All posts by David Webb

6 Essential Tech Gadgets for a Company Vehicle

The market for car gadgets is growing rapidly. We see novelty products for styling, safety, and convenience hitting the shelves daily. They empower businesses to make the most of their motor vehicles and put the best face of the company forward. After all, a company vehicle is much more than a functional means of transportation. Equipped with the right gadgets and accessories, it becomes a mobile office and an extension of the branded environment. So, get your hands on some of the latest bells and whistles. Do not just take people for a smooth ride— put up a high-tech show.

Universal Bluetooth Car Kit

This one is already a true staple. It is basically an in-car phone holder with built-in Bluetooth connectivity. Here, I would go for models along the lines of Parrot Minikit Smart. They are easy to attach to the car’s widescreen via a suction mount and they hold the phone firmly in place with a spring-loaded clamp. That way, the driver can receive and conduct business calls with hands completely free and eyes on the road. Products like this do not cost much, yet they make multitasking behind the wheel so much easier.

Digital assistant

Who says that digital assistants are restricted to home or office environments? With a gadget like Logitech ZeroTouch, you can integrate Alexa capability into the vehicle. All you have to do is connect a headset to ZeroTouch and have a dedicated app load automatically. This gives you the ability to issue voice commands, control the music and much more. The dashboard model is a bit more expensive than the vent one, but I would argue that it is absolutely worth it. In fact, it transforms the whole driving experience and makes you feel like a corporate executive form an SF movie.

GPS tracking

Knowing exactly where every vehicle and driver in the fleet is at all times is paramount. Well, this is anything but difficult to achieve with a GPS solution for vehicle tracking. There are versatile platforms that also enable personal tracking, promote workforce safety and streamline multiple fleet management tasks. Some even include historical archiving, vehicle dispatch and job management features. Therefore, they add value not only to the vehicles, but also the business organization as the whole. Take your game to the next level, one that reflects the challenges of the 21st century.

CD Slot Mount Organizer

Next, we have a small plastic organizing tool that fits into the car’s CD slot. Although it is designed to hold CDs, this little fellow is capable of doing a bit more than that. It is a multifunctional accessory with a sticky pad that can serve as a satnav holder, in case you do not want that device to be mounted on the screen. What is more, it is possible to use it for a smartphone too. Therefore, if your CD slot is conveniently positioned, an affordable (you can find it for around $10) CD organizer becomes your main tool for keeping mess and clutter at bay.

Car Vacuum

A vehicle used for business purposes should be sparkly clean inside and out. That is why it is a good idea to always keep a suitable car vacuum in the trunk. It does not occupy much space and performs quite well, even when it comes for as cheap as $30. Most products draw power from the car’s cigarette lighter socket, which means that you do not have to run an extension cord. I would keep an eye on those that have extensions for reaching all the crevices and hard-to-reach places. Your vehicle will appear fresh and clean, just like on the day it was bought.

Satellite Navigation

A satnav device is a must-consider gadget for a business vehicle. There are many models to choose from, but TomTom GO LIVE 1005 5’’ certainly stands out. It not only gets you from point A to B, but comes with some additional features too. There is a worldwide map database, which works like a charm wherever you are around the globe. Live traffic updates and online functions come particularly handy. For example, it can provide a killer restaurant recommendation in an instant using native integration with platforms like Trip Advisor.

Retrofit for success

Well into the booming digital age, adding the latest technology to your company car is linked to multifarious benefits. You can boost the comfort and utility, as well as produce a wow effect. Namely, there are many gadgets tailored to getting more from your car. We have presented some cutting-edge tools that should be on your radar, but do the research and shop around. Feel free to mix and match various features. It is time to tool up and retrofit your company car with tech greatness. Impress clients and customers alike. Cruise around and carry out business tasks on the fly.  

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Impact the B2B Environment

While it is more than clear that apps are getting more and more intelligent, a lot of people are still skeptical or at least unwelcome towards the notion of AI. That’s mostly because they fail or refuse the see the bigger picture. In their mind, AI is either this huge threat or a trend that’s about to replace human workforce and make it obsolete. What they fail to realize is that this is just a highly sophisticated tool that can finally relieve humans of arduous tasks such as data harvesting and analysis and allow them to focus on creative tasks instead. Here are five ways in which AI can impact the B2B industry.

Machine learning applications

When producing tools and applications for other businesses to use, one of the most important features that they are interested in is the ease of maintenance. In order to constantly fix, patch and update a certain tool, your partners will have to allocate both time, manpower and resources, which is definitely not a sustainable business plan in the long run. On the other hand, with the help of a machine and deep learning, you can create digital tools with much lower overhead. In other words, when it comes to your products, more and more partners will expect AI-enabled automation.

