proposal or project as it will be the basis for the computation of the actual cost, whether it is within or is already going beyond its planned budget. Performing construction cost estimates is not done by simply looking at the plan or visiting the site and immediately coming up with an amount. There are various issues that need to be looked into as these could have a great impact on the actual costs. What are these?

Proposed Construction Site Condition

Site conditions can severely impact the actual cost of construction. For instance, you may have a planned budget of $5 million for the actual construction phase but this can double if you encounter serious issues like poor soil conditions, the presence of underground cables and pipes, electricity transmission lines directly above your site, ancient burial sites, and many more. In fact, before you put a price tag on your construction project, it becomes necessary to first resolve issues such as those mentioned above to minimize the risk of going over your budget.

Economic Factors

In doing a construction estimate, another major consideration that should be carefully studied is the cost of construction materials and the possibility of an increase in prices in the coming year. Naturally, you must also include taxes and other charges like shipment fees. Since construction projects can’t happen overnight and may take months or even years to complete, you might also want to include the inflation factor in your estimate. Bloomberg News correctly points out that rising or taming inflation can have a deep impact on your construction costs, so it is important that you don’t leave this one out.

Insurance

Another important issue that should be seriously considered is your insurance requirements and its attendant costs. The report published by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration underscored the importance of securing insurance for construction workers. This is to ensure construction companies will not bear the brunt of massive costs resulting from work-related injuries of its workers.

There are many other issues that must be resolved first before putting a price tag on a construction project. It is very important that construction companies factor all these into their final cost estimate. Failure to do so may affect the entire project and could even lead to the downfall of a construction company.