Transcription services

Most B2B negotiations take place in face-to-face meetings. In the past, you would have to hire someone to take notes in order not to miss out on something crucial later on, when drafting or finalizing a contract. Unfortunately, this wasn’t that reliable, seeing as how even the most skilled of typists had a hard time keeping up with every single word. Then, a lot of businesses switched to audio recordings as the optimal means of keeping these records.

The downside of this trend lies in the fact that it takes up a lot of space and it isn’t find-feature-friendly. Imagine a scenario where you want to recollect something from the meeting, yet, are unable to remember the exact part of the meeting where it took place. You do, nonetheless, remember a phrase that was used by you or the other party. Needless to say, both this problem and the above-mentioned space-related issue can be solved with the help of transcription services online that can convert these files from audio to text.

Chatbots

While chatbots may be considered as a primarily B2C tool, this isn’t necessarily the case. Even other businesses appreciate an instantaneous response, which is something that chatbots can provide. Apart from this, in 2018, chatbots are so evolved that it is becoming incredibly hard to differentiate between talking to AI and talking to a real person. To achieve this, however, you need to tailor a chatbot to your brand and in this way turn it into an actual representative.

The greatest concern of human-to-chatbot communication lies in its comparison to the human-to-human conversation. Still, this doesn’t lean as heavily in favor of H2H conversation as you might have thought. It all depends on whether you’re working with a purpose-ambiguous or a purpose-specific bot. With the above-discussed trend of deep learning, soon, not a lot of people will be able to pass the Turing test.

Driving B2B sales

When it comes to driving sales, your first stop should always be harvesting the data. With the help of big data, AI-driven analytical tools and latest principles of B2B marketing, this should be easier and more reliable than ever before. The reason why the art of driving sales remains somewhat obscure to human marketers is due to the fact that it’s not that easy to fully comprehend the customer lifecycle. Every person starts as a visitor and then passes several stages (depending on the industry and specific circumstances) before they finally become paying customers.

With machine learning on your side, some of the customer behavior patterns can become easier to decipher. In this way, you will get the information on the exact position of your potential customers and partners, which can help you reach out to them in moments when you have the most potential of getting a positive response. In fact, AI can automate even this, which could help provide you with the optimal ROI.

Real-time response

Finally, one of the biggest problems with marketing and business strategies, in general, is the fact that they are planned as proactive, yet, usually end up being reactive. As for the reaction, each party you do business with expects to be your priority and the only way to achieve this is to respond adequately in the shortest possible time-span. How is this possible, you might ask? Doesn’t rushing a response means diminishing its quality? Well, not if you have real-time feedback and an AI tool that is capable of analyzing it in no time.

Conclusion

The greatest difference between B2B and B2C interactions is the fact that the first ones are data- instead of emotion-driven. This means that the quality of service, the offer itself and the nature of interaction make a much greater difference than they do in B2C where you only have to find a way to exploit the notion of impulse buying. Needless to say, all of these advantages are something that a quality AI software can create.

How Technology is Changing The Look of The Money in the Future?

Today, it’s hard for us to imagine a world without money, but it hasn’t always been so. In fact, our ancestors managed just fine without it, by bartering their goods instead. Bartering has been the go-to method of trading for thousands of years, all the way to the 6th century BC when the first minted coins were introduced in Anatolia. Unlike today’s coins, which are made out of base metals such as nickel and copper, these were made purely out of precious metals. They were finally replaced by paper money around the 17th century and that has been the favored currency ever since. Yet, seeing how we now live in a digital age, it’s only logical to assume we’ll switch to some form of digital currency in the near future. After all, technology has always been the driving force behind the use of currencies in the past, so why should now be any different?

A cashless society

Since the invention of the first credit card in 1946, people have been less reliant on cash than ever before. Don’t believe me? Just go take a look at your local store and you’ll almost certainly find someone purchasing their goods without cash. This is because the whole process is a lot faster and involves less hassle to begin with. Consequently, Amazon got the hint and opened up a fully automated shopping experience for their customers in January this year. In Amazon Go stores, there’s literally no cash involved and the only thing that you actually need to purchase your goods is your smartphone. On it, you download an app which bills you the receipt and you just walk out of the store as sophisticated camera technology does the rest. Similarly, this payment system is also used by contactless wristbands that enable you to purchase goods without the need to carry a wallet around with you. This means you can casually go for a swim when you’re at the beach or jump around in a crowded concert without having to worry about your wallet. So, how can cash even compete when we have such high-tech digital payment systems nowadays?

Cryptocurrencies

Well, judging by the sudden rise in popularity of various cryptocurrencies, it seems like it’s only a matter of time. By now, probably everyone has heard of Bitcoin at least, the most popular one, but there are in fact over 1300 of them out there at the moment and the number is rising. This is due to the market being relatively young and therefore it’s still in a state of expansion. In addition, trading with cryptocurrencies is also fairly easy and the whole process is done online. Let’s say you’re interested in getting your hands on some cryptocurrencies, for example you want to buy dash, then all you have to do is register on a trading platform, conduct your trade from there, and, voila, you acquired your first cryptocurrency. What’s more, millennials, being the most tech-savvy generation of today, look to cryptocurrencies the most. No surprises there, seeing as how they were grew up in a period of increased economic instability, culminating with the 2008 financial crisis, where they lost faith in the banking system, and government as a whole. For this reason, cryptocurrencies are the obvious choice as they offer a more decentralized, free market, alternative to fiat money. No doubt we’ll see more of these in the future, but for the time being, there remains a feeling of skepticism as some older generations still need convincing because the idea of digitalized money sounds absurd to them. If you want to stay in trend with the new cryptocurrencies, find a reputable source such as Blockchain Review.

Security issues

If in the near future physical money does get replaced by its digital counterpart, there will be new difficulties and security issues regarding its safekeeping. It’s nothing new really, safeguarding money was always troublesome. Only today, your medieval Robin Hood is replaced with a modern cyber-hood that has his eyes fixed on your bank account. However, there might actually be a solution to these increasing cyber attacks, and that is reflected in the latest blockchain technology; the same technology that is used for storing cryptocurrencies today. You see, blockchain stores data in a public ledger in the form of interlinked blocks which cannot be deleted individually without previously removing the whole chain. Moreover, it uses a decentralized system, which means it doesn’t have a single central hub hackers can exploit and break into. Also, the data is secured by using cryptography, so holding records of any kind, not just money, should be a lot safer. Mind you, this technology is still relatively new and we’ll have to see what the future has in store for it. Yet, considering that it took Linux a few years to catch on and become the leading platform for developing apps, there’s still a lot of potential in store for blockchain.

 

To sum up, the future is already here, we just haven’t realized it yet. Digital payments, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology are already changing the way we see money, but cash is still king, for now.

Devices and Gadgets Every Home Office Needs

A well-equipped home office is the key to being productive and efficient if you work from home. Getting into the work-mode, keeping your focus on the task at hand and looking professional and serious about your business will all be much easier if you have a good home office. So, don’t hesitate to invest in making your workspace comfortable and functional. Here are some of the best and handiest smart gadgets and devices that will make your work easier, better and faster.

Data sentinel

A traditional office usually has an expensive security system that protects sensitive information, and your simple anti-virus software can’t even compare to it. However, if you really need to keep your data protected, get Cujo Internet Firewall for your computer. This little guy works non-stop and protects your entire network and all the devices connected to it.

Noise-canceling headphones

Even if you always work behind closed doors, sometimes you can still hear your kids playing, your neighbors mowing the lawn or cars stuck in traffic. If you want to block these distractions, invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. They will block out all unwanted sounds, while allowing you to play music and take calls.

Smart thermostat

The appropriate temperature is crucial to human productivity and concentration. Research shows that the optimal workplace temperature is 71.6 degrees F or 22 degrees C, so make sure you have a smart thermostat to keep the temperature constant. Nest Thermostat will let you program it and then it will learn from your behaviour and keep your office cozy for you.

A reliable scanner

Paper files only create clutter and take up space. So, if you want to get rid of all your documents, receipts and business cards, but you need the information on them, get yourself a handy scanner. It will help you store all of them on your computer and allow you to access them whenever you need.

Printers for the win

Don’t waste your precious time visiting the nearest printing shop whenever you need physical copies of documents. Instead, get a home office printer that will allow you to print as many copies as you need. Most of today’s models are wireless and connect to your Wi-Fi network, so you can use them from anywhere in the house, and from any device. Also, if you love to keep your office organized, don’t hesitate to get a label printer. A good Dymo printer and enough of the Dymo LabelWriter label tape is all you need to keep your files, boxes and cabinets neat and organized.

Smart lighting

Do you often forget whether you’ve turned the lights off before you left your office? Well, no more dilemma with these smart light bulbs! They connect to your smartphone and you can turn them on or off remotely, control brightness or even set timers for automatic shut-down. Another cool thing some of these smart bulbs can do is track your GPS coordinates and turn on just before you enter your office. The future is here!

Keep your drink warm or cool

If you want to make sure that your coffee stays warm during those long Skype meetings, get yourself a mug warmer. It will keep your beverage toasty until you have the time to enjoy it. However, if you’re not a big coffee or tea person and prefer something cold and refreshing, you can invest in a small office refrigerator. It’s going to keep your cans, bottles and snacks cool – perfect for long summer workdays.

No matter if you work from home full-time or just use your home office to finish up some work, try to make it as comfortable and functional as possible. So, invest in some (or all) of these amazing office gadgets and watch your productivity soar.

Must Have Gadgets for an Eco-Friendly Home

With each passing day, there’s a steady rise in awareness of how devastating the effects of global warming truly are. If you’re still in denial, just take a good look at all the natural disasters that have been going on in the last couple of years. This is why more and more people are starting to lead greener lives as it not only helps lower the emissions of harmful carbon gases, but it also helps reduce the monthly bill as well. It’s no surprise then that there’s a whole bunch of interesting eco-friendly gadgets on the market at the moment, with new ones being developed as we speak. Here’s a list of just a few.

Easybulb Plus

LED light bulbs are known for having a much longer lifespan than your ordinary light bulb. Moreover, they’re extremely efficient at conserving energy whereas the incandescent light bulb uses a staggering 90% just to heat itself and only the remaining 10% is used for lighting. Easybulb Plus has a lifespan of 25 years and has an integrated voice control system as well as the ability to change the color of its light to your desire. In addition, you can even sync it with your smartphone’s alarm system so both can turn on simultaneously.

Mistbox Air Conditioner

Another must-have energy reducing gadget, the Mistbox air conditioner is incredibly efficient. By attaching it to your standard home air conditioner, Mistbox cools the air inside it by spraying fine mists of water, thus significantly reducing the energy needed to cool your house. What’s more, it’s powered by salvaging the exhaust air coming from your air conditioner’s condenser, meaning it doesn’t consume energy on its own. The more energy it can save, the better it is for the environment.

Rachio Smart Wi-Fi Sprinkler System

Conserving energy is not the only eco-friendly thing you can do for your house, as water is yet another resource worth saving. Enter the Rachio Smart Wi-Fi Sprinkler System. By tapping into your internet connection, it checks all of the future weather patterns in order to analyze when the best time is to water the ground. By doing this, it saves up to a third more than your average sprinkler system.

A Home Automation System

With a home automation system, you have full control of your indoors energy consumption rates. You can even check these rates with the energy metering system it comes with, so you know exactly how much you’ve saved each month. Furthermore, you get to control your air-conditioning, your lighting and even your whole entertainment system. The most important thing is, that it keep your house safe from intruders at all times. In addition, it’s easy to install, just make sure you find certified C-Bus installers to get the job done properly and get a warranty in the process.

Drumi Foot Powered Washing Machines

This gadget is ideal when you want to wash just a few articles of clothing instead of waiting for a larger load. Being exclusively foot powered means that apart from reducing your electricity bill, it’ll also give you a nice home workout. Who said watching out for the environment wasn’t healthy for you? Additionally, it takes around five minutes to wash your clothes and it requires less water and detergent than your standard washing machine. Not to mention that it’s really compact meaning you can place it just about anywhere around the house.

Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit

So far we’ve talked about electrical energy, wind energy and even ‘foot energy’, so why not add some solar energy into the mix? That’s right, the Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit uses solar power to charge your devices and can be used even when it’s raining. It’s completely water-proof, so you don’t have to worry about it getting wet. Being portable, you can carry it around with you wherever you go. Don’t let your phone’s battery run out on you and stay connected with this neat gadget.

iBamboo iPhone Speaker

Speaking of phones, this little gadget is as green as it gets. It’s seriously brilliant as it uses an actual piece of bamboo to enhance your iPhone’s speakers. It’s literally the perfect green gadget as it is entirely made of organic material, thus making it 100% recyclable. What’s more, it’s precision-cut by machines and hand-polished to resonate the highest quality sound possible. Place your iPhone in the middle and enjoy your favorite tune with your friends and family and show them just how cool and green you really are.

 

To sum up, with amazing gadgets like these, there are can be no more excuses for not going green already. Make your house look hip by making it more eco-friendly and see yourself saving more money in the process.

Best Laptops for Gaming Businesspeople

Some ten years ago, we would find it strange to see a businessperson with a pair of headphones, playing Call of Duty or Unreal Tournament. Yes, perhaps some still can’t make gaming and the “businessperson” stereotype fit together. However, those young gamers have grown up to be successful people, and just chose not to give up on their gaming hobby. Perhaps they can’t commit to it as much as they used to, because there’s just not enough time anymore, but they can enjoy it from time to time. One can play games during micro-breaks (10-minute breaks) to release stress, and even improve productivity. Many PC gamers find this to have a therapeutic effect.

If you’re reading this, then you’re most likely in a dilemma – should you buy a gaming rig or a quality laptop workstation? Don’t worry, there are laptops that can perfectly serve both purposes, and allow you to achieve the balance between work and play time.

1. Gigabyte SabrePro 15

Gigabyte SabrePro 15

With the 6th generation of Intel i7 quad-core CPU (8 threads, 2.8 GHz) and Kaby Lake architecture, SabrePro 15 outperforms its predecessors in every aspect. It packs a GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card with 6GB of DDR5 VRAM (which means great performance even in the newest games), 2TB HDD, and 16GB of DDR4 RAM. The battery lasts only 3 and a half hours, which is this little beast’s only downside. When you compare its price and configuration, you’ll realize why SabrePro 15 is a great bargain.

2. Acer Swift 3

Acer Swift 3

If you’re looking for a machine on a budget, this Acer Aspire is probably your best buy, as its price doesn’t mean it skimps on performance. The Acer Swift 3 has an all-aluminum body, with a 6th-gen Intel Core i5-6200U (up to 2.8GHz), 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, and a 14″ Full HD Widescreen IPS display (1920×1080). Swift 3 delivers quality performance and design, all for under $700. Swift’s screen can be folded 180 degrees due to special hinges, while the backlit keyboard has a sleek and soft finish. The battery can last for up to 10 hours (impressive), but the biggest drawback is screen brightness.

3. HP Elite x2 1011 G1 Detachable

HP Elite x2 1011 G1 Detachable

This HP laptop model can be used both as a tablet or a laptop, and is a great choice if you’d like a multipurpose and practical machine. Because they provide better options for smooth and dynamic work organization, laptops with detachable components are considered the future of computing. The HP Elite x2 1011 G1 is equipped with an Intel Core M-5Y71 CPU, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 256GB SSD, and Intel HD 5300 graphics card (dual-core, up to 2.9 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology). It has a Full HD resolution 11.6-inch IPS display, and it’s packed with office features as it’s designed as a business hybrid. Graphics engineers find the Wacom-compatible stylus to be a great bonus.

4. Asus ROG Strix GL502

Asus ROG Strix GL502

With its classic black and red color scheme, the Asus ROG Strix GL502 may not have the most innovative design, but when it comes to business/gaming use, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the best on the market. GL502 runs on an Intel Core i7-6700HQ (up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost, quad-core, 6MB cache), and has a 128GB or 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 15.6-inch FHD, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card. You can run games in 1080p, and the onboard sound system, performance, and screen make up for its short battery life.

5. Lenovo ThinkPad E470

Lenovo ThinkPad E470

When talking about performance, quality, and design, at least one of Lenovo laptops had to make it on this list. The configuration of ThinkPad E470 includes an Intel Core i7-7500U processor (2.7 GHz), Intel HD Graphics 620, 500GB HDD and 256GB SSD storage, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and a 14” screen (1920×1080 resolution). It’s powered by an Nvidia GeForce 940MX 2GB GPU, with an FHD anti-glare display. The keyboard is spill resistant, and it’s equipped with a 3+2 button click pad and a TrackPoint. The E470 has enough expansion capabilities and ports that will keep any user happy.

6. Dell Precision 15 5000 (5510)

 

Dell Precision 15 5000 (5510) is somewhat heavier than a usual on-the-go laptop (it weighs 5.67 pounds), with a case made of aluminum and a keyboard of carbon fiber. When it comes to configuration, it packs an Intel Core i5-6300HQ (quad core, 2.30 GHz), 8GB DDR4 RAM (upgradable to 16GB), 512GB SSD, and an Nvidia Quadro M1000M 2GB GDDR5 graphics card. Twins speakers offer great clarity and power, but unfortunately, its battery life is just about 5 hours.

We hope that our list of best laptops for gaming businesspeople would help you find a machine that meets the best of both worlds, as well as your current and future requirements. Buying a laptop is usually a one-time investment, because you can’t upgrade it as you like (like you can do with a desktop PC), so make sure you choose wisely. If you like playing video games to declutter your mind after a long day of work, then consider investing in one of these models.

 

About the Author

 

My name is David Webb and I am a Sydney-based business consultant and a writer. I studied business management at the University of Sydney. I love to travel. Couple of years back, I was traveling through Europe and AU, working in the online environment, living a digital nomad lifestyle. I also love to write, mostly about finances, digital marketing and business strategies.

 

David Webb

Business consultant

[email protected]

[email protected]

www.bizzmarkblog.com

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